Friday, November 27, 2009

The Thanksgiving post

Thanksgiving is a time to be...well, thankful. I have so much to be thankful for, as do most of us. One of my main objectives is to create long lasting traditions of my own to share with my family. I am pretty much alone here in the US. My mom, grandmother and brother live in Argentina. All I have is pretty much in Argentina, extended family, long time friends and most adolescent memories. Chip has a large family and extended relatives. Somehow we want to mesh all our traditions, conventional traditions and created some original ones along the way for Carr.

The people that really know me, know that I love to cook but I really am not much of a cook. I started cooking late in life and what I cook I think I do it well. I enjoy cooking for friends and family. I love trying out new recipes. I spend most of my time working, or cleaning or cooking nowadays. Which is fine because it is enjoyable to me. This year I was asked to cook some sides for the thanksgiving dinner. I wanted to do something different, zany, you might call it whimsical. If by the end of the post you would like the recipes, feel free to email me and I will send them your way.
Ok back to sides, well I love sweet potatoes, I wanted to reinvent the traditional recipe. I found the best recipe for it: Mashed Red Curry Sweet Potatoes.

If you like spicy, hot food then you'll enjoy this.

I also did my rendition to stuffing or dressing. Before I start, I want to leave clear that I really do not and have not enjoyed stuffing ever. This is why I wanted to tackle a dish which I really did not understand or care for in the least. I am proud to say, it came out glorious. I could not help serving myself seconds, thirds, etc. The secret about my stuffing, I added sausage to it. I also made the stuffing with three different types of breading.

My last challenge, pumpkin pie. I had tried it before and thought it was just the worst idea ever. I found the taste not appealing at all. I found an easy recipe (food and made some adjustments to suit me. Hopefully my husband, that shares my dislike for the original version, will try mine one day. All in all, I did a good job. I mixed in ingredients like ginger and more vanilla and whipping cream than pumpkin. Yes, you might be saying why make a pumpkin pie that doesn't quite taste like pumpkin... well because I can.

We celebrated Thanksgiving at my in-laws home. I have some photos of that to share at the end with you. The funny thing of all, is that we were all exhausted from cooking. We enjoyed ourselves so much more that next Sunday, when we got together for brunch. Stress left behind and an overall laid back feeling, it was heaven. We had waffles with turkey hash, eggs, bacon, coffee, etc. My great nephew and Carr were having fun. Moral of this post, it is fine to have traditions but when you let a holiday rule your life, you will not get much enjoyment out of it. A laid back holiday is better than stressed out extravaganza!

Chip, Mom and Ricky

My son watching TV ignoring his cousins.

Now Carr wants to make up and get Henry's full attention.

Now they both got sucked in by the TV.

As I said before, it is our wish to create traditions of our own. The Thanksgiving madness coupled with black Friday insanity, is really not us at all. We really enjoyed Brunch. Maybe this can be our new tradition. Hosting the day after Thanksgiving brunch. It's just something to think about.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Autumn Madness

I finished a book recently that almost took me a year to finish. It is written by Sheri Lynch, and it explains pretty much in a nutshell my feelings on my motherhood experience:

"I work and then I come home and I feel like a bad mother because I work, and then I feel like a bad wife because I'm always tired. I never finish anything anymore, and no matter where I am, half of my mind is somewhere else, and I feel guilty all the time."

That pretty much sums it up.

Let me tell you about my experience with Autumn. You have a child and it is expected that you must have autumn photos, of the playground, of a pumpkin patch and of Halloween. If not your doing a crappy job of being a mommy. Well this year, it rained for must of October, every weekend. Talk about putting a damper on my plans. No matter how much I tried, I just couldn't get those "hallmark moments" in a freakin snapshot!

Please take into account that this is not about how happy the child is or how how fulfilling it is to have intimate moments with your loved ones. It is about proving that you are holding up to these expectations, that only the lord knows who set them in the first place! I needed to get those PHOTOS! And nature wasn't helping! I have never felt so mediocre in my life because I could not have my son, looking cute beside a pumpkin. I can look back on it now and laugh but I know it will happen again next year.

