With the changes in leaves, I get a hankering for many seasonal treats. Autumn candles, pumpkin spice lattes, tall boots and scarves are just a few. And when the weather starts to cool down, I also get serious cravings for crockpot chili.
3 years ago when we were living in Alabama I remember seeking out a chili recipe from my social media friends. A high school girlfriend, Danusia, sent over her favorite recipe and I gave it a whirl. YUM. I printed it out for my cookbook and ever since then, it’s been my go-to for these perfect fall days. So since it’s seasonally appropriate, I thought I’d share the recipe with you!
1 1/2 lbs ground turkey
1 medium onion, chopped
1-2 peppers (I like orange/ red/ yellow), chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can (14 oz) petite diced tomatoes
1 can (14 oz) tomato sauce
1 tbsp oregano flakes
1 tbsp cumin
4 tbsp chili powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tbsp beef boullion
1/2 can beer (your choice!)
2-3 cans (14 oz) beans of your choice, drained and rinsed
Brown the ground turkey on the stove, then place in crockpot. Toss all the above ingredients (EXCEPT the beans) into the crockpot and set on low for 7 hours or high for 4 hours. Add the beans in for the last half hour.
Fry meat with onions, peppers, and garlic until meat is browned. Add remaining ingredients, except beans, to meat mixture. Bring to boil; reduce heat and simmer for 2 hours, stirring regularly. Add beans to the mixture for the last half hour and serve when warm.
The awesome thing about this recipe is that not only is it easy to make, it’s so easy to change. I like to add jalapeños and hot chili beans to give it more of a kick. I also change the peppers and the bean combinations often just to keep things interesting. Often times I double up the recipe and throw some in the freezer for another day.
Another bonus? It’s [fairly] easy to prepare with a lil one. Last time I made it, E and I rode like this,,,
And today went a little something like this,,
Gotta love those post-errand carseat naps!!
& there ya have it! Let me know if you give this recipe a try! I’d do it soon if I were you :-p
Happy Friday and Happy November! Time for a 3 month mommyhood update.
This morning I watched a segment on The Today Show that showed a bunch of women talking about their insecurities as mothers. Their number one wish? More patience. And amen to that. I think every woman, mother or not, wants that. They followed up their personal interviews by showing videos of their children talking about the things they love most about their moms. Responses varied from “she’s pretty” to “she’s my hero” to “she cooks for me a lot.” But there was one little boy who said his mom was “his heart” because they are so close. I melted. What I loved most about the segment was the realization that while moms tend to focus on the negative, here are their kids, who still think the world of them despite it all. Kiddos just truly love their mamas – at least at these young ages.
Although sometimes, there are babies like this one, who are just moved to tears by your mothering skills
Emery is my best boy. I love love love him more than I know what to do with. And in no way do I regret my decision to stay home with him. But being with him 24 hours a day 7 days a week is proving to be very challenging. Just as I suspected, SAHM-ing is HARD.
I’ve been blessed to have a very happy, healthy baby. For the past 3 months, he has woken up each morning with a huge smile on his face, snuggles, plays his little heart out for 75% of the day, and is just a joy to be with. But it seems as though ever since he hit the 3-month mark, he’s changed a bit. Maybe its the formation of a personality behind these changes. Maybe it’s a growth spurt. Either way, he’s developed a sort of sassiness that I’m having trouble managing. This sassiness consists of intermittent breakdowns and inconsolable crying. Crocodile tears and hard cries that are basically the death of this mom’s confidence in short bursts. No! I don’t want to eat. No! I don’t want my paci. No! No! No! I guess I should get used to these tantrums as I’m sure there are TONS more to come. But the transition from happy to miserable in such a short amount of time is maddening. For him and I both. I worry that he’s sick, though there’s no convincing evidence of such – no fever, cough, etc. Even though it’s early, I really think he’s starting to teethe, though there aren’t any signs of teeth (yet). There’s a whole lot of drooling and hand sucking going on. I’m telling you, being in the medical field is not overly beneficial in mommy hood bc all I am is a huge hypochondriac.
I know some of my frustrations stem from not getting out of the house as much as I should. Whether that’s to Target, the grocery store, the new house, or the gym. I think I choose to stay in more often than not partly because I worry about a public baby breakdown. But I guess what I have yet to realize is that he’s a baby. Crying happens. As does poop. So I need to suck it up and get that fresh air we both so desperately need every now and again. Just promise not to judge if you find us both in the Target dressing room bawling our eyes out I’m happy to report that we just got back from a mini shopping trip and despite some belly cries as soon as we left the house, I had a good baby on my hands. We even took a little time to visit Daddy at work.
