29 August 2013

Rice Broccoli Casserole

It's safe to say (And I'm confident enough to share) that at one point in my life, I was a horrible cook. My idea of cooking was a box of Kraft Mac & Cheese, heating up soup in the mirco, or going the uber easy route - take out. I could live off of Ramen Noodles and thought nothing of having a PB&J every night for dinner. It's also safe to say that those were my single girl years because any mom knows that you can't get away with that kind of eating with a family. 

Fast forward to 2005. I was living in Roanoke, VA and working for the Girl Scouts in the marketing department. My boss at the time (Now friend too, I'm proud to say), Jen, always had the best recipes, cooking ideas, and always brought in amazing noms for the company pot lucks. We often talked about, scratch that...laughed about my lack of culinary ability in the kitchen. I was also getting to a point in my life where I knew I needed to grow up and stop living like a college girl - I just didn't know where to start. Fortunately for me, Jen did.

Jen is the type of gal that is always thinking. She always has 20 different plates spinning and she is one of the most thoughtful people I know. Wrap that up all together and you get one fantastic person. When it came time to exchange Christmas gifts that year, she gave me one of the most thoughtful (Homemade) gifts that to this day, I've ever received...

My very own cookbook.

She lovingly took the time to type, print, cut and stuff a book full of starter recipes for me...

She even included this sweet message: 

 Pretty cool, right? I don't know if Jen ever really knew how much this gift meant to me. She really gave me the courage to expand my horizons and grow as a person. Tackling cooking in the kitchen can be daunting for some people (Me!) and this gift gave me the boost I needed to improve myself. It's one of my possessions I love the most and over the years as my cooking skills have dramatically improved, I've been able to add my own recipes to this book. It is something I can't wait to share with Maddy. 

One of my favorite recipes from Jen's collection is the Rice Broccoli Casserole that she adapted from her friend, Lana. With fall knocking on my door, it is the perfect cozy homemade meal to make for a cool fall evening or a snowy winter day. It is super, super easy and oh so cheesy and delicious. Here are the details...

What you'll need:
1 package chopped frozen broccoli (You can also use fresh)
1 8 oz jar of Cheese Wiz
1 can Cream of Mushroom Soup
1 can Cream of Chicken Soup
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup of a 7 oz box of instant rice

Here's how you'll make it:
Cook rice and drain. Cook broccoli without salt and drain. Add cheese wiz to rice and broccoli while hot and stir well until completely blended. Add both soups and stir well again until blended. Add the rest of the ingredients including salt and pepper to your liking and stir well. Place in casserole dish evenly and sprinkle with paprika. 

*I also top mine with some mild shredded cheddar cheese but that's optional.

Cover the dish and bake at 350 for one hour.

Voila! Done! Scoop, serve, eat. 

I make this many, many times during the cooler months and we usually eat off it for a few days. It's a great dish - very versatile and it can also be served as a side item with other foods you're serving. I've also taken it as a dish for Thanksgiving meals with friends. All in all, it's a staple of mine for fall and winter. You have to give it a try - trust me, you won't be disappointed.

Jen, thank you for sharing your love and recipes with me and for giving me the opportunity to spread my wings and fly. You are truly a great lady. 

With fall and winter right around the corner, what are some of your favorite meals for the season?


28 August 2013

Hump Day Mommy Confessions

You know what day it is...

Oh, that camel never gets old. I love him. OK, but seriously - It's time for another installment of Hump Day Mommy Confessions!

Like last week, I only have one confession to share with y'all today. It's a pretty bold confession and has enough material to stand on its own without adding others, so here we go!

Today's confession: As a mother of a toddler and a woman in general, I'm so very tired of coming into contact with, or seeing fathers in public, who have absolutely no (perceived by me in seeing their actions) desire to want, like, or love their children. 

Now before I go any further (Because I know there are people reading this who are either A. Offended or B. Not understanding what I mean) let me clarify. 

