Monday, December 31, 2012

Eaten on the middle of December

This week I am, still, home with my side of the family. They take turns in snuggling Oath and I found myself with surprisingly free hands. I can write! And just rest on the couch for a while... I love my mom's couch. It's big enough for the five of us (mom, my two sisters, Oath and me) and I have lots of great memories here. I'll cherish it as much as I can for as long as I am here.

But today is Monday, and Monday (usually, in my head) means menu planning. But there's no menu to plan, as my mom does not like it. So, have some photos of what I ate in the last week I properly meal planned. I had intended to publish them somewhere in December, but I forgot, and then came Christmas, and then... You know how life is, it keeps happening!



This was some honey-glazed, cheese filled, bacon wrapped chicken breast that Partner loved and I... well, I expected it'd be better, so I was kind of disappointed. It was great, though. And the sauce went great with the salad!


And this non-photogenic thing is one of my better tasting meals: the fish with caramelized onions. This photo doesn't do it justice!


And last, the super easy and super filling puff-pastry ham and cheese rolls! I love how this one started unfolding while in the oven and looks a bit like it's inviting you to eat it.


Oath's Mom

Sunday, December 23, 2012

No menu plan for Christmas

Not a real one, at least.

I've been having some busy weeks (and still haven't done much Christmas shopping... I fail completely at this. I am thankful Oath is young enough that he won't notice it much this year.) with all the studying and preparing of presentations. Oath has been cranky all week, too (he's got his first tooth! I'd be cranky too.), so everything in the house has been put on hold, so it is a huge mess. It would be after the holidays, anyway (we're going home again to spend the new year with my family), so I don't mind much. I'll survive. We will survive.

And I'll get to start again (again!) when I come back mid-January.

Monday 24
  • Lunch: Pasta & tuna. Fast and easy!
  • Dinner: At my in-law's. I've heard something about sirloin... pity I don't really like meat.
Tuesday 25
  • Lunch: At my in-law's again. Some kind of chicken stew. I'm in for a difficult Christmas food-wise, it seems.
  • Dinner: Sandwiches (probably I'll be cooking just for myself, we'll see)
Wednesday 26
  • Lunch: Green beans with prosciutto.
  • Dinner: Soup
Thursday 27
  • Lunch: Probably eating at the airport, or maybe not eating at all (I know how traveling alone with Oath is, and he does not make it easy!)
  • Dinner: I'll be home! I don't know what will we eat, but mom will cook, and that is always nice.



Linking up at I'm an Organizing Junkie!.


Oath's Mom

Monday, December 10, 2012

Menu plan Monday in the middle of December

Goodness! I managed to forget writing this post before hitting publish, many hours ago. At least I did write this week's menu plan! If you have come here just to find a duplicate of last week's post, I am sorry. My brain died on me, or something.

I wanted to talk about how, now that Oath has started eating fruits, I'll have to start menu planning for three: our menu, on one hand, and Oath's menu. For now it's just introducing one fruit a week (pear, apple, and this week orange) but I'm sure that soon it'll get complex enough that I'll need to plan it to not get overwhelmed. Not this week though:


Monday
  • Lunch: Pasta & tuna
  • Dinner: Ham and cheese puff-pastry roll
Tuesday
  • Lunch: Rice "a la cubana"
  • Dinner: Fish with caramelized onions
Wednesday
  • Lunch: Pumpkin creamy soup
  • Dinner: Bacon wrapped chicken breasts
Thursday
  • Lunch: Fried rice
  • Dinner: Chicken and cheese fingers
Friday
  • Lunch: Spaghetti with bacon
  • Dinner: Bread with brewers yeast, sun-dried tomatoes and old cheese.
Saturday
  • Lunch: Somebody's wedding
  • Dinner: Probably at the wedding still
Sunday
  • Lunch: Chicken soup
  • Dinner: Sushi




Oath's Mom

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Stuffed aubergines/eggplants

Since I was a kid, I have loved aubergines (or eggplants). The color, the shine, and the thin fried slices my mother did instead of chips some days. Stuffed aubergines were, and still are, one of my favorite dishes.

Now, despite having the family recipe, I did not get them quite right, but I have managed to create a new version: it is not like the original I was trying to replicate, but I love it too (Partner doesn't, and I am afraid he'll ban it from menu planning soon, pity). They can also be frozen before cooking, so you just have to pop them in the oven for a quick meal!

To feed two people, you need:
  • 2 medium aubergines
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 egg
  • Red and green pepper (maybe a quarter of pepper of each? I just cut until it looks roughly as much as the onion)
  • Tomato sauce
  • 250gr grounded meat (pork, beef or mixed. Or whatever tickles your fancy, really)
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Olive oil, salt or beef bouillon, grounded pepper, nutmeg.
(You can adjust quantities depending on your appetite or the size of the aubergines. Keep in mind that they shrink when cooked. If you end up with smaller / less aubergine than you expected, you can bake a potato, hollow it out and use it too.)

So, the recipe, step by step:
  1. Wash the aubergines, cut the top off and cut them in half lengthwise. Hollow them out leaving a half inch wide wall on every side (where you cut the top too. Do not be like me and forget.) and reserve the "stuffing".
  2. Put them on the microwave, covered (with a microwave lid or saran wrap), for 8 minutes on high. You could also bake them or boil them, but I never have.
  3. While they cook, finely chop garlic, the onion and the peppers (or, even better, use a mincer).
  4. Put a tablespoon of oil and the garlic in a pan and heat it up. Then, add the onion and sauté until it softens.
  5. Add the peppers and cook until they soften, too.
  6. Add the meat. Stir frequently.
  7. While the meat is cooking, cut the aubergine you reserved into small dices (or use the mincer again). Add it to the pan when the meat is almost done.
  8. Season with the black pepper, nutmeg and salt (or a bit of beef bouillon powder instead of the salt) and stir.
  9. When it looks like it's done, add two tablespoon of tomato sauce (enough to create a paste, but not too much) and an egg-yolk, and mix well.
  10. Stuff the aubergines with the paste. Put a teaspoon of tomato sauce on top of each and spread. Sprinkle breadcrumbs to cover.
  11. Put in the oven, preheated to 220ºC, for five minutes. Meanwhile, whisk the eggwhite until you get soft peaks.
  12. Put whipped egg on top of aubergines, bake until golden. Serve with tomato sauce.
(here I underestimated how much the aubergines would shrink so I had to do the potato too. It was a bit dryier so if you do, add more tomato sauce to it so moisten it a bit)


I hope that, if you try it, you enjoy them as much as I do!

Oath's Mom

Monday, December 3, 2012

Menu Plan Monday: first week of December

Ah... December. This month has sneaked up on me, leaving me all dumbfounded when I realized November was over. As in *really* over. Somehow, even with all the writing of NaNoWriMo, I hadn't assumed that the month was over yet.

