Sunday, September 30, 2012

the one where i mention the 31 day challenge

So I've seen this thing posted on a few blogs about 31 Days where you pick a broad-ish topic and write something every day in October about it. I'm going to try to do it. I'm going to try really hard. My theme is going to be 31 Days to Getting My Sh*t Together. And by that I mostly mean getting my house and my car to be more presentable. I don't have a big plan on how to do that exactly, but I'll think about it tonight and write about it tomorrow.

We have too much stuff and the stuff we need isn't organized well. I have established some very lazy habits of not cleaning out the car on a regular basis or clearing off the backseat into the trunk and then not emptying the trunk out immediately. My kitchen cabinets are a bit haphazard and could use some love. And of course, the baby's room is currently more of a spot a bunch of boxes and other things has ended up. It needs to be cleared out, cleaned, and set up for Baby C-2.

It just seems like a good chance to focus on things that need some loving attention. And seriously, I'm 32. I need to get my sh*t together.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

the one where it's a list of happy things!

Here are some things that have been making me happy in the last week...

...S has gotten extra funny all of the sudden. Today I asked him to come to me because it was time to get dressed. He replied, "No Mommy, Sa-son is sleeping." and then collapsed on the floor and fake snored. Who IS this kid?!
...I am super sad that my regular baby-sitting job is coming to an end. The happy thing is that my boss is super sad too. Which I guess sounds really weird. But I'm going to miss them a lot and it's nice to know they will miss me too!
...Baby C-2 is crazy busy and wiggly. He moves around so much at night it is crazy. Also when I eat or drink certain things, which I like to pretend is because he loves them as much as I do. Who really knows, right? Therefore, he is also crazy about sparkling water and pastor tacos.
...blogs blogs blogs. Reading them, writing them, editing them. It all makes me happy.
...Schmidt on The New Girl.
...The new Mumford and Sons album!
...K bought the new Mumford and Sons album yesterday and left it, in the packaging, for me to take in the car today. New music plus husbandly thoughtfulness is ridiculously great.
...I have that hormone or whatever now that makes it so my hair doesn't really fall out. Good because so much less hair in the bathroom. Bad because my hair is getting thicker rather than longer and I feel a bit like a lion until I get my hair into a ponytail.
...Ponytails of crazy curly hair.
...ultrasound scheduled for the morning AND my mom might be able to come too! sister letting me complain all I want about various pregnancy awkwardness in my life so I don't sound like a grumpy pregnant lady to the world at large.
...making stuffed jalapenos. They are not difficult to make, but there is a technique for cutting and gutting the peppers that I've managed to get the hang of and it just takes a little time to get everything together. But every time I make them, people LOVE them. And that's the best part of cooking or baking anything for me, other people enjoying it.
...talking with K about creating a stuffed jalapeno recipe that is a little bit more complicated and homemade.
...praying for friends and their families about really specific things and getting to hear how things are going.
...some really fabulous friends are throwing me a baby shower soon and I am really excited to get to celebrate a new little baby and be happy with a bunch of people all at the same time! husband pulled one of the pastors from our church aside the other day and talked to him quite a bit about some questions and some things that had happened. That makes me happy, but it also makes me happy that the pastor didn't mind that one bit, emailed K later on, and wants to set up a time later for them to talk more.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

the one where i talk about what i think about while folding laundry

I have been a stay at home mom for two and a half years and I suck at it. I think I'm doing okay with the mom part--S seems smart and well-adjusted and behaves fairly well (most of the time, but he is two). I am just really bad at the housekeeping part. It's ridiculous. I'm embarrassed to have anyone over because my house is kind of shabby to start with and then it's just cluttered with stuff that hasn't been put away for whatever reason. And my husband follows my lead. So if I keep the living room kept relatively clean, he will as well. But if I have a day that by the time I FINALLY get S to bed and I just can't do anything else besides get in bed myself and I've therefore left some clutter in the living room, he will just add to it. That's probably a whole different blog post in itself. Heh.

