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I wonder if other moms compare themselves like I do. I compare myself to other moms, but even more harshly, I compare current self to my pre-baby self.

I forget more things now. Before I had a baby, I was a fantastic multitasker…I could answer phones, send emails, file paperwork, and mail merge labels all at the same time. Now, I can soothe a crying baby, get him buckled in his car seat, and…realize that I forgot my purse in the house.

I don’t accomplish as much as I used to. I used to write out my lists – things to do, what I need at which stores – and cross them all out. Now, I start cooking dinner…and ask Hubby to take over so I can feed the baby. I start folding laundry…and then I leave it piled on the couch because the baby needs to be changed.

I also get distracted more easily. I start getting dressed in the morning, then remember I have to pack my lunch, then I have to get the baby dressed… By time I’m ready to leave the house, I realize I’m still in my pajama pants or forgot to put on deodorant.

And of course, I feel as though I’m the only one going through this. I’m the only one who’s trying to balance being a mom and a wife, who’s trying to work and take care of the house, whose hair hasn’t been washed in days, or who feels like everyone else is doing this better than me.

Thankfully, I have friends who are moms and are not afraid of being real and honest about life. Talking about and doing life with them has taught me two things:

  1. I can’t expect my life to be the same as it was before Baby Boy was born. Things have changed. Forever. That’s just life, and it’s ok.
  2. All that stuff I’ve been venting about? Welcome to motherhood. It’s tough and it’s messy and it requires grace.

So, I want to officially put this out there for those of you who are living in the mindset that everyone else has it all together: they don’t!

You are not the only one hiding baskets of laundry behind the closed door of the guest room. You are not the only one desperately vacuuming five minutes before company is due at your house. You are not the only one with piles of mail and papers that you don’t have time or energy to go through. You are not the only one whose bathroom faucet is splattered with toothpaste or floor is covered in your hair (especially if you’re experiencing postpartum shedding).

You’re not the only one.

I’m not saying this is a free pass to give up. I just want to encourage you, as you fight for breaths in between nap times, to not give up. If you’re doing the best you can, no one can ask any more of you than that.

So cut yourself a big slice of slack and top it with a heaping scoop of grace – it goes well with coffee.

Since we first found out that I am pregnant, Hubby and I have agreed to when and how the two extra bedrooms in our house need to be re-arranged.  Currently, we have a guest room and an office/man-cave/extra guest room (it’s basically where the office “stuff”, Hubby’s man “stuff” and the futon are kept).  So, The Plan has always been as follows:

I, as Project Manager, will take on, as a summer project, the re-arrangement of the Guest Room and Office/Man-Cave/Extra Guest Room in order to create a New Guest Room and Baby Room by executing the following tasks:

  • Complete all backed-up filing that has accumulated since we sold our house (before we moved here…in November).
  • Purge all office “stuff” and divide into categories of “trash”, “sell”, “keep”, and “storage”.
  • Sell all office furniture.
  • Separate baby “stuff” from guest room “stuff”
  • Notify Hubby when he is to move all guest room furniture into now-empty office/man-cave.
  • Arrange and organize new guest room.
  • Clean now-empty old guest room and set up/organize baby “stuff”.

It sounded like a pretty clear-cut plan when we verbalized it 6 months ago…but now, I’m looking at these rooms…

Man Cave/Office/Extra Guest Room to be emptied.

Guest Room, full of baby "stuff"

Ummmm….GULP!  (The office/man cave picture doesn’t do it complete justice – there is an entire bookshelf, a wall and a half of pictures/decor, and a full-to-the-brim closet that are not shown here.)  So…if you don’t hear from me for a few days, you might want to send a search party, because I’ll probably be buried somewhere under a landslide in one of these two rooms!  Maybe I should tie a safety rope around my waist before I start…then again, it’s probably somewhere in the office/man cave…

So, there’s this blog called The Daybook that does a feature called “Awkward and Awesome Thursdays.”  Several other people have joined in the fun, and I find their posts quite entertaining!  I’m gonna give it a shot, but I’m just going to sum up the month of April so far (events will be listed in the order I remember them, not chronologically…let’s not put too much pressure on a brain that I have to share with a growing baby).  For the record, today is Thursday. 🙂

Awkward

– Filing taxes on your own, well technically with the Hubby, during the tax year when all the experts are saying this was the most confusing year for tax laws.  (For the record, interpreting your real estate documents to figure out what you owe on your tax credit will probably make you want to shoot someone/something.  Just sayin’…)

– Sweating in April.  Southerners call 82 degrees “a nice Spring day,” but the land I hail from just got 3 inches of snow, and despite complaints of annoyance, nobody there thought that was strange.  So yes, sweating in April is awkward for me.

– Planning a trip to visit said home state in a few weeks and realizing that most of the clothes that fit my growing frame are summer clothes…hmm…

– Even though I am the one that is pregnant, due to circumstances beyond our control (like tendonitis and allergies), Hubby has had more doctors appointments than I have! 

– Not being able to open any windows because of Hubby’s allergies to all things Nature.

