Monday, July 9, 2012

Finding Miracles





Sleep eludes me for long periods at night. It is not so much insomnia as it is my own mind racing with all the thoughts that clamber about in my head. Thoughts about my role as a mother, a wife,a daughter, a sister a friend. Thoughts about my place in this world and what legacy I will leave my daughter. Thoughts about my career path, my new position in a new school, my life as it were in general. I think about writing, about words, stories, characters, plots that drift through my slumber and are so real, so vivid it is as though I am there on the page in my mind with them. I've written a hundred books in my head only to have the words dissipate as I awaken.

My thoughts consume my night hours. My worries overwhelm, my anxiety heightens, as I continue to race through the minefield that is my mind. Stress aggravates my nightly thoughts (Big surprise there I know) but so does the quiet. The infinite stillness that night brings when I only hear the rhythmic breathing of my husband and my baby as they slumber brings forth a cacophony of noise in my mind. I lay restless. Tossing, turning, writhing with need for deep uninterrupted sleep with no thoughts, no dreams. For there are the times when sleep comes heavy upon my mind and then lashes me with an assault of nightmares. Doctors say when you have experienced a horrific event it stays with you. Time does not always heal all wounds but time does lessen the sting. Or so I am told.

I have learned to "Be Still" and know that God is there. To release my racing heart, my fleeting thoughts, my fears and find peace. I turn to a place in my heart where I know miracles exist and can be called forth. My miracle? I have had many these past few years --the most thrilling miracle of all is my daughter. I am blessed. I know that. But still the mind yammers with a deluge of thoughts. I haven't learned to quiet all the external noise just yet. But I am working on it everyday. I am guided. I see true miracles. Yet,I know I still need to let go of the external hurt and pain and just live in the quietness of peace.

Returning to a place of love isn't always easy. Letting go of past hurts, of pains, of anguishes isn't easy. But there comes a realization that one must find a way to have peace within themselves or life will always be a struggle. I don't come to peace easily. I spent most of my young adult life worried about how I was perceived. Was I pretty enough? Smart enough? Charming enough? Talented enough? Did it matter that my IQ was 144--I sucked at math I must be defective. I was not outgoing, I was shy. I must be defective. I couldn't play sports. I must be defective. I wasn't blond. I must be defective. I went to a public high school. I must be defective. I didn't have a boyfriend. I must be defective. And on and on and on. A litany of self loathing that I internalized and used against myself.

Until there came an event that changed everything for me.( Near death experiences have that effect on people I am told.) It was as if my entire life came sharply into focus and I said "No more". No more self loathing, no more being a victim of life. It was time to actually LIVE the life I had.

As are most things in life, this was easier said than done. It takes time to reevaluate and refocus your life for the good. It isn't easy. I often liken it to a twelve step group. I have to work my way through each level and learn and grow before I can move onto the next step. Its a slow process. Thus, my sleep struggles continue.  I have issues with trust. Trusting others. Trusting myself. I am working on it. I was a grudge holder for a long time in my life. I've let go of the grudges. That was very hard. To forgive and truly let go is not easy. Some forgiveness is still being worked. Some pain has not yet been forgotten. But I am working on it.

Miracles happen. Everyday. Not just to me but to anyone who wants one. You just need to believe in it. Truly without any hesitation-you must believe. Some situations are easier than others. But at the heart of all miracles is love. Find it and return to it. Let the angels guide you. They are here watching and waiting for you to ask for their help. Obviously, I have found a deeper meaning in my faith since this all began. It is more than just praying. It is developing a deep and abiding relationship that guides me through my life. My faith is extremely important to me now in a way that is more meaningful and more loving than ever before.

 As stated in the Course in Miracles--"Miracles are seen in light". You have to move past the darkness to find the light. Only then can you give and receive miracles. Because "light and strength are one." I found my strength when I moved into the light and let go of hate. There is only love. God is love. We are love. It is with that knowledge that I find miracles.

Miracles are not once in a lifetime phenomenons. They are everyday graces that we must be open to receive. Open your heart and miracles will come your way. The biggest miracle was my daughter. She has opened up my heart in ways I never thought possible. The way I love her is a love like none on this earth. She is a gift from God and the biggest blessing I have ever received from Him. Her birth brought a litany of miracles to me. Everyday I am graced with such love and happiness. That is a miracle. Each time she smiles. Each hug. Each cuddle. Each time she says "Momma" it is a miracle. Miracles are everywhere. You just need to know how to find them.

Love may be the greatest miracle because it is love that brought me back from the brink. It was love that brought forth my daughter. It was love that propels me forward each day. So yes, the night and its infinite darkness may be long at times but I continuing the journey towards the light and finding miracles along the way.


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Mommy Rule #1 :To Thine Routine Be True



This is the first post in an occasional series I will be writing on the wisdom I gain while mothering the Sweet Pea. These are the Mommy Rules. However, I just want to state that these little gems are in no way being given as professional or medical advice. These are simply things I have learned or discovered that are true for me and the Sweet Pea. All children, especially babies, are different, as are mothering styles. This is just my take on the experiences I have with my child. I am not, I repeat, I am not telling anyone how to raise their child! (I just wanted to get that out of the way first.)

Mommy Rule # 1 : To Thine Routine Be True

The past few days I learned something very important about my darling child. She does not like changes in her routine in any way, shape, or form!!