  • This is not a blanket statement for the male gender. I'm not hating on men in general. I don't believe that this applies to all men - only the ones I've either come in contact with personally who act like this or I've witnessed a man's actions of how they treat their family in public.
  • I'm fully aware that there are plenty of men and father's out there who love and cherish their families and that's great. I have one of them, actually I have two - my own father and Madeline's father. So let me be clear: Let me stress - I'm not talking about these men. My thoughts tonight are strictly in regards to the men who have families but act like they wish they didn't. 
  • I'm fully aware and acknowledge that the opposite exists meaning, the woman has no interest in her family BUT in my experiences, I've yet to witness this. I'm strictly bringing my thoughts to the table based on my experiences and witness accounts only. 
Are we all on the same page? Yes? OK, moving on. (And if you're not, you may as well stop reading now because you're not going to like anything that's said from here on out.)

This growing problem of, let's call it man apathy, is something I've noticed more and more lately and quite honestly, it has pissed me off on a whole new level. I get it - man's natural instinct is to run free...to not be saddled down...to feel like you're always in control...the world is your urinal. I get it, really I do. 

But here's what I don't get... 

No one forces you into a relationship or marriage. It's a choice, and in today's world, it's more acceptable than ever to co-parent without being in a relationship with the mother of your child. I would go as far to say that if the two of you being together is not going to work, staying together is far more damaging to the child than for the two of you to co-parent. So why even commit? 

Let me dig a little deeper...

Last Saturday, we decided to take a trip to Red Robin for lunch. What was supposed to be a nice afternoon out quickly turned sour for me. As I sat in our booth and looked at the families around me, I couldn't help but notice how miserable each of the father's looked with their families. I mean, these men looked awful - each of them looked like they would have rather scooped their eyes out with a spoon than to have to be with their wives or deal with their children.

We were surrounded by 4 other families. The first family had mom, dad, and three kids the youngest a boy around Maddy's age. The other two kids were fine and very well-behaved but the toddler was...well...being a toddler; squirming, shouting, crying, etc. The mother was doing everything she could to try and calm her son down and nothing seemed to work. What was her husband doing? Eating his burger, checking his phone, and asking her, "Can't you get him to shut up???" with a look of disgust and a tone of disdain. He never once offered to help. His wife was clearly exasperated and overwhelmed and he never once offered to take the son to give her relief. He just sat on his fat ass, ate his burger and shot daggers at his son and wife. 

The second family was sitting behind us - mom, dad, and a baby girl who looked to be around the one year mark. She was an absolutely adorable baby and to be honest, very well behaved. Aside from maybe one squeal, we hardly knew she was there. The wife looked very pleasant and was trying to engage her husband in conversation but he wanted nothing to do with either of them. He just kept playing on his phone while looking around the restaurant. His wife's conversation must have turned to having another baby at some point because all of a sudden I hear him say in a very sarcastic and hateful tone, "Yeah, that's a great idea...because she's so fucking pleasant and nice to have around?" as he pointed to his daughter. 

The other two families were more of the same - eye rolling, hateful comments, hateful looks, etc. It was enough to make me sick. And pissed. And sad for the women involved. Overall, it left me feeling very depressed. And here's the thing...

I know parenting is hard. I know there are days when it seems like life would be so much more pleasant if it were just you and an island of care free leisure. I know that when you have children, your life changes forever and it is no longer your own and that for every minute of your life, you will always be responsible for another human being. The drama dial immediately goes from 0 to 100 in no time flat. 

But men - isn't that the reason you wanted to start a family in the first place?

When you make the conscience choice of your own free will to start and commit to a family, you're signing up for the drama. You're signing up for the worry. You're signing up for life-and-death. You're signing up for sleepless nights, illness, constant interruptions in the bathroom, and knowing that from here on out, you will never have a moments peace. You're signing up for a life that means something more, even if it isn't as fun a life as when you were single and drinking shots of whiskey off a bartender's belly at Coyote Ugly. Kid's make your life significant. They give your life a spine, even when your sorry ass doesn't have one. And if you're lucky enough to have a woman who is still holding on to your worthless ass when she has every right to kick you to the curb, then you my dear have hit the jackpot. 

