Why does blogging still feel so weird?

blogging

I started this here blog over a year ago. I wanted to be able to document my second child’s milestones in her first year of life. And I honestly needed an outlet for my newly SAHM status. Slowly a few of my friends and family members stumbled on the blog. I would casually mention it here and there, but I didn’t take it seriously…until recently.

Just last week I finally (finally!!) posted a blog post on my personal Facebook account and immediately began to sweat. I felt so silly and so exposed. I almost felt ashamed. And then I felt ashamed for feeling ashamed. Always as a blogger I have felt that I needed to make apologies for exposing my life on the great big internet. I have felt scrutiny (whether it existed or not) for my choice to blog. It made sense in my early days of blogging, almost 10 years ago. Bloggers were just making a name for themselves and it was hardly seen as a full time job, let alone a respectable career. But in today’s world where bloggers are working hard, creating valuable content, and making an income doing it, I was amazed to find how weary I was at announcing my little blog to my friends and family.

In person I have never directly received criticism for blogging. As I humbly talk about the blog people always respond favorably. I actually think my family and friends enjoy the blog to get a day-to-day look at our lives. Being away from family is difficult and I know I would savor every word and photo if one of my siblings decided to blog. So why did I get all jumbled up announcing to my Facebook world that I do indeed blog?

So I’m curious…do others feel this way about blogging? Like it is a dirty little secret? Like somehow being a blogger is still weird? That saying it is your hobby or career is criticized?

For me, I blog because I really, truly enjoy it. I love writing. I love to recap our lives and look back. I love having a landing place for all the photos we snap every day. And I also like the prospect that maybe I too could make a buck or two doing what I love. I struggle with the idea of going “public.” I talk about not wanting to add to the “noise” (whatever that means) and I want this place to be fun and enjoyable for others, just as I view the blogs I read. Somedays I really want to keep this space all to myself but most days I love the idea of others being able to read and share in my experiences.

Life Lately

I usually write in the evenings when the girls are in bed but I just didn’t have it in me last night. And so now I punch out these words while I allow the girls to make an absolute mess of my living room. Ah such is life.

img_0264

I love how well the girls play together. What an amazing gift to have a friend for life. Sisters truly are the best. They don’t always see eye-to-eye but it is just fun to watch them interact and grow together.

A lot of disappointing things happened over the weekend but none that threaten our life or joy, so as the old adage goes: if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. And that was my plan for our usual weekend catch up post. I wasn’t planning to write one at all. But while surfing through the photos on my phone I wanted to add a few tidbits from the weekend.

img_0166

It was disappointing circumstances that brought us to Charlotte Saturday morning, but while we were there we decided to make the best of it and treat it as a date.

img_0167

Bagels and juice.

img_0175

Saturday night was also fun. I made this great pizza recipe from Daily Garnish and then we headed out for the food trucks in downtown Mooresville to snack. We learned the hard way not to plan our whole dinner around food trucks. We usually end up hangry standing in long lines. So now we just go for snacks. We shared a plate of hand cut potato fries and deep fried Oreos.

img_0187

Sunday night we capped off the weekend with a glass of red wine and this amazing dessert. You must run out immediately and make a skillet cookie! I topped ours with coconut milk whip cream.

img_0240

Instagram-worthy shot versus how we really ate the thing:

img_0239

That’s all folks. Hope you had a great weekend and the stress of back-to-school isn’t getting to you. We were treated with nicer temps yesterday and I can smell Fall in the near future. I know this is a stressful time for many but I’m just excited for the change of seasons and the promise of things to come!

Meal Plan Monday: finding my groove

This week’s meal plan included some incredibly delicious meals! I focused on easy meals that would create lots of leftovers and they turned out amazing.

meal plan monday.png

Sunday: Zucchini Lasagna

Monday: Chicken Foil Packets

Tuesday: Potato Salad and Hard Boiled Eggs

Wednesday: Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad

Thursday: Chicken Sausage with Sweet Potatoes and Brussels Sprouts

Friday: Cauliflower Sweet Potato Burgers with roasted broccoli Leftovers

Sunday– this was one of the few meals that took a bit of preparation. Alex was home and helped me slice the zucchini and brown the meat so I could make the tofu ricotta. Once all the components were prepped I assembled this lasagna by layering sliced zucchini, pasta sauce, ground beef and tofu ricotta in layers. This recipe would work, only I used store bought sauce and tofu ricotta instead of cashew ricotta.

