Monday, October 13, 2014

Proven guilty.

This is a long, seemingly pointless post but I have to get it off my chest.

Yesterday I was driving my husband's big ol' purple Explorer to go pick up a bunk bed I found on Craigslist for $65. Great find, the frame was in good shape, it was simple and met all of my requirements in a bunk bed. 
I pulled up, chatted with the seller and got some back story on the bed and its previous owner and we loaded it up. After it had been loaded up and we were saying goodbye she said, "Oh, I forgot to mention, it doesn't have any of the screws so you'll need to buy those."!!
I asked her what kind of screws I need to look for, how many, etc. She tells me and my immediate response is to kindly say, "Oh...ok, thank you for letting me know" which was said in an odd tone as my friendliness dwindled into a tone of uncertainty. 

What just happened...did I just get swindled??

I'm driving home mad at myself, thinking about how many screws I need, how much it's going to cost, how hard it's going to be to put this bed together now and how I'm going to tell my husband that we now need to spend money on hardware that should have been included but I was too dumb to even think to make sure it was there. 

I call him to see if he's home from the store yet and to gauge whether it's a good time to tell him I'm going to the hardware store on the way home. Every bump, every turn and every stop was making all of the pieces of the bed knock around in the back and as I approached a yellow light I cruised through so I wouldn't have to slam on the breaks and potentially hurl the pieces in the back around further. I went through the intersection and as I went under the light I saw it turn red above me. 

I continue to talk to my husband when I see a police car turn on their lights and U turn in the busy street to pull me over. 

Oh, wonderful. Just wonderful. 

I pull over and fumble around for all of the paperwork I'll need. I always get jittery and flustered in moments like this. The officer comes to the window and I hand him my license and registration. He says, "I suspect you know why I pulled you over." I truly didn't. I wasn't speeding, if my tail light was out then I wouldn't necessarily be aware of that, I got through the intersection before the light turned red. I told him I actually didn't and he lowered his face and looked at me with his brows furrowed.

"You ran through that red light back there."
I don't say anything at first but I know for sure I did not run a red light. He sees me start to say something and hesitate, so he's waiting for me to say something. I get my nerve up and then tell him I continued through because it was yellow and I didn't want to slam on my brakes. He then shuts me down saying, "It was clearly red when you approached the intersection."

Wow. No, it wasn't. And really? I'm not being argumentative, I'm calmly telling you what happened. 

He sees something on my registration that I have to clarify about, I don't remember what because I was still trying to decide if I should keep defending myself or if I should let it go. I mention one more time that I really only continued to go through the intersection because the light was yellow, it wasn't red until I got through. He narrows his eyes and says, "You basically overshot it."
Did I just piss off an officer? Does he just think I was being careless and drove through a red light? Does he think I'm making things up just to get away with it?? 

He asks why I'm driving this vehicle, but he says it in a tone like whatever I'm going to say is not going to be believable. I tell him it's my husband's car. 
"Who is your husband?"
"Then why is Matthew on here?"
I look at what he's referring to and he's pointing at our friend Ryan's name who my husband shared the car with. I explain that, and that his middle name is Matthew and he just looks at me. Then he asks for the title. I give it to him and he says, "Why is your husband's name not on this?"

"I...I don't know. I have no idea."

"It says here this car was given as a gift. Your husband didn't sign it. This is an open title which is illegal." He says this all in an "I should have known this" kind of tone and pauses, waiting for me to say something.

"Oh...oh, I thought he did sign it...I thought I remembered him saying he took care of this paperwork. I'm sorry. I don't know anything about this." 
He looks at the papers, looks at me and then says he'll be back.

I hear more sirens and I truly think he's calling for backup and I'm going to jail. 

I start to shake. I can't believe he's talking to me like I'm lying. I can't believe he's talking to me like I'm stupid. I feel stupid, I don't know anything about this title situation, I just know I want to get my girl's bunk bed home. 

He comes back with a ticket. A $220 ticket for running a red light and a license violation. He's saying stuff and I'm hardly listening because I can't believe that number. 
He says "Drive safely."
"You too."


I pull back into the street, wait at the next yellow light, text Palmer the bad news and cry. I lose my shit. This $65 bargain trip has ended up costing $300. Plus hardware. 

