Friday, November 30, 2012

Here We Go Again!

In case you missed our announcement at 7:10 this morning, the Christmas Town Word of the Day is "Baby." We teased that it was a "special edition" of the CTWOTD and then revealed that I am pregnant with bambino numero dos!

We've been hanging on to this tidbit since early September. I actually took the pregnancy test the day after my son's first birthday. GULP. Right before I took the test I prayed the Lord's Prayer with a special emphasis on "thy will be done." We were not trying to have a baby and if I had my way, I'd have the kids perfectly spaced out. I have no idea what perfectly spaced out looks like, by the way. When that plus sign appeared (and I really didn't think I was pregnant, I just took the test because I had this nagging thought that it was possible and I was supposed to start that day. I figured why wait with anxiousness until I'm a day or three late. Just take it so you can have that piece of mind.) I looked up and said out loud to God, "VERY FUNNY!"

So here we go again! As of today I am nearing 16 weeks along. We are due May 23rd. Liam and his new brother or sister will be about 20 months apart. I'm a little overwhelmed when I think about that, but I know a lot of people who have kids that are much closer together. I am thrilled at the thought of them being best buds. Liam will have a forever friend and playmate.

We are abundantly blessed and as always, when it comes to sharing this journey on the air and this blog, please know I am always thinking and praying for those who are struggling to conceive or have lost a child. I am grateful for any prayers you can offer for this new little life.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Bringing Advent Home

This Sunday marks the start of one of my favorite times of the year, Advent! I am big into delayed gratification and anticipation, so Advent is right up my alley. Mom Squad blogger, Julie has some great ideas on how to bring Advent into your home and grow spiritually during this season that sometimes can be so frazzling.

Check out her blog here. She was actually published on another blogging site. Go Julie! My favorite idea of hers:

Practice detachment. Go through closets and drawers and give away generously to the poor. If you haven’t used it/worn it in over a year, give it away. Challenge your children to go through their toys and give some away to charities that can reuse them.

 As a final note on Advent, one of my favorite things about it is that it unifies so many Christian denominations. It's a season we celebrate in the Catholic church, but I'm seeing more and more non-Catholic churches recognizing the importance of taking time for preparation and joyful anticipation of the birth of Jesus.

We can say until we are blue in the face that Christmas is about Christ and not Santa, gifts, trees, lights... but if we start celebrating Christmas full-throttle in late November, then are we possibly confusing the folks we are trying to reach? If there is no difference between December 20th and December 25th, are we missing something? Of course, I still sing Christmas songs throughout December and wish my bagger at the grocery store a Merry Christmas, but if we can incorporate little things, like Julie suggests and be more mindful of the time of waiting, I think it will make a difference in our own homes and that will surely spill over!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Light 'Em Up!

Massages, a pedi, a dozen roses... they can all put a smile on our face and an ease in our step, but the best way to make yourself feel good, in my opinion, is to do something nice for someone else. Doing a kind deed goes deeper than a deep tissue massage, it goes straight to the heart. The sooner we can help our children realize that, the better, so I was so excited when I came across this idea from iMOM.

It first caught my attention because it's a super-cute chart and I love charts! It makes it easy to keep track of who, what and when you want to do something nice. It's like the very non-random side of a random act of kindness. So basically, you put the person in one column, the act in the next and then the date you aim to do the act in the next column. They even provide a spot to check it off.

There is no pressure to do 25 things or cover these bases or these people. They even say, do the number of acts that you can accomplish with JOY. I think that is a good tip. We can take on so much - "I'll do one thing every day of Advent!" that it becomes a burden. So if 5 is all you can do with that glimmer and sparkle in your eye, then just do 5 things.

Here's a link to 100 Ideas, in case you are short on creative juices. And one self-promoting tip: make one person in the "Who" column a stranger and do Spirit FM's Drive Thru Difference next Friday.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Who Am I?

A quick lesson in Radio 101: the little 20 to 30-second recordings you hear in a block of talk are called "promos" or in some cases "spots", but that's more in depth than we need to go. There is a promo that's been running on and off for the past few months that goes something like this: A wife. A mother. A lunch-maker. A chauffeur...

