Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Countdown

I know I've said it many times before, but I cannot believe how fast my pregnancy is going! I just hit 30 weeks which means I'm beginning the countdown to single digits and the very end of my journey. {PS...only 2 months til Christmas!} Over the past few weeks the reality of having another child has settled in. And with this new awareness has come a surprisingly delightful excitement to meet my little bundle.

I'm still not rushing time. In fact, {and this may be the ONLY time I ever say this} I may just be okay with being overdue with this little peanut. I love being a full-time mama to one very active, smart and exceedingly comical little boy. I love when he snuggles into me, resting on my growing belly. While my lap has all but disappeared my heart {and belly} only gets bigger and bigger each and every day. I have no idea how another child will change our lives, but I'm betting that Burke has taught my heart only the very beginning lessons on just how much I can love.

I know Burke will adapt to the changes just fine. But last night, as it hit me that we only have 10 weeks until our lives are forever changed, I had a wave of slightly familiar nostalgia. Would I miss our life as just the 3 of us? I remembered having this same nostalgia not long before Burke was born, wondering if I would miss life as just a couple. And then I remembered just how much I don't miss life without him. In fact, I can hardly remember life without him. And I was reminded of just how awesome our lives have become now that we are parents. How much he's enriched our lives. And even when drop-dead exhausted, how much I love being his mama. And how much I'm going to love being mama to 2.

While I'm hoping Baby #2 stays nice and cozy until his or her due date, I know that whenever we meet this baby our hearts will love even more and our lives will be even more amazing. I am so thankful for my gifts, my little treasures.

{Photo credit goes once again to the amazing Ken Bruggeman. We had the opportunity to model for his first workshop and I'm so thankful he gave us these beautiful photos to treasure!}

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

October #Unprocessed: Checking In

Halfway through Week #2 of the October #Unprocessed Challenge, I thought I'd check in and let you know how it's going in our home. Last week, we were not as committed as I had planned. But then again, some things you just can't plan. Last minute invites to a birthday dinner and a breakfast out with family {my favorite meal to eat out...} threw some wrenches in our plans. But overall, we were definitely much more intentional about making sure we avoided even the processed organic food that we often gobble down with no thought.
One of my favorite dishes that graced our table last week was my Fall version of Shepard's Pie. Shepard's Pie is a favorite in our house, but this time I used mashed sweet potatoes instead of regular mashed potatoes to top off this savory dish. It was a gamble for me, knowing that my hubby proclaims to hate sweet potatoes. But I was pretty sure he'd like them served this way, since they wouldn't be sweetened. Just savory. Sure enough, he was a fan. {He wolfed down the savory sweet potato fries I made the week before too! I think he's finally realized that it's not sweet potatoes he hates, but the sugary, sweet and completely false preparations he's been served over the years.}
For snacks last week, I mixed up a batch of trail mix. Tired of paying high prices for trail mix that wasn't even good for me, I started making my own mix over a year ago. I love shopping the bulk room at our local natural food store and have found that I can control my ingredients making the mix exactly how we like it while being able to skip the hassle of carefully scanning the ingredient list on the package for processed imposters. I've done the math and my mix ends up costing exactly the same as I can purchase a similar {though processed--because M&Ms are not a whole food} product at our wholesale club. Our mix usually entails a mix of equal parts peanuts and cashews to equal parts diced pineapple, diced papaya, raisins and dried cranberries with some pumpkin seeds thrown in for a little extra nutrition. Sweet. Salty. Delicious! I also made homemade nutrigrain bars for another between-meal snack.
Our chickens are in full production mode now, and we are swimming in eggs at this point. It's a wonderful problem to have. So {my hubby's} breakfast generally consists of runny eggs and toast made from homemade bread. I made this delicious oatmeal bread last week and froze one of the loaves so that we are now enjoying it this week too! I love yogurt, though, and made some granola to eat with that for breakfast. A little local raw honey drizzled on top adds just the perfect amount of sweetness to the otherwise sour creaminess of my plain yogurt. My little guy also loves yogurt or for some variety I make him some oatmeal using just apples and cinnamon to sweeten the pot.
So, although we haven't had a perfectly unprocessed October, we have been as intentional as possible about eating a largely unprocessed diet. Thankfully, the produce from our CSA keeps us focused on the challenge as well, as we're always looking for new ways to use seasonal veg. It's definitely a challenge, but it's also worth the work involved. And thankfully, sweets aren't completely eliminated from our diet {definitely craving more sweets during this pregnancy!!}. For dessert, we've been enjoying this naturally sweetened apple pie. Soo delicious!
 Did you take the challenge? Feel free to share some of your unprocessed recipes! {I'm always looking for some new ideas}

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

To My Mother's Generation

You are deluded. Perhaps you have just forgotten. After all, the details are now some thirty+ years behind you. It would be only normal for you to have gotten a little fuzzy on each and every detail of those miraculous days you treasured so long ago.

So do me {and my generation} a favor: just admit that you can't remember. Because some of my sisters aren't so thick skinned. And your comments {however innocent} hurt their feelings. And of all people, you should know how wild our hormones are at this time--so naturally any comment you make is unjustly magnified and blown out of proportion by these raging beasts.

