Nothing Changes

When I was in high school, my best friend and I would plan ahead of time for VMA night. She had a TV in her room, so we knew a sleepover at her house was in order. We would gather our snacks and junk food, and cheer on our favorite musicians and bands. There are so many artists that take me back to those days. Will Smith, Natalie Imbruglia, Garbage, DMB, Backstreet Boys, Ricky Martin, Lauryn Hill, Puff Daddy, Madonna, Britney Spears, Celine Dion … to name a very select few that I remember being nominated for different awards. Even back then (did I just emphasize how very long ago I was a high schooler? Oops.) there was plenty of scandal going on during this very unorthodox awards show. I remember Eminem reaching into his pocket for an award speech, and a bunch of pills falling out of his pocket. Marilyn Manson … I have no words. Oh! I also remember Lil’ Kim’s outfit one year, and Diana Ross’ fascination with it. Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction during the Super Bowl (right? With Justin Timberlake?) had nothing on Lil’ Kim’s wardrobe no-function.
Anyways, getting back to the point I was in the process of making, I used to watch the VMA’s without fail every year. Perhaps it was my weakness of character or the fact that MTV really seems to target the youthful population. Whatever the reason, I felt strange not watching them – like I was not being a part of “my generation”. Once I reached my college years, I guess I learned that I could finally leave the VMA’s behind me and just focus on all the good things that were happening in my life.
Looking back I realize one thing about my teenage years: I wasn’t happy with myself nor did I feel good after watching the VMA’s. In fact, I felt kind of … dirty. I knew that the things happening on the show were wrong and did me no good to the point where they were harmful. It’s insane how we knowingly do things that aren’t good for us. I know I was only a teenager, but even then when I saw the things that would take place at these award shows I would think back to the society Noah raised his sons in, and Sodom and Gomorrah. I remember actually thinking to myself “He promised not to flood the Earth, but He also promised He’s coming back”. Seeing how lost people are, how their twisted ideas of sexuality and selfishness consume their lives, really got me to wondering just how much more God could stand.
Well, it’s been 13 plus years since then and  we are all still here. One thing is more for sure than anything else I know: God loves us a whole lot more than even makes sense. Because the other night when I got on Facebook and Googled Miley Cyrus after seeing 50% of updates with her name on them, the same emotions and thoughts I had at 17 came rushing back and I actually felt wholeheartedly saddened. “Nothing’s changed”. Sure, I felt sad because Miley Cyrus is another young celebrity whose spirit bit the dust, and who has no sense of self-respect or her true worth. But honestly and truly I have almost been in tears a few times just trying to conceive of what God goes through day in and day out, how it hurts and saddens him to see us whom He created so intricately be so self-destructive by turning our backs on His irrational love for us.

I know I sound pessimistic and all you “the glass is half FULL” thinkers out there are probably thinking “what a downer”. And you might be right. But the fact is, God doesn’t have a choice but to see both halves. The full half and the empty half. We can tune out the bad and live joyfully. But we aren’t the ones seeing the biggest picture of all pictures. God sees the good things that are happening and looks down with nothing but love. He also sees all the bad things happening and looks down with nothing but love. And that is what breaks my heart, melts my heart, and makes me want to cry.

Feel blessed!

Daily Blog Trial / Night 7 / Sausage and Summer Veggie Packets

Well, this concludes my week long trial. Looks like it’s doable! I actually look forward to sitting down after Gideon has gone to sleep for the night, relaxing for a minute, and writing about something. Some nights I will have more time than others. But all in all, I think it’s a great thing to strive for. Not to mention, the idea of having a daily blog with information and pictures of Gideon would be so special to me!

Sausage and Summer Veggie Packets

 This recipe is so easy. If you are wanting an easy meal to make on a busy day, that makes enough to store in your freezer for later, this is a recipe for you.

Ingredients:

Sausage Packet Recipe

  • 1.5 pounds of sliced link sausage
  • 6 cups of sliced zucchini
  • 6 cups sliced yellow squash
  • 2 cups carrots
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp lemon pepper
  • 1/3 tsp salt
  • 12 inch square foil sheets
  • optional: onion

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

2. Prep all the vegetables and meat.

Prep Veggies

3. Combine sausage, veggies, oil, and spices in a large bowl.

Sausage Packets

4. Once combined, divide into servings onto the foil sheets. If you want to use nonstick spray, you can. I did not use any, and the juices from the vegetables kept the food from sticking to the foil.

Sausage Packets

5. Wrap tightly, and place in the oven to cook for 25-30 minutes.

Sausage Packets

this recipe made 8 packets

this recipe made 8 packets

Like I said, this is a great recipe for eating immediately and to store in the freezer for later. It’s also very versatile. You can change the meat to chicken if you like, add different seasonal vegetables, etc.

