Thoughts on Self Image

The other day I was scrolling through the hundreds of photos on my phone of Baby M, and I thought to myself, “Gosh, this baby is beautiful. He is absolute perfection.”

I know I’m not the only mother in the world who’s thought that. In fact, I hope every mother feels that way about her offspring.

But it got me thinking further—about how we think of ourselves.

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Our babies are beautiful. And when they grow into toddlers…then “kids”…then pre-teens…then teenagers …then finally young adults and full-grown adults…we still think they’re perfect (at least that’s what every other mom in the world has told me). Our babies will always be our beautiful babies—even at 47.

If we always think this way of our children—no matter if they grow short or tall, thinner or heavier—then when do we (and they?) start questioning our self image?

  • Is it when we outgrow our favorite pair of pants as a toddler?
  • Is it when we can’t catch up to little Johnny in preschool soccer because he runs faster?
  • Is it the first tear-filled recess on the playground in 2nd grade when the class bully makes fun of our clothing, haircut, or pudginess?
  • Is it when our middle school crush calls us a “nerd,” and we feel that first gut-punching sting of rejection?
  • Is it when a football coach says you need to beef up or a gymnastic coach tells you to suck your tummy a little tighter and tighten your butt?
  • Is it in the high school bathroom, in front of the mirror with a handful of other girls, when we critique our giant pimples, our flat (or large) chests, and our other “imperfections?”
  • Is it when we graduate college and hit rock bottom in our struggle to find our place in “the real world” or share in meaningful relationships?
  • Is it after pregnancy when we struggle to lose those last 5 pounds and realize we can choose either to loathe or embrace our new—remarkable—bodies?
  • Or is it at middle-to-old-age, when we truly feel the effects of aging—those grey hairs and laugh lines that weren’t there yesterday or those aches and pains when we get out of bed on a chilly winter morning?

Each of us is unique—with a distinct purpose in this beautiful, diverse world. We are more than our bodies. So why is it that at a very early age—too early, really—we lose sight of ourselves and begin comparing ourselves to others and growing more aware of what we assume are imperfections and qualities that need to be changed or fixed?

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While both standard and social media do a great job of telling us “you’re not good enough” or “you shouldn’t eat that” or “you should look like this (photo-shopped) supermodel,” the blame can’t be placed squarely on TV, magazines, Pinterest, or Instagram.

It’s something we experience too soon in our lives. It’s societal—but it’s also in our nature, I guess.

In reality, I do love my body. I’m still amazed at what it has accomplished through pregnancy and childbirth—and how it continues to gain strength with each lift of my child. Instead of fearing new grey hairs or the hint of a wrinkle, I consider aging a privilege—and I hope I do it gracefully.

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I’m still in a bit of a funk—trying to look and feel “my best” by beginning a fitness routine again and maintaining self-care (when not tending to my baby’s needs)—but I know the good days outnumber the bad and my self-worth is not tied to the definition (or lack thereof) of my abs.

As Baby M grows and changes, I hope that he sees himself as I see him: as the incredible miracle and beautiful person he is. Maybe by policing myself—avoiding the critical “mirror-talk” and simply enjoying that giant bowl of ice cream instead of rationalizing my choice out loud—I can help him hold onto his innocence and positive self-image for as long as possible.

Thinking-Out-Loud

I’m linking up for some Thinking Out Loud today. Happy Thursday, everyone!

NEDA 2015: I had no idea…

When I began my blog in late 2012, I dove into the “healthy living” community with gusto (in my mind, at least). I spent the better part of my (then) slow work days reading food blogs, imagining myself a raw vegan (that didn’t last too long thanks to my deeply rooted love for bacon), and becoming some exercise-loving guru.

Luckily for me—that foray into unknown dietary territory was short-lived (not that there’s anything wrong with veganism—particularly for ethics—or following other “diets,” such as paleo, vegetarian, etc. that work for your body and lifestyle).

Now, although I still strive to live a healthy lifestyle, I’m somewhat reluctant to label myself a “healthy living blogger.”’

You see, I had no idea just how obsessive and disordered this community could sometimes be.