No need to go on and on about how my pregnant belly is SOOOO big! No--for the 100th time, I'm not having twins. {Two ultrasounds have now confirmed only 1 heartbeat} No need to give me that shocked look while telling me that you were never this big until the day you delivered each one of your angels. And there's definitely no need to have this conversation each time we meet.{Don't you remember how it went the last time?} Oh, and please keep all weight predictions to yourself. The last thing I need during my final months of pregnancy is the terrifying anxiety that your 10-pound baby prediction causes. Seriously. It does no good. And you'll be wrong anyway. {Turned out that huge baby in my belly only weighed 6lbs 11oz}

Let's talk for a moment about your mixed reaction to the way we modern mothers clothe ourselves during our ever-expanding 10-month journeys. Some of you think we're cute. You think that the fact that we wear tighter-fitting clothing to show off our pregnant bellies is just so sweet. And you admit that you didn't do that in your day. It was all about hiding the bump. And some of you think that we should still be covering up our growing bellies--hiding them underneath of some ugly moo-moos and calling it a day. {God forbid those beautiful pregnant bellies confidently and freely protruding from the body of a bikini-clad mother-to-be! Gasp!} Whatever your preference, let's just all admit one fact: in your day, you went out of your way to hide your belly and in my day, I look for flattering styles to showcase it. Don't you think this could be the reason you have forgotten how large your pregnant belly ever swelled?

So when you tell me that you were never this big, I don't believe you. I was a kid in your childbearing days. And I remember seeing my mom's largely pregnant belly many times. And when I saw her pregnant belly, it wasn't when she was laboring in the delivery ward. It was the time she let me feel my sibling kicking her from the inside. Or watching the errant foot swoosh across her pregnant belly. Or her admission that she was wearing "fraternity" clothes {my brother's innocent mistake...maternity. fraternity. eh...the same, right?} when she dropped the bomb of another pregnancy on us--she was only 3-4 months pregnant.

Evolution takes many more years than one generation to have a noticeable effect on its subject. Fashion changes year to year. So let's agree that I am still the same breed of child-bearing woman that you were some 30 years ago. Remember that advice you gave your sons when they were old enough to find a mate? Something like if you want to know what a girl's going to look like in 30 years, just look at her mother... Well that girl, that's me. Look at told your sons that I'd look like you. Pregnant belly and all. So let's agree that perhaps you just forgot how big your belly ever got. And please, can you encourage your maternal sisterhood to join my generation in celebrating our pregnant bodies rather than adding insult to injury on a 90-degree swollen cankle kind of day? We'd be ever so grateful!


Friday, October 5, 2012

If We Are What We Eat...

Then we're mostly corn. Sounds friendly, healthy and natural. And it was...before our country had a name. But throughout my food journey, I've come to regard corn as an enemy. A filthy-rotten poisonous killer. So when I stumbled across this infographic on Pinterest today, I knew I had to share. I love corn, don't get me wrong. I just choose to eat it in its whole food form {as much as possible} and choose organically grown, non-GMO {genetically modified organism} corn when I do.

Did you know that the average corn yield in 1920 {roughly the same as averaged by Native Americans} was about 20 bushels per acre? And today, the genetically modified hybrids are capable of producing yields as great as 180 bushels of corn per acre! The reason for this tremendous increase in yield is that the genetically modified hybrids can be planted very close together--30,000 stalks per acre rather than the approximately 8,000 stalks per acre in 1920. {Source: The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan} So you see, much of the corn we eat today owes its ancestry to science rather than it's original predecessor, Zea Mays {an edible grass}.

Big Bad Corn

I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Simple Things

Today I'm celebrating the simple things. Things like a solid night of sleep after 4 terribly long and sleepless nights spent comforting a sick baby boy. And things like a cloudy but rainless day. Rainy days are long days with a 16-month on-the-go little explorer boy and yesterday was a particularly long rainy day. And things like this cuteness so early in the morning:

 Waking up and cracking open freshly laid eggs from our own chickens certainly deserves celebration. Especially when cracking open a beautiful double-yolker! Our girls' eggs aren't quite up to market size {they are expected to lay an extra large egg} but I'd say they're getting close. Perhaps they're close to a large egg, which is light years bigger than the cute little pullet eggs we first collected a few weeks ago. In the photo below, the double-yolker is compared to one of the regular large-sized eggs that we've been collecting. I imagine it was quite a shock for the hen that laid that jumbo egg!

Another simple perk to my day was a lunch date with my mister. As a teacher, he gets just a quick 30-minute break each day to scarf down his coveted leftovers. Usually, he doesn't even have time to call home and say hello. But today, he was in special meetings {something to do with the math curriculum} and had the rare and luxurious privilege of taking an hour-long lunch break! With the driving, we really only got about 30 minutes of time together, but when you're used to nothing, something's great!

I would be remiss if I failed to mention my newly coveted stash of yarn. {I was a good girl in the yarn shop today...stuck to my list} My fingers are itching to craft a baby hospital hat for our #2 {no--we don't know what we're having so I'll be making 2 hats, each one suited for a different gender...} and a super stylin' sweater for my little man.

Oh, and aren't these just adorable?? I was super excited to find them in Burke's size at one of our local consignment shops. Perfect for helping me feed the chickens and playing in the barn with his Grammy's baby goats.

All this and the day's not even close to being over! I'm looking forward to enjoying the rest of the simple things that make me smile today. What are some of the simple things putting a smile on your face today?