Monday, November 28, 2011

Thanksgiving Recap

I can't believe the holiday weekend is over! Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday and I usually anticipate it for so long that when it finally does come, it just races by and I'm left awaiting next year with that much more excitement. I just love the time shared with family, the food, and all the preparations that begin for Christmas. Thanksgiving is so much fun and this year was pretty awesome.

We went to my aunt's house in Balston Spa, NY - about 3 hours north of the city. My hubby drove up with Aiden and my mom and brother.  I was nervous about the road trip because of the baby and I'll admit keeping him happy in the car was really tough. He hates being strapped down into his car seat and he will just start to SCREAM if he wants out. I fed him some yogurt and apple sauce on the way up and then tried to give him a little expressed milk in a bottle but he was having none of that. We pulled over so that he could nurse and then he slept the rest of the way there - THANK GOD.

My aunt prepared a beautiful dinner for us. When we arrived she had appetizers out with egg nog and apple cider. She made this awesome pumpkin dip that we had on sugar snaps and I got the recipe so I can't wait to try it. There was also an olive, roasted pepper and romano cheese spread that we had on crostini bread that was so yummy! Not to mention the deviled eggs... I love deviled eggs! After that long drive it was so easy to fill up on appetizers and it was a good thing we still had a few hours before dinner.

Baby Aiden did really well among all the familiar and not so familiar faces. It takes him some time to warm up to people but once he does, he is really a fun, delightful baby. My aunt set up a mat on the floor and we spread his toys all around and let him have some play time. I was worried about him being over stimulated but my aunt, uncle and cousins were really careful not to be "all in his face" and let him slowly warm up. He was laughing and playing with everyone soon enough! I was so happy that my aunt got some time with him... she is like a second mother to me so our bond is really special. She got Aiden an adorable outfit and some board books which I LOVE. She has a Yorkshire terrier named "Little Lady Lucinda" (yes, that's her full name) and Aiden was enamored with her! He kept following her with his eyes and reaching out to grab her. I was so nervous that he would pull her hair and she would retaliate but everyone helped keep an eye on them. I think Aiden is going to want a dog when he is older!

When it was time for dinner we said a family prayer and were ready to dig in! Turkey, potatoes, sweet potatoes, rice, veggies, it was all so good! I made a dish called "pastelon" which is sort of like a lasagna but with sweet plantains instead of pasta. Aiden had some pureed sweet potato and turkey so he got to enjoy Thanksgiving food too :)

My cousin and hubby decided after dinner that they would go do some "black Friday" shopping. I was asleep when they got back but my cousin bought a pretty nice camera so I asked him to take a few family photos of us outside. With the pine trees and snow as our back drop, the photos came out pretty good and I think they will make a great Christmas card this year!

Overall, it was a great time and I'm so thankful! Thankful for my amazing family, my husband and my sweet boy.

Monday, November 21, 2011

You Know What Really Grinds my Gears?!

1) Men in the subway who run for a seat and trample over the women to get there... especially when it's elderly or pregnant women.  Ohh and men on the subway who pretend they are asleep when an elderly or pregnant woman is standing in front of them. I KNOW YOU ARE FAKING IT!!

2) When I get to the office and 15 people want to talk to me before I've had my coffee.

3) When by the time I get into the kitchen to pour myself a cup, the coffee is gone.

4) When people say "wow you look tired" ... umm yes I am tired but you don't need to remind me that I look like crap Lol.

5) When I let someone hold my baby and they bolt out the door to be in another room with him. What is that about? Do you not want him to see me and want to come back with me? He will actually cry more if he doesn't see me in the room! Try holding him and saying "look, Mommy is right there" and you will have better results. Just sayin.

6) When people make comments about how I am going to "spoil" my baby if I tend to him every time he cries.  It's an INSTINCT to go to my baby if he is crying! It's called oxytocin and it is real and there is a reason God designed mothers this way. He's my kid and I'll follow my instincts whether you like it or not so get over it.

7) When people read a Twitter, Facebook, or Google status I wrote and over analyze it assuming it has something to do with them. You want to know how I REALLY feel? Come on over to my blog, I'm an open book!

8) When I am waiting for the cashier at Dunkin Donuts to ring me up but he or she is preoccupied in a conversation with a co-worker. I just gave you my debit card and you are holding it while waving your hands all around during this fun discussion with your friend. Just swipe the darn thing and send me on my way!

9) When single people try to tell me what is healthy and unhealthy about my marriage. Don't get me wrong, I am open to anyone's advice but from single people, I take it with a grain of salt. It takes actually being in a marriage and trying to make it work to understand some things.