So, the laundry. I'm pretty good at getting things washed and dried. But then they just stay in piles in the garage for me to go through and collect outfits as I need them. Ridiculous. I have a bit of a nesting bug and I would like to get all the actual baby stuff taken care of but I don't feel like I can do that until I get back on top of some of the every day things like folding and putting away clothes and keeping the living room moderately decent. I folded almost everything tonight. There are still towels and sheets in the garage, in the dryer. And this is what I was thinking about:

...S has way more clothes than I do.
...K really needs some new tshirts, but I know if I try to hide these and get rid of them, he will freak out.
...I have more pairs of underwear than I thought I did!
...I should get some actual bleach and do a whites load at least every so often.
...How is it possible to have pit stains this rowdy?
...Well, one basket done. I don't even want to know how many more there are.
...Um, that shirt I just folded that belongs to S is too small for him. That's embarassing.
...Why haven't I folded all the clothes in so long?
...I bet most people don't have piles of clothes this big to take care of.
... It's not actually hard to fold clothes.
...Seriously, why have I waited this long to fold all the clothes?
...The thing that sucks about laundry is it is actually never really done.
...Unless you and everyone else strip down before starting the last load and just hang out naked.
...That would be kind of weird.
...How long can I get away with taking my pants off when I'm hot when I get home?
...I'm going to live in a house full of boys in just a few short months.
...Laundry is going to be super smelly in a few years.
...How young is too young to teach S how to fold clothes?
...Done! It only took an hour! 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

the one where i make a list of happy things!

Here is a list of some of the things making me happy this week...

...Saturday I got to have an overnight date with K and it was delightful.
...we ate at The Palm after having saved for it for a few months and every bite was delicious.
...3 years of marriage!
...the weather is getting much more to my liking, slowly but surely.
...a great well baby appointment for S and his 2.5 year check-up!
...already doing some of the things S's pediatrician recommended about him eating and getting better potty training tactics.
...going to City Church Downtown a couple of times makes us want to go there on a regular basis and get to know downtown better too. We found some coffee shops nearby that we want to try, too!
...Twitter (@meljamc) pregnancy is still NOT high risk!
...both of our toilets are now working!
...both of our toilets are now NOT leaking!
...we have a ridiculous amount of towels and I don't know why or how that happened but I am grateful because we had a lot of water leaking in our bathrooms.
...having my own washer and dryer
...Rockin Green Soap--you can order samples on their site. Do it. Laundry will be more fun and more efficient. And no one asked me or paid me to say that. I just believe it.
...a really fantastic grocery shopping trip that has led to delicious meals at home for not a lot of money.
...nap time. Naps are so delicious.
...watching the regular news and then watching The Daily Show.
...the tv show Parenthood is back with new episodes.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

the one where i share some cool stuff i came across this week

Here are some different things I came across on the Internet this week. Let me know what you think!

Intricately Carved Crayons, courtesy of 22 Words
I think S would be horrified to see these. But they are gorgeous! And definitely not made by a mom of a toddler. 

The Other Side of Joe Biden 
I didn't write anything about 9/11 this year, on purpose. I don't have anything beautiful or articulate to say to add to the universe. My heart cracked that day and there's still a scar. But I wanted to share this article and Joe Biden's speech because I thought it was really lovely.

How Bloggers' Kids Get Their Revenge 
This made me laugh so hard because it feels like it is something I wrote in the future. The whole thing. K and I have wedding pictures on the steps of the courthouse downtown and I've already talked about wanting to take family pictures in the same area because how great would that be?! And I have one boy and another on the way and we joke that should everything go smoothly with the rest of this pregnancy and then labor and delivery and we try for one more kid just in case there's a daughter out there for us, it will likely be a boy. So the picture? I love it. I would totally take it and not realize what was happening until much later too!

