The Next Stage of Toddlerhood.

Potty training… a journey that’s not for the weak.

Last year, I introduced Mila to her little potty. She did okay on it, but would rather go outside like Max. It’s okay. It’s funny and you can most definitely laugh. She’d sit on it through fall and most of winter, but she really was not interested.

Around when COVID hit and when she turned two, we really hit potty training hard. I bought her underwear and she did a good job of letting me know when she had to go. All summer, she’s been amazing with it. When I started working full time at the end of August, she had a few mishaps, but is back to no accidents. She can nap without having one and has slept through the night a few times too.

I’m so proud of her.

The last time I bought diapers, I told myself this was it. It’d be the last time I ever bought them and I’d only buy pull ups from then on. Honestly, I thought it was a lot of wishful thinking. Then, last night she wore her last diaper and were in the land of panties and pulls ups for night time and long periods away.

This is a huge deal. She got a coloring book today to celebrate and a popsicle after school. I tell her she’s my big, good girl so she knows how good of a job she’s doing.

Lasts of anything are hard, even the last diapers.

Ever since losing Jensen, the first and lasts with Mila have been monumental. I know they have a bigger meaning, but I try not to put it all on Mila. I just hope she knows how proud I am of her and all that she does.

Tonight, we’re celebrating being diaper free and the next stage of toddlerhood. I’m so happy to be her mom and can’t wait to see what she does next.

Mom Fail: Dream Edition.

I just want to start off by saying, I’m not exactly sure if this should be categorized as a mom fail, but I’ll leave it up to you at the end.

Mila has long, beautiful, thick hair. It’s always crazy to me to see how much hair she actually has. I think a lot of people dream about their daughters having nice hair, but, if you’re like me, you didn’t realize how much of a struggle it is. She’s had to have her hair brushed EVERY SINGLE DAY since she’s been a newborn and still hates it with a passion. Lately, it’s gotten worse because she doesn’t want to sit down and wait for me to do it.

Since it’s long, it gets a lot of knots and tangles. My mom always called them rats and that’s what I’m calling them for Mila too. Every night and morning, our routine is to get the rats out of her hair. I don’t even know if she knows what a rat looks like or whatever, but she knows it’s bad and needs out.

I wake up and go to sleep talking about these rats, but I didn’t know how much it was impacting me.

After our normal rat evacuation, I ended up falling asleep with her. That night, I had one of the most strangest dreams. There were actual rats everywhere chasing Mila and I had to shoo them away. It was like little faces and eyes constantly looking at me and I was trying to throw them out of the house. I felt like I was struggling through the dream to get them all away and Mila wanted no part of it in my dream either. Just the whole entire night/dream, I was getting rats away from her.

You can laugh. I would laugh too.

Let’s just say, the next day I went to go get detangling hair spray to add to our after bath routine. The less ‘rats’ I have to think of and deal with, the better.

I’ve yet had any other rat related dreams and plan on keeping it that way.

Again, maybe not a mothering fail in terms of not providing for Mila, but definitely a dream fail, to say the least. A little tip to not have rat nightmares, buy detangling spray before that’s what you think of before bed.

How Does That Make You Feel? cont.

Yesterday, I shared a post on Newsymom about how I started going to therapy again.

It is DIFFICULT to talk about therapy. I grew thinking it was a hush hush thing and only people that were deranged went. Obviously, that’s far from the case. What’s funny is that this blog originally was about Jensen and documenting stillbirth, grief, and my journey after loss. Like life, it’s taken different directions and I try to write about what makes me smile.

I’ve sort of backed myself in a strange corner. There was a point where I felt like I couldn’t express my grief anymore and the other… ‘troubling’ things in my life weren’t allowed to be expressed either. I talked about what I could and what I felt others were comfortable with. I guess that’s the type of person I am… trying to make others feel comfortable while putting myself on the back burner. Hello HUGE topic I talk about with my therapist. I’ve been thinking about making a schedule for this blog and delving into other things besides the light and happy. Not for anyone else, but for myself and to continue my healing journey.

Anyways, I think it’s a mix of where I’m at in my grief journey, parenting Mila, and what’s being reintroduced in therapy. I felt like I needed to share my new experience with talking to a professional and how it looks different this time around. There are three big factors I can instantly tell that are being more impactful already.

