my final blog post.

Dear Family and Friends,

I've stewed and stewed over this blog post for almost two months now. It's time to rip off the band aid and just say it.

I'm shutting down the blog.

 I can't totally explain my reasoning except to say that my reasons have changed.

Oooh, I feel real good about that sentence. Just go with me: this blog spent the better part of its life chronically Chuck and me and our shenanigans: trips to Estate Sales, vacations locked in bathrooms, and our day to day life as twenty somethings. Thank god for this blog or I would be so void of memories from those years. I will always remember what happened in June 2011 because I have a dozen entries from my life telling me what was going on. It's like having an adult yearbook.

But then things changed and we added tiny humans to the world. Tiny humans who don't have a say about who can google their names and find out copious amounts of information on them. Tiny humans who suck every last ounce of time I have - and thank heavens for that. Thank god that I'm too busy. Thank god I have them to pour my time into.

The blog isn't going anywhere. It'll still be here - I'm not taking it down down. I'm just not going to be updating it anymore. Someday...sure. Maybe someday. Maybe I'll check in every now and then to let you know we are fine, the ship's wheel is great, and Chuck is still hoping his wild flower garden will take off.  

So here's one last final update from the Allison Wonderland:

Life is a wonderland. It turned out wonderful. We got more than we deserved and more than we hoped and we are trying to take care of what we've been given.

The days are short but also insanely long - like the days when someone figures out how to pee in a heat vent. The time seems to fly by. Sam is 2. Kate is almost 6 months old. And I'm crying typing this because I can't believe we are over. You and Me we.

Whoever you were that read this you meant the world to me. You saved me in my darkest hours. You cheered for me in my brightest. You watched me grow up from mid twenties to early thirties, and it's been a fun ride that took seconds.

When I started this blog, I never dreamed of the people I'd meet, the people I'd reconnect with, or how important this site would be for my very close friends and family, but it was.

I'm so heartbroken to not be able to continue this blog but hopeful for maybe a future (more anonymous) blog, and real life friendships, and the time I get to spend with my sweet babies.

Thank you for the memories. Every time you opened this link, you joined my life more and more, and I will miss that immensely.

I'm still on Facebook. I'm still on Instagram. You still have my email. I hope you'll keep in touch.

With all the gratitude in my heart,

[monday meals mashup] April 27.

Happy Monday from a high of 79 today and I don't know what to do with myself and that kind of gorgeousness.

It's a beautiful day to meal plan? Sure why not.

Monday: Chili Dogs. See above where I said it was summer like here. I have a dear dear friend coming for dinner and she and Chuck picked chili dogs for dinner. Of all the things.... no complaints though. How easy is that?

Tuesday: Beef Bulgogi.  We like this with rice - it's just a different flavor than every day stir fry. I always forget to make this so we only have it a few times a year.

Wednesday: Chicken Nuggets. Sam is in a dip phase right now so nuggets is a pretty solid plan to ensure he eats dinner with no resistance. This recipe is really easy - I highly recommend it.

Thursday: Out to dinner. Out on a Thursday? I know. Who are we? It's a thing with Chuck's work so I actually get to talk to real adults and I bet someone will hold Kate so I might MIGHT get to eat a warm meal.

Friday: Quiche. Never got to it last week. Better late than never.

Saturday: Sam's 2nd birthday party. He's 2. Well, he'll be two next Monday. Close enough. We're having all his baby friends over for a post-naptime party to celebrate Sam and give the adults an excuse to hang out and be together. Sam has selected "Noodle Crack" as his birthday dinner. JK. He would have selected cheeseburgers but the adult party population selected Noodle Crack because it reminds us of college and simpler times. [recipe card below]

you are not alone (national infertility awareness week).

Oh looky looky. It's National Infertility Awareness Week. Time for you to be aware of me again. Not that you aren't - you're here aren't you? - but let the gifts start rolling in. This is my week people and expect a few posts updating you on our journey through infertility, my thoughts on the matter, and a few ill timed jokes because I have limited amounts of tact.

It's interesting sitting here saying "Yah, I'm infertile" with two babies napping upstairs. Ok so maybe I don't look that infertile anymore... How about we say I'm more in infertility remission with just a hint of infertility PTSD. Does that work for everyone?