 I pull into the driveway and get my crap together. Wipe away the mascara, take deep breaths, it'll be fine. I see my husband's face and he smiles, totally un-phased by everything that's happened in the last 30 minutes and I lose my crap again. He's understanding, he's sorry for not having the title done, he's assuring and everything will be fine. He compliments the bed. I cry and tell him how sorry I am, how the officer treated me like I was a criminal, treated me like I was a liar, talked to me like I was foolish. I try to get a hold of myself because the girls are around now and it's unsettling to see me crying so much. We get inside, we talk cheerfully about the bed, I go to the bathroom to, ya know, take care of that, and I start crying again. Just stupid sobbing. Palmer comes in and rubs my back. I'm telling him how unfair I felt everything was. Yes, I probably did break a rule. But I felt the cost was steep, the officer a d-bag and I feel like if anyone is going to get caught and in trouble for something - it's me. It was one more unfair thing thrown onto an increasingly tall pile of tough, unfair things. 

But then another realization hits me. I'm sitting there in the bathroom, compromised, crying my eyes out over a ticket and a mean cop and his mean tone and thinking about everything that led up to this moment. What led to this moment? The fact that we wanted the kids to have a bunk bed. Why did she need a bunk bed now? Because she's in a toddler bed that she outgrew almost a year ago. And because the frame is broken which makes it slope to the right and the mattress is paper thin and torn and it pained me to see her sleeping in it anymore. 

It was guilt. 

Guilt that my little girl doesn't have the bed I think she deserves. Does she need a new bed, sure, eventually. Does she need a new bed? No. I know kids who had NO bed- zero beds- for part of their lives. My kids have beds. And hers was a really nice one her grandparents bought her when she was born. Why is it not good enough? Why am I pained with guilt every bedtime? Because I feel her discomfort. And I want my kids comfortable. We all do, right? 

But where is the line between providing comfort and breeding entitlement? 

I was feeling guilt so heavy that I compulsively searched for bunk beds and couldn't let her sleep in her old bed any longer. The $65 I used for the bed was my birthday money I was going to use for a second bra (I know, TMI and totally lame). In the list of priorities, things like bras and makeup and clothes for myself get knocked down lower and quicker as my kids get older. 

Earlier in the week I had come across a list of "9 Things We Should Get Rid of to Help Our Kids" and, though I normally skip over lists like this because it ends up just being noise, I read this one. It was tremendous. It spoke to me deeply. Everything on that list is something we live by or I'm struggling to live by. We've got rid of three trash bags full of toys since this last spring because we're purging "stuff" and let me say, I can fully attest that they are absolutely not missing any toys and the lack of clutter has made everyone happier. We try hard to explain the value of money and be honest about what mommy and daddy can afford because we can't buy everything. And won't. But since the day Bella was born I struggle with guilt. Guilt driving me to overspend, to make her comfortable, to help her flourish.

It's not healthy for any of us and that moment on the toilet thinking about the bunk beds that ended up costing me over $300 was enough to help me realize it was enough. The bed was a good find, really, and they are going to thoroughly love and enjoy it. It's something she needed sooner rather than later and she'll be comfortable. 

But I have got to work on not letting guilt drive me to provide anything anymore. 
And I have got to buy another bra. 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Chicken Enchilada Soup (or Chickadilla Soup if you don't mind sounding like an idiot)

Chickadilla Soup

1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs
30 oz diced tomatoes
10 oz mild enchilada sauce
4 oz chopped mild green chilies
1 quart chicken broth
2 15 oz cans of black or pinto beans
10 oz frozen corn
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 Tbs chopped fresh cilantro
1 tsp cumin, chili powder and salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

Place all ingredients into a 6 qt slow cooker. Mix. Cook on Low for 6-8 hours or on High for 3-4 hours.
After a few hours, once chicken is thoroughly cooked, remove from pot, shred and return to pot for remaining cook time. Add serving options per taste. 

Serving suggestions: tortilla chips, hot sauce, sour cream, lime wedges, fresh avocado, shredded cheese, fresh cilantro.

loved this soup though I renamed it Chicken Enchilada Soup because saying "Chickadilla" makes me feel like an idiot. It's from Kashi where their tagline says, "A kid-friendly recipe with good stuff inside" and they were for real. Bella helped me make it and ate it really well - all 7 days it fed us. It says it freezes well so I made it for a friend after she had her baby and I think it froze well for her. This is definitely one of my favorite new recipes. 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

What You Need to Know About the Darkness.