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Yes, there are many bloggers whom I respect and admire: they cook beautiful, natural food; they inspire others to find their own healthy lifestyle; they are incredibly fit in their own way; and they believe in moderation and doing what’s best for their own body and health.

Nevertheless, there are numerous bloggers whom I’ve stopped following because they seem unaware of their own dangerous habits. In blogging, we only see through a single window of somebody’s life—not the whole picture—but we owe our readers the care and consideration we’d give our closest friends and family. Some bloggers—most likely with good intentions—promote calorie counting/restriction, omitting certain food groups (ethics, allergies, and sensitivities aside), and excessive exercise. Readers may emulate this behavior, not realizing its potential harmful effects on their own lives.

February 22- 28 is National Eating Disorder Awareness Week. Once again, the theme is I had no idea…

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While I’ve never personally suffered from an eating disorder, I’ve felt unhappy with my body, tried to control my emotions with food, pushed myself too hard in exercise, and seen how easy and fulfilling it can be on the surface to control one’s sadness, self-esteem issues, or anxiety with food—whether through restricting or bingeing. I’ve seen others fall into the depths of true eating disorders and suffer detrimental consequences to their health.

Eating disorders are true mental illness and deserve attention and funding for treatment. Did you know that 20 million women and 10 million men in the United States suffer, at some point in their lives, from a clinically significant eating disorder?

Eating disorders are deadly. In fact, anorexia nervosa has the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric disorder, often going hand-in-hand with clinical depression and substance abuse. [source]

This week—and always—be vigilant in your self-care and identifying dangerous behavior in your family and friends.

Some signs to watch for…

  • poor body image
  • preoccupation with food (counting calories, weighing food, avoiding certain food groups, etc.)
  • fear of social eating/eating in public
  • frequent trips to the bathroom (especially after eating)
  • sudden weight loss
  • obsessive exercise

Never be scared or ashamed to seek help—your struggles do not define you. For more information on eating disorder awareness, symptoms, and risks, click here.

Osman’s Restaurant Review

For my birthday 2 weeks ago, Mark and I decided to try a locally-loved, but new-to-us, restaurant—Osman’s.

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Osman’s has been in business since 2000, and it’s family owned and operated by Bosnian immigrants.

Tucked away in what I’d describe as an odd location (it’s not in the best part of town), the restaurant is small and quaint. The décor is nothing fancy, but it’s cozy and comfortable enough for an intimate dinner.

To begin, Mark and I ordered a bottle of Four Bears Cabernet and shared the brie appetizer. The wheel of brie was coated in bread crumbs, fried, and topped with a raspberry jam.

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The brie was good, but it wasn’t our favorite. We thought it was a little bland—which is unusual, since we both love brie. The jam was a bit too sweet and needed a kick of acid. Nevertheless, we ate almost the entire thing.

The menu is largely European: Italian pasta dishes and eggplant parmesan; a variety of schnitzels,; fish, shrimp, fillet mignon, lamb chops, and chicken—each served with a choice of several different sauces.

All entrées were served with a side salad of mixed greens, an unfortunately “wintery” tomato, and dressing.

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I chose the balsamic vinaigrette, which was deliciously sweet and tangy, and Mark opted for the mustard vinaigrette (which was also good).

Although the fillet with gorgonzola sauce sounded amazing, I wanted something lighter and chose the catch of the day—red fish—with chardonnay sauce.

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The fish was cooked perfectly, but without the sauce it would’ve been a little bland. I loved the flavorful sauce, which was made with chardonnay, cream, seasoning, and capers. The angel hair pasta and sautéed green beans on the side were a bit too garlicky, but I still enjoyed them.

Mark was a bit more adventurous and ordered the schnitzel—which, of course, is a thin pork cutlet bread and fried. He ordered his “jäger style,” which involved a creamy mushroom and onion sauce.

The schnitzel was ENORMOUS! I’m not exaggerating when I say it could’ve easily fed a family of four! In fact, Mark’s leftovers became lunch for the both of us—and that was after giving a portion to my father!