I definitely wouldn't say I'm infertile anymore only because we have our babies and we've moved on. The "move on" part sounds harsh but I can't figure out how to reword it so stay with me. It doesn't mean our family is done or complete or for sure growing in the future, but we could walk away now and never feel the sting of someone missing from our life. We have a few options if we want to up this party, but for now, we have peace.

Peace was missing for a long time and peace is what I ache for the most when friends, acquaintances, random beloved blog stalkers open up about their struggles. There is an amazing peace that you take for granted when you just know you can have children. Kind of like the peace you have sitting reading this that you are (most likely) healthy, with food in the fridge, and a roof over your head. You don't even realize the peace is there until it's gone.

When you struggle with infertility, the peaceful nature of life - that you can create life and live it and grow your family - evaporates and what's left is this hollow, fractured feeling like part of you is missing. And it is missing! Your children are missing. Your grandchildren are missing. Your future play dates and preschools and class parties are missing.

I look back at our lives during our infertility battle and I remember the unsettling feeling. The feeling like I was going to be alone with Chuck forever - and believe me, that was maybe the most terrifying thought of all (sorry, bad time for a joke. Is there a National Maturity Awareness Week?). You want to crawl out of your skin with anxiety and there is nothing anyone can do to speed up the process. There is no magic button to calm you or jump life ahead of this crappy time or at the very least, just tell you how it ends.

This year's awareness week theme is "You are Not Alone". But god it feels that way. I can say this: if you have 200 Facebook friends, odds are 25 of them are struggling with infertility too. You really are not alone.

And someday you will find your peace too.

We struggled through the muck and anguish of infertility for four years and in 20 months life changed ten fold, everything vanished, and just like that, our journey through hell is over.

You will find your peace. Someday. Somehow. My peace is an understanding that it was worth it. That they were worth waiting. You will find yours, that is my prayer for you.

Peace is out there. But for now, a lot of us are out there too. You are not alone. 

[monday meals mashup] April 20.

Hey-o all and happy Monday.

It's an easy meal plan this week for us. I love when these weeks happen. We have just the right amount of stuff on hand and carry over from last week that it's a total of 16 items we need from QFC to make this week's first train go (that includes these dinners, lunches and breakfast - WIN.) .

I love cheap, easy weeks like this. They make my miser heart sing.

Happy Meal Planning.

MONDAY: Blue Cheese Burgers. Oh heaven we are having burgers. It's 75 today, sunny, and the grill is just dying to be used. And we are just dying to have burgers. The secret to these burgers is adding enough to the ground beef to hide any meat taste (I'm a meat eating vegetarian) and making the carmelized onions. Beyond that, you do what you think is right with them.

Photo stolen with love from Martha.
TUESDAY: Cashew Chicken is back on the menu. I ended up sicker than I could handle last week and  this was the dinner that never got made. Here it is again.

Photo stolen with love from Premeditated Leftovers.
WEDNESDAY: Bacon and Cheddar Quiche. Nothing says "cleaning out the fridge" like making quiche. I add sautéed onions to this recipe. I'm sure you could add mushrooms too. And probably the kitchen sink as well. It's quiche for goodness sake.

Photo stolen with love from Gimme Some Oven.
THURSDAY: *Crockpot*Teriyaki Chicken. This is our new recipe for the week so wish us luck. It looks great and I'm in the market for a teriyaki recipe.

FRIDAY: Steak and Spaghetti. When I was little, we had this almost every Friday night. Sometimes I don't even realize I'm writing it down until it's already on the menu. Fridays are made for steak and spaghetti. For a little extra class, I start heating up the sauce (I use super fancy Prego Chunky Garden) on the stove mid afternoon (or in the crockpot all day on low). It completely changes the taste of the sauce and makes it just a little more than it usually is.

meet the learning tower, sam's partner in crime.

People. Meet Tower.
Actually, meet Hower. Someone around here (I won't name names) doesn't say the T sound too well so this is the one and only, the beloved Hower. Hower Allison if we are being formal and Howard T. Allison if he is in trouble - which he is A.LOT.

The tower is the number one item in our house.

Take Sam's toys. Take his freaking bed. Take his diapers for all I care but do NOT take his tower. We cannot live without tower. Sam cannot live without tower. I can't imagine a life without it.

