The Existentialist Nature of a Two-Year-Old

I used to be a philosophical gal. Heck, if you asked my high school senior self what I wanted to take in college, I would’ve said, “philosophy” in a heartbeat. I didn’t, of course, because it doesn’t pay bills. But, when it came time to take my Philosophy 100 class at community college, I not only aced it with a 99, I was the go-to for others to help fix papers and differentiate between Sartre and Aristotle. Ask me now and I wouldn’t be able to connect the lines.

Watching life through a toddler/preschooler’s (did I just type that?!) eyes definitely brings me back to that place. He’s started his question phase, and I love it. Now, that adoration may not last long (it gets grating, yes), but for now the “who is dat? why he do dat? what him name?” wondering shows exactly what’s clicking in his little, incredible brain.


There are times that Hadman’s oblivious, for sure. He doesn’t listen to directions a vast majority of the time and does exactly what he wants to, often with a knowing smirk or mischievous eyebrow bend. But, his awareness is growing. For example, looking through a comic book (what? That’s totally normal) or watching a new-to-him TV show, he MUST know who EVERYONE is. A random array of tertiary characters in the background? He simply must know their names and what they’re up to. He knows people have a purpose and an importance, so why wouldn’t they have a name? Sometimes we say we simply don’t know (and he continues asking, undeterred), but if I’m feeling feisty, I’ve been known to start spouting out made-up misnomers just to appease the little guy. “Who’s that? Oh, that’s good ol’ Hank. Hank the monkey. He’s friends with Myrtle.”

I’m waiting for him to start applying these observations to the world around him more, but assume that it might have to wait until springtime for questions like, “why grass green, Mama?” However, he is become more attuned to others in small ways. “You sad, Mama? You sad? Me hug you.”

I will happily try to answer any of the bigger questions that start popping up, too. And I’m considering brushing up on my old philosophers…just in case.

House Wishlist

Happy Groundhog Day! We’re lucky enough to have a snow day (and my hubby took the day, too!), which is our first one of the year. Definitely a great day to hunker down, drink hot cocoa, bake cookies, and generally appreciate the warmth together.

That said, we love our house, but we’re hoping to start up a house hunt just about when the snow melts. It’s strange to admit it out loud (or, for all the internet to read), but the good thing is that we’re not in a hurry. Our current situation is fine, for now, but because we’re not rushing to find something, we have time to work on little areas of ours that need work and won’t feel quite as pressured to buy something we don’t love. ย 

It’s not a huge move; we’re still going to be in the same relative area, but hopefully safer and with more space for the little guy to play. That said, I thought I’d share Had’s current thoughts on the house situation (which, quite honestly, change a little depending on the day). He has consistently asked for the following:

– More land to “run and run and run.” I’ve asked for awhile now whether he wants a house in a “town” with people around to play with or in the “country” where he can have lots of room…and this is what he says.

– Places to play. We take this as either a room that’s big enough for him to use also as a playroom, or a specifically designated place that IS a playroom

He doesn’t ask for much. Gotta love a 2-year-old. His mom and dad, however… Well, here’s what we’re hoping for:

– More space, but not too much. We currently have a 3-bedroom, 1-bath house that clocks in at around 1,000 sq. ft. If we could have a house with an extra bedroom (or a 3-bedroom with an office or playroom area, or finished basement) and maybe an extra half bath, we’d be happy.

– Bring on the charm. Our current fixer-upper is charming. There are soooo many cookie-cutter homes that lack things like substantial woodwork or built-ins or, well, much of anything. I personally prefer homes from the first half of the 1900s. I’m flexible…but within reason. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I will also gladly work to bring it up to modern standards, while maintaining its character. ย 

– Centrally located. We’d like for our commutes to be 30 minutes or less. Currently, Dave’s is around 25 minutes; mine’s 15 minutes.

– A bit of land. Again, not too much, but enough that Had and any future siblings or friends have space to roam. I’d like to be able to garden. It’s also a bit of a dream of Dave’s to have a barn or garage for strays. Just call him St. Francis of Assisi. But, if we didn’t get a country home and instead had a nice backyard in a safe neighborhood, we definitely wouldn’t mind. ย 

There are other things on our list, like particular townships near friends or a particular price-range or yes-to-hardwood-floors-no-to-oil-heat, but everything is flexible to an extent. We’d like it to be a place that we enjoy for many, many years to come, so we’re picky about some things, but willing to work with others. Certain aesthetic issues can be remedied, but other bigger updates may not be in our budget long-term. But, seriously, I’m so glad that we don’t have HGTV right now — watching the house hunting couples walk into a place and put their foot down over bad wallpaper or easily-amended ugliness is frustrating!