10) When I don't have time to Blog! I am so busy with work lately and I haven't had a chance to really sit and finish some posts. There are so many in my draft queue just waiting to be published! Oh well, hopefully soon =)

And that my lovely readers, is what really grinds my gears!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Extreme Faith

"When you come to the edge of all the light you know
And are about the step into the darkness of the unknown
Faith is knowing one of two things will happen:
There will be something solid to stand on
Or you will be taught how to fly."  -- Richard Bach

Lately, I've been pondering the idea of blind, radical faith. I know I talk a lot about "faith" and throw that word around a lot but it's almost like I am learning to see it in a whole new way. A way that I have honestly never considered before. I am not a big fan of the words "radical" or "extreme" but this is kind of what I've been thinking -- extreme faith.

And while I would NEVER in a million years have the guts to do it, I think extreme sports are really cool.

And while I would NEVER in a million years have the patience to do it, I think extreme couponers are smarter than everyone else.

There's this guy in the bible who in my opinion was a little extreme. His name was Paul. Well, actually his name was Saul but then it became Paul and that is a different blog post entirely but anyway... this Paul guy was very passionate about following Jesus and helping others follow him too. He helped run all these churches in different places and offered advice, encouragement and prayers for all these people. The crazy thing is that he would do all of this from jail! And I'm not talking about the twin sized bed, cable TV, 3 meals a day jail that we know about today... I'm talking about being in chains, sleeping on the cold dirt, starving jail of back in the day. He would write letters and before signing his name at the bottom he'd say "remember my chains" and I'm sure that gave a whole lot of perspective to the people receiving them. Paul followed Jesus no matter what the cost.

There's this other guy in the bible who in my opinion was not extreme enough. I call him the "male version of April" because I can relate a lot to this guy. His name was Peter. He was one of the 12 disciples so  he had faith okay! One of my friends from my old church always said mean things about Peter like "oh he was such a punk" and I'd get all ghetto because I happen to relate to Peter and I won't be hearing that but again, different blog post entirely. Peter was emotional and I guess that's why I see a lot of myself in him. He pulled Jesus aside before he was about to be taken just to say "listen, you don't have to do this we can run away right now."  He loved Jesus, he was his friend and although he knew what had to be done, he just didn't want to see his friend killed. A soldier came to get Jesus and Peter was like "oh hell no" and he cut that dude's ear off with his sword. Peter had a lot of passion just like Paul did, but Peter had a hard time trusting.

So I guess what I'm saying here is ... I think I need to let go of my plans and trust God more. I think I need to get a little more extreme about having faith. Maybe Paul just had an extreme personality but maybe he had the right idea -- faith should have no limits! I have to remember that what I know is not the full picture but there is a God up there (and in my heart) who does know the full picture and he has a plan for my life. Just like Paul did, I can have security in that. Do you believe in God or do you believe God? "So also Abraham “believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness." Galatians 3:6.

Monday is looking good so far! Have a great week everyone =)


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Tales of a Working Mama or Simply: I am TIRED!

I have a 6 month old son and while he does eat some baby food, he is breastfed exclusively. This means, no baby formula...

I have a 6 month old son who is supposed to drink milk that I pump for him and store in the refrigerator while I am away at work. I'm away from 7:45am until about 7pm and he is supposed to drink his bottles with Grandma.

He does NOT want his milk in a bottle... he is all like "WTH is this crap Grandma?" and he turns his nose up at it and seals his mouth shut and she has to perform all sorts of magic tricks to get him to drink it.

Drinking his Milky on the swings at the park

I have a 6 month old son who knows that I will be home eventually so he just waits until the evening to get his milk from "the source" instead. Since he isn't drinking much during the day, he makes up for it by getting up a lot more throughout the night.

I have a 6 month old son who wakes up every 2 or 3 hours and I haven't had a full night's sleep in so long and I am TIRED.

I have a 6 month old son who is "teething" and so when he wakes up to drink milk he sometimes cannot because his gums are hurting. I have to soothe him with some teething tablets, then feed him, and if that doesn't work I wake Daddy up so he can hold him and walk him around.

I do NOT sleep anymore....


I have a job at an amazing company and an awesome boss who has tolerated me for way too long.

I get to work late EVERY DAY... I drink too much coffee.


I have no time to iron my clothes or comb my hair... sometimes I put a little eye concealer and mascara on in the subway. On a really good day, there is even some blush! I am so hot I know.

Me in my cubicle today w/ my non-hairdo complete with dark circles. I have lip gloss on though!

