Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Mid Week Confessions - Thanksgiving style

Hi Friends!  Pardon me for lack of blog content.  Packing for a week long trip with a toddler in the middle of a busy holiday season of jewelry shows and a changed work schedule to accommodate said trip makes for not a lot of free time.  Alas, we are here and have officially survived a red eye flight with a toddler. 

So, lets confess shall we?

- On our first leg of our trip from Seattle to Chicago (which left at 11 pm Seattle time) we were across the aisle from a lady who did not look happy to be sitting across from our very cute little boy.  Sawyer was mildly fussy waiting to take off given that he a) was tired since he should have been sleeping and b) was forced to sit still given we had to wait for some maintenance on the plane.  She gave us a few glares.  I wanted to glare right back.  Once the plane started moving, Sawyer crashed and was still asleep 4 hours later when we got off the plane.  I did give the lady a "ha ha my kid didn't bother you at all" look but she still looked not happy as we were exiting so it may not have been Sawyer.

- we are getting ready to eat biscuits and gravy, eggs and whole host of other fixins for breakfast.  I love coming to visit Virginia.  But hopeful to hit the gym soon.

- Sawyer is definitely having some stranger anxiety - he will flirt from a distance but won't get near Grandma or Grandpa.  Hoping he warms up soon since we have several plans later this week to leave him with Grandma while Mommy and Daddy go out.

- I tried on a pair of jeans at Macy's the other day on the clearance rack.  They were one of my favorite brands but I figured they were on the clearance rack because there was some fraying on them.  As I was trying them on I pulled them up in the back and proceeded to rip a hole in them.  I left them in the dressing room and walked out.  I did buy a pair of skinny jeans and two shirts so I don't think Macy's lost any money.

- I did a 10 minute wall sit at my final Body Back assessment.  Not a confession but I had to brag :-)

I hope you all have a wonderful and joyous Thanksgiving celebration wherever you are celebrating.  May your hearts and stomachs be full and may you find some fabulous deals on Friday.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Working Part Time - The Best of Both Worlds

If you are a first time visitor from E Myself and I - welcome!  I hope you like it here.  To read a few of my favorite posts, go here, here, and here.

For my regular readers, I'm honored to be a guest poster on my good friend Elizabeth's blog E, Myself and I where she has been doing a working moms series.  I chose to write about working part time.  Check out her blog for all the other fantastic posts in this series.

Like E, I love my job. I'm a physical therapist.  I spent 7 long hard years in college and graduate school earning my doctorate.  I've since earned two additional certifications in orthopedics and manual therapy.  I still have LOTS of student loans to pay off.  I'm lucky that I work for a great company that I've been with my entire career.  I love my clinic and coworkers, I (mostly) love my patients, and I love what I do.

As we thought about starting our family, I knew that I didn't want to quit my job but I also knew that I didn't want to leave my child in the care of someone else the majority of the week.  I was working 10+ hour days - leaving the house at 7 am and not getting home until 7 pm.  If I kept that schedule then I would only get to see my child for 30 minutes 4 days of the week.  I knew that I would want and need to cut my hours to feel like I was raising my child but still working the job that I love.  Fortunately for me, the healthcare industry and my company allowed me the flexibility to work 20 hours a week (two 8 hour days and a 4 hour day).

Sidenote: I always ask my patients about their job during my evaluations.  Now, more than ever, I phrase the question "do you work outside the home?" because I know how much WORK being a SAHM is

Here are the reasons why I LOVE working part time:

-Its good for me to get out of the house.  Two and half days of the week I get to be a professional, dress in something other than yoga pants, have adult conversation and not worry about nap schedules.

-Its good for Sawyer to be under the care of another person that isn't mom or dad.  Plus, our nanny has a little boy who is 2 months younger than Sawyer so he gets some socialization with others.

-Sawyer gets to see me leave and come home.  I LOVE the gigantic smile on his face when I walk through the door and we haven't had any issues with separation anxiety yet (knock on wood!)