Over the past few months, the Sweet Pea and I have established a pretty predictable routine and schedule. A typical day for the Sweet Pea looks a bit like this:

6:15-6:30 a.m wake up and have diaper changed
6:30-7:00 have first bottle of the day and cuddle with Mommy
7:00-8:00 play on mat, or in exersaucer, practice trying to crawl, or just roll all over
8:00-9:00 another diaper change
9:00-10:00 have cereal -make huge mess while being encouraged to feed self and drink from cup--laugh hysterically at mess-- enjoy food immensely
10:00 -11:00 play in back room with Mommy
11:00-11:30 usually nod off for a quick cat nap
11:30 -12:00 have a bottle and watch Sesame street episode while hanging out in chair or while mommy gets on treadmill--laugh hysterically at Mommy trying to work out
12:00 -1:00 another diaper change! More play time. Do baby art or play outside
1:00-- Lunch --make even bigger mess while eating and laugh at mess as Mommy tries to clean it up
2:00-3:00--run errands with Mommy if necessary or nod off for another quick cat nap
3:00-4:00 --have another bottle, another diaper change, hang out with Mommy in kitchen while she washes dishes or does laundry
4:00-5:00 Daddy is home! Spend time with Daddy and go on computer to Skype with Grandma and older sister who live in the mountains
5:00-6:00 Dinner time!
6:00-7:00 --wind down time, cuddle with mommy or daddy
7:00 -8:00- bath time, bottle, bed

Really that is a pretty typical day for her. And since I am a stay at home mom I can pretty much ensure that her routine doesn't ever go askew. Except for the last few days. I had to have a surgical procedure on Tuesday. So that meant on Monday I had to go over to the hospital for Pre-Admission Testing at 9 am. Thus our routine was shot to hell before lunch.

 Also, because we were at the hospital and my Lil Sweet Pea is a meatball who is not walking or crawling yet she had to stay confined to her car seat carrier. Since the Sweet Pea is just on the crux of being mobile -being confined to her carrier for almost four hours was I think a bit torturous for her. Now for the most part she was her usual, smiling, people happy self. She really did hold it together and did well. Even if she did have to take two bottles in her seat and couldn't really cuddle with Mommy.  However, it was when we got home that she just lost it completely. She just wanted to be held and not be put down. She was quick to cry and did not want to eat or play. Then I had to run out to the Pharmacy and pick up some medicine and when I put her back in the car seat she just lost it completely. It was an EPIC meltdown. I have never seen her lose it so bad before. Even the hubby, couldn't believe it. She was just a mess. It was heartbreaking for me because I knew the next day would throw her for even more of a loop.

And boy did it ever. We had to leave early for the hospital. So that threw her off. Then so did the fact that Daddy was home and with us. Then Mommy was in a hospital gown. Then Daddy was with her all day and Mommy was not. She was to say the least not a happy baby.

The procedure went well and Daddy came to get me at the hospital. But when Daddy left to go pull the car around and the nurse who was very kind tried to hold Sweet Pea while I got dressed--well all hell broke loose. Sweet Pea was having none of that. Even as groggy and dazed as I was I don't think I have ever pulled on clothes that fast in my life! I didn't even get in the wheelchair to be discharged I just carried the Sweet Pea out. Of course, as soon as I had her she was fine but then we had to put her in the car seat which lead to another epic meltdown all the way home.

When we got home hubby got me to bed and I pretty much slept for the rest of the afternoon while he dealt with the not too happy baby. She didn't even take one of her cat naps and refused to eat any food. She just took her bottles. Then last night at bed time she literally screamed herself to sleep. It was hellish.

The Sweet Pea definitely does not like her routines changed. I definitely know  now to try to keep her routine as close to normal as usual to ensure a relatively happy baby. Next time, something like this comes up that is going to disrupt more than a day for the Sweet Pea, I know to call for help or get a babysitter.

So lesson learned for this Mommy. To thine Routine be True.




Thursday, April 12, 2012

Defending the Right To Be a Stay At Home Mother



I try very hard to steer clear of political issues on my blog. Not because politics doesn't interest me, it does. In fact, I actually minored in political science at WCU  before changing schools and my major. However, my zeal for a life in politics has waned. This blog's focus is on family and the life journey we are on.But that is neither here nor there. This post isn't about politics per se, but  the post was inspired by the debate sparked by a Democratic strategist by the name of Hilary Rosen.

Hilary Rosen was on Anderson Cooper's show and said the following "His wife has actually never worked a day in her life,” Rosen told Anderson Cooper. “She’s never really dealt with the kinds of economic issues that a majority of the women in this country are facing in terms of how do we feed our kids, how do we send them to school and how do we — why we worry about their future.”

This statement has nothing to do with the current  political race and more to do with the assumption that because a woman chooses to stay home and raise her children she knows nothing about the outside world. When I heard this I could only ask myself "Why do women feel the need to tear down other women?"

 Ann Romney is not clueless simply because she is a mother who stayed at home. From my research on Ann Romney it appears she is quite well educated and well spoken.She attended Brigham Young university and received her undergraduate degree from Harvard University. She also continues to live a full and active life raising her boys even after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

 Furthermore, for Ms. Rosen to contend that Ann Romney has "never worked a day in her life" one can conclude that Ms. Rosen is unfamiliar with the trials and tribulations of raising one child, let alone five.  So for anyone who thinks staying at home and raising children is "easy" or makes us, as stay at home moms "lazy" or "uneducated" let me dispel that line of thinking. Staying home and raising a child is the hardest thing in the world. I taught in the elementary school system for over ten years, had classes with 30+ students and I never worked as hard as I do now staying home with my daughter. There are no breaks, there is no lunch hour, there are no days off,  no half days, no vacation, and there is no clocking out, because as a stay at home mother my job is NEVER done.