I set out to have three perfect photo ops, one with pumpkins, one in the playground with falling leaves and beautiful red, orange and gold trees and another of my son having fun during Halloween. Well, I only succeeded with the playground and it took my whole family's help and God's to make it happen.

I know how ridiculous that sounds, and I know that I am smarter than that but there is this mommy urge that won't go away. I was brought up to excel in school and hopefully in the future to excel at work. I was never expected to marry or have a child. That drive that was force feed to me when growing up somehow also was directed to motherhood. You're pregnant and read and research and see that being a mommy has become this career and it is as competitive or worse than at work. Let me give you some examples:

You need to blog, you need to feed your child only the best produces and organic meats, you need to knit and craft and man, those photo ops are mandatory (preferably with an SLR). Breastfeed, cloth diapers, the list is very, very long.

Couple that with work, and proving to your peers and employer that not only are you capable but that being a mommy doesn't influence your work performance. Then you have the "1950s wife" expectations that your family and his have of you. You need to cook, not normal food but close to gourmet, keep house and you need to be available all the time...even when your so tired that you have to pray not to fall asleep right in the middle of it.

Needless to say, I hardly sleep, take tons of vitamin B12 and drink way to much coffee, oh and by the way, I hardly have any friends anymore. I feel like I do an awful job at all three and practically do not enjoy them either because I worry about what I am missing ALL THE TIME.

I am posting the best photos of the nearly 100 that my mother in law and I took. I have felt a twinge of failure this year, and I pray to God for better weather or a change of attitude come next year. Yes, I am slightly crazy but I definitely know I am not alone in this madness.

I love this little man so much!

My little boy and I at the playground.

Papa and Carr resting.

always running

Saturday, November 7, 2009

The things we share

The memories I have of my childhood are cherished as most are. I can remember certain sounds, smells, people and most of my world around me. There are certain memories that I hope to share with my son. Some things that I can't wait to hear if they have come to form an important part of his recollection of comfort.

One of the is Disney. Mickey Mouse and his friends and story telling. God blessed me in such a way that Chip and I were able to take Carr to Disney. I was able to give this to my son as a result of my hard work and incredible and generous employers. Without them, we would not have been able to experience this, at least for a very long time. Carr might not remember but I have the photos to show him and I have the immense feeling of overwhelming gratitude each time I recall this trip. Needless to say that I cried everyday at the thought of a childhood dream come true. The incredible part of this is that by 8 months, you knew who Mickey Mouse was. I made sure of that. It was our weekend ritual, to watch MM clubhouse together at 10 am ever since you were 4 months. Today, your almost 2 and you still watch the show with mommy. Yes, there are times where I stop and think if watching this so young might be detrimental but hey, I consider myself to be well rounded and I watched it. It was very different, it was live action and no cartoons, you know actors like Annette Funicello, Avalon and the gang. Then I grew up with the disco musketeers 1970s, with their primary colored pantsuits, ha ha. Such great memories.

Carr was so happy to be with Mickey!

He loved the parade at Magic Kingdom!

The second,is Sesame Street. It is Sesame's Street 40th anniversary, yeah about my age. Talk about learning, I was raised by two great and extraordinary women, both knew English as a second language. Which made this show essential for them to teach me. They my mom and grandma learned as well. Sesame street was my preschool teacher. Sesame street taught me about different people, I was not exposed to, other colors, handicapped, different exposed me to things and people that I had no way of knowing...not at that age. It made them common, normal. I wish every child would have this opportunity, maybe, just maybe the world would be a better place with no discrimination.

And guess what, my son loves it! He loves Elmo and I loved Cookie Monster but hey same family. It is so cool to see how my son went from just watching this show to becoming an engaged participant. He will point, try to sing and dance and laugh. I wonder if my mother gazed upon me, as I do with Carr, in utter humility at the blessing God gave me. I am thankful that I can sing along with Ernie about his rubber ducky and it all has remained the same, just things to share.

In a world that is filled with new things, Disney and Sesame Street bring solace to my old soul and grant me the possibility of having something in common with my boy. Unfortunately, I know this is the last, he will sooner rather than later come to me with Japanese characters and playing cards, and boyish toys that I will learn and enjoy with him. But we will always have in common our two first childhood friends forever.