a peek into my den...aka a peek into my life

If you stopped in to visit me anyday after lunchtime, you'd likely be welcomed to a scene like this:
 Let's take a closer look...
~ clean laundry that we hung on the bathroom shower rod so it wouldn't wrinkle in the dryer, now draped and wrinkling on the chair because we had to move it to give someone a bath 

~ dirty clothes on the floor from the day, many of which are covered in Georgia Kate's blowouts

~ a pile of clean baby clothes waiting to be pressed -- or wait, are those dirty too? Time to sniff test.

 ~ a tv covered in toddler fingerprints,because no matter how many times we tell him the tv isn't like the iPad, Luke still tries to touch the letters on Wheel of Fortune

~ the remnants of a McDonald's Happy Meal, aka my attempt to get my toddler to eat something- ANYTHING- other than milk

~ a sippy cup of lemonade from who knows how long ago (lemonade doesn't need to be kept cold, right?!)

~ baby toys that still "need batteees"

~ a Big Gulp with half Diet Pepsi/half regular Pepsi, because even though I said I would only do soda on the weekends, it was necessary for today's survival

~ more clean (I think?) clothes waiting to be folded and put away

~ my sewing supplies stacked on the couch, because we had to move Georgia Kate's crib into our room where my sewing corner once was, and there's nowhere to set up a new sewing/craft station

~ a trashcan filled with dirty diapers, because who has time to take out every single dirty diaper?!!


This is my life.
This is the craziness I call normal.
This is why I haven't blogged in weeks.
Because once naptime rolls around, I spend that precious half-hour in FEMA mode,
assessing what really needs to be cleaned up and deciding what messes aren't worth repairing.

Life with a toddler and a baby is a handful.
And messy and chaotic and smelling like a doodie 24/7.

But this my new normal and daggone it I'm going to find a way to enjoy it...
...probably with a Big Gulp in hand. :)

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I'm doing it all wrong

I was laying in bed the other night thinking to myself,
I do this motherhood thing all wrong.

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I let Luke watch more than an hour of tv, oh, almost everyday.

I clean house in the morning while both kids are awake.

I don't follow a schedule at home and there's no predictable daily routine.

The majority of our weekdays are spent in pjs/comfy clothes. Rarely do we "get dressed."
(myself included)

I am so over playing trains. 
I would rather eat green beans than build another train track.

Luke eats lunch in front of the tv more than he eats it in his high chair. 
Because by the time 12:30 rolls around, I'm just over it and PBS gives me 30 minutes of quiet.
---

As I lay in bed beating myself up over and over again, I started to realize that motherhood has no true definition. There's no "right" or "wrong" way to be a mom. It's not geometry where there are clearly defined angles and measurements. (Thank goodness, because I barely passed geometry in high school.) Instead, it's just the opposite. It's fluid and flexible, forever changing. 

So why do I feel like I'm doing it all wrong?

I think the feeling of failure of that consumes so many of us comes from a desire to be perfect. Our children are the best part of this earthly life, so we want to give them nothing but our best. But perfection is something we will never achieve; we are all sinful creatures born into a life of sin. Yet we still try to be the perfect mom. The one that does what "they" say you should. The one that feeds her toddlers vegetables at every meal. The one that never lets her children watch too much tv. The one that always plays with her child and never gets tired of doing the same puzzle over and over (and over) again.

Newsflash!
We all fail as moms.

Not at everything, and not everyday, but you're going to have days where you don't give your children your best. And that's okay. Accepting failure and realizing that we're not doing as well as we should is a crucial part of being a mom. If you don't feel like you're failing, well, don't hang out with me. I don't need perfect people in my life. But if you're like me and recognize your failures, take a peek at what this little birdy has to say...

I've lost my temper this week. I've closed the door and let Luke scream in his crib so I can get an extra hour of sleep in the morning. I let Georgia Kate sleep in bed with me some nights, because I am just so dang tired, forcing John to sleep on the couch downstairs. I've failed at a lot but that doesn't mean I'm failing as a mom. It means I'm human. I'm going to try harder this weekend. Who's with me?


** I'm not writing this post in hopes of affirmation. I'm not seeking comments to tell me I'm doing a good job. I think it's important to recognize that we don't do it "right" not matter how hard we try. And that's okay. Some days you just need to accept your failures, ask for forgiveness and pray to do a little bit better tomorrow. 

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worth it?

I love Amazon. I peruse the site no less than once a day, normally during my early morning nursing sessions. I love finding the newest "daily deal" and reading reviews on everything from baby wipes to banana slicers. (Seriously, if you've never read the banana slicer reviews, check them out now. HILARIOUS.)

