New Mommy Reflections

 

It is my first Mother’s Day this year, and I can’t help but take the time to reflect on what it is to be a mother now that I have my beautiful little baby girl. I thought that I understood a mother’s love. I thought that I completely grasped how deep a mother’s love can go, having experienced the love my mother gave me. I have felt my mother’s love, I have witnessed a mother’s love, but nothing prepared me for the overwhelming feeling of the truly deep love that came over me when I met my baby girl. There is no comparison to anything else in my life.

 

 

Everyone always tells you, “just wait, you’ll never love something so much.” Well they are right. I know I’m only 7 weeks into this thing they call motherhood, but after nine months of pregnancy, to finally have my baby in my arms is truly unreal. Let the mommy guilt and worry commence over every little rash, sneeze, and cry! From every little finger to every little toe. Start the second guessing of every decision being made: Is that the right diaper cream? Is this soap the best non-toxic soap I can find? Should I let her self sooth? Did we get the right carseat? Is that too much spit up? What is the right bottle to use?! I have a feeling this will never end… Nevertheless, my little cub is here and I will do anything to protect her. I will fight to the death to make sure she is safe, healthy, and happy.

 

 

What I am realizing along with this pure happiness of having here in my arms, is the amount of bad in the world. I use to have a much more optimistic outlook on the world and the people in it. But that quickly changed when it was no longer about me; now I am bringing my kid into it. As a teacher I tried not to judge the parents go my kindergarteners, because I knew I was not yet a parent and didn’t completely grasp what that meant. However, no I can see that there is even more for me to judge after feeling this great amount of love and the need to protect my daughter; to give her the best of myself, and the best that she deserves. I know this can  come off harsh, but the amount of bad parents that would ever inflict harm to their little angels, that couldn’t be bothered to talk to their child, spend time with them, or acknowledge them is something that I have witnessed in my own classroom on a daily basis. It’s sad, but you see it everyday on the news and in your local communities. It blows my mind and breaks my heart. I fear for my little girl of 7 weeks, for what she will have to face in this changing world. Add that on top of worrying about what she is eating, who she is hanging out with, and her overall mental happiness. Yes, mothers need a day of acknowledgement, but it should be more than that! For all that those good moms out there have gone through, not only bringing us into this world, but also how they shaped the world around us as we grew up. Everyone knows that MOM runs the show. She is the true captain of your family ship. She is the reason why there is that saying; “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!” Well at least that’s the way it was in my house. 😉

 

I wanted to include in this little rant my WANTS for my daughter. Hoping that by putting all this out into the universe, that it will all come to fruition.

 

 

I want my daughter to know that she IS enough. That staying true to herself is the greatest thing she can do. I want her to be fearless with her dreams and with love. I want her to value family and hard work. I want her to find her passions and stick to them. I want her to fail, (within reason lol) because from our failures come our greatest lessons. I want her to have the confidence in herself to take on any of life’s obstacles. I want her to be healthy and strong. I want her to think for herself. I want her to find true happiness. I want her to experience the world with an open mind.

In order for all these things to come true, I know I will have to be there as a guiding force, just like my mom is for me. So I will tell her what my mama told me, that has always stuck with me: “Remember your name.” It was my mom’s way of saying, remember who you are, where you come from, and what you are capable of. That was all I needed most of the time, in order to overcome my reservation, and to face the world with a fearless heart. For the other times, I knew that she was just a phone call away when I needed her opinion.

 

 

To end with, I want to say thank you to my mom. Thank you for all that you have put your body through so that I could come into this world your child. Thank you for the amazing love and care you have given me. Thank you for making sure I always had socks on in publix and a sweater or “wrap” in every restaurant. Thank you for being my teacher. Thank you for being strict even when it wasn’t easy. Thank you for caring enough to “show up” at various high school gatherings to make sure I was ok. Thank you for always being involved in my childhood. Thank you for all the recitals, auditions, school room holidays, games, award ceremonies, and life events that you were always present for. Thank you for not only supporting my dreams, but also keeping me grounded and focused. Thank you for being an example of not only a strong woman, but a truly amazing example of what it is to be a wonderful mother!

