Thursday, November 24, 2011

OUR First Thanksgiving

Turkeys all around the world were probably thanking us this Thanksgiving as we decided to forgo the traditional turkey and have a ham for Thanksgiving.  Besides, those familiar with Animal Farm would likely agree it isn't safe to keep pigs around.  This was basically because we had preordered both a turkey and a ham when we were planning for a much larger crowd.  When we knew it was just us, we had to pick one.  At first, we were going to do a turkey because what's Thanksgiving without a turkey, right? But then, for practicality reasons a ham made so much more sense. It was already cooked and sliced.  We wouldn't have to do anything to it to save it for sandwiches later except wrap it back up and put it in the refrigerator.  So, a ham it was for us.

As I had said in my last post, I started to think that this would be a good opportunity for us to spend a holiday together as a family.  And it truly was!  My husband and I split Thanksgiving preparations; he made three dishes and I did as well.

I made a sweet potato casserole (recipe coming in a later post) that I got out of Real Simple magazine and it was to die for!
I also made a pumpkin pie. Nothing special, but it was still good!  I made the crust by hand and was surprised it came out nice.
I also made a green bean casserole, which is easy as it only requires opening up some cans and putting the contents together. Still, I love green bean casserole, and it was great.  I didn't take a picture of that one by itself.

I also carried on my grandmother's tradition with the cranberry sauce.  Now, one might think this is simple, and I'm sure my grandmother did it for the sake of efficiency.  But getting the cranberry sauce out of the can while maintaining the mold of the can is not easy! It takes careful precision. I pulled it off, though. Grandma would be proud. 

My husband made deviled eggs that were delicious.  Of course deviled eggs are delicious! I did not get to take a picture of them on their own, but you will see them later.

He also made some great tasting baked beans with some bacon and brown sugar.  They were wonderful!

Finally, he made some STUFFIN MUFFINS! That is so much fun to say! Try it, "stuffin muffins." You know you enjoyed it! I did manage to get in the kitchen and get a before picture.

We had just the right amount of food for the two of us.  Yes, we had too much but that's part of Thanksgiving anyway! Now we have plenty to eat for a week.  Okay, so here you see the previously described (without a picture) green bean casserole, deviled eggs, ham, and baked beans! My husband snatched his plate up and started getting food not pictured before I got a chance to photograph the whole table! We were hungry and little man was napping, so we knew we had to eat while we had the time alone.  He did nap for two hours, which gave us plenty of time to eat!

I couldn't wait to dig in! Of course, we gave thanks to the Lord first for giving us time together as a family and food on our plates. 
That little brown thing near the deviled eggs is a scrumptious stuffin muffin!

It was such a beautiful time spent with each other eating delicious food and later sitting by a nice warm fire in the fireplace. 

Little man had a very nice day as well.  He had slept 9 straight hours the night before making the day more enjoyable for all of us! He was full of smiles all day showing his thankfulness for life! He spent the day rolling around playing with toys, taking good naps, and finished it off with some fun in his jumperoo.  

And who really needs a turkey anyway when you have this little turkey?

I hope everyone had just as enjoyable of a Thanksgiving! 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A Small Thanksgiving

We are spending Thanksgiving together as just the three of us this year.  This wasn't our original plan, but God had other plans.  So, this is not only the baby's first Thanksgiving.  But it is also our first Thanksgiving just together with our family.  I will not lie; at first, it was a hard concept to accept.

It seemed weird.  I have never spent a Thanksgiving without large numbers of extended family or friends.  My husband's only Thanksgiving without a lot of family was when he was deployed to Iraq.  

Even though the concept seemed strange at first, I realized that's only because I'm just used to it a certain way.   We don't have to be with another family (be it our family or friends) to have Thanksgiving.  Actually, I think this can be a nice opportunity for us to be a family together for one of the first holidays our son has been with us.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Trusting Myself

Out of all of the definitions listed in the picture above, my favorite is number 4.."A woman who creates, nurtures, protects, etc." For quite some time, my husband was trying to encourage me to stop reading about being a mother and just go with my instincts.  He'd say, "Don't you trust that you have motherly instincts that are enough to care for your child?" My response was, "I want to be educated by other people who have been through it before and glean good advice before I have to mess up first." Essentially, in a nutshell, my answer (though I didn't realize it) was "No, I do not trust that I have motherly instincts."

And through this, I slowly realized I wasn't having much faith in myself as a mother! There are countless books, articles, resources, etc. with styles of parenting and tips to raise a happy, healthy child.  I was inundated with information that was making me feel increasingly INSECURE as a mother.  For example, I'd put my child in a bouncy seat or swing while he rested there peacefully only to read or hear somewhere that bouncy seats and swings are not natural and should not be used.  "Oh no! My child is in a bouncy seat.  I am a bad mother." 

Most of this is associated with attachment parenting of which Dr. Sears (who I whole-heartedly admire) is a huge proponent.  It is becoming very popular with people of my generation.  I am not totally knocking it as I know people who practice it and love it for themselves and their families. BUT it is getting to the point where it is making people who are just normal mothers feel like they are bad mothers.  The more I'd read from the AP point of view, the more I'd second guess myself and fear I was ruining my child! 

Through this, I came across many other moms who had similar struggles with it.  They started to feel that because they didn't want their child on or with them at all times, they weren't as loving or matronly as other mothers who did.  And we are led to believe that our children will not be as happy well-adjusted members of society if we do not raise them this way.


I seriously had to teach myself that as a mother doing what I do for him with the intent of wanting what is best for him is just fine.  I am not a negligent mother whose child is suffering.  Anyone can see by the smiles across his face that he is happy and well-adjusted.  Somebody does not need to step in and tell me how bad it might be for my child to sit in a swing or play alone for awhile.  I noticed that I lost perspective and I had to get it back for myself.

When he was first born, I was told that babies only cry when they need something.  So, you need to respond quickly so they feel secure.  I feel that isn't 100% correct either, why?

When my baby was born he cried when
  • he was picked up--he didn't understand the feeling
  • he had a diaper change
  • he had his first bath (actually he screamed for that)
Was he crying because he needed something? No.  He was crying because he felt something and he either didn't understand or didn't like it.  Under the mentality that babies cry because they need something and you must address it, then you need to stop changing diapers, giving baths, or doing anything that the baby might not like.

I am sharing this because I really was going insane operating under this mentality and I had to sit back and think about it to understand it.  Sometimes, they cry because they need something, but it isn't because they know they need something.  It is because they know they FEEL something.  They feel hungry, tired, wet, or just generally unsure.

I changed my perspective with this because you know I have found the more I am calm showing my child that the things he is unsure of or afraid of are really not scary leads to less crying.  Bath time, for example, once seemed like a torture chamber.  But we kept doing it and I would always be calm and happy instead of taking him out of there saying "oh it's okay." Now, bath time is his favorite time of the day.  He always enjoys going in the bath.

When he was first in his crib, he didn't like it, but I had to show him it wasn't a bad place.  If he just didn't go in there because he didn't like it, then I am just following his lead. Instead of me teaching him, he is teaching me--and that is backwards because he is the one who doesn't know about the world and has fears of things just because they are different. He went in there when it wasn't nap time to play.  Now, when he gets up in the morning, he is smiling.  He has discovered the crib is a fine place to be.  In fact, he sleeps better without Mommy and Daddy making noise at night.

So, I just had to let this out because myself and countless other woman should not feel like we are bad mothers because we have not ascribed to a parenting style.  We should not feel as though our children won't be as well off as others.  And I wouldn't be posting this if I didn't know a lot of people (including myself) who have struggled with it.