"I don't want my kids to remember the days that mommy was sad. I don't want my kids to remember the days where mommy wasn't herself. Where mommy didn't want to get up. Where mommy didn't speak. The days where they could misinterpret my actions or lack thereof to mean I didn't like them.

The acting role I put on in front of other people, I wish it would carry over into their little lives inside our home. That I could always have my smile on, make my jokes and pretend with them that Mama's day couldn't get any brighter. Only because I don't want them to know how dark it feels.

But these are the days where I parent from the pit. The dark pit. I have to get through it and out of it and over it and I will. Until then, I have to just keep going. And they likely will remember it. They'll remember Mama got sad. Mama was emotional. Mama had her baggage. Hopefully it will make for colorful stories when they're older and maybe help them cope with their own emotions they'll likely inherit from two passionately emotional parents.

The last bout of this led me to make the heavy decision to begin taking meds again. I'd been on medication for most of my life so this was no course I was stranger to. There had been times in the past where the prescription in my hands felt like a life preserver thrown out to save me. (Remember when your prescription was written out on paper for YOU to deliver to the pharmacist?? Until I wrote that I forgot that that was a thing!)
This time, it felt like such a defeat. I couldn't do it anymore. On my own. I couldn't do it. I needed the help and it was a punch in the gut.

Since being on something life has felt so much more bearable. Like the scales weren't always tipping over, out of bounds and out of control. But I've sunk back into something so familiar. And it's ok, I just wish I knew how to better parent through it."

I'm not good at sharing the dark things. At letting people into the dark times. I wrote the above in one of my dark times from the pit. I don't talk to anyone about it, I make jokes instead. I don't cry to anyone, I smile instead. If you ask me how I'm doing in these times, I'll say I'm fine. But I'll go home and feel totally alone in the pit of depression. So I'll write about it and process through it (usually with my poor husband trying his best to be beside me) and instead of clicking "publish", I'll click "save". There it will sit in draft form on my computer so I can continue to hide in the darkness until I can fight my way out again.

I struggle with it everyday. I fight it everyday. I survive it everyday. 

I've had depression for most of my life so I am no stranger to it and it no stranger to me. In its clutch you find yourself thinking through what life would look like without you. There have been dangerous times where the conclusion I came to was brighter, better, without me. And the darkness almost won out. Thankfully, luckily, truthfully, I'm so glad it didn't.

I am no stranger to it and it no stranger to me. I know how to starve it of its plots and persuasions. 

There was a day a couple of months ago, though, that I entertained the darkness with its ideas of the end. I know how this sounds. I don't think of suicide all the time. I promise, no one has anything to worry about. I'm bluntly stating what ongoing depression looks like.

So I thought about it. What would this life look like without me? And what came back to me wasn't so bad.
And I knew I needed more help.

My strength of mind wasn't helping me anymore. My positive demeanor wasn't helping me anymore. Praying about it wasn't helping me anymore. Singing, playing, laughing wasn't helping anymore.

"To my fellow Bad Ass Survivors: Take your goddamn meds and don’t listen to anybody who tries to shame you out of them. They just don’t know- because they don’t have to know. They are two-legged men calling prostheses a crutch. They will not be there in the dark with you. They won’t. You can choose to ignore their reckless voices now or the monster’s voice later. Bite the freaking bullet and swallow the damn pills. I think of my medicine like I do my faith- if I find out one day that it’s all bullshit- oh, well. It made me happy and helped me love life and my people better." - Glennon Doyle, Momastery

And I knew I needed the life preserver. I needed the medicine I tried so hard to do without for so long. I had believed I was too strong for antidepressants. I could do without them. I didn't want them. It's frowned upon greatly to take them during pregnancy and my withdrawals from it during my first pregnancy were brutal. My postpartum depression devoured me alive and I was too afraid and too ashamed to take anything for it. 

I'm not going to risk birth defects. I'm not going to risk withdrawals. I'm stronger than that. I can do this. 
But I couldn't. 