I can't remember the exact wording, but it basically lists a lot of the jobs and titles that we have as moms and ends with the line, Reminding you of your most important role: A child of God. Your Spirit FM. 

There are also complimentary promos for men and for children, all with the same final message.

Most of the promos we run are either written by Rob from our evening show or they are provided by an outside source. This one I wrote after some maternity leave inspiration.

We had a big staff meeting while I was out on maternity leave and my boss asked if I could come in. Besides the quick trip to the grocery store, this was going to be the longest I'd been away from my newborn as the meeting was going to be from 9-3 or so. It was late October, so Liam would've been about 6 or 7 weeks old.

Although I was tired and probably useless to the team that day it felt so great to be back to the old me, even if it was for only one day. On my drive home I rolled the windows down and turned up the radio and just sang along at the top of my lungs. I felt like Abby again! It almost brought me to tears. The person I had been for the past 7 weeks was so new and so foreign to me. My routine was completely different. My needs were completely different. My purpose was completely different. Or so I thought.

I found myself thinking, "Why does this feel like me but the person I'm about to turn back into does not? Is one more ME than the other?" So on that drive, I though of all the hats I would wear over the years as a mom. A tutor, nurse, chauffeur, mediator, chef... Some of the hats I would gladly sport while others I would don out of obligation. I think that as women we can go through an identity crisis. Who am I? Am I only a laundry-doer? Am I anybody but the person who birthed these children? It's like after you become a mom, the previous non-mom-you no longer exists. It can be pretty overwhelming.

No matter what the role of the hour is, one thing remains. Through all of it, I will always be a child of God. And the cherry on top is that I can never fail at that. I can be pretty lousy at the other jobs- get in an argument with my husband, not notice that the coffee table corner is about to make contact with a forehead or burn the toast, but I am a child of God without fail.

So in those moments that you might be going through an identity crisis and you find yourself saying, "Who am I?", go back to the basics and remember that while there is a long list of hats you wear, the most important one is actually not a hat at all, it's a crown!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Wednesday's Weekly Wecipe, For When You're Sick of Turkey

Every year on the night before Thanksgiving I want to make sure I don't eat anything that is going to spoil my appetite for the big turkey dinner. And then at the other bookend is post-Thanksgiving when you're about to grow feathers from so much turkey consumption. So what's the answer? Pizza? How about something cheaper and more delicious?

This is a Pioneer Woman recipe and it was very very tasty! It's pasta with artichokes & tomatoes in a cream sauce. MMM. My husband said it needed a few more spices, but that his second helping (ahem) had more flavor. This is super affordable as it's just pasta, artichokes, diced tomatoes, chicken broth, cheese, garlic and onion along with some spices that you probably already have in your pantry. Oh, and you can't forget the heavy cream, which you probably have on hand from a Thanksgiving dish, unless you polished it off with a piece of pumpkin pie. I added shrimp to my large man's bowl because he likes protein in his dinner.

Large Man Says: 8 out of 10.
Fire Extinguisher Readiness (difficulty level): 5 out of 10.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Looks Can Be Deceiving

Not that this dish is magazine-cover-worthy, but for once, my food looked better than it tasted. It wasn't bad, but my husband and I were SO on the same page when he spoke up and said, "Next time, just use the sauce from a jar." Normally he likes made-from-scratch sauce, so I went for that, but I didn't have enough time to let it really blend on the stove top, so it was just bland.

But I tried something new! Yay! Hope that inspires you to step outside your kitchen comfort zone too.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Reverse Recipe

I think I've gotten in over my head. I bought the ingredients to make Chicken Parmesan, but I don't really know how to make it. And come to think of it, I don't know if I bought the right ingredients. So... this is a time I need the Mom Squad readers to come to the rescue. If I tell you what I have, can you tell me how to make it? I don't have time to go to the store again.