Let me tell you something, Ms. Rosen-- I worry everyday how I am going to feed my child, where I will send her to school, and what her future will be like. Just because I chose to stay at home does not make me an imbecile. I, not only, hold a Bachelor of Arts degree in Early Childhood and Elementary Education, I also hold an MBA (that would be a Masters in Business Administration). I understand the economic issues of the day even if I am not currently in the workforce. I am well versed on what is happening in this country. See, Ms. Rosen when you attacked Mrs. Romney and said those things about her, it is like you were saying it about all stay at home mothers because we made the choice not to go back to work after having our children. Your theory seems to be that because someone does not work they don't understand life. It seems to me Ms. Rosen, you are the one who doesn't understand life.

Staying at home is not a choice for everyone. I know plenty of mothers who make the choice to go back to work after having their child. That is a wonderful and noble choice. But it was not my choice. I would rather go without some luxuries or fancy vacations or new clothes for awhile and stay home with my little girl. But that is my choice. It doesn't mean it is the right choice for every woman who has a child. I would never expect it to be.

However, the tone of Ms. Rosen's argument on Anderson Cooper's show is that somehow being a stay at home mother makes Ann Romney someone who should not be taken seriously when she speaks. I find it insulting for someone to assume that because I am staying home with my child I can longer hold an intelligent conversation on the issues. Believe me when I say I can and will debate anyone on any number of subjects that pertain to today's issues and I will do it intelligently. I am not a moron because I choose to stay home with my child.

I can not speak for all mothers who stay at home, and honestly I am not trying to. It was just so disheartening when I read this story that a woman would go on the attack against another woman just because that woman chose to stay home. I am not saying Ms. Rosen is a bad person, but her comments were hurtful not just to Ann Romney but to me as well. Those words felt very much like an attack on the choice to stay home. In this day and age, I don't think I should have to defend my choice to stay home and raise my daughter. But if I need to then so be it.

I don't know what Ann Romney or any other stay at home mothers' reason would be to make the choice to not work but I can tell you my reason.  When I was 33 years old I was told by my doctors that it would be nearly impossible for me to conceive  a child due to my numerous and extremely serious health issues at the time. So, when I finally did get healthy and was miraculously able to conceive  and carry a baby to term I knew I could not just go back to work. This time at home is a gift. I am able to be here for every tear but also for every giggle. I work harder now than I ever did. I am in a state of constant exhaustion. But I love every minute of it. I am here to see all of my daughter's little "firsts", from her first belly laugh to her first time sitting up. I am here. For me, that is more important than any career move could be right now. But don't be fooled--I WORK my butt off everyday taking care of my bundle of joy. But I wouldn't trade it for the world.

                                           *I do adore my lil Sweet Pea!!!!*

It is my hope that as women, we can respect each others choices and support each other not tear each other down or try to one up each other on accomplishments. So in that vein, I leave you with the following to ponder:

"Being a full-time mother is one of the highest salaried jobs... since the payment is pure love." -- Mildred B. Vermont 

 "Though motherhood is the most important of all the professions -- requiring more knowledge than any other department in human affairs -- there was no attention given to preparation for this office." -- Elizabeth Cady Stanton

All mothers are working mothers." -- Unknown 

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Happy Easter


Yesterday we took the Sweet Pea to the Coventry Mall to get her first picture with the Easter Bunny. As you can see she had no fear! She was all smiles for everyone--from the people and children in line, to the girl who took the pictures, and even big smiles for the cashiers at the end! Our Sweet Pea is such a people person! She loves to laugh and giggle with everyone around her!

This was such a "mommy milestone" kind of day for me. Mommy milestones are the moments that are big to me because it is the first time we do something with or for the Sweet Pea. They are sweet and joyful moments, but also a bit bittersweet too. Sweet Pea just had her first picture with the Easter Bunny so that is a "first moment" that we have experienced now. So while it is such a joyful moment it is also a bit sad because we had looked upon that moment with anticipation and now it is done. However, there are more "mommy milestones" for me to experience and many, many more "firsts" for the Sweet Pea to look forward and celebrate in the days ahead.

As we prepare for the Easter holiday, I can not believe the Sweet Pea is almost seven months old! It seems like it was just yesterday I was bringing her home from the hospital. Now just seven  short months later, she is sitting up by herself, drinking from her bottle all by herself, and doing so much more than I thought she would be! She amazes me everyday with the things she can do!  She was such a tiny, little bundle of joy and now she is my big,smiling ray of sunshine.

 Easter is especially meaningful for me this year because as a Catholic, I celebrate the risen Jesus as the Light of the World. I am  also celebrating because the Sweet Pea is my little light in this world too. She has brought me so much happiness I don't think I can ever adequately express it in words.

However, I do know that this Easter will be especially bright and especially wonderful because the Sweet Pea is here celebrating with us.

To everyone, whether you celebrate Easter or Passover, may you too rejoice in the joy the world can bring  with laughter,  with smiles, with songs, but  most of all,  let us rejoice through love.

