Saturday, December 31, 2011


2011 seems like it was the longest year ever for my family and I. January feels like a lifetime away, so many amazing and life changing things have happened to us.

Our Year in Review:

January: Ham lived through his very first Indiana blizzard. He started solid foods and cut his very first tooth!
My snowbaby!

February: Ham learned how to sit up and began rolling around the floor. Ham cut his second tooth. My life was pretty uneventful.
Ham posing for his first photo shoot which he did not enjoy.

March: I started my job at the doctor's office and left the thrift shop. I began really dealing with my anxiety issues, and it was a trying time. This was a low month for me. Ham became an expert sitter.
My steady little man.

April: April is when things finally started getting better for me. I started going to my therapist and went on medication. Ham started crawling! Ham got his first haircut! Most exciting of all, Ham started crawling and pulling up to stand!
 What is this lady doing to my hair?

May: The hubs and I started eating healthier and my depression was getting better. We started cooking more at home from scratch. Ham began cruising and eating crunchy foods.
Ham and I

June: June was the real start of our summer. Ham went to the beach for the first time and we started going to parks daily. We also started regularly attending play groups and I finally met some mom friends. Ham could stand all by himself and walk with his push walker. 
Ham's first time at the beach

July: After 24 years, I was finally formally diagnosed with ADHD. I was also Fearless Formula Feeder's guest poster !  Ham took his first steps. Ham weaned himself from the bottle. 
First time in a wagon (this was my wagon too!)

August: After months of crippling back pain, I was diagnosed with Anklosing Spondylitis. On a happier note, it was Ham's first birthday! We had a huge party and Ham got more than any baby could ever want! 
Cake smash!!!

September: This was a pretty calm month for us. Hubby and I started classes and Ham started walking!
Ham and the Hubs were we were married in 2009!

October: Hubs and I turned 25. Ham got a lot steadier on his feet.Sadly, I have no pictures from October as our camera broke and had to be sent in for repair.

November: Ham loved Thanksgiving and really started acting like a toddler. Ham now says "no" when he doesn't want something.
Ham in the toy box

December: Ham learned how to climb, walk up stairs with help, and started sleeping in his toddler bed. He had his first real Christmas and even opened his own presents! He also started throwing some major tantrums. 
The best Christmas present of all!

Looking back, it is crazy how much Ham has grown. He has turned into a little man right before my eyes. I feel like he has blossomed into such a personality. He can now express his wishes in gestures and grunts, decide what he wants to do and where he wants to go, play with "big boy" toys, show you what he wants, run and jump, and so much more. It is difficult to wrap my head around the fact that just a year ago he wasn't even able to sit up. 

This has definitely been a difficult year as well. I dealt with PPD, PPA, anxiety attacks, and Anklosing Spondylitis. It was an emotional roller coaster from the beginning, but I learned so many things about myself. This year I really came into my own and found my way as a mama. I've made peace with my faults and began working on my issues. 

I am actually really excited about 2012. I cannot wait to see what Ham will do and become.

Happy New Year and love to your Littles,


Friday, December 23, 2011

Grown-up Christmas

Christmas is for children, at least the Americanized version we all celebrate. Cocoa Cola Santas bring xboxes and Barbies to good little boys and girls who make the "nice" list. Parents spend months planning and spending to make Christmas merry for all. We bake, clean, cook, wrap, decorate, and repeat until December 26th when life returns to normal. Christmas makes shopping more difficult as well as dieting, sleeping, and budgeting. I'm not overtly trying to be a humbug, but seriously Christmas is much less magical when you grow up.

I do know the reason for the season, several large Jesus billboards in my area remind me of that, but no one seems to celebrate that aspect of it anymore. We don't even know if Jesus was born in December for goodness sakes! So, next Christmas on out I am going a to take a less beaten path when it comes to December 25th. I am going to teach my child about Saint Nicholas and try to find things that glorify his life and not line the pocketbooks of the folks at Walmart.

I want Ham to learn something from this day, not just gain a whole lot of junk made in China (more on that later). I intend to make Christmas about giving and giving back to the community. I have over a year to dream up some service projects and volunteering to get us in the real spirit. Hanukkah will be celebrated as well, though it never seemed to gain the commercial appeal that Christmas did. The whole story of suffering doesn't really make for good claymation films.

Growing up mostly Jewish has helped me gain some perspective in this mess that we call Christmas. I hope that next year when Ham is old enough I can use this time of year to teach him rather than appease him. I do not want to end up like so many moms I know spending hundreds of dollars on gifts that never satiate their children. We will celebrate the joy of helping those who have less and giving back to our wonderful community for all it gives to us.

I hope all of you grown-ups find some real joy this Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/Festivus. Remember to take a step back and think about who Saint Nicholas really was and why we celebrate Christmas this time of year. I wish you all a warm and joyful holiday.


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Simple Gifts

"Simple Gifts" a Quaker song

'Tis the gift to be simple, 'tis the gift to be free
'Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
'Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
When true simplicity is gain'd,
To bow and to bend we shan't be asham'd,
To turn, turn will be our delight,
Till by turning, turning we come 'round right.

