Friday, March 30, 2012

No More Faking It

Warning, I realize the title of this post is probably misleading.  While I chuckle at the thought of a post about orgasms, or lack thereof, this is not that post.  Sorry to disappoint.  Or, if you're related to me, you're welcome.

After over four and a half years of practicing law, I finally feel like I know what I am doing in my little world of transactional banking law.  Instead of faking confidence on a phone call, I finally have it. Real confidence.  I came to that realization this week, and it's a good feeling.  Although I'm not going to revel in it too long, because history is sure to repeat itself and the ground always shifts when my feet finally feel firmly planted.  But for now it feels good.

My client called and said he was having problems with a deal and could I please call the other party's counsel to discuss the issue.  Sure, I said, I'm happy to do so.  (As attorneys, we are in the service industry and making your clients happy is the name of the game.  Unhappy client = no work = no money.  This is important to remember.).  So he sent me the contact information and I looked up the other lawyer online, as I always do.  I like to see who's going to be on the other end of the phone.  This is usually a mistake.

Male.  Much older.  Partner.  Great.

I geared up for the possible puffed-out-chest thing that some older male lawyers like to pull on a young female and dialed the number.  And the next thing I knew, it was as if I was over my body listening to myself talk calmly and intelligently, convincing this other attorney that my way was the right way.  There was no shred of an insecure, nervous new attorney talking.  That woman doesn't exist in me anymore.  And it feels really good.

Now if only I could keep this composure when talking to my 16 month old son when he's having a meltdown.  That requires true negotiating skills that I'm not sure I've acquired yet.  Let's hope I make some serious strides in that area before the little man turns 2...

Thursday, March 29, 2012

New Nigh-Nigh

Lukas has slept with the same blanket in his crib since he was about two months old.  I bring it with us when we're traveling and cover him up in it when it's chilly.  But he has never shown any sort of attachment to it.  Until this week. 

After our usual night time routine, I rocked him for a few minutes and then put him to bed in his crib as usual.  He laid down but then immediately sat up.  I braced myself for the clearly inevitable begging/screaming to pick him back up.  But no.  He didn't even acknowledge that I was still standing there.  He crawled over to the blanket, balled it up and then laid on top of it and fell fast asleep.

Well that's a new one.

The next night, same thing.  I lay him down practically asleep and he sits up, finds the blanket and then curls up with the blank squished under him.  It's now happened every night this week.

So last night I decided to get this new night-night thing on video.  And since I'm brilliant, I left the light on my phone which threw him off a bit.  Crying/whimpering is not typically part of this sit-crawl-find blanket-sleep routine.  But you get the gist.

Also, please disregard my creepy voice.  And yes, I call him bubba.  I can't help it.  It just comes out.


Up's Day

Today is a very special man's birthday. Today is Up's birthday.  (And if you're a new reader, I should explain that UP is my dad.  He now goes by Up because both of his grandsons call him Up.  Lukas also raises his hands in the air (i.e. UP) when we talk about him.  It's cute.)


Many years ago he told me that your age goes in reverse when you hit 50.  It's always been our little joke.  By this method of calculating age, daddy and I turn the same age this year - 31!

For his birthday, here are some of my favorite memories/factoids of my daddy (in totally random order):

1. When I was little and had a loose tooth, he would tie one end of the dental floss around the tooth and the other end around a door knob and then slam the door.  I loved it.
2.  He was my first date to a dance - the daddy daughter dance when I was in first grade.  It was western themed.
3.  He tried to teach me to parallel park when I was 15 and we didn't speak to each other on the car ride home.  It did not go well.  
4.  He bought me a Barbie once I could juggle the soccer ball 5 times.
5.  He may or may not have influenced my decision to go to UGA (where my tuition was free thanks to the Hope Scholarship) by promising me a car.  And I may or may not have lured him to Carmax under the pretense that I wanted a 0% interest Mitsubishi only to fall in love with a used BMW when we got there.
6.  When I graduated from high school he said he was proud of me since he hadn't actually graduated from high school himself and this made me laugh and smile.  (He has a GED and an MBA!)
7.  We share a mutual love of the movies Groundhog Day, Dirty Dancing and What about Bob.  My mom does not share this feeling.
8.  The morning of my wedding, we had breakfast together - just the two of us.
9.  He has given me an angel figurine every year for years.
10. His other name, aside from daddy and Up, is Narf Erasec.
11. We sing a pretty mean version of Palisades Park.
12.  He has always been my biggest supporter in everything I've done.


 
Happy Birthday daddy.  I love you!  




Wednesday, March 28, 2012

CURE - For Marco


When I was pregnant with Lukas I was lucky to make a new girlfriend, Emily.  We met through our mutual friend Tedra and our first outing together was to the Dragon Con parade (our husbands are all self-professed dorks) and then we had brunch in Inman Park.  Emily and I were both first time mommies-to-be and were pregnant with little boys due within a month of each other.  We got to know each other during the last few months of our pregnancies and Emily's son Marco was born exactly 3 weeks after Lukas.  The boys had play dates together and we often went out to eat or shopping at consignment sales.  I was thrilled when we found out that Marco and Lukas would be in the same "class" at Primrose.  Marco was one of the original "boys club" members in Infant 4.  He had a beautiful smile and was such a sweet baby. 

The rest of Marco's story is hard to write.  Marco was diagnosed with brain cancer at the end of August and passed away shortly thereafter.  His time here was far too brief and his parents have gone through every parent's worst nightmare.

In honor of Marco, Emily and her husband Chris have put together TEAM MARCO to help raise money to Cure Childhood Cancer and participate in the 2012 Lauren's Run and CURE Annual Picnic.  Mr. Cob and I will both be running in the race in honor and in memory of Marco.

Any donation you can give to help find a cure to childhood cancer is greatly appreciated.  You can donate by clicking on this link: http://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/ryanswanson/18th-annual-laurens-run

To read more about Marco's story, please read his eulogy below.

"Marco passed away on September 12th in the loving arms of his mom and dad. He was comfortable and peaceful.