Much luv!
Laura


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Doctor Appointment Fun

I have lived in Pottstown for approximately three years. In those three years it never occurred to me to change my primary physician to a physician who practiced medicine in the town I live. Whenever, I was sick I would just call my old doctor's office, tell them my symptoms and hope to heck they wouldn't make me drive down for an in office visit. An in office visit meant a drive down 422 and then down 73 which is over an hour long. I hate driving into the city. Now with the arrival of the Sweet Pea it finally occurred to me to change doctors. So I did. To a practice right here in town. Less than five minutes from my home. Why did I not do this say oh three years ago???   

To tell the truth, I liked my old doctor alot. He was nice and he listened to his patients and took time to speak with you until you understood or felt comfortable with a diagnosis. But the problem was he was over an hours drive from me now and his practice is huge now and the wait times were atrociously long. Sometimes I would be waiting to see the doctor for over an hour and a half. It was just getting ridiculous. I could not handle the drive and the waiting with a six month old in tow. So it was time for a new doctor! Plus the fact that I have had the dry, scaly, itchy red swollen thing happening on my hand for over a month now and I was beginning to fear it was some weird flesh eating disease.

I have to admit going to the doctor has always felt like being sent to the Principal's office to me. I have had some really bad doctors in the past (this also explains my unwillingness to change doctors ) . I will admit that in my late twenties thru early thirties I had gained an enormous amount of weight and some not so nice doctors were very harsh with me about it. I literally had one former doctor say to me I "would never have children and if by some miracle I did get pregnant at that weight how would I take care of a child??"  Thus, I have some fears with new doctors and what they will say about my weight or my health Not that I am heavy in that regard anymore and I have changed my lifestyle to include healthy eating and regular exercise but still that fear lingers. 

So today was my first appointment with the new doctor and it went really well. Whew!! What a relief that was! I had a full physical and everything looked okay. The doctor was fine about everything and said I looked good! YAY!! 


But I do have to have some blood work done as a routine check because I may be a bit anemic. But all in all the first appointment at the new practice went really well. The staff were very nice and the doctor was very reassuring.

Oh, and the mystery ailment on my hand that I thought was a flesh eating disease??? Just eczema.



Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Hubby's Birthday Celebration

Yesterday was the hubby's birthday! There he is with the Sweet Pea! Isn't he handsome?

Hubby turned 46 (and yes he is older than me--almost ten years older!) I always joke that I am his trophy wife. Ha!  But it is true in a roundabout way.  The hubby was married before and he does have two other daughters who are 16 and 19 years old respectively.  Now he is married to me with a six month old so technically I suppose that makes me the "trophy" wife!

In honor of his birthday the Sweet Pea and I bought him gifts that appeal to his nature. I bought him a pressure cooker that he has been eyeing up at the store for months now. The hubby is a fantastic chef and the kitchen is wholly his domain! I gladly stay out of the kitchen as cooking is just not my forte. I am a total disgrace to my Italian heritage in that regard. But back tot he hubby and his birthday celebration. He was very excited about the pressure cooker and wants to get a pot roast this weekend to try cooking in it. IRON CHEF here we come!!!

The Sweet Pea bought her Daddy a video game called Punch Out since he is equally obsessed with playing video games since we bought the Wii at Christmas. He was just as excited about that and played the Wii for over an hour last night! So yay the Sweet Pea and I did good!!

But honestly, I think the thing that hubby was most excited about was the fact that we took him out to dinner at the Shady Maple Smorgasbord. It is a buffet type restaurant but its amped up on steroids! This is what their website wrote as the description of the place:

"Shady Maple is a family tradition! Discover the experience of dining at Lancaster County's largest smorgasbord featuring 200 feet of deliciously authentic Pennsylvania Dutch cooking. At Shady Maple some of Lancaster County's finest cooks prepare all your favorite PA Dutch foods, as well as some exciting new dishes. Be sure to check our daily dinner specials including steak, prime rib, seafood and more."

Check out their website at  http://www.shady-maple.com/smorgasbord


(And no I am not being paid to endorse this place--we just love it that much!)

The food is so good! This place is huge! 200 feet of food!!!!! There are so many different things to try--honestly the first time I went I was so overwhelmed I did not know where to start!

The hubby was excited because not only was it his birthday and his dinner was free (yay!) but it was also steak night! So he was able to get his steaks and prime rib! YUM!

And of course the Sweet Pea was her usual friendly self smiling at everyone at making friends with all the people who walked by our table! Everywhere we go the Sweet Pea makes friends! She loves people!

So overall, I think the Sweet Pea and I did a good job of making the hubby's birthday nice! And that makes me smile! So Happy Birthday to the Hubby!!



Monday, April 2, 2012

My Blog is Now a Part of the Pottsmerc Time Square!!

http://www3.allaroundphilly.com/Mercury/townsquare.html

This is incredibly exciting for me! My blog will now be a part of a large group of bloggers in the Pottstown area through our newspaper and its online component. I am so excited to be a part of this group of writers. It feels as if my writing dreams are slowly becoming real. I can not wait to be able to go to a meet up and  actually meet some of the bloggers whose work I have admired reading for so long and now I am a part of this group as well!!

Saturday, March 31, 2012

IT'S BEEN MADNESS I TELL YA!

Sorry for the lapse in posts even though I promised to post on my regularly scheduled posting schedule the Sweet Pea had other plans! 