Tower came to us on a chilly November day when I had had about enough of 18 month old Sam (see above photo) pushing a chair around to be part of the kitchen action. Kitchen chairs are dangerous. They could tip, they did tip, and they forced me to parent and supervise him 150% of the time, which we all know I rarely do. Also, do not call CPS on me. I am a good mother(ish).

In a kitchen chair, you cannot run to answer the door.
You cannot go move the laundry to the dryer.
You cannot go to the bathroom no matter how much you need to.

Those things are just not the best for toddlers or at least, not for my toddler. Maybe your toddler is super gifted at chair balancing and I birthed a dud. Who knows. 

Tower is a blessed Pinterest project that is a huge, stinking WIN.

Here is a brief, Reader's Digest version of Tower's birth story:

Tower is a hybrid. The bottom is an IKEA stool. The top was built by Chuck in only one night of really anal craftsmanship. That means you could make this in like an hour. The directions we used are here. They can give you all the measurements, details, and how-tos that you could ever need. All I can give you is a ringing endorsement of Tower and how much your life and your kid needs this.

In addition to being able to put things in the toaster (j/k, do not send me to baby parent jail), Sam moves his tower fast as lightning. He figured out in about .2 seconds that tower meant freedom, independence, and an ability to be involved and help.

Here is Sam in his tower at 5:30 in the morning being super helpful with the coffee. What was not super helpful was the 5:30 wake up, but I've moved on from the horrors of Christmas morning.

I actually lied in that sentence. The wake up was at 4:55. The parental "give up" was at 5:30. This photo is like 5:45 when Chuck and I both wanted to die. On Christmas morning.

Topless Sam loves to cook and the Tower brings him into the action at a perfect height and keeps his balanced and safe. Plus his go-go Gadget sized arms (thanks Chuck, great genes) means he can reach his hands into everything I am doing and cooking.

(sometimes I have a love/hate thing with the tower, but mostly it's love. Except when it's not).

 Sam can easily take his phone calls in the kitchen because of Tower.

He can sneak candy from the pantry when I forget to lock it.
(shout out to my spaghetti-os)

He can dump cereal boxes that I've left out. Why? Because he can reach them with Tower.

Man, it doesn't sound like I love Tower, but really I do.

And all of Sam's guests love Tower too. Tower is the hottest toy on the block. Tower is Hansel. He's so hot right now. 

Bottom line is, if you have the means, I highly recommend investing the $30 and one evening to make a tower. The "real versions" of these things cost about $200 and to be honest, I like the look of this one a whole lot more.

And Sam likes the look I give him when he pulls the utensils out of the drawers and plays "more cheese" with them.

Tower is really truly our favorite. Sam colors at the counter, sorts his cooking supplies, eats his snacks, and is super involved in meal making around here - don't even get me started on all the value I see in having kids help cook (the organization, the reading, the math, the science, the patience...blah blah blah). Mostly, I see value in Sam being independent and a part of the action and Tower brings that to us.

Now go. Make one.

the truth in the perfect photo.

Isn't this such a great family picture?
100-something likes on Facebook and plenty of comments about how beautiful this photo is so I've gotten my validation on how amazing we look.  We are clearly doing things so right around here. What more is there?

Well, there's a little more. How abouts we talk about the truth with this picture and what I see when I look at it.

First. First, you have to know that I truly do love this picture. I love love love it. I love the people in it (I should, I made 2/3 of them), I love the colors, I love the setting. I will cherish it for my lifetime. I know it's not a fancy photoshoot photo, but it works for me.

It also really works for me that Kate is perfectly covering all my middle regions that maybe haven't weathered the 20 pounds of baby in 20 months storm as well as I would have liked...

But here's what else I love.
(Let's just dive right in.)

I love that that's not Kate's head. Ok it is Kate's head - I didn't hire a stunt baby - but it's not the head from the original picture. The next picture in the rapid fire shutter clicks was when she finally looked up so I just moved her head on over into this one. Cheating? Oh yeah, for sure, 100%. But aren't most photos posted online cheats? At least I'm telling you this one has been rigged.

Shall we continue down the circle of trust rabbit hole?
We shall.

Chuck is locking Sam on his lap with a fatherly grip to keep him from running out of the picture because Sam is definitely almost two years old. He's really good at it right now. Basically, Sam believes pictures steal his soul so he won't take posed ones. To get this "perfect" photo, our friend Mike is playing peek-a-boo like his life depended on it. Clearly, Mike nailed it.

