I'm not ready. I'm digging my heels into the fall season and refusing to budge. I'm not ready for the red Starbucks cups. I'm not ready to think about the holiday shopping. I'm still enjoying All That is Fall - the leaves still need to be raked to the curb, there are still pumpkin treats to be made - there's more fall to savor.
November is sort-of the the unsung hero of fall. Thanksgiving is the focus but in reality, it's one wonderful day followed by another day of lounging around in elastic pants. Let's celebrate the rest of November - and leave out the gelatinous cranberry stuff.
This month is all about reflection and tradition - I'll be sharing what I'm Thankful for This Month - alphabetical style. Check-in throughout the month and share your fall favorites too!
**I've noticed other bloggers sharing thoughts of gratitude this month too - check out Are we there yet? by fellow blogger Audra O'Connell**
I'm Thankful For Apples
Too easy right? But in all seriousness, they are hands down my favorite food.
As I kid, my mom created my all-time favorite snack - apple slices, chunks of cheese and Ritz crackers - carefully arranged on a little plate. To this day I can't recreate her apple cuts or plating arrangements.
Later, as a 26-year-old with braces, I counted down the days until I could bite into a juicy apple instead of coring, slicing and dicing. Driving away from the orthodontist (forever!) and biting into a Granny Smith was the ultimate bliss.
This fall, we took Ingrid to Barthel's Fruit Farm for an unseasonably warm apple/pumpkin picking experience. I can't wait to continue this tradition with her next year - and many more to come!
Now here's the part I'm truly thankful for - uninterrupted hours in front of the stove. I turned on my iPod, tied my favorite apron and got down to business.
There's something so therapeutic about literally picking food from the earth and then transforming it into something wholesome (or a little indulgent).
The seemingly simple fruit holds an oddly special place in my heart - from childhood to motherhood, it's one of those comfort foods that never goes out of style. Sliced, dipped, baked, or sauced - I'll take it! Here are some of the simplistic and seasonal dishes we love:
Maple Apple Crisp
Apple, Leek and Butternut Squash Gratin
Gouda and Apple Tarts
Caramel Apple Cider Floats
Apple-Butternut Squash Soup
What are your favorite apple dishes? What are you thankful for this month?
If you recognize this song title, you may have worked at a fabulous retail location (such as Walgreens) during your formative high-school-to-collage years. You know those loved-but-hated songs that somehow played during every single shift. Well, my hated-favorite was Tony Toni Tone's It's Our Anniversary. It's sticks in your head like caramel on an apple and it's terrible. Don't take my word for it:
This Month I'm Thankful To Create.
In college, my roommates and I would bust out our knitting needles this time of the year. Some would knit a few rows of a scarf (me), others would actually their projects (leaving me jealous and with a cold neck).
Everything about this month is just nudging you indoors to get cozy, start crafting and create something. It's too cold to spend hours outdoors and it's not cold enough to justify a Top Chef marathon.
I've dabbled in knitting, sewing and crafting in general, but I'll be honest, I hate completing projects. I currently have three items pinned, ready to be sewn and a mitten-and-a-half ready to become a set. I'm bound and determined to take this Crafting Interest into a full-blown Hobby this month. I might mess up a stitch or forget a row, but damn it - I really want those purple-grey mittens and, there are new babies who need cute baby things!
What have you been itching to create? A novel, card, craft, new hairstyle or meal? Whatever it is - flex your creative muscles this month and marvel at the results!
This Month I'm Thankful for Democrats.
I believe that:
We didn't become the most prosperous country in the world by rewarding greed and recklessness or by letting those with the most influence write their own rules. We got here by rewarding hard work and responsibility, by investing in people, and by growing our country from the bottom up.
This year, Governor Scott Walker did an incredible job convincing others that state workers were on some sort of gravy train and being grossly overcompensated for their time and efforts. Had he shared these plans during his campaign, I'm doubtful he would have won. As the bumper sticker says, he's a weasel, not a badger.
This month I'm excited for the process to Recall Scott Walker to start.
This Month I'm Thankful for Email.
This Month I'm Thankful for Grandparents.
Yesterday I was flipping through Ingrid's baby book and filling in the new details - when she rolled over, first tooth sighting. They also threw in a few brainteasers - Ingrid's height and weight in her third and fourth month? No idea.