I walked into the Doctor's office with my two girls and told the Doctor, through choked back tears, a faulty smile and matter of fact voice that I couldn't do it on my own anymore. 

And since that day, my own dark passenger has shut the hell up. 

When Robin Williams died, everyone was shaken and grieving. It was like losing a father figure. And so many people were so absolutely baffled as to how someone so happy could kill them self. How could someone be hurting so bad and hide it so well.

Some of us were shaken to our core for exactly that reason. Some of us do that and some of us suddenly felt so unsafe.

His darkness won out. 
It's devastating.
It's horrifying. 
I'm not safe either.

And I found myself angry at the people calling him "selfish". The people forming arrogant and ignorant opinions about him and the people who suffer from a darkness so bleak.
I found myself fuming at people who took it upon themselves to advise others to stay away from anti depressants. 'Pray about it instead', they said. 'Draw close to God instead," they said. 'Watch your diet instead'. 'Take herbal supplements'

I'm here to punch all of those people in the throat. Right now. If you said that, I just punched you in the throat. You're shaming people away from something that could help them. So shut up.

All of those things are good. All of those things are important. SO IS TAKING YOUR MEDS. If your chemical imbalance is paralyzing you, please talk to someone about it. I'm begging you.

If taking a natural supplement helps you, that's fantastic and I want to give you a big hug- you have successfully silenced your darkness.
If exercising and eating gluten free everything helps you,  that's fantastic and I want to give you a big hug- you have successfully silenced your darkness.
If taking anti-depressants and making sure you don't miss a single effing day helps you, that's fantastic and I want to give you a big hug- you have successfully silenced your darkness.

The shaming stops here, with the death of a great man who made some sort of positive impact on everyone. 
A man who didn't deserve this and his family who didn't deserve it either.
A man whose laugh and joy will forever silence the darkness that took him.

With the shock and mourning following Robin Williams' death, I find solace in the other voices ringing louder and louder. Telling people to seek help. Yelling for those hurting to seek help. Someone who needs to hear those voices will. We are still here.

"Do not go gentle into that good night.

Rage, rage against the dying of the light."

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Days of the Week Craft -

My husband and I just recently launched Play Along With Us, a brand new YouTube channel for kids that's fun, funny, educational and doesn't suck. 

Have you even SEEN the crap out there that people poop out and slap the label "KIDS" on it? It's embarrassing - and sometimes flat out insulting!
So we're aiming to change that. 

Check out

So far we have launched a few videos, ranging from the Abc's to Old MacDonald's Farm. Another Play Along video's focus is learning the Days of the Week. That's a concept I have struggled with teaching (and maybe I tried to avoid it and hoped that she would just learn it on her own). There's a small handful of decent songs or activities I found on Pinterest that you can try to use to help teach them the correct sequence of days. Really though, other than pointing to a calendar and chanting the days of the week, there's not a lot of options. 

Enter Play Along

Palmer came up with a catchy song and ridiculous scenario on the YouTube video to visually show the days of the week in their appropriate sequence. 

We also came up with a corresponding craft of our own that incorporates color matching, word recognition and fine motor skills. 
(Oh, boy that sounds so official!)

And, the beautiful thing is this is all you need!
2 copies of a color swatch, 7 clothespins, a sharpie, glue and scissors
I grabbed 2 copies of swatches from 5 different colors because making the Week Chart different colored was appealing to me but you can make it a little easier on yourself and just do one color palate! 

If you're making them colorful: Choose which color you would like to start with. I chose blue so the first square (Sunday) is blue. Next I cut out a green square and glued it onto the second square (Monday) of the blue swatch. Then I cut out a red square and glued it onto the third square (Tuesday). Continue cutting and gluing squares to your heart's content. 

If you're sticking to one color palate: look at how beautiful the colors are and skip all of the aforementioned work.

Then take your second copy of the color swatches and cut out a sample of the matching color squares you previously cut and glued. Glue these samples to the clothespins. 

Finally, write on each clothespin the day of the week that matches the color sample on the clothespin and the color square. (Beginning with Sunday and ending with Saturday.)

I emphasized the beginning of the names of the days because they are often shortened and labeled that way but that part is totally up to you!

Once the glue is dry, match them up! See how many different games you can make with it! 


