What Mommy Gets.

Evenings are crazy, am I right? Hurry home from work, hurry and make dinner, hurry and play, hurry and baths, hurry and bedtime, and hurry to get the house picked up before exhaustion sets in and you crash. And I’m not even running kids to and from activities yet! Sheesh, I’m tired just writing that!

In our house, I put my 21-month-old (Kate) to bed and my husband puts my 3.5-year-old (Lucy) to bed. It’s at least an hour with each kid by the time books are read, prayers are said, songs are sung, cuddles are had and they finally fall asleep. And yes, we usually stay with the girls until they fall asleep.

Not very often, but sometimes, Lucy asks me to put her to bed. I sigh and usually try to pawn her back off on daddy. I know what you’re thinking and I agree with you: that makes me sound like an absolutely terrible parent. But if  I put my 1-year old and my 3-year-old to bed, we’re talking 2+ hours of bedtime routines in an evening where time is already limited. It’s not that I don’t want to put both of my kids down for bed – because I think that time is so special. But when my husband is putting Lucy down, it’s the only time of day I get to pick up the house, catch up on work, or fold several loads of laundry while I mindlessly watch a rerun of Last Man Standing. Damn that mom guilt!

Monday night, I had just finished putting Kate down when I popped in to say good night to Lucy. As I headed downstairs to clean the catastrophe left over from our busy weekend I heard Lucy say, “Daddy, did you put me to bed last day?” (Last day: her sweet reference for anything that’s happened in the past.) I knew what was coming.

I had barely made it downstairs when I heard the pitter patter of little feet over the sound of running water that I had JUST turned on to begin dishes. I turned around to see Lucy with her hands behind her back and a big smile on her face. “Mommy! YOU get to put me to bed tonight! Daddy put me to bed last day and you get to put me to bed tonight!”Shannon Lu

I sighed and looked around at my kitchen in shambles and back to my smiling 3 year old who was so excited to tell me that I get to put her to sleep tonight. So on to hour number two of bedtime I went: we brushed teeth, went potty, read books and snuggled.

As I laid cuddled up next to her as she drifted off to sleep, I began thinking about what she said: Mommy, you GET to put me to sleep – like she was giving me a gift. Like I was the lucky winner that night. And boy, was she right. I’ve been specially chosen by my Creator to care for and love this sweet little soul and I GET to put her to sleep. Wow.

There are a lot of things I get to do as a parent. I GET to fight with her every morning about brushing her hair. I GET to listen to her whine at dinner every night about how she doesn’t like whatever is on her plate. I GET to break up the fights that are already happening between my children. And while I sometimes (i.e. often) get overwhelmed with all these things I “get” to do, I sure wouldn’t change a thing.

I also “get” lots giggles, kisses, love, and tickles. I “get” to experience the feeling of pure joy that I didn’t even know existed until I had kids. I “get” so much from my girls that if I think about it too much, my chest begins to tighten and my eyes fill with tears because I am overwhelmed with all they give me. There are a lot of people who would give anything to “get” to do some of these things I that I sometimes take for granted, and I’m so thankful my children remind me daily, in their own sweet ways, just how lucky I am.

Does this mean that I’ll never push her bedtime back onto daddy? 🙂 Heck no – I’ve got to keep my sanity! (Judge if you want, can’t blame you.) But I’ll certainly be more conscious of “getting” to put her to bed and enjoying these precious moments. Lord knows it goes too fast.

Oh and by the way, my rockstar husband cleaned the entire main floor of our house while I “got” to put my 3 year old to bed. Yep, I’m pretty lucky and my life is pretty darn good.

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Black Bean Brownies

Gluten-free. Guilt-free. Yummy-full.

Have fun watching your friends faces after you tell them they are eating black beans in their brownies!

Disclaimer: Are these as good as Betty Crocker boxed brownies? Hell no! But they are pretty darn good and much more healthy. Enjoy!

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I have no guilt letting my littles eat these!

In Blender:

  • Add: 3 eggs
  • Blend for 10 seconds
  • Add: 1 can drained & rinsed black beans
  • Blend one minute
  • Add:
    • 2 tsp vanilla
    • ¼ cup cacao powder (or cocoa powder)
    • 3 tablespoons of coconut oil – melted
    • 1/8 tsp sea salt
    • 1 ½ tsp baking soda
    • 1 tsp baking powder
    • ½ cup coconut sugar
    • 3 tablespoons of raw honey

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      Yaaaa-um!
  • Blend all of the above
  • Add:
    • 1 tablespoon coconut flour
    • 1 tablespoon almond flour
  • Blend again
  • Bake at 350 degrees
    • 30 mins in 8×8 pan or
    • 15 mins in 13×9 pan or
    • 18 minutes for cupcakes
    • Grease pan with coconut oil

 

 

You Were First.

To my oldest daughter as my second baby turns ONE:

What a year it’s been, sweet little one. I am in awe of what a big girl you’ve become over the last year and in watching you become a big sister. I am beyond proud of you.