It is hard to eulogize a nine-month old. Undoubtedly, many of the adorable things we loved about Marco are just the things that most babies do. He put ridiculous things in his mouth; the phone, furniture, the edge of the carpet. He hated having his nose cleaned. He grabbed at glasses and hair like they were candy. He grinned and giggled when mom and dad came in the room.

We loved Marco even more for those little things that made him Marco. He was constantly twirling his ankles with a serious look on his face, as if he were loosening up for some future workout. He found it funny when he sneezed. It would always make him laugh. He was easily comforted and never inconsolable, and he smiled frequently with his wide-open toothless grin. If you took a toy from him, he would never cry - he would just give you a look that said, "whatever, dude," and go on about his business.

Marco is leaving us after a very short time. He never walked and even his crawling was pretty suspect - we called his crawling attempts "skydiving" because of the way he lifted and shook all four limbs from his tummy, without moving an inch. He never said his first word. De said "Dada" all the time, but he probably never quite knew what it meant. He never got the hang of eating solid food. We'd never taught him anything or disciplined him or any of that. All of that was still in the future.

All we got to do was to hold him, and to care for him, and to love him, and just for a little while. And yet we can say without hesitation that he brought us the best year of our life. We did not understand that you could love like this before we met Marco. Marco made everything shiny. He invested every task, no matter how mundane, with purpose and meaning. And the sorrow we feel cannot overtake the joy that he brought.

Thank you all for your love and support.

Chris and Emily"



Cali Playground

Yesterday my mom downloaded some pictures from our last afternoon in California.  I tried my hardest to get a picture of the two cousins together, but boys are busy, so I didn't get that "perfect" pic.  But these all made me smile anyway!







Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Question 3

So back to the 30 questions, which I will probably not answer in 30 days, but hey, let's consider it an ongoing project. So Question #3...

Describe your relationship with your parents.


This is an easy one.  I have a great relationship with my parents.  They live only 35 miles away and we see them on average once a week.  My mom and I talk on the phone about once a day.  Sometimes to chat for a while, others to just check in.  She's an amazing mom and has provided me a wonderful example on how to be a good mother.  We know how to push each other's buttons (don't all moms and daughters?!), but I love her with all my heart and am so happy she lives close by.  And as far as my relationship with my dad, I'm a daddy's girl.  Always have been, always will be.  I still call him daddy and hug and kiss him every time I say goodbye.  He always walks me out to my car and watches as I pull down the driveway, waving at me before he goes inside.  It always makes me smile.  My parents are both amazing and I'm lucky to have them.

"TTT" - Claws Begone

Have you noticed that kids' nails grow like weeds?  I feel like I cut Lukas' nails one day and they're long and sharp again the next.  It's like he has ten little claws at the end of his fingers.

Cutting his nails has been a difficult task for me since he was born.  At first he wore those little hand socks to prevent scratching himself, but eventually I had to cut his nails and it scared me.  I was worried I would cut his nail and we'd have blood everywhere.  So I tried to file them, which was a failure from the get go.  I even may or may not have attempted to bite them off (it's not as strange as it sounds.  Or is it?).  But eventually I realized that the baby nail clippers were the only way to get rid of the baby claws.

But Lukas always resisted.  He hates my manicures and refuses to sit still from me.  Every nail cutting session ended with both of us in tears.  I even tried cutting them in his sleep but he just rolled over on me.  I had a friend who had success with giving her baby a set of baby clippers to hold in one hand while she cut the nails on the other hand.  This didn't work for us.  Nothing seemed to - he just would not sit still and give me his hand.

Then one day he was playing on his little green tractor and I nonchalantly went over and took his hand and clipped the pinkie.  He snatched his hand back and pressed the button on the tractor.  But then he actually gave me his hand back for one more clip, pulled away, pressed the tractor music button and let me take his hand again.  We repeated this 20 more times (it takes me two clips per nail - efficiency has never been my strong suit) until all his nails were trimmed down.  So it may have been a ten minute ordeal, and he would never let me do more than one clip at a time, but eventually, and with no tears, he was claw free.

And it worked the next time I tried.  And the next.

So if you're having issues cutting your little one's nails, maybe this one clip at a time, toy distraction approach will work for you too!

Does your kiddo love getting a manicure by momma?  What are your nail cutting tips?

Monday, March 26, 2012

Little man Photos

My first ice cream cone.

With dada after we ran a 10K. 
I was so excited that I kicked my feet in the stroller "running" along with dada!
I think it helped him run faster!

Monday Monday

We had an interesting weekend.  It was great in many respects and not-so-great in others. 
The weekend review bullet-point style:
  • Friday night grilled cheeses with brie and the best broccoli of your life
  • 10K Saturday morning on a VERY hilly course - Mr. Cob pushed Lukas in the jogging stroller the entire way (so proud of him as he's a self proclaimed running-hater)!
  • BBQ Saturday afternoon with great friends where I accidentally ate some bacon, but otherwise remained vegetarian
  • Saturday night at the emergency vet until midnight with a very sick dog
  • Lukas had his first sleepover.  With a girl.  We are lucky to have great friends who will take our kid at 9pm on a Saturday night so we can take care of our pup
  • Sunday morning coffee with friends
  • Sunday afternoon consignment sale shopping (me) / lawn-killing in preparation of backyard renovation 2012 (Mr. Cob)
  • Sunday late afternoon/evening dinner with friends and playing outside with the kiddos
Our pup is still at the vet and they don't know exactly what's wrong.  Perhaps she ate a squirrel or other small animal, or she ate something toxic - we just don't know.  We're hoping and praying she gets better soon and can come home because we miss our girl!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Question 2

Describe 3 legitimate fears you have and explain how they became fears. 

1. I am fearful of the dark/being alone at night.  

Yes, I am a grown woman afraid of the dark.  When Mr. Cob is away for the night I don't sleep well, or at all.  I jump at house noises and look out the window often to make sure no one is outside peering in.  The reason for this unreasonable fear can be traced back to an event in my childhood.  Long story short, our house was burglarized one night when I was 8 years old.  My dad came home in the middle of the robbery and took down the license plate number of the car which helped the police catch the robbers.  The night before the trial the ring leader of the group came back to our house and fired multiple shots at our house while we were inside asleep.  I attribute all my fears of being alone and fear of the dark to this event.

