The Rocking Chair: Bedtime Reflections

You are safe here. In the dark corner of your cozy nursery.

There is no hate, no school shootings, no grocery store tragedies.

There is no racism or sexism. You are accepted and loved, just as you are.

There is no poverty or excess.

There is no hunger or hypothermia. There is no disease or virus.

There is no pressure to please others or obligation to fall in line.

There is no bullying. There are no politics. There is no dishonesty.

There is no scale. No size. No style. No budget.

There is no violence, no yelling, no anger.

Sometimes there are tears, but I will always take care of those.

And there is a warm bottle and worn blanket.

There are two strong and soft arms, just right for your little frame. Always right for you. Any time.

I know there is a certain level of privilege in this space. I know that. I am grateful to have the means to provide this for you.

I wish I could bottle up this time. I wish I could save this contentment and peace for you.

And when you enter the world, and the world shows you its ugly truth, I would gift you these perfectly packaged moments of safety and love and wholeness. I would stock my closets and cupboards with memories and moments of serenity for you.

Because the world will try to shatter you. It’s how it goes. It is an unperfected world.

It doesn’t deserve my perfect little human. And you most certainly deserve better than this world.

But you will leave this chair. And this room. And even this house someday.

You will follow your dreams. And I will quiet my nightmares. And you will do what you were born to do.

And when the broken world tries so hard to break you, I will hold you. You are safe here.

Aldi Toddler Finds

Like many of you, I am a big fan of Aldi. Our town doesn’t have a Target or Whole Foods or Panera… but we have an Aldi. She may not know it, but M is a big fan of Aldi, too.

I’ve talked about Aldi before. I did a post about my favorites at one point. (I imagine some of those items are now discontinued.) Today I thought I’d share the non-baby things that my baby loves.

Before I launch into non-baby stuff, I want to share that my experience with their baby items has been remarkably great.

Their diapers, puffs, rice rusks, and fruit & veggie puree pouches are top notch.

I’ve had some issues with the wipes, but still recommend them as an okay option. (The packaging has fallen apart on me- nothing to do with M’s skin.)

Ok… on to other foods.

Freeze-Dried Fruit I think these are gross but M loves them. (Well, she did last week. This week it’s a no. So probably next week they’ll be in her good graces again.) I’ve seen mango, strawberry, and fuji apple. Mango was the favorite… who knows what it’ll be next.

Veggie Straws Unlike the fruit, M is still BFFs with these square tube healthier-ish chips. Girlfriend doesn’t love fresh vegetables and fruit right now so I’m considering veggie straws a mediocre alternative. Plus they keep her happy and who am I to deny her joy? (I know, I know. It’s literally my job to deny her joy.)

Avocado Dip These are just small cups of mashed avocado and sea salt. Lazy? Sure. But I don’t have to play Russian roulette with a fresh ‘cado and end up with a browned, rotten $2 stress ball.
*We also practice using our spoon with these cups because they’re thick enough they don’t spill out and soft enough for her to scoop.

Fish Sticks M isn’t sold on fish sticks yet but we’re going to keep trying. I also did the #lazymom thing and made them in the microwave when I know for a fact they’re 10xs better in the oven. So we’ll try this one again soon. She loves fish so I have high hopes.

Chicken Nuggets Love me a chicky-nuggy lunch. I make enough for Moo-Poo and myself because DUH. I cut these into small bite-size bits and give them to her or mix them with Mac n Cheese.

Grilled Chicken Stripes These are the bomb. And they’re a HIT with Moo. Again, I just chop them into small bits and she loves them. They can be mixed into pasta, too!

Mac n Cheese, Spaghetti, Ravioli My child is a carb-o-holic and will eat any noodle put in front of her. I’m going to try mixing tuna in with her Mac n Cheese at some point. And Aldi has such fantastic prices for all these items.

Whole Milk, Eggs, Yogurt Normal stuff for a toddler, but priced sooooo well at Aldi!

Lunch Meat, Shredded Cheese, American Cheese Again, normal toddler snacks but cheap cheap cheap. M loves meat & cheese, lol. She’s her father’s daughter for sure.

As I said, M isn’t into fruits and veggies right now. She actually nommed on some pineapple the other day but I think it was a fluke. We don’t do grapes or nuts or hotdogs, so I can’t speak to any of those items at the great and powerful Aldi.

What do you buy from Aldi for your mini garbage disposals (or yourself)??