That said, I thought it’d be fun to share a couple of the “wow, that would be AWESOME” mental wishes for a future home. I can’t wait to get my DIY on and put some fun, love and life into a gem of a space.

via

For some weird reason, I’m really into bungalows from the ’20s and ’30s. It’s not a deal-breaker, but these have me weak in the knees.

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Then, there’s my husband. When we drive around the neighborhood where he grew up, he swoons over these cottage- or English-style houses. I’m not against them, but they’re not my favorite. Again, it’s not a deal-breaker, but these are the styles that make us sit up.

Let’s head inside our “dream house.” I don’t have an idea of specifics (unless I’m thinking about “the one that got away” last year; it was the perfect size and had no work to be done, so of course it was out of our price range), so I’ll just share a couple of things we’d love to have or create over time.

Our current kitchen is a pretty good size and has amazing light, so it’s going to be hard to find something by comparison. However, it doesn’t always function very practically (hello, 1925 dwellers). So, given what we’ve already seen on the market, I’m pretty much positive we’ll have to do a makeover in the kitchen. Enter subway back splash, stage right. I love this stuff, and chunky open shelving comes in a close second.

This may not be exactly what we’re thinking, but the idea is here (and isn’t it gorgeous?). Wood floors? Yes. Fireplace? Definitely. (Bonus points if it works.) Space for entertaining/hosting holidays? Hopefully.

We currently use an entire bedroom as an office. We’d LOVE to be able to have similar (or more) space for another one, or even part of the basement, but if we need to be creative, this set-up is awesome and simple (and cheap).

A kid space is pretty high on our list. The zillions if ideas I’ve seen floating around online have me itching to create a fun place for Hadman (and any future siblings). Chalkboard paintย + homemade tentย + reading area + art area + dress-up/stage area = fun. I’d also LOVE to put a piano in this space, as well, since our current place can’t accommodate one. (sigh) Plus, if we decide to homeschool, it could double as a learning room.

So, what do you think? Are any of these items on your wishlist? What are some must-haves for your dream house?

Real Food Challenge – Week #3

For 14 weeks, the family and I are undertaking a Real Food Challenge (put forth by the awesome 100 Days of Real Food blog). I’m hoping to check in about any struggles and successes along the way each week. Our ultimate goal is to cut down on our dependence on processed foods and start using some cleaner fuels to energize our bodies. And stuff.

So, here’s how it works. I’ll get an email every Thursday for the next 14 weeks (the actual eating challenge will start on Sunday or Monday for 7 days, so there are a couple of days of grocery prep built in). Each email outlines the “rules” for that particular week. It’s up to each participant as to whether or not they’d like to try each week independently or build on top of the prior week. In other words, continuing doing the prior weeks while attempting the new weeks, if that makes sense. There’s also a very active Facebook group (I’ve actually joined an offshoot that’s super supportive and far more focused) that’s there to share, answer and support.

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Review of Week #2: The second week of the challenge was a pretty simple week. The only beverages allowed were as follows: water, milk (suggested organic & whole, which we do anyway), coffee, tea, and wine in moderation (one a day). ONE glass of juice was allowed, mostly so that if anyone hates water they could spritz a bit of juice in for some flavor.

I’m not a soda drinker anymore — I’ll have a couple per year. No, seriously. So, the only part of this that took me anywhere outside my comfort zone was that the only sweeteners allowed in one’s coffee or tea was honey (ew, bee barf; love bees, hate the taste) or maple syrup (the 100% awesome quality organic stuff is great, but leaves a “deeply flavored” aftertaste). I don’t drink a ton of coffee, but since it was allowed and I needed “caffeine motivation”, I tried the maple syrup with a splash of milk. Hmm. Okay, but honestly tasted like…maybe…almost…TOO sweet?

Okay, okay, hold the phones. Those who have known me for any amount of time know that I’m a sugar consumer. I used to use 4-5 teaspoons of sugar in each small cup of coffee. *ahem* And was passionately mocked by family and friends for it. Over time, I’ve cut it down to about 1 1/2 (which is big for me). But, the fact that just yesterday, I took a mug with coffee and a splash of milk to work and thought it was fine…well, let’s just say I’m expecting a chunk of the earth to explode. I’m pretty pleasantly surprised.