I feel like I am slowly getting over this fear, but I would still rather not be alone at night.  I also jump when I hear anything that sounds like a gunshot.

2.  I am afraid of being stuck in an elevator.

I have no idea where this fear came from other than I must have some sort of claustrophobia, but the thought of being stuck in an elevator really makes my heart start racing.  I've never been stuck in an elevator or any small space.  Maybe in a past life.

3.  I am afraid of losing my child or having anyone hurt him or anything bad happening to him.

This fear started on November 8, 2010, the day Lukas was born.  This is by far my worst fear in the world.  I love my son more than I thought humanly possible and the thought of something happening to him brings me to tears.  I would go to the end of the Earth for my son, but I know that sometimes there is nothing you can do to protect your child.  I pray and hope that I am never in a situation where I cannot keep him safe and healthy. 


What are your fears?  Let me know in the comments!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Question 1

 List 20 random facts about yourself. 

  1. I wear a size 9 shoe.
  2. I was the first girl to be born on my dad's side of the family in over 50 years.
  3. I lived in 10 different houses before the age of 15.
  4. I don't remember the name of the boy from my first kiss.
  5. At any given time I keep about 5 different pairs of shoes under my desk at work, not including the pair on my feet.
  6. My GPA was higher in college than in high school.
  7. I rarely floss.
  8. My favorite cocktail is a dirty vodka martini.
  9. I swam competitively until I was a junior in high school when I injured my shoulder.
  10. I chew my tongue.
  11. I was in a sorority in college.
  12. I used to smoke cigarettes (more than I care to admit).
  13. I have run two half marathons.
  14. My first car was a used green 318ti hatchback BMW.
  15. I backed out of a study-abroad program the week before I was scheduled to fly overseas (and regret this decision).
  16. I had one pet growing up named Snowball (guess what he was).
  17. I failed my driver's test the first time I took it.
  18. If I met my 20 year old self today, we would undoubtedly not be friends.
  19. I used to bite my brother when I was little.
  20. My favorite dessert is carrot cake.
Feel free to leave 20 random facts about yourself in the comments section!  I'll even settle for one random fact.  Do we share any common random facts??

30 Things

I was slow to jump on the pinterest wagon.  But I must admit that once I gave it a try, I quickly warmed up to it.  I've found some great recipes and ideas for the kiddo.  And lets not even talk about the decorating ideas and fashion tips, tricks and to-dos.

A friend recently pinned to a blog post about 30 questions.  The blogger listed 30 questions and then answered one a day for 30 days.  I love this idea, so I'm joining in.  It gives me direction for writing over the next 30 days.    So check back each day for the answer to these 30 questions:


1. List 20 random facts about yourself.
2. Describe 3 legitimate fears you have and explain how they became fears.
3. Describe your relationship with your parents.
4. List 10 things you would tell your 16 year-old self, if you could.
5. What are the 5 things that make you most happy right now?
6. What is the hardest thing you have ever experienced?
7. What is your dream job, and why?
8. What are 5 passions you have?
9. List 10 people who have influenced you and describe how.
10. Describe your most embarrassing moment.
11. Describe 10 pet peeves you have.
12. Describe a typical day in your current life.
13. Describe 5 weaknesses you have.
14. Describe 5 strengths you have.
15. If you were an animal, what would you be and why?
16. What are your 5 greatest accomplishments?
17. What is the thing you most wish you were great at?
18. What has been the most difficult thing you have had to forgive?
19. If you could live anywhere, where would it be and why?
20. Describe 3 significant memories from your childhood.
21. If you could have one superpower, what would it be and what would you do with it first?
22. Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years? 15 years?
23. List your top 5 hobbies and why you love them.
24. Describe your family dynamic of your childhood vs. your family dynamic now.
25. If you could have dinner with anyone in history, who would it be and what would you eat?
26. What popular notion do you think the world has most wrong?
27. What is your favorite part of your body and why?
28. What is your love language?
29. What do you think people misunderstand most about you?
30. List 10 things you would hope to be remembered for.


Anyone else want to join me? 

Book Winner

I used Random.org to pick the winner of the Deceptively Delicious blog contest and the winner is....


#1 - Brother B - congrats!  And here was his tip for all to see:

I want this book so i am leaving a comment.



I love everything green - which is weird because I despised vegetables as a child, a teen, and really a young adult. But now as the Black Eyed Peas say " I - just can't get enough".


New Favorite snack - kids and husbands will love better than potato chips- "homemade Kale Chips"


Buy a head of kale and take off stem


wash - it and dry it


massage with sunflower or olive oil


then top with sea salt (I also add ground macadamian nuts or other nut of your choice).


put in oven on baking sheet for 10 minutes at 350 degrees, until greens are crispy but not blackened.


In- Joy!





Thursday, March 22, 2012

New Do?

I'm getting my hair cut tomorrow.  I'm long overdue.  As in I was scheduled to last get it cut on December 8th and cancelled that appointment.  So I probably had it cut two months before that, which puts me around the beginning of October (or earlier...).  So if my math skills are correct, that means it has been almost six months since I've cut my hair.

Remind me why am I admitting this to anyone?

So yeah, I need a hair cut.  I had planned on continuing to grow it out.  You see the reason I haven't cut it in 6 months is that I'm growing it out again.  (See how I just made a legitimate excuse for my lack of beauty routine?)  BUT, I'm getting to that "I hate my hair why would I ever think it'd be pretty long" stage of hair hate.

And then thanks to Pinterst I found this picture:


And now I want to chop it all off so that I look like this. I mean so that I look like me but with this hair.  Isn't it fabulous?

But the downside is that I wouldn't be able to pull it up in a ponytail.  But I think I'm going to do it.  Maybe. 

Thank you for indulging my self-involved beauty post of the day. 

Thoughts????  Should I go for it or keep on growing it out???

P.S.  Did you know they use meat to make cheese? Calf Stomach, to be exact.  Me neither, until today.  Also, my blog giveway is still open until midnight tonight - enter now!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Following Through

I have a hard time following through with things.  Actually, it's following up on things that I'm bad at.  Well, and through.  Okay so it's up and through.  Am I making any sense?  Have I lost you?  I think I'm confused now too.