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Much like the fish, the pork was a bit bland on its own. The sauce was delicious, however. We both thought the breading was perfectly crispy—and it didn’t have a hint of greasiness.

Since we were both stuffed, we ordered dessert to go—a homemade cream puff. We ate it the next evening and thought it was pretty good, although I imagine it would’ve been better fresh. I forgot to take a picture.

Overall, we were pleased with our dinner. The pricing is comparable to your run-of-the-mill family restaurant (a few of the dishes, namely the lamb and fillet are pricier), but with more of a fine dining feel. We thought the pricing was very good for the amount and quality of food.

Service was great, too; our waitress was very personable and laughed right along with us when we gazed in disbelief at the size of the schnitzel.

While we may not hurry back to celebrate our next special occasion (there are other restaurants I’d like to try), I’d recommend Osman’s to friends and family. Overall it was a good meal, and I can understand why some locals include it as one of their favorites.

Weekly Links 02.22.15

Hi! Upon writing this, I realized I haven’t blogged since last Weekly Links post. Oops! It’s been a busy week, so I’m just going to blame it on that.

This weekend was a good one. My in-laws stayed with us Friday night, we had Luca’s baptism on Saturday, and today we cooked breakfast and relaxed around the house watching Boyhood. Luca was a bit fussy (ok, a lot fussy!) during the baptism, but he hadn’t napped for a long time. Poor thing was a trooper even though he had a rough afternoon and night, too. I think he napped less than 2 hours total!

Now we’re just chilling, sipping some wine, and watching the Oscars. Have a great Sunday night and enjoy some reads.

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.Recipes.

Gluten Free Breakfast Pizza With Hash Brown Crust via Iowa Girl Eats

Would you believe I’ve never had breakfast pizza before? This looks like the perfect weekend breakfast, though!

Creamy Cajun Chicken Penne Pot via How Sweet It Is

Everything Jessica makes is something I would eat…by the BOWLFUL. This is no exception!

Peanut Butter Streusel Oatmeal Bars via Tastes of Lizzy T

Peanut butter and oats are two of my favorite things, too…yum!

Open-Faced Salmon and Avocado BLTs via Confections of a Foodie Bride

If Mark and I ever work up the courage to cook salmon again (it can’t be that difficult!), I will have to try these.

Single-Serving Fudge Cake via Yeah…Imma Eat That

Oooh—desserts for one are my favorite (because who likes to share?). Especially if they’re fudgy and chocolaty!

.Food & Nutrition.

Death To The Chicken Finger via National Post

Sadly, I was that picky child whose mother fixed her separate meals quite often (not pointing fingers here—I’m grateful my mom cared enough to get me to eat something). Still, I do not want Luca to grow up this way. Food is one of my passions, and I want him to have a diverse palette from a young age. I know it’s easier said than done, but I hope to introduce him to a wide variety of vegetables and fruits when he starts eating solids so that he doesn’t become that picky child I was. Don’t we owe our children better than leftover chicken pieces, “beige foods,” and carb-heavy kiddie meals?

.Body Image.

Jeans and Genes: On How I Learned To Love My Body via The Healthy Maven

A great post from Davida. You know, it wasn’t until reading this that I thought about loving and embracing certain quirky parts of our bodies because they’ve been passed on through our genes. Whether it’s a prominent nose, a wide smile, long piano fingers, it’s something that ties us to our history.

Talking About Weight Loss Affects Our Children via Huffington Post

Children are like sponges—enough said.

The Dangers of the Appearance-Driven Diet via The Atlantic

This is interesting and probably accurate, but to think that this revelation will change the diet industry is laughable. Promising would-be dieters “you, too, can look like this!” is how they make their money over and over again.

A Little Bit Rant-y via The Lunchbox Diaries

I’m so glad somebody posted what I’ve been thinking since seeing this preview.

.Mental Health.

The Upside of Feeling Bad via Mind Body Green

Very true. I fully believe you have to “choose” happiness rather than expect it to come from others, but nobody is happy all the time. To truly be happy and fulfilled, you have to embrace and learn from the “bad” times, too.

.Fitness.

