Friday, November 22, 2013

Maybe Your 8-Year-Old Just Needs You

Maybe your two year old just needs you.

I read a blog this morning about a mother who has a two-year-old that just wanted to spend some time with her. The mother actually took the time to just spend time with the toddler. The mother then felt horribly guilty because she had missed so many of those opportunities. Those opportunites easily get missed because moms sometimes just don't pay attention or because moms mistakenly think the kid needs discipline or because moms are just too tired to be present at that moment.

This is not my problem.

I am almost TOO available for my two-year-old. I actually can sense when he just needs a hug, a song, to hang out or to lay down with me. I am exceptionally attuned to his needs and his wants and respond accordingly.

Unfortunately, my missed opportunites are with my eight-year-old. I could cry rivers of regret over the countless missed opportunities to hug, cuddle, tickle, hang out and play with him.

I never saw him as a helpless baby. When we were introduced, he was able to talk and walk and for a thousand crappy reasons, I just never cuddled with him.

I try to now. I try. I fail often, but I try to be present for him.

I have to try harder. He, too, deserves a remarkable mother.

Monday, September 30, 2013

No-Bake Chewy Granola Bars

As I have said before, I do not follow recipes well. That said, this recipe is an AWESOME base for homemade granola bars.
If you use dark chocolate chips, the bars taste JUST LIKE FiberOne bars.
My kids eat these every chance they get! They especially like them with white chocolate and Craisins.
I also mix in raw almond chunks and milled flax seed and sometimes even sunflower seeds. I do NOT, however, put in coconut or salt.

No-Bake Chewy Granola Bars Recipe by Carole Jones of My Kitchen Escapades
2 cups quick cooking oats (or pulse whole oats in a food processor a bit)
1 C rice crispy cereal
1/4 C shredded coconut
1/4 C butter
1/4 C honey
1/2 C brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
Mix -In variations listed below

1. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the oats, cereal and coconut. Set a small saucepan over medium high heat and melt the butter. Add the honey, brown sugar and salt. Stir together then leave it alone as it comes to a boil. Once the boil has reached all the way around the edges of the pan, begin timing. Allow this mixture to boil for 2 minutes and 15 seconds. During this time, you may need to turn the heat down a bit so it doesn't overflow, but be sure it keeps boiling.

2. Add the vanilla then pour the mixture over the oats, using a rubber spatula to get all the sugar mixture out of the pan. Mix the ingredients together until the oats are completely coated. Add in your desired mix-in then press very firmly into a lightly greased 9x13" pan. If you like your bars thicker, you can use a smaller pan. If you do not press firmly enough, the bars will fall apart when you eat them. Place them in the fridge for 20 minutes then cut to size.

Chocolate Chip Add 1/2 C of mini chocolate chips to the finished mixture before pressing into the pan, allowing it cool just a bit or you will end up with melted chips. Sprinkle on a few extra chips over the top after they are pressed into the pan.

White Chocolate Cranberry Add 1/3 C of white chocolate chips and 1/3 C of Craisins to the finished mixture before pressing into the pan, allowing it to cool just a bit first or you will end up with melted chips.

Candy Bar Add 1/3 C of Heath bar pieces, 1/3 C of mini M&M's and 1/3 C of chopped pretzels to the finished mixture before pressing into the pan.

Peanut Butter Add 2 Tb of peanut butter to the finished sugar mixture before pouring it over the oats. Once mixed with the oats, add 1/2 C peanut butter chips before pressing into the pan.

Raisin Nut Add 1/3 C of chopped raisins and 1/3 C of chopped pecans to the finished mixture before pressing into the pan.

BIG UPS to Carole Jones of My Kitchen Escapades for an AWESOME recipe!

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

A Changing of the Guard

It seems so unreal, but my time as a stay-at-home parent has come to an end.

Yesterday, my Daelen spent his first entire day in the care of someone else.

The emotions I feel cannot be contained. I have spent the last hour or so reading blog posts about my time with Brytin and Daelen and additionally remembering thousand of moments I didn't post on the Internet.

I wish could redo it all. I wish I hadn't made so many mistakes, wasted so much time, I wish my kids were with me RIGHT NOW. I wish I had taken Brytin on 1,000 more adventures, and recorded every minute.

I wish I hadn't spent so much time concerned with raising amazing men, and spent many more hours enjoying my amazing boys.

Lord knows, I am a perfectionist. I am never satisfied with the results I produce - I can ALWAYS do better. And in parenting, it seems, it is ten times more heartbreaking to look back and wish you had done something more.

I know that I was home with Brytin when he most needed me to be the constant in his life. I know that I was home with Daelen at the most precious and vulnerable time in his life. I know that I have done the best I can with my children thus far. But I know I can do better.

Thankfully, I am smart enough to know when and how to make a change.

So...I will go to work. And my kids will go to daycare. But when we are reunited, I will NOT be too tired, too crabby or too busy to have some fun. I will find balance. I will choose happiness. And I will accept them as children who are learning.

And maybe, someday, I will be blessed with another opportunity to be home with my children. Maybe. Hopefully. Someday.