Thoughts on Turning 30

Monday, August 21, 2017

I turn 30 this Saturday and a lot of people have been asking me if I'm dreading it, but honestly, I'm looking forward to this new chapter and the only word I can truly describe how I feel is relieved. My 20s were jam-packed full of the typical big life events (graduating college, getting married, buying a house, having a baby...), but the last year especially, was a really huge time for self discovery and personal growth for me. Battling anxiety and questioning myself, my goals, my life - that's what my 20s were. And while your 20s seem to be the years you set the foundation for your life, your 30s is when you take action and mold your life truly into what you want it to be. The pressure feels off to "check things off the list" if that makes any sense.

I'm looking forward to entering this new stage with a stronger sense of self than I've ever had and making it my time to focus on the things that really matter and help me grow even more into the best person I can be to my family, friends and community. I can feel my priorities shifting and it's an exciting change. I'm looking forward to continuing to build the life I want for my family, getting more involved in my local community and taking time for myself. Here's to finally feeling like a grown up!

This weekend we have a baby-free night planned in the city and it's exactly what I wanted for my birthday - cheap tacos with my handsome man and then strolling around the city sipping on fancy cocktails. Then Sunday we are having our friends over for a fantasy football draft and some pizza. There will be a bunch of 1 year olds running around so it will be a full house for sure!  

the mower diaries

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

During the week it's all mama, all the time and this week especially I've been feeling pretty drained from it...and yes, it's only Tuesday. H isn't one to play independently for very long (and I'd lie if I said I wasn't a little envious when I see these other kiddos running around by themselves for what seems like hours doing their own thing), but I know every child is different and I try and cherish that he wants me to read him every single book in his little library....even if it is every single day, all day ;)

On the weekends, I catch a break because Ben is a super hands on dad and I love just sitting back and watching them interact. I know before I know it, he won't want to sit in my lap or give me endless kisses, or even want to be seen with us so I try really hard to take my tough days in stride. And in the meantime, weekends are daddy and son time.

Harrison is obsessed with the mower and all things farm/tractor so when Ben mows, H joins in and almost all the time falls asleep. I got a video this past weekend and I can't stop watching it because it melts my heart. I love their relationship so much.


On PPD & Baby #2

Thursday, August 3, 2017

I'm writing this as my toddler throws eggs onto the floor next to me, I'm heating up a cup of green tea, instead of a second cup of coffee because my body can't handle caffeine like it used to anymore, and I'm trying to figure out how to put into words all the changes that have happened over the past (almost) year and a half.

Physically, I bounced back fine. I didn't tear during birth, I lost the baby weight quickly (which I totally attribute to breastfeeding) and although breastfeeding was a struggle in the beginning we held on for 8 months. On the outside, everything looked fine.

Emotionally, it was the most trying time of my life - and I'm still working on it some days. Hormones are a crazy thing and for a long time, it's what kept me from ever thinking I'd be able to have a second child. I got diagnosed with PPD at 11 months post-partum. How's that for stubbornness? It wasn't all bad but so much of that first year was spent angry, crying, or just plain miserable. I finally got help, things took a turn for the better around the 1 year mark, which coincidentally, is also when my son started sleeping through the night.

Looking back, I know the bulk of it was being a first-time mom, becoming a SAHM, and of course hormones. I was on this ridiculous high during pregnancy and then the second he came into this world it was like a crash. I was sobbing uncontrollably in the hospital and I couldn't express why. I placed so much guilt and blame on myself and kept asking myself why I couldn't just keep it together. I thought I was missing the mom gene or the trait that would make me ever want to do this again.

Now I'm sitting here with a toddler and I have the smallest seed of yearning. Our family doesn't quite feel complete. I think about the all night feedings and the fact that I won't be able to "just sleep when the baby sleeps" because I'll have a toddler to care for too. I counter that with the thought that I might be a better mom to two. I won't be so hyper focused on the baby and myself and I won't have time to psycho-analyze. I'm sure I will look back on this post and roll my eyes at my own naivety but that's okay. Motherhood is about learning and growing and changing. I remember being super pregnant and thinking "I can't wait to get my body back". And I laugh thinking, that's not even important! Becoming a new woman is the hard part. Being completely selfless 24/7 and making time for it all without going completely insane is the part you should have researched. Oh and breastfeeding - should have taken that class. Live and learn.

But I know all of that now and I feel stronger and more capable and I have the tools to get through it. Baby #2 will come and I'm not sure when, but I know now that it's at least on the table and I feel more peace than I've felt in a long time about it. It's leaps and bounds from where I've been the last year.

I think about the little boy I envisioned for our family and Harrison is him to a T. Curious and cuddly and ridiculously smart and funny. Oh and stubborn like his parents ;) I'm not sure what baby #2 looks like. I know everyone wants to hear that I want a girl, but honestly (again) we don't care what we have. We'll probably find out what we're having this time around just to do things both ways. I can see a little tom girl like myself or a little, quieter brother for H. Or I could be totally off base and have a wild child on my hands. Either way, it will be perfect for our family.


