Monday, January 31, 2011

Babies Change Things...

Well D.U.H.  But I don't mean babies change things in the obvious ways…because of course they do.  You have another person to take into consideration before you do anything and everything.  You are responsible for shaping this tiny baby into the adult they will one day be.  You have diapers to change, a mouth to feed, cries to answer, and you get to do these things with little or no sleep.  Obvious, no?  I was ready (or as ready as anyone can be) for these changes.

What surprises me is the absolute shift in thinking that takes place when you are a mom.  I thought I was a fairly efficient person pre-baby.  Efficiency now has a new level.  When I have time for myself, everything gets run through the "what's really necessary?" test. 

Showering?  Shave my armpits?  Yes.  Legs?  Optional (sorry hubby).  We'll save those for last in case the baby starts crying.

Make-up?  If I get to have this luxury I start with concealer, then foundation, then mascara.  Still no baby crying?  Sweet!  I try for eyeshadow, then eyeliner, then blush in that order.  Forget lipstick or lip gloss (or even chapstick for that matter).  That's only for when I'm actually getting out of the house.

Still no baby crying?  Seriously awesome…I get to dry my hair.  This is about where my luck runs out.  Then my list of things to-do gets reorganized by what I can do with one hand.

I have to tell you, this shift in thinking was incredibly exhausting at first.  For about the first 4 weeks, I felt like I was literally running in circles, starting one task after the other but never finishing anything.  It's pretty humorous to think about now…me running around the house with mascara on one eye only…forgetting…and leaving the house that way!  It's funny, but for a Type A person like me, I like my ducks in a row and I like to know what's coming next.  And the days when I couldn't think straight reduced me to tears on many an occasion (with my sweet hubby dumbfounded about what I could possibly be crying about now).

Thankfully, I finally realized that I am a new mom.  I have a newborn baby.  Nobody expects perfection and if I come up short of that (and I will) it is absolutely 100% okay.  I mean…I don't want to end up in the stereotypical mom jeans and sweatshirt and be featured on What Not To Wear.  But there is grace, and not only is it sufficient, it is abundant.

Our little one has blessed us in so many ways…and now I have the blessing of learning to be content with who I am, where I am…imperfections and all.  Not too shabby.  :)

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Love For Cafe Mocha

My love affair with all things coffee began as a teen when one night at Rockin' Java a close friend introduced me to the fabulous Cafe Mocha.  I was adamant that I hated coffee; that I only liked the way it smelled.  One sip of Cafe Mocha and I was a changed girl.

Rockin' Java closed soon after that and I discovered Starbucks' Cafe Mocha, Seattle's Best's Cafe Mocha, Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf's Cafe Mocha, It's A Grind's Cafe Mocha, Wildfire Coffee's Cafe Mocha…you get the picture.  And while I have discovered many other wonderful ways to drink my coffee, you never forget your first love.

My dear brother and his wonderful fiance gave the Hubster and I an espresso machine for Christmas.  Incredibly intelligent folks they are, they thought we might need some liquid energy to get us through the sleepless days and nights of parenthood.  Did I mention how wonderful and smart they are?  So after 50,000 shots of straight espresso for me and 50,000 Iced Americanos for the Hubster I got to thinking…surely I can make my old standby Cafe Mocha at home.

After consulting Mother Google and many trials later here is what I've come up with:

Cafe Mocha

2 oz. espresso (or double strength dark roast coffee if you don't have an espresso machine…a french press also works well for this if you have one)
1 tbsp. cocoa powder
1 tbsp. sugar
2 tbsp. hot water
4 oz. steamed milk (whole milk is standard, but you can use skim or soy if you like…should be approx. 140 degrees)
whipped cream (optional)

Mix cocoa powder and sugar in the bottom of your mug.  Add hot water just until a syrup forms and stir until you have no lumps.  Add espresso and stir to mix, then add steamed milk.  Top with foam or whipped cream (or both if you like).  Makes an 8 oz. cafe mocha.  You can make any size you like; the important thing to remember is you want equal parts cocoa and sugar, and you want twice as much steamed milk as espresso.

While this is a very good basic mocha recipe, variation is the spice of life.  Here are two of my favorites:

Mexican Mocha

Same as above but add 1/4 tsp. cinnamon to the cocoa powder/sugar mixture.  Smells wonderful!

Aztec Mocha

Same as above but add a dash or two of cayenne pepper (easy does it daredevil) to the cocoa powder/sugar mixture.  This is my favorite variation…this recipe takes advantage of your entire palate.  You taste the sweet from the chocolate on the front of your tongue, the full-bodied espresso on the middle of your tongue, and the heat from the cayenne in the back.  Wonderful way to warm up when it's cold outside (and clear congestion from cedar fever)!

And for those who prefer their coffee cold, here is the Iced Americano recipe my Hubster swears by:

Iced Americano

2 oz. espresso
16 oz. glass with ice

Pour espresso over ice.  Fill to top with water.  You're done!

What's your favorite coffee recipe?

Friday, January 28, 2011

I Resolve...

I know, I know…it has been forever since I last posted.  I run around in my day-to-day life with oodles of post ideas running through my head.  And when I have a moment to stop and write, instead of writing I crash.  Or veg and stare at the TV pretending to watch the awful nothingness that is daytime TV.  Or, most often, I read everyone else's blogs without contributing to my own.  So…long overdue…here is my resolution for my home for the New Year.

I want a more functional space to live in.

