I woke up like this...

I woke up early this morning. (It was almost 9, but everyone else was still asleep so that still counts as early right?) Anyways, I had had two distressing dreams. 
The first one was that I went to school with Gunner and no one would play with him on the playground. I was devastated. Why wouldn't anyone want to play with him? Was it because I was there? Was it because I hadn't raised him right? Was he mean to the other kids? Or was he too different? I woke up feeling this nasty little burden. I tossed and turned but finally fell back to sleep. 


Just My Gunner and Me.

Well,  D-day is just around the corner and I haven't blogged in months. I've been really busy trying to make the most of this time I have with Gunner. And I have to say, these last few months have been some of the sweetest. Gunner is growing and changing so much, I feel like I can barely keep up. I want to remember this time, when he is my only worry. My world revolves around only him. There's a part of me that doesn't want this chapter to end. I want to hang on to these moments of just the two of us as long as I can. So, I thought I'd write a few "quick" words about what life is like right now. Just my Gunner and me.


Rants and Nonsense.

Today started out a little bumpy, literally, and I've just been feeling a little bogged down and drained. So I thought I'd word vomit out all of my feelings and see where this takes us. (Isn't that what blogging is really about anyways??)

Gunner woke up with a really nasty sounding cough, luckily it doesn't seem to be croup; Just your average strain of nursery germs. Then after dropping Zack off at work, someone rear-ended me. There were no injuries, but our bumper took a beating. Ultimately, I guess its not that big of deal.  Its mostly just super inconvenient. We're getting ready to go out of town for a while and I don't even want to deal with insurance claims, and car repairs, and ugh. But truth be told, I'm so grateful no one was hurt. It definitely could have been so much worse.

Lately (as in, before today) I've been feeling really great and productive. I'm not sure if I've been more productive because I feel better, or I feel better because I've been productive. Anytime I've been in a funk my mom's advice has been, take a shower and get moving! She's a huge example to me of hitting the ground running in the morning. I've never been a big believer in early mornings, but with Zack still recovering from his surgery I have to drive him to work. This has us up, dressed, and out of the house by 9 am everyday. Before his surgery I didn't even wake up before 9 am. But since Gunner and I are up and out of the house so early we've started running our errands right away. We've been hitting the gym, the library, and the children's museum pretty regularly. (My mom would be proud)

The best part of it all is that Gunner's getting a lot more physical and social play which makes him a happier kid, making me a happier mom. By the time nap time comes around he's exhausted and climbs into bed by himself, too tired for books or whining. Just a quick kiss and a "night-night mama." Some days I literally feel like the luckiest mom on planet Earth. He's fearless and rambunctious; he pushes every boundary he encounters. But man, he's smart! And he's a problem solver, and a sometimes he surprises me with how well he listens. And on top of it all, he's generous with his kisses and I love yous. So even if his wild spirit may actually be the death of me, my heart soars when he soars!

Tonight as I was tucking him into bed, I was so grateful for today. Because even though Gunner is sick, and my bumper is jacked up, and I didn't get much done, life is pretty darn good.



Banana Bread

I always feel silly posting pictures on food on Instagram. Like, people don't care what I'm eating/baking, right? Well apparently I'm wrong because this picture of Banana Bread got more likes and comments than any other picture in recent history! So I'm sharing my deep, dark banana bread secrets.

(Spoiler alert: there is no secret to my banana bread.)

The other day I was just laying on the couch craving something sweet (as usual) while surfing twitter. (Twitter is what I resort to towards the end of nap time when I've refreshed my FB/IG feed millions of times and I'm all out of Candy Crush lives.) At the top of my feed was a tweet that read,"8 minute banana bread" It felt like a sign from heaven. I thought, I've got eight minutes, and I'd really love some banana bread. Plus, the recipe called for three overripe bananas, which is exactly what I had! It was clearly meant to be.

I'd say the real secret to a successful banana bread has more to do with technique, than the actual recipe. I've probably used 10 different recipes, and they usually turn out pretty similarly. Here's the link to the recipe that inspired me on this particular occasion. I did make a few changes as I went, and realistically this is more of a 15-20 minute banana bread.

