Saturday #173

Saturday #173 was our final summer Saturday for this year. We got up early and hit the road. We drove up to Port Clinton with the idea of a day at the beach. On the way there Rolfie told us he was hungry (because he wouldn't eat his breakfast at home) so we stopped off and fed him, he loved that we ate outside beside Lake Erie. We went to the spot we had in mind for swimming next only to find  the bacteria levels were unsafe.

We drove on to Catawba Island but we were unsure about the water quality and no one else was at that beach, rather than risk it we continued on in search of a place to swim. We dropped off at the Perch Festival and asked the locals where to go, they pointed us to East Harbor State Park. We found it with no issues.

Rolfie loves the water. He had a great time swimming with us. The beach was perfect for taking children to as the water was clear and not too deep. We spent a few hours there, everyone had fun! I loved seeing my brave little boy jumping and laughing in the small waves.

Rolfie was exhausted when we left, he took a short nap in the car and we stopped by at a Friendly's for dinner. The day in the sun and water helped him work up quite an appetite. He ate all of his cheeseburger and fries, then he ate half of his Daddy's fries, he still had room and ate an entire ice cream sundae. He left full and happy.

We headed home to start preparing for a visit from my mother in law the next day. Rolf dropped off to sleep later than usual, but quite happy. He dreamed of swimming that night, he was laughing and kicking in his sleep.

Now that the weekend has come and gone, I realize that next summer all of our adventures will be different, we will no longer be a little family of 3, we will have a baby along for the fun. A part of me is happy and excited about the change but there is a part of me that feels sad at the last chapters of this story. I have been so content with my son that I am not ready for all of that to change when I am honest with myself.

I have to say that while we really didn't do anything extraordinary other than drive to the Lake, it was the perfect end to our summer. The memories of my son splashing in the waves will hold me over until next summer when we create new summer memories together.

I hope you were able to enjoy your family over the weekend.

One Dish Meal Ideas

  •  Photo Credit: Photos belong to their respective owners. All recipes are linked from the photographs – click on a photo to visit the creator’s blog and view the recipes. 

In my effort to get prepared for life with a new baby and a very busy 3 year old I have been scouring pinterest for delicious one dish meals. I wanted to share a few that caught my eye with you in hopes of making your life a little easier when it comes to dinner time.

Broccoli, Spinach & Meatball Pie- this looks really great, it would be satisfying and seems easy to prepare.

Loaded Mashed Potato Casserole- This says a perfect side dish, but I am thinking if you added extra bacon, in a pinch this could be a meal on its own. I anticipate days when my family will be lucky to eat at all so this would be a yummy option that everyone would like.

King Ranch Mac & Cheese- Food for the weary soul that preschoolers would eat too. Who doesn't like Mac & Cheese?

Mexican Lasagna with a Twist- My family likes lasagna and mexican food, so I anticipate this would be easy to make and a crowd pleaser.

I fall back on Fried Rice often as my little boy will eat veggies if they are in Fried Rice. The idea of using just a rice cooker to make this makes my heart feel super happy!

Skillet Lasagna looks amazing, easy and I think everyone in my home would be happy to be served this for dinner and the leftovers would make a great lunch.

Pizza Casserole- what can I say about this other than yummy!?

For good measure and the chance there is actually time to make dessert- Fried Apple Hand Pies would be such a great alternative to the ones you can buy in a gas station!

I hope this post has inspired you to make something great without making a mess of your kitchen!

My Kia, My Life Stage

Picture this: It is mid April 2010. I am very pregnant and ready to have a baby at any time. My husband and I found that we needed a new car, and we needed it right now!

We spent several days shopping for the perfect car for our family when a maroon Kia caught my eye. This was the car, the car we needed and that I wanted. End of story right? After very little hesitation my husband (Adam) agreed and we bought the Kia, and we took it home to install a car seat!

The Kia Spectra has been the perfect little car for all of my outings, it gets great gas mileage and it runs like a dream. I have needed next to no repairs on it in the 3 + years it has been a part of the family. It is dependable, it looks great and we can always count on the Kia for our needs of transportation.

Now this little family is about to get a +1. Our daughter is due in a matter of weeks and we realize... it is time for another car. We need something a little bigger to accommodate the growing needs of our family. My husband and I have been so happy with the Kia Spectra we are not even considering any other brand of car. We want another Kia and this time we have our eye on the roomy and visually appealing Kia Sorento.  Look at all this room! It will definitely hold everything required to travel with kids.

