Lately I have had a lot I want to blog about; my head is filled with words that I’m ready to type, edit, post. But I seem unable to find the time to sit down and get it done. Part of this is having a baby, being tired after soothing a teething mess from 3-4:30 am, part of this is the other responsibilities of running and maintaining a household and my own (unrealistic?) expectations of what that should look like, and part of this is spending so much time being a consumer of other people’s blogs that by the time I’ve caught up with Google reader, Facebook, and Twitter (and is one really ever CAUGHT UP?) that, wow, it’s really late, and I have a child who seems to wake up earlier the later I stay up at night.
And yet, there are so many other moms on the Internet who seem to get it done, that these reasons feel like the flimsiest of excuses when I type them out. So what’s their secret? Is it because their kitchen floors don’t need to be swept and mopped every five minutes the way mine does? Are they not constantly washing dishes? Do they order take-out every night? Neglect their children? Or do their angel children sleep 20 hours a day and entertain themselves the four hours they are awake?
Certainly not. I know that if I want to write more, I need to prioritize better, and most importantly, for now anyway, spend a lot less time worrying about what others are writing (and just how do they manage to produce so much content and write two posts a day each with 37 edited images??)
How do you make time to blog? Do you feel like you have to give something up in order to sit down to write? How much time do you spend writing daily/weekly?
LC’s Nursery art painted by my dad. He brought these when he visited in December. They are inspired by his trip to Costa Rica.
The other day, Nodakademic wrote a post about her reasons for subsisting on a mostly take-out/processed food/cake-flavored vodka (!!) diet (for the time being). I left a comment about how much I love junk food (it kinda hurts to call it “junk”), and it’s true. I usually start the day healthy with a bowl of Fiber One Raisin Bran, and I even measure out the serving. But from there, I go to second breakfast, which may or may not involve a Nonni’s biscotti and/or Lotus speculoos with my morning coffee. I try to usually have at least a serving of fruit, and a semblance of a healthy lunch, often with yogurt or a sandwich on low-calorie bread, but what kills me and my efforts at eating healthily is the snacking. In between second breakfast and lunch, I’ll usually have a handful or three (or five) of dark chocolate M&Ms (peanut or regular), or maybe a Kashi granola bar if I’m trying to be good (love the Cherry Chocolate Chip and Honey Flax), and between lunch and dinner there are often more M&Ms, or animal crackers, or a Little Debbie’s Pumpkin Delight. Mostly I enjoy something I can just grab a handful of (hence the candy and animal crackers), but the problem is that I can never stop with just a handful.
Anyway, the point is, to try to make up for all the extra snack calories consumed during the day, I try to make something healthier for dinner (plus, the Army sort of frowns on overweight service members, so I’ve got my husband to think of as well). I’ve mentioned before how much I love Cooking Light magazine; I’ve gotten a large chunk of my recipes there for the past several years. This fish recipe is my new favorite way to prepare salmon. Remember, we live nowhere near the ocean, in an area not known for its culinary prowess, so to speak. The original recipe calls for Arctic char; I’m pretty sure that no one here has ever heard of that, so I substitute frozen, wild caught salmon filets. Not ideal, but it works for me until I can get back to the East Coast. Also, when you make this, don’t bother to trace a heart and cut it out. A rough circle works just fine.
The benefits of this recipe are:
- It’s quick (the faster you can chop veggies, the faster you can get it in the oven)
- It’s easily adaptable: you can change the type of fish, or which veggies you use, or even switch up the herbs. Once I used fresh sage, but this week I used dried thyme.
- It’s healthy and it tastes good enough that I look forward to making it again.
I didn’t get to take any of my own pictures this time because the baby was on the verge of a meltdown while I was cooking (and reached nuclear meltdown levels right before it came out of the oven). But y’all. It was SO good (even though I had to eat mine cold). I served mine over rice, but couscous or another grain would also be great here.
Now, can someone help me say goodbye to my snack friends and get back on the exercise train?
Earlier in the week, I had wondered aloud to my mother whether I would know what it felt like when I went into labor. I hadn’t experienced any Braxton-Hicks contractions that I could feel, so even though I had read a lot about going into labor, and countless birth stories online, I still didn’t really know what to expect.
I went to bed on Saturday night feeling completely normal, and the next day was full of plans to take my sister to the airport and run some errands. Around 1 am, I woke up. I was used to waking up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, but this time I woke up because I was having contractions! At first they were around 6-10 minutes apart and they weren’t very strong. I was so excited that I was going into labor on my own! I texted my other sister on the East Coast who was awake with her 9-day-old baby boy. She texted me back, excited too. I tried to go back to sleep because I wasn’t in much pain and I had no idea how long I’d be in labor. My mom had had four relatively quick deliveries, but as with everything, I expected the worst. If anyone was going to have a 40-hour labor, it would be me. (Sidenote: WHY do I do this to myself? Such a bad habit/frame of mind!).