1. The right person.

There was nothing wrong with my therapist beforehand. She helped me in so many ways with the initial year after losing Jensen. I have no idea where my headspace would have been without her helping me along the way. But, it got to a point where I felt like I couldn’t really connect with her anymore and, like some relationships, our time just ended.

This time, I feel extremely connected to my therapist. I’m unsure if it’s the way we talk (I’ll get into this in a second), how she’s helped make deeper connections with me, or if our personalities just click. It feels like she really listens and puts the way I think first. When I’m talking, I don’t feel like I’m boring her and she reacts the way I need her to. I feel like that sounds so basic, but it’s hard when trying to find those things in a therapist,

I think life has a way of bringing us the right people and I’m glad I’ve found her.

2. Being 100% honest.

I’m unsure if I’m the only person that wasn’t completely honest with my therapist. Four years ago, I was not honest with my therapist if it wasn’t directly related to my grief with losing Jensen. That sounds AWFUL, but directly ties in finding the right therapist. I can remember telling half truths or leaving our important information. It impacted how my healing went and was detrimental because I couldn’t even be honest with myself during the time I really needed to be.

This time around, I made myself accountable. I told my therapist I had a hard time of telling the whole truth my first go with therapy. My main reason was not wanting to look bad and not being trusting of another person. I straight up told my therapist that what I’m going to say in the next months of working with her aren’t always going to be… good. In saying that, I told her I wanted to trust her and get myself to a better place.

During my sessions, I’m really working. I’m being honest with myself and her. Sometimes it’s hard to say certain things out loud, but I know it’s best. I don’t always feel my best right after our hour, but I know I’m getting back what I put into this time.

3. A happy space.

Besides the two reasons I stated before, the biggest difference is I’m not actually leaving my house to talk to my therapist. I downloaded an app (BetterHelp) so I can text, call, and video chat with my therapist. Every week, I directly talk to her for an hour and I can message her anytime I need to on other days.

There’s no awkward waiting rooms and I’m not in an unfamiliar place. I can be in the comfort of my home and not feel like i’m doing the walk of shame after I cry for an hour. Being able to communicate on the phone is also more familiar… not saying I don’t talk to others face-to-face, but you get what I mean. On top of that, with COVID, I don’t have to worry about the precautions I’d have to take by going to an appointment. I can also talk to her while Mila watches TV and am not stressing if I can’t find a babysitter on certain nights.

It allows me to have the freedom to talk in my safe and happy space, while getting the help I deserve.

I’ll never say I know everything about therapy or can tell you it most definitely will help your situation. I know that it’s helped me and I’m not ready to stop anytime soon. There’s a deep tugging that is telling me by doing this I’m helping my future and stopping so many traumatic cycles. In my Newsymom article, I wanted others to know that it’s okay to choose to go to therapy. I want to echo that same sentiment here too.

I deserve to be happy and mentally healthy. I can’t change the things that have or will happen, but I get to decide how I handle them. I wish that for everyone.

If you’re thinking about signing up for therapy or want to browse different options, if you’d like to use BetterHelp, use this referral. You get a week free and so do I. I highly recommend BetterHelp and you can find a ton of information on their website.

Weird Things My Toddler Does: Part Five.

I think we already know two things about toddlers: they’re weird and they love to snack.

Mila is no different.

Usually when she wakes up in the morning, she runs and gets a fruit snack to chomp on. It’s been our routine for weeks. So the other morning when she went to the kitchen to grab a snack, I thought I was going to have to open her fruit snacks up for her. Instead, I heard a dragging sound…

This girl brought a whole bucket of chicken to bed to eat. Not your usual morning snack, right?

After a good laugh, she ran out for something else. I’m partly blaming myself and laziness for not putting things away the night before…

Chicken and a coke. What more could a girl want when she first wakes up? Thankfully, all the coke was gone, but she did eat a bunch.

Toddlers are hungry and weird, but I wouldn’t have it any different.

What’s the weirdest thing you or your toddler has snacked on first thing in the morning?

Monday Recipe: Kielbasa Power Bowl

On Instagram, I noticed this hashtag: #quarantinerecipeswap. So many people are running out of ideas of what to cook next and want to revamp their meals for the month. Believe me, Mila and I are right there too!

Today, I figured I’d share one of the easiest and tastiest recipes I make frequently: a Kielbasa Power Bowl. It can be converted to what you have on hand AND made meatless. Honestly, it’s a pretty simple recipe and seems really basic. Sometimes, that’s all we need though!

