Motherhood: What They Don’t Prepare You For

20140409-194612.jpgI have plenty of posts where I praise my children and tell the world how beautiful they are on the inside. Today’s post is not one of them. Don’t get me wrong, the boys are a close second to the center of my world, and that will never change.
What does change is my perspective on motherhood. There are days when I contemplate how much easier my life would be without babies. Yes, I’d be working outside of the home, and who knows what that would entail. But, there wouldn’t be a 10 month old unfolding every piece of perfectly folded laundry as soon as I set it down. And in a world without my children I wouldn’t listen to my toddler scream for fifteen minutes because “I want to throw it away myself!!” after you finally threw something away after asking him to do it several times.

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Nobody tells you that there are days as a stay at home mom where you lock yourself in the bathroom once your husband gets home from work to cry a little. It isn’t because life is so horrible, because in reality you love your children more than anything and would give everything for them. Today I cried because I’m just overwhelmed. I’m overwhelmed by Liam getting four teeth at once, I haven’t slept through the night in nearly three years, Xander proved that a sugar high is not an urban legend, and the amount of dishes I still needed (and need) to get done, etc. etc. The list could go on for days.

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Motherhood is overwhelming. It is. And I’m sure every mom would agree with me that every stage has it’s quirks. (I say this knowing that my 2.5 years of being a mother are not sufficient in telling of every stage of parenting!) Every stage also has it’s absolutely justifying moments. For example, Liam took two unassisted steps today! They weren’t to me of course but he “walked” to our lab, Piper. Xander is in love with bounce houses now, and today he semi-conquered his fear of the Easter Bunny when he went up and high-fived the creepy 7 ft tall fur-ball!
My children are just as beautiful on the inside as I believe them to be on the outside. And even though there are days that I would like to pull out every strand of hair on my greying head, I enjoy nothing more than being their mother. So motherhood, they don’t tell you everything when you sign on but honestly, they don’t have to. Even if I had 52 days in a row like my crazy day today, my kiddos would flash a smile and that one second would make everything else worth it.

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Cooking With Toddlers: Green Smoothie Muffins

Green Smoothie MuffinsIf you’ve got a picky eater, or are just trying to find ways to be sneaky and boost the nutrition your little ones are getting, I have news for you.  You don’t have to drink your green smoothies!  You can eat them too!

Xander is a muffin fanatic!  No kidding, this kid can eat a dozen muffins in one sitting if we let him; he’s like his momma and would absolutely fail if he had to do any lo-carb diet! But, I’ve been trying to eat a little healthier and while banana bread muffins are delicious, I couldn’t help but cringe when I looked at how much sugar we were adding to the batter!  I did a little searching and was able to come up with a few modifications to our normal recipe, and while it doesn’t taste exactly the same, both boys are gobbling down muffins as I type!

The very first thing you’re going to do is preheat your oven to 350 degrees!

It might not look like it, but there are four cups of spinach/kale in there!

It might not look like it, but there are four cups of spinach/kale in there!

Then you begin by shoving your bananas, coconut oil, milk, and as much kale and spinach as you can fit into your blender.  Toddler Baking

Next, have your adorable toddler empty all the dry ingredients into the mixer.  You can pre-measure and let them dump a bowl, but we’re working on counting and letting Xander measure things out himself lately. (It’s going pretty well!)Toddler Baking 2

Next you (or if you’re really brave your toddler) can go ahead and pour the contents of the blender into the mixing bowl.  Mix everything just until it’s the same consistency.  You can teach your child the word homogenized if you want—it’s pretty darn cute hearing a two year old say it, just FYI.Mixing Green Smoothie Muffins

Once everything is mixed, use an ice cream scoop to pour equal amounts into muffin tins.  You want them to be about 2/3s full, we ended up with 17 muffins, but you could end up with more or less.  We baked them for 19 minutes, but I started toothpick testing at 17 because our oven is a bit temperamental and I never know if it’s having a good day or not.

The muffin pan on the left is a prime example of why I'll never be a food blogger! Haha.

The muffin pan on the left is a prime example of why I’ll never be a food blogger! Haha.

My boys, even picky eater Liam, devour these muffins.  The best part is that I feel comfortable letting them have seconds, or even thirds since I know what is in them.  Paul thinks they are pretty good also, even if they are a bit healthier than the sugar-laden banana bread he loves so much!

 

Yes, that's Liam's little hand grabbing at the muffins!

Yes, that’s Liam’s little hand grabbing at the muffins!

Recipe:

  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • ¾ cup vanilla almond milk (dairy milk also works, you’ll just need to add a tsp of vanilla)
  • 2 cups kale
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • ¼ cup honey (this is “to taste,”  we only added 2 TBS this time and still loved them!)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp salt
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line muffin pans with paper liners.  (We needed 17, but we always fill the pans with liners and then take away what we don’t use.)
  2. Blend coconut oil, milk, kale, spinach, honey, and bananas in blender until completely pureed.
  3. Add remaining ingredients to mixing bowl.  Mix well.
  4. Add the blended ingredients to mixing bowl and stir until completely combined.
  5. Fill muffin cups about 2/3 full and bake 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Enjoy!