When It Feels Like God Is Hiding by Jon Acuff
K and I have been talking a lot about prayer lately. How to do it, why to do it, what does it mean exactly, that kind of thing. I think I have a better understanding now than I have in the past because every night I pray with S and I make sure to thank God for a lot of little things. One because I need to but two because I made the decision I want S to grow up hearing me be thankful for things that he or others around us take for granted. So in my lofty thought, I changed my own heart because it's not just going through the motions, it's really me being thankful for a grocery store that is nearby and that S gets to have his own cool room and for hugs and kisses from both my guys. This was my act of slowing down, and God doesn't seem so far away anymore. I liked this post because it's a reminder to slow down at other points besides in the evening when I'm getting S to bed.

Fall TV Preview 2012 from Television Without Pity
Love this web site, love that they do previews for each tv premier season. I watch too much tv.

Friday, September 14, 2012

the one where i make baked pumpkin pie oatmeal

When I was nursing S, I had to give up dairy because it turned him into a spit-up fountain. With that in mind, I'm stocking up my freezer slowly but surely with meals for us when this baby is born. I'm trying to do some non-dairy stuff because I can always add it back in if Baby C-2 tolerates it just fine! Spoiler alert, I really hope he does because that was such a pain in the ass. I heart cheese.

So, this week I tried a recipe that I was hoping really hard would turn out delicious so I could promptly make a crap-ton more and divy it up into individual containers for the freezer. And it totally did! I actually had everything on hand, so I used milk, but when I make it for the freezer, I'll use either soy or almond milk. I think both are delicious so I'm glad for the excuse!

Baked Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal from Budget Bytes.

1 15 oz can of pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix)
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups milk
2 1/2 cups dry old-fashioned oats


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, brown sugar, eggs, vanilla, pumpkin pie spice, salt, and baking powder until smooth. Whisk in the milk.

Mix the dry oats into the bowl.

Coat an 8x8 baking dish with non-stick spray or oil. Pour in the pumpkin oats mixture. Cover with foil and bake for 30 min. Remove the foil and bake another 15 min.

Can be served hot right out of the oven, or refrigerated and served cold. I served up a portion in a bowl and poured cold milk on top and it was delicious. It keeps in the fridge for about a week. I popped a bowl of it in the microwave to heat it up and then added cold milk. So seriously good! 

It's almost like a loose custard with oats in it. I happened to have quick oats on hand, so that's what I used, but when I need more I'll try it with the old-fashioned oats. I think the texture will be a bit different but not the taste.

Monday, September 10, 2012

the one where i wrote a post for in the trenches

I almost forgot to mention I wrote another post over on I'm grateful for the opportunity to write some more, and this is the first of what I hope will be many "top five" lists.

Have you ever seen the movie High Fidelity? Totally one of my all-time favorites. I love basically everything about it and every time I watch it I feel compelled to make top five lists about everything. It's fun to limit yourself to only five of the all-time best whatever.

Anyway, my post is called Five Fabulous Apps for Brand New Mamas! Check it out, let me know what you think, and tell me what your favorite mama apps are! I'm always looking for new ones.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

the one where i make shepard's pie

This is not a super exciting recipe, but it is easy and cheap and filling and both my guys ate it with me. So it's a winner!

Earlier this week I made baked potato soup. It was alright. I've made it before when it was super delicious but it just didn't hit the spot this time. I wanted to use the rest of it up in something to not waste it, so I decided to make shepard's pie. I got a pound of ground meat and a small bag of frozen veggies to add to what I already had on hand and whipped it right up.

1 lb ground meat of your choice.
2 bags of frozen veggies of your choice (or if you just have a bunch of veggies on hand, use those!)
2-4 cups of mashed potatoes
shredded cheese

Brown and crumble the meat and season as you go. I used onion powder, garlic powder, black pepper, and salt. That's my go to seasoning set, but you can use whatever you think will taste good. I thought I had an onion, and I was going to chop that and cook it with the meat, but alas, I didn't have one tonight.

When the meat is cooked through, drain if necessary. Then add all the frozen veggies right to the skillet and stir through until everything is hot.

Put the meat and veggie mixture in a 9x13 pan.

Top with mashed potatoes.
(For tonight, I used the potato soup mixed with about two cups of instant mashed potatoes)

Top that with shredded cheese.