We have been shopping around for a great deal on the Kia of our dreams, as we would love to have the first moments with a Sorento like we did with the Spectra. Installing the car seat, the ride home from the hospital, the first trip out together as a family. Not of 3, but of 4. 
(Images courtesy of Motor Trend)
I know I can count on Kia to offer a dependable vehicle that is built to last no matter how our lives change.  I wouldn't consider buying any other vehicle after owning a Kia for several years.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Dear Weary Mom

Dear Weary Mom,

Do you ever get tired of hearing about how perfect everyone else's life is? How well behaved and amazing their kids are? How supportive their parents and siblings are? How happy their marriage is? Well, I do! I admit that easily, all you perfect and happy people annoy me! My life is not perfect. In fact, there have been more days than not in recent times when I am in shambles, I am hopeless and ready to call it quits. I fantasize about just picking up the pieces of me that are scattered all over my messy life and walking away to find a fresh start in a place where no one knows my name or cares.

There are so many days in this life that I feel neglected, uncared for, and unimportant. Days that I feel like I may never get my groove back, and in all honesty I don't even know if I want my groove back. Days that I want to just quit. Give up. Move on to a new adventure. Or maybe even skip the adventure and just find contentment in being me.

I love my son more than anything, when I daydream about quitting everything and moving on to try life from another latitude, know he is always with me. My son is the part of me that always remains in place when all my other pieces are scattered about. Now, I admit my undying and unwavering admiration and affection for this kid, and sure I think he is amazing, but in reality he can be a brat! He doesn't always listen, he is going through a hitting phase and he wears me out. But I love him and wouldn't change him even if I could.

My parents are not overly supportive, or unsupportive really. They are just... disinterested I guess. My siblings? We try, but we all live away from each other and if it weren't for facebook we probably wouldn't ever talk to each other. My in laws... a nightmare not worth talking about.

My marriage is not perfect, in fact it is as far from perfect as possible. It has been getting to the point of downright dysfunction and at times I am ready to give up. Things started going downhill as soon as I began to feel and look pregnant. My husband doesn't seem to appreciate that I am growing a life inside of me and I feel like at times he resents my body changes and medical complications. Sometimes I have to remind him that he is not taking care of me and my needs, which makes me feel frustrated. I am grateful that he will listen and consider what I have said. He might not jump to change his behavior, but within a day or so he will have come around and do the little things that I want him to do, like holding my hand or rubbing my feet. When I am brutally honest, I hate that I have to tell him how to treat me at this time in my life. I hate that he treats me like I have changed somehow because I am pregnant. It makes me feel like when I have the baby life will be normal for him, but what about me and my feelings?

Days like today, I feel empty and discouraged. Do you ever feel like that?

Despite the grim outlook I have adopted in the past few months, I find hope hidden somewhere deep inside of me. I have hope that no matter what happens life isn't over for me. There are always going to be new opportunities for change, growth and happiness. I have hope that I can do this, I can see it through and I will only be stronger next week, month, year.

Dear Weary Mom, sometimes life hands you broken dreams, lemons and messes. It is how we handle these situations that makes us better people because of them. I am trying to remind myself that yes, things seem bad now... but there is always tomorrow, eventually it will get better and things will change again.

So, my life is not perfect. I am not the greatest mom or wife, or relative. I am not a great friend all the time. I am jealous and resentful of the perfect image others portray... But at least I can admit that.

Saturday #172

Another Saturday has come and gone at a speed I can barely fathom. Summer is winding down in my area. Nights have been cool (We were in the 40's at night last week) and the days have been mild in the 70's. The weather has been nice and is getting me in the spirit of fall. We have one more weekend before the hubby returns to work, the new school year looms ahead.

On Saturday #172 my family got a bit of a late start and we had no real plans. My husband asked me what I would like to do, so I contemplated it for a few moments. I have been feeling well enough to start taking walks again so I decided I wanted to take a walk and head to the mall to find fall shoes for Roo.

We started at the mall, the place was busy with back to school shoppers. We headed to the shoe store, but I am sorry I refuse to pay $60 for kids shoes that my 3 year old will yuck up in a flash. That wasn't a wasted trip entirely as we found a great deal on shoes for Adam for work.