Now for the good stuff

Gideon had a great day today. He spent some great quality time with Daniel while I went grocery shopping. He …

Played.

he played.

Hard.

hard.

Daily Blog Trial / Night 6 / Gideon and Eating Solids

“Gideon the Great” is kind of a pet name we use occasionally. It’s so appropriate because he really is great. He does everything big. When he rolls over, he does it again and again. When he eats, he leaves no milk to waste. When he talks, he makes sure to test just how loud he can be. When he sleeps at night, he does it like a log for 10 to 12 hours ( I know, I know. That could change at any minute. I’m still going to enjoy it while it lasts). When he is hungry, he makes sure you are aware. When he grows, he GROWS.

The last time we had him measured was at 4 months. At that point, he measured 24 inches I believe, which is almost half of my height. If he keeps growing at this rate, he’ll be as tall as his mama when he’s 9 months old. He is now 5 months and 2 weeks (approximately), and everyone at church this morning commented on how big he is getting.

The exciting thing in terms of Gideon’s development right now is the upcoming intro to solids. He’s already tasted some things (celery, carrots, grapes), and he’s even picked up a slice of avocado and put it up to his mouth. However, anything that is placed on his tongue other than milk triggers the upchuck reflex. I’ve tried pureeing avocado and giving it to him via spoon, but he turns his face away. And I know better than to force the issue.

While I don’t want to delay his experiences and deprive him of things he is interested in, I have no intention of speeding him along. He is starting to watch us eat, and tries to grab our utensils from us if he can. But he is quite obviously not ready to accept any textures just yet.

Like I said, when I offered Gideon a spoon with food on it, he was immediately resistant. I completely understand. If I didn’t know anything different, I wouldn’t want people putting things up to my face that feel and taste weird either. All of these attempts at introducing Gideon to foods other than his milk has really caused me to do some research. Surprise, surprise. I knew there had to be another way of making Gideon’s first experiences with food positive for him. I found out about something called Baby Led Weaning. It makes so much sense! As soon as a baby is born, God made him to instinctively move and search for the breast when he’s ready to eat. When a baby is ready, he will discover his toes, his tongue, his voice. Why wouldn’t the same thing go for food?

My plan (ha!) is to do a bit of everything. For now, it seems that what works best for Gideon is to place something edible in his reach and let him discover it for himself, when he wants to. Once he is more comfortable with textures and visibly desires to try what Daniel or I is eating, I will gladly puree some of our food for him to try. I am determined to make this as enjoyable for him as possible.

I seem to obsess about every new major development in Gideon’s life, and nutrition is the obsession of the moment. After doing a lot of research I have ordered the following products online:

GoFresh Baby Reusable Food Pouches

{GoFresh Reusable Food Pouches}

Green Sprouts Baby Food Mill and FreshFoods Mash and Serve Bowl

{Green Sprouts Baby Food Mill}

{FreshFoods Mash and Serve Bowl by Annabel Karmel}

Green Sprouts Food MillIMG_0441

As you can determine by the things I’ve bought, I’m not going to spend extra money on expensive baby food processors, pricey food pouches, or baby food. I own a blender and heavy duty food processor, and just don’t see the point in spending money on one more appliance that I’ll get only a few months use out of. I’m so excited to use these products! My mother-in-law was the one who told me about food mills, and I love that they are as energy efficient as a baby food maker can get. Same goes for the Mash and Serve Bowl. I came across this while doing my research. Annabel Karmel is a nutritionist from the UK who focuses entirely on gourmet baby food, and baby weaning. I love how portable the bowl is. All I have to do is stick in the diaper bag, mash up a little bit of whatever I’m having and he can eat it straight from the bowl.

I have not used any of these products yet, so in the next few months I will review them all in depth.

How and when did you introduce your babe to solids?

Here is a video of Daniel and Gideon catching up when daddy got home from work.

Daily Blog Trial / Night 5 / Zoo Pictures

Don’t have much energy left after this fun-filled weekend with my dear girls. I saw them leave today after having lunch at one of our favorite food joints {Senate}. I can’t begin to express how special it is to me that they took time away from their lives and came all the way up to Cincinnati to see me and meet Gideon. These are girls I’m going to be close with when I’m old and gray. I love them so much, and cannot wait to see them again in December! I love you Lindsay and Andrea!

Gideon and the Girls

My boy and my girls.

Since I’m busy preparing things for church tomorrow, and have zero energy this time of night, I’m going to just post some pictures of our visit together. Most specifically, these are all pictures of our trip to the Zoo on Friday.