Men of apathy, it's time for you to grow up. You have a child so please stop being one. Put your man pants on and deal with the life you chose. One of these days your child(ren) will figure you out - what do you want them to think of you? Do you even care? Because if you don't, just think about all of the pain and suffering you're getting ready to place on an innocent life. 

How much of a man does that make you now?

So there's my confession for today. I'm tired of dealing with apathetic, could care less for their kids kind of men. Mommies - what are your confessions?

Till next time,

27 August 2013

August Photo Challenge

Today, I'm linking up with Sara from Running From the Law to participate in her photo challenge for August. 

Sara has a great blog and I've really enjoyed getting to know her and her sweet family through her writing over the past few months. She did a photo challenge for July that was a lot of fun to participate in so I was excited to join in again for August.

My submission came to life on a day when I wasn't feeling so great as a mom. Madeline had been a pill to deal with all day and I was completely frazzled and on the verge of running from our home screaming and crying and not looking back. Fortunately, Michael came home early from work that day and saw how bad off I was and suggested I get out of the house for a while. I didn't hesitate - I grabbed my keys and off I went. 

I decided to head to the grocery store. I'm one of those rare geeks that genuinely enjoys going to the grocery store. I love it, in fact. There is something very soothing about going up and down the isles, taking my time, and browsing through the deli/bakery section. (Michael would tell you different. He would say that I somehow end up in the isle with the candles, snout deep in the aroma of each one as I pile them into my cart. On this, I plead the fifth.) :-)

As I pulled into my parking spot, I felt like I was on the verge of breaking down. You other moms know that feeling...you've held your emotions in all day. You've bit your tongue. You fought the battles that needed fighting and let ones that didn't go. You're drained, your exhausted, and you're done. I was at that point. The only thing I knew to do at that point was to pray.

I said a quick prayer, let a few tears drop, and begged Father to help me be a better mom. I begged for guidance. I begged for soothing and peace. I begged for brighter days with more love to give. I turned it over to Him, turned off my car, and got out.

As I got out of my car, I looked to the sky and saw this...
(Canon 50D, EF 24-105mm, F/4.0, SOOC)

The sun hadn't shown all day. As a matter of fact, it had rained for a good majority of the day, but not now. His rays were shining and it was beautiful. The sunshine starting peaking through the clouds and the rays that were emitted were heavenly. 

It may sound foolish to some but to me it meant everything. To me, it was an answer to my prayer - that God's love is eternal and everlasting. That His promise is true and that we are never forsaken. Our prayers are indeed answered. He knew what I needed when I needed it and it made me feel whole again. I felt like I could pick up the pieces of my broken spirit and put myself back together again. 

Thank you, Sara for the opportunity to share this picture and story with all of you and good luck to the other submissions!


21 August 2013

Hump Day Mommy Confessions

I only have one confession tonight but it's a pretty big one. Plus, I've had a very long day and honestly, I don't feel like exerting too much energy on much tonight besides lifting my wine glass to my lips and pushing the buttons on the remote control. Not that you guys aren't worth it - I'm just tired and mentally exhausted. Hey, I'm just keeping it real. 

Moving on...

So what is this big confession I have to make? Very simply this - I finally feel like I'm completely bonded to my child...two years after her birth. Let me explain...

First of all, I never thought I was ever going to have the opportunity to be a mom. Something you may not know about me (To which would be another confession) is that in a far away land a long, long time ago, I was married once before Michael. Obviously, the marriage didn't work out because here I am with another man and a child but the point is that my first marriage was childless and by every indication would always be childless. I had pretty much given up all hope that I would ever be a mother. We divorced in 2009 and I moved forward with my life.

Another factor that came into play was my complete lack of a motherly instinct. I wasn't big on playing with dolls, or playing house, or any of those types of things growing up. I would have much rather been running the neighborhood (And did) with the boys skateboarding, playing Dungeons and Dragons, and making really dangerous, fall and break your neck club houses in the trees. I was a complete tomboy. But even as I got older and became a teen whose tomboy tendencies shed, I still didn't have that "feeling" most women have when it comes to kids. You know the one I'm talking about - that giggly, bring a tear to your eye just thinking about a onsie type of glow. I didn't have it.