I Joined The Gym—Now What? via The Cookie ChRUNicles

This is me. I was a member at Planet Fitness for over a year and probably went to the gym 6 times. Of those times, I ran on the elliptical and maybe used some leg machine on 3 different occasions. I need to get past being intimidated and ask for help if I ever join another gym (which I’d like to do).

.Parenting.

Should You Bring Your Unborn Baby To Work? via The Atlantic

A fascinating (and fairly long) read.

A Bittersweet Goodbye To Breastfeeding via Huffington Post

Not going to lie, this made me a little teary-eyed. As painful as those first weeks were and as frustrating as pumping can get, I’m so grateful I chose to breastfeed Luca. It’s an amazing gift and bond.

To The Mom Who Didn’t Breastfeed via Scary Mommy

And here’s a different—but equally true—perspective on breastfeeding. You’re a good mother because you love your baby and would do anything for him/her not because, or in spite of, how you chose to feed your child.

A Yogi’s Secret To Thriving During Motherhood via Mind Body Green

These are good lessons; while I think my yoga practice helped during pregnancy, I never thought about applying it to motherhood, too!

Weekly Links 02.15.15

Hi! I hope everybody had a nice weekend. Did you do anything special for Valentine’s Day? We’re not big on V-Day celebrations, but we did enjoy a gorgeous day at the park before picking up some dinner—an awesome fillet that the hubs cooked on his new grill—and chilling at home.

I’m a little bummed we didn’t take Luca down to any of the Mardi Gras parades, especially since the weather was so nice, but it’s not like he’ll remember missing out just one year of his life!

Now we’re watching The Walking Dead and relaxing before heading back to work. Have a wonderful Sunday and enjoy some reading.

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.Recipes.

Cake Batter Chia Pudding via Edible Perspective

A nutritious “cake batter?” Count me in.

Prosciutto Wrapped Kale & Feta Lentil Bites via Naked Cuisine

I believe that prosciutto makes anything taste good, although the other ingredients don’t need any help in my book.

Chocolate Cream Pie with Vanilla Whipped Cream via How Sweet It Is

Holy chocolate! That crust is what dreams are made of.

Maple Chipotle Sweet Potato Wedges via The Healthy Maven

It’s hard to go wrong with sweet potatoes, but I love the combination of maple + chipotle going on here!

Red Velvet Cheesecake Bars via Deliciously Yum

The perfect Valentine’s Day dessert.

.Health & Fitness.

Is The Run/Walk Method Better For Your Health? via Run Haven

Except for that one 5K where I ran the entire way, this is how I run. It will likely be the ONLY way I run.

You’re The Boss of Your Body: 5 Steps to Take Charge of Your Health via Mind Body Green

I think #5 is the most important (though you need to be educated about your body and wellness to do so).

Knowing What’s In Your Supplements via The New York Times

I don’t take many supplements (right now, just a prenatal vitamin and DHA supplement), but I’ll pay attention to these certifications in the future. In fact, instead of taking the drugstore-brand vitamins I’m taking now (I took these and these reputable vitamins during pregnancy), I might switch back to something better.

.Body Image & Mental Health.

The War on Bodies: Loving Your Body vs. Changing Your Body via Gabby’s Gluten Free

“So rather than creating a battleground, can’t we just stop waging war on bodies all together?” 

Why I’m All For Aging via barre3

This is great. While I’ve freaked out over a few grey hairs and the hint of wrinkles around my eyes, I’m not really afraid of aging, To me, aging is a gift—and it’s something far too many people don’t get to fully experience. Every year I grow older, I learn to appreciate my body and life that much more.

The “F” Word via Coffee + Crumbs

<3 this.

.Parenting.

An Open Letter To All Parents-To-Be via Huffington Post

I’ve only been a parent—to one single infant—for 4 months, and I’m already nodding in agreement. But I wouldn’t change a thing…

 

Beets Blu Heart Rate Monitor Review

It’s no secret I’ve been in a bit of a workout rut lately. And by “rut,” I mean I haven’t been working out at all.