Bake at 350 for about 20 min, until it's all heated through and the cheese is melted.


Saturday, September 8, 2012

the one where i list some great stuff i read this week

I read about a kajillion blogs and articles a week because I can't help it. I have some sort of compulsion leading me to subscribe to tons of stuff on Google Reader and then do my best to clear it out at least by the weekend. I'm going to start sharing some of my favorites so maybe others can enjoy them as well! Here they are in no particular order:

Smooth Me Out, Soften Me Up. from Nish Happens
I identified a lot with this entry and feel like I could be friends with this woman. Or maybe I am a slightly different version of this woman. It's nice to see someone else have courage to just be themselves.

Losing My Sh*t at Disneyland by Elizabeth Esther
I judge people a lot, even when I don't mean to or think I've gotten past that. I think we all do. I think we should all take a step back and not worry about others so much.

God and Our Political Platforms by Rachel Held Evans
I watched a decent amount of each convention and I ultimately agreed with the speeches more from one convention, but I loved this little article about God not being a flag pin we can stick on anything. I think everyone needs to vote because it's important, but I also don't think God is a Republican or a Democrat. He's bigger than that. So, vote and then pray for whoever is elected because it's a big job. And let's honor God with our lives rather than thinking voting is going to do it for us.

From Entertaining Angels by Stacy Buck
I actually edited this for Stacy. When I edit, I read through once just to get the gist of the piece. Then I go back through and correct any grammatical errors I see. Then I go through a third time and polish it all up. I teared up through each reading. If we each spent one day a month or so asking everyone we met, "What is your greatest need?" and then doing our best to meet it, I can't even picture what the results would be. It shouldn't take a hurricane for us to think about what we can do for others.

Has the new Baby Flipped Your House Upside Down? by Time Warp Wife
Obviously this is timely for me since I'm expecting to have my house flipped upside-down in about 14 weeks. The other day I got really freaked out about this and had to just tell myself to stop and table it until it was actually here because I have no idea what it's actually going to be like and there's no sense in getting myself worked up over it right now. But I loved that this article emphasized there is a time for everything, to embrace and to refrain from embracing. So, I will do my best. And I will put my first focus on making sure my two babies and my husband know they are loved from here to the moon and back and get to the cleaning when I can. It'll fall into place.

Free But Not Cheap by Ask Moxie
This is definitely worth the read if you are a mom, and especially if you are a mom of toddlers or younger. She talks about looking at the role of motherhood being a relationship rather than a job and what that means and I have to tell you, weight was lifted off my shoulders. I will be writing an entire blog post about this very soon because I had a very nice gentleman compliment me on S and say he wished his sons and grandsons were still that age as I was fighting back tears because S was wreaking havoc in Starbucks. I'm not kidding. Or exaggerating. When I focus on all the jobs of motherhood I have, the diapers and the potty training and the trying to get a variety of foods in his little tummy and the five thousand messes every day, I just cry. I feel more than inadequate. But when I focus on the hugs and kisses and watching his personality unfold and talking back and forth and the way he runs up and kisses my legs and runs off again, motherhood is easily the best thing that has ever happened to me. I'm thankful I'm not the only one who feels this way and that someone else articulated something that has bubbled up inside of me.

What have you read that you think I should also read? Let me know what you think if you check any of these ones out!

Friday, September 7, 2012

the one where i talk about my parenting style

So we're in the middle of potty training S and it is a ginormous pain in the ass.

He is super excited to flush the toilet, talk about his penis and who else has one, and he loves his Thomas the Train and Toy Story underwear. But he will pee but not poop in the toilet. The Cars Pull-Ups that he also is super stoked to wear are different than diapers in that for some reason if he poops and it's not noticed immediately, he gets a rash on his little butt and he gets so busy playing that he doesn't want to take the time to let me clean him up and get him new Cars. So, diapers for nap time and overnight right now is what is absolutely necessary. It will all come together, and hopefully sooner rather than later so this mama only has to have one boy in diapers at a time.