The last two weeks have been crazy with my sweet girl. I believe she has started teething in full force and oh goodness gracious it is not pretty!! She has been a drool monster and her little hands are constantly in her mouth. Then because of this she tends to cough and gag which of course sends me in to a tizzy because I am afraid she is choking. So teething rings were bought and chilled and she likes them well enough but really she prefers launching them across the room or at my head (Seriously, this kid has a real shot a being a major league pitcher someday!) 

But the real issue in all this is how cranky and uncomfortable she has been. And oh so clingy--to the point where if I walked out of her line of sight she had a major meltdown. I felt so helpless because there is nothing I can do to alleviate the pressure or get those little teeth to come in any faster. And the real kicker to all this??? There are still no teeth and the doctor said it could take a couple of months still for a tooth to come through. AHHH!

But things seem to be better this past week and the Sweet Pea is back to her cheerful self albeit with short bursts of intense crankiness! LOL But I can handle that it was just the all day from the time she woke up till the time she fell asleep crankiness I was losing my mind over. 

On top of all this I have recommitted to working out and getting back to my pre-pregnancy size and it is killer! I have a treadmill and an elliptical at home so I am trying to get on them for an hour a day and do some cardio interval training every day. Plus, I signed up for the 100 Burpees a day challenge at my Crossfit gym See video above (AHHHHHH!!!!!)

But I really need to get my YMCA membership renewed so I can use the pool and the stair climbers etc. Plus they have a great play room for the children and now the Sweet Pea is old enough to go in there while I work out. And the staff there are super nice. So I would be able to get in my hour workout with out having to stop every five minutes to get Sweet Pea a new toy or help her back up when she tips over from her seated position (although she is a great sitter now but still HATES being on her tummy). I just want to get back down to my pre-pregnancy weight by summer so the hubby and I can pretty much start trying for baby #2. (I am not getting any younger here and my baby making window is closing in on me! LOL)

So that has been the craziness of my life. I WILL be posting regularly and I am now a part of the Top Mommy Blogs so I still have to figure out how to link up and get votes so bear with me in that regard! Take care!

Much luv!
Laura

Saturday, March 10, 2012

An Exciting News Update

Okay very excited!! I was accepted as a Top Mommy Blog! Yay! So I will be linking to TMB at http://www.topmommyblogs.com/ 

I have to figure out how to get the badge on my site and all the other stuff still but I just had to share my excitement on having my blog accepted! So cool!!!! 

 Very exciting for me and my Lil old blog here!!
So if you are a part of TMB please feel free to offer suggestions or tips on how to utilize my being a part of the community in the best way possible. It will be much appreciated!!


Much luv!
Laura

Programming Note


Okay I am back online! Woo! Last month my cherished net book was infected by some sort of virulent Trojan virus. The virus completely whacked my net book clean. It took the hubby awhile to completely restore my net book to workable status but in the interim the virus completely annihilated everything I had on file. All my blog post ideas, references, writing pieces, etc are GONE. So I have pretty much been trying to restore everything and re-write a good many pieces I had in the different writing stages. Oy vey! But I thought I should definitely jump on here and get a post up so y'all know I am still alive! I will be back on my regular posting schedule starting this week. I have definitely missed writing and checking out all the other blogs. So I promise to get back to posting and commenting this week! Look forward to catching up with all your blogs too!!

Much luv!
Laura

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Friend Makin Monday

FMM: Makeup Favorites


  1. Do you wear makeup everyday? Yes. I do a full face of makeup everyday! 
  2. Does your routine change if you’re going out with friends/on a date/to a party? I will add special party like products like an illuminated blush and powder for slight shimmer.
  3. Are you loyal to one brand, or do you use different brands for different things? I love L'Oreal but have recently been using Rimmel and Hard Candy products too.
  4. Do you wear primer/concealer? If so, what’s your favorite kind?  Always. Iwear a face primer and under eye concealer as well as eye primer so my shadow doesn't crease throughout the day.
  5. What’s your favorite brand of foundation?L'Oreal is my go to foundation but recently I have been using the Rimmel brand too.
  6. Do you use blush and/or bronzer?  I use blush never bronzer
  7. Do you wear eye shadow/eye liner?  Everyday!
  8. What’s your favorite kind of mascara?  Maybelline Great Lash in black
  9. Lipstick? Lip gloss? Both? Favorite? Everyday lipstick is usually NYC in English Rose but I have an entire collection of glosses and lipsticks!!!
  10. Do you wear nail polish regularly? If so, share a few of your favorite brands/colors. I just started doing my own nails (tips--since I am such a nail biter!) and I love the OPI brand --I usually stick with a french manicure or do a red or deep purple
  11. How do you remove your makeup at the end of the day?  Ivory soap.
  12. Do you feel prettier when you’re wearing makeup?  Yes,I always have.
  13. Do you have any beauty tips that you could pass along? Line your waterline with a white eyeliner it will make your eyes look so much more open and big <3

Holy Crap What A Week!

I do not want to whine but o my goodness what a craptastic week we had here at Casa La Pea Pod. 

It started last weekend when hubby had the beginnings of a toothache. Now, most normal people would make an appointment but no, not my husband. He just started a new job and the health insurance has not kicked in yet. So in his mind this meant push through the pain and be EXTREMELY cranky all week until we get to Thursday and he can not take the pain anymore and calls out of work for Friday. Then he tries to get intothe dentist on Friday but they haveno openings until Monday morning. Oh joy. 
                                         ***Oh Woe Is Me!!***

It was a horrendous weekend. Hubby was miserable and the Sweet Pea joined in on the fun by being overly miserable herself. Mommy has more gray hair than necessary now.