Thankfully our budget doesn't allow me to order everything my heart desires, but that doesn't stop me from filling up my online shopping cart. What? Don't act like you don't pretend online shop. ;)

Amazon has a great feature known as "wish lists." You can add items to your wish list to save for later. I've found some cool products that are on my "saved for later wish list" and I thought I'd share them here to see if any of you have experience with any of these products. If you do, I'd love to hear your thoughts!

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With Luke quickly outgrowing the pack & play, we're going to need a new bed for him when we travel to see the grandparents. Luke is not the type of kid that would just fall asleep in a sleeping bag or pallet of blankets on the floor; he needs more structure to stay settled and get into "sleep mode." I think that this $22 cot might be the ticket.

I love our Graco Pack & Play. It's easy to set up, easy to fold and has served us well for both kiddos. Unfortunately, the base of the Pack & Play is separating. Specifically, the fabric is pulling away from the cushiony base, making ripples that are uncomfortable for sleeping. I think that one of these foam mattresses would be a good investment to make sleeping in the Pack & Play more comfortable.

We haven't converted Luke's crib to a toddler bed for a number of reasons. However, I think his crib days are quickly drawing to a close. Luke has always been an early riser, so I know that the freedom of a toddler bed would mean even earlier mornings for Mom & Dad (& Georgia Kate). I've heard good things about these children's alarm clocks that turn green when the child is allowed to get up for the day. Anyone else have experience with these?

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Georgia Kate, one month old

It's been a challenging transition, going from one to two children. One of the biggest things I struggle with is finding time for myself. I never realized how much time I had before we added Georgia Kate to our family. Don't get me wrong- I wouldn't go back to our family of three for anything. But the adjustment has certainly been challenging. 

Now that Georgia Kate is almost four-months-old, I feel like I'm starting to figure out her sleep patterns and we're starting to establish a new rhythm for our days. It feels good to finally get here. I hope to catch up on the blog this week during naptimes because, well, I've got a lot of catching up to do! Let's start with Georgia Kate's first month...
Georgia Kate, one month old
 starting to get baby rolls!
 Little baby, big personality :)
These are her "really Mom? another picture?" faces
 
Weight: 11 pounds, 5 ounces (83rd percentile) - up almost four full pounds from her birth weight!

Height: 22 inches (72nd percentile)

Sleeping: on a three-hour schedule. Of course this isn't 100% true, but she seems to be up every three hours most days and nights. She primarily naps in my arms and spends her nights co-sleeping in bed with me.

Feeding: nursing on just one side every two-three hours

Diapers: mostly newborn sizes, but Huggies size one diapers fit her now too

Clothes: just starting to enter the 0-3 month outfits; most newborn clothes still fit my little lady :)

What makes you laugh/smile: Since she isn't old enough for this yet, I'll just go with what makes her content: being held, nursing to sleep, snuggling close to Mommy

What makes you cry: the carseat, being put down, baths, Daddy (sad, but true)

Other news to note: I had my first taste of baby reflux in Georgia Kate's first month. Luke never ever spit up. Georgia Kate seems to spit up every other feeding. And I use the term "spit up" lightly; it's more like projective vomiting. I haven't quite figured out what causes it. It could be something in my diet, but since her poops are "regular," I doubt it's a food allergy/intolerance. Georgia Kate also seems to be happy before and after most feedings, making her reflux difficult to diagnose. For now we're doing lots of laundry and giving the newborn outfits lots of good use. :)

Georgia Kate has the sweetest temperment. She loves to be held and enjoys making eye contact with whomever is holding her. Everyone comments on how strong her neck is and she's already holding her head up for a few seconds at a time. Georgia Kate has an affinity for Mommy and doesn't seem to like being held by Daddy, but we're working on that. :) Much like her brother, she does not like to be swaddled and hates sleeping flat on her back, unless she's flat on her back in someone's arms. My little snugglebug, Georgia Kate is most content when held upright or cozy in the Boba wrap. She has been such a sweet addition to our family and we can't imagine life without her!
Poor second child, I have so few pictures of her on our "real" camera. Thankfully I'm an Instagram addict, so here are a few more iPhone pics from Georgia Kate's first month.
  