I don't really know what I'm doing. That's my parenting style summed up in one sentence. I just love this kid a lot and do my best to be patient with him and myself. I get overwhelmed by the instructional mommyblogs. I like the ones that cuss and share pictures of crazy hair that lasted all day long.

Anyway, last night, S was freaking out because he didn't want to wear a diaper. He wanted to wear Cars or Tommy Choo-Choo or Buzz. I offered the compromise of wearing some too big underwear on top of his diaper. He couldn't decide between three different pairs. I suggested he ask Daddy for help deciding. And somehow, this turned into my son wearing one pair over his diaper, one pair over his pajama pants, and one pair over his head.

He was ridiculously happy. I was just tired. And he went to bed without any more fuss and took the pair off his head before getting in his bed.

So, I don't really know what I'm doing. I think a mom who was better organized and energized would have a way to have had her kiddo already potty trained by now, had a way for him to not wear a diaper at night, or been able to figure out a way to make wearing a diaper cool because it was just for night time. But I am exhausted. At the end of the night, I just need S to get in bed so I can get in bed. A happy kid is so much easier to get into his room than a kid who is upset.

Tonight I gave him a bath and he freaked out because he wanted to wear his shoes in the tub and I said no. But then I looked at the shoes (fake baby crocs) and realized they were super dirty and I didn't honestly care if he took a bath with those shoes on. So I told him I needed to wash them first and he was super excited. He wore his shoes in the tub, got his hair washed, his little body scrubbed down, and played until the bubbles all dissipated. Next bath time, I'll make sure to draw the bath, strip him down outside of the bathroom, and carry him in naked. He's still kind of easily distracted. Tonight he ran and got the shoes while I was getting the tub ready.

But again, I don't know if that was a smart thing to do or just lazy. I don't want to set these precedents where S just gets what he wants all the time. But right now, I just can't emphasize enough how tired I am. It is still ridiculously hot and I feel like I am getting bigger by the hour with this second baby.

I'm not super worried about this. I will admit that I am actively not thinking about how to handle any of this with two kids because it really freaks me out. Hopefully by the time the second one is two, I will have much more energy and direction. Or something.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

the one where i make another list of happy things!

Here is a list of things making me happy this past week...

...the RNC and the DNC. I haven't caught as much as I would like to, but politics are ridiculously fascinating to me and there's little I like more than a good speech. So, basically, I'm in heaven.
...talking to my boss about who we would have dinner with if we could pick anyone in the world. Mine are super nerdy and a little boring and her's are all guys that could be considered very handsome.
...girl's night out! The fabulous Stephanie G arranged it because my birthday was a perfect excuse to get me out of the house with just girls for a few hours. It was seriously fantastic. I laughed ridiculously hard and ate good food and enjoyed one of the first pumpkin spice lattes of the season. It was sorely needed and I felt super spoiled because I was just stoked about the GNO and then my dinner was paid for and I got presents. And another bonus was I got to introduce a friend to some other friends and they all got along fabulously! Apparently this needs its own blog post!
...the fans we have, courtesy of my parents. I don't even want to think about what our electricity bill would be right now without the fans in our room and living room helping to cool down and circulate air considerably! cards to Barnes and Noble! I have a ridiculous amount of money total between a few gifts and I am so happy to have money designated for absolutely nothing practical. I HAVE to be frivolous and get books! I'm very excited to have choices of books for my Nook, especially for when this little baby is born and I'm up all hours feeding him!
...using my crockpot.
...starting to stock my large-ish freezer with meals for the future!
...both my guys got hair cuts and currently look extra handsome.
...we got new family pictures taken! son's expression in said family pictures. He took rockin' pictures at 6 months old and at 1 year old. But 2 has not been the year of good pictures and not for lack of talented photographers!
...making plans for December for when my sister and her husband and their four kids come out to visit again!
...hoping my grandmother will also be coming out in December!
...I have an ultrasound scheduled for next week and I have a feeling we'll be able to get a better look at this little guy's face. We saw S's adorable chubby cheeks on ultrasounds and I'm hoping for another set of velvet cheeks to kiss a ridiculous amount on this little guy! while driving to my baby-sitting gig, S was in the backseat singing a song he made up. The words were: "Mommy has a penis!" I don't really know how to get him to believe me that I don't, right now at least. But it makes me giggle.
...I think my hair is growing, which is great, because I want it nice and long again as soon as possible.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