What I mean is that I keep hearing myself "sort of" make plans with people and then the plans never actually materialize.  And I'm wondering, is it me or is it them?  Since it keeps happening to me, I would suggest it's me.

It usually is.

As an example, I was outside chatting with our neighbor last week and I said the words "Are y'all around this week?" {response: yes} "Great, let's get together!"  And then nothing.  No plans were made, and I didn't call or knock on the door over the weekend.  I thought about calling, but in my head I remember saying, if they're free they'll call us.

This same scenario happened with a suggested playdate for Lukas.  Mutual agreement that we were free and should do something with the boys over the weekend and no follow up by either one of us.  Again, I thought to myself, she'll text if she wants to get together. 

BUT, didn't we already decide to do something?  Why was I waiting around for her/the neighbor to make the next step?  They may have had the same thought that I did and were waiting for ME to call.  In fact, since I was the one who suggested doing something in both instances, was it on ME to make the actual plans/calls/text?  Maybe.

Part of it is the fear of rejection.  What if they were just being nice and didn't really want to get together?  I know this thought went through my head at one point this weekend.  I'm not sure where the self-doubt comes from, but I think it hinders me from making new friends or cultivating those new-ish friendships I have.  It also gets in the way of my seeing old friends.  Instead of picking up the phone to make plans, I often find myself thinking that if they really wanted to see me, they'd call me and then I end up sitting on the couch.

So I'm putting my foot down with myself.  No more sitting around and worrying that people don't really like me.  Pro-active me is here.  Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go gather my nerves to make some plans.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Giveaway - Eat More Veggies!

In light of my recent increase in vegetable inspired cooking and today's Toddler Tips Tuesday, I'm giving away a copy of Deceptively Delicious to one lucky reader!  To enter, all you have to do is leave a comment on this post and tell me what your favorite fruit or vegetable dish is, or what "tricks" you use to get your kid (or husband!) to eat their veggies - or really anything fruit or vegetable related!

And if you don't have kiddos yet, you can still enter!  The cookbook isn't just for kids - all the recipes we've tried have been really yummy and would be a good way to get the whole family eating more of the green stuff!



The giveaway will stay open until midnight Eastern on Thursday (March 22) and then I'll pick a winner at random Friday morning!

Good luck!!!

Toddler Tips Tuesday - Feeding the Kid

Dinner time has become a struggle with the little dude.  He has become a rather picky eater and throws most things on the floor rather than eating them.  Except for mac & cheese which he will almost always eat.  Healthy, right?

A few years back I saw Jessica Seinfeld on Oprah discussing her new cookbook, Deceptively Delicious.  She hides vegetables and fruits in food that she then gives her kids.  Some people find fault in this because you're not teaching your children to make healthy food choices since they don't realize their eating healthy.  At this point, I'm just trying to get Lukas to eat something, anything.  And I figure we can talk healthy food choices when he's a bit older.  You know, wait until he's at least three.

Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese
So I've been talking about wanting this book for a while now and was gifted it a few weeks ago.  Each recipe incorporates pureed fruits and/or vegetables.  It's kind of ironic because I never made my own baby food before Lukas was eating solids (I didn't have the time...), but now I'm essentially making baby food and then combining it with other ingredients to make his solid food.  Regardless, it's working!

So far with one butternut squash (roasted in the oven and then pureed), I have made Mac n cheese, pancakes and egg puffs (and I still have a cup of squash frozen for the next recipe!).  I've also snuck cauliflower into eggs.  And Lukas has eaten it all, happily!  So have we - the pancakes were especially delicious and the egg puffs (2 WW points!) are a great bake and take breakfast.

If you're struggling with feeding your kid, I highly recommend this cookbook!  I'm all about eating more veggies, even if I have to trick my buddy into doing so!


Lukas eating up the mac & cheese


Monday, March 19, 2012

Zoo Scare

We went to the Atlanta zoo this weekend for the first time with Lukas.

Things he loved: the tigers and lions and bears (oh my!) and the petting zoo (especially the sheep)


Things he did not really care for: the parakeets and the naked mole rats

Things he hated: the elephant - it scared him something real



Veg Week (1) Wrap UP

So Veg Week has ended.  Well, as you can tell from the post title, veg week #1 has ended.  Yup, we're doing a Veg Week #2.  So that should tell you how it went.  But in the interest of actually writing I'll give you more details.

So half way through the week, I'd made quinoa burgers, pasta and enchiladas.  We rounded out the week with  Twice Baked Spaghetti Squash (found here) on Thursday and Crock Pot Black Bean and Tomatillo Soup (found here) on Friday.  The Spaghetti squash was AMAZING!  I love spaghetti squash and often use it in place of spaghetti.  Mr. Cob thinks its a bit slimy, so the twice-bakedness of the recipe helped dry it out and he even declared the recipe a keeper!  The soup had mixed reviews.  I loved it.  Mr. Cob, not so much.  I knew his thoughts as soon as I spotted him pouring some of Lukas's goldfish in the soup in an effort to ramp up the flavor.  He thought it tasted just like tomatoes.  We probably will not be having the soup again.  But hey, not every recipe will be a winner.

Saturday night Mr. Cob made corned beef and cabbage for St. Patty's Day, but I stuck with the cabbage and some leftover soup to keep my vegetarian week going.  Sunday night we cleaned out the remaining leftovers from the week, so no cooking needed.

I did dine out twice this week, once for lunch and once for brunch on Sunday.  For lunch, I ordered a sandwich with brie, apple, arugula and cranberry relish (delicious!) and sweet potato fries at the Elis Hotel's Terrace Restaruant in downtown Atlanta.  And for Sunday brunch at Vickery's I had black bean cakes served over balsamic sauteed spinach, pico de gallo and goat cheese - it was amazing and I had enough leftover for lunch the next day.  At both restaurants there were plenty of vegetarian options to choose from so I didn't feel limited in what I could eat.  Now I know not every restaurant is vegetarian friendly but luckily these two were.  (I was wondering what a non-meat-eater would order at say Fox Brothers BBQ???  That is where the flexitarian thing would come in handy...)