My ingredients:
bread crumbs (all kinds, panko, ital, plain)
garlic & other Italian spices
stewed tomatoes and crushed tomatoes
Mozz & parm cheese

Do I bread the chicken and then pan fry it? What kind of oil? Then I cover it in sauce and cheese and bake it? Help!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Just Say NO!

So this is a topic I didn't think would appear on the Mom Squad Blog, but hey, life is full of surprises, so here you go.

Two states just voted to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. In the battle to teach our kids how to use the immortal words of Nancy Reagan, "Just say no!" this can be a pretty big speed bump. You might be thinking that your child is too young to bring this topic up or that they know why they shouldn't smoke weed, but you never know and wouldn't you rather be prepared for that conversation if and when they do want to talk about it?

Here is a story from the Christian Post with some good answers that we can give our young people. And if you can't remember anything else from the article, remember this: "legal" doesn't equal "right." Pornography is legal. Adultery is legal.

Hope this helps you!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Prayer Before an Election

I don't know what you've witnessed, but I've seen a lot of people get into some pretty heated arguments over the upcoming election. I've seen friends nearly get into fist fights. It's crazy. On November 7th, we all still have to live in this country together, but it seems like many have forgotten that.

Although politics, elections and amendments are grown-up issues, I'd be willing to bet that our children are still feeling a bit of the tension. Maybe they've even heard a teacher or friend's parent spout their opinion about who mom and dad should vote for.

We can do our best to explain what is going on, but the bottom line is that we need to pray for God's will. So here is a prayer from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops that we can pray with our kids for the next few days.

And whether or not the candidate you vote for is victorious, we need to pray after the election too. So here's a prayer for that as well!

May God bless our country!

Living in Isolation

When I told John, Spirit FM's station manager that I was pregnant back in January of 2011 he was excited for me and then he asked if I was going to be a stay-at-home mom or come back to work. I have never pictured myself as a stay-at-home mom and I really love my job, so the immediate answer was "I'll be back." 

Then Liam came into the world and I had three-and-a-half months off! Woo hoo! Vacation! Can you say Worst Vacation Ever??? I was so miserable. So lonely. But I was feeling so icky that even though I was lonely, I didn't have any desire to get out of the house and see people. What a mess of emotions I was! 

To say I was happy to get back to work was an understatement. It was liberating. I felt like myself again. I've thought about whether or not I'm cut out to stay home. To base that decision on those first few months isn't fair. I was hormonal, a bit depressed, overwhelmed at times... But even now, when I think about life at home, I shudder. And this might make me a horrible mom, but at the end of my work day, I'm not dying to get home to see my son. When I do see him, I am filled with joy and gratitude, but when I'm on my way home, thinking about sitting around with him and just "playing" for three hours until my husband gets home, I am filled with dread. 

Am I not cut out to be a mom because I don't want to hang out with my baby as much as possible? 

Then I came across this article a couple of days ago and had a total light bulb moment. This is me! Blogger Jennifer Fulwiler noticed that her neighborhood is a ghost town during the day and wondered if maybe that has something to do with why more women don't stay home. Sure, the primary reason for most people is financial, but beyond that, could it be that no one wants that feeling of isolation that they experience between the hours of 8am and 5pm? 

Long gone are the days where a whole neighborhood block of moms would walk out their front doors and chat in the yard while toddlers play. I go outside around 3pm and look left, then right and see no one. So I turn around and go back inside. Sigh. I guess it's just you and me kid! Yes, there is the option of joining a mom's group or making regular plans with friends, but it's not that easy to pack up and head out of the house. 

I love my son. I love being with him. But I am not the mom in the Playskool commercial who is fulfilled by watching baby knock over a tower of blocks over and over and over again. As Jennifer says in summary, I think this is a case where simply identifying the problem can help, even if there isn't a way to fix it in the short-term. A lot of moms feel unnecessarily guilty that they've felt restless since they left the workforce, and haven't been able to get comfortable staying at home. I think it would help women simply to consider that the problem is not a defect on their part, but simply the psychological challenges that are a natural result of living your life amidst rows of empty houses.

Have you experienced this feeling? How did you deal with it?