Writing all of this down is making it overly apparent that I need to take some time for myself every now and then. Not only is it important, but it’s healthy. I still would LOVE some advice as to how to make it out of this fussy/ teething/ crying phase alive. And with some sort of sanity.
Now some positives!
E absolutely LOVES his Daddy. Like, it’s adorable to see. Every night when he gets home from work, it’s like a new baby has replaced my fussy one. He looks at him with such admiration and it’s pretty darn precious. And vice versa. I can’t get enough of these boys.
E “celebrated” his first Halloween yesterday! If by celebrating, you mean that he got dressed up in his costumes for a total of 30 minutes while Mommy took pictures and said ‘Boo’ This year definitely wasn’t all that exciting, but it’s fun to think about how it’ll be next year!
Round One: Pirate! (circa 1989, originally worn by Uncle Anthony)
Round Two: Dragon! (thanks Aunt Cheryl!)
We also took a Halloween trip to Grandma and Grandpa’s this past weekend where he dressed up in his Dragon suit and had some one-on-one with his Great Grandpa. So sweet.
Now onto Mommy. On the fitness front, I’m sad to say I’ve been a total slacker. After I got the go-ahead to exercise, I went after it full force. But shortly after I had a little scare with my c-section incision (likely another overreaction, but still). So besides the occasional walk in the park, I really haven’t done much working out in over a month. The motivation just hasn’t been there (though I’ve had no problem complaining about not fitting into my pre-preggo clothes!!). It won’t take much for me to get back to the gym, I just need to bite the bullet and go. It’s just SO easy to choose comfort over sweating.
Speaking of the gym, does anyone use the child care at their gym?? I know mine has one, I’m just leary leaving E with strangers in a semi-dirty place. Thoughts??
I still haven’t figured out what to run/ race next year, though Dad and I have talked about the Bayshore Half Marathon in Traverse City next May. I’ve always wanted to run this race and as you all know, northern Michigan is my favorite space. There’s also a full marathon option, so I suppose if things are going REALLY well with training, I could always upgrade. Oh, and there’s always the Mini, which I fully intend to run next year!
That’s all for now! Time to tend to my mouthy minion Have a wonderful weekend!! xo
To run or to cheer? That is the question.
This past weekend my Dad ran the Detroit Free Press Half Marathon. It was his 6th half, and 2nd time running one solo. The first time he ran without me in Chicago, he PR’d with a 1:58 finish. This time, his pace was a little slower since he was coming off injury. But he still did amazing, maintaining a sub-10 min/mile the entire race and finishing in 2:09! Even though he tends to run better without me there, I seriously missed being by his side.
That same day, my cousins Danielle, Ashley and Ashley’s bf Calvin ran the full marathon in support of the Hope Water Project, which raises money to provide safe, clean drinking water to the people of Pokot. It was Danielle and Calvin’s 1st 26.2, Ashley’s 2nd. Raising money to run is such an amazing motivator and reminds me of my own experience fundraising for Team in Training prior to my 1st marathon. Their fundraising and killer training got them across the finish line in 4:29, a major PR for Ash. As I watched them stride towards the finish line, I couldn’t help but yearn for the days when that was me.
Being fall racing season, I’ve watched lots of my friends tackle marys and half marys over the past month or so. Many of my Perfect Strangers ran the Chicago Marathon a few weeks ago. It was my first time missing that race in 2 years, and to say I missed the energy of that weekend was a major understatement. I tracked the hell out of all of them that day though
I love being a race cheerleader. I really do. Watching others push the limits to cross the finish line is extremely inspiring. It doesn’t take much for me to tear up at the sight of a determined runner. Especially when it’s your own family member out there.
But despite how much I love spectating, Sunday reminded me that I don’t want to be on the sidelines much longer. I want to get back to earning those medals. To running those brutal training runs in the snowy winters and humid midwestern summers. To reconnecting with my running sole mates. To sweat out excess negative energy and leave it on the streets. I want the next finish line I see to be one that I cross.
Verdict: Runner > Cheerleader.
