Archives for the month of: September, 2012

I’ve been in a little bit of a funk the past couple days.  My monthly migraines have hit, taking me down a notch for two or three days.

Also, my Grandpa Jerry is in the VA hospital with dehydration and pneumonia.  These are the times when being eight hours away is really tough.  I know logically that I, personally, can’t really do anything to make him better, but I would love to be able to go see him.  Hopefully, he’ll be home in the next day or two and Ali and I can give him a call.

So – there hasn’t been a ton of stuff getting done around here…  But, I did need to make something for Corey to take to an office potluck, and I decided to try out a recipe for chicken fajita soup.  It turned out awesome, even though I forgot to put in two of the ingredients!  This recipe is meant to feed a crowd, or provide a meal or two and leftovers for the freezer, but it could be easily cut down to size.

I made the chicken ahead of time in the crockpot:  just cover with water and cook on high for about 4 hours.  Mine was falling apart at this point, so I took it out, let it cool, then ripped it to shreds.  You could also get the precooked grilled chicken tenders in the freezer section.

Then I threw it all together in a big pot!  I ended up adding extra chicken broth to make it a little more soup-y.  After it boils and simmers, the recipe says to add shredded Mexican cheese and sour cream, but these are the ingredients I forgot…  I had already eaten a bowl of soup and loved it, so I figured I could live without the extra calories.

This was super easy, and I have a few jars to stash in the freezer for later!  Don’t you love my fancy jars and labels?  🙂

Chicken Fajita Soup

(adapted from The Scout’s Outdoor Cookbook)
serves 12-14

2 lbs chicken breast, cooked and shredded
4 cartons chicken broth  (32 oz each)
1 jar mild salsa (24 oz)
1 bunch green onions, chopped
2 bell peppers, diced
1 medium onion, diced
1 small bag frozen mixed vegetables (carrots, corn, peas, green beans)
1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups cooked rice
1 pkg fajita seasoning
1 lb shredded Mexican style cheese (optional)
1 container sour cream (optional)
limes and cilantro for garnish

Saute onions and bell peppers in some olive oil until soft, then dump into a big pot with all other ingredients except for cheese and sour cream.

Bring to a low boil, then reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are tender, about an hour.  Blend in cheese and sour cream, if using.  Serve warm with a sprinkle of lime and some chopped cilantro on top.

Variation:  Add crushed tortilla chips to the soup along with cheese and sour cream.  Or just crush and sprinkle on top for some crunch.

**Note:  When we heated up the leftovers, I added some cheese and sour cream as the recipe suggests.  Definitely took the soup from awesome to ridiculous.  🙂

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We’ve got a climber!

Gotta say – she’s much cuter than the crockpots that are usually on the cart…

Alice is 9 months + 3 weeks old, movin’ and groovin’.  She is still rockin’ only one lower tooth, but is acting like another is on the way.  She knows how to get up on her hands and knees, but still prefers the army crawl for a speedy exit.  She also pulls herself up to kneel and stand, and takes steps when we hold her up.  There is definitely some walking just around the corner…

Today is my sister’s birthday!  Happy 28th Drea!

Yeaaahh Girrrrlll!

In backyard news, this is what about two hours of work looks like:

The first day I had Ali playing outside with me – until I saw about 4 mosquitoes buzzing around her head!  So, needless to say, that session was cut short!  Yesterday I went out for a little bit during nap time, and made myself some nice working ambiance with two citronella candles by my side.  It kept the skeeters away, but was not really a workable solution.  Now I’ve gotta go get some mosquito spray for the yard before I can continue unbitten…

As far as the project itself, there are some other issues.  Most annoying are the roots from the bushes in the hedgerow, and the fact that I have to dig down about six inches to accommodate the bottles.  But hey – the materials are free, and I think they look pretty cool!

Still to do:

-Finish the border

-Pull up the grass and put down newpaper

-Transfer some monkey grass from the front of the house to the back

-Put down mulch

This will probably take me until 2017!  Haha!