We tried JC Penney, but the selection they had to offer was more along the summer line so we headed to Sears where I found a fantastic pair for Roo that light up and have Batman on them. I was even happier with the choice when they rang up significantly lower than the sticker price as they were on sale. While we were there we browsed the baby section and found a few outfits for Harper. I am *almost* done shopping for her! She needs only a few long sleeve onesies, shoes, and maybe a few more dresses in a 0-3 month size, a crib and a car seat. It has been driving me crazy to not have those things, but I am trying to hold off and take my Mother In Law along for the shopping trip as she wants to feel included, but in all honesty her opinions won't sway my purchases. I guess she is just going to be along for the ride on that one, and it sure beats having her at doctors appointments or in the hospital when Harper is born.

After the shopping was finished we took a walk on the Bike Trail. It was pleasant and most importantly good exercise for everyone. My husband realized I was not in the mood to go home and start preparing dinner so we stopped at Bob Evan's and I enjoyed having someone else do the work for me.

Saturday 172 was not action packed. It was simple and slow paced and perfect for what ails me. I need a break from day to day life and shopping always makes me feel better, especially for baby stuff!

I hope you had a chance to enjoy time with your family over the weekend!

Crockpot Ideas for Dinner

  •  Photo Credit: Photos belong to their respective owners. All recipes are linked from the photographs – click on a photo to visit the creator’s blog and view the recipes. 

There are days when I have a hard time cooking dinner. With a busy 3 year old involved cooking can become downright difficult! I have started to think ahead to what will I do when Harper gets here?!
This led me to start searching pinterest for easy options that I can and will be able to pull off while I am adapting to life with 2 children.

Here are a few of the options that I have selected. I hope this post helps you to find easy and delicious meal options for your family too.

I think Pizza Lasagna will appeal to the whole family. We like pizza, we like lasagna, and I could get this assembled the night before when the kids are in bed. 

My husband gets a craving for meatloaf from time to time, Crockpot Meatloaf should fuel his need for meatloaf and my need for something I can assemble when I have a free moment and forget about it.

There is just something about artichokes that make me feel good. Crockpot Artichokes is going on my list to cook without a doubt.

Chicken and Gravy is food for a weary soul! This will be a go to for my family many times in the future.

Crockpot Potato Soup sounds perfect for a cool fall day when life with the kids has been hectic.

Crockpot Beef Stew will make my husband very happy this fall. When he is happy, I am happy!

Mexican Chicken Soup sounds like it will warm us up on a chilly evening. I think my 3 year old will even eat this!

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Dear Weary Mom

Dear Weary Mom,
How often are you made to feel like you are doing it wrong?

I get super annoyed with the competitive and judgmental nature of the majority of mothers and the judgment of non parents too. I was reading a blog post about how too much stroller time is bad for children, as it makes them fat. I felt like reaching out and slapping someone at that. Rolf rode in a stroller until he was 2 and a half... does that make me a bad parent? For keeping him safely contained and getting him out and about? According to that guy... yes.

With a baby on the way in 7 weeks, people are asking me if I will breastfeed as if it is any of their business to begin with. When I say "Well, I am going to pump for about 2 weeks to supplement formula feeding..." They go bananas. They tell my husband to put his foot down and demand that I breastfeed. They tell him he needs to be the advocate for breastfeeding. Luckily, he is wise enough to know to say "It is her body, not mine. She can feed the baby however she pleases."

When we are asked about childbirth I feel like screaming. I am having a c section, I had my son via emergency c section. People are quick to tell me that I need to find a new doctor if he won't allow me the joy of a natural birth. My doctor is a great one! He admits that they are not equipped to handle a VBAC and if I want one I can go to Columbus Ohio's Grant Hospital for the birth where they are equipped for that. I say "No, thank you a planned c section is fine with me."

Other people are quick to judge the mother that takes pain medication during childbirth. Why does anyone feel that it is their right to pass judgment on another during such a painful and exhaustive experience? It is called labor for a reason! If you don't want to feel the agonizing pain of birth then you shouldn't have to suffer to please a bunch of strangers. If you are willing to endure the pain, my hat goes off to you!