  
   

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Make it Monday

Do you ever get in a dinner rut? I sure do. I'm not the type to repeat the same meals every week. In fact, homemade pizza is the only thing we eat weekly (it's our Friday night tradition); however, I've found myself feeling so "blah" recently when it comes to dinner. Eating out isn't in the budget, so I decided to reconnect with my old friend Pinterest for some recipe inspiration. Enter today's
Lightened-up Chicken Salad 
recipe via Chung-Ah 

Ingredients
1 pound cooked chicken breast, shredded
1/2 cup diced red onion
1/2 cup diced apple
2/3 cup grapes, halved
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt (I used a 6oz container)
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
kosher salt and ground pepper (I just used my salt & pepper shakers!)
rolls/bread/crackers for serving

Directions
1.) First you'll cook and shred your chicken breast. I boil two, regular-sized breasts for about 20-25 mins, until fully cooked and no longer pink. Then I cut each breast in half and toss them into my Kitchen Aid mixer.
Using the paddle attachment, mix on low for 30-45 seconds for perfectly shredded chicken.
 2.) This is where I strayed a bit from the original recipe. Instead of mixing everything together, I first combined the onion, apples, grapes, cranberries and almonds in a large bowl.
 3.) Then I added my shredded chicken.
 4.) In a separate bowl, combine the Greek yogurt, lemon juice and garlic powder. Mix well.
 5.) Add the wet ingredients to the chicken mixture and stir until well-combined. Season with salt & pepper to taste. Serve on rolls/bread/crackers and enjoy!

A few notes:
* Although it's much healthier, I found that the plain Greek yogurt gave the chicken salad a strong taste & pungent odor. I'm guessing it was just the store-brand of yogurt that I chose, but I decided to add a heaping spoonful of light mayo to the chicken salad mixture. It helped cut the strong odor/flavor to the Greek yogurt and helped keep the chicken salad nice and moist.

* I like to make this early in the day then put it in the fridge to chill before serving. Allowing the chicken salad to sit in the fridge for a few hours helps the flavors to blend nicely.

* This recipe filled four *hearty* sub rolls. On a hamburger bun or sandwich bread I would say this recipe easily feeds 4-6 people.

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the 30th birthday wish list

In less than a month I turn 30. THIRTY. Holy smokes that sounds weird. In my mind I always thought that 30 would feel old, but I really don't feel much different than I did when I first started teaching at the ripe old age of 23. Well I feel much more tired, and I've got lots of extra skin around my midsection after carrying two babies, but the rest of me still feels like I did in my early 20s.

But 30 is supposed to be a milestone right? So I think we should celebrate accordingly, with a good ol' Pollock Potluck wishlist. :)

(1) Lands End Coated Canvas Shopper - I just love a red handbag, and this one with it's roomy interior and polka dots? Well it's just screaming my name.

(2) Money towards a Silhoutte Cameo - I've been wishing for a Silhouette/Cricut for a while. After talking with some people and reading about both, I've decided on the Silhouette Cameo. This is a pricey investment, but I've been saving and hope to be able to get one before too long. (hint hint!)

(3) a weekend in the Outer Banks - John and I found a great little cottage last year that had a basement apartment for rent at just $90/night. We went for our 5th anniversary and were pleasantly surprised with how nice and new the apartment was. On top of that, the owners were so sweet and happen to live locally. I'd love to go again for a weekend once beach weather returns. Maybe for the long Memorial Day weekend?
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I'm hoping to celebrate my 30th with some of my favorite things. The big local consignment sale starts on my birthday, so I'm hoping to spend the morning shopping for the kiddos with a big Diet Coke in hand. Then probably a nap in the afternoon followed by some Mexican for dinner. But if one of those three items above happened to find their way into my day on April 3rd? Well that wouldn't be too shabby either. :)


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sidebar spotlight

Today I want to share with you a little bit about one of the buttons you see on my right sidebar,
Amanda Leigh Knits

Amanda is a friend that I met when I was a student at Virginia Tech. We were both involved with a campus ministry known as Cru, short for Campus Crusade for Christ. Fast forward five years and we're both stay-at-home moms to toddler boys and baby girls. Amanda has a *fabulous* blog that you can read here. But promise me you'll come back to The Potluck every now and again, k? Because once you start reading her writing, you'll be checking back daily for more. Trust me. She's good.

Anyways, the button you see on the blog is a direct link to her Etsy shop, "Amanda Leigh Knits." Amanda makes beautiful custom hats, washcloths and baby booties...the most adorable baby booties I've ever seen.
Amanda graciously offered to make Georgia Kate a pair of kicks. I got to pick the color, the button color and button design. Amanda is so easy to work with, and if you read the reviews on her Etsy shop, you'll see I'm not the only one who thinks so. Here's Georgia Kate sporting her new kicks.
I hope you'll check out Amanda's shop and give this sweet mama some business. Some baby booties or a custom beanie would be perfect for your upcoming baby shower or toddler birthday. Her work in impeccable and I guarantee whomever receives one of her creations will be pleased. Happy Shopping!

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