So I’ve decided it’s time to plan my next move. Typically the best way for me to get motivated is to register for a race. That way theres no turning back and running must happen. So that’s the plan. The Indianapolis Monumental Marathon which I’ve ran the last 2 years is in 2 weeks — no time to get ready for that. Turkey trots are right around the corner, so I think one of those might be a safe bet. They’re usually short enough and won’t require much training. I just need to figure out if I’ll be in Michigan or Indy. Then there are always short fun runs in December. My email is blowing up with reminders for the Santa Hustle. So the races are out there, it’s just a matter of picking one.
But after the short seasonal runs, I want another goal. A winter half? A spring full? I’m not sure what I want to strive for just yet. What I do know is that I want to run. To be a running mommy. To be healthy for my son. My husband. My family. Myself. I know training won’t be as “easy” as it has been in the past now that I’ve got a dependent little human on my hands. But once I set a goal, I plan on seeing it through. No matter what.
Until then, I’m always available to cheer
Do you have any upcoming fitness goals? What races are you running in 2013-2014? Any words of advice for a running mommy?
Goodness me, you’re already three,,, months that is!
As I look through this month’s pictures, I’m truly amazed by how much you are changing. I even told your Daddy yesterday that I can physically see you turning into a little boy every day. Your face, your hair, your sounds and expressions. Everything is just changing so much! All of you just continues to awe me (and everyone around you) each and every day.
We had quite an eventful month I’d say! We took two trips to Michigan to visit Grandpa & Gigi (and you survived the 4+ hour car ride both times!). We introduced you to the Perfect Strangers. We took lots of trips to Indy to make decisions on the house building front (you’re a great little helper!). But even though we did lots of activities, we also spent lots of time at home. We definitely love our lazy days, whether they’re spent on your playmat watching Colts games or snuggling in Mommy’s arms.
At your last doctor’s visit, you got your first round of immunizations. That meant four whole shots. Oh boy, what a day. I warned you on our way there that you might leave the office less happy than you had in the past, and I was right. I felt like a mean Mommy because you had no idea what was coming. I’ll NEVER forget the look on your little face after the nurse poked your sweet little legs like rapid fire, bandaged you up and hit the road, leaving you sobbing in my arms. My heart broke a little that day watching you cry. I definitely shed a tear or two (or ten) with you. But like I’ve told you, there’s a reason for these shots. And though they hurt when you receive them, they’ll ultimately protect you from terrible things. Mommy and Daddy received them when we were little too. Trust me, you’ll be fine. And you’ll get lots of loving after every poke.
That day was certainly not like the rest. Here’s a sample of ‘A Day in the Life of Emery: 3 Month Edition’
- Wake up between 7-830a. Occasionally you’ll sleep past 9 if you wake in the middle of the night, but that’s less common nowadays.
- Eat & diaper change.
- Head downstairs where you play on your playmat and Mommy has her morning coffee and takes care of a few odds and ends.
- Eat again (this continues every 2-3 hours).
- Take your morning nap, usually about 2 hours after waking. Sometimes these are quickies (30-45 minutes), other times they’re an hour or two. You’re still loving naps on Mommy instead of your crib. Still a work in progress.
- Afternoons usually consist of errands with Mom, either locally or in Indy. You’re wonderful in the car and often take an afternoon nap at this time.
- Back home, eat & diaper change.
- More play and tummy time!
- Daddy comes home from work between 5-6p and you snuggle up with him as soon as he arrives!
- You occasionally let Mommy and Daddy eat together while you play, but many times you make us eat one at a time.
- Nights consist of bath time (still loving!), last minute feedings, and rocking to sleep with help from your Wubbanub.
- Swaddle & sweet dreams around 8-9p!
So sleeping! Last month you were sleeping through the night with the occasional wake up part-way through. This month? You’re holding steady with the same routine! And over the past week you’ve only woken me up once. I was talking to my friend Rachel on the phone this weekend, and when I told her you’re sleeping through the night she replied, “You know that’s not normal, right?” Guess we’re just lucky! You’re such a good boy and I’m so thankful you give Mommy and Daddy the rest they love so much. It makes mornings with you that much sweeter.
You’re a champion at tummy time lately. Honestly, it’s impressive. Just the other day while I was laying on the couch and you were on your belly on top of me, you were lifting up your head and neck and actually playing with the strings on my sweatshirt. You’re becoming so darn strong every day. You’ll be on the move before we know it, I can just tell.