I liked kids. I loved them and loved playing with them and hanging out with them. I babysat like crazy through high school. I knew I wanted at least one but I was always conflicted and confused as to how I could want children but not have a motherly instinct. As time went on, my explanation was that I didn't have to think about it anymore. The decision had been made for me - it just wasn't in the cards for me to have a child. As heartbroken as I was, over time I learned to accept it and move on with my life. 

Then one day I peed on a stick and my life changed forever. (Awwww...doesn't that just sound so sweet?!)

OK, so I have one more confession to make (Geez, this is turning into way more confessions than I thought!). Whether I need to or not, and even if I get my period, every month I take a pregnancy test. I know, I know. I'm crazy. But it's my thing. Leave it alone. 

So yeah. I was dating Michael and took my monthly pregnancy test and boy was I ever shocked. I think I sat on the toilet for about 30 minutes until I realized that my butt and legs had gone numb. I was pregnant. Nine months later, Madeline made her entrance into the world.

I was elated. I was so happy. I loved holding her and just looking at her. I was beyond the moon thrilled. BUT...

I was also depressed. I was severely depressed. I had to have a c-section which meant I got no immediate bonding time with Maddy after she was born. Actually, I had to be knocked out right after the doctor showed her to me because as they tried to start sewing me up, my anesthetic wore off and I could feel everything and was in unbearable pain. I woke up two hours later in a recovery room drooling out of the side of my face while Michael was holding Maddy and waiting for me to wake up. I couldn't remember anything. Thank God for pictures! I was also transitioning between jobs which was very stressful. I had 2 gallstone attacks after Maddy was born and to add insult to injury, I couldn't breast feed. I felt like the world's worst mother.

The icing on the cake was still feeling like I had absolutely no mothering instincts whatsoever. I'm not joking when I say they never kicked in after Maddy was born. I loved my child. I would have gladly given my life for my child but I didn't have a connection to her. To me, it seemed like she was more of a responsibility than my child. All of a sudden I had this dictator in my life ruling over me and it just didn't connect. 

Looking back on it now, I know the depression, lack of immediate bonding after birth, and not being able to breast feed played a huge part in me feeling the way I did. But I will tell you that honestly, the majority of my feelings came from a place of not knowing what to do with my own daughter. I had absolutely no clue on how to be a parent and even less of an idea of how to take care of her. I was totally winging it hence, feeding into that fear of not having a motherly instinct.

Over the months and years my relationship with Maddy has changed a lot...and often. I went from looking at my daughter as a foreign being to seeing her as I do today - my greatest creation ever. But I'm not going to lie to you - I've run the full gamut of emotions when it comes to having a child; I've felt resentment, fear, elation, sadness, and even mourned my care-free single life. But that's OK and it's normal. I needed to do those things to get me to where I am today.

And where am I today? I'm in a great place with Maddy. I look at her and my heart swells with pride. She smiles at me and the heavens open. We laugh and play together like we are old friends. We share secrets like girlfriends do. I see her as the curious, happy, crazy intelligent being she is now and I can allow myself to think, "Yeah, I created that. I'm doing OK as a mom." This doesn't mean that we don't have our bad days because boy do we. It just simply means that now I know motherly instinct or not, I am a mom and I'm doing one hell of a job with my daughter. I don't need an instinct to validate that for me anymore.

So there you have it. A once intimidated by kids kind of girl became a strong, capable mother. It hasn't been easy; I've had to fight hard along the way to figure out who I am as a mother but Maddy makes my life worthwhile. She was made for me - I truly believe this. I've had moments when I look into her eyes and I know that in another heavenly world, we knew each other already as kindred souls. We all come into this world for a purpose. Hers was to be mine.
Be blessed friends.

18 August 2013

It's Time...