But December is here, a month of buying presents (why didn't I do it before?), being with family, handing in papers, trying to deep clean again so I can start the new year in a clean house... With all that, a menu plan is in order if I want to achieve anything:


Monday
  • Lunch: Spaghetti with bacon
  • Dinner: Ham and cheese puff-pastry roll
Tuesday
  • Lunch:  Pumpkin cream
  • Dinner: Fish with caramelized onions
Wednesday
  • Lunch: Fried rice
  • Dinner: Chicken soup
Thursday
  • Lunch: Fajitas
  • Dinner: Nachos
Friday
  • Lunch: Stuffed eggplant/zucchini/potatoes
  • Dinner: Ramen
Saturday
  • Lunch: Going to in-law's
  • Dinner: Sushi
Sunday
  • Lunch: Penne with tuna and tomato
  • Dinner: Sausages with mashed potatoes




Oath's Mom

Monday, November 19, 2012

Menu plan Monday

We totally didn't follow our menu plan last week, but having it planned made such a big difference. This week will probably be no different
So:




Monday
  • Lunch: Pizza
  • Dinner: Leftovers
Tuesday
  • Lunch:  Spaghetti with bacon
  • Dinner: Pork "aux fines herbes" and french fries
Wednesday
  • Lunch: Chicken fajitas
  • Dinner: Sea-food "raoles"
Thursday
  • Lunch: Stuffed eggplant/zucchini/potatoes
  • Dinner: Nachos
Friday
  • Lunch: Fried rice
  • Dinner: Probably ramen, as Partner is not home and cooking for one is "bleh".
Saturday
  • Lunch: Penne with tuna and tomato
  • Dinner: Fish with caramelized onions
Sunday
  • Lunch: Vinegar and honey ribs
  • Dinner: Chicken soup




Oath's Mom

Monday, November 12, 2012

Thank you, me.



We've spent the weekend with some friends in a house in the mountains. It was a long weekend, tiring for me because Oath's routine is changing and I still do not know it, and because Partner was the host and was not able to help me much. Plus, we hardly had any sleep.
But we had fun, we laughed, we breathed pure mountain air... and it snowed.

For me, snow is such an unusual thing that I get all giddy when I see snowflakes falling from the sky. Is like something that only happens in tales and movies. I laughed and took photos and went outside with the kid, who did not like how snow tasted (his face clearly read "This is too cold mommy! YUCK").
This, clearly, was too much, and we ended up exhausted. As in "I'll cry my lungs off all the way back home" kind of exhausted, for the kid, and the "I just want the kid to stop crying so I can fall asleep on my feet" kind of exhausted for Partner and me.

We got home at about 8pm, with a still-screaming baby in need of a bath and our luggage in tow. For all the tiredness, I was dreading that moment: I was dreading the mess waiting behind the door, and the extra mess we would create in a second. I was about to start twitching from the anticipation when I looked around and saw nothing.
No dirty dishes anywhere, no unmade beds, no stray clothes laying anywhere. Nothing. No mess at all. And then I remembered: I had spend Friday's morning running around the house doing everything I had to do on Friday plus all that I wouldn't be able to do on the weekend. Generally, this kind of cleaning ahead does not work for us, but this time... Oh, this time! It totally paid off! We were able to get home, bath the kid, eat some dinner (I don't really remember what, but I know we ate), and go to sleep in a spotless bed.

I loved it.

So, thank you, me, for cleaning ahead and letting me relax when I needed most.


Oath's Mom

Menu Plan Monday... on nearly a Tuesday

Menu planning comes late this week, but only because we haven't been home since Friday, and the menus planned for the weekend have been reorganized for this week's beginning. Some are still carried over in this plan.

Anyway, that's what we have eaten today and we'll eat the rest of the week:


Monday
  • Lunch: Lentil soup
  • Dinner: Chocolate milk and nutella sandwiches (mom needs comfort food!)
Tuesday
  • Lunch:  "Fabada" (white beans soup/stew/thingie. My mother in law brought it to us today.)
  • Dinner: Chicken nuggets and french fries
Wednesday
  • Lunch: Fried rice
  • Dinner: Sea-food "raoles"
Thursday
  • Lunch: Spaghetti with bacon
  • Dinner: Puff pastry cheese-and-ham braid
Friday
  • Lunch: Chicken fajitas
  • Dinner: Nachos
Saturday
  • Lunch: Pasta with tuna and tomato
  • Dinner: Fish with caramelized onions
Sunday
  • Lunch: Vinegar and honey ribs
  • Dinner: Leftovers or stuffed eggplants (depending on how many leftovers there are)


Linking up at I'm an Organizing Junkie.


Oath's Mom

Friday, November 2, 2012

Back to routine #4: where I failed (but it doesn't matter)

I planned, got my home to a "just messy" state, started over and then... failed. The fourth step of my back to routine plan never came to fruition.

I went a week back home so my family could see Oath (boy, it's that kid growing fast or what? He's not even 6 months old and he's already wearing 12 months old's clothes!) and when I came back the house was back in the disastrous state that made me start this "back to routine" series. Awful. Really, really bad.
I think what I had to learn this time is that I can't trust that Partner will keep things as I leave them. Because he won't. He may try, but he just does not see messes (I talked about that before, didn't I?) as I did not see them some years ago. Lucky me.
So,  the week that had to be used, supposedly, deep cleaning, was used getting the house to just messy again. I felt like I was watching a movie I had just watched. But what's a girl going to do? Cleaning is like a movie in repeat in the best of circumstances, too (in the worse it becomes a horror movie!) so I just started again without fussing too much.

And now I am somewhere in the middle of the process: NaNoWriMo started, and that never helps.

I have to say, though, that the first three parts of the plan worked, and that's much more than what would have happened if I hadn't even tried. So yay for trying, and let's start again!

Oath's Mom

Monday, October 29, 2012

Menu Plan Monday: doomed to fail

Last night, as Oath fell asleep early and kept sleeping until feed time, I took a moment to get back on menu planning. It was harder than expected, as we had gone grocery shopping on Friday and I am used to buy according to the plans, not the other way around. Anyway, I managed.

And this morning, when I was announcing what I was going to cook for lunch...

"Oh, by the way, I am going to skip eating carbs again"

Hello Mr. Partner. And oh, by the way, couldn't you have told me yesterday?

So, this weeks menu plan is doomed to fail, one way or another: either he skips most carbs (and so we end up following another completely different menu plan) or I trump his dieting efforts (which is not nice).
We should find a middle ground, don't you think?