About an hour later, I was awake again. The contractions were coming harder and faster. I got up and went to the living room to ride the contractions out. I quickly downloaded a timer app to my phone. 4-5 minutes apart. I called the hospital to let them know I was in labor, and they very politely told me that I needed to wait until the contractions were 2-3 minutes apart for an hour. I texted my mom, a nursery/postpartum nurse back home, to let her know things were happening. She happened to be at work that night and texted me back. It felt reassuring to let someone else know what was going on and to have them be happy for me. It was a nice reminder that this was a HAPPY event and not an ANXIOUS, WORRISOME event as I tend to turn things into.
At that point, I took a shower and dried my hair, to try to distract myself, and again, because I thought it might be DAYS before I could shower again (because I would surely be in labor for 85 hours), and I had to look good for all those postpartum photo ops, right? Not long after that the pain got much worse. I woke W up to let him know what was going on. The contractions were coming closer together, but not consistently. I wanted him to rest up, so even though I had already taken a shower, I thought I’d try laboring in the jetted tub to see if that helped. I didn’t stay in the tub long, though; once I turned the jets on it became obvious that they had not been used in quite awhile. Yuck.
At this point, I think I got W out of bed. The contractions were progressing fairly quickly. He was a saint and patiently massaged my lower back with a tennis ball. I found that to be really helpful, and that technique was probably the only useful thing I got from going to our hospital’s childbirth prep class. At about 4:30, I called the hospital to let them know that we’d be on our way soon. I woke up my sister, who was surprised that I was in labor. She took over massaging my back while W took Duncan for a walk. They got the car loaded up, and honestly, I thought I would die having to sit in the car on the 15-20 minute ride to the hospital, but it turned out to be much more comfortable for me than I expected. I think my sweet girl knew that she had to calm down until we got to the hospital.
We made it to the hospital right around 5 am, just in time for the doors to be open so that we didn’t have to go in through the ER. My sister and I went straight to the 4th floor to check in while W parked the car.
Next up: the good (and bad) part!
The last year has been a whirlwind! Since this time last year, I got pregnant, got a job, had a baby, quit my job, and just embarked on a new for-now career as a stay-at-home mom. I’m looking forward to writing again…lots to say about life these days!
Tags: bugs, desert living
I’m a little tired today because I couldn’t sleep last night. Normally, this is not an issue for me. I usually fall asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow. Last night was no exception. I put down the sudoku I was working on (really, I’m more of a crossword girl, but I’m trying to branch out) around 10:30 and promptly conked out. Maybe it’s because Duncan was trying to sleep underneath me (why do we allow our dog to sleep in the bed??), but for some reason, a couple hours later, around 12:30 am, I woke up and decided to go to the bathroom.
All was well and good until I went to wash my hands and happened to notice a SCORPION in my sink. People. A freaking SCORPION. I had actually closed both of our sink drains before going to bed as an extra precaution to keep creepy crawlies out. I have never seen so many critters in my life as I have since moving here four months ago, but honestly, the worst I expected to see was a humungo cockroach. Instead, I saw something like this:
My valiant husband acted quickly and slayed the beast with the heel of one of my beloved Mizunos and flushed that sucker down the drain. But you can imagine that after my ordeal, going back to sleep was not an option.
A month or so ago, we went to a cookout hosted by one of W’s co-workers. Several other couples there regaled us with stories of scorpions and tarantulas and other things that bite in the night. One woman told me about her friend who woke up screaming after a scorpion bit her while she was sleeping. She told me about how they hide on walls and ceilings and how you have to look for them with a black light.
All I could do was imagine something dropping down on me in the middle of the night while I lay innocently sleeping. I couldn’t stop wondering how the dang thing had gotten into my bathroom in the first place and does seeing one mean there are hundreds?
I wanted to wake W up so he could be miserable along with me, but I felt bad since he has to get up so early for work. I thought about getting up to blog, but my laptop was in the living room and that seemed so far away. Plus, there could be scorpions in there, too! So I tried my best to burrow under the covers, even though it was so hot. I checked Facebook on my phone, but needless to say, there isn’t much activity at 2 am. Most importantly, I resisted the urge to Google “scorpions” on my phone, lest I be faced with images of necrotic wounds from scorpion bites.
Hours later I guess I finally fell asleep, but even now I feel sort of creeped out being in my house. I called a pest control company, and they can’t send someone out until tomorrow. So until then I’ll be keeping my guard up, shoes on my feet, and heavy objects for crushing unwanted creatures nearby at all times.
Friends, I have a problem. In 2010, I have read…not so many books. There is no good excuse for this. For the better part of the year, I have NOT been working 50 hours a week. I have had more free time than I know what to do with, and yet, I haven’t been reading nearly as much as I did when I was working that much.
So far this year I’ve read:
- Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout
- The End of Overeating by David A. Kessler
- The Help by Kathryn Stockett
- A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick
- Imperial Grunts by Robert Kaplan (started this, but only about 3 chapters in)
- Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann (reading now, about halfway through)
All in all, pretty pitiful, especially since I read about 3x as many books in the second half of last year. Part of the problem is that it took me forever to get through The End of Overeating, because I just didn’t enjoy it and I had to force myself to finish it. Same with Imperial Grunts. Oh, and I read The Help in one day.