I was in the conference room in a meeting today that went a little longer than I expected. You see, I have set times to go pump milk because my body isn't aware that my 6 month old is not with me. My body just knows that at certain times, we make milk and today that meeting cut right into the "milk time"

I have a hot pink blouse covered in milk now... I hope I was discreet about it during the meeting when I pulled my sweater closed and crossed my arms and continued talking with my company President about how I will be amazing at running my department while my supervisor is out for the next 3 months.

My supervisor is going on maternity leave and I have to juggle being a mom and being a good employee because I can't let anyone down.

But, I am TIRED.

I always forget something - my keys, my metro card, my wallet, my socks... yep I forgot socks today.

Yea that's right I took a pic of my feet. I wear basic black patent flats almost every day because I am sooo not a "shoe girl". My feet always hurt :/

I am TIRED ... just call me "Zombie Mom"

I need a manicure and an eyebrow wax soooo bad. I look like Burt.

As in "Burt and Ernie"... stay with me people!

I need a haircut too because apparently I am NOW after 6 months, experiencing postpartum hair loss.

When I get home, my boy just wants to be attached to me (both literally and figuratively) and I don't blame him... He has no idea why I up and leave him in the morning.

He fights his bed time because he hasn't seen me all day but he is TIRED.

When I get home, I have to run and cook dinner because I need food to survive. I also have to talk to my husband because after all, he needs me too.

This Mom stuff is no joke... this Career stuff is just too much some days. Today is one of those days. I am TIRED.

When I get home, I open the door and exclaim "Hi Honey!" and I see those blue eyes light up and that toothless smile and I hear my boy give a high-pitch belly laugh and realize that it's ME... that he is happy to see ME.

When I take him in my arms and he wiggles around excitedly, laughing and cooing as I sing to him, I know that I will do ANYTHING to see him laugh again.

And I am still TIRED ... but he is my anchor, he is everything, and it is all worth it. It really is :)

Mama loves you Aiden 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Initiative 26 in Mississippi

While I do follow politics and concern myself with the issues of our country, I have made a careful choice not to get political on my blog. I openly talk about my faith and as soon as someone hears me say that I am a Christian, they assume to know where I stand politically as well... but I will just say this - I am not even 100% sure of where I stand. While I value the biblical principles that form the centerpiece of my life, I do not feel that the "conservative" republican party exemplifies those biblical values all the time. When I think about how Jesus would treat issues like abortion, homosexuality, and the economy I am certain that if he were here living as a man now, he might surprise a lot of people. That was his style after all :) I know that republicans are said to be "conservative" and democrats are "liberal" but I simply cannot align myself with a party who advocates the continuous cutting of funds to low income programs all while rewarding high income Americans with tax breaks and incentives. What would Jesus do? He definitely would NOT turn his back on the needy... he wouldn't tell a struggling widow to get off her ass  booty and go work. I'm just sayin.

Anyway, the real reason I am writing this post is because Initiative 26 is being decided in Mississippi and I wonder if it will pass and what influence it will have (if any) in other states. For those who haven't heard, Initiative 26 is an amendment for "personhood" that says LIFE begins at the time of conception. This is the debate that really has made the abortion issue so difficult -- when does life begin? For me, as a person of faith I do agree that life begins the moment an egg is fertilized. A life is beginning, being formed, but that life is still unable to sustain itself without depending on the mother. As a mom, I will go even further and say that when a baby is born, that life is STILL unable to sustain itself without the mother. I guess that kind of complicates things right? So as someone who has faith, this is what I believe and thank God I live in a country where I have the right to believe whatever I want  and express it. So what about those who have no faith at all? What about people who do not believe there is a God? Is this not their country as well? I don't know, but this "church and state separation" thing is looking like a good idea to me.

Now let me just clarify... abortion breaks my heart. Seriously, it does. I have a very hard time understanding why a woman would end such a fragile human life but more importantly, a human life that is a part of herself. Especially after carrying a child myself, I am certain of where I stand in regards to abortion... but I guess that is the key here - where I stand..  lots of women have different circumstances and I cannot pretend I know what it is like to be in their shoes. initiative 26 seeks to put an end to abortion regardless of rape or the health of the mother. It also could ban common forms of birth control like the pill and IUD and it could ban in-vitro fertilization. When we seek to make the law so black and white without recognizing that there are extenuating circumstances and personal choices to be made, well, I just think it is a slippery slope to becoming more like certain countries we have been fighting in for years and less like America.

I have the right to believe the bible...  I have the right to believe when something is sin.. and in my relationship with Christ, I also have the choice to sin or not. As a Christian, I love sharing my faith with anyone who will listen and I do not have to impose my beliefs on anyone... you see, I  am confident that when a person gets to know Christ, they will make the right choices. God is kind of awesome that way =)

  I'm not sure what will happen in Mississippi but I do hope and pray that in America, we continue to have the freedom to choose.