Anyway, that's what I planned:


Monday
  • Lunch: Rice "a la cubana"
  • Dinner: Fish with shrimp and caramelized onions, and garlic bread as a side
Tuesday
  • Lunch:  Sausahes and mashed potatoes
  • Dinner: Burgers
Wednesday
  • Lunch: Spaghetti carbonara
  • Dinner: Sea-food "raoles"
Thursday
  • Lunch: Chick-peas with chorizo
  • Dinner: Soup and chicken nuggets
Friday
  • Lunch: Beef fajitas
  • Dinner: Noodles
Saturday
  • Lunch: Pasta with tuna and tomato
  • Dinner: Puff pastry cheese and ham braid
Sunday
  • Lunch: Fried rice
  • Dinner: Vinegar and honey chicken legs


Linking up at I'm an Organizing Junkie.


Oath's Mom

Sunday, October 28, 2012

A handmade gift

Last week my younger (but not youngest!) sister, S, turned 21. I remember very vividly where was I at that age, feeling lost even though I had finally given some direction to my life. Things looked harder than they were, life seemed harsh and rough, and some very important people let me down. It could have been way worse, but it still sucked.
I have the feeling that she is in a similar place now, with her life changing a lot, feeling alone and scared at times, lonely. So, I decided to make something special for her, something warm and bright and cozy: my first crocheted fingerless mitts.

As soon as I saw the yarn I fell in love: KnitCol (shade 64, in blue, navy, aqua & green), 100% merino wool. It was so different to work with than the acrylics I am used to! And, despite the doubts the shopkeeper had, I think it looks wonderful crocheted. Don't you think so too?


I freestyled them, weighing the remaining yarn in the ball to see when I should end one and start the other. I love how that makes them different while still looking part of the same pair.

(about my home-rescueing mission... it failed. I'm back at square one. It's always the same, isn't it? You work, and life undoes all your progress!)


Oath's Mom

Monday, October 15, 2012

Back to routine #3: start over

After planning and spending one week trying to get our home just messy, it's been time to really start over. 

I have to admit I thought it would be harder, but the world wanted to help me a bit, it seems, and sent my in-laws to visit us on Monday. Which I don't mind, but the house was in its "just messy" state. Desperation! Mondays are the main bedroom cleaning days, and that had been done, but I couldn't entertain them there, now could I? It would have been really weird, and if they do not think already that I am a bit cuckoo that would have been the last straw. So, turning the messy living room into an in-laws ready living room was in order.
And I did. I even called Partner (it was and impromptu visit, and he was working and could not help me gather most things and hide them in the guest room) when I finished mopping to tell him that if he ever wants me to clean fast, to tell me his parents are coming. Yep, I trust him to not use this knowledge against me, though sometimes I'm sure he should.

This meant that I started the week more tired that I should, but with less mess on my way, which in the end caused less stress. I do not recommend it, but the visit certainly helped me get on my way and achieve what I had planned for this week!
I did not loose that momentum, and have kept up with weekly room cleaning; loading, running and unloading the dishwasher; doing laundry (4 loads, and would have done more if the weather had been better and the last load had dried today)... I even sorted the 7 (7!) bags of baby clothes I hadn't even looked at! Now the clothes I don't like/need are apart, and the ones that I might use are already sorted by size and kind, all neatly folded!

I love it when things happen as I planned them! Don't you?

Oath's Mom

Saturday, October 13, 2012

10 things that I did not believe

After many weeks without, another 10 things... post comes to us.

People told me many things, some of which I believed and some that I didn't. Some turned out to be true and some to be false, for me. Today I present you with 5 of each.


First the truths...

1. "You don't know how much time there's in a day and how much you waste it until you have a kid."

I still can't believe how true this is. The day keeps on having 24 hours, but I do what I did before, plus some more, plus all the child-caring (which is a lot). I sure was a very lazy procrastinator!

2. "You don't know true love until your child is born."

I knew love. Deep love, burning love. But not as deep, as burning, as soul moving as the one I feel now when I look at Oath. It sounds sappy, but I don't mind. I can't imagine what will be having another kid (if we have another), but I'm sure it will be as mind-boggling.

3. "Of course you can function on less than 10 hours of sleep!".

I used to need 12 hours of sleep to not be a zombie. Now, somehow, I can sleep 5 hours an be perfectly functional all day. It must be hormonal or something.

4. "When you become a mother, you slowly get like your own mother."

Partner once even told me "If you keep on acting more and more like your mother, I think I'll despair." It struck me hard, but it was true: all the things that I did not understand about my mom, now I do... because I do them myself. Searing migraines? Check. Obsessed with cleaning? Check. Hates TV? Check. And so much more.

5. "You will soon forget how life was before him".

Remind me, how was life as a non-parent? Did it ever happen?



Then the lies...

6. "You don't know what you are getting into."

Oh, of course I do. I work with babies, toddlers and young children. I also remember perfectly my youngest sister's birth, and was old enough to change many diapers and wake up many times at night. I believed I knew what I was getting into, and haven't still changed my mind.

7. "It doesn't matter what you want or do not want now; when in labor you'll [do whatever it was that the person saying it did]"

They mostly told me I so would get an epidural / want to run to the hospital at the first contraction / give the baby the pacifier / stop breastfeeding soon. We'll have to see about the breastfeeding, but for now I am very sure I do not want to stop until he self-weans. Everything else I did it how I had planned to, and even though it would not have been a disaster at all if I had decided to do it another way, it bugged me that they assumed that their way was the only right or possible one.

8. "They call it quarantine, but that's a huge exaggeration!"

Umm... yeah. No exaggeration in the word quarantine (the meaning of which is related to "forty"), so if you are like me, do not freak out and believe you are dying. Talk with your doctor if you feel you need to, of course.

9. "Soon you'll want to leave the baby with somebody else."

Right, because I don't know where I am getting into and won't stand caring for my son. I work with babies, and love it, why wouldn't I love staying with my own? I still can't understand what drove some people to tell me this. Of course, there's still time for me to get tired, but I don't think it would qualify as soon if I did.

10. "You are not eating enough!"

Pregnant women do not need to look fat to be healthy. As with non pregnant women, we have a variety of different metabolisms and body shapes: the fact that I can fit in most of my pre-pregnancy clothes and me face looks as thin as ever does not mean I'm starving myself and the baby.




Oath's Mom

Monday, October 8, 2012

Menu plan Monday again, finally!

I had certainly fallen off the wagon with meal planning too, hadn't I? All the changes that Oath is going through (like any other baby) throw me off a loop and I have a hard time picking myself back up and get going. Lets try again.

The diet menu did not work, mostly because Partner was so stressed he could not and would not cook his meaty meals, so it was left to me and... well... when I see blood on the meat I can't help but cringe, and he was fed up with chicken and does not like pork, so...