...That I start loving ME again. I haven't been so great about this lately and it has really caught up with me - mentally, emotionally and physically. I need to make some changes. 

...For you to watch the Ashton Kutcher speech from the Teen Choice Awards. Since when did the guy from the Dude movies become so wise? Such encouraging words from an unlikely source. If you haven't seen it, crawl out from underneath your rock for a few minutes and give it a watch. 

...For parents to start disciplining their kids - on the serious tip. Why do I say this? Let me tell you all a story.

This past Thursday, I was in Target to grab a couple of boxes of breakfast bars for Chickie. I turned down the isle and standing there to greet me was a boy who was around 4 to 5 years old who was giving me the finger. I was completely shocked. I didn't know what else to do except reach down, grab my boxes of bars and keep it moving. Unfortunately, the boy didn't think the same thing. He came over to me, smacked the boxes out of my hand, and yelled, "F you!!" to me.

But that's not the worse part. What could be worse than that you ask?

His mother watched the whole thing...AND LAUGHED. She thought is was funny. I was absolutely floored and speechless, which doesn't happen very often. In fact, I was so befuddled and mortified by the whole thing that I just picked up the dropped boxes and kept moving. 

Parents: If you're child is acting like this, then you're doing it wrong. And if you're laughing at said child's behavior, you're doing it WORSE. I have a whole line of thought on this incident that I plan to share in a later blog post so stay tuned.

...For me to get our pantry organized. We've been living in our new place for two months now and our pantry still looks like a tornado hit it. It's a really great, walk-in pantry but honestly, we shoved all of the "What should we do with this?" stuff in there and have ignored it since. 

...For me to finally finish the load of laundry that's been in the washer for 3 days. My mommy brain keeps forgetting its there so I have to re-wash it all over again. I've done this 3 times now. If anyone has seen my brain, please tell it to come back to me. I miss it.

...That I start looking into my options for a possible profession within the law. Most of you probably don't know this, but I've always had an interest in, and love of, the law however, I have to be a realist of what I'm really capable of now at this stage in my life. I'm 37. I have a job. I have a family. I have responsibilities and quite honestly, I don't want to be stuck in school and have all my time eaten up at home with Chickie being the age she is now. I also don't want to go into a butt-load more debt. BUT I do think I need to be fair to myself and see what my options are. I don't want to look back one day and think "What if?" so I'm entertaining the idea of following the Paralegal path. I think this is the smart road for me to travel. I can do online courses, go at my own speed, and still be involved in a law career without having to jump through all the ropes to be an "official" lawyer. This is a dream of mine that I've always had - to not give it some serious thought and consideration would be unforgivable to myself plus, how can I ever honestly encourage Maddy to "follow her dreams" or "take chances" when I'm not willing to do the same and set the example by action? 

That's about it for now, which I think is more than enough. What are some things you've been mulling over that you just need to decide that 'It's Time...' ???


(Ashton Kutcher video provided by YouTube)

13 August 2013

Hump Day Mommy Confessions

1.  I took my first bath with Madeline tonight and honestly...I hated it. I had it in my head that it would be this supremely grand mother/daughter bonding thing but really, it was slimy (I think the Johnson's bubble bath soap had more to do with that than anything), cramped, and just downright uncomfortable.  I know every mom/woman is different but for me personally, I was more uncomfortable being naked in front of my child in the same tub especially with her pointing and poking at all my wobbly bits and yelling at my genitals, "Mama pee pee!" It's just weird. 

Been there. Done that. Never again.

2.  For a while now, I've been a go go go mommy with Madeline. "Maddy, hurry up we have to go. Maddy, hurry up and put your shirt on. Maddy, hurry up and eat" And it really had nothing to do with Maddy - it was ME. When it comes to parenting, I had become a rather focused, do it and get it done mom. Being a working mom also means being doubly focused and keeping not one but two sets of balls juggling all the time plus, my nature is to be task driven...

Until I read this blog post.    