I’m hoping to maintain this, although if I’m in need of a sweet caffeine fix, I’ll probably try one of the recipes for a NATURAL creamer replacement (something with cinnamon or what have you mixed in so that I don’t notice the maple syrupy goodness). Oh, and while I used to have the super rare caramel macchiato (like, also twice a year) at a random Starbucks, I’m not even sure I’d enjoy that anymore. I’d probably get a latte. MAYBE a crappy flavor shot, just for a “treat”, but even then…not sure it’s a treat anymore. So, I’d call Week #2 a success.

Side note: Hadley still drank juice. I’m bending rules ‘cuz he’s…y’know…2 1/2. He had far more milk and water than usual and no more than his watered-down cup of organic juice each day, so I’m happy.

Week #3 Challenge: $#@% just got real. This week will actually be quite the challenge, unlike this past week. We’re “allowed” to eat only 3-4 (which means, um, 4) meals containing only locally-raised meat; the rest of the meals are essentially vegetarian. PLUS, whatever recipes we choose should involve meat in a supporting role rather than the star. Hmm. That’s. Um. Crap.

I’m not one of those “Must. Eat. Protein.” people. Our bodies actually don’t need the “one vast serving per meal” amount of protein that folks seem ingrained to tout. (Mom.) But, I do want to make sure that we all get enough. I could easily do pancakes for every meal, but it’s not healthy for any of us. At least I’m trying to maintain a semblance of the 6-per-day fruits and veggies, so we’re definitely still getting our fill of nutrients. It just throws quite the monkey wrench into things. And stuff.

I definitely have a love-hate relationship with this week’s challenge. I fully understand the reason behind it. I haven’t had the greatest success at trying a flexitarian meal plan. I’ve made “meatless” meals and was proud of them, but they weren’t that healthy. Like, pasta So, this is definitely a week that I hope to learn from. I’m excited to see whether this is one of those “this is soooo hard!!!” sort of weeks or more of a “this is easier than I thought, I can do this!” week. Fingers crossed!

Here’s my flexible meal plan “schedule” for the week:

Caveat #1: The asterisks imply that there may or may not be some local meat involved, depending on what we can pick up at a local market. Like, if we can find locally-raised pork or bacon, it’ll go into the potato soup. If we find chicken breasts, I’ll cook them up for the stir-fry and salads. Also, this is a general guide that helps TREMENDOUSLY when I’m having that, “What to have for dinner?” blank moment. But, if I decide that we haven’t had pasta in awhile (which we haven’t), I might switch that out for the omelet night, for example, with some salads on the side. We’re nothing if not flexible.

Caveat #2: Oh, and while we’re allowed 3-4 meals including meat, if there are leftovers from a particular dinner, you’d better know we’re using them for lunch. That’s how we’re playing that game. Leftovers are my saving grace, dudes.

So, that’s the latest! Looking ahead, the following few weeks look pretty easy again (and even fun!), so I’m lucky for the most part! Now, if I could get Hadley to eat more of these meals, I’d really be getting some place.

Have a great weekend (and happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day!) and good luck to any fellow challenge friends!

How May I Help You?

I’m a bit of a people-pleaser. Well, I’m sure I don’t please everybody all of the time, but it’s an innate concern of mine. It’s only natural, really. Wondering if you’re doing enough to help others. Wondering if what you do is worth it. Wondering if anyone’s listening and hearing and caring. It’s probably rooted in some anxiety and esteem issues, but that’s not what I’m getting into today.

What I am getting into is YOU. I’ve asked for feedback before, and even surveyed you. But, the focus was generally the blog. Yes, I want to improve the blog, and this post is somewhat related to that, but mostly, I want to know what I can do for YOU with this here tiny nook of the internet.

Here’s what I mean…

What do you hope to see when you stop by Meg, Acting Out?

Why do you read? What do you get out of reading?What are your favorite types of blog posts (on any blog)?

How-to? Recipes? Life betterment/tips? Entertainment? Inspiration (if so, in what way)?What are your life concerns? Goals?

Do you prefer a different format from time to time, like video or podcast?

Overall, what would you like to see more/less that will benefit you and your needs?