Anyway, we'll try again when he's mustered the willpower again. That means no diet meal plan this week. Instead, we'll have the usual dishes with some new recipes I want to try:


Monday
  • Lunch: Beef fajitas
  • Dinner: Honey and vinegar chicken legs
Tuesday
  • Lunch: Chick-pea salad
  • Dinner: Hamburgers
Wednesday
  • Lunch:  Spaghetti carbonara
  • Dinner: Fish with shrimp and caramelized onions
Thursday
  • Lunch: Sea-food "raoles"
  • Dinner: Sausages and mashed potatoes
Friday
  • Lunch: Chicken strogonoff with rice
  • Dinner: Soup or leftovers
Saturday
  • Lunch: Pasta with tuna and tomato
  • Dinner: Puff pastry cheese and ham braid
Sunday
  • Lunch: Meatballs
  • Dinner: Stuffed potatoes


Linking up at I'm an Organizing Junkie.


Oath's Mom

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Back to routine #2: from war zone to messy

Sunday...

Glorious, glorious Sunday! How I wish you wouldn't end... and so I wouldn't have to face Monday.

Today ends the week I should have used for turning my disaster home into something a bit more manageable. I look around and can't see much change, but I feel it. Something has changed and my home does not throw me into as deep a despair as last Sunday. Sure, there's still everything everywhere, not a single clear flat surface on sight, but I have the feeling that once I start working on it tomorrow it'll be easier to manage. Something has changed... but what? And, most importantly, how?

This might sound very similar to what Nony from A Slob Comes Clean does, and it is: I believe that this kind of approach is the best for cases like this. So, how have I turned a disaster into another less threatening one?

  1. Start with what MUST be done. There are things that can wait, but others just can't. I'm sure you know them when you see them: trash that has to be taken out, dirty clothes that have to be washed (or you'll be without clean underwear tomorrow, and that must not happen!), everybody has to eat so food should be bought...
  2. Put away what you use if you can. If you are like us, maybe the mess does not let you put half the things you use in their place. But if you do an effort and put away the other half, everything will slowly come together without you realizing it.
  3. When you go to another room, first look around to see if there's something near you that belongs there. If there is, do not leave empty-handed.
  4. When you have the time to clean, start with the easy things. Do not try to achieve perfection, nor to tackle that long hard project that's been bugging you. Instead, unload the dishwasher, rediscover your coach that has been buried beneath cushions and blankets, or put your coats away. It makes a difference, word.
  5. Every once in a while, give yourself a break. Specially if you catch yourself about to start scolding your 4 months old because he keeps waking up crying and does not let you do anything (I felt such a shame! Poor boy, probably having a nightmare or feeling unwell, and his mom wanting to tell him to stop! Thankfully, I stopped myself before I opened my big mouth), or wanting to scream and throw things at the wall (shame, shame! In my defense, it was only a pillow. But... shaaaaame!). Stop, breathe deep and ask yourself if a cleaner house is worth that much stress and hurt. Then buy yourself some Ikea chocolate cookies and crochet a zebra hat for your kid.

 I've been doing this all week (except the screaming and scolding, which I managed to not do), and while new messes have popped up here and there, I wouldn't declare the house a war zone today. It is very messy, indeed, but not THAT bad.

Tomorrow starts the real work. Wish me luck!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Back to routine #1: plan

I do not think I have said it here yet, but I am a planner.

Sadly, I am only a planner, and have not a single speck of doer in me. This leaves me having grandiose, amazing plans... that I hardly ever carry on. Which is a pity, believe me, because I know they would work incredibly well if I could just follow through with them.

Oh, well. I am working on it.

So, following my usual inclination, I planned how to get back on the housekeeping bandwagon:

  1. First, I need to take our house from war zone to messy, just so I can really start working. I guesstimate that this can take me a week (which means I should be halfway through it right now. Umm... Errm... Yeah.)
  2. Then, I have to start over with my weekly tasks, to bring the house closer to normal (but not quite there yet). This should take another week.
  3. Next comes another week (I seem to like to plan by weeks, don't I?) of fake deep cleaning. You know, not only wiping but actually scrubbing, mopping on top of vacuuming... the kind of things that aren't really deep cleaning but that do not get done every time I clean.
  4. And, at last, maintaining. Once I've done the fake deep cleaning it should be easier to maintain the house in a decent state. And though we know that "should" doesn't always mean "will", I hope. 
This will take all of October, because I am going home 5 days on the middle of it, so my "Back to routine" mission will have to pause for a while. By the 31st everything should be as much under control as I can have it.

Which makes me think about November, and the plans of actually organizing something that I have for then... but that will have wait.


What about you? Do you have a special plan to get back on track or do you just jump back in where you left?

Oath's Mom

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

State of house: war zone

No, I haven't disappeared.

Yes, I've had some hectic weeks and I'm in dire need of getting back into something close to a routine.

Just to let you know how bad it has been, a week ago I threw my towel and decided I'd rather live with the mess than try to keep up fighting it. I quit. I closed my eyes and overlooked it, wishing it didn't exist.
But, oh boy, how does it exist!

As getting back into routine at the beginning of September had been so easy it hadn't given me the opportunity to blog about it (really, I was just back and BAM!, everything fell back into place), I decided to document it now, while I discover how to do it.

 Right now, all the house is in the worst state I've ever seen it, full on war zone. Random things everywhere, strewn all over the place, even where they do not make one bit of sense. I've found socks (clean socks, mind you) in the kitchen!! I don't know how they got there, and I'm quite sure I don't want to know.
It's not only my fault, though, and I feel better knowing it. Partner has been very busy and stressed out, and that means that messes appear everywhere he goes (I do not think he is aware of it, but he's the Mess Father when he is busy. Fingers crossed Oath won't inherit/learn that from him!). And my brother-in-law chose this week to drop off about seven bags full of baby clothes... which I am thankful for, but I have no place to put them! I should muster the strength to go through them, separate the ones I know I won't ever use from the ones I might dress Oath in, and all those from the few I really like. Then divide the two latter by sizing, return the "I-don't-want-to-look-at-them-thank-you-very-much" ones,  put away the "maybe sometime..." ones on some boxes, and wash, fold the lovely ones and...

Conclusion? I'll never get to it. I'd better be a realist and admit that I will choose the few I like, wash them, and then get all stressed out because there's no place to put them and my brother-in-law won't take the rest back and OMG I CAN'T TRASH THEM OR MY INLAWS WOULD KILL US, WHAT DO I DO?
Roll up into a ball in a corner and cry for a while.

But sometime I'll have to get up and work. Baby clothes or usual messes, they have to be gone as soon as possible, so I'd better get working.

My first goal? Turning this war zone into a messy house. Then, we'll see.



I am back at square zero and there's so much work to do... let's do it!