The sweet Pea had her four month vaccination shots this past week and it really threw her for a loop. We had to give her baby tylenol for the first time.. It was just a week and weekend from H-E- double hockey sticks!!

Hubby went to the dentist yesterday and the one tooth was so bad it had to be pulled and he has to have root canal on the other. Oh lovely. But he feels better today and was not a miserable shell of a human so that was a good sign. that and he went back to work! Yay! I have to admit I hate it when the hubby is home and sick. He is so unbelievably miserable and he makes a mess that I have to clean up and did I mention hie is CRANKY and snappish with everyone when he is sick?? Fun times, fun times for all this week.

Now on top of all that the dishwasher died. Ugggg. I HATE washing dshes by hand. But withthe way things are right now there is no money for a new dishwasher as just two weeks ago the clothes washer died and we had to buy an new one. So now no dishwasher. Just adding to the fun here let me tell ya! 

Honestly, I wanted to be able to stay home with the Sweet Pea until she turned 1 but the way things are going, I might need to find a job sooner. Plus I applied for Unemployment almost a month ago and haven't heard squat. So job hunting is on this weeks agenda as well.
Which makes me sad because I don't want to put the Sweet Pea in child care yet. (And my thoughts on that are another post entirely)

So that is my update from the trenches. Here's hoping this week is much, much better!!

Much luv!
Laura
 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Monday, January 23, 2012

Monday Listicle: 10 Things Before I Die

Today I decided to link up through The Good Life blog http://www.northwestmommy.com/ for a Monday Listicle on the topic "10 Things Before I Die". I love lists and these types are right up my alley!


So here are ten things I would like to see or do before I die:

1. To watch the Sweet Pea grow up into a lovely young woman and enjoy all the "mommy milestones" that entails.

2. To travel to Italy and Greece with the hubby.

3. To write my book and have the courage to see it published.

4. To take the Sweet Pea on a year long RV trip to see the USA.

5. To open my own business.

6. To move to a small town somewhere in rural America where everyone knows everyone.

7. To learn to speak Italian fluently.

8. To take ballroom dance lessons with the hubby.

9. Learn how to shoot a crossbow

10. See the wild horses run in Montana.

Much luv!
Laura

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Instagram Love

Having had my iPhone for about a year now you would think I would have figured out how to do everything on it, right?? Nope...the iPhone is an endless wonder and I do love, love, love this phone! But because it is such a wonder and it is full of App heaven goodness it took me awhile to get on the Instagram bandwagon.

I see that many many bloggers use it and the pictures are so cool. Now I am not 100% sure how to use it other than getting pictures posted to my Facebook page. But I am a very quick study and have been playing with Instagram all weekend. So here are some pictures I have done using the wonders of Instagram! Enjoy!!

                                         *Looking cool on her 4 month b-day**
                                            *Puckering up for kisses!*
                                            *The Sweet Pea loves looking in the mirror!*
                                            *Rocking my new short do!*

                                          **Black and white on the Baptism photo*
                                           *Its so tiring when you are 4 months old!*
                             **Nom nom I like to eat my hands!**

This is so much fun!! Will definitely be using Instagram more!! But if you have any ideas and or tips or advice on how to get the most out of this App I would certainly appreciate it!! Thanks!

Much luv!
Laura

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Just One Of Those Weeks

Did you ever have one of those weeks where you feel like nothing got done despite your best efforts? Yeah that was my week. 

Sweet Pea is seemingly going through a growth spurt and this week she was all about Momma. I mean if I walked out of the room or even out of her line of sight in the room she started to whine. Not a cry, no tears or anything but a persistent "Waaah" sound . She did it all week and do you have any idea how hard it is to do dishes or get laundry done with a four month old strapped to your hip? (Well if you're a mom I guess you do! )

Anyways the whole week went like that and then on Thursday I discovered a whole world of old TV shows on Netflix and instant streaming.Huzzah! It was like a whole new world was opened up to me! Why had no one shown me the vast array of old TV shows I could watch??! Shows I watched when I was young-- Shows like the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew Mysteries and Murder She Wrote. I am a total sucker for mystery shows but mystery shows that seep nostalgia from my childhood--hot diggity!

I was sucked in and completely lost Thursday to the TV and Jessica Fletcher's exploits. The Sweet Pea and I pretty much camped out in the living room and watched the residents of Cabot Cove, Maine try to solve murders. And question here- Did no one ever find it the least bit strange that it was Jessica who was always finding these bodies?? Still it was fun seeing all the guest stars from the 80s on the show--everyone from Rue McClanahan to George Clooney was on that show at one time or another. Yes, I admit it I spent the ENTIRE day watching it and I still have about 80 episodes to go. Oh boy.

Then yesterday I spent the day trying to play catch up from my lost Thursday. Although I do admit to Googling a bit of information on Maine to see if there were any towns that were small and cute like Cabot Cove. I know! I know! I am a dork. However, given the chance I would totally move to a tiny little town where everybody knows everybody. I love the idea of small town America. I mean I moved from the big city to the suburbs but truly what I would like to do is move to an even smaller town somewhere!

So this weekend is all about catching up on the stuff I couldn't get to because of the Sweet Pea and her needs or more likely because I spent an entire day watching TV. Has anyone ever done that before? I am feeling a bit guilty now! But, I suppose every once in a while one can do that. I guess the same applies to staying in one's pajamas all day too. (I am guilty of that too!!)