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We’re obviously still going to share random personal posts, but I want to know that the time that I put into this joint isn’t falling upon disinterested ears. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy writing and would do it for an audience of one, but once in awhile I need some focus and to touch base to see what’s what. Does that make sense?So, if you have any responses to the above questions (or any further suggestions or ideas), please don’t hesitate to drop me a line in the comments. Or, if you’d like to chat further and more anonymously, feel free to reach out to me at megactsout@gmail.com. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Summer Daydreams

We spend so much time stockpiling gifts, planning fun times and decorating that, in addition to the actual enjoyment of the holidays, it’s a pretty big letdown when it’s over. Many of us (myself included) even experience a mild depression when we bid adieu to Christmas every year. It sometimes takes awhile to get over, with winter weather adding “blah” to the bummer.

Almost as if an annual routine, I start to get the urge to plan the fun times that we hope to have when the weather turns warm. I think about the activities that Hadley will be able to enjoy (at his stage in development/maturity) and even start to mentally plan for his July birthday party. Family often makes fun of me for over-planning and over-thinking things, but it actually helps me a) keep mentally organized and feel on top of things, and b) get enjoyment out of the experience. The excitement is half the fun!

So, although nothing is in stone for our general Spring/Summer 2015 plans, I thought it’d be fun to have a little brain dump of the things we’d like to undertake in the spring and summer. Here goes!


CSA – We’ll finally be joining a CSA for some regular, local veggies. Yay! Now is the perfect time to do our research to decide which farm we’ll be choosing. It would be awesome if it was one that we could visit or even do some work on so that Hadley has an idea of where some of the food is from, but it’s not a deal-breaker. Either way, I’m excited to try some different produce and recipes with the family.

Utica Zoo membership – Last year, we LOVED our zoo membership. It only makes sense to support their cause and enjoy it with the little guy again. Plus, they have an awesome playground setup that Hadley will love even more this year, with his longer legs and better stability. And the monkeys. Oh, the monkeys.

Trip to Western Mass – Hopefully, this doesn’t have to wait until summer! Hadley’s been asking about his little buddy in Massachusetts every few days, so we feel awful that we haven’t been back sooner. (Oh, and we want to see our old friends there, too!) It’s Dave’s old stomping ground, so it’s like a second home full of happy memories for us to return to regularly. Plus, they have the Eric Carle Museum, which is a family favorite.

Beach – Last year, the only place we went with sand was a small beach in Old Forge. On a chilly day. With occasional drizzles. It was far from ideal and involved no splashing, no sunbathing, no playing. This year, I’m hoping that we can get to one of the family-friendly beaches closer to home. (Last year, there were some red algae issues, so there were lots of “no using the water” warnings. Hopefully, there will be fewer this year.) I can’t wait for Hadley to play in the sand and splash in the water (hopefully he’ll be less terrified by water in his face if playing is involved), and admittedly I can’t wait to get my toes in some sand, too. Fingers crossed!

Old Forge – Speaking of Old Forge…we try to get there every year to wander and sight-see, but last year was by far the worst I can recall. Between places being non-stroller friendly and the chilly, rainy weather (in August?!), it was kind of a bust. We made the best of it and found coffee and donuts for the trip home (best part of the day!), but I’m already assuming that anything will be better than last year. I don’t expect every trip or experience to be the best thing ever, but when it’s far less than mediocre…well…it’s disappointing. Even the farmers’ market was too soggy and full of imported produce to get excited over.

Time to try a city? – I’ve talked about the fear of bringing Hadley into a big city because he’s still not great at listening and following directions. (Okay, some days he’s even worse at it.) So, I’m still wary about this, but I’m wondering if we go to a city in the middle of a week, we might be better as far as crowds go. I’m partial to Boston (and NYC and Philly, but those are still a bit nuts to consider), especially with the Freedom Trail as a way of getting some history in without having to try to force good behavior in a museum. Their aquarium might be a hit with the little guy, too. But, if we can’t do that, maybe another smaller trip like our Concord excursion last year (but to a different spot).