Oath's Mom

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Highlight of the day

Waking up to two tiny hands lying softly on your face, and thinking "Oh, how sweet! My baby loves me..."

Then, opening your eyes to see a big, drooly, toothless mouth about to bite your nose.

Yeah, your baby loves you. Because you taste good, or something.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Yarn and hooks: first projects


 Everytime I start a new hobby, I give it my all for a while and then, suddenly, forget about it. At first, I feared it would be the same with crochet, but it's started stronger than usual, so I'm not so sure anymore.

I started learning one night on mid-August, when I asked my grandma to teach me. I don't know why, but it was easier than I thought and I was instantly in love. Thinking of all the possibilities made me giddy! All the hats I could do, all the socks and bags... Oh, the hours of fun that awaited me with a hook in one hand and a skein of yarn by my side.

And you know what? It was true. Even if I forget about it now, it has given me hours of fun already, and some useful things to boot, so it's been a win-win. Also, it is relaxing: falling on the couch, exhausted, at the end of the day, taking the project I'm working on and crocheting stitch after stitch... Some may say it's boring, I say it's kind of zen.

These photos are what I've done so far: a frog hat and a pair of leg warmers for Oath, a bag (about 17cm / 6.7 inches from top to bottom) for me for an upcoming LARP (the small black flower you can hardly see works as a button to fasten the flap!) and the tiny Cthulhu you can see at beginning of this post (around 7.5cm / 3 inches tall).


I don't know what to do next... A zebra hat? Another frog one for a friend? Or, even... for me? Can I get away with that?

Oath's Mom

(I used no patterns, except for the Cthulhu, the leaf and the white flower on the bag)

Monday, September 17, 2012

Menu plan for one and a half

Our "trying to plan for a diet menu but not completely" did not work out, so things have changed around here. Partner will do the full diet and I will menu plan for me. Except when what I've planned is suitable to his diet parameters, or is easily adapted. Why? For a couple of reasons:
 
  1. Because I hate to cook only for one, so the less I have to do it the better.
  2. Because cooking two different dishes each meal is too much for me right now.
  3. Because I can't follow the same diet as him, as I am on the verge of underweight (I am healthy, as all the tests from childhood to now after birth confirm, it's just that I am very thin) and breastfeeding, so I need all the carbs I can get my hands on. So my diet has to have carbs, which is what his is cutting out, mostly.
  4. Because I want to support him, and eating a bunch of pasta in front of him every day (just an example, I do not actually eat pasta every day) when I know he will crave it... well, it does not sound supportive to me.
So I've tried to find a middle ground. After all, I can eat even more carbs when he's working, so it's not going to hurt me avoiding them in the main meals.


Monday
  • Lunch: Ground beef with pisto
  • Dinner: Monkfish with salad
Tuesday
  • Lunch: Pasta with tuna (just me)
  • Dinner: Chicken Strogonoff (just me or adapted for Partner)
Wednesday
  • Lunch:  Hamburguers
  • Dinner: Roasted peppers pizza (just me)
Thursday
  • Lunch: Rice "a la cubana" (just me)
  • Dinner: Soup (?)
Friday
  • Lunch: Vegetables cream
  • Dinner: Stuffed baked potatoes (just me)
Saturday
  • Lunch: Spaghetti carbonara (just me)
  • Dinner: Scrambled eggs frutti di mare
Sunday
  • Lunch: Leftovers
  • Dinner: Leftovers


I hope it works this time!

Linking up at I'm an Organizing Junkie.


Oath's Mom

Sunday, September 16, 2012

What have I done this week? (again)

In twenty minutes, Sunday will be over and a new week will start (for us, Monday is the first day of the week... I get so lost on calendars that start on Sunday!). This past week has been tiring and a bit off routine, what with Oath waking up crying in the middle of the night just because and me being sleepy all day. I thing I'm starting to really form some habits, because when I do not do some of things I am supposed to be doing, I get uneasy and cranky. Next step is to get up and actually do them, but baby-steps will take me there.

This week I have:
  • Made the bed every day until Thursday. Then, no more. Now it's a complete mess. UGH.
  • Changed the bed linens
  • Cleaned our bedroom
  • Done three loads of laundry (and there's a fourth and a fifth waiting for me in their hampers)
  • Cleaned both bathrooms
  • Cleaned the kitchen
  • Kind of tidied up the living room.
  • Vacuumed the entire house twice
And that's it. No meal planning, no grocery shopping (Partner bought some things, but not many; we mostly raided the pantry). I've kept crocheting and I have two legwarmers for Oath to show for it. I've helped Partner with his project and... well, I can't remember anything else.
Here's hope that next week will be better!
Oath's Mom

Friday, September 14, 2012

A friendly reminder to myself

Dear Oath's Mom,

You said you were back into your routine, don't you remember?

Oh, you do, you say? Then what are you doing sitting on the sofa when you should be starting a load of laundry, folding the dry clothes on the clothesline (they've been waiting for you for three days! Give thanks that it's an indoor one, or they'd be soaked again with dirty city rain...), making the bed (bad OM, bad! You hadn't fallen off the bed-making wagon for weeks!), thinking about dinner (so late? Did you expect for it to cook itself?) and possibly starting it before Partner comes home (which will be way late, we all know, but anyway... no excuses, lady!), tidying up the living room...

Yes, I know, Oath woke up like four hours before his usual wake up time (less than three hours after you went to bed, yes. This is what happens when you stay up late!) and did not want to sleep until more than an hour later... and he slept baaaaaadly after that. Tossing and turning and moaning in his co-sleeper (oh, joy!), kicking and scratching you (in the face, mainly) when you tried to soothe him back to sleep. I know, I know. You are tired, because he DID. NOT. want to nap today.

Welcome to motherhood.
 
But I'm not asking you to do all that you were supposed to do today, am I? You've spent the day moaning and complaining about lack of sleep (yours and the baby's), so now that he is (finally!) down for the night you could get up from the coach and do something productive...

Even if it's just putting the dirty lunch plates away.

Please?


Love,
Oath's Mom (yup, yourself)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

What have I done this (last) week?

Getting back into routine has been easier than expected. I have to admit, though, that having Partner home while I tidy up, clean or organize is quite unnerving.

I have:
  • Made the bed every day
  • Changed the bed linens
  • Cleaned our bedroom
  • Done three loads of laundry
  • Cleaned both bathrooms
  • Cleaned the kitchen
  • Cleaned the living room
  • Kind of cleaned the guest bedroom
  • Vacuumed the entire house I don't know how many times
  • Meal planned
  • Went grocery shopping
In my free time I have also crocheted a hat, did some work that needed to be done on a site we (Partner and I) own, baked an decorated a batch of cupcakes, and turned one year older! The only thing I haven't done much is blogging (bad me!). But, you see, getting older is exhausting...
 