If I take Rolf for a walk and he is struggling to get away, he is fighting and I need to carry him home, people will say "Get him a leash if he can't behave." But, if I take him in the wagon or stroller I hear "He should be walking."

If I buy disposable diapers I hear how bad they are for the planet. But when I am using cloth, which I use both, I hear how gross that is...

If I scold my child in public, watch out! Someone will tell me "You shouldn't tell him he is being a bad boy, that will damage him!" Yet, if I ignore his antics someone butts in and tells me that he will never respect me if I don't discipline him...

Weary Mom, if you feel like you are doing it all wrong, don't fret or feel alone. I am your companion as I am doing it all wrong too. Trust me, I hear it enough from perfect strangers as well as people I know.  (Thank you to my husbands aunt for telling me I am a bad mother because I won't leave my son with a sitter or his grandma who I don't trust.)

What I have come to realize and understand is this: We do the best we can, we try our best, we agonize over the choices we make for our families. We will never please everyone. It is easy for people to butt in to the business of raising our kids. It is easy to offer unwanted advice, unhelpful comments and general meanness... because they aren't the ones doing the work of parenting your kids!

If you feel like you are doing it all wrong, don't worry. You are not doing it all wrong. Parenting is a process, we learn as we go.

If you hear from others how you are doing it all wrong, or what they did better than you, give them a smile. Remind them that raising your kids is your business, and it is quite rude to butt into the business of others. Tell them that you are proud of them for being a better parent than you are. I bet they will shut up and think twice about pestering another mother about how she is doing it all wrong.

Saturday 171

Another week has come and gone in our lives. Time has been passing so quickly. On Saturday 171 I woke up too early, found myself frustrated and not in the best mood and in a hurry.

It was the weekend of the annual Lincoln Highway Buyway sales, so my family wanted to get an early start, earlier than I wanted that is. I grumbled to myself a bit and got ready to go. We hit the road and started hitting the sales. We had breakfast and met a new friend.

As the day continued it got warm, my family started getting grumpy. My son was bored and hot, my husband was annoyed with the grumpy kid. I was annoyed at having to hear about how grumpy the kid was. Finally we headed home. I was relieved to call it quits!

I did find a ton of great baby stuff for Harper at bargain prices, and an indoor grill. So the day wasn't a total loss. I was glad to have the time away from the routine of cooking, cleaning, working. I spent the time with my family as is my goal every weekend. My heart was heavy most of the weekend though as my grandma passed away a few days ago after a battle with cancer.

The reality of our lack of time together made me feel sad among other emotions. The grown up in me says I am glad she passed and is now free of pain and is no longer suffering, but the kid in me still wrestles with emotions I am unprepared to deal with.

I hope your family had time together over the weekend.

Saturday #170

On Saturday #170 my family headed out and about as we usually do.

First we went to a book sale at the library. My husband found quite a few he wanted to read. The selection was depleted in the kids section and I couldn't find any of the authors I read. I ended up getting a copy of Dear John for $1. I was happy enough.

After that we headed to nearby Lexington for a party in the park. My son was happy to play on the inflatables and to flirt with a ton of girls! It was a sunny and warm day, we enjoyed the experience and the time outside.

My little guy was quite upset to have to leave but he recovered well and was in good spirits after dropping off for a cold fruity drink. We ran into Target as I needed a few t shirts. Most of my t shirts were getting to be too tight like everything else I own. At 7 1/2 months I am looking rounder and rounder every day!
I felt happy to put on a loose fitting t shirt after leaving the store.

We came home to take a walk together as a family. Rolfie was in the wagon riding, but he reached his hand out to me, and climbed out. We walked half way home together hand in hand. He kept looking up at me to smile, I was totally melted.

After the walk, Rolfie had a bath and went to bed. I curled up with a book for a few minutes then decided a bath sounded nice for me too! I returned feeling a little better, I continued to read for a bit, watched a few episodes of Curb Your Enthusiasm with my husband and fell asleep on the sofa.

The day was not super eventful but we were together as a family, enjoying the outdoors and the company of each other.

I hope you had a chance to enjoy time with the people you love over the weekend as well. I write this weekly post because there are 940 Saturdays from the time your child is born until they are ready to leave for college. Keeping track of how we spent our time together is important as someday I will look back on these posts and have a reminder of how our weekends were spent.