One thing we dabbled in this month is cloth diapering. I’ve always wanted to try cloth diapers, despite the strange looks I received when I told other people about it. Responses ranged from “WHY???” to “What happens when they have a blowout?” Even so, I stocked up on about half a dozen pocket diapers and double that amount of liners before you were born. I decided a few weeks ago that I would give it a go. Time to bite the bullet despite my anxiety. So I stuffed one of those dipes with a liner (ps, I did it wrong the first time), grabbed a 6-month onesie, and suited you up. I have to admit, I love the look of a cloth diaper butt. Especially on your lil butt <3 Anyway, you soaked through that sucker within the hour and I had to change you sooner than I usually do in disposables. I even had to change your onesie bc it got wet. I stuffed 2 liners in the next diaper, but that one didn’t last very long either. We gave the cloth diapers a solid try for a few days, but I just couldn’t get the hang of it. From the constant changing, to the cleaning, to the laundry. So, like a weenie, I went back to putting you in the disposables. I keep telling myself that I need to commit 100% before trying again, and maybe that’ll require me buying more diapers. Or getting rid of the disposables. Or just doing more research (though I’ve already done a ton!!). Everyone that uses them seems to love them, so I’m not giving up just yet! I want that big booty back!
ps,,, any helpful hints on cloth diapering?? Please share!!
Overall you’re a wonderful baby. We are reminded of it constantly. Your coos are frequent and your cries are becoming stronger. But those are signs of a healthy growing boy with LOTS of personality! I couldn’t be happier with my decision to stay home with you.
Three month stats: No ped appointment until 4 months. My guess is you’re about 13 lbs, give or take a few ounces (12 lbs 5 oz at two month visit). But you’re pretty much out of your three month clothes and moving into six months comfortably!
- Babbling! You’re a regular chatterbox lately!
- You’re VERY close to laughing.
- Awesome head control. All that tummy time is paying off!
- Being able to sit propped up on pillows.
Things You Like:
- Your playmat. Best money Mommy’s ever spent.
- Being unswaddled every morning!
- Visitors and babysitters. This month you were watched by Nicole, Tammy, Grandma/ Grandpa Cook and Heather and got a very good report card from all!
- Marathon spectating! We watched Grandpa Moceri run a half marathon this weekend and had a blast! Even though you slept most of the time. Your first of many races I’m sure!
- Mommy and Daddy snuggles
Things You Don’t Like:
- Shots. Owie.
- Those darn gas pains.
- Spit up. Usually means an outfit change, which stinks for everyone.
- Being ignored. You really like attention
Places we’ve been this month:
- Michigan x 2!
- The Detroit Zoo with Auntie S.
- Brown County with Grandpa and Gigi.
Exciting Upcoming Events:
- Halloween! We are going to Grandma and Grandpa Cook’s this weekend for trick or treating! Excited to dress you up!!
Things Mommy is looking forward to:
- Getting back into shape. She hasn’t been extremely motivated lately, but watching the marathon this past weekend gave her a little kick in the pants.
- MOVING!! Things are really progressing with the house! Hopefully soon.
And now,,, !
I couldn’t stop snapping pictures of you yesterday. You just looked so darn cute in your lumberjack outfit!
I tried THREE different times to put you on your tummy for a few shots, and every.single.time you rolled right over to your back! Stinker,,,
I love you, my darling. You’re the best. Happy 3
I’ve always wanted to be a nurse practitioner (well, that was after I got that whole doctor concept out of my head). And since becoming one, I’m not sure what else I’d rather be. I truly love what I do. I’m proud of my achievements and grateful for all my experiences as an NP. My latest job has allowed me to learn so much about hospital medicine. Things I wouldn’t have learned in my previous jobs in an office setting. It’s also given me the opportunity to meet some fantastic people who I now call friends. I really love the social interaction of my job. With patients, doctors, other NPs. It’s awesome. Not to mention, being able to flex my brain muscles on a daily basis is seriously underrated. I love being a Nurse with a Purse.
I’ve also always wanted to be a Mom. Whether that was a stay-at-home (SAHM) or a working Mom, I didn’t know. A Mom was enough for me. I realized I was ready to take that step probably 2 years ago. I knew motherhood would open a whole new chapter in the book of life. One of excitement and new beginnings. One of challenges. And one that would give me full responsibility of raising a little human, including both the fun parts and the scary ones. Though terrifying in concept, the reality of mommyhood has always sounded overwhelmingly worth it.