– Feeling pregnant without looking very pregnant.  I can’t keep more than one thought straight in my head, and I get tired a heck of a lot quicker than I used to, but unless I pointed out the ultrasound picture on our refrigerator, you’d probably just think I had too much to eat for lunch.  Which I probably did.  But whatever…

– Trying to compensate my forgetful, pregnancy-hormone-filled brain by putting reminders in the calendar on my phone…but forgetting to set the alarms so that I would actually be reminded…doh!

– Having the neighbor who never speaks to anyone shouting and banging on your door at 7:00 a.m. to ask you for a jump or jumper cables because she left her headlights on all night and her battery died.

– Continuing to be ignored by the neighbor whose car you jumped at 7:00 a.m.

– The overflowing baskets of clean laundry that I have yet to fold.  No really, that’s clean…it’s just…a little wrinkley…  I am so in trouble when this baby comes…

Awesome

– Despite the frustrations with taxes themselves, TurboTax is pretty awesome.  I would recommend them.

– Being surprised by Hubby with a trip to home state to visit my family.  I heart him!  A lot! 😉

– Getting a part-time, at-home job that allows me freedom to run errands, clean house and cook dinner during the day, leaving my evenings free to hang out with Hubby.

– Making new friends through our new small group from church.  We all seem to like each other, which is awesome.

– Having a neighbor (different than the awkward one) who refers to me as “Little Mama” and habitually brings us desserts. 🙂  Miss Pruney is awesome.

– My new-found LOVE for raw fruits and veggies.  So far, this baby has pretty good taste in cravings (no pun intended).

– Getting ready to plant a veggie garden next week! 🙂

– Getting our second dog spayed, which means I will only have to change one little being’s diapers from now on, and it will be a human being.  (Seriously, dogs in heat are awk. ward.)

– Exercising my dogs by blowing bubbles for them in the backyard.  They do all the running, I do all the laughing.  Totally.  Awesome. 🙂

– Looking forward to the 5 year anniversary with Hubby.  Again, I heart him.  He’s my best friend, my hero, and my dearest love.  And he’s planning a big surprise for that day.  Surprises are awesome. 🙂

– Also looking forward to finding out whether this baby is gonna be a boy or a girl.  No, I don’t have any instinct about it.  I just want him/her to be healthy!  Again, surprises are awesome. 🙂

There you have it – my awkward and awesome life so far this month!  Good stuff. 🙂

Don’t forget, this post is brought to you by The Daybook.

Those who know me know that I try my very best not to be a wasteful person. Need groceries? I have coupons. Something broke? Let’s figure out how to repair it ourselves. You’re hungry? There are leftovers in the refrigerator.

Ah, leftovers. In a perfect world, I would always be able to turn my leftovers into a new, tasty meal. Alas, this has not always been the case, and has left us (on more than one occasion) eating the same dish for dinner, lunch, dinner, and sometimes lunch again. But not today! Today, I took my leftovers, waved my magic spoon, and transformed them into a different dish. And I didn’t do too bad, if I may say so myself. 🙂

Here’s the low-down… On Thursday, I made Brown and Wild Rice Pilaf (recipe found here) and salmon burgers. Quite tasty. On Friday (yesterday), we had more Brown and Wild Rice Pilaf (note to self…1 cup uncooked brown rice + 1 cup uncooked wild rice = way more rice than two people are capable of eating!). As I pondered my leftover rice (mostly because I wanted to head off any “this again?” comments at our next meal), I remembered my favorite soup of all time: Cream of Chicken and Wild Rice Soup from Panera (insert angelic chorus here). I suspected they wouldn’t share their money-making recipe with little ol’ me, so I started looking through different recipes online. I ended up choosing 2 different recipes and doing what I like to call “Pirate Cooking.”

Side note: “Pirate Cooking” is a nod to the first Pirates of the Carribean movie, where Captain Barbosa explains to Elizabeth Swan that The Pirates’ Code is more like a set of guidelines than rules. This is my usual approach to recipes. I read over them, often comparing several, and then use the general concepts to make something up on my own. It usually works out. I mean, we’re still alive, anyway. 🙂

Ok – back to the recipe. The soup turned out great, although a tad thick (after we ate our first bowlfuls, I went back and added a bit more broth to what was left in the pot). Here’s how I worked my magic (please note most of the measurements are estimates, but it should be more or less accurate :)):

Cream of Chicken & Leftover Wild Rice

3 cups chicken broth (I only used 2 cups tonight, but 3 would’ve been better)

2 chicken breasts, diced

2 stalks celery, chopped

3 small-medium carrots, chopped

1/2 onion, chopped

1/2-3/4 cup (more or less, to taste) leftover wild rice

handful chopped fresh parsley

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

1/2 cup flour

1/2 cup butter

1/2 tsp dried thyme

1 cup half-and-half or cream

In large pot, add broth, chicken, and chopped parsley; bring to boil and reduce heat. Simmer until chicken is cooked, then turn off heat. In a small bowl, mix flour, 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper, set aside. In medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add celery, carrots and onion; cook for 5 minutes. Add dried thyme, 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper; cook 5 more minutes, until veggies are tender. Gradually add flour mixture to veggies, while stirring constantly, to create a roux. (Go ahead and click on the link – I didn’t know what it was until about an hour ago.) Mixture will be soft and thick. Saute for another 3-4 minutes to cook out the raw flour taste. Add half-and-half or cream, again stirring constantly until smooth. Cook 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally. While that cooks, add your leftover rice to the chicken and broth and simmer (since the rice is already cooked, you only need it to warm up and let the broth absorb some of the seasoning). When creamy mixture is ready, add it to the chicken, rice and broth, and stir it up. Cook over medium heat for another 15-20 minutes and serve. Makes about 4-5 servings.