Truthfully, I’m a bit embarrassed. I made such an effort to stay active during pregnancy, but out of both necessity (Luca hardly ever naps!) and my own laziness, I haven’t even tried to get back into the game.

Luckily, I now have a little tool to help get me back into my groove.

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A few weeks ago, I was contacted by a representative from Beets Blu to review their wireless heart rate monitor. Never having owned a heart rate monitor and needing something to motivate me to move, I quickly agreed to give it a try.

The monitor wirelessly sends data to your phone via Bluetooth. I’m somewhat technologically challenged, but setting up the device was incredibly easy. The monitor is compatible with most smart phones, including both Apple and Android devices.

To activate my monitor, all I did was download the application from Apple (I have an iPhone 5S), turn on my phone’s Bluetooth, and start moving!

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The adjustable strap and snaps make wearing the monitor comfortable and easy. As suggested by the instructions, I had to moisten the sensors, which use ECG-based technology, with a bit of water to get a reading.

I haven’t done too much strenuous activity (so far, my workouts have been limited to walking and light elliptical running), so I’ve had no discomfort or chafing from the strap. The battery is supposed to last a year, but since I’ve only used it a couple of weeks, I can’t really vouch for that just yet.

The software itself is easy to use—you can enter your sex, age, weight, etc. for more tailored tracking. The device allows you to match your activity to any changes in your body weight, and you can also set heart rate “zones,” so the device can alert you if your heart rate falls above or below your target.

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All in all, I’d say this heart rate monitor is a good choice. It’s comfortable, easy to use, and while there are certainly better and more accurate devices on the market (at a premium price), I’ve been pleased so far.

Beets Blu is available on Amazon. If you’re in the market for a relatively inexpensive heart rate monitor, I’d recommend giving this one a try.

**I received the Beets Blu Wireless Bluetooth Smart 4.0 Heart Rate Monitor free of charge in exchange for a review. I was not compensated for this blog post, and all opinions are my own.**

Baby M: 4 Months

Today Luca turns 4 months old. I thought I’d share this update letter style to change things up a bit.

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Dear Luca-Bazooka,

Where to start? It’s amazing how things can change in a year! Exactly one year ago, I found out I was pregnant with you. On that day, I experienced a whirlwind of emotions, and, to be honest, I didn’t have any idea just how special February 11 would be until many weeks and months later.

Flash forward to today, and you’ve been a part of our lives for 4 months (well—much, much longer if you count all those little flutters and kicks I experienced before we welcomed you into the world).

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I’m amazed at how much I can love such a little person—and you are quite little compared to most other babies your age—but everyday I find that I can fill my heart up with just a tiny bit more. By the time you’re 18 and technically an adult, my heart will have swollen up to the size of our house!

You continue to amaze me with your curiosity, joy, and zeal for experiencing your surroundings. Your eyes are so wide, and you seem to take in everything that comes your way.

Two weekends ago you got to see Mobile Bay for the first time! I hope you enjoy the outdoors and water as much as Daddy and I do. There’s just so much beauty for you to absorb.

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Although you’re not doing it regularly, you’ve surprised us—and yourself!—by rolling over not only from tummy-to-back but also from back-to-tummy! You continue to grow stronger each day, and it scares Mommy a bit because I’m certain you will start crawling and walking early! You already bear so much of your own weight when we let you “stand,” and recently you’ve started scooting on your cute little bottom when I sit you on top of the Boppy in my lap.

You still eat well, although I was worried a couple weeks ago when you seemed to eat for short periods. I think you’ve just become extra-efficient at taking in milk—or you were experiencing some early teething symptoms. You let me know when you’re finished or ready for a break by pulling off and looking up at me with this goofy (but adorable!) grin. You’ve developed a habit of, err, grabbing certain parts—and that needs to stop!

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You’ve slept through the night (8 hours or so) a few times, but usually you wake up for a feeding between 2 AM and 3 AM. I miss sleeping long stretches myself, but I kind of prefer when you’re hungry because it’s a special time with you that I know is fleeting.

You still giggle whenever we change your diaper, and you’ve actually taken a few baths without crying! In time, I think you’ll be splashing around and loving your bathtime!