Now I should get back to being productive before Oath wakes up from his nap!
 
Oath's Mom

Friday, September 7, 2012

Hooked

Copyright (c) 123RF Stock Photos
Because I needed something else to occupy my time on (no, not really), I've started a new hobby: crochet.

It all started on our vacation, when I saw my grandma crocheting some can tabs purses that looked so great I wanted to try. Grandma, in between some laughing at my sudden and voracious interest, taught me, and now I'm hooked (ha! see what I did there? "Hooked"! Bad pun, I know).

I tried to get my hands on some of my great-grand aunt's hooks, but all we found were very thin, for making intricate lace doilies... and I'm not ready for that yet. I took them with me, though: I like to have some family mementos (specially if they are useful, too!), and that great-grand aunt is nearly 103 years old already! I will miss her when she's gone, and it'll be nice to have something tangible to remember her by.

Anyway, back to crochet.

 As soon as we got home and I got our daily routine mostly going (more about our back-from-vacation routine in another post), I went to buy some more hooks and yarn with a big project on my mind: cute hats for Oath. Because I have no baby winter hats, and I am afraid that when I get the hand-me-downs from Oath's cousin they will be all baby blue and frilly, lacy and such, and I want no more baby blue, frills or lacy clothing home.

The first one on the list? A frog beanie. I have one eye and most of the beanie already crocheted (though I messed up and it looks a bit weird, but hey! it's my first hat ever, it couldn't be perfect, could it?), I hope to have it finished by this weekend.

Go cute hats, go!


(Wish me luck!)

 Oath's Mom

PD: I should start using my own photos, I know.

Monday, September 3, 2012

After vacation menu plan

After all those weeks not thinking (much) about menus, it has been a bit harder to plan this one. If you add that Partner has decided to start a pseudo-diet today (which includes more meat and less carbs, and tries to remove most carbs from dinner), I am a bit insecure of how this week will work out.

But we have to try, right?

Right.


Monday
  • Lunch: Sausages with mashed potatoes, topped with cheese
  • Dinner: Soup
Tuesday
  • Lunch: Chicken strogonoff
  • Dinner: Ham and cheese omelettes
Wednesday
  • Lunch:  Spaghetti carbonara
  • Dinner: Vegetable cream
Thursday
  • Lunch: Lentil soup
  • Dinner: Hamburguers
Friday
  • Lunch: Rice "a la cubana"
  • Dinner: Scallops and squid
Saturday
  • Lunch: Lunch with inlaws
  • Dinner: Mini pizzas
Sunday
  • Lunch: Pasta bolognesa
  • Dinner: Fish with shrimps and caramelized onions


I've never planned a "diet" menu before, have you? Was it easier or harder? Any tips you can share?

Linking up at I'm an Organizing Junkie.


Oath's Mom

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Back from vacation!

We're back from vacation as of the 30th. So, I'll be blogging again.

I'm still getting the hang of being back home, so bear with me. Probably the few next posts will be about this, getting back into a routine and all that.

I hope you had a great summer (we sure did)!

Oath's Mom

Monday, August 13, 2012

A vacation update

Copyright (c) 123RF Stock Photos
Now that Oath is sleeping in my arms I'll (hopefully!) have enough time to update.

We have been having fun with friends, visiting family and going to the beach, mostly. My mom and sisters are moving next month (back to the tiny flat I grew in) and now they are packing and thinking of storage solutions, and I try to help as much as possible: it's my opportunity to start organizing from a nearly blank slate! I've also been given free way to design and paint the walls there, so maybe something interesting will happen before the end of the month... if Oath lets me.

He has become the most fun, giggly an demanding little man. With so many people around talking and playing with him, he seems to have grown up months instead of weeks. He is also developing a deep pleasure for biting, and I so hope that it's not because of his teeth (2 and a half months is too early to be teething!). He loves to be held, and is starting to wake up a little earlier than usual, so I am exhausted. I'm so thankful I have four sets of helping hands here!

Blogwise, I haven't written much (didn't you notice? *wink wink*) but I've been thinking about it a lot. I have new ideas for blog posts and plan on fully start back blogging as soon as I can (right now our schedule is to hectic, and when Oath finally falls asleep at the end of the day I am too braindead to write anything coherent). I'm also seriously thinking of meal planning with/for my mom, so maybe there'll be a new menu plan posted soon (but probably not on monday, though).
Also, I keep in mind Jean's comment and nomination (thank you very much!!) and I'll do the mandatory blog post when I am sure it won't be a half-assed one because of lack of time. Pinkie promise.

I'm leaving now: Oath is stirring and trying to claw his face off in his sleep (it doesn't matter how often I cut his nails, they grow so fast!)

Please forgive any mistakes in this post, writing one-handed is not my best skill.


Oath's Mom

Friday, August 3, 2012

Just a quick update

We arrived safe and sound to the island that I still call home.

Oath did great on the plane, and did not cry or fuss at all. Airports did not phase him, either.

On the other hand, the heat is proving to be more difficult to manage for him, poor baby. While I don't think it is that hot, I can see how his tiny body might be overloaded by it, not having ever experienced it before. He fusses and cries and wants to nurse all time, and asks to be held but does not want me too close after a few seconds... I think he will adapt soon, though, but these first days have been difficult. At least he's sleeping well and all my family is fighting over who gets to hold him, so it's not as hard on me as it could be.

I'll do a better update as soon as we're a bit more settled into our vacation routine.

Oath's Mom

PS: I just want to note how different the feelings are when it is "my tribe" who takes my baby from my arms. And that they ask first, even though they are closest and maybe I wouldn't need it so much. Oh, well...

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

An ideal menu plan

I should have posted this yesterday, I know, but I was busy assembling a crib and then discovering I do not have sheets of the size I need for it. But we're a family of great improvisers, so a solution was found and Oath slept in his co-sleeper crib for the first night (or, truth be told, the first half night: I missed him and did not put him back in after the second feeding).

So, menu planning.

Last week I did not follow my plan at all, only on Monday and even then only half of it. We did not buy groceries, so there wasn't what I needed to cook, so I just resorted to using what was in the pantry. The result? Very crappy meals, indeed.
Tomorrow we leave on vacation, so there's no need to plan meals. I will, however, share with you what would be my ideal meal plan, as in a meal plan that has all the meals that I love.