My home is a bit deceiving.  We have only lived in this house for a little over a year and a half, so we have not yet exceeded our storage.  This means that when I have all my lovely friends over, I can easily pick up the clutter and stash it somewhere.  However, since we have moved in I have never taken the time to organize our space so that we can get the most use out of it.  When we moved in we were concerned with painting over the sand-colored walls and ceilings, choosing new light fixtures, and generally making this house our own.  When it came to unpacking we used the divide and conquer method.  This means that neither one of use knows where 100% of our things are.  And this means that I have a pair of lime green pajama bottoms from Victoria's Secret that I have not seen since April 2009.

Here is how all this translates.

I have a pretty kitchen.  I'm not gonna lie...when we were house hunting this was the 87,000th house we looked at (well it felt that way) and there were only 4 pictures of the house on the MLS listing.  One of the front door, one of the backyard, one of the previous owner's sideboard table in the dining room, and one of the kitchen...taken from about this same spot.  The first three I yawned through (ugly green front door, backyard and furniture pictures when I wanted to see house pictures).  It was this 4th photo that made me tell the hubster that we needed to see this house. 

But what looks pretty on the outside isn't very pretty or functional on the inside.

I'm five feet tall and 1/2 of an inch.  I cannot reach these cookbooks unless I'm on my tippy toes.  And when I was massively pregnant, I couldn't get close enough to the counter to reach them at all.  I need a better place for these since I love to cook and use these books all. the. time.

My spice cabinet.  Again, I can't reach the top shelf, and truth be told, I can barely reach the middle shelf.  The cabinet goes all the way back in the corner, and while we have those two little lazy susans, we need a better solution.  That is, unless my hubby wants to spend the rest of his life coming to see if he can see/reach such-and-such spice which has gotten pushed to the back of the dark abyss.

Last but not least, we have one of these.  You know what this is.  This is the drawer you go to when you are pulling your hair out because you can't find what you need.  Surely it got thrown in here.  Only you open the drawer and want to cry because no matter how much you ransack the drawer, you aren't going to find what you're looking for...even if it really is in there.  I hate these kind of drawers.  My hubby loves these kind of drawers.  These kind of drawers get created when he cleans the house.  We have a conflict of ideology.  If I could convert him I would be in heaven.

All this is just one room.  The same story can be told in just about every room in my house.  But it would be too daunting to re-organize all the rooms at the same time.  So I have chosen the kitchen as a place to get the organizational ball rolling.

Let's face it.  Organizing rooms so they work for you is not the most thrilling part of creating a home.  The paint, floors, furniture, and decor are really the fun part.  But focusing only on how a space looks without considering how that space functions is a shallow approach to design.  It's not satisfying to do the day to day mundane tasks in rooms that don't function well.  It's even frustrating at times and keeps you from wanting to do the tasks you need to do to make your house run.  Hopefully, upping the functionality factor in our house will give me a home that I love to live in, not just a home I love to look at.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Blast From the Past

It's always nice to be surprised pleasantly surprised.  In our hurried morning trip to the grocery store I came across an old friend.

The Pepsi of my childhood!  I know what you're thinking.  You're thinking that I've been shut in the house for the last 5 1/2 weeks with a newborn baby and on bed rest for weeks before that and it has taken its toll on my sanity...because no sane adult would get so excited over soda.

You might be a teensy bit right.  But to me, it's one more example of a theme I've noticed recently.

Sometimes, the old stuff is better.

Nothing made this more apparent than having a baby.  I cannot tell you how many times the Hubster and I stepped into Babies R Us with the intent to register for everything we needed, only to walk away having scanned only one or two items.  Not because we didn't need anything, but because we were so overwhelmed with the sheer volume of STUFF in that store.  We were sure that we didn't need all that stuff.  But as first time parents, we didn't know how to focus in on what exactly we did need.

Don't get me wrong; I'm sure that all the new, trendy, gadgety baby stuff is extremely helpful and useful for someone.  I just wasn't sure that someone was me.

And, for the most part, I was right.

Sometimes the simpler, old-school version really is better.  And sometimes the bright, shiny, new version with all the bells, whistles, and blinking lights is overrated.

Enter Pepsi v 1.0.  Even now, looking at this picture I'm struck by the fact that REAL sugar in a product has become such a selling point.  Crazy stuff, that old-school sugar. ;)

So I guess now I'm on a bit of a quest for the old-school versions of things.  Sometimes they just can't be beat. 

And if nothing else, the clever marketing of the old look just makes me smile.  And want to put on my jelly shoes, go ride my bike with the streamers on the handles, and have my side ponytail with my puffy aqua-net bangs blowing in the wind.  {the side ponytail...not the bangs.  those suckers never moved.}


Thursday, January 6, 2011

Better Late Than Never!

Many exciting things happened in December 2010.  Here is a quick recap…

My wonderful baby boy (and the reason for my lapse in blogging) was born December 1, 2010.  9 lb. 2 oz., 21.5".

Our Christmas card photo…yes this was taken 3 days after the Kiddo was born.  I did my hair and make-up just before it was taken, and strategically cropped it to hide the swelling from my IVs and the baby weight.  Also, you should know that I cried many postpartum tears that morning and again after we took pictures.  Please don't think that you should be up to taking pictures 3 days after having a baby…I sure didn't and was insane to do this!

My brother, his girlfriend, Emily, and their 2 dogs, Carson and Margo, came for a was Emily's first visit to can't visit without seeing the Alamo!  And eating Tex-Mex...which tasted a lot better when I was pregnant!

We had our annual family Christmas celebration at my aunt's house, and my Mema got to meet the Kiddo for the first time.

We had a very quiet New Year's Eve and celebrated both New Year's Day and our little one's first month anniversary.  It's hard to believe my baby is already one month old...he's getting so big so fast!

I hope you and your family had a wonderful Christmas.  Here's to new and exciting things to come in 2011!