1 1/4 C   Granulated Sugar
1/2 C      Butter (room temp)
2             Eggs
3 Med    Overripe Bananas
1/2 C      Milk (I always, always, always, use whole milk)
1 1/2 tsp Vanilla
2 1/2 C   Unbleached Flour
1 tsp       Baking Soda
1 tsp       Salt
Cinnamon Sugar to dust pan
Brown sugar to sprinkle on top

Stand Mixer/Hand Mixer
1 Small Bowl
2 Medium Loaf Pans
or 4 Mini Loaf Pans
or 2 Muffin Tins

This is a basic creaming method, quick bread recipe. 

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease pans with butter or spray. Dust the pan generously with cinnamon sugar. This will create a crunchy sweet, buttery crust at the bottom. If you're using spray, you'll need to move you're sugar and cinnamon around really quickly or it will all stick together and make a big mess.

2. In a small bowl, combine dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, and salt). Run a fork or whisk through it for like two seconds.

Tip: The reason you want your dry ingredients mixed together is so that your baking soda and salt will be spread through the entire batter. The flour acts as a carrier to ensure you don't end up with all your baking soda or salt in one bite.

3. In a stand mixer, or with a hand mixer, cream butter and sugar. If you don't know what creaming butter means, use the whisk attachment to mix the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

Tip: This is why butter temperature matters. If your butter is too cold the sugar will not absorb until you've mixed it so long that the butter basically becomes room temperature. If your butter is melted, or too soft, you won't be able to incorporate air into the mixture (it will never become light and fluffy), which will affect your structure.

4. Add eggs one at a time. Wait until the first egg is completely incorporated before adding the second.

5. Toss in the bananas. If they are really ripe and extra soft the whisk will break them up easily. If you're using firmer bananas, I would recommend throwing them in a food processor, or hand mashing before you put it directly into the batter.

6. Add the dry ingredients and milk in three portions, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. (Half of dry ingredients, milk, second half of dry ingredients) Once all ingredients have been added, scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a spatula really well, then mix on low until smooth. Be careful not to overmix.

7. Portion into your choice of loaf pans or muffin pans (I've also turned this into a banana cake using a bundt pan, or cake pans.) Sprinkle the tops generously with brown sugar, and maybe a pinch of cinnamon if you're into that kind of thing.

8. Bake at 350 degrees for :
Loaf pans: 45-50 Min
Mini Loaf Pans: 30-35 Min
Muffins: 18 Min
(Times are always just ball park estimates. Bake until top becomes golden brown.)

9. Apply butter liberally to each slice and scarf the first loaf before your kid wakes up/ husband gets home from work/ anyone notices.

I absolutely love these disposable mini loaf pans. They are perfect for wrapping up as a sweet "thinking of you" gift for the people in your life who could use some extra sweetness. I also love taking them to the awesome ladies I visit teach! I found these amazing printables at Simple As That blog. She always chooses great quotes, and designs them beautifully. I'm a huge fan!

I hope this post was helpful/not overwhelming. If anything wasn't clear, or you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask. Enjoy!



What a Baby Girl Means to Me

We finally found out today that our little mango is a GIRL! I can hardly stand it. Not only am I in complete and utter shock (I would have bet my life savings it was a boy) but I'm completely overwhelmed with what it means to bring a sweet daughter of God into this world. My first reaction was OMG, how am I going to do this? I know how to be the mom of a boy who climbs (and jumps off) everything, stomps, pushes, yells, and is just all around destructive. But what about a sensitive, tender, feisty, little drama queen?? I don't know how to do that! I know how to pick out bow ties, and blue t shirts, and gentlemen sweaters. Now, I've got to learn about dresses, and bows, and PINK. AHH!! I honestly considered the possibility that I would never have a daughter, that I'd always be a mom of boys. But now that this little daughter is a reality I cannot even begin to sort through my fears and excitement.

As the initial shock wore off I began to think of my relationship with my own mother, and my hopes and dreams for my relationship with my daughter. I was the youngest in my family and my mom and I were very close. We still are. Living far away from her hurts every single day. My mom and I did just about everything together. I never understood why my siblings resented her or didn't want to go grocery shopping with her. Most kids eventually grow up to be stupid teenagers who are embarrassed of their mom and don't want to be seen with her. But, I honestly don't remember feeling that even once. I loved going shopping with her, or to get pedicures, or just running errands. Sometimes I still hold her hand as we walk through a parking lot. Not for safety reasons (she's not that old), but because she's just my best friend. On a hard day I still ache to be wrapped in her arms. As I dropped my mom off at the airport this week and said goodbye for another few months I felt real physical pain. I just sobbed. But I had to pull it together quickly because, if you've ever driven to JFK you know, Jamaica Queens is not the place to have an emotional break down while driving.