Let me preface this by saying that I don’t mean this in any conceited or righteous way whatsoever.  BUT, I’ve always felt like a pretty competent person.  I’m generally productive and on top of things, and most skills come easily to me.  So, I thought becoming a mom would be no different.

Wrong-O!

Despite my visions of seamlessly transitioning into warm and fuzzy motherhood-land, I stumbled and fumbled through much of Ali’s newborn days in a fog.  It turns out that I am no longer a college co-ed, capable of pulling all-nighters and functioning long-term on a few hours of sleep a night.  Apparently, there’s this thing called “getting old”…  Haha!

For every day that I posted a cute picture on facebook, there were at least 5 days of feeling like a zombie mom, struggling to keep my little boo clean and fed and dressed appropriately.  It felt more like a Hezbollah training camp than motherhood.  This was the most important job of my life, and I felt like I was failing!  I just wasn’t getting the swing of it – and it wasn’t coming naturally to me AT ALL!  Then on top of that, we decided to move to a smaller suburb of Nashville when she was about a month old.  I won’t even go into that, except to say that I have an AMAZING family, who drove eight hours from NC to make it happen!

A couple months later, I was getting a little more sleep, becoming a little more coherent, but still not feeling any more competent as a mother.  In the early days, I could give myself a break by saying “this is new to you” and “having a newborn is tough”, but as time went on I really started to feel like I was lacking some crucial gene.

Let me break here and say that this baring of the soul is tough for me.  I HATE feeling weak or inadequate.  In the past, I probably would never have even dreamed of admitting these things to myself, much less putting them into writing for public consumption.  But that is one of the ways that being a mom has changed me.    It has humbled me.    It has made me realize that I’m not perfect, and never can be.  It has made me go back and search for my authentic self, a person that is human.  I don’t wanna ‘fake it til I make it’ anymore…  I want to be someone that can be honest about successes and setbacks instead of striving to keep up a facade of perfection.

Honesty.  Whew, its tough!

See the whirling dervish as she tears through the house – leaving toys, umbrellas, and houseplants in her wake…

These days, I’m starting to get it together.  I’m realizing that my child is happy and she is already becoming her own person, in spite of any of my perceived shortcomings.  Its time to stop comparing and judging, and just learn to be content with where we are.  Our little family will learn and grow together, and let all the trivial stuff fall to the wayside.

… catching up on stuff around the house after working this weekend.

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… listening to The Long Walk by Stephen King on audiobook.

… soaking the labels off of eleventy-million bottles for my flower bed project.

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… randomly singing the tunes from Ali’s toys.

… doing laundry.  Blah.

… being lazy during naptime.  Yay!

… trying to keep socks on the baby.

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The weather is beeeyootiful in Tennessee right now, and looks like its gonna continue for the rest of the week!  I decided to go ahead and get started on my flower bed border in the backyard today.

Ali and Karma hung out with me for a little while, and I got the right (longer side) layed-out and dug.  I’m going to make the border from empty wine bottles gathered from my lovely bartenders at Buca.  (Special thanks to MC, SR, and JE!)

Also, we encountered a pretty gnarly grub!

Oh, the illusions you have about motherhood.  I had all these visions of reading time, just the two of us, snuggled in a little nook, reading cute books full of fun stories and beautiful illustrations.

NOT!

The reality is a kid that chatters constantly, tries to rip the pages out of the book and crumple them up, or just plain wiggles away!  So frustrating!  But reading is important, and so we persevere…  Onward literary soldiers!

Today I decided to try a different strategy.  Instead of going to the kitchen to have highchair Cheerio time after her morning nap, I brought Ali into our bed to have a quick bottle “snack.”  Bottles are really the only things that keep her still these days.  Afterward, there are about 3 minutes of lounging, before she quickly returns to the business of learning how to stand.  I decided to try to capitalize on those minutes, lounging with her and grabbing a book to read.  She was immediately interested and rolled over to be able to see the pictures better.  Then she sat herself up and crawled on top of me to get closer to the pages.  She smiled and pointed at the girl and animals in the illustrations, and we made it through the whole book!