Today, during Ham's nap, I watched Ken Burns' the Shakers documentary. It really opened my eyes to a beautiful, dying religion and way of life. The Shakers were deeply religious, celibate adults who lived for perfect in the eyes of God. You may have heard of Shaker style furniture or even have some replicas in your home.

The Shakers lived simply, much like the Amish. They worshiped by living for God and by giving themselves to their work. The Shakers spent their lives in a quiet simplicity that I envy so much. I have always had an unusual obsession with the Amish. Living a simple existence has always intrigued me.

I aspire to live more simply and closer to nature. My husband and I are discussing the possibility of homesteading someday. Homesteading is a movement to live off the land and be self sufficient. We would like to get an old farmhouse in the country with a decent amount of land to create a small farm. From there, we would like to have an acre to two of crops and chickens, goats, and rabbits. I would love to devote my life to living like my ancestors did. I want to be able to cook dinner and know where everything came from, what the chicken ate, and where the carrots were grown. How amazing would that be?

I want to learn to quilt, sew my own clothes, woodwork, can, butcher, and build. I know that there is so much more to life than reality tv and facebook. I want Ham to know and love all of the wonderful, simple things in life. I want him to appreciate the food on his plate and the pillow under his head. Teaching him that there is more to life than convenience will be my greatest accomplishment. I want so much for him, and I know that this is the path I am to take.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Menu Planning Monday!

Our goals this week, and for here on out, are low sodium, low fat, no processed foods, and of course tasty!

Monday: Chile Lime Chicken Tacos with homemade corn tortillas and all the fixings (lettuce, tomato, onion, salsa)

Tuesday: Curried Chicken Breasts with basmati rice and veggies.

Wednesday: Our lazy day, made from scratch wheat pancakes with real maple syrup and turkey sausage.

Thursday: my first ever attempt at White Chili! I wills share the recipe if this turns out.

Friday: Chicken Cordon Bleu with veggies.

Saturday: Christmas Eve dinner with the in-laws

Sunday: Christmas Day Dinner with family

I am loving all the ethnic food this week! I seem to have recently developed a love for spice in my cooking, much to my husband's delight, and I am running with it. It is definitely easier to eat healthy with lots of spice.

What are you eating this week?

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Weekly Wrap Up

Why this week ROCKED!

1. I finished school for the semester (with a decent GPA).

2. Ham had lots of fun!
Ham jumping at FunFlatables on Friday.

3. We only ate out once! This is a major improvement from last week. We were in a slump there for awhile.

4. I got the bookcases, Ham's closet (for the most part), and the car cleaned out. I am super excited to start our room.

5. It's almost Christmas! 

This was a great week. I know next week will be even better. 

Peace and Love to your Littles,


Friday, December 16, 2011

De-Cluttering My Life: Day One and Two

Yesterday was day one of my journey to simplify my life. I decided to start with the bookcases. We started with three over full (I'm talking books piled in front of other books) book cases and now have just two slightly-less-than-full bookcases and one that is going to live at my Mom's house. I think that is a small victory for me! It's not minimal per say, but it is a whole lot better than it was.

Today, day two, I went for Ham's closets (oh yes, he was two closets). It was challenge for me emotionally. I've been lazy about getting rid of his outgrown clothing because I don't want him to get so big. I have finally accepted that he is in 3T shirts and 2T pants. I was holding on to those 24mos/2T shirts with a vengeance. He has been in those clothes since 9 months! Luckily, I already bought his 3T wardrobe at various resale shops and yard sales over the course of the year. He now has a new wardrobe which I am excited to dress him in. It is almost all Gymboree! I totally have a thing for Gymboree, don't ask! If I could afford to buy it new, I would.

Insanely enough, Ham started out with two dressers and lots of clothes on hangers. Now he has only one dresser and slightly less clothing on hangers, yet he still has plenty to wear. I believe we could go at least a week and a half without washing a thing. That fact still embarrasses me. Ham's old clothes are going to good homes. Some of them are going to be sold at a local shop for cash. The cash will be used for Abe and I to enjoy. The rest of them, as well as the stuff the shop won't take, are going to the son of a friend and my cousin -in-law's son. I am happy to help out as we have so many more people buying us nice things than most. It helps to have the only, and I mean the only, child in either of our families.

I feel good about the small progress I've made. I know that there is so much more to do, but at least I've taken the first step. I think my closet will be next. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


I am blessed with so many things. Lately, those many wonderful things have multiplied into too many things! I realize this is a white wine, but it's true. I have too many things, and I need to start to simplify my life. A friend of mine inspired me, and I am giving myself until April to make some real progress. I chose April because we may be moving into a new place around that time. We've moved twice since we've been married, and every time we have more stuff! It is time to take a step in the right direction.

I've yet to decide my plan of attack for this momentous task. I was thinking to start with either my closet or our three overly full bookcases. I have cleaned out some of Ham's things to make room for what the holidays with inevitably bring. I am hoping that the family will lay off the toys for awhile. A girl can dream. I am going to try to chronicle my journey here.