I can see that part of the problem has been with my choices of books. The other part of the problem, and I really think this is key, is I have so much free time I don’t prioritize. When I was working a ton, I would squeeze in a chapter here, a few pages there, at lunch, in between jobs, right before bed. Now I just think, ‘Oh, I’ll have time to read later,’ and go back to watching Deal or No Deal re-runs on GSN or some other waste of time.
So please–I ‘d love some suggestions for books I won’t want to put down. I was thinking of reading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo next, but I hear that can also be hard to get into. (Other parameters: I refuse to read Twilight, I love foodie lit–have read most of Ruth Reichl’s books, but I’m open to almost anything at this point).
What’s the best book you’ve read this summer?
My husband’s (W’s) military career necessitates moving fairly frequently. This is great for the traveler in me; I love seeing and experiencing different places, and in the few years we’ve been together I’ve had many opportunities travel-wise that I might not have experienced without the Army.
But…I’m not so great with change. It takes me awhile to make friends and get comfortable with new people. This is in direct conflict with my need to be around people. I love meeting new people, coffee dates, hosting dinner parties and game nights. The last time we moved, it took 6 or 7 months for me to feel mostly settled. I was somewhat depressed the first two or three months we were there; some days I never got out of my pajamas. As you might imagine, this was not great for our marriage. Of course, eventually I bounced back and found a job (two, actually) that I really enjoyed and friends that I miss dearly. In the end, it was hard for me to leave.
I was hoping that this move would be a bit easier, now that I have a couple under my belt. I hoped to meet wives in my husband’s unit and form friendships with women I could relate to. But without a job, and with my husband being in a tiny unit with few married men, I’ve felt rather isolated. We’re still searching for a church to call home.
I’m trying to stay flexible and to stay positive–I know this move hasn’t been easy on W , either. I’m working on plans to go back to school and hopefully I’ll have a job by fall. I know those things will help a lot with making this place feel like home, but August/September is still a few months off. Until then, does anyone have any advice for making a new place feel more like home? Have you ever made a difficult move?
Tags: Treats and Eats
Pancakes are one of my all-time favorite foods, and I love them pretty much any way they come: buttermilk, chocolate chip, blueberry, bacon, pumpkin, gingerbread…obviously I could go on.
When I lived in Seoul, there was this amazing restaurant called Butterfinger Pancakes a few blocks from my house. They had the best pancakes, omelettes, and sinful desserts. I would get takeout all the time. I think my love for Butterfinger Pancakes may have bordered on obsessive, but how can you blame me?
Anyway, despite my obsession with consuming delicious pancakes doused in butter and syrup, I have continually failed at making them at home. They’ll often be done on the outside, but raw on the inside or thick, tough, and rubbery, or just plain burnt. I have tried many many different recipes, and I have even manage to ruin mixes (how is this possible?).
I am nothing if not stubborn, so last night, with the husband away for the evening, I decided to attempt breakfast for dinner. In the past I’ve tried many different recipes–with and without buttermilk, etc. Last night I just hit Google for some recipe inspiration and went with a recipe from allrecipes.com. When my husband called that evening, I proclaimed, “You missed it! I actually made edible pancakes!” I’m definitely looking forward to breakfast for dinner again.
No-Fail Pancakes (adapted from allrecipes.com)
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon white sugar
- 1 1/2 cups milk (In the future I might even add a couple tablespoons more)
- 1 egg
- 3 tablespoons butter, melted (I prefer to let it cool slightly)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- chocolate chips or other healthier mix-ins, if desired
1. In your favorite medium size mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar.
2. Stir in milk, egg, butter, vanilla. Combine until smooth.
3. Let sit, at room temperature, about 10 minutes.
4. Stir in your mix-ins, if desired. (I made about half of mine plain and then I poured in what looked to be a good amount of chocolate chips for the other half. This is slightly subjective, people).
5. Heat a 12-inch frying pan over medium heat. Lightly coat the pan with butter or oil (but if you heat the pan too hot so that the butter burns, you’ll need to pour it out and let the pan cool a bit. Just sayin’.). Pour in 1/4 to 1/3 cup batter per pancake. When bubbles begin to form on top and the edges look set, flip with a flexible spatula and cook for about 1-2 more minutes.
6. Keep pancakes warm in on a plate in a 200-degree oven.
7. Douse pancakes in butter and syrup as desired. Enjoy!
BONUS: When I have leftover pancakes, I like to reheat them in the toaster for a snack. Spread with butter (or Earth Balance, Country Crock, whatever) and top with a spoonful of sugar. Fold in half and devour. Yum!
Do you have any tips for pancake perfection?
…are for jumping on, right? So here we go!
I’ve always loved to write, but it’s been awhile (college, anyone?) since I sat down and hammered out anything longer than a cover letter (and um, apparently those were not so hot). So for now, I want this to be a space where I can flex my typing skills, share my opinions, adventures and even especially my non-adventures.
This is the third draft I’ve written of my first post, and I have a feeling that if I don’t hit “publish,” my little bloggy experiment will go nowhere fast. So, here I go! Onward into blogland!