This is what my soup looked like (again, mine was a little too thick; I'll use more broth next time).

There you have it! I think even Panera regulars would be happy with the results. I’m thinking this is going to be even tastier tomorrow, after the flavors have all had a chance to marinate together. Yummy! 🙂

P.S. Let me know if you try anything different that you enjoyed (added a spice, used a diferent amount of some ingredient, etc.). I’d love to hear your ideas! Go ahead and throw a parrot on your shoulder, strap on an eye patch and cook up something delicious! 😉

Heeeeey…and we’re back from commercial break!  Sorry for that moment…er…month…of silence.  The thing is, I really only had one thing to talk about, but I couldn’t share anything yet.  What is this big news?

I’M PREGNANT!!! 🙂

Yep, that’s right.  By October, we’re expecting a little bundle of Spanish-American joy. 🙂  Obviously, going through first trimester gloriousness, all I’ve had to talk about is feeling sick, tired, or cravings.  Not the greatest blog material, but I think from here on out we’ll be alright.  Although, I have found some of my cravings amusing, especially when they come on so randomly.  Like the time I woke up and said, “Pancakes!”  That’s all I wanted.  Right away.  Yikes…

And for those of you who might be wondering, no, we weren’t exactly trying.  It actually went something like this, “Wow, things are going really well.  Yeah, maybe in a few months we could…oh, are those two pink lines?  Nevermind!” 🙂  We are SUPER excited, and my husband has already started looking for baby-sized futbol (soccer) jerseys.  My brother texts me about once a week, wondering if we know whether it’s a boy or a girl yet.  And I’m pretty sure none of our parents have stopped grinning since our announcement. 🙂

And here’s baby’s first picture, at 9 weeks:

It's kinda fuzzy, but you can see the head, torso, and a little hand! Baby was a little wiggly, so it was hard to get a clearer pic.

So, other than that, I’m still housewifing, although I have begun a job search, mainly focusing on at-home opportunities.  The flexibility seems to fit well with our current “long term goals.” 😉  I had to take an “assessment” to find out whether I can…I don’t know…follow directions?  We’ll see how it goes, I haven’t gotten the results back yet. 

As for what I’m not doing: jury duty!  I got a letter from my old city, summoning me to yonder East Coast.  But one phone call and an email with a scanned copy of my new driver’s license later, I was excused.  Apparently, they’re not up for reimbursing 10-hour road trips or authorizing Skype in their courtrooms…yet.  The sad thing is, I am one of like 10 other people in the U.S. who would actually enjoy reporting for jury duty!  Call me a nerd, but I think it would be interesting.  So, there’s a bit of pre-Friday irony for you to savor: me, of all people, getting out of jury duty, no hassle! 🙂  Sorry for those of you who will be dragging your feet to the courthouses.  Maybe some day I’ll get to. 🙂

Today is my first day being a true stay-at-home housewife.  Even though I left my last job in November to move to another state, I am only just beginning to count my days of housewifing today because this is my first day home alone. <Feel free to insert the Macaulay Culkin scream here…you know you want to>  My husband started his new job today, which leaves me in the house with our dogs, what’s left of the moving boxes, and the laundry.

It has been an interesting day – this is the first time since I-can’t-remember-when that I’ve been without a job or school schedule to keep me on task.  Not having an automatic structure in place, I spent the better part of my morning nursing a cup of coffee and browsing the internet.  I started with the essentials, of course (Facebook, Twitter, headlines of msn.com), then moved on to re-formatting my blog, and wrapped up with glancing through Google’s top results for event planners in my new city.  After a look at the clock (the entire morning had escaped me), I tackled some boxes; unfortunately, it was all the little bathroom things that need organizing, so there was a lot of work with little visible progress.  Very frustrating.  Thankfully, I have a very understanding husband, and after I vented my own disappointment of my lack of productivity, he simply said “It’s ok.”  🙂  I love him! 

I think keeping lists will be the biggest help for me.  I used to have a notebook designated for all my to-do items at work.  I think I’ll do the same for all my home projects.  That way, I can take a look at what needs to be done at the beginning of my day and assess my progress in the evening.  I’m a very list-oriented person – I find them very motivating. 🙂  Well, that about sums up my first day of “housewifing.” 

In other news, my husband had a WONDERFUL first day of work!  Yay! 🙂