If you even THINK you might have PPD whether it be a week after baby is here, or a year, I urge you to call your doctor. It doesn't always mean medication, or therapy, or either. You will find what's right for you and there will be a light at the end of the tunnel. I promise.


Tuesday, August 1, 2017

And here I am at the beginning of another month after another long hiatus. What can I say? The days are long and opening up my computer at the end of the day is that last thing on my mind. Lately, I've been eating dinner, curling up with a good book and going to bed early. We've got a lot going on and I really need that time to recharge and unwind. We're still in the process of selling our house (most likely? long story for another time), I went on another interview (total flop) and on top of it all, Ivy tore her ACL last week so we're looking down the barrel at a super expensive surgery and long recovery.

I know it's not anyone's fault and this injury happens to lots of dogs but I couldn't help but feel overwhelming guilt. As the mom you're expected to take care of everyone and never miss a beat so when something like this happens your mind tends to race. I cried all day yesterday but today is a new day and a new month so we are just going to take it one step at a time and move forward. We had to cancel the anniversary trip we had planned for Fall because financially we can't do both, but family comes first and there will be plenty of time in our future to go on trips. And hey, it wouldn't be marriage and life in general if there weren't ups and downs.

We're in a trying period right now but the good thing about Ben and I is we don't give up. Yay, stubbornness! When one of us is down, the other cheers, if only on the outside, to keep the boat afloat. Lately, we've both been feeling pretty defeated but honestly, after a good night's sleep and a good cry it's nothing I know we can't handle. That's the wonderful thing about family too -- I know no matter how bad it gets, we have so much family and friends in our corner to lean on.

How's that for doom and gloom on a fresh Tuesday post? I just needed to get it out. It's not sunshine and roses all the time. But we do have a sunflower growing in our front garden so I'm taking that as a good omen.

Like I mentioned above, reading has been a really good escape for me lately. Unlike TV or social media, it doesn't feel like a drain or waste of time to me. I get so caught up in the characters and their stories and it helps me sleep so much better. Here's what I've read the past couple weeks:

Image result for the alaskan laundry

This book sucked me in from the beginning. It's about a young girl from Philadelphia who leaves home after her mother dies, and her father blaming her, kicks her out. She heads to Alaska where for 2 years she learns the ropes on all sort of fishing and crabbing boats while working through lots of things from her past (letting it all come out in the "laundry"). The story was so good that I wanted to see what happened after it was over, but I also know the story had to stop somewhere even if it didn't tie up every single loose end. The fishing jargon was a little hard to weed through and at the end I was surprised to see it was written by a man (not sure why I didn't notice that because I tend to lean towards female authors), but it was because he did a really good job tapping into female emotions and fears. Overall, a really good novel about how emotions run high during trying times and a good perspective from a tough female character.

Image result for how to knit a love song 

I picked this one up at the library last night and I'm already halfway done. The quote on the front says "The perfect book to curl up with, as warm and cozy as your favorite story". Seeing as I'm craving both comfort and cooler temps this book has me captivated. It follows the story of Cade and Eliza - two people thrown together by the fact that Cade's great-Aunt left him her sheep ranch that he's been living/working on for the last 10 years and he left Eliza the knitting cottage and the land on that ranch. Cade wants her off and Eliza just wants a fresh start and a place to live. Romance ensues which complicates things. I'll report back when I'm finished (probably tonight haha). 

I love novels with sub-cultures that I can learn more about (fishing, farming, and knitting in these cases) and it always makes me want to try my hand at it. My mother-in-law is knitting some things right now so I might need to ask her to show me the ropes to see if it's something I could get into. 

And speaking of hobbies, I'm keeping up with my garden (as much as I ever do) and should have my hands full with lots of tomatoes soon. I have some basil going and if it's not too late might plant some jalapenos and banana peppers to pickle. I'm looking forward to cooler temps, or atleast anything below 80, so I can get back to running outside. The gym/treadmill just isn't cutting it and I've been thinking about cancelling my membership altogether. 

It felt good to get on here to ramble and let my thoughts out. I can't promise I'll be back anytime soon because obviously consistency isn't my thing ;) but like always, I'll try. I turn 30 at the end of the month and have some thoughts rumbling around in my head about that. 


Almost July / Summer Bucket List

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Here we are just two days out from July (why does that always feel like the middle marker of summer to me?) and my poor blog has been neglected. I can never decide what I want this space to be - a personal blog for my own development and passions, a photo dump for our daily happenings, or just a place I pop in randomly to ramble on with promises to post more often. For now, in this season, I like the idea of it becoming more of a place to record our every day activities, if only to look back on myself. We've been busy this week with a picnic at the lake yesterday, sprinklers with friends today and visiting a farm tomorrow. I had a grumpy day on Monday when I realized I once again forgot to schedule things with friends and the long week ahead looked looming. 

