Friday, June 28, 2013

Absence makes the heart grow fonder

This post is part of my 20in13 series. You can check out details here. Join me!

20in13 #2: Describe your relationship with your significant other.

Mark has been away on a fishing trip this week. He had an opportunity to go with a wonderful program called Operation Muskie (basically they provide vets with a fishing trip of a lifetime!) and from his nightly phone calls I can tell he had an amazing time.

It was my first full week on my own with Henry without Mark or any help. I wasn't sure I would make it, but we managed to survive. I just put Henry to bed and Mark should be home in an hour. So, knock on wood... we are in the clear.

Of course not having Mark around makes me realize all the little things he does every day.

How he kisses me goodbye every morning, even if I'm still asleep.
How he voluntarily does diapers during the times that he's home.
How excited the dogs and Henry are to see him when he gets home from work every day.
How he kills spiders.
How he lets me "check out" for a half hour after he gets home so I can recharge.
How he takes out the garbage and recycling.
How he pretends to like everything I make him, until I nudge the truth out of him.
How he's happy to just eat Mac and Cheese.
How he tells me he loves me and gives me a kiss every night, just like he's done since we started dating.

Describe our relationship?

It's what I was hoping a marriage would be: SOLID. Full of love, laughter and adventure. 
Our life has been a whirlwind since we said "I Do." We moved. Sparty came into our lives. Henry came along. We moved again. Now baby boy #2 is on the way.

We are hoping to be permanently settled here shortly, and you'll have details, but I'm not willing to divulge them at the moment, for fear it won't work out.

Regardless, life has been nothing short of crazy. But, my relationship with Mark has been consistent the entire time. He, as they say, is my rock.

It's not always perfect, of course. He hates that I don't always screw the cap on the orange juice all the way, and he may think my cheeks don't do a proper job at insulating the sound of chewing cereal. But I have never doubted for a second his loyalty and love to me and our family.

There are a thousand different words I could use to describe my relationship. But I'm sure you've heard them all before. 

In short, my relationship with Mark is "happily ever after." And I'm so lucky to have that in my life, and be able to enjoy it for many, many years to come.

(Smoochie, Marky.)

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Friday, June 14, 2013

Book Love: Life After Life

I adore historical fiction. But I hadn't read anything lately that rocked my world, until I picked up Life After Life: A Novel last week (thanks for the recommendation, Beth!)

Imagine being able to live your life over and over until you got it right, with only the faintest sense that you were doing so. Déjà vu anyone?

Well that's the case with Ursula, the character Life after Life centers around, and even though you have the chance to live life with her again and again, she will still manage to surprise you, and at times break your heart.

"Ursula craved solitude but she hated loneliness, 
a conundrum that she couldn’t even begin to solve." 

In fact this was one of those rare books that I had to put down for awhile after a particular chapter because I was so upset at Ursula. That's good writing folks.

"Sylvie’s knowledge, like Izzie, was random yet far-ranging, 
‘The sign that one has acquired one’s learning from reading novels 
rather than an education…" 

This story unfolds through both world wars (historical!) with a cast of characters you'll undoubtedly love. And Atkinson rewrites history through Ursula's actions (if only!)

"He was born a politician.
No, Ursula thought, he was born a baby, like everyone else. 
And this is what he has chosen to become." 

If you like historical fiction, and the idea of reincarnation intrigues you, I definitely recommend adding this one to your summer reading list.

What else do you plan on reading this summer? Here are some of my all time favorite historical fiction recommendations, if you're looking for inspiration:

The Historian

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Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Strawberry Dream Smoothie

Henry's not big on breakfast. So we've been making smoothies most mornings, so at least I know he's hit part of his fruit quota for the day.

Smoothies are super simple once you get the hang of them, and you can mix up your ingredients for all kinds of flavors (and vitamins!)

I highly recommend some version of the Magic Bullet, it makes clean-up SO much easier as opposed to a normal blender-- especially if you are only making a few servings. I use the Bella Cucina Rocket Blender (includes all the cups) which you can find on Amazon for around $25 (and it's eligible for free shipping!)

Here's an easy recipe to get you started:

1 banana, cut into chunks and frozen
1/2 cup of strawberries, quartered and frozen
3/4 cup of orange juice
1/4 cup milk

Combine all ingredients and blend. See? I try to make these things as complicated as possible. If you are looking for a morning smoothie, throw your ingredients in the freezer the night before. Or you can throw them in the freezer in the AM for an afternoon treat.

Here's another secret. I don't actually measure my ingredients. Usually as long as your liquid covers your frozen fruit, you've got a decent ratio going on.

Last tip: The frozen banana gives the smoothie a perfect texture. But feel free to substitute the strawberries for your favorite fruit-- blueberries, raspberries, peaches, the options are endless!

More smoothie recipes to come! Enjoy!

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He only makes boys

In 2009, Mark and I were living in sin in our first apartment blissfully unaware of just how wonderfully crazy our lives would become over the next four years.

On this particular evening we were watching one of those ridiculous survival shows, by no choice of mine, where two men are dropped of in the middle of no-where and had to find their way back to safety. You know, in case you fall out of a helicopter in the middle of the jungle and survive. You have to be prepared for these types of situations.

In this particular episode, two men were sitting around a fire getting to know each other while they dined on bugs, or turtle-- my memory is foggy on this part. And one man says to the other, "Have any kids?"

The second responds, "Yep... four."

The first to the second, "Wow, what's the breakdown, boys or girls?"

The second replies matter-of-factly, "I only make boys."

Mark laughed and repeated the phrase. I could tell he'd added a new life goal to his list.

Which I was fine with-- I could totally be a mom of boys. But I thought if he said it too many times, Karma would teach him a lesson and send him all girls.

King and Sparty came along. Mark tried to use the "I only make boys" about the dogs. I was quick to remind him that we purposefully sought out boys. He played no part in the making...

All the signs told us Henry would be a girl. His heart rate, his conception date, even that Chinese calendar thing. Girl, girl, girl. But sure enough, after our 18 week ultra-sound, Mark could still say it: He only made boys.

And this pregnancy. I was oh-so-sick in the first trimester. A complete turnaround from my pregnancy with Henry. This must be what a girl feels like, I told Mark. Though deep down my instinct told me one thing.

He still only makes boys.

And it's true. We found out a few weeks ago that we will be welcoming another bouncing baby boy into our household this October.
Looking at boy parts.
People always ask, "Is that what you wanted?" The short answer: YES. The long answer: I would have been thrilled to buy girly things. But, Henry is getting a brother. I love, love, love the thought of two brothers. They can be two best buds who get dirty, run around and make noise. They can smash spiders for mommy, share a room, go fishing with Daddy and he can teach them the fine art of tinkering. Mark will also have someone to finally share his love of all things Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger. It's going to be that heart-bursting happy kind of adorable.

So, this October the ratios of balls to boobs in our home will be 10:2, including the dogs. And I can't wait.

Boy-Mom tips welcomed.

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