Ingredients:

  • One Package of Kielbasa (or a can of chickpeas if you want it meatless)
  • Two Medium Sweet Potatoes
  • 1/2 Yellow Onion
  • Head of Broccoli
  • 2 Medium Peppers (whatever color you like best)
  • 1/4 cup Quinoa
  • Cheese – to sprinkle
  • Balsamic Glaze
  • Olive Oil
  • Spices: salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, Italian seasoning

Feel free to use whatever veggies you have on hand. I typically have all of these at my house. Mila loves broccoli and peppers, so it works out for us. I’ve also made it with carrots, brussels sprouts, and zucchini!

First, preheat your over to 400. Then get to cutting. Everyone has their cutting preference, but this is how I do it. Everything is really ‘eatable’ and not too big. Then I take the veggies and put them in a bowl. I get a coating of olive oil and the mix of seasoning on there. Make sure everything’s covered and put it in a baking pan. After your oven is preheated, put the veggies in there for 10-15 minutes. Put the kielbasa in the same bowl with olive oil and seasoning and wait to add in later.

Then, start boiling water (or broth) for your quinoa. Rinse the quinoa off in a small strainer, or you can do what I do and rinse it off to the best of your abilities without one. It’s always a fun challenges You can follow the packaging directions, but I usually just double the amount of liquid to quinoa. Sometimes I add more, depending on how it cooks. When the water starts boiling, pour your rinsed quinoa in the pot, and turn down the heat some. Stir every so often. It doesn’t take too long to cook; maybe 15 minutes. While it’s cooking, I usually add some spices to taste! After that time, remove from heat, let it stand for about 5-10 minutes and fluff it with a fork.

In the middle of cooking quinoa, your timer will go off for the veggies. Take them out and add the kielbasa in. Give it all a good mix. Put it in for another ten minutes. I usually then take it out, mix everything up once more and stick it in the over another 5-10 minutes too.

Once everything’s cooked and cooled, assemble!

I usually start with the quinoa on the bottom, then lay the kielbasa and veggie mix on top. To add a little something with it, Mila asks for cheese on top (which makes it better, I’ll admit) and ill drizzle balsamic glaze on top. If I have avocados, I’ll slice some for on top as well.

It’s truly an easy meal that’s packed with veggies and taste so good! Mila, Miss Picky Eater lately, are her whole bowl.

I hope you enjoy this recipe and try it soon! This week I’ll make a new recipe and share how it goes with you guys. If you have any recipes to share for the swap, comment below and I’ll try them out!

Mom Fail: Cooking Edition

I’d like to start off saying, this is not switching into a cooking blog. Every post lately has been revolved around food and I’m planning on a recipe post for Monday… oops. It just so happened this one directly linked to food too.

When I woke up this morning, I thought, what a great day for blueberry pancakes. We slept in a little bit and already did our morning routine. Mila and Max has played while I did some things on the computer; the morning was just relaxing. It just like a perfect brunch type of day. I mean, look how peaceful Mila looks in that picture.

Since you’ve most likely read the title of the post, you know there’s something bound to happen…

Mila is the best helper. She loves mixing batters and handing my ingredients when I cook. While I’m cooking, she likes to stir the food and cheers. It’s cute and surprisingly, there’s only been minor messes lately.

For our pancakes, she held the cup while I poured in the dry ingredients, kissed the egg, and already had the work ready to mix it all up. After everything was in there, I beat the egg and had it pretty well mixed and let her continue while I cleaned up.

As I turned to my kitchen counter, I heard a quick ‘uh oh’ and then a clang. All while this was happening, I turned to Mila to make sure she was okay. Then it literally hit me.

She had accidentally dropped the bowl and as I so happened to turn, the bowl hit the ground sending batter all over me and the surrounding area. Mila miraculously was pancake batter free.

Fortunately, there was some batter still in the bowl. It was just enough to make us a few pancakes. So not a completely fail, right?

Mom Tip of the Week: Pasta Edition

Once upon a time, Mila was an amazing eater. She would try anything put in front of her and clear her plate. That time is now gone.

Somedays, I’m excited if she eats a handful of nuts and some dry cereal for the whole day. Others, she eats everything in sight so I keep giving her more to store up for other days. It’s a constant battle in toddler world.