Local adventures – For awhile now, I’ve wanted to get the family into the local experiences that make our area unique. We often forget about the historical and natural gems in our own backyard, so I’m hoping that, whether it’s just a farmers’ market, a nature walk, or a stop at a nearby historical destination, we’ll be able to do this weekly. Again, fingers crossed. I hope to make a list

THREE! – Dudes. Can you believe it?! Our little guy is turning the big 3 this July! I’m sure I’ll do yet another brain dump of fun stuff I’m drooling over on Pinterest (and if I’m lucky 50% of it will make it to the party – Hadley’s a mind-changer…but what 2 1/2-year-old isn’t?). The only thing that he’s told me definitively has me adamantly agreeing: strawberry cake. Damn straight, child. You shall have your cake. (And it will be organic and from scratch. Shh. Guests don’t need to know.)

House hunt – I’ve mentioned before that we’re finally hoping to move to a new town (relatively nearby), namely to get a larger space for the family that we can hopefully own long-term. Given that our current space is about 1,000 square feet, we’ve always known that this wasn’t going to be our forever home. So, while I hope to hit up tons of the above, if we’re in the midst of moving (or obtaining a larger mortgage), we’ll see what we can do. Heck, maybe his party will be at a new, larger setting.

For now, though, we’re going to hunker down and enjoy the good that winter brings. I do enjoy snow (and the prospect of snow days!), drinking hot chocolate, and cozying up with a good book. Although, admittedly, I’ll be super happy when the sunset happens later than 4:30. Oye.

Saint David

I don’t go around handing uber important religious titles to just anybody, but my husband’s behavior lately definitely merits it. Maybe a knighthood, too. We’ll see.

Don’t get me wrong – putting up with me and my (ahemmoodinessahem) idiosyncrasies day in and day out probably earned him sainthood before we even got married. Lately, though, he’s got Super Hubby written all over him.

You see, this week was my Return to Work. (Yes, it’s so important it needs full-blown capitalization. Be grateful I’m not messing with the bold/underline/italics toggles!) My first time being away from Hadley for more than a couple of hours at a time – and there were only two or three of those getaways, tops. It was agonizing, and I’m sure equally as agonizing for my husband.

For several reasons (not being on a great schedule yet, still seeming a tad “young” for daycare, finances, and more), we’re lucky enough to be able to take Dave’s mom up on her offer to watch him. Talk about saints, this woman also watches my sister’s cutie pie, who’s about to turn one year-old. Two babies, varying ages (ie varying needs…varying levels of activity and movement…varying insanity!). Whew!

Yesterday was my first day back, although it was a Superintendent’s Conference Day (less hands-on work meant time to think about the baby and how he was doing), and today’s the first day with students and classes (lots of work, ie distractions to keep my mind occupied…kind of). I can’t tell which is worse. I’m progressively getting better, but the tears still hit occasionally, in random fashion. The thing getting me to push through it is the thought that millions upon millions of women have done this before me, and that I should suck it up and just get used to it. *sigh*

But, I digress. Why is my husband up for sainthood? I hate to brag, but he has ROCKED. Because his mom lives in the city in which he works (vs. 45 minutes from where I work), he has both dropped off and picked up the little guy. All I’ve had to do is figure out our schedule to get them out the door at the right time. Well, okay, I’ve done a tad more than that, but the hard part is really on Dave’s shoulders. He not only got his work schedule adjusted, but has become instantly more confident in his parenting in the process. It’s incredible.

Here’s a sample of our morning: After Dave gets up to shower and get ready around 5:45 (neither of us is a “morning person”, so this is miraculous to say the least), I get Hadley up at 6 (he’s been fussing, but still asleep) for a changing and to settle in for a solid feeding. While I breastfeed, Daddy puts the final touches on what we’ve prepped the night before — putting the icepack in the milk cooler to bring, throwing a lunch together (for BOTH of us — this is perhaps the 2nd time he’s ever done this for me, and I think it’s the sweetest thing ever), making breakfast(!), scooping kitty litter, plus going through his own mental checklist of work stuff. They’re out the door by 7am, so I have about an hour to get ready, having already eaten my yummy oatmeal (side note: he puts blueberries in it, and, in mine, maple syrup, brown sugar, and some cinnamon so it’s almost like a blueberry muffin — delish, AND it boosts milk supply!).

We do a lot of night-before prep, like making sure there’s milk thawing for the next day in the fridge, taking a shower (I take mine and give Hadley a bath), washing all the breast pump stuff, prep lunches (today’s was more complicated, though – reminiscent of my old, healthy, snack-inspired pregnancy lunches), etc. While the organization is helpful to my anxiety-riddled mind, I don’t mind admitting that I’m giddy over the thought of Friday night, with its list-free schedule and some sort of easy take-out dinner option.