You are still absolutely fascinated by your hands—and you adore sucking that little thumb of yours. You’ve also taken to your wubbanub, which you refused early on, and you can’t stop “talking.”

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According to your Mimi and Papa, you have inherited your Mommy’s temper! This is unfortunate, and I can only hope you’ll grow out of it! Whenever you play with your elephant from Uncle Leo and Aunt Sarah, you get frustrated and whimper when you can’t make it do what you want it to do! Inanimate objects can be such a pain sometimes, I know—but you’ll train that elephant one day!

One of your recent favorite discoveries is Big Brother Iggy! Daddy will stand you on the ground, take your hand, and let you pet Iggy. You giggle when he licks your hands (and occasionally your face!), and you both seem to love it!

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A few times you’ve sat in your Bumbo seat on the table and watched us eat dinner; you seem curious but not quite ready for big boy food. We’ll see tomorrow at your check-up if the doctor thinks you’re ready for some cereal or not. Mommy has mixed feelings about this, since she thinks you’ll grow better sticking to milk exclusively for another month or so.

You’re starting to fit into more of your 3-month outfits; in fact, some of them are too short for those long legs of yours! This makes Mommy incredibly sad—but also happy—that you’re growing well. Mommy still has a bad habit of weighing you too often, even though our scale can’t possibly be accurate, and I need to just “watch the baby” instead, because it’s clear you’re developing perfectly.

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Next weekend is your baptism! You’re going to look so handsome in your handmade christening gown—the same one Daddy wore (made by your Great-Grannie!) 30 years ago. It’s sure to be a special time with family and friends—and you get to meet your cousin (god-cousin?) for the first time!

Sweet Luca-man, you’ve certainly stolen Daddy’s and my hearts. We love you so much and enjoy every minute with our precious little man. The next couple of months are sure to be full of excitement and wonder as you continue to engage in the world around you and learn new skills.

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Happy 4 months, Luca!

If you’re catching up, you can find Luca’s other monthly updates on my Baby page.

Weekly Links 02.09.15

Happy Monday and day-before-my-birthday! I kind of vanished from the blog this weekend, so I’m playing catch up today.

Saturday night we went to Osman’s for dinner to celebrate my birthday. My parents graciously watched Luca for us. Dinner was pretty good—not our favorite—and for the sheer amount of food we got, I’d say it was definitely worth the price.

Sunday was spent at home chilling with little man. I think he’s going through another growth spurt and/or mental leap, because he was super cranky in the afternoon. Breaks my heart to hear him cry like that!

Anyway, since I missed out yesterday, I’m sharing some link love today. Later gators.

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.Recipes. 

Brownie Batter Breakfast Bake via Running with Spoons

This looks so delicious—I mean, brownie batter for breakfast?!

Single-Serving Breakfast Bread Pudding via Yeah…Imma Eat That

Apparently I’m on a breakfast kick this week? Anyway, this looks delicious, and I agree: pumpkin really does lend an awesome texture to baked goods.

Brie, Bacon, and Orange Pizza with Truffle Oil via A Duck’s Kitchen

Pizza can never be wrong—especially if it has bacon!

Creamy Cajun Shrimp and Broccoli Pasta via Peas and Crayons

A creamy, seafood pasta with broccoli = healthy, right?

Maple Bourbon Bacon Dark Chocolate Bark via Nosh and Nourish

This is so wrong that it’s right. Bacon. Bourbon. Pomegranate. Chocolate, just stop it!

.Food & Nutrition.

How To Eat Clean: The Do’s and Don’ts of Healthy Clean Eating via Clean Eating Veggie Girl

Another good one from Hannah. To be honest, I’m not even a fan of the term “clean eating,” but I agree that whatever label you use, it isn’t an all-or-nothing approach and should never cause guilt.

Here’s Why Nutrition Labels Should List Added Sugar via Huffington Post

I wish our food labels contained more information like this.

.Body Image & Mental Health.