For lunch, aside from Friday's outing to Terrace, I ate leftovers from the previous night's dinner, which made the veggie eating during lunch easy.  And then there was breakfast.  I'm not a big meat eater at breakfast anyway so this wasn't much of a change from my usual eating.  Most days I either made scrambled eggs with pesto or a smoothie - two easy meals when you're short on time in the morning.  One day I did just have a banana (I was running really late).  Over the weekend when I have more time I like to cook breakfast and this weekend was no exception.  I made egg puffs on Saturday and pancakes on Sunday- both with a secret veggie ingredient that I'll write more about on Tuesday's Toddler Tips post.

Overall, I felt energetic and healthy during the week.  I didn't miss the meat and when Mr. Cob asked me if we were doing week #2 of vegginess, I said yes right away.  I don't think I'll ever commit to full on vegetarianism 100% of the time, but I do think I'll cook more meatless meals than I previously was cooking.  I like the fact that most days I was eating anywhere from 7-10 different fruits and vegetables, which is different from my norm.  Sticking to a vegetarian diet for just a week definitely made me go outside the box as far as trying new recipes and food.

And I'd be lying if I didn't say one of the reasons I'm encouraged to keep at it, is that on Sunday morning (my weigh in day), I was pleasantly surprised at the 3.2 pounds lost over the week.  This may have been because I was diligently tracking my points on Weight Watchers this week, but I do think the veggies helped and every day I felt full and was within my point allotment for the day.  I realize this is a vain reason to keep on my no-meat streak, but at least it's a healthy change/way to lose some weight.

I'll continue to share the good veggie recipes I find and let you know how long this vegetarian journey continues. This week's menu includes Eggplant Parmesean Rollitinis, Zucchini & Corn Taco Seasoned Quinoa Salad, Chickpea Cakes with a cucumber, avocado, tomato salad and fancy grilled cheese with a side of "the best broccoli of your life"!

In other news, I'm back to coffee.  A toddler waking up for the day at 5:15am will do that.


Friday, March 16, 2012

Back to the Kid

I've been talking way too much about me, my feelings and what I'm eating lately.  It's time to turn back to the kiddo.

Mr. Cob caught us reading a book last night.  One of our favorite books, in fact.  It's a Little Book by Lane Smith.  You can get it here.  Lukas' aunt is a first grade teacher so she's in the know about good kids books and she gave this book to Lukas.  He loves it.  It'd be a great gift for a friend's new baby or first birthday.  Also, while we're talking about great gift ideas, any book by Mo Willems would also be a great choice.  (Our personal favorite is The Pigeon Wants a Puppy.  Or does she?)

Anyway, back to the book.  Lukas loves it.  We read it at least once a day.  And by read, I mean we actively read it.  Lukas now does the motions for us, and it's freaking adorable.

(Note: Please disregard my after-work hair and attire.  Kay, thanks.)



My favorite is the emailing.  And the quacking.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Beet Roasting

I had an "ah ha" moment last night.  (It was more of an "I'm an idiot" moment, but hey, Ah Ha has a better ring to it.)

I love roasted beets.  I've mentioned that a time or too here.  But I hate the process you have to go through to get the end product of the roasted beets.  Specifically I hate trying to get the skin off the beets after they've been roasted (every recipe I've read said you should peel the beets AFTER you cook them).  So I tend to just order beets whenever I'm at a restaurant rather than make them at home.

But it's Vegetarian Week in my house.  So of course this meant I was going to have some beets.  I even bought red AND golden beets for the occasion. (Fancy, I know.)  And last night I roasted them for an hour, let them cool for 10 minutes and then set about the task of removing the skin.  I was mid-way through de-skinning the beet with a knife, the way I've always done it, (and cursing along the way) when a light bulb went off.

Use the vegetable peeler.  Dummy.

Duh.

For some unexplainable reason, I assumed you could only use the peeler on uncooked vegetables.  I have no idea why I had this thought, I just did. 

But lo and behold, the vegetable peeler worked wonderfully on my post-roasting roasted beets. 

So in the event you hadn't realized this either, I figured I'd share my new-found knowledge about beet peeling.

On another note, half way through today and I've already had 8 fruits and veggies for the day!  Here's my list:

Acai
Banana
Blueberries
Strawberries
Apple
Arugula
Sweet Potato
Cranberry Relish

And for dinner I'll add spaghetti squash, beets and maybe even cauliflower.  I'm not sure I've ever had this many vegetables in one day.

I've also noticed that one good/healthy decision makes the next healthy decision a little easier to make and eventually after a few healthy choices in a row, you're on a roll.  I even walked the dog for 15 minutes before work today - something I've done two times before in her life.  And taken two 20 minute walks during the work day this week around town.  I might even hit up a yoga class tonight.

I'm also on day 4 of no coffee.  Which perhaps you could tell if you talk to me before 10AM, but here's to hoping not.

I must say I'm happy with these unexpected effects of veg week.

But last night I was thinking about what it'd be like to dive into full on vegetarianism for good.  And I realized I'd miss prosciutto and bacon.  And skirt steak.  So I don't think I'm going to stop eating meat.  I'll be a flexitarian instead.  Yes, it's a real word. 

Is that sad that the one meat I'd miss the most is bacon?  I'm not sure what that says about me.  Mmmmmm, bacon.  Is it Sunday yet?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Veg Week - 1/2 Way

So far I have made some great and some not-so-great recipes for the Swans" Vegetarian Week.

SUNDAY: Crispy Quinoa Burgers with Flax Seed - AMAZING!  You can find the recipe here.  And then you should go home and make these.  We will be adding these to our regular rotation even if vegetarian week doesn't continue longer than this week.  Mr. Cob and I both loved these and they kept us full well after dinner.  The only thing I wish I'd done differently was double the recipe so we had more leftovers!!  Two thumbs up.  I made them with a side of roasted carrots, which are as simple as they sound - throw some carrots in a metal pan, drizzle with olive oil and roast in the oven. They're delicious and went nicely with the quinoa burgers.