Monday - Home food
  • Lunch: "Salpicón" (Octopus salad)
  • Dinner: Ratatouille with pork chops
Tuesday - Easy food
  • Lunch: Spaghetti with bacon, onion and egg
  • Dinner: Honey and vinegar ribs
Wednesday - Asian food
  • Lunch:  Sushi
  • Dinner: Spicy soup and dumplings
Thursday - Hindu food
  • Lunch: Paneer naan (I need nothing more, yum!)
  • Dinner: Basmati rice and chicken jalfrezi
Friday - Partner's food
  • Lunch: "Tortilla española" (potato and onion omelette)
  • Dinner: Mushroom lasagna
Saturday - Grandma's food
  • Lunch: Meat and peas pies
  • Dinner: Roasted pork
Sunday - Mom's food
  • Lunch: Snails (I know it sounds gross, but I LOVE them)
  • Dinner: Chicken soup


Any foods you love that gross out others? I've had my share of shocked stares when I mention the snails and the octopus!

Linking up at I'm an Organizing Junkie.


Oath's Mom

Monday, July 30, 2012

What have I done this week?

Another week has gone and it's time to look back and see what I have accomplished those last 7 days.

I have:
  • Made the bed every day.
  • Changed the bed sheets
  • Cleaned our bedroom
  • Done four loads of laundry
  • Cleaned both bathrooms
  • Cleaned the kitchen
  • Cleaned the living room twice
  • Vacuumed the entire house I don't know how many times
  • Meal planned (but did not follow through with plan, as we did not go grocery shopping. Oops!).
It doesn't feel like much, though comparing this week's list with last week's I can see I did about the same. The difference is that this time the house does not look clean and with everything in it's place: we hardly have been home this weekend, so we only had time to deorganize and not put things back. We have pieces of a crib in the living room, others in the guest room, piles of folded clothes on the dresser on our room... things everywhere. Hopefully today with a quick clean up I'll manage to bring the house mostly back to normal. And maybe with a screwdriver and some extra time I can finish assembling the crib.

Wish me luck!

Friday, July 27, 2012

10 things you shouldn't do to a new mom

A new entry on my 10 things... "series" (if two can be called a series. I plan to do more, though)

I have learnt a lot through my pregnancy, and found many pleasant surprises. The ones that follow, though, weren't that pleasant (some did not happen to me, but would have annoyed me very much, so I thought I should share, too).

1. Call her names because you do not agree with something she is doing (or not doing), not even as a joke.

As evident as this sounds, some people need to be reminded. I have been called "step-mom" (not that I have anything against step-moms, but it was used in a very pejorative way) for not wanting to give Oath a pacifier. By my mother-in-law, no less.
I know she meant it as a joke, but anyway: Do Not Do It.

2. Buy her something she has specifically stated she does not want, need or have space enough for, just because you like it.

If she says she does not want pink frilly clothes, do not buy her a very pink and very frilly dress; if she said they are co-sleeping, it is working for them and, anyway, there is nowhere in the house they could put a crib right now... do not hand her down a crib, and much less two!
If she has been wrong, and she ends up wanting, needing or finding a place for it, she will tell you (or remain silent due to shame and pride, and that is another issue altogether).

3. Try to convince her to do things your way.

If the two of you do not agree, it is okay. Tell her your point of view, if you want, and let her explain hers, listening whether you want to or not. Do not insist that yours is the right way: even if it is, she will feel attacked and stop listening to you.

4. Appear at her doorstep unannounced.

You may understand that life with a baby takes time to adjust to, and that it is normal to have a messy house, still be in pajamas by mid-afternoon and not having showered for some days, but she will probably feel ashamed. Call in advance, ask if it's okay to pass by, and give her time change, put on deodorant and hide all the stuff.

5. Snatch the baby out of her arms.

Would you like it if somebody snatched your most loved thing right out of your hands, without warning? She may feel too weak or ashamed to say anything right then, but if you do she will probably resent it and stop trusting you.

6. Expect her to be a great hostess during your visit.

She might be, but she might as well feel overwhelmed by everything. If that is so, the last thing in her mind will be offering a drink, or a snack, or even asking how are you doing. She's there to care for the baby, not visitors.

7. Tell her there's a set time you're allowing her to not let the kid stay the night with you (applies specially if you are a grandparent).

So, if it ever crossed your mind to tell her: "Darling, you have three months until I make you leave your kid to stay the night with us.", do yourself a favor and think again. Giving her an "ultimatum" like that won't make her more prone to leaving her baby with you, or push her to do it sooner. Tell her that if she ever needs to leave the child with you for a weekend, or if she wants you to go to her house to spend the night so she and her partner can go out together: you're more likely to get what you want this way.

8. Insist if she does not pick up the phone if you are calling unannounced (unless it is an emergency).

You can be sure you will be calling while the kid is sleeping (luck works that way). Maybe she has the cell phone in silent mode, maybe she has unplugged the land line so it would not wake up her baby... or maybe you did, indeed, wake up the child and she has a crying infant in her arms and the last thing on her mind is picking up the phone. They are not dead, promise.

9. Complain that she is not giving you enough photos of the baby (another one for grandparents).

First of all, ask yourself: why should she? Unless you don't have a camera (and even then) she is not responsible of providing you with photos. Ask her if she has some that you could copy, she'll probably say yes and give you as many as you want (but do not expect her to make the copies and then drive to your home to deliver them. Maybe she will, but she has other things to take care of!)

10. Ignore her in favor of the baby.

I know it's tempting and quite instinctive to focus all your attention on the new arrival, but do not ignore the mother. She has been carrying the baby around for 9 months, has been through a very physically and emotionally exhausting journey that ends in the apotheosis that's a birth (which has probably been very scary and painful), so pay a little attention to her every time you see them. Make her feel loved and do not give her reasons to think that she's only the way to get through to the baby. She is way more than that and deserves the recognition.


Did I miss something? What annoyed you the most when you were a first-time mom? What would never cross your mind to do to a new mom?

Oath's Mom

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Housekeeping routine

Getting into a housekeeping routine with a baby can be quite difficult, I've found. I suppose that with your second child it gets easier, and even more with your third... though then there's less time and more people, and it can be tricky. I'll know it if (when, hopefully) I get there.

For me, finding a routine that works has been a bit difficult, but I think I'm on the right track. Since having a list of things to do every day was not working, I decided to make a couple of lists (one for mornings, another for evenings and a third for night) with chores I should do then, ordered by priority. Only a few of them are set in specific times of the day, and those (coupled with cooking and such) are non-negotiable: they have to get done! The others, on the other hand, we can live without doing them if need be. This way, if in the morning I only have time to do one thing, it will be the most important of the morning chores, and the rest of them won't get dragged along all day.

So, in the end, this is my daily schedule:

10am. Get up!
Morning tasks:
  • Grocery shopping
  • Make bed
  • Laundry
Cook lunch
2pm. Lunch
Evening tasks:
  • Weekly cleaning
  • Water plants
Walk with Oath
9pm. Bathtime
Cook dinner
10:30pm. Dinner
Night tasks:
  • Trash and recycling
  • Dishwasher
Shower
Midnight. Sleep

This way I can also put in non-daily chores without having a very different schedule for each day. For example, I do laundry only when it's needed (generally it amounts to two loads every three days, some weeks more, some weeks less); and we do not fill the dishwasher every day, so there is no need to run it every night, just every other day.