At the end of the book there's a darling, little family tree graphic. Easy! As I started to fill this in, I continued to second guess myself. Wait, my mom is a mom, shouldn't she go.....oh yeah, I'm "the" mom. Wait, my grandpa moved up a "branch" to great-grandpa? Yes, Lindsay, he did, this is your daughter's family tree. Another generation. Oh brother.
It's also odd to think that Ingrid hasn't met a majority of her great grandparents, yet they were - and are - such a critical part of Dan and I's lives. My happiest memories with my grandparents are so vivid and I remember them as some of the happiest points in my childhood - all-day long trips to the movies, giggling with cousins in the basement, multiple summer trips to the zoo, and just playing in their house. The rules were lax, there was a candy drawer (with full size candy bars!) - it's pretty much the closest thing you have to a vacation when you're a kid.
Last month, my mom and Dan's mom visited (separately) to visit Ingrid (and us!). And it was unlike any other visits we've had in the past. Yes, these grandmas are both easy-going - but literally the only thing on my mom's agenda was being within a 6-inch radius of Ingrid. Instead of talking about my problems, my friends or my work - we discussed Ingrid's unmatched sense of humor and intellect (She's so funny! She's sooooo smart! Look, she's sitting up!).
I often complain about the logistical annoyance that is our divorced-parents situation. We split our time and energy. Packing the car is becoming more and more of a challenge. Small, yet just-annoying-to-be-annoying problems.
As we were planning for the holiday season, I was again, dragging my feet, and not wanting to make any concrete decisions. I envisioned us carting Ingrid along to this family, then to the next. Missing out on this family and that gathering.
I started thinking about what her grandparent visits will be when she's older, she'll be spoiled with attention, clothes, food, and kisses. She'll get to visit with cousins and go on new-to-her adventures. The whole "whoa-is-me-holiday-travel-drama" is pretty silly to focus on - she'll have years and years of weekend-getaways and special traditions with our parents. And plenty of candy drawers to raid.
This Month I'm Thankful for Our Dog, Harper.
This Month I'm Thankful for Jeans that Fit.
Two years ago I took a knitting class at one of my favorite local yarn shops and proudly walked away with one mitten. Technically, one-and-a-half mittens. Every now and I again, I attempt to finish a row, mess up and put the project away for yet another month - or season. But this is different. This year I'm can't find one of my favorite left mittens. And I refuse to hunt and pay for another pair.
I was inspired to knit, quilt and craft after reading this post (aka, drooling over these awesome fabrics). Here's to a snuggly night with knitting needles and a grilled cheese!
This Month I'm Thankful for Lazy Weekends.
To me, this means spending time with Ingrid, Dan and friends over leisurely lunches, shopping and enjoying a Sunday Funday with my favorite lady. No events to attend, no obligatory trip to Pick n' Save. Just a few trips to the gym, Alterra, a clean house and a few good meals - to me that's a good, lazy weekend. I'm thankful to be able to tune out work for a few days and relax with loved ones.
Just put on your shoes and walk out the door.
The best running advice I've ever read.
No expectations, no goal setting, no run-here-to-there-and-back. It's simple, it's doable. Wake up with Harper, put on my shoes and walk out the door. Sometimes this leads to a nice run (for my low standards and endurance level) or a walk around Humboldt Park.
The stack of too-tight jeans and pre-baby shirts are all the motivation I need.
During these runs I have such a strong appreciation for my family, my career, my everything. Appreciation that my sub-par knees allow me to run, appreciation for the time, appreciation for our wonderful park. When I run to the lakefront, appreciation for Milwaukee. It may not be the healthiest, most cultured or the cleanest - but it's so fun and a lot of people I like live here. I make no apologies, I love Milwaukee.
Last week, my sister-in-law gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. Everyone is happy, healthy and now, at home. It felt amazing to hold someone so little, so innocent and so fresh. Now I get why everyone goes bananas over newborns.
While in the hospital, I had to keep biting my tongue as I felt myself slipping into Advice Mode Mom. I just wanted to share and hear everything. Every last detail about her labor. The usual stats. The nursing saga. I could hear myself Word Vommitting "And then what? Uh, huh. Then what? Wow."
While in the hospital with Ingrid, we had a reasonable number of visitors, but had vowed as a family, to never bombard this precious, new family time at the hospital, but rather wait until the new family has settled and visit them at home. But he's so little and cute - and our nephew!