MONDAY: Penne Pasta with Tomato Pesto and Smoked Mozzarella - Ehh.  I found the recipe in the Self magazine I bought for our flight home from LA.  For some insane reason I thouhgt I could flip through a magazine with a toddler on my lap.  Wrong.  Anyway, you can get the recipe online here.  It was OK.  We didn't have any penne so I used whole wheat thin spaghetti instead.  The dish had a strong parsley flavor, which apparently I don't care for.  Nor do I like smoked mozzarella, which I didn't realized until I made this dish.  It was actually better the next day for lunch and I would make it again with a little less parsley, a lot more sundried tomato and a different cheese.  So it wasn't a total fail.



TUESDAY: Black Bean and Sweet Potato Enchiladas -Keeper!  The recipe is from Real Simple and can be found here.  These were really delicious.  I used my food processor to shred the sweet potato and make the enchilada sauce (from scratch!), so it was super easy.  I was able to put these together while my little man ate his own dinner (of mac & cheese made with butternut squash - more on that next Tuesday on Toddler Tips).  The meat-eating husband even gave his seal of approval.  The recipe said the serving size is two enchiladas, but I was full after 1.5 and didn't go snack at all after dinner.  One enchilada is 6 points plus points for you WW followers.  The recipe called for a side of corn, which we didn't make and I didn't think was needed.  We'll definitely make these again!


So three days in to Vegetarian Week and I'm not missing meat yet.  I've made enough food each night to have leftovers for lunch the next day, so I haven't had to eat out yet.  And tomorrow will likely be leftover day, but I'll return to cooking on Thursday with tortilla soup and finish the week with twice baked spaghetti squash.  Overall, I feel good!  I decided to also give up coffee this week (yes, I'm losing my mind) and had a major headache Monday afternoon, which I think was due to caffeine withdrawal.  I'm drinking green tea as a replacement and drinking lots of water.  I'm not ready to commit to a vegetarian lifestyle, but I definitely think we'll start cooking more meatless meals around here.  Stay tuned for the final word on Vegetarian Week later this week!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Toddler Tips Tuesday - Flying

Last week I shared my tips about traveling through the airport with kids.  Since then I learned of a product from Go-Go-Babyz called the gogo Kids Travelmate that is also aimed at helping parents navigate the airport with ease.  I haven't tried the Travelmate myself, but it sounds like a great idea, so check out their site!

This week's tip is about managing a flight with your toddler.  Most airlines allow your toddler to fly for free before they are two  years old.  My little man is 16 months old, so we're planning on milking this free flying for another 8 months.  But there's a catch: they sit on your lap. (Disclaimer: the safer option is probably to buy an extra seat and bring your convertible car seat on the flight for your toddler to sit in.  We've never done this and I'm not in any way qualified to tell you how best to safely fly with your kid.  The best tip I can give is to follow whatever flying advice your pediatrician offers you.  Also, some airlines claim to have reasonable "infant fares", but when I recently called Southwest Airlines to inquire about purchasing such a seat for Lukas on an upcoming flight this summer, I was told that the "infant fare" was MORE expensive than the online fare.  So, yea, that doesn't exactly help from a monetary standpoint. So if you choose to not purchase an extra seat for your bambino, hopefully my tips will help, but they should in no way stand in the way of your talking to your pediatrician about safe flying tips. And yes, if you didn't know, I am a lawyer.  Why do you ask?)

If you have met a 16 month old boy, you will recall that they are very, very busy.  So the thought of keeping Lukas contained for FIVE hours on a flight was putting me into near panic attacks for the few days leading up to our flight.  I had convinced myself that we were in for five hours of torture.  Or rather that our neighbors on the flight were in for five hours of hell.  But our flight was full and there were no upgrades available.  My first traveling tip is to upgrade to business class if at all possible - the extra room is worth the extra money in my opinion. But since an upgrade wasn't an option, all I could do was arm myself with as much toddler distractions as possible and pray that Lukas would fall asleep at some point, sooner rather than later, preferably.

Toddler plane distractions fall into two categories: food and books.  They're both crucial for a cross-county flight.

Food: I don't know about you, but my kid loves to eat.  Given the right food, we can waste a good hour eating. But when thinking about food for the flight, I was concerned about Lukas dropping his food on the ground and then the ensuing breakdown because I wouldn't give him the food from the gross airplane floor.  So I opted for GoGo Squeez Apple Sauce - it's kind of like go-gurt (which, honestly, grosses me out, but for some reason the apple sauce doesn't...) - Lukas could hold on to the packet and suck up the apple sauce.  He loves it!  And I love the fact that it's 100% fruit and has no sugar added.  So he was at least eating something healthy. The other food we brought was a not-so-healthy snack, but a favorite of toddlers worldwide: Goldfish.  Lukas loves goldfish.  And in an effort to not have them all over the airplane, I bought a Munchkin Snack Catcher, which was worth the $4.50 I spent at Target.  Lukas could hold the cup and grab fish as he wanted them.  It was a huge hit. On the flight home, we filled it with Ritz crackers, which were a good idea in theory, but are really messy and more of the crackers ended up on the floor than in his mouth.

I also brought water in a sippy cup and milk in my boobs.  If you're nursing, you already know that it helps soothe a crying baby, and that's especially true on a plane.  But I have to admit, that I still get self conscious and nervous about breastfeeding him in "public" (and by public, I mean under a nursing cover or blanket with absolutely zero boob exposure whatsoever).  You'd think I'd be over that by now, but in all honesty, I'm not.  But I did it anyway and I don't think anyone noticed.  If anything, they would've noticed the fact that I had a sleeping baby within five minutes of his hiding under his blanket. And while we're on  the topic of sleeping babies on a plane, another necessity is a small pillow (thanks Greer!).  We stuffed a small pillow in a regular pillow case and sewed a ribbon on the case so that we could tie the pillow case to my diaper bag.  The pillow helped Lukas sleep comfortably stretched out over our laps.