Oh, What A Year

The whole country (& world) shut down around K’s birthday last year. March 12th was our last meal in a restaurant. Sunday night suppers at my grandparents’ house stopped, mindless Target wandering was no longer ok, and spending time at home with our 3 month old became our only entertainment for a while.

Running a company is always a stressful thing, but watching K sort out how to keep everyone safe, employed, healthy, and just OK in general has been exhausting and painful. (I can’t begin to imagine how he feels about it.) It’s been a soul-crushing year.

(Our primary customers are schools- specifically the extracurricular music programs in schools. The programs that have been cancelled, delayed, reduced due to COVID.)

It’s been an atrocious year to say the absolute very least. I don’t know if we’ve (Kyle’s) ever been this stressed out, 24/7, without relief. It has most certainly shaved years off his life. The rebound/rebuild isn’t a walk in the park either.

And while he’s walking into a new year with a shorter fuse, more grey hair, and a much bigger chip (gash?) on his shoulder, he’s also grown into an even more wonderful human, partner, and dad.

We’re raising a smart and snarky little girl that loves to play with and laugh with her daddy. We have two dogs that get excited every. single. time. he enters the room. K has started cooking his way around the kitchen and- spoiler alert- he’s really good at it. We’ve bought a camper and started down that literal and figurative road. He’s paying better attention to his physical and mental health. He listens to me and encourages me and calls me out on my b.s. when I need it.

Despite all the things that I know weigh him down, he’s such an accomplished, fulfilled, incredible (almost) 34 year old. My life is good because he’s a part of it. We’re in a pretty tough, stressful season of life right now, but seasons change.

Happy Birthday, love. It’s going to get better and then maybe worse again but then better.

What I Read…

I set a very low goal of 15 books this year because a) I’m trying to be realistic and b) I need that little high of accomplishment when I finish #15. Currently I’ve read 4.

Linking up with Jana and Steph today for Show Us Your Books!

The Wife Stalker by Liv Constantine* | Domestic Thriller | ★★★/5
I don’t read many thrillers, but my book club picked this one. I didn’t hate it and I didn’t figure it out- I’d say I got 25% solved before the big reveal. I adored the kids. I was confused about the good guys and bad guys (in a good thriller-y way). At times the writing was a little stranger and the timelines felt flubbed, but I was invested and it passed the time just fine. *the author is actually a pen name for two sisters

The Twelve Dates of Christmas by Jenny Bayliss | Romance | ★★★/5
I put this book on hold at the library in late November but it didn’t come to me until last month. (I hate reading Christmas books after Christmas.) This was a not-so-steamy, Hallmark-cute, very predictable romance. I would say it passed the time just fine and would’ve been v adorable to read a week before the holidays. Kate was kind of dramatic in her big decision making, but romance-heroines often are… It was cute; I’d recommend it as a holiday read.

I didn’t make any progress with my book challenge so I’m not going to bother copying and pasting it, lol.

What did you read this month?

My Love of 15 Months

My sweet and savvy little girl is 15 months old today. Since she was born, I’ve been upfront and candid about the struggles of motherhood and parenting and re-defining myself in this new chapter book.

Today I’m just here to say how much fun my little moo-baby is 😊

The newborn stage was not my forte & the baby stage was ok, but the early toddlerhood that we’re in right now is my favorite. M typically wakes up with a smile on her face. She lays in her crib and talks with Cal the Octopus (obviously short for Calamari). She learns something new every day. Her personality is goofy but inquisitive, bold but observant, ornery but sweet. She’s freaking exhausting, but so entertaining. I love seeing her little brain work and solve something new.

Toddlerhood is not without its terribleness, LOL. She has bad moments and grumpy days. Everything is a toy and, as such, everything is a hazard. Dog fur is soft to cuddle on, but it’s also easy to pull. Climbing, running, and exploring are not without their risks.

My mom tells me that we talk to M like an adult. We speak softly & sweetly to her, but we talk to her in full sentences. She understands basic tasks, she can retrieve a stuffy when we ask for it by name, and she can bring us the book we specifically request (of the 5 or 6 oft read board books). When I say, “Let’s have breakfast/lunch/dinner” she heads to her highchair. When I say, “Let’s let the dogs outside” she goes to the backdoor with me. She identifies family members in pictures and in person. She knows the difference between our dogs (and has a favorite, lol).

She loves to brush her teeth, she loves to “CHEERS” with her cup, and she loves Mickey Mouse. I love taking her places (on the rare occasion we get out) because she’s usually well behaved and she LOVES watching the world around her.

This is just an appreciation post to say I love this stage and Miss Moo.