Thursday, May 15, 2014

In this post I talk a lot about Boo-Bees.

Don't look at all of my tabs - I'm working on a project so just don't talk about it.

What do you notice here, besides a lot of boobs? 

I've been desperate for a new bra. When I say desperate, I mean the last bra I bought was when I was nursing and in a C cup and I'm wearing old B cups that don't fit because when I stopped nursing I shrunk to an A cup but bra shopping sucks bollucks so I just work with what I have (or don't have). That's what bra desperation looks like.

So, I saw a sponsored ad on Facebook for something that sounded a little bit like Stitch Fix for bras. 
Perfect. Someone else pick my bras out and mail them to me - that is where my life is at right now.

So I start perusing the bras and opening up the ones I like in new tabs (here, there is where my internet tab problem happens but we're not talking about that). At some point I realize that some of the styles I like aren't available in baby sizes. Baby sizes being an A cup or training bra which is what post baby body looks like sometimes.

I filter the search to my size and my selection is narrowed from "155 styles found" to "15 styles found". Wow. Ok, on the bright side, I don't have to spend too much time making a decision. Out of 15 I think I can find one I like. 

I don't like super padded bras, personally. I feel like I'm 10 with water balloons in my shirt. That being said, what did I notice about EVERY SINGLE OPTION for me?
In the title of each bra is "Push Up" (ok, fine) & "Add 2 Cups". 
WHAT?! I didn't click the "Porno-fy My Boobs" filter option. I checked. 

I just recently learned to not despise my boobs. I really took so much joy in the average sized bosom I had in the latter part of the breastfeeding time. And when I stopped nursing they became a total joke to me - I mean, they were bite size boobies after all - quite laughable. 

I tried to do that whole "lead by example" thing for my girls and worked to embrace my body. I still am, but things like this make that hard sometimes. 

Don't get me wrong, I'm not dissing the site (I don't know enough to do that), I'm not dissing small boobs, not dissing large boobs. No boobs are under fire. I just needed to take a minute to point out that things like this happen on the regular which makes women feeling good about themselves harder to find. It makes women loving themselves harder to do. It makes women embracing themselves a less prominent voice.

It makes the game of comparison harder to ignore.

Now I will close that tab, think about how I will acquire a bra within the next year and play Go Fish with my pleading 4 year old.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Easter Bingo - Free Printable!

Maybe it's just us but this family loves Bingo. We found a Halloween Bingo game from The Crafting Chicks
that we printed out and played almost through Thanksgiving. We used it as a way to dish out our Halloween candy a little more gradually.

So, why not implement the same thing for Easter candy? Not that you need a reason for a good game of Bingo, though. Feel free to save and print the images for yourself! Just make sure you print an extra one out for calling cards. Happy Easter!

Card 1

Card 2

Card 3

Card 4

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Easter Bunny Garland - FREE

Easter is on its way and we are so unprepared! I plopped 3 Easter eggs on the mantle and that's the extent of our holiday decor.
Thanks to happythought for our festive addition!
This garland is ADORABLE. And EASY. And FREE.

Follow this link over to happythought to input your email to print off your own!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Toilet Paper Roll Bunnies

We made these a few years ago with a toddler friend of ours using two toilet paper rolls and scrapbook paper (oh, and the ever essential googly eyes).

At the time they were both 2 so I did the cutting and most of the glue work but they enjoyed decorating them and it kept their attention for a solid 10 minutes so that's a win!

I thought they turned out pretty gosh darn cute.

Recycling doesn't get much cuter.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Marbled Milk Paper

It's springtime so, naturally, we're a little obsessed with rainbows and color.
I've also been desperately trying to find easy crafts that I already have the supplies for to keep my 4 year old busy.

In comes Marbled Milk Painting to save the day!

Thank you to babble dabble do for the idea!

Materials needed:
Milk (I use almond milk)
Dish soap
Q Tips or Toothpicks
Food coloring
Watercolor paper (Unfortunately, we did not have watercolor paper so I used regular ol' computer paper which didn't turn out quite as pretty)
Tray/Shallow dish

Step 1: Cut your watercolor paper to a size that easily fits in your dish/tray. (Keep the trimmed paper nearby, you'll want to work quickly once the colors are swirled!)