Reasons To Love Your Body via Healthy Helper

An emphatic “yes!” to all of these…

A Constructed Body via Fuel for Freedom

What resonates most from this post is that anybody can have body image issues: thin, muscular, overweight, tall, petite, athletic, etc. Build one another up, don’t tear each other down.

.Parenting. 

I Know What Causes Autism via Huffington Post

I’m lucky that—to our knowledge, at least—Luca has no medical issues. Nevertheless, I can understand the anger, frustration, guilt, etc. a mother feels when something is “wrong” with her child. Sometimes, though, you just have to believe that ‘he is exactly the way he’s supposed to be.”

Mayim Bialik: Don’t Fall for that Similac Commercial via Kveller

Of course Similac’s bottom line is to sell their product, but the mommy wars are a bit ridiculous. What are your thoughts?

How I know I’m a mother…

Some days, it still doesn’t seem real that Luca is my child—whom I created (well, with a little help from my husband), nurtured for 9 months, and birthed. Other times, I can’t imagine my life before he came into the world. Motherhood is unpredictable, wild, and frustrating at times, but it’s an absolutely exhilarating and fulfilling journey that I know will only get better and better.

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How I know I’m a mother…

In my “free” time, I google “x month milestones,” “is my baby’s poop normal?” and “breastfeeding while working”

In whatever “free” time I’m not googling baby questions, I’m scrolling through the hundreds of photos of my baby on my phone (they never get old!)

I routinely go 2 or 3 days without washing my hair (and will possibly buy stock in dry shampoo companies!)

I have no shame in rocking maternity pants 4 months after giving birth

I no longer feel guilty for sleeping late on the weekends (because, duh, sleep is precious!)

Instead of turning away from passers-by and their smiling children, I smile back

Instead of thinking 90% of babies are ugly and scary, I notice how cute they are (though not nearly as cute as my own)

I’d rather buy yet another onesie for Luca than the dress, jewelry, etc. I’ve been eying for myself for months

Boogers and snot no longer cause me to gag (ok, they do, but I handle them much better)

I fight back the tears myself when trying to console my over-tired, cranky, irritable baby—and think to myself, “I’d do anything to stop his suffering”

I haven’t truly cleaned my house in 4 months

Baby giggles are the most beautiful music to my ears

Nothing smells as sweet as a freshly-bathed baby slathered in lavender lotion and baby cologne

I don’t mind at all that I haven’t gone out on a Friday or Saturday night in months

I fall more in love with my husband each time he tickles Luca, changes his diaper, soothes him to sleep, and, yes, even makes him fart ;-)

I know that my baby is, objectively, the cutest little person ever to have been born

I have a sense of purpose and capacity for love far greater than I’d ever imagined

Thinking-Out-Loud

[Linking up for some Thinking Out Loud today]

Meal Plan Monday 02.02.15

Monday again?!!

As they always do, this weekend went by too quickly, but what can you do? One thing that  makes the week a bit easier is meal planning. Last week we only deviated from our plan once (instead of thawing out some soup and fixing grilled cheese, we threw together a fried rice bowl with frozen mixed veggies, egg, and plenty of sriracha).

Here’s what we have on this week’s menu.

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Monday 2/2: Turkey meatloaf with a side of roasted Brussels sprouts

Tuesday 2/3: Crawfish fettuccine (similar to this)

Wednesday 2/4: Frozen soup and grilled cheese

Thursday 2/5: Defrosted chickpea burgers (these—our favorite) and Alexia sweet potato fries

Friday 2/6: You may see a pattern here, but Fridays are usually open. Last week Mark picked up pizza, this week we may scrounge up something from the house

Saturday 2/7: We’re celebrating my birthday early with dinner at Osman’s; neither of us has ever been, so I’m sure a review will follow

Sunday 2/8: Something else from our freezer stash

So, I like the alliteration I have going on with “Meal Plan Monday,” but maybe it would be more helpful to post these on Sunday? I’ve always viewed Sunday as the beginning of the week, but I guess since our weekend meals are rarely planned in advance, I could just make this a work-week menu? I’ve found most people struggle finding time to plan/prep after a long day at work, so for now, I’m going to stick to what I’m doing.

See you soon. :-)