    At this point you should pick up your fussy baby and let him think he's helping.

    At this point you should pick up your fussy baby and let him think he’s helping too!

Quick Update

We’ve had a busy few weeks around here!  Paul got selected to be a juror for a murder trial and if you have never had the privilege of being a juror’s wife let me tell you, it isn’t the best gig.  They can’t talk about the trial, he couldn’t really take his lunch because they got kicked out of the courthouse so I had to eat all the leftovers myself, and the boys didn’t get to see much of dad because he didn’t get home until it was close to bath time most of the nights!  He’s back at his normal job now!  Thankfully there is a bit of good news as far as his normal job goes too!  He is now what they call a “day walker” and has a set Monday through Friday schedule!  He started today, and while I’m a little nervous about planning out the days for the boys and myself, I know this is the best thing for us all as we’ll have some stability.  (Plus he doesn’t have to work nights anymore and working nights is NO FUN!)  Also this means no more working weekends!  So, he will be able to help with soccer ALWAYS now. :)

We do "Toddler Soccer" on Saturdays.  Some days Xander plays soccer with friends, some days he plays blocks with Liam.

We do “Toddler Soccer” on Saturdays. Some days Xander plays soccer with friends, some days he plays blocks with Liam.

New things with the boys include Liam getting more teeth!  Right now he has four (two on top and two on bottom) but he’s getting at least two more and his mood changes on an hourly basis.  I think my Dad has got Liam figured out though, he pretty much said as long as the boy is either A) outside or B) has a mouth to play with or C) has something to drum on his outlook on life is pretty positive!  Add in some milk and that kiddo lives the life.  Xander has developed a case of what I call “The Daddy’s” and is now a huge Daddy’s boy.  Breaks my heart, but it’s nice that I’m not both boys’ top pick!  We can divide and conquer a little more easily! And speaking of conquering, Xander conquered his bounce house fear over the weekend!  We went to a birthday party where he was the biggest kid for a little while and in that time he got into the bounce house when no one else was in it, and he actually likes it now!  Up until now he’s always been leery of them, probably because he has gotten trampled several times by the big kids!  I’m thinking one might be a must have for his party in August!

The blur in the orange shirt? That'd be Xander!  He was having so much fun I couldn't get a good photo!

The blur in the orange shirt? That’d be Xander! He was having so much fun I couldn’t get a good photo!

While we were at the party he ate pizza, had juice boxes, ate some candy, ate two bags of Cheetos, and had two slices of cake.  We were there for about 4 hours, but still the sugar high from all of that was a little intense.  I’ve committed to spending this week free of processed foods to bring him back to normal.  This is probably a good thing because he has been a little sassy pants lately too!  I never really factored in how much food plays a part on his attitude, but it really does.  While he’s still been cranky and sassy lately, he isn’t bouncing off the walls so it’s all a little more bearable.  I don’t plan on becoming a food blogger any time soon, or really ever, but I do plan on sharing a few recipes we’ve done recently over the next couple of days.  There won’t be photos that make your mouth water like on my favorite food blogs, but they’re pretty easy recipes that we’ve enjoyed.  That’s all for playing catch up! Hopefully with Paul’s new work schedule I’ll get back to blogging more regularly! (We can hope, right?)

Brother Love

I often find myself telling people that the boys love each other so much! And they really do.
Yes, Xander enjoys taking toys that “Eeam is too little to play with” a little too much, and “Eeam no!” seems to be a favorite phrase of his lately, but they really do love each other more than anything.

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Example? A little while ago Xander got in trouble for being too rough with Allie, and after I got onto him he covered himself up completely with the blanket and was crying. Liam got down from my lap where he had been nursing, crawled over and uncovered the blankets by Xander’s face to check on him. And then covered him in kisses.
When they’re in high school stories like this will completely embarrass them, but they’ll also remind me just how sweet my baby boys are. Their love for each other reaffirms that having Liam when we did was the most perfect thing for our family no matter how crazy two under the age of two is! I always say the boys are my biggest blessings, and they truly are! I don’t know what I’d do without their shenanigans. :)

Multitasking

Now that Liam is mobile I’ve had to really work on my multitasking. The kid crawls faster than lightning, and is already standing and taking steps around furniture so in all moments of the day I have to keep an eye on him no matter what else I’m doing! In the rare moments that he’s sleeping I try and get as much done as possible, but I also have to keep Xander as quiet as possible. (Which means he can’t give me his little vocal concerts that he has grown extremely proud of!)
Today, I had to meal plan and make my grocery list! The commissary is closed Sunday and Monday and we’re running out of staples so I have to go as soon as super dad is back with the car. With Liam strapped to my chest sleeping I got to planning!

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Of course Xander decided he needed my full undivided attention, so I handed him a Parenting magazine. Why? To practice colors!! I could easily tell him “find me something red!” And he would spend a few minutes flipping through the pages until he found something red! So, meals are planned, grocery list is made, and we practiced our colors too! Now if the boys will both nap at the same time this afternoon this tired momma might be able to get some sleep too!!
What things are you guilty of doing in order to get things done? Anything you’re extremely great at when it comes to multitasking?