In all transparency, I struggle with the planning portion of being a SAHM. I can stick to the boring parts of cleaning, naps, meal prep but then I find myself bored or in a rut and I need to remind myself to get out and DO things. I guess it's just the natural introvert in me. I'm working to be better at getting out and doing things, even if no one is around. I mean, really, I haven't had a summer where I didn't work (in the traditional sense) since I was a teenager, so what's holding me back? I tell myself it's a lot of work to plan, pack up, get going but H is at an age where all he needs is some diapers, snacks and sunscreen and he's good to go. I tend to make outings bigger in my mind and need to get over that hurdle. So that's exactly what I did this week. I even made a little summer bucket list for us (and a lot of these can be repeated or saved for the weekend so Ben can join):
  • Giggleberry Fair
  • The Little Pod -- an indoor gym for kids that's perfect for rainy days
  • North Wales splash pad / Promenade shop sprinklers -- both free!
  • Pool days
  • Menlo Park carousel
  • Freddy Hill Farms
  • Bucks County Childrens' Museum
  • Tabora Farms sand pit
  • Nockamixon Lake beach area
  • Doylestown castle park
  • Elmwood Park Zoo
We are checking off the sprinklers with friends today so I'll be back at the end of the week with a photodump. Happy summer, friends.

Beekman Cookbook / mushroom, spinach and fontina panini (pg. 199)

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

It rained all day today so the little man and I ran errands in the morning and then hid inside and alternated between playing, cuddling and getting some stuff done around the house. Despite having a few hard days because of teething, today was one of those days where he kept surprising me with how fast he is learning and developing. Skip ahead a paragraph if you want to get to the food portion of this post... 

I've been trying to incorporate H into helping me with household tasks instead of constantly moving him out of the way or rushing to finish what I'm doing before he demolishes it. Anyone with a toddler can relate but they are into everything and while it's super cute, it's also exhausting. Since he just wants to move and wiggle, especially during diaper changes, he now "helps" me when we're done. I carry him over to the trash can (nope, still not walking ;)) and he drops it in. We high five and he is so happy to be a part of the process. Honestly, while we've been doing this I just thought it was a fun and creative way to keep him from having a meltdown, but when I stripped him down for his bath tonight and half mindedly told him, "go put it in the trash", he crawled over, dropped it in the bathroom trashcan and looked over at me with the biggest, proudest smile. My mouth was on the floor. It might not seem big for people without kids but when you're constantly reaffirming your kids "say mama!", "where's the ball?" and they finally react and YOU taught them that thing - well, it makes all the long, hard days worth it. Can you tell I'm wiped from the teething? haha okay, on to the recipe...finally.

I've gotten into the habit of prepping dinner super early because I never know what our afternoons will look like.  Today, I sliced and sautéed the mushrooms and cut up the cheese during H's snack to cut down on prep time but these sandwiches will come together in under 20 minutes either way.

When we sat down to eat, my husband grabbed ketchup and I grabbed banana peppers but we each took a bite first and realized the sandwich needed absolutely nothing else. The mustard provides a tangy kick and the fontina cheese is somehow both sweet and spicy. The mushrooms are a wonderful way to round out the sandwich with some meatiness and leave you feeling super full and satisfied (but with that being said, I could have eaten like 3 because they were that delicious!).

Like all of the other Beekman recipes I tried, I was skeptical that these would be that good because the ingredient list was so short and simple but that seems to be the beauty of . We're adding this to "The Book" (where I keep all of our favorite recipes....which at this rate might be this whole cookbook.

  • The original recipe calls for ciabatta rolls but I couldn't get my hands on any so I used sourdough bread. The ciabatta would have held up better against the wetness of the mushrooms but the sandwich still turned out delicious and sandwiches are supposed to be messy, right?
  • I think any brown mustard will do. We used Dijon which actually worked out better than the spicy ground it called for because I find that can be dry in sandwiches.
  • I plan to not make so many substitutes for future recipes because, well then I'm not doing really doing an accurate recipe review, am I?

Cooking My Way Through The Beekman Cookbook

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

In my pre-baby days, I never followed recipes. I'd peruse through magazines or online and find something I thought looked good, but then make it myself without a second look at the actual recipe. Now? Mama don't have time for that.

I have been loving finding recipes for every night of the week and following through with them. Basically it's all spelled out for you and the brain portion of the work is done (which I really need by the end of that day). Do I get some duds? Sure. But it's usually nothing a little hot sauce won't take care of (or if it's REALLY bad, we order pizza...but that's pretty rare).

I received the Beekman 1802 Heirloom Vegetable Cookbook and I. am. obsessed. I spent over an hour paging through it the other night and bookmarking everything. So far I've made two recipes and each time I think "this is gonna need x,y,z or this is not going to turn out" and each time the final product blows my mind. Last week I made the collard greens with apple and hot mustard dressing for Easter (everyone loved them!) and then last night I made the penne with roasted asparagus, peas, salmon and ramps. I failed to get pictures of either of them because we devoured them so fast but while I was stuffing my face a thought hit me. I should make it my goal to cook my way through this cookbook (inspired by my favorite movie Julie and Julia of course). We are entering prime produce season right now and are surrounded by amazing farmers who have become friends so we're always loaded with fresh fruits and vegetables. I've really been getting back into living sustainably so cooking more in season always has be excited to jumpstart both my green thumb and cooking healthier. Expect to see lots of recipe reviews and maybe even some around the house green projects. Happy cooking!