Judge me all you want

Change happens for us all every day. We do not always realize how much change hits us on a day-to-day basis, often because of how we handle the change. At some level we all have a bit of dislike to change. Some individuals are more flexible than others, some are more set in their ways or routines, and yet others relish the freedom and excitement of having things constantly changing in life.

Whatever level of tolerance we have for change, we often do not have a choice of if it happens to us. Whether that means changes at work, at home, with our family, there is change that happens by choice and change that we would rather not come close to with a ten foot pole. These past few weeks for me have been emotional to one extent (thank you hormones) and a little nerve-racking on another level. I know I am not the first woman to have a baby, and I know (because everyone tells you) that my life is about to change in numerous ways. Some of those changes will be amazing, and some will knock me on my ass.

I have to say that what has been hardest (besides my body no longer being mine, the endless peeing, and little to no sleep because of the endless peeing) has been being a professional woman with a team. When you read about others that go on maternity leave, they talk about the baby side of it, but what they do not really talk often about is what it is like for the working mom. I have been working since I was 9 years old. I had a paper route, and babysat kids in the neighborhood. This means that I have been working non-stop for the last 28 years. The most time I have taken off (other than a period when I was laid off), is the two weeks I took for my wedding/honeymoon. I have never not worked for a longer period than that.

Now, judge me all you want, as I think some mothers might — when I say it is going to be hard for me to be away from work. There are some pretty involved and intense projects happening in the coming months and, while I have the most amazing team, it does not make it easy for me to be away from it all. I have poured my heart into the work and my team, and having a child does not necessarily change my dedication to my work. Sure, some of my priorities will change when I meet Mini Conk, but I also want to raise a son that not only understands the importance of hard work, but also sees that I have an identity that is different from just being a mom.

Folks rarely talk about how hard it is for a working mom, instead I see more judgement that my place as a mom is at home with my son. Why should I have to choose, and why should I be judged for how I want to live my life? As more and more women have leadership positions at companies, not only do the rights for women having children need to change, so does the behavior for how we treat women that work and want to do both.

Thank you, thank you…

Gratitude is on the mind — and not just because tomorrow is Thanksgiving. I just finished reading “The Gratitude Diaries” by Janice Kaplan. She spends an entire year focusing on gratitude in her life (her marriage, work, children, money, etc.) It gave me a lot to think about and was especially appropriate for this time of year, the holidays, Thanksgiving, and being at the home stretch of this pregnancy.

I thought I would share a list of things that are especially appropriate right now to me:

  1. My husband: I wrote about him last week so you know all the good stuff, and if you did not read it take a peek at last week’s blogs. Yesterday I randomly said I do not know what I would do without you. His response was: “yes I am not sure what you would do.” So I started listing off all these things that would make my life miserable and he said: “You could just live in a hotel.” Ha. It is so much more than that my better half. So much more.
  2. My health: It is not perfect — but I am making it through each day, and look forward to meeting this little man and taking the tests to find out how I am after delivery. If all goes well, then I look forward to getting back to my running and feeling like myself again.
  3. My future son: I am just so excited that we have made it this far together. Your dad and I are ecstatic and cannot count the days to meet you. That and I would love my body back.
  4. My family and friends: So grateful for each of you. Thank you for being a support to me, a listening ear, and an inspiration. I miss you mom, dad, and Granny Smith.
  5. My team at work: You work hard and play hard, keep it fun, funny, and real. Thank you.

For all of you reading my blog I appreciate you too. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your friends and family. Cherish each moment.

Random Recipe: Creamy Wild Rice and Chicken Soup

This was damn good soup. I am not a fan of leftovers, and this soup not only was good the first night, it was good the second night. Rarely will you catch me eating leftovers. You cannot tell the difference between Day 1 and Day 2. The only caveat to this recipe is it says preparation time is 10 minutes, but in actuality you are actively doing something for the entire 30 minutes. It requires constant stirring, but it is worth it.

You will not be disappointed!

Creamy Wild Rice and Chicken Soup

2 tablespoons olive oil
½ cup chopped celery
½ cup diced carrots
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
1 cup of cooked chicken, cubed
1 4.3-oz package of Rice-a-Roni long grain and wild rice (w/seasoning packet)
½ cup butter
¾ cup flour
2 cups half and half

Instructions

In a large sauce pot over medium heat, saute celery and carrots in the olive oil for about 6 minutes..