the one where my son tells me about his day

I have talked to S all day every day since he was born. Partly because I know it's good for him to hear as big of a vocabulary as possible and partly because it helps me remember I kind of have a plan. Kind of anyway. But he's two and a half and he talks to me all day long now too and I love it! At the end of the day, as part of our bedtime routine, I sit in an easy chair in his room and he sits on my lap and we pray together and he tells me about his day.

So tonight, I prayed for him and then I asked him how his day was. He told me he had the hiccups (he did), and he told me everyone he played with today. Then he said, "Daddy has a penis. Sa-son has a penis." and kissed me on the cheek and hopped down to get in bed.

I really like being a mom. You never know what is going to happen next!

Monday, September 3, 2012

the one where i link to "proud" on in the trenches

I'm part of a not-for-profit group called In the Trenches. I'm on the board and have done social media for this group of mamas for a little over the year. I've stepped back to focus on editing and creating content for the web site at

Here is my latest post! It's called Proud and it's about my two year old. Let me know what you think! Either here, or on that site. :)

Sunday, September 2, 2012

the one where i cook spinach tortellini soup!

My favorite web site to get recipes from is The recipes are budget friendly, fairly healthy, and since there are step by step photos, never daunting. There's a huge variety of food to be found and some of our menu staples came from that site. I honestly have no idea how I initially found it, but the same can basically be said about all of my favorite blogs!

Anyway, today, the lovely author posted a recipe for spinach tortellini soup. I had a sneaking suspicion I had most of the ingredients on hand, and sure enough, I did! A grocery store trip was in order anyway, so I just picked up the tortellini and some garlic bread to go with it too.

You can find the recipe here, but also, here it is for your convience:

2 tbsp olive oil
1 small yellow onion
4 cloves garlic
1 28 oz can tomato sauce
1 28 oz can crushed or diced tomatoes
28 oz water
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
15-20 cranks fresh cracked pepper
1 12 oz package tortellini (check the dried pasta, frozen, and dairy/deli sections for the best deal)
1 10 oz box frozen spinach
salt to taste

1. Dice the onion and mince the garlic. Add to a large pot with the olive oil. Cook over medium low heat until the onions are transclucent.

2. Add the can of tomatoes, can of tomato sauce, and 1 can of water to the pot. Add the basil, oregano, and pepper to the pot. Increase the heat to bring the pot to a simmer.

3. Add the tortellini and spinach (no need to thaw if frozen). Cook until heated through, the spinach is full incorporated, and the tortellini is tender. Season to taste with salt.

Serve with crusty bread and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese! Yummo!

I added about 2 cups of beef broth because I felt like it need a tiny bit more depth of flavor. I had a bowl with S (his had very little broth but he gobbled the tortellini and spinach right up!). I'm going to let the soup cool off and put half in freezer bags and in my new large-ish freezer. I'm so excited to be able to freeze meals as I go and make things a little easier and cheaper in the meal department of my life!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

the one where we got a new family picture!

Dear Samson,

You are two years old. I think you were only a terrible two year old for a couple of days, and for that I am very grateful. You have one parent who has never met a stranger in his life and another who was her mother's "velcro child" for at least the first five years of her life in that she would attach herself to her mother's leg rather than let her leave. So somewhere in the middle of all of that, this has been the summer of not particularly great professional pictures. Not horrendously awful, but not fantastic.

You can be very shy and I think the concept of getting your pictures taken is kind of a weird one to you. But that's okay. I told the photographer today not to worry about getting you to smile. We would look at whatever pictures we got today and remember you were two and weren't really into the whole idea of professional pictures. She relaxed quite a bit.

But nevertheless, I'm pretty pleased with what we got! One last official family picture before Baby C-2 joins us. I'm a happy mama.