Then I realized, when we were in the hospital, newborns were a foreign concept to us. Now, as we're fully emersed in All Things Baby - the thought of waiting a week to see him felt insane.
The real thrill comes from knowing that Ingrid will have another cousin her same age. I didn't grow up with cousins in the same state - let alone had any that were born in 1983. I can't wait for the two to share giggles, inside jokes and build memories together as little cousin friends.
O is for Optimism.
Let's be honest, fan or not - it's pretty sweet to be rooting for an undefeated team right now. I can't believe I'm literally typing that I'm thankful for the Packers - but this fall, some of my favorite family memories have been made while watching Number 12 work his magic. Last Sunday, husband was supposed to be working up north all weekend - but I was pleasantly surprised when he arrived home at 2:30 am on Sunday morning. We all slept-in until 9 and declared it a lazy-pajamas-kind-of day. I'm convinced this involves snuggling with Ingrid, eating some sort-of baked cheese, a mid-day vodka tonic and a Packer game. Hip hip for the Packers!
This weekend, I spent sometime thinking of ways to decorate the apartment, ordered our holiday cards, pinned some meal ideas and purchased some gifts for the fam. I'm easing into the holiday spirit - one step at a time.
3pm energy slump got you down? Some say you should reach for a handful of almonds and a water. I say that plain almonds are gross and who can stop at a handful? And I'm over 19, so having caffeine after 11am on a weekday = crazy in my world - so what to do, what to do....
Recently, several moms posted this article on the Facebook.
As I read the columnist's "words of wisdom" - I was reminded of a fellow blogger's recent post about moms needing to stick together. Or for that matter, women needing to stick together.
I understand that the author was making a point and answering the reader's question, but this article was insulting to work-outside-of-the-home moms, and women - no - people without kids. The theme I'm a Mom and I'm Busy is an all-too common theme found in parenting resources and I'm over it. Go ahead and share or vent - but isn't the I'm Busier Than You Game a little pointless?
Yes, with one seven-month-old, it does take me "45 minutes to do what takes others 15." But guess what - it might take 60 minutes for someone with physical limitations.
Point is - you think you're busy - but someone's got you beat.
As moms, we're not extra busy or extra special - we're just moms. Working outside of the home doesn't make me any less - or more - busy than someone staying/working at home.
Many points of this article made complete sense and were spot on - parenthood does require your constant everything. It requires every ounce of you as a person. Of course, priorities change once you have kids. Ingrid has enriched my life in ways I never imagined - yet I have interests beyond Ingrid. If she ever decides to have kids, I hope she continues to explore her passions and is a well-rounded, interesting person. And in my book, interesting people connect and talk to other interesting people from time to time.
Instead of participating in the Busy Contest, why don't we just acknowledge that we all have a lot to do, in the same 24 hours as everyone else. Lets leave the two-seater shopping carts for the moms with two kids, just smile and nod at the pregnant lady in Target (I need to remember this one...) and continue to care, support, communicate and spend some quality face-time with our loved ones with - or without kids.
We have so much to be thankful for this year. Today we're spending time with Dan's family, watching the Packer game and enjoying a big ol' meal. This year I'm thankful for Ingrid, Dan, my job, our supportive family and friends. I know, those are pretty boring and typical "thankful things" - but honestly, today is pretty great. Wishing you and yours a happy, blissfully uneventful day.
Yesterday, my mother-in-law and I hit up some stores later in the morning. We were expecting the Black Friday worst, but we walked away with fantastic deals and surprisingly the stores weren't that busy. Everyone was in a chipper-"excuse me! oh that's no problem!"-mood. It was a great way to end an awesome Thanksgiving weekend.
Confession - I skipped X. X is a crazy letter. Xylophone is a "normal" X-word. Just look at it again, Xylophone. Really?
Yesterday, after Ingrid went to sleep, I just felt jittery. After deciding that wine wasn't the answer, I figured a quick, 40 minute yoga DVD was needed.
Zache is my maiden name (pronounced like "hockey" but with a Z). Isn't the word "maiden" awful? Try to say it with a smiling face. Ok, try to say it without twisting your face into a weird ugly mess. You can't do it, can you? No, because it's a weird word. Like "Bunsen burner." I prefer "my original last name."