Anyways, one staple for Mila is pasta and red sauce with a ton of cheese; she’d eat a bag of cheese a day if I let her. I think she likes it causes it the messiest thing she can possibly eat. It does taste good too, but… One thing I’ve learned to do to sneak some protein in there and fill her (and me) up with less pasta is adding beans.

Beans can sometimes be intimating to cook with or introduce, but when added with pasta, red sauce, and cheese, you don’t even notice them in there. They’re such an amazing source of protein and, again, you can’t taste them.

Before adding them into the pasta, I usually put salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, and onion and garlic powder to it. It just spices it up a little.

That’s what it ends up looking liked when it’s mixed. Obviously you can see them in there super up close, but when you’re enjoying dinner (and have a mountain of cheese on it if you’re Mila) it’s just like a typical bowl of pasta.

It’s Mila approved in our house and I’m interested to see if it’s toddler approved across the board. Next time you have pasta, try this little mom tip and let me know how it works for you.

Weird Things My Toddler Does: Part Four.

This may not look like a weird thing, but it’s the strangest to me.

Since Mila was first born, she’s HATED sitting in the car seat and she still does. She would scream until we got to our destination; nothing would calm her down. It made driving not so fun and I’ve been waiting for her to ‘grow out of it.’

Turns out, all I needed to do was bring it inside. I was looking for her for ten minutes and didn’t even think to check the car seat, but there she sat.

Maybe next time she faces her comfy chair in the car, she’ll remember it’s not so bad.

Toddlers are weird.

Adapting to Different.

This summer has been different from all others.

I mean, we all know this. We’re living in a COVID world where we wear masks, constantly are sanitizing, and are stuck home. It’s a huge difference to spend summer this way for me. I’m used to concerts, beaches, and adventures.

When I realized summer wasn’t going to be the same as I had in my head, I worried about Mila. She wasn’t going to experience summer in the way she had the previous two years. Last year we had a bucket list and constantly were on the go. We went to the beach, quite a few times and I wondered if she’d be sad. Like most things, she’s helped show me the bright side of things.

Summers different in many ways, but not all just bad.

We still get to jump in the pool and she’s learning how to swim. I’ve found a new appreciation for dirt; probably because Mila looks so cute with it smeared across her face and it’s constantly stuck under her fingernails. Vacations have been (safety) visiting friends and the lake has became the beach. Home cooked meals are much better than going out to eat, although we still love to go get ice cream or slushees.

It seems to be a lot different, but summer has still felt the same. If she’s taught me anything during this time, it’s to adapt.

One more month of summer until my last year of classes begin. I’m not sure what the worlds going to be like in the near future, but we’ll adapt and take it as it comes.

For now, we’ll be soaking up these last few weeks of dirt and pool filled days.

Meatless Monday: Spicy Grilled Cheese

Another week brings you another recipe and yes, it’s Mexican inspired again. I can’t help it!

Lately, I’ve been wanting super spicy foods, but hold off with Mila. She tends to like what I’m eating more than what’s on her plate. I wish I could understand her toddler brain. Anyways, during her nap one day this week, I thought I’d experiment. I’ve had a spicy grilled cheese in mind, but haven’t had a chance to make one.

At first I was skeptical and didn’t know if I was going to share, but after tasting it and knowing how simple it was to make, I knew you guys needed it in your lives.

Spicy Grilled Cheese:

  • Pepper Jack Cheese
  • Green Peppers
  • Taco Seasoning
  • Bread
  • Butter

Yes! That’s all the ingredients I used. If I had red onion, I probably would have thrown some in too.

Directions:

First, cut and sauté your green peppers. I like mine to have a little crunch, so use your judgement here. While they’re cooking. Shred your cheese and butter your bread. I always use extra cheese, so again, do what you like best. After you’ve buttered your bread, sprinkle taco seasoning on the buttered sides. I’m probably the worst recipe maker, but I just eyed up how much I put on. Next, lay your bread butter/seasoning side down on the pan. Layer the cheese and peppers, then put the other slice on top. Cook like normal grilled cheese after!

I ended up putting sour cream on top of the sandwich and a little avocado ranch.

You guys, this was SO good. It would’ve been a little too spicy doe Mila at the moment, but maybe when she’s a little older. Normal grilled cheese is one of our go to’s though, so I could easily sneak making both and she’d never know!

I’m going to try really hard this week to make something more complicated or a dinner meatless. I usually just roast veggies, make rice, and add chickpeas for meatless dinners. We’ll see what I can come up with this week.