Step 2: Pour roughly 3 - 5 tablespoons of milk into the dish. (Enough milk that a thin layer covers the bottom of the dish.)

Step 3: Add drops of different colors of food dye in the milk around the dish.

Step 4: Add drops of dish soap around the food coloring. The dish soap will start interacting with the colors!

Step 5: Use a Q Tip or toothpick to start swirling the colors.

Step 6: Before the colors get too mixed together (like above...) dip one of the sheets of paper into the colors. Press gently. Lift and set aside to dry. Repeat!

We're going to do this again with watercolor paper - it will definitely turn out even more pretty!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Cilantro Lime Shrimp

Ladies and gentleman, here is the taste of summer. Because Lord knows we need it. I recommend this with a margarita.

Cilantro Lime Shrimp

Recipe from Skinny Taste
1 1/2 lbs peeled deveined jumbo shrimp 
(I freak out making seafood so I buy frozen cooked shrimp. I think it would taste better if I didn't, though!)
1/4 teaspoon plus an 1/8 teaspoon of cumin
salt and pepper
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
5 garlic cloves, crushed
2 Tablespoons lime juice (from 1 lime)
3 to 4 Tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Season the shrimp with cumin, salt and pepper.

Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add one teaspoon of oil to the pan, then add half of the shrimp. Cook undisturbed for about 2 minutes.Turn the shrimp over and cook until opaque throughout, about 1 minute. Transfer to a plate.

Add the remaining teaspoon of oil and cook the remaining shrimp, undisturbed, for 2 minutes. Turn the shrimp over and add the garlic, cook until the shrimp is opaque throughout. Return the first batch of shrimp to the skillet and mix well, making sure the garlic is incorporated evenly.

Squeeze the lime juice over the shrimp. Add the cilantro, toss well, serve! 

Monday, February 10, 2014

DIY Glow Stick Arrow Valentine - Free Printable!

I'm most definitely not anti sugar but my goodness do kids get overloaded with it. It's Valentine's day and Bella's treat jar still has Halloween candy in it.
And I can't be the only one.

So here's how we made our class Valentine's minus the diabetes and hopefully they're just as enjoyable!

First, we bought a few packages of 7 small glow bracelets from the dollar store. Then I put some clip art on a page that I could print and cut out. Once we cut out the arrows we snipped the paper right below the point of the arrow and inserted the glow stick through the incision and secured it with tape. I added a cutesy little pun, she signed her name and ta-da - a Valentine!

If you'd like, feel free to print out my template. Or create your own!

Just save and print!

Happy Valentine's Day! 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

She's An Introvert, Not A Malfunction

I pinned this a while ago because it reminded me of my daughter. I've known my daughter's an introvert. Not the kind of introvert that cries when you talk to her or the kind of introvert that can't leave the house. She's the kind of introvert that, well, (refer to the picture).

When it comes to socializing, things need to be on her terms and I can totally respect that. When does anyone enjoy being forced to be talkative and outgoing? 

Kids haven't learned to fake it yet, so they're honest.

She doesn't respond very well when put on the spot for a high five from a stranger (or people she knows really well, for that matter.) She doesn't like when people talk to her in a busy group setting (or a private, smaller scale situation, sometimes). She doesn't like being prodded for answers about what she's wearing or what she did yesterday (unless she's in a really good mood). 

I haven't known exactly how to respect her feelings and demeanor but also parent her to be a socially considerate person. I've been trying very hard to protect the shy person she is but instill manners.

"You can be shy but you still have to be nice."

The rule for dealing with people is that you have to say "Please, Thank you, Hello and Goodbye". 

That's the rule I came up with. I think it's a pretty good one. That way she has an understanding of being polite but she doesn't have to do more than is required.

But the rule has been suffering lately. Because what's a rule with no consequence? It  becomes merely a suggestion. And I'm not going to punish her for not being nice. I tried to go the alternate route and reward her every time she was polite but that only lasted a couple of weeks (at best). 

I hadn't thought much about it though. 
Because I can't tell you how many stories I have heard about how painfully shy I was as a child. I remember my grandma talking to me and I couldn't bear to look at her. I loved her and she was always so nice to me but if she talked to me I ignored her and wished and wished for the moment her attention would be elsewhere. 