And finally, for really, real, honest, truth about this photo: I'm about 2.5 mimosas into brunch to self medicate from the day before. Um. Please. Judgy wudgy was a bear and also a stay at home Mom with two under two.

I had had one of those days with the children. Not so much the "children" in the plural sense as much as the elder child. He's almost two and he's having his moments. And I'm having my moments learning how to navigate this stage. Low point was locking myself in my room for a self-imposed time out from Sam that Friday morning.

Actually that might have been a high point because sometimes you just have to walk away. Sometimes you just cannot change one more poopy diaper with a rolling toddler, get your hands covered in you know what, and be fine with it. Sometimes, you aren't fine with it. Sometimes, that's the last straw. This was one of those times. I had had enough of toddler boy for the morning.

Fe was on her way over to dye Easter eggs so she walked in to find my bedroom door shut and Sam sitting in front of it with an arrangement of stuffed animals and books he had brought down as peace offerings. I heard her walk in and say "Sam, where's your Mom?" So I calmly (nope) poked my head out of the door and said "She's not speaking to him".

Fe and Sam had a great time dying eggs together and I had a great time calming down, watching Katie nap, and taking a vacation from toddler land.

Some days are just like that.

I don't know how such a tiny person can make you so crazy, but it happens and it's the pits. No one wants to be the worst version of themselves and especially not in front of their kid, which I guess is why I put myself in timeout.

And why I was self medicating the next day, having a good laugh with my friends - who all have two year olds - and remembering that bad days are normal, timeouts are normal, and it's not all peaches and cream everyday.

That's why I love this photo. What this photo shows is the opposite of how everything felt so I'll treasure the make believe in this picture. Someday, I won't need a skin belly human shield. Someday, Katie will look at the camera every time. Someday, Sam won't need to be wrestled into a photo. And someday, I won't be taking timeouts from them because they won't be home long enough to make me this crazy.

Until then, this is my perfect photo of my perfect life with my perfect family no matter how unperfect it can be sometimes.

[monday meals mashup] April 13th.

The sick leave policy for Moms is crap.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: we need a union. These working conditions are deplorable, and going downhill daily. Management keeps upping my workload but I'm not seeing any additional (or any) compensation for my work.

And now, now I'm forced to work when I'm sick.

Ridiculous conditions. Also, why couldn't I have gotten Sam's black plague last week when he was sick too? We could have laid on the couch together. Watched "Frozen" 17 times together. Eaten popsicles TO-GETH-ER. But no, now I have healthy Sam running around and he's all "play with me", "entertain me", "be a parent to me". So demanding.

AND on top of it all, we still need to eat for the week.

Someday I'll get to just be sick in bed. I'm assuming that'll be around 2030.

As always, my hope when posting our meals is to help you find yours. Meal planning saves us every night and keeps dinner time stress free, which is exactly how I like meal time to be. I'm enough stress for all of us. We don't need to add "well, what do you want to eat?" on top of that.

Monday: Pasta Soup. Again. Right, remember how this was accidentally ruined during disaster week earlier this month? All the correct ingredients have been bought and this will be perfect for Susie's sick day dinner. {recipe card below}

Photo stolen with love from The Chic Site.
Tuesday: Balsamic Pot Roast in the crock pot. Love this recipe and the tang of the balsamic and soy sauce. We will be having mashed potatoes and asparagus with this. It'll probably be the last cold rainy day for a while so this may be our final pot roast until Fall.

Photo stolen with love from Rachel Schultz.
Wednesday: Oven Fajitas. I'm so excited for this dinner. My friend brought these to us right after Kate was born and they received my highest rating of (yup I still say that). The homemade taco seasoning is fantastic and I will be making a large batch of that to have on hand from now on. See ya later taco seasoning packets.

Photo stolen with love from Martha.
Thursday: Cashew Chicken. A lovely Martha recipe that is fantastic. It's fast and presents well - my kind of dinner.

Photo stolen with love from Martha.

Friday: Skillet Macaroni and Cheese. This is our new recipe for the week. You have to try at least one new dinner a week or you get in a rut. The whole recipe is made on the stove top with just a minute in the oven to crisp up the top. Sounds interesting. We'll give it a go.

And that's the game.
Happy meal planning.

Related Posts with Thumbnails