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Today we read How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World by Marjorie Priceman.  Its about a little girl who finds her grocery store closed, and so travels around the world to get the ingredients she needs to make an apple pie.  My favorite part:  “Hitch a ride to England.  Make the acquaintance of a cow.  You’ll know she’s an English cow from her good manners and charming accent.”

I’m finding that anybody can write a children’s book, but not everyone should.  There are 10 crappy books for every good book.  But this one was great, and although I grabbed it from the library, I may actually buy a copy.  At any rate, I would call reading time a SUCCESS for the day!

Although, now I want apple pie…

In other news, today is my Mom’s birthday!

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Here she is with Ali (a few weeks old) last Christmas.  Yeah, my Mom is awesome.  Happy Birthday Mom!

If you had told me two years ago that I would be a suburban stay-at-home mom, I would have responded with an emphatic  “NO WAY.”

I’m almost leery of talking about how this all came about, since many people have trouble conceiving and it was so easy for us.  But I have always believed that things happen for a reason in their own time, and apparently it was time for Mr. Fox and I to bring this little girl into the world.

You see, we had just moved to Nashville and were in the process of settling in to a new routine with Corey’s cushy new office job and my transfer to the local Buca Italian Restaurant.  I made it through the hustle of a holiday season in the restaurant biz, and we took a trip home to NC with our trusty Welsh Corgi, Karma.  Holidays as an adult can really feel empty, even as a married person, and that may have been one of the reasons we started thinking about having a baby.  I remember the conversation going something like this:

Me:  “I think I’m going to come off the pill after the new year…”

Corey:  [[after some silence]]  “Okay…”

Me:  “I mean, we’ve been married a long time, we’re mostly settled, we’re not idiots…  What are we waiting for?  I’ve heard it takes a couple months to conceive after you stop taking the pill, so we can just see what happens… “

 

WELL.

We were pregnant the next month.

I can’t say my Mom didn’t warn me.

And you should ALWAYS listen to your Momma.

 

Cut to nine months later.  We delivered a beautiful baby girl.  Which is to say that Corey ground his fists into my back for hours while I looped out on laughing gas, only coming around to push for an hour and a half.  Honestly, I was motivated more by the thought of it just being over than about the resulting baby.  Then I met the chick that has changed my life:

Cut ahead another 9 months.  That baby has turned into this:    (Standing?  What?!?!?!!!)

And I have to say, its taken me that full nine months to feel like myself again.  It felt like I just woke up one day and looked around, and said “Hey, this is really my life now.”  Women are given all kinds of info and preparation for pregnancy and birth, then instruction for feeding and basic baby care, but NOTHING about how drastic the day-to-day differences are going to be.  I hope to share a little bit of what I went through during those early days, but I’m not quite feeling up to the challenge at the moment.  (That constant battle between what I want people to think about me, and the truth of what really goes down…)  In the meantime, we are creating our new life together, day by day.

 

After much insistence from Mr. Fox, I’ve decided to start up another blog.

To be honest, I don’t really have many expectations.

Maybe that’s not a great way to start a new adventure, but I’m not exactly sure what I want this “bit of earth” to be yet.  It just didn’t feel right to go back to my MissAmanda blog since my life has changed so much from my last post there.  It was mostly pre-pregnancy, pre-baby, pre-suburban-stay-at-home mom – I just don’t feel like that person anymore!  But there were good times and good recipes, so they can still be found here.

I have no delusions of being some big-time blogger – I’m too restless and random and noncommittal for that!  But I DO need some place to keep a chronicle of my handy/crafty hijinks, a reference for those recipes that we try and must have again, and really just an outlet for the thoughts rattling around in my head.  Certainly the Mr. could use a break from all my ideas and musings!  There will most likely also be a ton of gratuitous baby cuteness.  Don’t say you weren’t warned!

Our family and friends sometimes feel worlds away, so I think I just mostly want another way to connect and let people know whats happening in our lives.  This is no fairy tale I’m living, there’s way too much laundry and dog hair for that!  But I DO love my life right now, and I want to be appreciative and mindful of it,  not just let it slip away.

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