So, what else makes Dave so great? Other than, simply, what a great father he is, he’s had a daddy blog since before I gave birth. Peruse through it and see if you can pick out the charms that have made me fall in love all over again since having Hadley.

Kitty Pics

Why in the heck am I sifting through kitty pictures?

…other than the fact that these faces are the cutest thing in the world…
…for now. (Who am I kidding? These are our first children.)

Let’s just say that I’m working on some one-of-a-kind nursery art. And we can’t leave our “first babies” out of our “first baby’s” space, now, can we?

I’m still working out which style of art we’ll land on, but introducing our guys to the “little one” is just one more step in this crazy process. What sentimental item(s) or art do you surround yourself with everyday?

Birthday List

I haven’t been very focused on the fact that my 30th birthday is coming up in less than a month (ack! May 1st, if you’re keeping track). We’ve been a tad distracted by the growing little being in my stomach. Lots of reading, planning, and even a little chatting going on around here. As it is, I’m not the type of person to chat about “my special day” or draw tons of attention to it. Everyone has a birthday, right? As long as I get a shout-out here and there and get to spend some special time with the hubs and family (whether it be the day/night of, or the weekend following), I’m fine. I actually prefer less of a fuss.
But, the big 3-0 is a pretty big deal. Again, not that I want a fuss (hey, it’s not like I’m taking the day off or anything silly like that), but the fact that I’m the “baby” as far as my siblings are concerned, I tend to think more about them and my mother when the ol’ birthday rolls around. Even my sister once said (when she was asked if she felt old when SHE turned 30), “No, not at all. When Megan turns 30, then I’ll feel old.” Yep.
Not to mention that whole “when my mom was my age, she already had 3 out of 4 kids” thing freaks me out. It makes me feel like I’m way behind on things! I know it’s not a race or anything, but…it’s hard not to think that way. And be overwhelmed.
So, I’m not great at saying, “I want *yada yada yada* for my birthday.” With a baby coming, I want as little cashola spent as possible – and don’t want to have to find SPACE for a bunch of stuff. (Considering that my shower will be shortly after my 30th, and I’ll be getting to that “Whoa, you’re gonna pop, huh?” stage, simplicity is a great thing.) While that limited edition glass-and-stainless-steel pump of Mrs. Meyers’ hand soap looks appealing, my mind is less on “things” and more on “wishes” for the big day (besides, we’re still working on our soap stash from our anniversary trip to Middlebury). So, here’s my birthday list this year:
– A happy, healthy baby. Kinda self-explanatory, eh?
– Baby names. We’ve had some good conversations about names, but I can’t say that there are many (if any) that we’re both gung-ho, in lurve with. If we could have at least one per each sex that we are confident with, I can officially go into labor. (No. No, I can’t. Stay in there!)
– One, count it, ONE night a week where the cats don’t try to kill each other so that we can get some uninterrupted sleep. I know, I know – “uninterrupted sleep” will be a thing of the past when Baby D comes. But, that’s my point! I’m trying to get it while I can!! It’s almost always Winston who instigates it, and usually Jasper as his sparring partner. C’mon, guys, can’t we all just get along?! (We hardly ever hear any distress cries and practically never any hissing, so they’re playing and wrestling as much as anything, but MAN does it wake you up when you hear the “rolling” start.)
– To actually tackle some of that 30 Before 30 list. More for the guilt factor (and the fact that I WANTED to do this stuff!) than anything else. ๐Ÿ˜‰
– To be able to say that I accomplished some stuff over my impending spring break. That’ll be good.
– Overall, a happy, satisfying life. We’re ecstatic (albeit nervous and, at times, overwhelmed) about our soon-to-be-new-family-member, and we’re pretty darn solid as far as friends and family are concerned, but there are parts of our life that feel like an unfinished puzzle. Gotta put those pieces together!
– Continued enriching writing experiences, such as the one I just had as a contributor to Kaia Magazine. I loved writing for them, and already know that I’ll have an article in their upcoming edition, as well! It’s such a great publication. I’m just looking to continue branching out – and, hey, maybe even get a bit of dough in the process! *And a HUGE “Hey, how ya doin’?!” to any folks who are reading this because of the ezine. Feel free to leave a comment!*
– Hmm. Yeah. If I could stop running into setbacks (and I’m a snail in the first place) as far as my bathroom reno (if you could call it that), and finally get the nursery done, that’d be golden.