Like I said in the title it was just one of those weeks. So now I am off to finish laundry, do dishes, and clean the house all while having the Sweet Pea attached to my hip! And maybe,just maybe I'll sneak in another episode of Murder She Wrote...Shhhh don't tell the hubby!

Much luv!
Laura. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Wordless Wednesday Link Up

Joining a Wordless Wednesday link up from http://hardlyahousewifeblog.com/ . I love her blog --its awesome! So here is my Wordless Wednesday Picture

                                The Sweet Pea looking very serious after her Baptism. <3!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Baptism Luncheon Recipes From the Hubby

The Hubby made ALL the food for the Baptism on Sunday and it was just sooo yummy! I thought it would be nice to post the recipes since the food was such a hit. Hubby is an amazing cook (he actually went to culinary school) and all the dishes were to die for! So here are the recipes for some of the biggest hits from the party.
                                                           **My hubby the chef!!**

Braised Brisket Recipe


Ingredients

  • 1 (4 pound) beef brisket, first-cut
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
  • Coarsely ground black pepper
  • 3 large carrots, cut into chunks
  • 1 onion, halved
  • 2 celery stalks, cut into chunks
  • 1 head garlic, cut in 1/2
  • 1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes, hand-crushed (recommended: San Marzano)
  • 3/4 bottle dry red wine
  • 1 bay leaves
  • 1/4 bunch fresh thyme, leaves only
  • 4 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves only
  • 1 handful fresh flat-leaf parsley

Directions


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Drizzle brisket liberally with olive oil then season the meat on both sides with salt and pepper.

Place a large Dutch oven or heavy-based pot over medium-high heat and add a 3-count of olive oil. Place the brisket in the pot and sear on both sides to form a nice brown crust. Remove from pot and set aside before adding carrots, onion and celery. Brown vegetables, then add the garlic, tomatoes, red wine, bay leaf, thyme, rosemary, and parsley. Add the brisket back to the pot, cover and roast in the oven for 3 hours until the brisket is fork tender.

Remove the brisket to a cutting board and let it rest for 15 minutes. Strain out the vegetables and pour off some of the excess fat, then pour over the brisket.

Slice brisket across the grain and serve over parsnip puree with roasted red onions and garnish with parsley.

Vienna Bread

Ingredients:

Serves: 12
Yield:
1-2
loaves
Units: US | Metric

Sponge or Biga

Dough


Directions:


  1. 1
    Biga or Sponge:.
  2. 2
    Make the sponge the day before 12 to 20 hours before.
  3. 3
    1 tsp yeast sprinkled over the one cup warm water, let it become foamy and bubbly, that way you know the yeast is good and active. Add in the one cup flour, and stir well to combine, it will be soupy. Cover tightly with saran wrap and place on counter top overnight. I place in my microwave out of the way, and out of drafts. This biga will bubbly and come up to the top of your bowl but then will fall back down into the bowl after a while, so just make sure your bowl is a larger one to begin with.
  4. 4
    When baking time is ready the next day, or 20 hours later, I then proceed.
  5. 5
    First step one: sprinkle the 1 teaspoon yeast over 1/4 cup warm water and let stand until bubbly about five or ten minutes. This shows that yeast is fresh and active.
  6. 6
    In your large mixing machine bowl, place yesterdays biga which is bubbly and soupy looking again, and very elastic into the bowl with flat beater.
  7. 7
    Add 1/4 cup cold water with the beater going slowly just to mix .
  8. 8
    Add after the five or ten minutes of resting the new yeast mixture, and continue with the flat beater slowly combining well.
  9. 9
    Add the remainder 3/4 cup cold water and blend.
  10. 10
    Add the 1 cup all purpose or bread flour, and combine, still using just a slow speed.
  11. 11
    Change now to the dough hook and add the other 2 1/4 cups flour and table salt.
  12. 12
    With the dough hook still on low speed .
  13. 13
    You will have a sticky dough.
  14. 14
    The dough will be soft sticky but holding itself around the dough hook, while at the same time cleaning the sides and bottom of the bowl.
  15. 15
    If at that time its still puddles at the bottom of the bowl while kneading on number three or four speed, add in the tablespoons of flour, one at a time kneading all the while. I have added two to three tablespoons as listed in ingredients for this purpose. Remember just add until its cleaning the bottom and sides of bowl, this must be a wet and sticky dough, not firm and heavy. Weather is an important factor with flour.
  16. 16
    Sticky to touch the dough, but yet doesn't stick gobs of dough to your fingers.
  17. 17
    It will be sticky, elastic and soft.
  18. 18
    Knead a good ten minutes with your hook.
  19. 19
    Oil bottom and sides of a very large bowl.
  20. 20
    With wet fingers drop the dough into the bowl and turn dough over so all is oiled well.
  21. 21
    Cover with saran wrap and then a towel, and place out of the way of drafts.
  22. 22
    Rise until it is 2 1/2 to 3 times its size. It will look blistered and soft.
  23. 23
    Line a large jelly roll pan with parchment and lightly flour, set aside.
  24. 24
    Place some flour onto the bread board or counter top and with wet fingertips, scrape the dough from the sides and bottom of the bowl gently.
  25. 25
    Slightly stretch dough brushing the flour off the bottom and out of the way.
  26. 26
    You just want the flour there to keep it from sticking, you are not adding more flour into the risen dough.
  27. 27
    Place shaped stretched loaf onto the floured parchment, lightly flour top so that saran doesn't stick.
  28. 28
    Cover with the saran , again with a towel, and let rise for 1 1/2 hours to 2 hours, until doubled.
  29. 29
    It has risen sufficiently when you poke it with two fingers gently and it leaves the impression, it doesn't spring back. If it springs back then leave a little while longer to rise.
  30. 30
    Place in hot preheated oven 425 degrees, and bake 30 minutes, turn upside down and continue another 10 minutes, until golden brown, and hollow sounding when tapped.
  31. 31
    Remove to wire rack to cool completely.
  32. 32
    Do not cut and eat -- Let cool Completely this will give you a better flavoured bread.
    Olive and Sun Dried tomato Bread