From as early as I can remember, my mom has been my best friend. My biggest cheerleader, the kisser of my booboos, the fountain of advice/knowledge, my spiritual rock, and my role model as a mother. My relationship with her is still one of the sweetest, most important things in my life. I believe in myself because she believed in me first. I know I can do hard things because I watched her do hard things. So many aspects of who I am are a direct result of who she is and who she taught me to be. More than any other person in my life, she shaped me in to the woman and mother I am. 

This brings me to my fears about having a baby girl. I am completely terrified that this sweet baby girl will look at me when learning what it means to be a woman. I will be to her, what my mom is to me. Those are some massive, massive shoes to fill. Being a woman and a mother are the most important aspects of my life. They are roles that I hold most sacred. But, I'm so far from mastering them; how can I possibly be a little girl's first role model? Is it possible for me to have the impact on her that my mother had on me? I firmly believe that God uses women as a powerful source of good in this world. I feel so incredibly inadequate to raise one of His choice daughters. I know that she will come to me with the personality and characteristics that God wants for her. I just pray He continues to teach me so that I can be the mother she needs. 

I am honestly giddy at the possibility of having a daughter who is my best friend. I can't wait to take her shopping for a prom dress, plan a wedding, and hold her hand through childbirth. Just like my mom did with me.  I pray that my daughter and I will connect the way I do with my mom. That we can laugh and cry together, and that it will hurt to be apart. I hope that she wants me to be there for the big moments, but that we can also share the little moments. I know the day will come when my mom isn't with me anymore and I dread that day immensely. But it is one of my deepest hopes that when that happens, my daughter will be there to hold my hand and comfort me. I hope that our relationship will remind me of the silly, joyful, and cherished memories I have with my mother. On that day the most precious relationship I have won't end, but it will change. I will become my mother, and my daughter will become me. Hopefully, a much, much better version of me.

I've spent a lot of time picturing this girl; Imagining what it will be like to hold her in my arms. Imagining who she will be and what she will care about. I hope she is tender, and warm. Brave and confident. I want her love herself and love others. I want her to be funny and carefree, to live without fear.  I want her to be a light to her brother, to me, and to everyone in her life. I want her to find power in womanhood and motherhood. Most of all, I hope that she knows Christ and knows God's love for her. But lastly, I hope she has a sister some day. Because then I can write a mushy post about Bethany and how she shaped my life too and the hopes and dreams I have for them as sisters. 


P.S. All my friends with little girls!! Tag me in your favorite InstaShops or send me links to your favorite girl clothes places. I'm ready to get my shop on!!

P.P.S. Gunner couldn't be happier about having a sister. He's been asking about his BeeBee SeeSah all day long. I know he's going to make an amazing big brother! I cannot wait to see them together!


Blogging and Stuff.

Blogging has been on my mind a lot lately. Like a lot. But every time I sit down at my computer to write, I get distracted by Jimmy Fallon videos or articles about Bruce Jenner's transition to a woman. I know, really classy Sally. But, it seems my brain wants to do anything but write. I don't always feel like I have something important, or meaningful to say. At least nothing I haven't said before. And with the bitter cold, snowy winter we haven't made it outside for adventures much lately. Our daily adventures are limited to tower building, goal scoring, potty training, and Gunner begging to help me cook breakfast/lunch/dinner.

While those experiences are thrilling to myself and my (almost) two year old counterpart, it's hard for me to imagine anyone cares to read about that. Every once in a while I have some sort of inspiration or experience worth writing about, but I usually just post about it on Instagram and call it a day.

I'm not exactly sure why my heart compels me to write or to blog. I don't know what I have to offer my readers. The only thing that feels important enough to write about is my experience as a mother.
Motherhood has been the most transformative experience of my life. I literally feel like I change and grow every single day as a Mom.

So, until the sun comes out and Gunner and I can get back to exploring and adventuring, I'm going to blog about whatever is on my heart. Most days that will probably be my triumphs and pitfalls in motherhood mingled with my take on bizarre pop culture stories. Everyone always says that life with little ones goes by too fast so I'm going to try to capture these sweet days and memories.

For those of you who read most of my posts, what do you want to read about? I really want this to be an interactive space where I can learn and grow from you guys! So your feedback would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for reading!