Books:  Buy this book if you're flying with a toddler any time soon:  First 100 Words by Bright Baby.
available on Amazon.com

Lukas spent two hours looking at the pictures in this book.  Actually, he looked at the pictures and said "what's that?" about 100 times in 2 hours.  I'm sure everyone around us was sick of hearing me say "elephant", "dump truck", "airplane", "orange" etc.  But I imagine they'd rather here us talking than him crying.  I cannot stress enough how awesome this book was for flying.  We would not have had an enjoyable flight without it.  I am sure of that.  And I have Mr. Cob to thank for the book - he picked it up at Costco the day before our flight.

Also, before you take off, make sure a diaper and wipes are easily accessible, as well as the food and books.  Take a deep breathe and don't worry.  What's the worst that could happen?  You're stuck with a screaming baby on a plane for a few hours.  Sometimes babies cry.  Sometimes babies cry on a plane.  If that happens, with any luck you'll never see the people on your flight again.  And if you get desperate, you can always buy you're neighbors a stiff drink!  But hopefully, with enough food and books, your neighbors will compliment you on your well behaved baby upon arriving at your destination.

Anyone else have any other tips for managing a flight with a toddler?  I'd love to hear what other mom and dads do to keep their little ones occupied while flying the friendly skies!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Am I Lying to Myself?

I sometimes wonder if I'm just lying to myself about the "fact" that I do not want to be a stay-at-home-mom.  And on days like today, I'm pretty sure it's just this elaborate lie I've convinced myself is true in order to not have a mental breakdown.  Because if I'm being honest, today I wanted nothing more than to stay at home with my little guy.

I knew this would happen.  It always does after a vacation.  I've spent the last ten days with my guys.  I loved every minute with them.  We had so much fun and I got baby hugs and kisses all day long.  Lukas is in such a fun stage where everything is so interesting to him and he is constantly learning about the world. Am I missing this by being at work all day?  Am I going to look back and regret this?  I've told myself that its not the amount of time that we spend together, but that we make the most of the time we do spend together.  Quality over quantity.  But is this complete bullshit?  Am I just deluding myself into believing this lie?

It didn't help that on our trip we were with my nephew and my brother.  Lukas and Stuart were so sweet together and I was so happy seeing them play.  I was also sad because I know it's only a few times a year now that they'll be able to play together.  But it was time I wouldn't trade for anything in the world.

The happiness captured in this picture is how I want to always feel.  Sheer joy.  And you're not even seeing the joy that is in the face behind the camera.  You can be sure I had a huge smile on my face.


And this one.  The boys playing at the park together.  Wherever one went, the other was right behind.


 And the petting zoo - they both couldn't get enough of feeding the goat.  A memory I'll keep forever.


So I know part of my sadness this morning was not just about being apart from Lukas, it was also due to the  reality of being back home and away from family.  I cried the minute our car pulled out of the driveway at my aunt's house as I was waving to Brent and Stuart.  I'm tearing up now just thinking about them and our trip.  I wish we lived in the same city.  Perhaps one day we will again.

This morning was especially bad because Lukas wouldn't let go of me when we got to school.  He now does this thing where he curls up his legs and refuses to put his feet on the ground if I'm holding him and he doesn't want me to put him down.  He just clings on to my neck and starts crying.  I couldn't just leave him.  So I stayed for a while.  Eventually though, I knew I had to go. His teacher came over and held him while I left.  He was reaching out for me and screaming the entire time.  I cried.  It is one of the worst feelings as a mom - to see and hear your child cry out for you and still walk away.  It goes against every maternal instinct.  But I had to leave because I work, and this is what I've signed up for right now.  But it was terrible.  And I felt like a bad mom, yet again.  The feelings of guilt and questioning came rising up to the surface.

I made some quick comment to Keri, the school owner, as I was leaving about how hard it is to leave when your little man is begging you to stay.   She smiled and gave me an understanding look and encouraging word.  I left and drove to work in tears.  By the time I sat down at my desk and loaded my computer, I had an email from Keri waiting for me.  She wanted to let me know he was happy and already smiling rather than crying.  And she sent me this picture to prove it.


This is why I love Primrose and Keri and the whole crew there.  And so while I am questioning whether or not I'm a liar, I at least feel confident that Lukas is at a great place.  Even if he's not with his momma.  They care enough to make sure I know he is smiling after I leave.

Cali Made Me Do It

Every time I visit California I come home on a health kick.  It might actually be my brother's fault.  Healthy eating and living is in his blood.  You'd think it'd be in my blood too, but you would be wrong.  And yes, we are biological siblings.  And no, I don't know why I didn't get that gene.  (And while we're talking about it, I'm also annoyed that he got my mom's "great legs gene" and I didn't.  I got my dad's "athletic but still somewhat stocky legs gene".  Thanks dad!  I'm not bitter.)

But back to wanting to be healthy and actually change the things I do have control over (as opposed to my leg shape).  The first morning we were in California, Brent made a smoothie in his Vitamix, which is now on the top of my birthday present wish-list.  What did he put in the smoothie?  Oh you know, the typical: banana, blueberry, acai, lettuce, carrots, celery, avocado, dates, onion, spinach and he may have even thrown in some nuts.  And it was AMAZING.  (Admittedly in that I know this is healthy for me and it's surprisingly good amazing kind of way.)  Mr. Cob could only taste the onion, which I had no idea was even in there until he told me.  I thought the celery stood out, but not in a bad way.  And the real proof that it was tasty: my 3 year old nephew drank it up AND Lukas took a sip and then asked for more!  I now need a Vitamix, pronto.  Talk about getting your fruits & veggies in first thing in the morning!

We also went to an outdoor farmer's market that sold all sorts of organic fruits and veggies, smoothies, flavored almonds, breads and other delicious goodness.  It was a fun morning adventure and Lukas loved tasting the blood oranges, avocado and olives (he's on an olive kick).  Mr. Cob was excited because he finally found a satsuma, which was the one thing he wanted to eat in Cali.  (Although, I didn't think it was anything to write home about.)  My favorite thing was The Morningstar Ranch's Green Drink - made from rainbow chard, collard greens, kale, wild spinach, grapefruit juice, apples, yerba mate, raw agave nectar and flax seeds - and it really was delicious! 

