Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Chicken Noodle Stew

Mmm, Mmm, Yum!

It's a perfect leftover, scrape together kind of meal. Great for today when it is chilly outside. I love this recipe because I can make it when I have small or large amounts of ingredients. I can add or subtract veggies depending on what I have at the ready. If I had Pillsbury biscuits this would've been potpie, minus the noodles of course. Depending on how much liquid I add, it can be stew or soup. Tonight it was stew, and this is what I put in it. 

Olive Oil
Diced Celery
Diced Onion
Diced Garlic
Chopped Carrots
Diced Potatoes
Cooked Chicken (I picked the bones of a leftover roasted chicken, the kind you can get in the grocery store hot & ready for $5-$7)
Salt, Pepper, Garlic Powder, Italian Herb Blend

Water or Chicken Stock or Broth
Egg Noodles
Cannellini Beans (I added these to kick up the protein and fiber - you could easily substitute green beans)
Corn (I cut kernels off of an already cooked, Szalay's corn on the cob we had leftover from our Labor Day cookout)
Peas (I used frozen ones)

In a large stock pot, add the oil to coat the bottom and put on med high heat.
Add the vegetables and chicken (except for the corn & peas & beans - they become mush if cooked too long)
Add seasoning & stir occasionally until hot and veggies softened
Add water (broth or stock) & bring to a boil
Add egg noodles, corn, peas, & beans and reduce heat to low
Once noodles are soft, remove from heat & serve

My kids LOVE this!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Confessions of Un-Confidence

I have been having a rough time lately with my role as "mom".

I sort-of broke down the other evening to Big Daddy R and came somewhat clean that I felt like a failure as a mother.  I say "sort-of" and "somewhat" because I only cried a little and only touched on the tip of the iceberg.  I was not ready to completely divulge my true feelings.

I confided to him that this should be easy.   I am smart but this boggles me.  Why is it I can't do it?  Why can't I handle two small children?  I should be doing better.

I feel so awkward every time someone tells me what a good mom I am to my two little Rs.  My neighbors continually gush about it and I have found myself avoiding them (which is difficult because they are like grandparents to my kids) just because I don't want to hear about how wonderful of a mom I am to them.

I feel like I have a dark dirty secret that no one but me and my poor children know about.  My poor kids that have to suffer with the truth everyday.  And my poor husband who can see that something is bothering me but doesn't understand because I refuse to burden him with the depth of my troubles.

But to the keen eye, an outside observer may see the unclean house, the half-naked kids, the piles of laundry, the overworked husband, the too-clean stove, and the empty bottles of wine and deduce that either these kids need to have protective custody from neglectful and addictive parents, or that this is a case of a mom who has no confidence in her skills.

When I'm low, I'm under the barrel.  No, I'm the muck that grows under the stuff that lives under the barrel.

But then there are days when I can breathe and just "let it be".  Instead of fighting against the current, I just float downstream and have faith that I won't hit a waterfall.  Or if I do happen upon one, that it won't be too scary, it may actually be thrilling, and that I will not drown.

It is all about faith I guess.  I have to blindly believe that it will all be ok.  And if I put my whole heart into that belief then my confidence grows.

I can see that my children are beautiful and healthy.  I can see that my kids kiss and hug and laugh and play together.  I can see that there is a creative ingenuity in their messes.  I can see that the fridge & cabinets are filled with healthy foods that they actually love to eat.   I can see that my three year old started to read, can do simple math, and can recite books word for word with such enthusiasm and drama it's no wonder he's my child!  I can see that even though my 18 month old utters few words, her mind is working and she understands completely.  I can see that there is more laughter than screaming.  And I can see that Ryan proclaims everyday, sometime several times a day, that "We are the best & happiest family in the world!"
And I would have to agree with him wholeheartedly!

Tomorrow I may be losing my mind once again, continually following their path of destruction, but today I will savor every moment of the results of my "mom" abilities.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

disappearing me

I spent so much time working on "who I am", defining my existence, making a niche for myself in this world.  It was important to me.  It was a driving force behind all of my decisions.  I wanted to stand out, be unique, an individual, a rare example.  It turns out that none of it mattered.  I was selfish and didn't know it.  I know it now.

Not everything changed once I got pregnant.  That's when it started, but I was still over confident.  I thought I had it all figured out.  I could continue working full time.  We could live comfortably in this cute little house I bought.  We would be healthy and happy and want for nothing.

When I first held him in my arms I became a mama bear.  Nothing mattered except him.  For the first time ever, I was focused on someone other than myself.  The intensity of this feeling overwhelmed me.  The sight of him had me grinning uncontrollably.  I cried tears of joy at the very thought of him.  I forgot all about my needs, desires, and comfort and spent up every ounce of energy into giving myself completely to this tiny ball of life that I created.

Suddenly who I was, and who I used to be no longer mattered.  The only thing that matters is who I am now.  My children do not know or even care about who I was.  They only know me for who I am now.  I try to be the best mom I can be for them.  I try really hard and some days I feel like I failed them.  Other days I don't try at all and I feel successful.  I do it all for them.  I am focused on them instead of myself.  I let the old me waste away.  She's no longer important.  Her dreams have faded and instead have been replaced by the new hopes and dreams of what I want for my children.  I want them to be happy, healthy, and good.

When you have a critically ill child, this feeling intensifies a hundred-fold.  Nothing else matters but him.  It is hard to even think about simple things like eating, sleeping, & hygiene.  There are a zillion other things to worry about and stay focused on.  And time is precious.  Why waste time doing stupid, non essential things when you don't know how much time you really have.  It is frustrating.   

I define myself now by my children.  Who they are, is what I am.  I am nothing without them.  The thought of losing him... it would be like losing myself.  Who am I without him?  I would be nothing.  I am scared.