27 September 2013

Love is a Social (Media) Disease

I'm going to start this post with a confession:

I don't have anywhere close to the perfect marriage.

Now, if you're married, you're probably thinking "that's not much of a secret. No one has the perfect marriage." If you're not married, please allow me to disabuse you of the notion that you will EVER have the perfect marriage/relationship. Ain't gonna happen.

One of my favorite pictures of us Summer 2011
The Husband and I have personalities that are as ridiculously similar as they are different. He's confrontational for fun; I'm confrontational only if I am absolutely forced to be. He would rather stay home and avoid all contact with the outside world; I enjoy spending time with other people and socializing from time to time. We're both incredibly stubborn and prepared to fight tooth and nail to get our way if we feel we're in the right. We are both emotionally distant, though we each manifest that distance in different ways.

I can say without a doubt that, though I was in love before The Husband, it was nothing even close to what I feel for him. It's more than a pop song or Elizabeth Barrett Browning poem. It absolutely terrifies me on a regular basis. Some of the terror with regards to my feelings for The Husband has subsided with the birth of BabyA since I'm now also terrified of the depth of my love for her.

Maybe if I have enough children, I'll eventually do away with any fear I have in loving The Husband.

This post was not supposed to be about my fear of deep feelings, though, so allow me to get back on track.

I sometimes feel like social media is one of the worst barriers to a healthy relationship. The Husband is not a social media person. He has a deactivated Facebook account under a false name and a Twitter handle that has never been used. He created both during the early part of our relationship because he wanted to know what I was saying about him on social media. He really hates it when I talk about him.

Meanwhile, I get to see only the good parts of every relationship of every virtual friend I have. I can see every post that showcases husbands and significant others doing all of the things that I wish The Husband would do. People flaunt their supposed perfection in my face while I'm contemplating homicide because I can't physically lift the trash bag full of trash that I asked The Husband to take out...a week ago. I see husbands who do laundry and cook. I see husbands who do a lot of things that The Husband will not do (and husbands who do not do a lot of things The Husband does). 

Instead of just scrolling on, though, I start to compare. Instead of remembering that I am only seeing the perfect part of the relatinoship in question, I start to get irritated that I'm over here trying to drag a 50 lb bag of trash to the can while making sure my toddler stays out of the street and dealing with severe back and pelvic pain. 

I can usually find my way back to contentment if I give myself some time to cool off and pray, but most of the time I am perfectly happy to grumble to myself about all of the things that The Husband does/does not do that irritate me. Because I am perfect, of course, and I never do anything that would irritate him. (In case you missed it, there was an eyeroll implied there).

The reality is that I know that the relationship snippets I see aren't the whole story. I know that every relationship has issues. And I know that every individual is a work in progress and all I can do is trust God to know what He's doing in our lives. I know.

But, in the meantime, know that if I suddenly delete my Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts, it's because I saw your "my hubby is the best ever" mushy status update/photo/tweet one too many times.

21 September 2013

Pregnant Girl Problems...

This is pregnancy number 2 for me in as many years, I've passed 30 weeks, and I just want to say...


Every time I think those words, I feel a little bit guilty. I know there are plenty of mommies out there who wish their pregnancies made it this far, who are battling infertility and wishing they could endure the nastiness that is pregnancy, but I am really tired of being pregnant.

My pregnancy with BabyA wasn't exactly a walk in the park. I started suffering from extreme sciatica at 8 weeks pregnant. Thanks to weekly (and sometimes 2-3 times weekly) chiropractic adjustments, I was able to function through my pregnancy...barely. Then there was the nausea and vomiting. With the exception of a 2 week respite early in the second trimester and the four weeks at the end of my pregnancy when I was finally able to enjoy it somewhat, I was sick the entire time. On the plus side, I gained so little that I was back to my pre-pregnancy weight by the time I left the hospital.

This pregnancy has presented its own set of challenges, but so far, I think it's considerably worse. I had awful "morning" sickness for the first 16 weeks. Why do they call it "morning" sickness anyway? That nastiness had me puking my guts up 24/7 for the entirety of the first trimester...and then some. Instead of the severe sciatica, I have occasional flare-ups that are almost completely managed by my weekly chiropractic visits. Of course, I also have excruciating pelvic pain (which I'm almost convinced is Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction, but my OBGYN won't make the diagnosis) that puts me in tears on a regular basis because I decide to do crazy things like stand up and walk. That pain radiates to my right hip, which also refuses to hold an adjustment, despite my chiropractor's best efforts.