Wow. What an impact this post made on me. I immediately felt about an inch high. In my own selfish pursuit of trying to maintain a schedule and keep everything together, I had unintentionally cut out a very large portion of my daughter's ability to experience and discover the world. From that moment on, I promised myself and Maddy that I would do better. Besides, if I'm going to slow down for anything or anyone shouldn't it be my own child? 

3.  I have this theory that my daughter will be one of two things when she grows up - 1. A food critic or 2. A comedian.

Let me explain...

Why a food critic? Well, the kid is like a termite. She's eating us through house and home. Seriously, there have only been about 2 things she won't eat. Everything else gets shoved in the pie hole. I'm not complaining, don't get me wrong. I just stand back amazed at how much food she can pack away. It's the craziest thing I've ever seen. I've often been tempted to throw a NY Strip down there to see what she'd do. The second part of this is that her father and I are both writers so you can see how easy it is to pair the two.

Why comedian? The other night Maddy looked at me as serious as she could be and said, "I want nipples and baboons." Um, OK??? LOL. I have no clue where she gets this stuff and she's constantly saying funny things, making funny faces, and keeping us laughing. She is a hoot. 

4.  I'll admit it - I'm one of those moms who thinks her daughter is just absolutely freaking GORGEOUS. Well, as parents I know we all think this about our children but I'm probably a little more overboard about it. Don't get me wrong - I'm not conceited or mean about it. I'm just smitten and in love with her grace, spirit and personality. Maddy shines on the inside AND out. It also doesn't hurt that she has the same gap in her top front teeth as me which I find incredibly adorable. 

America - Meet your next Miss America. 
Let's just hope that her talent of making farting noises with her hands in the tub isn't the same when she's 21.  

That's all for me this week. Fess up, moms! What are your confessions?


06 August 2013

What's For Dinner: Home Made Pizza Dough - Pizza Night!

Cooking Confession: I've always been some-what intimidated to try making my own home made dough. 

I don't know why really. I think I've always had this impression that making your own dough is pretty difficult. However, I found out tonight this couldn't be further from the truth.

I found a very tasty and easy freezer-friendly dough recipe on where else - Pinterest - and thought, "Why not! I'm really going to be intimidated by flour and yeast?" So off to the store I went and bought the $5 worth of stuff I needed to get rolling (That's another great thing about this dough recipe - it's cheap and makes a lot which helps if you have lots of people to feed or want to stretch a meal for a couple of days). 

Here's what you'll need:

  • 2 cups warm water (105 to 115 degrees F.)
  • 2 Tablespoons active dry yeast
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 Tablespoons oil (vegetable, Canola, or olive oil)
  • 5 cups flour (can use all whole-wheat, half white/half whole-wheat, or all white)
*I recommend using unbleached flour because...well...who really wants to eat flour that's been bleached?

Here's how you'll do it:
Pour the warm water into a bowl and sprinkle the yeast over it. Stir to dissolve.

Add the remaining ingredients and mix.
Dump onto a floured surface and knead dough for two to five minutes until smooth and no longer sticky.

To freeze: Cut lump of dough in half and place each half in an airtight freezer bag. Freeze for up to 4-6 weeks.
To bake frozen dough: Place frozen dough in a greased bowl and thaw at room temperature for at least 3-4 hours. Roll out and shape onto a greased pizza pan.
Add pizza toppings of your choice. Bake at 500 degrees for around 10 minutes (until the crust looks crispy and lightly browned).
If you're making pizza immediately: take the kneaded dough and roll out and shape onto a greased pizza pan. Add pizza toppings and bake as directed above.

You can roll the dough out to be as thick or as thin as you like and depending on how many people you're feeding, you could have enough dough left over for a few more meals. 
It was absolutely delicious and I must say, I was pretty proud of myself. I think all in all I spent less than 30 minutes making this dinner. And let me just say, kneading dough is no joke, ya'll. Whew. My fingers and wrists got a pretty good work out too. 
So there it is. Dough conquered. I came, I cooked, I ate. Yum.