And to top off our healthy eating in Encinitas, our last morning we enjoyed breakfast at the Acai Cafe with acai bowls.  I tried the PB and Acai Bowl made of a pack or two of Sambazon Original Açaí, banana, peanut butter, a splash of milk (I think almond milk) and topped with sliced bananas (or was it strawberries - it might've been both) and granola. Now this I can, and will make at home!  You can buy the acai packets from the Dekalb Farmer's Market here in Atlanta.

Aside from healthy eating, the weather in California was also beautiful and is conducive to outdoor fun.  We all went for a 3 mile jog along the coast one morning.  I had no idea we'd ran that far because I enjoyed the run and the view of the ocean the entire time.  I had hoped to fit stand-up paddle boarding into our trip, but it wasn't meant to be this time.  I think it would be easier to convince myself to get outside and exercise if the weather was always 65 degrees and I had the ocean as my backdrop, but I need to stop making excuses and just get outside and do it.  At least now we have the extra hour of daylight to get outside after work.

With the combination of being around Brent, the perfect Southern California weather for outdoor activities and healthy food at your fingertips, California makes me want to be a healthier person. I'd move there if I could bring all my friends, family and job, but that's not going to happen.  So I need to take what I can from Cali's healthiness and start living a healthier life here in Georgia.  And so for whatever reason, this time around that's evolved into "Vegetarian Week" in the Swan household.  The thought is that by eliminating meat (which in all honesty, I love), I'll be forced to cook with more vegetables and fruits.  I know that not all vegetarians are "healthy", but we're going to give it a whirl for a week.  Mr. Cob is even on board - at least for dinners, since I'm cooking them and he has no other option.  And thanks to pinterest, I have found tons of vegetarian recipes.
 
Last night we kicked off Vegetarian Week with Crispy Quinoa Burgers with Flax Seed from Oscar's Sandwich blog.  They were DELICIOUS, and I mean delicious, not just healthy delicious.  (I know you may not believe me given my positive reviews of green smoothies.  But seriously, these were good.  My meat eating husband even loved them!)  The rest of the week's menu includes sundried-tomato pesto pasta, black bean and sweet potato enchiladas, tortilla soup in the crockpot and twice baked spagehetti squash.  Stay tuned to see how it goes!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Big Boy Cup

We are home from vacation.  I'm sad.  More on that later.

Last night when we got home I realized Lukas hadn't had a proper dinner yet.  So I scrambled him an egg at 9:30pm.  (And yes, an egg can be a proper dinner.  But thanks for asking.)  And I was tired so I poured him some milk in a cup and set it down on the ground for him.  This wouldn't be strange except for the fact that Lukas doesn't drink from a non-sippy cup type cup (i.e. a cup).  But like I said, I was tired and wasn't thinking.  He was happily eating his dinner and the next thing I knew he was drinking milk from that cup as if he'd been doing it forever without making a huge mess.  No spilled milk.  What?!

Seriously, when does he learn to do these things????

And being the good iphone wielding momma that I am, I caught it on video.

Now if you'll please excuse me, I am going to go cry about the fact that he's growing up.  Too. Fast.




Saturday, March 10, 2012

Vacation Roundup

We have been in California for a week spending time with family and enjoying the beautiful SoCal weather.  We leave tomorrow.  It will not be easy to say goodbye.  

This video perfectly sums up our trip.

It has been full of joy and dancing.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Toddler Tips Tuesday: Traveling

After chatting with my brother and husband about blogging, I decided I am going to try to have a bit more direction with the blog.  Any of you regular readers know that since November 2010 the focus of the blog has been about my adventures in parenting, and has become more and more kid-parent-centric as the days pass.  So, the first change in the blog is the start of "Toddler Tips Tuesday" where I'll share some random "tip" that I've learned to help other moms of toddlers.  And I use the word tip very loosely.  Some weeks I am sure the tip will be more of the "what not to do tip" kind.  So check back with me every Tuesday for a new "tip"!

We recently took a five and half hour plane ride with our almost 16 month old son, so I thought I'd share a few traveling tips.  If your kiddo is in a convertible car seat that you're bringing with you on a flight, you need to buy this simple, yet genius invention: The Traveling Toddler Car Seat Travel Accessory (descriptive name, I know). It lets you attached the car seat to your carry-on wheeled suitcase, so you can wheel it through the airport.  Better yet, you can wheel the car seat WITH YOUR KID SITTING IN IT through the airport!  Genius!  You can buy the accessory on amazon.com here.  It made navigating the airport with the car seat easy and allowed both of us to have our hands free to carry all our other stuff.  I highly recommend by this accessory - you won't regret it!

courtesy of Amazon.com
I would also recommend buying a car seat "gate check bag" - it's just a big bag that you put the car seat in before the airport baggage guys throw it under the plane in the luggage bay so your car seat stays clean.  I've seen the bags on amazon or diapers.com.  However, I would suggest not putting your dinner of Moe's burritos in the gate check bag with the car seat.  And yes, we know this from experience.  (I add that tip for free!)

Next week I'll offer our tips for actually handling the five hour flight with your toddler with ease.  Here's a hint: Your fellow passengers might hear your toddler talking but at least they won't be crying!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Otherwise I'll Forget

A short post to help me remember to fill in Lukas' baby book. We had a "milestone" today. Actually, now that I'm thinking about it, we had a few.
After woofing down two jumbo Fig Newtons for a snack he looked at Mr. Cob, raised his hands in the air and did the sign for all done (which he learned a while ago at school) and then clear as say said "all done"! It was his first two word sentence/statement! He has also recently learned to say elephant and "baa" for sheep!
And arguably less exciting, but still noteworthy for his momma, he drank milk from a straw at dinner. And then he drank milkshake from a straw. I have no idea when the little dude learned to drink from a straw but apparently he's an old pro!
I'm sure there are other firsts I'm forgetting, but those were pretty cool for this momma today!

Hard work relaxing

We're busy enjoying sunny California. Some of us find it exhausting. Others of us are ready to pack our bags for good. All of us are having an amazing trip.

Coming later this week: Toddler Tips Tuesday, the first installment.