-Working gives me a chance to miss him.  I think that if I was a SAHM I wouldn't appreciate how much I miss him when I am away.

-I don't have to miss out on his milestones and development.  Being home the other four and a half days a week, I haven't missed watching him learn to crawl and walk, knowing his favorite books and foods.  We can do activities like toddler classes and playdates.  We can play peek-a-boo and tickle monster - I wouldn't trade those moments for anything.

-My salary allows us to do the "fun" stuff.  We are blessed that my husband has an excellent job at Microsoft that pays well and offers full benefits.  We would probably be fine on his salary alone.  My income allows us to do things like travel to visit grandparents, pay for my Starbucks habit Stroller Strides classes and toddler groups, and most importantly my Starbucks habit baby sitters so mommy and daddy can have date nights*.

*My husband pointed out that this is a theoretical benefit as we've only had date nights when grandparents have been in town to baby sit.

Sure I have those days when I wish I did one or the other.  There are days when Sawyer is cranky, has had multiple diaper blow outs, pukes on me and refuses to nap when I wish I was at work.  And there are days when I'm overwhelmed with new patients and paperwork when I wish I could just stay at home with my boy.

Life is about finding the right balance.  For me and my family, working part time is the perfect balance.  I know how lucky we are that we even have the option and that I love my jobs - BOTH of them.  Being a mom is hard.  We should celebrate all moms for the job they do whether they work inside or outside the home.  Lets face it, motherhood is much more than a full time job.  There are no coffee breaks or weekends off - just a heavy reliance on the Starbucks drive-through. 


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Weeknight dinners - Chicken Pozole Soup

Its definitely fall in Seattle.  There's a lot more grey out there especially now that the leaves have fallen off trees.  While it hasn't rained a ton (yet), its dark early.  And its cool outside.

On a cold day, there is nothing better than a delicious soup to warm you up.  I originally had this soup at a friends potluck and it was so delicious!  I eventually ran into the girl that made it again and asked her what the soup was called.  I googled (or Binged rather being the good Microsoft wife that I am) a recipe and it has quickly become a staple at our house in the winter months.  Its a great blend of tomatillos, cilantro, garlic and chicken that is low fat and healthy!  We've made a few tweaks to the recipe to add a little more flavor and more efficiency in the cooking process.

Green Chicken Pozole Soup (adapted from Epicurious)

Ingredients:
6 cups of chicken broth
1 large onion - thinly sliced
1 head of garlic*
2 tsp salt
1 rotisserie chicken (preferable Costco size or 2 smaller ones from the grocery store)
1-2 lbs tomatillos
2 jalapeno chiles**
1 bunch cilantro
1 tsp oregano
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
lime wedges
avocado

*I like a lot of garlic.  You can use less if you prefer
**I usually remove the seeds from 1 chile and keep them in the other and its a mild spice.  You can adjust spice level accordingly by taking out or leaving the seeds in

Directions:

Bring 5 cups of broth to a simmer on the stove.  Remove chicken meat from the bones and put the bones of the carcass in the broth along with 1/2 the onion and 1/2 the garlic cloves.  (We also sometimes add a bottle of wheat beer).  Let simmer for 15-20 minutes, then drain solids and reserve broth.

Simmer tomatillos, remaining onion and garlic in sauce pan with remaining cup of chicken broth covered until tender about 10 minutes.  Drain vegetables and puree in a blender or food processor with jalapenos, cilantro, oregano, and salt.

Heat oil is heavy pot over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking.  Then add puree (be careful as it will splatter and steam).  Cook uncovered for 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until thickened.  Stir in 1 cup of reserved broth and simmer for 5 minutes.  Stir in shredded chicken and remaining 4 cups of broth and simmer partially covered for 20 minutes.

Serve in bowls with a squeeze of lime and cubed avocado.  You can also garnish with additional cilantro, radish, shredded romaine, or chopped onion if desired.


Its also great leftover once the flavors mix.