If you want to learn more - here are the websites to No on 26 and Yes on 26.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Our Family "Staycation"

Noun: A vacation spent in one's home country rather than abroad, or one spent at home and involving day trips to local attractions.

This is my new favorite thing! I love, love, love to travel and see different places but since having the baby, travel has kind of been on the back burner. It just takes so much to get the baby ready and out of the house so I can't imagine (right now) getting organized enough to take him on a plane or out of the country. I know that lots of people do it and we will soon, but for now a "staycation" is good practice. This weekend we had such a fun one!

We went to Glen Cove, Long Island for a quick getaway and it was so relaxing! The drive from the city was under an hour and we were able to bring Aiden's play mat, his CD player with night time music, his bath time supplies and bath time book, and all that good stuff. I had read some mixed reviews about the Glen Cove Mansion but I was very happy with the accommodations. It was clean and pretty and we had a KING SIZED BED! I mean, come on... I have mentioned before that we co-sleep and Aiden pretty much takes over the bed so it was nice to have the extra space.

We enjoyed time at the indoor heated pool and a great dinner at Pub 1910... then we lounged in our room and got to bed early. Aiden woke up about twice throughout the night which is not much considering how our nights have been lately thanks to teething. Then we enjoyed the breakfast buffet - it was so yummy. I ate pancakes, eggs, bacon, oatmeal, fruit and pastries. I completely lost control and loved every moment! We mashed up some banana for Aiden at the breakfast and he was a happy camper. After breakfast we hung out around the hotel for a bit and then took the drive back into the city.

I really love Staycations =)

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Homemade Baby Food: My New Favorite Hobby

I have so much to blog about and am actually in the car on my way to a mini vacation with my boys but I needed to post about how it's going with Aiden's solids. He loves them! He was so ready and he eats like a champ. Even more, I love making them for him.

First, I sit at my computer and plan his meals for the week. I have an Excel sheet and spreadsheets make me happy. Then I go out and buy his brown rice, fruits and vegetables. The most annoying part is peeling and coring the fruit but i just bought an apple corer and slices so it got easier. I take skins off apples, pears and stuff like that.

Then, I load everything into my rice cooked / steamer. I can boil apples in water and steam peas on the tray above them. Rice cereal is made on the stove top and it's super easy. Once all the food is cooked and soft, it's time to puree! I load the veggie into the Baby Bullet, add breast milk (I use instead of water) and press down to blend. Viola!

Today I made peas, green beans, rice cereal, bananas and prunes. Aiden has enough baby Food for two weeks! It makes me feel so good to cook for my boy :)

I only included one photo of a freezer bag full of food. By the time I thought about taking step by step pics, it was all done. Sorry! You have "April's Promise" that I will include more pics next time. Hehe I'm cheesy don't judge me.

Ok well, that's all for now. Happy weekend folks!


Thursday, November 3, 2011

Movie Review: 50/50

Hey there blog world! Guess what? I went to the movies! I know, amazing right?! When I first had Aiden, we decided to stay on top of having "date nights" but whenever we went on these dates, it was sooo hard for me to have a good time and not be worried about Aiden. The only time I don't worry is when he is with my mom because Aiden just LOVES her. He will totally ignore me and look at my mom, laugh with her, he loves her! So yea, I am just more at ease when she can babysit and thank the sweet baby Jesus, she did and we went to a movie!

I hadn't been to a movie theater in months so it was a bit weird. And we also went early - a 5:20pm showing so the theater was pretty quiet.. perfect for an old lady like me =) hehe..  Anyway, I was so excited to not only watch a new movie but post a review because I haven't had much going on in my "movie night" section of the blog. Yay! Here it goes:

We saw the movie "50/50" starring Seth Rogan and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. It was fantastic! It was written by Will Reiser and actually based on his own true story and friendship with Seth Rogan. Seth not only starred in this film but served as a producer and I just love, love, love him. I totally went in expecting a fun comedy and though it was really funny, I also cried my eyes out... and I'm not talking about just crying.. It was full on sobbing! So emotional and REAL.. just an HONEST story that captured honest emotions about life, death, family and friendship.

The story is about Adam, a young man (27 years old) who works in radio with his best friend Kyle. He has a girlfriend who is an artist and a pretty good life. After experiencing back pain and night sweats for a while, Adam goes to the doctor and learns he has a rare form of cancer on his spine and will need chemotherapy to decrease the size of the tumor. As Adam undergoes treatment, he experiences a lot in his relationships with his girlfriend, his mother, his best friend Kyle and his therapist. He basically has a 50% chance of survival and we have no idea if he will beat the odds.