I remember when friends of my parents would talk to me and ask me questions about school and I felt myself wind up tight - chin to chest, arms drawn in and eyes locked to the ground. I remember that almost longing feeling for the moment they stopped talking to me.
To this day extended family bring up the days where they all "knew better than to talk to me". That's not said in a mean way, it's just what it was. I was painfully shy of adults. 

So, when I entered parenthood, I knew there was a good chance that one of my kids was going to be a shy one.

So this is where I am right now, as the parent of an introvert. 
When she is put on the spot, she uncomfortably deals with it in the way she knows how - she avoids and ignores. It upsets me because I'm put in a weird spot. Do I put pressure on her to be friendly? Do I scold her? Explain her behavior to the other person? Shrug it off and act like it's no big deal? I do all of those things.

The problem is I feel like the world has become much wore welcoming and understanding of introverts but not really of introverted children.

I believe America's favorite pastime is to blame for that.
No, not baseball.
Parent wars.

I believe this because about half of the time, people respond to Bella's shyness (or flat out stink eye) with comments that aren't the most well meaning. Nothing flat out mean, usually. But remarks that make it sound like she's doing something wrong.

There's not a lot of understanding extended to her when she hides or ignores someone's hello. The last time the checkout lady asked Bella how old she was and Bella furrowed her brow, the older woman said something like, "Well I guess I won't give you this toy if you're not going to talk to me." (It was a toy we were purchasing and it wasn't even for her, it was for a birthday party.) I felt heat rise but I didn't say anything because Bella shouldn't have furrowed her brow but she also didn't have to carry on a conversation with this woman. 

I prodded answers from Bella or answered for her but I left feeling totally unsettled. I struggled with feeling like I wasn't raising a cordial girl. And worst of all, I felt like I didn't champion Bella because I let my disappointment at her lacking to follow our "rule" to win out.  

The other introverted children I know are treated similarly. Things are said like either they need to outgrow it and/or the parents need to step in and do something because they're obviously dropping the ball. 

I understand that people more than likely don't mean anything rude or mean by the responses they have. And I also understand that I'm a sensitive Mama who sometimes takes something someone said the wrong way. But I also understand that it's not just me all the time. 

Bella is so very bright. She's emotional. She's intuitive. She can reenter the same room with the same people every day but every day will be different in how she responds. Because she's a person and every day is different. She may smile, she may wave, she may not want to look at you or she may make her fat stuffed sheep fart in your face, as she's also done recently. She's spontaneous and spunky but also an introvert. 

And I have to remember that. She's not malfunctioning. She's introverted. 

(She can definitely still use a strong dose of "common courtesy" though.)

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

{Easy} Chicken Cordon Bleu

I tried this recipe on a total whim. I hadn't found a Chicken Cordon Bleu recipe that looked easy or appealing. This one I found was on a crappy looking website (not the website attributed to the recipe below) that was littered with ads and threw pop ups at me when I tried to leave the site. It was like the sketch alley of the internet. I navigated my way to SuperGlue Mom's page and saved the recipe and I'm so glad I did. It's hella easy so I added the "easy" part. Cause that should probably be advertised .


{Easy} Baked Chicken Cordon Bleu 
Original recipe from SuperGlue Mom
 2 cups Alfredo sauce
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1/4 cup Monterrey jack cheese, grated
12 oz penne pasta
1 cup chicken breast, cooked and diced
1 cup cooked ham, diced (I used 2 cups of chicken instead of an additional cup of ham)
6 strips of bacon, cooked and crumbled 
1 Tablespoon Zatarain's Big and Zesty Original Creole Seasoning
you can make your own seasoning by combining:
1 Tablespoon onion powder, garlic powder, dried oregano and dried sweet basil
1/2 Tablespoon dried thyme, black pepper, white pepper, cayenne pepper and celery seed
3 Tablespoons sweet paprika

Cook pasta; drain.

Combine pasta, bacon, alfredo sauce, chicken, ham and seasoning. (I left out the cayenne pepper for the kids' sake but I recommend adding it when it's done!)

Pour pasta in a 9"x13" baking dish. Top with Parmesan and Monterrey cheese.

Set your oven to broil and set the dish on the middle baking rack. Broil for 3-5 minutes or until cheese is bubbling and lightly browned.