05 August 2013

Madeline's Second Birthday

Last year for Maddy's 1st Birthday, we threw a huge party. Looking back on it, I'm not sure who it was all for, really. I mean, it was the first Birthday so there is a certain amount of pomp and circumstance that goes along with celebrating the big 1 however, by the time the smash cake was demolished and the last guests were leaving, Michael and I were ABSOLUTELY. EXHAUSTED. 

It all seemed like a blur; Michael was running around taking pictures and I was entertaining our 35+ guests PLUS keeping up with Maddy. Maddy, while she had fun, will never remember it so really - what was it all for?  Michael and I felt like we ended up missing a huge chunk of our daughter's first Birthday. 

(Just a quick tip for all you moms and dads planning your child's first party - if you can afford it, hire a photographer and follow an old-school acronym - K.I.S.S. - Keep It Simple Stupid. Trust me, you will thank me later.)

If you'd like to check out Maddy's Seussland - Thing 1 Birthday party entry, CLICK HERE

To keep on a budget, I ordered a ton of Dr. Seuss decorations from Oriental Trading and Etsy. The only thing I really "splurged" on beside the food was Maddy's dress but it was worth every penny - she was adorable in it and it is now a keepsake. We rented a bubble machine to keep with the "magical" theme of the party and I got a ton of great ideas from where else - Pinterest. 

CLICK HERE to see Maddy's First Birthday Board on Pinterest.

Long story short too late, Michael and I found ourselves recouping for days after the party. Oy.

So when the discussion came around for ideas on this year's party, we decided to trim back dramatically and keep it simple. I mean, really simple. I'm talking like, Chuck E. Cheese's simple. 

Now before you roll your eyes and scoff at having a party at Chuck E. Cheese's, let me tell you that after going through the first Birthday, IT'S WORTH EVERY DAMN PENNY. We paid around $40 for pizza, beer, commemorative cup for Maddy, tokens, and something else that I can't even remember. And the best part? We had to do absolutely nothing. 

Nada. Zip. Zilch.

We showed up, we ate, we drank, we played, and we left. Easy breezy and so simple and fun. No clean up, no mess to worry about, no entertaining, no nothing. Just lots of good quality time with our special girl and celebrating her big day.

Maddy dances with Chuck E. Cheese
(Thank God she has my dance skills. Daddy kind of has the whole white man's overbite thing going on)

Mommy & the Birthday girl

Daddy & Maddy crush the pig!

Happy Birthday, Chickie!

Pigging out on pizza!

Pure joy - enjoying the rides!

The only way for parents to survive - lots of beer! :-)

I highly recommend going this route for parties, especially for the younger years. Sure, go hog wild for the first Birthday but after that, I say save your sanity and your money and keep it down and dirty on the cheap.

Till next time...

02 August 2013

Two Magic Words

In yesterday's Hump Day Mommy Confessions post, I mentioned that Maddy has begun to talk in sentences and that it can be very hard to discern exactly what she's saying.

What I failed to mention are the two magic words that are crystal clear...

"Uv ewww" (For those of you who need translation, that would be "Love you").

I know. Heart melt, right??!!

As a parent, I don't know if it gets any better than that. Well, maybe having a child that is fully potty trained would be a close second but I don't know. I mean, to have your child look at you and out of the blue say, "Love you!" is pretty damn cool, not to mention humbling as well. 

For as much as Maddy can really push me to my limits and test my patience at times, she has a tremendous way of re-paying me for those hard times. Homegirl really knows what she's doing. And there are times when I just sit back and look at her and think, "Wow - what did I ever do to deserve such an amazing, loving, and sweet spirit in my life?" That my daughter will hug me out of the blue for no reason at all. That she knows exactly how to look at me with that sweet face when she's been in time out and says, "Sorry mommy. Uv ewww!" That I can say to her, "Maddy, mommy loves you!" and she simply looks back at me and smiles with no words in exchange as if it's a secret that only the two of us know. Those are the moments I treasure. I am blessed indeed. 

All you need is love. Mommy will always "Uv ewww" my sweet.

Moments Captured Saying "Uv ewww!"