There is one scene in particular that really touched me... Adam is about to be wheeled away to surgery and he shows a vulnerable side that we have not seen throughout the entire film. He has a special moment with his mom and it just really brought me to tears because I didn't like this character's relationship with his mom throughout the movie. It kind of made me think of my own family. Sometimes, our family can be annoying but at the end of the day, we would do anything for each other.

I really don't want to say more about the story because this is just one of those films that you NEED to go and see for yourself. It was so inspirational and spoke so much to me about not taking life for granted. It was also hilarious and I must warn you that there is a lot of profanity, some sexual content and drug use... it is rated R after all so not one to take the youngsters to see!

I give it many, many stars! Go see it =)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

2 Months Left of 2011: A look in the rear view mirror

This is one of those posts that just sort of happened... just started to pour out of me and my fingers touched the keyboard and the words started to flow and here we are. Because what I originally planned to post today was all about our plans for the holidays and a few getaways we are going on this month and all the awesomeness just around the corner... but for some reason, while reading my devotions this morning on the bus and while quietly reflecting and praying, I looked into the rear view mirror of this year and I guess a huge part of getting where I am going is remembering where I have been.

2011 had so much to offer me. So much that I'd been anticipating and awaiting with excitement and joy... and so much that I had never expected that totally blindsided me and broke my heart. I seriously have never experienced so much JOY and so much heartbreak in the same year but 2011 was determined to give me both and grow me in the process.

Sometimes, it seemed like the timing of things was the worst possible... but now as I look back, I am grateful because I don't know how I would have gotten through some serious heartbreak if not for that very timing.

As I was getting ready to welcome my son into our family and experience the beauty of motherhood, I was also being hurt by some people I loved so much. I literally had to grieve the loss of a very special person in my life (which somehow, through this loss, about 3 other bridges were burned unexpectedly -- when it rains it pours) while at the same time carrying a miracle inside of me. I was aware of the impact my emotions would have on my unborn child and I am just so grateful to GOD for the love in my life at that time. My amazing husband, my mother and a few friends I would have NEVER expected, acted as a seal, a protective fence around me and I know that God was using these people to show me that he still had me in his embrace. That no matter how difficult it was to experience the feelings of betrayal and loss that I had, it was necessary and it was all a part of a greater plan for my life.

I had never felt so alone, but at the same so loved and I know that doesn't seem to make a lot of sense... but it's the best way I can describe it. It isn't in my nature to be vague, it isn't who I am to not express freely but I am actually having a hard time with this. I want very much to continue to heal and let go and learn to love those who have hurt me. You see, I value my relationships so much and a lot of the richness of my life I attribute to my relationships... because at the end of this all, it isn't going to be about what my career was, or the places I had traveled to, or the house I lived in... at the end of this all, it is going to be about those who I LOVED and those who also loved me. My legacy will be in my relationships, in the lives I was able to touch and those who touched mine.

Slowly but surely, I am finding peace... slowly but surely, I have forgiven and slowly but surely, I am healing. Honestly, it is having my son that has given me the strength to move forward and it is God's grace that has helped me rise above and not succumb to depression as I probably would have a few years ago. I may not be where I need to be, but I am NOT where I used to be. That my friends, is called growth!

God knows, that when I love someone, I love all the way. My husband once told me that something he loves about me is how I love others... he said "I can see it in your eyes, and you're not playing games, you're for real!" That is probably the most encouraging thing someone has said to me. I am so very aware of my flaws and imperfections... but I am sure of my heart and where I stand... and I am proud of who I am becoming. A better ME every single day. If someone wants to be in my life and reap the benefits of my love, then they will make that effort, and if not then they won't and I will be at peace with that also... even if at times when looking in the rear view mirror, it hurts :/

I love how T.D. Jakes said it:

" The bible said that, they came out from us that it might be made manifest that they were not for us. For had they been of us, no doubt they would have continued with us." [1 John 2:19]

"People leave you because they are not joined to you. And if they are not joined to you, you can’t make them stay. Let them go. And it doesn’t mean that they are a bad person it just means that their part in the story is over. And you’ve got to know when people’s part in your story is over so that you don’t keep trying to raise the dead. You’ve got to know when it’s dead. "

For 2012 and the rest of 2011 (because why wait until a new year to start) that is my "theme". No trying to raise the dead!

I know this post seems kind of somber... sorry about that folks. But I'll end with some pictures and highlights of awesome times in 2011 =)