Add the chicken broth, water, and chicken to the sauce pot. Bring to boiling, and then stir in rice (saving the seasoning packet for later). Cover and turn heat to low.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter and then stir in seasoning packet until the mixture starts to bubble. Reduce heat to low and slowly whisk in flour, tablespoon by tablespoon, until it makes a thick paste. Slowly whisk in half and half until completely smooth. Continue cooking and stirring until it starts to thicken (about 5 minutes).

Stir cream mixture into the broth mixture and cook until heated through (about 10 minutes).

He keeps my world going

I recently saw a post on Facebook sharing a husband’s absolute adoration of his wife. They had just had a baby and were basically living in the NICU. His wife was in school and at the times their baby was sleeping she was writing papers for her classes, and he was in awe of what she was able to handle. I myself was in awe of her. I cannot imagine what it must be like to have your little baby need to be in the hospital for a long period of time, and basically living there with them while also trying to stay focused in school (or work if that is what you need to do).

Reading this on Facebook and reading a book on gratitude made me think about Chris and how hard it would be to do all this pregnant business without his daily help. There are some days that I come home from work and am extremely tired. I guess that is a given for being 34 weeks pregnant. When we come home from work the first thing I need is help taking my shoes and pants off (by the end of the day I cannot wait to take my clothes off). The second thing I usually need is food. Yesterday for example I was starving, and immediately he helped me get into comfy clothes and then made me toast — my go-to snack these days.

Then there is the most recent shift in my body. I can feel my pelvis shifting, an odd sensation, but what is more alarming is that when I get up literally every hour to pee, my body feels unmovable in bed. I have to wake him up and have him help me sit up, stand, and walk me to the bathroom. Without his assistance, I cannot get out of bed, and there have been numerous occasions recently where when I have stood up I start to collapse because of the pelvic pain. Ah, the wonders of pregnancy.

Now you might be reading this and say yes this is part of pregnancy — and you would be right. I am not complaining. I am acknowledging his patience and sharing my gratitude for an amazing husband who 99% of the time never complains. Yes, lately he says how tired he is because he has gotten up so many times in the middle of the night, and I say: “Save it. This is what I have been doing since last April.” Regardless, he has been my crutch, my shoulder, my lotion-to-belly applier, the one who dresses me, and even the one that lifts me out of the car when I get stuck, and most importantly my cheerleader.

While I will not lie, women are amazing. I do not know a man who could make it through 10 months of pregnancy. Yet, we sometimes forget that there are men that rub our backs, our feet, and tell us what troopers we are. Sure we are doing the heavy lifting, but it sure helps to have someone who keeps the rest of your world going. Thank you, Chris.

Random Recipe: Pumpkin Spice Coffee Cake

I know fall is almost over and I need to get on board with the fact that winter is on its way. The leaves are mostly off of our trees, and it is getting colder every day. Even as fall leaves us and we move into winter, I still want all things pumpkin. I even joined the silly controversy and the rest of the world in getting a Starbucks red cup for a Pumpkin Spice Latte. It was worth it.

I also love me some yummy coffee cake. Of course I am addicted to my mom’s version (thank you Betty Crocker) so thought it would be fun to try a pumpkin version – why not right? It was okay. It has this ribbon-like swirl of pumpkin in the middle that is a bit strange for someone like me with food texture issues. If you like a strong pumpkin flavor then this is your kind of treat.

Pumpkin Spice Coffee Cake

Ingredients
1 cup of sugar
1 cup of canola oil
4 eggs
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice, divided
1 (15 oz) can of pumpkin

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9×13 baking dish.

Beat the sugar and oil together in a large mixing bowl. Then beat in the eggs. Beat in the flour and baking powder. Beat in just two of the tablespoons of pumpkin pie spice.

Spread half of the batter across base of prepared baking dish. Open the can of pumpkin and stir in the remaining tablespoon of pumpkin pie spice. Spread the pumpkin over the batter. Spread the other half of the batter on top of the pumpkin. Gently swirl the three layers together with a knife.

Bake for about 40 minutes and enjoy!