All throughout my pregnancy, I thought a lot about what life would be like after baby arrived. Besides the obvious, of course. Yes, I realized I would be a sleep-deprived milk machine. That’s not what I mean. My thoughts mainly revolved around my return to work. Would I go back after my 12-week maternity leave? Would I return part time instead of full? Who would take care of our baby? All of our family is 2+ hours away from us. Do I really want my baby in daycare at such a young age?
And then the inevitable question,,,
Should I just stay home?
My mom stayed at home with us when we were growing up. There were three of us. And though I didn’t have much of an appreciation for it at the time, I now understand just how hard of a job it really is. And I only have one baby (for now)! There are long days full of diapers. The occasional tears and frustrations. The daily struggles just to get a shower in. On the flip side, there are TONS of positives that come with staying home, including endless smiles, time to go midday Target-ing, and milestone-witnessing. There is no doubt that SAHMs do not get the credit they deserve. And I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t take that into consideration when making my decision.
True to form, I made a pro/ con list in my head to assist in my decision-making process.
- More time with my baby.
- Being able to watch him grow day by day.
- The ability to travel, cook, run, explore.
- More time to focus on finalizing our house-building projects and ultimately our upcoming move.
- A lack of adult interaction.
- The possibility of going stir-crazy at home.
- Leaving a job where I’ve grown tremendously.
- Losing the NP skills that I’ve worked so hard to gain.
- The reputation of SAHMs.
For whatever reason, there seems to be such a stigma about being a SAHM. And quite honestly, I couldn’t care less. Everyone has their opinions. And more importantly, everyone has an important role in society. As well as a reason behind their decisions to do what they do. Teachers have the reputation of being under appreciated. But do you see them stepping down because of it? No. Same goes for SAHMs. Just because there are people out there that classify them as unkept, yoga pants wearing, frazzled soccer mom types who run around ragged, doesn’t mean they are any less important. Or serve a lesser role in the community or to their families. Not to mention the lack of truth to that above statement (though I do love my yoga pants )
So here’s what I think,,,
I am a successful person. I have a masters degree. There have only been a few months since graduating in 2004 where I have been without a job (relocation related). I’m very proud of all my educational accomplishments. And in my opinion, I deserve to take this opportunity to be the one thing in my life that I have so strongly desired to be: A mom.
My decision came down to one thing: The fact that I’m fortunate enough to be able to stay home. And since I am, then I will. So many people don’t have that luxury. And since I do, there’s really no other choice in my eyes. Yes it was hard to make the phone call and give my resignation. But it would be harder to walk out my door everyday and leave my son in the care of a stranger. If I had family close-by, my feelings might be different. But they’re not. I’m lucky that I chose a career that is highly sought after, so when I choose to return to work, I most likely won’t have a problem doing so. I’m also grateful to have a supportive husband who is on board with my decision. Never once did he question me. The thing I fear the most is to blink and my little guy is 18 years old. I do not want to miss watching him grow. I want to treasure every moment.
While the days can be long, the years are so short.
I’m so impressed with working mothers. Being able to balance work and mommyhood is no easy task (as said from an outsider looking in). And let’s be honest,, I know quite a few amazing ones. These women not only work, they are also part of various organizations and somehow manage to fit in time for themselves as well. Their busy schedules make my head spin. But they get it done. And well. Since the thought of returning to work at this time in my baby’s life makes my heart hurt, I know I’m making the right decision. In order to be a working mama, you’ve gotta strike a balance that works best for your family. And one day, I will do that. That day just isn’t today.
Do I intend on going back to work at some point? Absolutely!! Like I said, I love what I do. When will that be? I have no idea. There are a lot of factors that will affect that decision. For now, I’m going to focus my efforts on taking care of my little boy, who deserves 100% of my love and attention.
I’m looking forward to a lot of things during my time staying home. Moving into our new house, for one. Organizing and making it our own. And once we’re nestled in, I hope to spread my wings and get involved in the community. Play groups, outings with other Indy mamas. Who knows. It’s exciting to think about the new unknown world that awaits us.
I do worry about losing my NP skills over time. But that’s what CME’s are for (and thankfully I just recertified this spring, giving me 5 more years to accumulate hours). I also worry about becoming a debbie downer about being “stuck” at home all the time. But I plan to avoid that attitude at all costs. Passions shift during life, and this is a clear example of that. The life of a SAHM may not be glamorous, but it’s the life I’ve chosen. And the life I cannot WAIT to explore.
All I can say is,,, I’m so lucky.
&&& Emery, let the memories begin!
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