Happy Dada Day

Dada. Similar to Jimmy Fallon, Chris has decided that he wants Nico to call him Dada. As most of you that are parents know your life and world is turned upside down when you have a kid. I now call Chris Dada when he is in another part of the house and I need him. We both hope Nico will say Dada or momma first. Of course I think I carried the kid, and feed him every three hours, I should come first right? Alas, it probably will not work that way.

I have it good. I have the most amazing, smiley, giggling little boy who is happy all the time, squeals in the afternoon because he wants to go outside, and NEVER stops moving. He is just like his momma, my brain never stops, and I am always moving. This kid is going to be hard to keep up with for sure.

I have no idea how people adopt or raise children alone. It would be almost impossible to me. Chris keeps me sane, fed, encourages me to relax, and is so damn patient with me and Nico. He will be the perfect parent to oversee the potty training because he will sit on the side of the bathtub for as long as he has to (whereas I would eventually lose my mind waiting), he already cooks while holding Nico, and I see a budding chef in the making. As I go back to work, they will be spending some father/son time together this summer, and while I am wildly jealous I cannot be with them, I am so grateful and excited for this time they will have together.

I could not do it without you. Happy First Dada’s Day, Chris.

Random Recipe: Salty Sweet White and Dark Chocolate Toffee Bark

There are a lot of things (especially sweets) that Chris will eat and enjoy, but one thing that tops them all is toffee. Especially around the holidays. Not so much because it is the holidays, but more because you tend to find more options with different stores (Trader Joes for example) that bring out these specialties around November and December. I am also always on the lookout for good toffee recipes.

My mom used to make toffee, caramels, hard candy, divinity, and many other types of candies during the holidays. Often they were as gifts to friends, teachers, especially since we could not afford to purchase gifts, this was her way to share with others. I, however, do not have her toffee recipe, and well Chris is picky. So this one looked easy enough, and these days I need easy (I am 39 weeks preggers today)!

I will say it is super sweet – if you make it, add more pretzels for a better salty/sweet mixture!

Salty Sweet White and Dark Chocolate Toffee Bark

Ingredients:

14 ounces dark chocolate
¾ cup broken pretzel pieces
¾ cup Heath toffee pieces
8 ounces white chocolate

Directions:

1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Melt the dark chocolate in the microwave and stir until smooth. Stir in ½ cup of the pretzel pieces and ½ cup of the toffee pieces saving the rest for later. Spread the mixture on the prepared baking sheet. Refrigerate for a minimum of 30 minutes.

3. Melt the white chocolate and stir until smooth (just like the dark chocolate). Remove the baking sheet from the refrigerator and spread the white chocolate on top of the hardened dark chocolate layer. Sprinkle the remaining pretzel and toffee bits and press them gently into the white chocolate. Return the pan to the refrigerator for an hour.

4. Cut or break the bark into pieces and eat up (or share if you’re nice).

I paddle my own canoe

For as long as I can remember I have been someone who has done my own thing. I am not exactly a rebel, but I like to chart my own course, find my own answers, and do not love to just follow someone else’s lead. That does not mean I cannot follow directions or stay the course as needed, I am just less interested in following others. I am not usually one to read a book that everyone is reading. Instead, if the right person shares a nugget that resonates with me — that is when I decide to read the book. Not because everyone else is doing it. I like jewelry that is a piece of art and potentially very few individuals have that piece.

Having been a fan of “Wild” by Cheryl Strayed I was eager to read her next book: “Brave Enough.” Until I learned that it was basically a book of quotes. I am not usually one to sit down and read a book of quotes, and then I thought, it is a small book, it will be a quick read — and it was. She also shared some great ideas. One particularly resonated with me, it is not hers but a proverb of sorts that she shared, and it was the first time I had heard of it. It made me realize that I have always been one to “paddle my own canoe.”

“Love many, trust few, and always paddle your own canoe.” page vii

Later on the same page she says:

“Maybe you have to know the darkness before you can appreciate the light.” Page vii

Right on sister. I know I think about that often. Yesterday Chris and I were chilling on the couch while the turkey was cooking away in the oven, and I came across an email between my sister and me from 2010 about my mom, and whether I was mothered. As I read it to Chris I was getting choked up. My sister and I were remembering the good, bad, and ugly from our childhood on the anniversary of my mom’s passing. The beginning of the email my sister says: “Thinking about you tonight – and about mom and how she has been gone for half your life.” That was five years ago, and my mom has now been gone for 21 years, and yet all that I have been through over the years only serves to allow me to see the light.

I have definitely seen darkness, but I have also seen years of light and love. Thank you, Cheryl Strayed, for the reminder that I paddle my own canoe, and that I live in the light.

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.

Let me take a SELFIE

Spotify has made its way into our life. We use it at work, it plays in the kitchen while Chris cooks, or when we clean the house, and I have even used it when I cannot find anything I like on the radio while driving. The other day at work, I had the Top 100 hits on Spotify and it was cycling through different songs, and a new one came on I had not heard before. “#SELFIE” by The Chainsmokers. It is hilarious, and also a bit disturbing. Even so, it caught my attention immediately. Partly it is the beat and rhythm that keeps you interested. Well in that one-hit-wonder kind of way. When you really start to listen to the words, you might think differently. Here are a few:

Did you think that girl was pretty?
How did that girl even get in here?
Do you see her?
She’s so short and that dress is so tacky
Who wears Cheetah?

Can you guys help me pick a filter?
I don’t know if I should go with XX Pro or Valencia
I wanna look tan
What should my caption be?
I want it to be clever
How about “Livin’ with my bitches, hash tag LIVE”
I only got 10 likes in the last 5 minutes
Do you think I should take it down?
LET ME TAKE ANOTHER SELFIE

A selfie: a photo taken of oneself to post onto a social network. The self-portrait of our times, but one that is shared with a few people to millions or even a billions of followers (depending on who you are). I wonder though, why has it created such a phenomenon and almost cult following? Is it that we want to be seen, tell a story of what we did that day, however interesting or boring it may be, or are we becoming full of ourselves? I do not know the answer. Sure I have been known to post photos of myself, and sometimes they are selfies, but to what extent are we virtually (and I meant that literally) showing off? As the lyrics state: “I only got 10 likes in the last 5 minutes.” Is it more about how many people see us and like, comment, or whatever, or is it more about ourselves and the story we want to tell?

What do you think? Watch the video to enjoy a little dance party on your Friday.