April 25, 2014

Hearty Soul-Warming Chili

I make variations of this chili almost weekly. It's super quick and easy to whip up too. You can make it low-calorie by using ground turkey instead of beef. I just use extra lean ground beef to make this. 


1 lb lean ground beef
1 can of pinto beans
1 8 oz can of tomato sauce
4 oz broth or water
1 zucchini - diced (optional)
1/2 bell pepper-diced (optional)
1 jalapeno-deseeded and diced
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)


                               Brown beef on medium high in pan 
Add in veggies, cook for 1-2 minutes
Stir in seasonings, pinto beans, and sauce, and water 
Bring mixture to a boil
Cover and simmer for 15 minutes

April 21, 2014

I'm the one giving birth!

     Sometimes, I feel a sense of entitlement comes with my pregnancy. I did it the first time around, and am finding myself falling into similar habits this time as well. I feel I have the upper-hand since I am the one having to deal with the emotional upheavals of pregnancy. I have to finish the conversation. I get to watch my shows first.  I have to eat steak when I want steak. You get the picture.
 In short, I am always right. I am the victim. I need tending to. After all, I am the one who is pregnant!


Just kidding. Kind of. 

I don't think I'm really that bad, but giving myself kudos for self-realization. Hey, the first step is acknowledgment.


       The other day I came across this article. It states that young Dads are at risk for depression from birth of a new child - until kindergarten. The actual number has not been determined, mainly due it not having been reported. The root causes are unknown, but I can speculate some contributing factors. Bottom line- it's a serious issue that needs attention

 It raised awareness in my mind, and it helped me understand this: I'm not the only one involved in the nitty-gritty of a pregnancy. The person by my side everyday has been through it all as well.  The good, the bad, and whatever else comes in-between. That person is my one and only.

 My husband. 
He is right there with me, going through the whole process as well.  He stayed up the entire time during our 12-hour labor, held my hand while I was pushing, brought me pizza after delivery, changed baby's first diaper. The list goes on. See? I can be thankful at times. But, in all seriousness, I realized the current state of affairs needed to modified. I had to reach out.  

         To be honest,  I hadn't even asked him how he was handling the birth of our baby 9 months ago, or how he has been feeling about the impending birth of our new baby. I was so  focused on how I was dealing, and how my life was affected that I didn't stop to think to check up on my husband. It never even occurred to me. Maybe, just maybe I could take a step back from myself, and look to my right-hand man. All entitlements aside. 

       So, I sat down, and asked him. He was surprisingly candid, and shared his anxieties of financial stability, and his need to be a good father. He had felt overwhelmed in the first months after birth, but that feeling has subsided as Baby Z gets older. He was overjoyed to hear the news about our 2nd pregnancy, and looks forward to expansion.  

So, it's true - Dad's need attention too! No, they aren't giving birth, or breastfeeding, but play a significant role in child-rearing (in-home or not).  There is significant research that indicates this as well.  Acknowledgment, and understanding is paramount. If not, something can slip through the cracks. Take the time to check in. 

Depression is a serious issue whether it be in male or female, and in this case mother or father It should be addressed.  In most cases, new moms get the majority of attention during and after child-birth. Additionally, moms may have more resources to get depression diagnosed through frequent doctors visits, etc. New Dads, however, may not get the proper attention needed to ease their tensions as well. We can change this. 

 Stressful situations can additionally lead to depression. For example, the arrival of a newborn. I know my husband has been a lot more focused at his job than he was before when it was just the two of us. We had a little more freedom with our careers. We could be a bit more wasteful with our money. Things are different now. 

 We just have to be more careful with our familial decisions now that we have a little being to take care of.  The pressure to keep a job, have a steady income, provide for a family becomes very real during the first few years of baby's arrival. We sure feel it. 

But, this is a process all new parents must go through, the key is to stay healthy through it all. Stress management is so important. We can help each other navigate these waters. This is our time to make of it what we may. Stay involved. Check in with your partner periodically. 
Don't wait!

(The above is a painting in our room. It has a soothing quality to it)

April 16, 2014

Word of the Day

I was out running errands yesterday with little miss in tow, and had to stop for an oil change. The man at the counter assured me that the task would be completed with the utmost of expedience. After all it was the express service. But, then he said something about me that caught me off guard. He had used the word of the day. What word do you think it is?

 Radiant? Astounding? Charming? Nope. None of those positive picker-uppers. Instead, he said " I'll make sure this goes through our express service, because you sure look exhausted, completely EXHAUSTED!" And I am positive he put an oomph on the word, every time he used it. 

At the end of the trip, he used the E word  yet again. Hello! Synonym much? This time saying, " Ok all done. I know what it's like having children. Well, not physically but they are so exhausting. Now, you can go home and get some rest."  

Here's the sad part, I wasn't exhausted. I actually dressed up. I put in an effort to put on some light makeup, and look presentable. Quite a change from the last few months. I was proud of myself for trying. How then did I look exhausted?  Was it his assumption because I was holding a baby?  Was it a lame attempt at being cordial?

 Whatever it was, it bugged me, and I couldn't figure it out why. What does it matter if some random person thinks I look exhausted. Maybe it's my pregnancy hormones, who knows? 

but.... I will admit
All I really wanted is some recognintion. Some positive reinforcement. Anything that acknowledged how I felt. Something like: 
"Wow, great job multi-tasking!" or "Saving the world before bedtime!"
Is that too much to ask?