I am always looking on Pinterest for easy and good recipes. V seems to have boycotted all meat that isn’t a hot dog recently, and I am trying to find dinners that are healthy and appealing. This recipe is one that works for the entire family: Vienna, Mike and I all like this dinner- and even baby A can enjoy it too!
The base is brown rice. I usually throw it in the rice cooker when we are heading outside or for a walk before dinner so it’s good to go when we get home. For meat I cook 6 chicken breasts in the slow cooker and usually get two dinners worth– the second one being whole bowls/rice bowls. The slow cooker works best for whole bowl chicken because it can be chopped very fine and blends (ah-hem– hides) easily with the brown rice. I’ve also made them with ham for V which seems to go over good too. I usually mix in a small amount of sour cream to give it a bit of a creamy texture, especially because V is huge fan of “dip” these days.
Next I chop up a selection of toppings and put them all in smaller bowls and everyone adds their own toppings. This presentation and participation might even be the reason why V likes them so much! Topping ideas: shredded carrots, avocado, cucumber, tomatoes, black beans, salsa, cheese, and a few tortilla chips for texture!
Our Vienna. This girl has the biggest heart in the world. She is so kind and loving, especially towards her sister. Her nature is just so sweet and gentle.
One of my favorite things about Vienna lately is her talking; she is such a chatterbox. Some mornings, I’m just hoping for 5 quiet minutes with a cup of coffee. Those would be the mornings when she talks the most. She’s got a few specific little sentences and pronunciations that are adorable: gar-jibs (garbage); fug-fug-fight! (bed bugs bite!); what you talking about/what you say Mom; do like this; mem-jer? (remember). I really just can’t get enough of her talking.
V has a true love for birthday cake. At V’s first little friend’s birthday this year her hot little hand was into the cupcake pile before I could even react to tell her to wait her turn. On Mother’s Day she gave me a gift then said “maybe now we going to have some birthday cake?”She has also taken to loving presents lately and wraps anything and everything up in a washcloth and gives it away as a present at least 50 times a day. Birthday cake aside, Vienna is cautious and thoughtful. She takes her time to warm up to a situation, but once she knows that it is going to be o.k., she jumps in with a full heart. She is busy. Always playing and making up games and constantly at my side. And her memory? Unbelievable. She recognizes locations and remembers the oddest things that I would have trouble recalling.
But this isn’t to say that life with a toddler is a breeze every day. Some days I find that I am repeating myself one million times and have to try very hard not to let frustration get the best of me when it comes to Miss V. I hope I’m not the only Mama in this boat! I read something recently along the lines of how it takes a toddler 30 seconds to process an instruction. By this time you are probably completely frustrated with them and have repeated the instruction multiple times. Yikes. That is me. I am trying my hardest to slow down, take my time, and let my kids lead the day. This is an especially helpful reminder as I am starting to see how V expresses herself and her frustrations.
My Vienna. The first baby that made me a Mama. She has shown me how fierce and all encompassing a mother’s love is. This girl, she too has my heart.
Sweet, sweet baby Aria Kate. This girl, she has my heart.
When I was pregnant with Aria I would sing/hum (I’m a terrible singer) Billy Joel’s “For the Longest Time” to Vienna as I put her to bed. Why this song? I have no idea. It has no prior meaning to me, it is not particularly my ‘type’ of music (honestly it’s probably Mike’s influence), and quite frankly I’m surprised I even know it enough to want to sing it (but I did make up a few of my own lyrics unknowingly, ha!). In any case this song stuck through the summer I was pregnant and, the most amazing thing has happened: Aria loves and responds to this song immediately. If she is fussy, I’ll start to sing it and she instantly calms. If I hum it when Aria is on my shoulder pushing her little legs up and down she will still. Baby A– she knows this song. I know I’ve read that babies will recognize music/stories/voices heard in utero. But to experience it? That is a totally different feeling. Amazing.
I’ll write this post as a quick list/recap of things about Aria at this age:
At 6.5 months Aria is a sweet baby. She was diagnosed with Torticollis at 4 months old and she has done unbelievable with her treatments (I’ll save that for a future post). She is teeny, but strong willed. Despite being the second baby, I don’t foresee her crawling and walking early. Perhaps it’s a strength thing from her neck, or perhaps she just isn’t too interested in moving quite yet. Because of her torticollis we have had to keep her off of her back as much as possible, so of course, she loves laying on her back. She’s somewhat resistant to any extended tummy time and more often than not she will become incredibly pissed before she rolls over. Or she will just cozy in and lay on her stomach.
After her nap or first thing in the morning she will pull her feet in and out in her sleep sack and smile and coo, so excited to be picked up from her crib. When I put her to bed, she does the same thing. She only falls asleep in her bed or in her car seat and she sucks her left thumb to fall asleep. In the morning after Aria nurses she will sit and snuggle with me for as long as I have. These moments, I love. Aria has a little plush mouse toy- Meiya the Mouse
that she absolutely loves. She puts it on her face while she sleeps. In the middle of the night she will wake up, pat around her crib for the mouse and put it back on her eyes. It’s hilarious to watch on the monitor.
With Mother’s Day this past weekend, I knew I should write a Mother’s Day post– but in all honesty I wasn’t sure what I wanted to write or if I wanted to write anything. Facebook showed me plenty of recounts of how others spent their Mother’s Day– lists of gifts received, activities checked off. Mother’s Day is a wonderful day with a beautiful sentiment, but writing a story about how I spent the day isn’t doing it for me.
Going back to why I am writing my blog– to leave a memory for myself and my girls for years to come–I’d rather tell them how I feel about being their Mom today than what we did or I received today. My own Mom passed away unexpectedly ten years ago. I wish I was so lucky to share this day with her and my two girls. I remember all the years growing up when I went to the grocery store’s bakery department and made my Mom a cake. What a cute idea! Who knows, maybe that is where my love of decorating cakes comes from. That is my memory to cherish. But what I wouldn’t give to have some of her memories.
So, to follow are two posts. One for Aria, and one for Vienna. A quick glimpse of life as it is today with each of them, as their Mama.