The neat thing about most of my “birthday wishes” is that I have control over them! (Again, MOST of ’em.) So, maybe I’m just wishing for a bit of empowerment, confidence, and a truckload of motivation for my 30th. Yeah. That’d help.

For Example

In my last post, I mentioned (briefly) the fact that, thanks to pregnancy cravings and the such, I’ve fallen off the organic-slash-all-natural wagon. They are but brief interludes in an otherwise quite healthy diet. I mean, if I wanted to go nuts, I wouldn’t have folks demanding I gain more weight. The baby’s fine, I’m fine, and I’m not by any means starving myself; I’ve never been one to do that. Call it laziness or lack of willpower, but I’m just not prone to eating disorders.

Tonight’s a prime example of one of my “whoopsies.” My cravings tend to come from a very psychological place, rather than a physical urge for a particular food item…although, from time to time an irrational “Ooohhhh I need a *insert food item here* from *insert unhealthy food chain here*!” It happens, just not much. So, this evening I was considering what I’d like for dinner, since it would be a solo meal (sans hubby).

My thought process followed this stream: something light…like cereal or a sandwich…ohhh, I’ve gotta use up the organic wheat bread before it goes bad…maybe tuna?…I’ve already had tuna this week, that’s a no-no…ohhhh, egg salad, there’s some good protein…what else MUST one have with an egg salad sandwich?…hmm…Jax with ketchup…but the sandwich will be organic and local (the eggs were from pastured chickens and sold at the farmers’ market), so what does it hurt to have some Jax with ’em?…and organic ketchup, of course.

Yep, that’s a moment inside my brain. Wacky, I know. So, that’s how I came to be sitting here, awaiting my egg done-ness to hopefully enjoy a meal of egg salad (quite possibly on toasted bread, the way good ol’ Grandma used to make it), Jax with ketchup, perhaps some chocolate milk (again, how Grandma served it)…and maybe some strawberry Chobani yogurt if dessert beckons. Let’s forget the fact that when I stopped to pick up my single-serve package of Jax, I also grabbed some Twix bars. *ahem*

See? We’re not all perfect. Sometimes it’s about balance…other times, it’s about simply sustaining oneself…still other times, it’s about self-discipline. Of course, I picture myself being way stricter when the baby comes, but that’s yet to be seen. ๐Ÿ™‚ Have you had any awesomely simple organic/all-natural meals lately? Or indulged in something wonderful that was more than worth it?

Side note: The Jax with ketchup thing is not a pregnant whim, by the way. It’s a totally real food category that only a few people (namely, those who attended my babysitter back in the day) understand fully. Let’s just say that hotdog day (cut up, with ketchup) + a handful of Jax = accidental tastiness. Let’s just say a hotdog craving isn’t far behind, but I insist on waiting for this summer, after the little one arrives, and eating a nitrate-free, real beef version. See? I’ve still got standards. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Slapdash Sunday

Slapdash Sunday: A day when it’s perfectly acceptable to write a random (ie “train of thought”) blog post with little rhyme or reason…and, yes, I know it’s Monday now. Here’s a bit of what’s on my mind today:

After having read blogs and articles, and heard stories and advice over the years, my mind has been filled to capacity with items to put on our baby registry/wish list. When it comes time to fine-tune the lists and add some of these particularly awesome ideas, my thoughts go blank. Pregnancy Brain strikes again!

Two out of three kitties have become highly interested in my snacking habits; namely, my hummus. We have very strange, very special little guys — as if I didn’t already know this. I’m hoping and wishing that they acclimate well to the new addition come July.

I’ve been writing a cloth diaper post for, say, a month or so that keeps hitting snags. My mind is all over the place. I could just go with one brand, or try out a million different techniques (including the good ol’-fashioned one our mama used on us). The issue is that no single brand gets 100% “hooray, this is THE best brand out there!!!” reviews because no two babies are alike. (Most get moderate to great reviews, but all of them have their “don’t use this brand!!!” -type reviews.) You can’t buy Baby’s First Crystal Ball o’ Poop to know whether they’ll tend to have a million blowouts or be a champion, 3-diapers-a-day kid. You also can’t foresee whether breast feeding will be an out-of-the-park home run (which would quite possibly dictate the type of poo you’ll be dealing with). It’s overwhelming. So, I’ve stepped away from it for a little while. My mind is once again leaning towards “simplest is best” (ie one type of diaper, one brand, that’s IT). But, we’ll see. I can tell that you simply can’t WAIT for that almighty post to arrive, when I finally decide. ๐Ÿ˜‰

The nursery is coming along, but only in the sense that it’s becoming less and less of a catch-all room. More on that this week.