I am much more hormonal during this pregnancy than I was with BabyA. I cry more easily, and I am convinced on a semi-weekly basis that The Husband no longer loves me and wants a divorce. I can't make this stuff up, people.

The Gestational Diabetes has only added a whole other level of stress and drama to this pregnancy. Since I'm not the naive first time mom who blindly followed her OBGYN's recommendations (which were suspiciously similar to orders), I have the further addition of stress that goes with navigating a maternity care system that is so far removed from what birth and pregnancy really are. If you're not familiar with the standard of maternity care in the United States, consider yourself warned (if you're a resident) or lucky (if you're not). The fact that I have an HMO just adds another layer to my crazy cake.

Sometimes, I find moments of fun in my pregnancy (and I'm not talking about the kind of fun that requires you to carry an extra pair of pants and underwear in your car at all times). Yesterday, I wore a sleeping BabyA in our Beco Soleil while browsing at Walmart, and enjoyed the fact that I was technically tandem wearing with just one carrier. About once a day, BabyA will kiss my stomach or blow raspberries on her baby brother, which melts my heart. And the feeling of Minion kicking me as I lie in bed is one of my favorite sensations.

Tandem Wearing with one carrier! It takes less skill than you'd think.

I'm impatient to meet Minion face to face. I haven't dreamt of him the way that I dreamt of BabyA, so I have no idea what he will look like (I knew BabyA would have red, curly hair). I can't wait to see if The Husband's genes will win out again or if Minion will look at least a little bit like me.

But I'm also nervous. Anticipation has never been my favorite, and anticipating the arrival of a child while dealing with all of the aforementioned obstacles makes anticipation look more and more like a four letter word. On the one hand, I'm anxious to meet my son and to stop being pregnant (to drink a beer!), but on the other hand, I still have so much to do in preparation. The Husband hasn't even read my birth plan, for crying out loud!

So here's where I thank you for listening to my random ramblings and reading these stress-filled sentences. Sometimes, you just need to get things off of your chest before you can move on with your life. Wouldn't you agree?

17 September 2013

Happy Fluffy Mail

We've gotten lots of happy mail this week. I had an Amazon gift card that I received as a Mother's Day gift, and I made some money from a yard sale at the beginning of the month, so I indulged in a little online retail therapy. I ordered some boring necessities (a blender bottle for my protein shakes, and some baby items), Sanuk slip ons (seriously one of the most comfortable pairs of shoes I've ever owned), and a Crimson Tide onesie for Minion.

That's not what I'm going to write about today. I'm not even going to write about the gorgeous Petunia Pickle Bottom diaper bag that I bought during the PPB clearance (which arrived today as well).

Tonight, while wishing that bedtime was imminent and trying to avoid eating chocolate, there was a knock at the door. The Husband answered the door, and said "it's UPS." I asked him if he ordered anything since the only thing I'm expecting is the 'Bama onesie for Minion, and it's not supposed to arrive for another 4 days. Plus, the box was pretty large for a single onesie.

The Husband opened the package and revealed...a yellow box:

That's right, tonight we received a Beco Soleil.

I won the Soleil during a giveaway that was hosted by The Baby Guy NYC this month. I have been eagerly awaiting this carrier for about 2 weeks now.

I'll post a full review once I get a chance to use it for more than five minutes in my living room, but I have to say I'm already impressed.

As a plus size girl, I have a fear of not fitting in soft structured carriers. I have never been a huge fan of SSCs (my size being just one of the reasons I'd rather reach for a woven wrap), but I've discovered during my pregnancy that SSCs are very convenient for toting BabyA who has recently decided that she doesn't want to be wrapped. Up until tonight, we've been using our Ergo Sport. It was one of my first carriers, and it worked very well for babywearing during the summer months last year. Around here, summer doesn't end until after Halloween most years, and both BabyA and I are very sensitive to the heat.

On first inspection, the Soleil is absolutely gorgeous. I was very excited that I received the print that I liked the most (Luca Black). I also received an accessory pack which includes a hood, infant insert, and suck pads.

I had no problems wearing the carrier, even low on my hips (which is kind of a necessary evil when you're 30 weeks pregnant and carrying low). I can't even begin to tell you how wonderful it is to fit into a carrier without needing any "extras."