 

What is something that you are the most thankful for that your mom has done for you?

 

 

Photo credit: http://www.ellekaypictures.com

Maternity Photos

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Miles and I decided to do our “Babymoon” in Aspen this New Years! We were there for seven days. It was a wonderful to really just spend some quality time together away from the craziness of the holidays, the off season commitments, and everyday stresses. With Miles leaving at the end of January to go back to Japan for baseball spring training, we wanted to have time to connect with each other completely before we are no longer a family of two, but three! We soaked up every minute of the cold weather, gorgeous snow, breathtaking scenery, delicious food, and handheld walks through out Aspen’s picturesque village. We stayed at Aspen Square Condominiums, in which we had a studio complete with a fireplace and kitchen, making those cozy-cuddly nights and easy late mornings possible.

 

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While there, we took the opportunity to take some unbelievable maternity photos! Being a Florida girl, I wanted to do something different than the “belly on the beach” pictures I have seen so many times. I purchased this dress on PinkBlushMaternity and made the flower crown myself, which I quickly found out was easier said than done!

 

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I was able to connect with the amazing Aspen-based photographer Tara Marolda, who captured these beautiful photos seamlessly! She completely understood what we wanted, and worked fast, which worked well for me because it was COLD!

 

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I ended up wearing my snow boots and thermal leggings underneath my dress to make the cold a little more bearable! The boots were a definite good call since the snow ended up being a little deep!

 

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What you thankfully can’t see is that my eyes and nose were both watering, and I couldn’t feel my hands; it was so cold!

 

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I was so happy we took the time to capture this moment in our lives while she is still safe in my belly!

 

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Being seven months pregnant was the perfect time in my opinion for me to do my maternity photos, because I was obviously big enough to look noticeably pregnant, but not to big to where I didn’t feel good about myself in front of a camera.

 

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My Baby Shower

I was really looking forward to my baby shower because it was the first celebration for our little girl! The excitement to was also shared by my family and friends who attended. My mother, sisters, and I worked together to bring all the little details together, of which resulted in the most beautiful and elegant shower that I could ask for! I am a someone who likes clean neutrals and whites with rustic elements mixed in. The decor was spot on and everything I had envisioned!

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I gave my mother the square wooden boxes that I liked for the centerpieces, and she made the most beautiful arrangements that filled the room with the most wonderful fragrance! I have one talented mama. She purchased the flowers from Whole Foods, soaked some green floral foam in water, and dreamt up these beauties.

 
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Another decorative element that I wanted to have were these amazing balloons. Like all good ideas, I had seen something similar on Pinterest, and collaborated with my mom with the recreation. I ordered these large 36″ white pearl balloons, and found the rest of the foliage at Michaels Craft store. My mom secured the flowers and garland on skinny wooden dowels to help the garland maintain the straight line, as oppose to it sagging on a curve. (I didn’t think it was necessary at the time, but once again, Mama was right)

 

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Everyone kept going on and on about how much they loved these balloons!

 

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I found these adorable rocking horse place cards on Etsy, and added the little flower to each. My mom also made some baby-themed soaps as favors!

 

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My favorite part was of course the dessert table! It was simple and elegant. The books were actually taken from my living room cabinets, while the dessert stands were all from TJ Maxx! The stuffed animals are from Pottery Barn, which I had already purchased for our little girl’s nursery.

 

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The cookies were another party favor for the guests to go home with, which everyone appreciated!

 

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The cupcakes were a lemon flavor with butter cream frosting with an adorable pink bow topper.

 

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The top layer of the cake was Hummingbird cake, and the bottom was a traditional vanilla! How cute are those pink blocks on top?!