It appears that spring has actually accompanied the daylight saving time change (for once, in our area). We had one of the mildest winters I remember having – which is great because there were very few slips on ice (there’s something about falling whilst pregnant…scary), but it felt like we had a “non-season”. Wasn’t fall. Wasn’t spring. Wasn’t winter. ‘Twas nothin’. My irrational, superstitious Irish side forecasts that the summer will be one hell of a scorcher (+ screaming newborn + 3 inevitably shedding kitties + 1 irritable mommy = misery?)…but my ever-rational hubby suggests that it will be as mild a summer as was this winter. Ya gotta love him for talking me off the ledge.

Another awesome thing about spring coming is that it makes me think of food. Autumn brings on thoughts of chili and stews and soups (which I hardly made much of this year), but spring is a reminder of life and growth. Life + food = VEGGIES! I’ve decided that we’re going to utilize the two raised beds (plus one or two potted plants – we’ll see) but plant a smaller variety of foods this summer so that I know that the foods we DO plant are foods that we truly enjoy and will look forward to harvesting. Rather than purchasing a CSA and trying to find a way to use the wonderful (yet new and varied) items while focusing on a newborn (thus costing us more $ than we can afford this year), we’re considering signing up for our local Foodshed Club (at $25/year) to supplement some of our food needs. Of course, a combination of grocery shopping and farmers’ markets along with the Foodshed should keep us well-fed. ๐Ÿ˜‰ More on this later, I’m sure.

We got a butt load done last Saturday, to the point where I was far more tired than at the end of any average workday. Those can be incredibly fulfilling days…or disappointing (come Monday, leaving one thinking, “Where did the weekend go? I’m exhausted!”). I’m hoping it’s not the latter, but it does feel good to see a relatively clean house (the bits that I got cleaned!), a kazillion Goodwill bags, and a much emptier nursery.

This whole “growing a human being in your body” is pretty darn cool…albeit a tad strange and incredibly surreal at times. I’ve been feeling movement for awhile, but it’s definitely become, well, at times more sporadic but more powerful. While Dave hasn’t SEEN it happen yet, the whole belly just MOVES. It seems to be figuring out a schedule…but it hasn’t shared it with me yet. There was a time when every night, upon laying down, it would start up (and would provide for a sweet moment when Daddy could make a connection by feeling it), but not s’much anymore. I only wish I could describe exactly what it feels like. At times a push. Others a tickling. Still others a brush (such as a hand or fist, knuckles and all, rubbing up against me). But, most of the time, it just makes me have to pee.

Yes, we’re working on names. No definites yet. And, no, we won’t be sharing them – not here on the blog, not with friends, not even with immediate family (with the exception of checking in with my sis about any “finalists” in the running – she paid the courtesy to me, simply because there are some family names we might have both wanted, so it’s only fair to do the same. Plus, she’s my best friend). It’ll be a surprise for almost everyone – even us, until we meet the little one! ๐Ÿ™‚ (Some folks may take that as a “neener neener”, but it’s just how we feel about it.) The same goes for belly touching. I’m just not cool with it unless you’re the papa. (And I’ve got that narrowed down to 3 possibilities.)

I’m hoping people got that last joke…

The coming of spring definitely has a way of rejuvenating folks, doesn’t it? The sunshine makes you happier, the warmth gives you hope (for some reason…again, it’s not like we had a brutal winter, but when we DO get one, the idea that “nothing bad lasts forever” seems to bring with it some cheer), and the animals remind you of new life. That being said, it also tells me that we need to get our butts into gear on lots o’ stuff. The warmer it gets, the more I’m reminded I need to do. And, yet, I don’t feel overwhelmed. Not quite yet. (Perhaps never! This prenatal yoga’s really helping!)

Happy Slapdash Sunday! Well, I hope you had a wonderful weekend, wherever you may be; enjoy your week ahead.