I love the overall fit and comfort level of the carrier, too. BabyA is not the biggest toddler by any means. At last measurement, she was right around 22 pounds and 32 inches. Wearing her can still be a challenge, though, since I have back, hip, and pelvic pain that is only compounded by pregnancy. In fact, I was already in pretty severe pain when we received the carrier.

In the few minutes I wore her, A felt nearly weightless. I have never carried her so comfortably except in my linen blend woven wrap.

I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to use this carrier at MommyCon Los Angeles in just a couple weeks. I'm sure it will be infinitely more comfortable than our Ergo, and prettier, too!

06 September 2013

The One Where I Share Family Recipe Secrets...Kinda

I don't know about you, but meatloaf is a big staple at my house. It was a family favorite when I was growing up, and I've learned as an adult that it's a great way to stretch ingredients to feed your family on a budget. Plus, is there anything better than a cold meatloaf sandwich?

Since I was diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes last week, I have a feeling we'll be eating a lot more meatloaf (or "meat cake" as one of my younger sisters deemed it when she was about 2 years old).

I have used a lot of different recipes over the years, but I almost always come back to the way my grandmother made it (which is also how my parents make it). Ground meat of your preference, onion, garlic, and whatever vegetables you want to add. My mom always pours a can of spicy V8 juice over the top, while I've transitioned to a more traditional topping since The Husband prefers ketchup.

Tonight, I'm making turkey meatloaf.

I love ground turkey for my meatloaf because it's not as fatty as beef and benefits nicely from the extra moisture that the veggies add. I throw my ground turkey (1.25 lbs) in a mixing bowl and top it with half a chopped white onion, 3 cloves of pressed garlic, half a red bell pepper (chopped), some chopped pickled jalapenos, an egg, and about 1.5 cups of dry oats. I prefer oats to bread crumbs because they're more nutritionally beneficial and I always have them in my pantry. I almost never have breadcrumbs ready to go...and who has time to wait around to dry out perfectly good bread in the oven and then put it in a food processor? Besides, I haven't bought any bread since my GD diagnosis. (A quick side note: you can literally use whatever vegetables you want. Only the onion is non-negotiable for me. My mom's used corn and peas in her meatloaf, and I've used okra, mushrooms, and carrots).

I use my hands to mix the ingredients and then toss it into a 9x9 inch Pyrex dish. I do not form my meatloaf into an actual loaf. I don't think I ever have. My parents always made it in a 9x13 dish, and I've never seen the need to deviate (except the time I made meatloaf cupcakes with mashed potato "frosting"). Bonus points because I only have to throw a lid on my Pyrex dish and pop it in the fridge once we're done eating.

To make the glaze, I usually combine ketchup, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, and hot sauce. I typically use Tabasco, but I think I'm going to try Sriracha tonight.

Tonight's meatloaf is served with mashed cauliflower.

Yes, you heard me right...CAULIFLOWER.

I'm going to assume that this is not as big a shock to most of you since we live in the age of Pinterest, and I'm pretty sure that's where I first discovered this magical comfort food. It's been a lifesaver in the past week when I've been seriously craving garlic mashed potatoes.

I used 2 large heads of cauliflower, a 4 quart stock pot with enough water to cover the cauliflower pieces, and a heaping tablespoon of bouillon powder. I put them on the stove and let them boil until the cauliflower is tender almost a big, mushy, mess.

Once your cauliflower is suitably mushy, drain it in a colander. I like to use one with small holes so I don't lose any of the little pieces that are floating around. After it's drained (but not entirely dry), return it to your pot.

At this point, you can add just about anything you like. I prefer butter, pressed garlic, cream cheese, salt and pepper. If you have a picky family texture-wise (they aren't exactly the same texture as mashed potatoes), toss in a few boiled potatoes and mash them right into the cauliflower. The Husband complains EVERY time I make mashed cauliflower, but he never notices the cauliflower if there are some potato chunks in there.

I made mashed cauliflower last weekend for a family barbeque, and everyone who didn't already know it was cauliflower had absolutely NO IDEA.

Meals like this make this low-carb thing much more bearable. I feel like I can eat normal food instead of cooking two separate meals. Plus, I can eat a lot of more since cauliflower is GOOD for me, right?