    1 large clove of garlic, finely chopped
    1 small onion finely chopped
    2 tbsp of olive oil, from a jar of sun dried tomatoes
    2 tsp of salt
    1 package of active dry yeast
    1/2 to 1 cup lukewarm water
    4-5 cups all-purpose flour
    1/4 tsp rosemary leaves
    1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes packed, chopped
    12 black olives pitted and coarsely chopped
    2 tsp of melted butter (optional)
    In a small pan, mix the onion and garlic with 1tbs of the oil and1/4 tsp of the salt, cover the pan
    and cook over low heat 4-5 minutes until the onion is tender, but not browned, remove the lid and
    set the pan aside to cool. Stir the yeast into 1/2 cup of lukewarm water and let stand 10 minutes or
    until frothy. Mix 4 cups of flour and the remaining salt in a large bowl, add yeast, flour, and
    remaining water, and briefly mix
    Add the garlic and onions, the remaining 1 tbsp of oil, and the rosemary, about one third of the
    sun dried tomatoes, about one third of the olives. Mix by hand or in a food processor, adding
    more lukewarm water to create dough. Knead the dough by hand, adding the rest of the tomatoes
    and olives to evenly distribute them.Knead the dough 5 minutes longer by processor until the dough has a silky texture and doesn’t
    stick to your hands or the bowl, shape the dough into a ball and place it in a greased bowl, cover
    the bowl with a large plastic bag and let stand in a draft free spot for 1/2 or 2 hours or dough has
    doubled in size. Knock the dough down by slipping it on the counter, knead for 2-3 minutes later,
    then divide the dough into two equal portions form them into balls or ovals, line a baking tray
    with parchment paper, place the loaves on the tray and let proof again 45-65 minutes.
    Preheat the oven at 425 degrees. Make four slashes on the bread, set aside covered for 10
    minutes. Bake the loaves for 10minutes, then reduce the oven temp to 375 degrees, test the loaves
    for doneness by rapping them on the bottom with your knuckles/ If the bread sounds hollow, it's
    done. Remove bread from the pan and place on a cooling rack. This recipe makes two loaves.
    Tzatziki

    Ingredients

    • 1 English cucumber, seeded and diced
    • 1/2 Vidalia onion, diced
    • Salt
    • 2 cups/500 ml of low-fat Greek yogurt
    • 3 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 tablespoon/15 ml of olive oil
    • Juice of 1 lemon
    • 1/2 cup/125 ml of dill, chopped
    • 1/2 cup/125 ml of chives
    • Freshly ground peppertkik

    Directions

    In a sieve set over a bowl, toss the diced cucumber and onions with 1 teaspoon salt. Let it drain at least 1 hour at room temperature, or cover and refrigerate up to 8 hours.

    With flat-side of chef's knife, mash garlic with 1/2 teaspoon salt and make a paste. Add garlic paste to the yogurt mixture with olive oil, lemon juice, dill, and chive. Season with salt and pepper.

    Pat the chopped cucumber dry with paper towels, and add to the yogurt mixture. Keep the mixture refrigerated until ready to use and serve it with fried skate chicken, burgers or as a dip for veggies.

    Cook's Note: You can make your own thick yogurt by letting it sit overnight in paper towel over a sieve.
    **I took the recipes off several websites such as Food network and the cooking channel so you may be able to use the links to go to the sites yourself.**
Now  the Hubby always tweaks the recipes to make them his own so you can feel free to put your own spin on the recipes. But I do assure they were all delightful!!

Enjoy!

Much love,
Laura

Mommy Milestone Part 2: The Baptism

Sunday was the Sweet Pea's Baptism. It was a lovely day all around! There were three other babies getting baptized as well, and I must say that the Sweet Pea was the quietest and most laid back of all the babies. I was worried that she would be cranky or would be over stimulated with all the people and activity going on in the church. I was especially worried that she would lose her mind when the water was poured over her head but she did wonderfully she was all smiles and coos! She really did very well!

Then we had the reception back at our house and we crammed 30 people with children into our tiny little house! Have I mentioned we live in a little teeny tiny house?? LOL I love my house but it is small. However, it is home. We had a very nice luncheon that the hubby cooked and it was delicious and everyone raved over the dishes. He made braised brisket, homemade olive bread, Vienna bread, homemade macaroni salad, German potato salad, and tzakiki. If anyone wants the recipes, I will post them in a separate post.

Lovely and blessed day all around. It was just an amazing Mommy Milestone!! Here are some pictures from her special day!!

I have more pictures to post too just have to download them from the camera!
Thanks for reading!!

Much luv!
Laura