Before little sis came along, my life revolved around you and only you. Your every cry. Your every movement. Your every breath. I was there.

Although you really didn’t understand the change that was about to happen in our lives, you could certainly sense it. Mom&Lu2014You instinctively knew that I wasn’t going to be able to be there for you in the same way I had been the 23 months prior.  And it pained me to know I wouldn’t be able to be there for you in the same way, too. Thankfully, you have an unbelievable bond with daddy, and it’s been awesome to watch how close you two have become.

On the eve of your sister’s first birthday, I was reflecting on where I was at that moment one year ago. I thought a little bit about being in labor and my excitement to meet Baby #2. But most of all, I thought about you. For 23 months, bedtime was always ours. Yours and mine. Our time to reconnect from our busy day. On that night one year ago, I rocked you to sleep with bittersweet tears in my eyes. I knew I was in labor and that everything would change for all of us.
But mostly for me and you. I held you extra-close, for extra-long, while you drifted to sleep. Daddy took over as your default “bedtime keeper” after that.

My sweet girl, you are so smart and so thoughtful. I can see the wheels turning in your head as you think through situations and experiences. Your ability to reflect and reason blows me away. You are constantly observing. And as a result, I don’t believe for a second that you are unphased by any of this.  I am thankful that you allowed me to “test” my parenting skills on you (bless you!). I am not perfect, and this last year has shown me that over and over again. But you never give up on me and you always give me another chance to make it better.

Life’s not easy for a two-year-old, especially when you add in a new sister.  But you’ve weathered the storm and have come out on top. Your tears may be fierce, but so are your kisses. I promise you that it will all be worth it. I promise you will be a better person for having siblings – they will push you and shape you in ways no other will. It has been amazing to watch this shift and formation in you already begin. I look forward to watching you grow into a leader; not only of this family, but in all you do. Little sis is so lucky to have you. And, she will always be there for you – you will have a best friend for life.

I look forward to our ever-evolving relationship – I know it will ebb and flow in the years to come. But my heart holds dear that special time spent when it was just me and you. My love for you is not less because your sister came along. Thankfully, as I learned, a mama’s heart grows in love, making room for new additions. You are my soul and my greatest teacher. A part of my heart will always be with you, a part that no one else in this whole world will get to claim as theirs. You were my first. You made me a mom. And you are mine.

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Baby, Back That Glass Up

This mama is a proud consumer of glass when it comes to food/beverage storage. Glass water bottles (my ello is seriously my bestie), glass cups, glass food storage for left overs (this is a great Pyrex set!), glass baby food containers (LOVE Wean Green!) and glass BOTTLES! Buying glass items is second nature to me and I forget how “odd” it is until someone comes over to my house and sees glass bottles drying on my counter.

Decades ago, bottles made of glass were the only bottles made. Did you know that glass bottles are STILL available to purchase?! In fact, Philips Avent Natural glass bottles were the only bottles I bought when I was expecting Lucy. I had to do a bit of searching, but Babies R Us carries a couple of awesome glass bottle brands.

Plastic has become such a staple in our society, and while MOST (not all) food-grade food storage containers no longer contain BPA, plastic unfortunately still leaks toxic chemicals into your food & drinks, ESPECIALLY if you heat them up! (Um, hello! So scary – that is exactly what we are doing with bottles!)

I couldn’t fathom the thought of spending countless hours, meticulously pumping my “liquid gold”, only to have it tainted the second I put it in a plastic bottle for my baby to consume the next day while I was at work.

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So, why did glass bottles go away? Here’s my thoughts:

  • Plastic is lighter – true; glass can’t compete here
  • Plastic is cheaper – eh, questionable; my glass bottles were more up-front but I’m two babies in and they are still in perfect (dare I say, pristine) condition. I bet I’ll be able to re-sell them at a fair price.
  • Glass will break – well, this is technically true…BUT you guys, I have dropped countless bottles on the floor (a couple of times with my milk actually in them with no lid on – so painful to see that milk spill on the floor) and the bottles DID. NOT. BREAK. I have had not ONE broken glass bottle.

Are you intrigued yet? Here are my top 5 reasons for using glass bottles:

  1. Glass is completely nonporous and even impermeable. The quality and flavor of your milk/formula will in no way be impacted. Maybe you need a wine reference….wine references always bring it home for me. Q. Why do you think wine is stored in glass?! A. As to not disrupt the flavor!
  2. Glass is made from NATURALLY abundant materials (i.e. mosly sand) and won’t breakdown over time
  3. There is NO risk of man-made chemicals leaching into your baby’s milk
  4. Glass is 100% recyclable and can be recycled endlessly without loss in quality or purity AND 80% of the glass that is recovered is made into new glass products
  5. They are easier to clean and keep looking nice

Do you have a favorite glass bottle? How do you use glass in your daily life? I’m always looking for tips!

“Girl ya look good….won’t ya back that glass up?” You know you’re singing it.