 

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Once we all enjoyed our lunch, it was time to play the games: belly string, the price is right, close pin, what’s in your purse, and best “solicited” parental advice. All the winners took home a centerpiece! They were all thrilled to go home with the gorgeous arrangements!

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Then it was time for the gifts!

 

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Baby girl clothes are the cutest!

 

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My older sister Jenny, who has two little ones of her own, made me an organized first aid kit for the first few years needs! It was so amazing and had everyone laughing because it was such a “Jenny” thing to do!

 

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She even had a note book with tabs and labels for quick references for me!

 

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Needless to say I was so overwhelmed by all the love in the room, and the amazing women who are already in our little girls life. I couldn’t hold back the tears. Miles came at the end to thank everyone, and help with all the heavy lifting or present and party clean up.

 

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Lemon Rosemary Shortbread Cookies

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I have been on a lemon kick lately! I think the baby is liking all the citrus because I can’t get enough! I made these as a light-refreshing flavor to all the heavy indulgences that we tend to encounter over the holidays! I was a little concerned about the flavor pairing, because I had never tried it in cookie form, but oh boy was I glad I did! These lemon and rosemary shortbread cookies are absolutely delicious. I hope you enjoy this easy recipe!

Ingredients

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2 1/2 cups of all purpose flour

1 cup of cold unsalted butter cut into cubes

1 tsp almond extract

3/4 cup of sugar

zest of two organic lemons

1 large tbsp of minced fresh organic rosemary

Directions

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Combine the butter, lemon zest, almond extract, rosemary, and half of the sugar in your standing mixer. Then add in the flour and the rest of the sugar and mix until you get a crumbly dough.

 

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Transfer the dough onto a piece of parchment paper, and mold into a log. Wrap the dough in the parchment paper tightly, and place in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours.

 

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Cut the cookie dough into slices about a 1/2 inch think.

 

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Place the cookies on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and place in the oven for 10-12 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown, then immediately remove.

 

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Let the cookies cool completely before removing then from the tray.

 

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Once cooled, your cookies are ready to enjoy!!

 

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Sweet Potato Gnocchi with a Butter Sage Sauce

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I have tried to make gnocchi a handful of times, and to me, this way is the easiest way! I love using sweet potato for an added healthier element. The sweet potato and the butter sage flavors marry extremely well together! I love this dish for the fall and winter seasons because it is just so savory and earthy.

Ingredients:

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3 large sweet potatoes

pinch of salt

2 large egg yokes

2-3 tbsp unsalted butter

1/2 tbsp minced garlic

6 large sage leaves

2 cups of apple cider

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

pepper to taste

sprinkle of cinnamon

Directions:

Fill a large pot with water, and add a pinch of salt and the sweet potatoes. Bring to a boil. Cover and let it simmer for about 35 minutes until the potatoes are tender.

 

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In a small sauce pan, add the apple cider to simmer on high until it is reduced for about 15 minutes.

 

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Once the sweet potatoes are cooked, remove the skin, and place the potatoes in your blender or food processor until completely pureed.

 

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In a large bowl, add the pureed potatoes, flour, egg yokes, and pepper.

 

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Spoon the dough into a plastic ziplock bag, and cut the corner off about a half an inch from the tip of the corner. In a large pot, bring about 8 cups of water to a simmer. Begin piping out the dough, and cutting it into 3/4 of an inch size gnocchi.

 

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Once the gnocchi has cooked and starts to float on the top of the water, you can remove it with a slotted spoon and place it on a baking sheet.

 

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In a large frying pan or skillet, melt half of the butter.

 

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Add half the gnocchi, and cook on medium heat for about 3-4 minutes until they begin to brown. Then add in half the garlic, sage leaves, and pepper.

 

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Cook for another minute, and then top with the apple cider. Repeat for the other half of gnocchi. Sprinkle a dash of cinnamon, and serve!

 

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