Tuesday, June 24, 2014

A Car Journey

When Ryan and I first started dating we both were car-less. It was funny because we would literally walk to most of the destinations we desired and were perfectly okay with it. I still would walk everywhere around the world as long as Ryan was my walking companion, but a car was like a far far away fantasy 4 1/2 years ago. Every once in a while we would snag a ride in his brother's car to go to who knows where and we were all lame about it and thought we were so damn cool.

Fast forward about a year later. Ryan's dad found us a beat up old Ram van and we paid like 500 bucks for it. Big spenders. It was THE best thing since sliced bread. We went mostly everywhere in that van. He would come pick me up from my Mom's house and we would cruise around and take our mini adventures around town and the sidewalks didn't miss us much at all. So just picture a big black and aqau van, that has only a driver's seat and a passenger seat. The whole inside was empty except for a bunch of weird stains on the carpet, carpet on the sides and pretty much everywhere and little aqua velvet curtains on the windows. The curtains were my favorite. We named the van Jeb after our big fat black cat. We brought Jeb home in that car, he was the babiest kitten then and we let him roam in the back the whole ride home. We spent a lot of time in the back of the van just getting away from the world for a little bit. Then poor 200,000 mile Jeb the van broke down.
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Back to square one. We didn't have a vehicle for about another year-ish. Until we decided to make a rash decision and go to one of those hick used car lots that nobody really knows about. Bobby J's. This is where we got The 1999 Chevy Cavalier. This car was a literal hell on wheels. Not in a good way whatsoever. It has spent countless days in the shop fixing all it's insides. The engine blew and we were without a car AGAIN because it took a while to get it fixed. It's been a good year and a half since that happened and it's still running....sort of, if that's what you wanna call it. We never knew how much gas we had because our gas gauge was possessed along with the speedometer that would sometimes go wacky crazy while you're driving down the road. This car had it all.  Anyway aside from all that we were all happy slappy and then our air conditioning broke completely which wasn't so bad in the fall and winter, but the summer....don't even get me going especially with having a baby. It was just becoming unrealistic. Sigh. Around this time last year our car also got badly BADLY infested with german roaches. YAY. So not yay. We still managed to go on all our adventures and we made so many amazing memories in there don't get me wrong, it's just it was time...
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Friday night. It was a casual Friday. My mom had actually taken Lola for the day so I could get some much needed deep cleaning done in the house. Ryan came home and immediately jumped on my laptop. After about 2 hours of his face being planted on the screen. He closed the laptop and we drove to the Toyota dealership down the street. We drove up in our Cavalier, surrounded by nice shiny, bugless cars. We met our sales guy, he pointed straight ahead to what was going to be our future car. I think we were both in straight up awe over this thing. So sleek and black and gigantic on the inside. It was time. We have needed this for a long time coming, especially with Lola coming along on all our adventures. We knew we needed something reliable and strong enough to endure the future unlike our past cars. So without further ado say hello to our 2011 Toyota Camry....
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Friday, June 20, 2014

Chicken Parmesan Meatball Subs

I was never a huge fan of meatball subs, mainly because I was never a fan of meatballs in general. When I was a little girl I must have dreamed about meatballs taking over the world or something because I shunned them like the plague. I like my spaghetti without the mound of meat in ball form on top. I think what changed my mind was my Mom's meatballs subs. She whipped up her own sauce straight from fresh tomatoes and herbs and it is to die for and then it's like overnight I became a meatball lover.

So I started brainstorming and came up with a chicken parmesan meatball. Then I decided that these wouldn't be complete if they weren't nestled in between a cushiony sub roll, layered with sauce and a mound of mozzarella. So a chicken parmesan meatball sub? Yes, I think a meatball party is in order.
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Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 1 tablespoon fresh garlic
  • 1 cup panko
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup parmesan
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon basil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • Sub rolls
  • 1 large block of mozzarella cheese
  • 1 jar of your favorite marinara

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Instructions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and spray a sheet pan with Pam.
  2. Grab a small bowl and add in the panko and half of the parmesan. Then grab a larger bowl, whisk the egg lightly. Then add the chicken, bell pepper, onion, garlic, the remaining parmesan, oregano, basil, salt and pepper. Phew! Pretty much everything under the sun! Mix all that goodness with your hands. 
  3. Form all your chicken meatballs and align them on the sheet pan. 
  4. Now grab your large block of cheese and cut it in half. With the first half cut it into small cubes. Then grate the other half. Set the grated cheese aside and start pressing one cube of cheese into each meatball. You want to mold the meat over the cheese so it's a little hidden surprise. I love surprises and cheese so this is like mega overload of greatness.
  5. Once you're done with that, use the panko mixture you made earlier and sprinkle it all over the tops and sides of the meatballs. Now your babies are ready for the oven. 
  6. After 25-30 minutes they should be done. Heat your sauce on the stove and slice into your sub rolls. Press your chicken parmesan meatballs into the the rolls, spoon on some sauce and top with the grated mozzarella cheese and sprinkle on some parmesan to give it that last touch. 
  7. Place your subs into the oven just to get the bread all toasty and the cheese all melty. After 10 minutes take them out and devour accordingly. 