img_0087

Monday– This was probably one of the easiest meals I have made in a long time. I threw the chicken in the foil packet with artichokes and Italian dressing and prepared brown rice on the side. Let it all cook and voila! Foil Packets for the win.

img_0094

Tuesday– I felt like a cheater not making a “main dish” to accompany the potato salad but then I decided I didn’t care and served everyone some of our Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs with the salad. We all loved the pickles in this recipe!

img_0096

WednesdayThis recipe took a little work to make the dressing but it was totally worth it. Homemade Caesar dressing > store bought! At the last minute I decided not to toss in the Romaine lettuce and added roasted broccoli instead. Because roasted broccoli is > Romaine! We had tons of leftovers of this meal which is awesome for lunches. And both the girls totally chowed down. Given they haven’t had pasta in months I am not surprised!

img_0105

Thursday– Our go to week night meal. I worked an extra shift Thursday night so Alex was on his own to make dinner and feed the girls. Chicken sausage with sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts is one of our favorite 30 minute or less meals and the girls love it! We use Aidell’s Chicken Sausage in this meal. The apple flavor is especially good with sweet potatoes.

Friday– I really didn’t want to cook at all but resisted the urge to go out to eat. This is why having a meal plan is so key. Having everything I need in the fridge ready to go helps motivate me to stick to the plan. I pulled myself off the couch and tossed in all the veggies to roast in preparation for these veggie burgers and then my oven malfunctioned. I still have no idea what happened although the landlord claims it is fixed. In 10 minutes in the oven my vegetables looked like this. Not burned so much as smoked with toxic gas and fumes. Dinner fail. So instead we ate all the leftovers and carrots and guac and some pickles on the side. I was upset we wasted food, but even more upset that I wasted the energy to wash, peel and chop all the veggies!

Here is my weekly grocery list for the week including everything I needed to make these meals plus all the extras we use for breakfasts, lunches and snacks.

  • 1 lb Organic grass-fed ground beef
  • 2 packages Aidell’s Smoked Apple Chicken Sausage
  • 4 lbs Organic chicken breast (split between two meals)
  • bacon
  • 2 18 pack eggs
  • 2 lbs baby red potatoes
  • 6 lbs sweet potatoes
  • 2 ears of corn
  • basil
  • Brussels sprouts
  • ~4 lbs broccoli
  • 6 lbs bananas (we eat a ton of bananas!)
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • extra light tasting olive oil (for mayo/Caesar dressing)
  • 1 head cauliflower
  • Romaine
  • baby carrots (2 lbs)
  • tomatoes
  • celery
  • red bell pepper
  • cucumber
  • lemons
  • 3 avocado
  • 1 lime
  • bread and butter pickles
  • dill pickle spears
  • anchovies
  • artichoke hearts quartered
  • walnuts
  • Italian dressing
  • gluten free pasta
  • frozen sweet peas
  • frozen fruit (for smoothies)
  • cashew milk
  • dishwasher soap

Our shopping total this week through Walmart online was $144. I am proud to say that we only ventured into Publix once this week and that was for a box of cereal, more milk, and a bottle of wine. I think staying out of the grocery store is going to be my number one way to stick to the budget in the coming weeks! Especially with fall approaching and all the pumpkin flavored everything!

 

A morning in Charlotte with kids

Want a fun place to play with your tots? We explored ImaginOn yesterday morning and had a blast.

img_0128

Getting there was not a blast, however. Dumb 77 traffic gets us every time. I’m incredibly frustrated by this highway and feel like it takes away all the joy of living close to a big(ish) city. Getting to Charlotte is now such an ordeal! It is crazy to think that we are now making life plans that revolve around the traffic on this road and to know that it won’t be any better for a very long time (if ever) is highly disappointing.