There are still some things I have to adjust but I think it might work long term.


What about you? What kind of routine works best for your family?

Monday, July 23, 2012

Food for a longer week


This past week the menu has gotten changed and moved around a lot, which means that we didn't eat some of the dishes. Which is all good, really, because we hadn't gone grocery shopping so part of the food wasn't in my fridge or pantry.

This week I'll plan till the end of the month (that is, Tuesday after the next), because then we go on vacation (back to my homeland!) and it wouldn't make much sense to menu plan next week just for two days.
So, this week-and-a-bit's meal plan in our home is:

Monday
  • Lunch: Soup
  • Dinner: Fish sticks with baked potatoes
Tuesday
  • Lunch: Sausages over mashed potatoes, grated.
  • Dinner: Fajitas
Wednesday
  • Lunch:  Cheese and ham omelettes
  • Dinner: Honey and vinegar ribs
Thursday
  • Lunch: Caesar salad
  • Dinner: Rice "a la cubana" (with tomato sauce, fried eggs, sausages and banana)
Friday
  • Lunch: Chick pea salad
  • Dinner: "Frutti di mare" fried noodles
Saturday
  • Lunch: Lunch with the in-laws (if not, move Sunday's lunch here)
  • Dinner: Stuffed baked potatoes
Sunday
  • Lunch: Rice and chicken curry
  • Dinner: Braided pizza
Monday
  • Lunch: Sandwiches
  • Dinner: Ratatouille with fried fish
Tuesday
  • Lunch: Lasagna
  • Dinner: Scrambled eggs with vegetables and bacon

Linking up at I'm an Organizing Junkie.


Oath's Mom

Sunday, July 22, 2012

What have I done this week?

Copyright (c) 123RF Stock Photos
Mostly, I've been holding a baby and rocking him, trying to get him to sleep. It's been a colicky week for Oath, and we've all been suffering it (specially me and him, Partner is out of home most of the time, working). I am thankful, though, because he has kept sleeping well at night, so at least I've been able to rest when I'm supposed to.

Taking that into account, it's been a pretty productive week. I have:

  •  Made the bed almost every day.
  • Changed the bed sheets
  • Cleaned our bedroom
  • Did three loads of laundry (Oath's, whites and darks; washing, line drying, folding and putting back in place)
  • Cleaned both bathrooms (except the tub and the shower)
  • Cleaned the kitchen
  • Vacuumed the entire house two times
  • Meal planned and cooked lunch and dinner almost every day I was supposed to.
  • Put away the newborn clothes and put the 3 to 6 mo. on the dresser and hangers
  • Put away my winter clothes and put the summer ones on it's place
  • Organized one kitchen cupboard

Looking at it, it's been a really productive week! Add the morning spent applying for Oath's passport and that there's been two days when I haven't done a thing, what with the colic and all that, and I feel proud of myself. Sure, the living room, entry and guest bedroom are a mess, and we really need to go grocery shopping, but everything else is fine!

Go me!


Oath's mom

Saturday, July 21, 2012

10 things I wish someone had told me before

Copyright (c) 123RF Stock Photos
When you become a mother, your life changes in ways you would have never imagined, as much as you tried to.
People tell you many things about it, and chances are you have so much info you don't really know what to do with it. At least, it happened to me. There were some things, though, that nobody told me and I would have loved to know before they happened.

These are 10 of them:

1. If somebody tells you "you sound different with these contractions, like it is more serious this time", listen.

It doesn't matter if they do not really hurt and are only making you uncomfortable. Chances are they are right. Of course, there is no need to run to the hospital or call your midwife, but keep in mind that this might be it.

2. Chances are you will forget everything you've learned about breathing "right", but it is okay.

Do not freak out, keep on breathing anyway, that's the most important thing. You may learn things you never knew, though, like that if your hands and face get all tingly, you are hyperventilating. Also, it supposedly possible to breath deep and slow while trying not to push (but I'm not too sure about it).

3. At some point, you will get very scared and start to think you can't do it. Even if you have never been afraid of birth and labor before.

But you know what? You were right all along: you can do it, and you will. Don't be ashamed to admit to yourself that you are afraid, it will be easier if you just accept it and let others guide you through fear. Midwives, doctors and doulas have seen it many times and know how to help you, trust them with this.

4. When the bag of water breaks, it makes a "pop" sound.

Yeah, I know, this does not help much. I would have liked to know it, though, so I wouldn't have been startled when it happened (and maybe I wouldn't have scared Partner and the midwife with my sudden "WOAH!")

5. A few hours after giving birth, you will realize you sounded like you were drugged all along.

And you might very well be very ashamed of it. I know I was. It's not something you notice while it happens, so you can't help it. But it's okay, you can always blame hormones, and it'll be something fun to remember later. Just don't ask your significant other about it: "Partner... did I sound like I was drunk?" "Yup" "But... much?" "You have NO idea!"

6. The baby will sleep soundly the first night, and won't wake up even if you poke/gently shake/undress him, not even when you change his diaper.

And you know what? It is perfectly normal. Don't freak out, he will wake up eventually, and then he will eat. Take this chance and try to rest as much as possible.

7. You, on the other hand, will be wide awake.

Not only because the baby is sound asleep and you are worried, or because the bed is not the most comfortable ever. The rush of hormones will take your sleep and exhaustion away. Try to rest, though, because it will be one of the calmest nights of many.

8. If anything happens to your child, you will believe it is your fault.

Hasn't taken to breastfeeding as well as you imagined? Your fault. Smelly cord? Your fault. Sleeps too much? Your fault. Doesn't sleep enough? Your fault. Sneezes? Your... you get the idea. The first days your most common thought might well be "What have I done wrong that this is happening to my baby?"

9. But chances are nothing of what is worrying you so much is actually your fault.

Many things happen to a newborn, and most of them are perfectly normal (like the ones I mentioned in the last point). Others might not be "normal", but as long as you haven't dropped him on his head, you're probably free of blame. Really. He's not crying that much because you are a bad mom, promise.


And, finally...

10. You will eventually believe what you just did, and you will be prouder of yourself than ever before.

And you have all the right to! You've created a human being, a new life. There's nothing more worth of pride in this world, is there?
   

Oath's mom

*I had a natural birth without drugs at a hospital (though I spent most of labor at home, waiting for it to "get real"). I can't know if the things related to labor and birth would apply to any other kind of experience, but as far as I know they are common when giving birth naturally and drug-free*
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