Happy Meatball Cooking!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Dad's Day

He wrapped her in his long arms, so tight and trembling that I think the world shook a little. She squealed the tiniest of squeals while she was being passed, but the very millisecond that she rested her tiny head against his heartbeat, the storm passed.
The whole storm passed. 
The next few days he was tested. He was terrified, but calm. The first night was easy, but the second night was a doozie. Her cries could have broke down the strongest of people, but not him. He scooped her up into his long arms and made a song from the wild ramblings in his head. 
The whole storm passed.
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He packed the car with everything in the world, and the fear and anticipation in the back of his mind. He didn't pack the "how to be a dad" manual though, he didn't need it. No one really does. 
Leaving the hospital was bittersweet and the next few weeks were trying. 
I was a disaster and he knew, so he swooped down to the rescue. He stayed locked beside the both of us, keeping us both steady and at ease. We were all scared, and he was there. Always there.
He went back to work, a 60+ hour a week job to shelter us and feed our bellies. He never complains, and every single day he walks through the door, snatches us both up and never lets go. 
If I'm stressed he shoo's me away to go let it out on some piece of art. If Lola is stressed he plants huge kisses on her and tells her stories as he does continuous laps around the house. 
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He always lets the storm pass and he is always the umbrella.
He takes care of us, and he never feels bad about us taking care of him. 
He supports all my crazy ideas, he's not afraid of a giant diaper filled with the good stuff, and he always makes time. Time for making up songs, time for cuddling on the couch, time for evening walks when the witching hour hits, time for mommy and daddy time, time for taking me to all the places I want to adventure to with our little trio, time for being the ultimate "dada" of all time. 

He may mismatch her pajamas every night he's on bedtime duty, he may lose a pacifier every once in a while, he may even lose track of his senses from time to time. 
Our world is still spinning because of him and he's the best role model for Lola in every single way. He keeps me grounded and keeps Lola on her toes. 

I've fallen in love with a whole new person now. The person he was before was the most beautiful thing on this earth to me. Now that he is the father to our daughter, I've fallen just a little bit harder, but it's okay because he still has that umbrella to save me from the fall. 
The storm always passes because of you.
We love you Ryan a.k.a "Dada."

 photo 40590_original_zps902d6e60.jpg Happy 1st Father's Day hunny.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Mountain crumbles

I crumbled a little.
I felt this overwhelming cloud of mess resting over the wisps of my hair and soon enough it was about to burst open and rain on top of me. And so it did. 
The last few days here have been a little bit strange. I've been feeling as though a tornado has been twisting and twisting around outside, just waiting patiently for just the right moment. I suppose this "tornado" could also be described as Lola herself. She's reckless, fierce, disobedient, and strong willed. With every "no" I swing her away she either throws a fit of rage or laughs in my face because apparently "no" can be the worst possible thing in the world or the funniest. She's up and down and sideways and center. Things lately are feeling a bit hopeless. 

I called Ryan this morning, because naturally I've been trying to hold it all together (rolls eyes) but I can't seem to find enough pockets to stuff every emotion into. So I kind of just exploded, just like the cloud that has been reaping over my head. When Lola was born, I felt a lot of things. One of things that always lingered with me was this stupid self conscious fear of not being enough for her and the most ultimate fear of all, failure. I've talked on here before about one of the biggest let downs as a mother was not being able to breast feed. As time went on, I realized I did what was best for us as a family and as her mother, but those beginning weeks still irk me and stay locked in a file cabinet in the back of my brain.

Or at least I thought so.
This morning that file cabinet came unlocked after 11 months, and I broke down a little. Not because of breastfeeding, but because of something new. Lola is beginning to discover the ways of being, she's not just learning to crawl and move around, she's learning how to interact, she's learning about uncovering new things (especially all the pieces of scraps all over the floor), and all in all she is learning. 
This escaped my mind in the process of her throwing yet another tantrum this morning when I swiped the cat food out of her hand. My first instinct was to point my finger at her, tell her no in the sternest voice I could muster up, and yank the cat food from her little fists. The result: full on tears and squeals. It lasted a good minute until she found something else to get into while I was in the corner ripping my hair out and throwing my own tantrum (not really). 
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I'm learning too. I kept this on repeat in my head the rest of the morning. I took a deep breath. I'm learning too. 
Learning. I think it is so easy to forget the definition of learning. And no, I don't mean the dictionary definition, I mean the real deal here. Learning is the mountain you are willing to climb to get to the happily ever after. In the process of everything, things seem to be hopeless and downright scary, but that is what learning is. It's the fear and the relentless hope that pushes us forward. The end result is great, but the climb is the best part. 
I think I had forgotten that Lola isn't alone in this. As she learns to the way of growing up, so am I. I'm learning the ways of guiding her. We are essentially climbing this mountain together.

It's all slowly starting to click with me. This stage in her little life is so difficult because I feel as though we are stuck on a teeter totter. One side is telling me to discipline her, but the other side is saying to let her go, let her explore. I know as time goes on we will find a balance, just like we found a balance when she was introduced to our lives. We balanced it all out and the chaos was a thing of the past. This will pass, and she will learn and so will I. I will learn the importance of consistency of discipline, but also going with the flow and letting her go.

Time. Time is all we need. Time is all I need.

27/52

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*Striving to be Daddy's assistant table builder, but really just wanting to add to her leaf and stick collection.

26/52

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*Discovered a new corner in the house, her reading corner of sorts.