Feeding the Giraffes

feeding the giraffes! Gideon thought they were so cool.

Girls at the Zoo

One of my favorite things about Gideon’s age right now is how he is starting to show physical affection. He’ll wrap his arms around my neck, and give me big wet kisses all the time. I’m loving it, and don’t care about the slobber one bit.

Girls at the Zoo

LOVE these girls.

Gideon sees Manatees

Gideon also loved the manatees.

Have a good night and I’ll be blogging again tomorrow!

Daily Blog Trial / Night 4 / Bad Timing

I timed this daily blog trial really badly. I timed it on the weekend that some of my best friends are in town, and it’s been especially difficult to take my focus away from them to blog. Clearly, my priorities are a little different than on the average day. While it’s not so hard to put blogging before filling the dishwasher, putting blogging before quality time with friends that I rarely get to spend face time with is a different story.

But … late tonight we decided to introduce the Twilight movie series to my friend Andrea. I have not kept count of the times I’ve watched this movie, but I feel I know it well enough to blog and not miss a thing.

So I here I am proving to myself that blogging does not have to be a 3 hour activity.

Today was a fantastic day. We ate banana pancakes with bacon for breakfast, had a relaxing morning talking, playing with Gideon. Then we spent the day at the Zoo. We were able to walk the zoo at our own pace, and see all of the animals we wanted to see. We even got to take our usual silly pictures that are just part of what we do when we are together. We ate crock pot carnitas for dinner, sang songs together to put Gideon to sleep, and now here we are in my dark living room watching Twilight and eating homemade chocolate raspberry that Daniel made for us while we were gone.

What a great day. I will post a few pictures of our adventures tomorrow evening.

What do you and your long time friends enjoy doing together?

Daily Blog Trial / Night 3 / Banana Blog

I was going to write an elaborate informative entry tonight, probably about harnessing our water resources at home or something dorky like that. But instead, I’m going to keep this one very short and very sweet.

Two of my dear friends from college arrived this evening to see me, and of course to meet Gideon. We have already enjoyed hours of talking and laughing and catching up, and I look forward to a fun-filled weekend. But I’m committed to this daily blog thing, so here I am blogging.

I’ve decided today’s blog is going to be a “Did you know?” blog entry. You have my friend Lindsay to thank for this one.

DID YOU KNOW?

Do you have warts, insect bites, scuffed leather, nicotine withdrawal, or are feeling down in the dumps? Get yourself a banana. If you want to learn about all the neat benefits of a simple banana, go here.

That’s it for tonight, folks! To your health!

Daily Blog Trial / Night 2 / The Bradley Girls

Once a month I attend a play date with friends that I made in my birth class. We all hit it off from the start. We met before our bellies were showing, shared stories about puking at work, and cringed while watching very graphic educational videos of things that were inevitably coming our way. We would meet for lunch and share our excitement, fears, and mixed emotions regarding the tremendous changes that were imminent. We kept in touch through our final days as pregnant women, always wishing each other well and sending each other encouraging text messages on our labor days. One by one, we all had our babies. Praise God, they are all healthy beautiful babies that fill our lives with joy.

Bradley Babies, August 2013

Bradley Babies, August 2013. Right to left in order of birth: Lulu (honorary Bradley baby), Mac, Gideon, Hudson, Nolan, Vera.

We gather in each other’s houses and this last weekend we met up at Washington Park in downtown Cincinnati. Every time we meet there is a new wave of excitement. The babies are always doing something they weren’t doing last time we met, and we can encourage each other through the struggles that every new month brings with it. If nothing else, we can walk away knowing we are not alone in the challenges of parenthood.

Now, I know that as a rule play dates are mainly intended to socialize children and teach them pragmatics, the concept of sharing, playing well with others, yada yada. But for this mama, play dates are a therapeutic necessity. Gideon will be fine whether he attends play dates or not, however the same cannot be said about me. Personal testimonial: I believe I will be fine greatly thanks to the moms at my monthly play dates!

Being able to talk with other moms of babies is not only pleasant and informative, but refreshing. So much of how society assesses moms is based on what the media tells them they have to look, act, and talk like.There’s a standard you must meet, and the experience of motherhood is ruined because focus is placed on trivial things. My relationship with my “Bradley girls” (we attended a Bradley Method birth class) is so far removed from that. Like I said, being around these women is refreshing to me. There is no room for judgment, there is no comparing, and we all have a common goal in motherhood: to raise happy healthy children. So when someone brings up something new, we are all genuinely interested and want to know what all our options are to achieve the same outcome. All these women seem to understand that what is “best” looks different for each family unit. Like I said, refreshing!

Do you have a group of moms you meet with regularly? What are some things you do to make sure you get some social time for yourself?