Bon Appetit!  How do you say that in Spanish?

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Take off the backpack


At my Body Back workout last night, my trainer had me put on a backpack with 20 pounds in it.  Ten of those pounds represented the 10 pounds I've lost.  Another 10 represented the 10 that I want to lose next.  With this extra 20 pounds on my back I did a series of exercises:  1 minute of jumping jacks, 1 minute of squats, bicep curls and overhead press (with 10 lb dumbells), mountain climbers, push up and holding a plank.

Twenty pounds on my back certainly made it tough.  Not only because the  backpack hit my back just right to push my pants down and pull my shirt up but because it was 20 extra pounds for my body to lift.

After the first set of those exercises, I got to remove 10 pounds from my pack and repeat the exercises.  They were still difficult (and I still felt like my pants were falling down) but easier with 10 less pounds on my back.

Then I got to take off the backpack, literally taking weight off my shoulders.  It was such an incredible sensation.  As I started in on my third round of the exercises I felt light and free like I could do just about anything.  Each exercise that with 20 extra pounds seemed extremely difficult now felt I could do them forever.  I was light as a feather and man did it feel amazing.

Then I realized there was a deeper meaning here.  Isn't this what God wants for us? 

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light" Matthew 11:28-30

He wants to take our burdens, worries, fears and other "weights" we keep in our backpacks and gently remove them from our shoulders so we can be light and free.  He wants to give us rest and energy.  His burden is light if we let him have ours.

What if Andrew dies leaving me and Sawyer on our own?  What if I die and Sawyer grows up without a mother?  I look fat in these jeans.  What if I don't fit in with this group of moms?  What if something goes terribly wrong with our house?  Will I ever pay off my student loans?  Maybe I'm not cut out to have this jewelry business.  Should we have another kid soon?  There's no way I can get the laundry done, clean my house and have everything ready for my party this weekend.

Those are some of my "weights" that I carry in my backpack.  Some are completely irrational and some I give more weight than others.  But what I really need to do is give them all up.  I have to take off the backpack and be assured that God can and will carry them for me....if I let him.

Think of all the time and energy I would have if I didn't have my backpack on?  Just as my body had what seemed like unlimited potential without the extra weight how much more focused and calm could my mind and my heart be if I could just give up the backpack.

So that's what I'm trying to do.  What about you - what weights do you carry with you?  Are you ready to let God take off your backpack?


 

Monday, November 4, 2013

30 days of Thanks

Wow has life been busy!  We have had something going on almost every day during the week leaving me little time to blog.  Sawyer and I have had lots of play dates with friends and I'm trying to get this jewelry line off the ground (my first two shows are this weekend!).  So, friends, I apologize for my lack of content.  I have lots of stuff to write about so hang in there with me while try and juggle all the stuff I have going on.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.  I love the food, getting together with family and friends, THE FOOD, and of course the black Friday shopping.  The trend on Facebook these days is the 30 days of Thanks during the month of November.  I didn't start this and don't want to seem like I'm just trying to keep up with the cool kids but I did want to share a few things I am thankful for on the blog.

November 1st - I am thankful for Stroller Strides - a group of great women to share life with and get healthy with.  Joining this group has been one of the best decisions I have made.

November 2nd - I am thankful for my job - I love what I do and am so blessed to work for a company that has been flexible with me in my transition to motherhood and letting me work part time.

November 3rd - I am thankful for my church.  I love Creekside.  I love the people there, I love the staff, I love our new worship director and love that we have a community of people that love us and love Sawyer.

November 4th (today).  I am thankful that on this day my husband was born.  I could not be luckier in the man I have found to be my life long partner.  He is my best friend and the love of my life.  He provides for our family, he loves our little boy like no other, and is a steadfast follower of the lord.

I will try and keep up with this list through the month :-)

I have a couple great soup recipes I want to share with you over the next couple of days so hang in there with me!

Here's a cute picture of my boy as an apology for my lack of blogging - its his fault - he takes up all my time :-)