Rant over. When we finally got through the traffic that held us up over an hour it was smooth sailing to ImaginOn. This unique library/museum is a haven for toddlers and moms. It is free (!) and incredibly fun. This summer’s open exhibit is The Adventure’s of Mr. Potato Head and my girls absolutely loved it.

img_0119

We arrived around 9:30 and walked right into the Mr. Potato Head exhibit. Our friends Amanda and Piper came along too (thank goodness for friends who will brave traffic) and we all got to work creating our own versions of Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head. I think Eleanor could have stayed here all morning playing! I finally peeled her away so we could check out the rest of the exhibit. There were so many fun and interactive stations that a 3-year old could easily be entertained for hours. However, we only had about an hour to play before story time and that was the perfect amount for my 1 1/2 year old.

img_0111

Story time in the library wasn’t much different than story time at our local library but the girls had a blast anyway. One of our favorite weekly activities is going to the library so it was awesome we got to do story time twice this week. After about 30 minutes of songs and books and activities we all walked over to 7th Street Public Market for snacks. Amanda and I each enjoyed a cappuccino from Not Just Coffee and we loaded up on muffins, croissants and pretzels (carb loading) from Local Loaf. The market quickly filled up with lunch goers. The public market is so different than anything we have in Mooresville that it was incredibly fun to just sit and people watch.

img_0140

Nap time was creeping up so we headed out. I still had a few errands to run on the way home and of course we had traffic to contend with. Still it was an incredibly fun morning out of Mooresville. My stir-crazy ways needed to hit the highway this week even if we were only crawling along it.

 

 

 

Autumn on my mind

Anybody else over the this hot summer weather?  Bring on fall y’all: pumpkins, apple picking, falling leaves and sweaters and jeans. We can’t wait for all of our favorite traditions!

autumn

I’m also desperate for some new structure and schedules. I really want to do some fun activities with the girls this Fall and have regular programs we attend each week. So far I have us signed up for Community Bible Study (CBS) but I am also considering dance or swim lessons for Eleanor and maybe Awanas. I might sign us up for Moms of Preschoolers this year too. I am needing some new mom groups to add to our social lives since so many of my friends’ kids are going to school or preschool this year.

I am also wishing it were time to start school with Eleanor. I think the kid is ready for kindergarten at only 3 1/2 years old! She asks to go to school all the time…probably because she hears the older boys and girls at boot camp talking. I keep resisting the idea of doing at home preschool or any structured curriculum but I think she would actually love it so maybe I will change my mind.

And can we just take a moment to remember what running in Fall weather feels like? I’m a little burned out of boot camps right now and have been slacking on my work outs this month. I keep wishing for cooler weather so I can start the day with a nice run. I don’t always love running but in the Fall it is my favorite!

I’m also anxious for all the consignment sales. Our community has so many great ones for kids and even one for women’s clothing. I just love shopping consignment for books and boutique dresses for the girls and sweaters and designer jeans for me!

What are you looking forward to this fall? I am really hoping we will squeeze in some hiking and maybe a camping trip as well as apple picking and a trip to the mountains this year.

IMG_9858

Parenting Three Year Olds

Everyone said three was harder than two.  I believed them fully. But I didn’t know just how hard it would get.

img_7186

I feel like someone has stolen my happy little girl and replaced her with this emotional roller coaster. I can’t stay on top of the mood swings and the fits have me wanting to walk right out the door. I tip toe around everything, spell things out and avoid so many things simply because I’m afraid of the meltdown that will ensue. Somedays feel like one big fight from beginning to end. And I wonder if Eleanor’s life is any fun at all. How can being three be so incredibly hard?

img_7243

I try to do fun things with her and it winds up hard and bad. I plan fun days and they end up all trouble. I reserve special treats for her and it always ends up in a fit. The more I try the worse it seems. I am consistent and fair and loving and everything is wrong. I am angry and threatening and I count to three and it is still all wrong. And I take a look around us and I can’t remember if Eleanor has smiled all day long. She whines when she wakes up in the morning, she fights anything we give her for breakfast, bed time is a nightmare and eating dinner never happens. I keep her on a schedule to help her adjust her expectations and it blows up. I try to be spontaneous and fun and that never works. I am failing miserably. All. The. Time.

Playing with friends is hard. But not having playdates is apparently a crime. Communication sucks. Negotiation is impossible. Compromise is non-existent. And crying is happening all the time.

Honestly, I think we are just in a down swing right now. We have been traveling so much lately. The girls just had a terrible cold with fevers and coughs. It was a holiday weekend with visitors and too many sweets and not enough sleep. It has been a perfect storm of environmental factors and three-year old tantrums. I miss my little girl. I feel like we haven’t really seen each other in weeks.  And I wonder when we will just be ok again. When will we start having fun again?

Parenting is so damn hard. Every day I count the mistakes I make. And even when I am not blatantly making a mistake I’m wondering if my choices and actions are right or wrong. There isn’t enough black and white in parenting. There are too many gray areas. It all feels so hard right now. And I’m just wondering when it is going to get easier.