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Family

I’m Thankful for the Hard Weeks

March 21, 2017

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Last week Monday Joe and I had just returned from our trip out to California and I was looking forward to digging into a new week. Fresh off our trip, I had so many good ideas I planned to translate into work and great food finds I wanted to blog about. In my new schedule Mondays are always my at-home days with Ainsley. We go to music class, grab coffee, and do things like run errands, laundry, etc. But Monday morning it became very clear to me that what I thought was a toddler who missed momma was quickly becoming a toddler that was getting really sick really fast.

A day full of cuddles and Curious George gave way to a high fever, irritability and very restless sleep for six days and nights. Of course, we didn’t know that it would last so long at the time, so one day at home with Ainsley for me turned into an entire week, canceled weekend plans and a very tired, emotional and behind on work momma come Saturday. Was it the hardest of the hard? Absolutely not. Was it a really challenging and difficult week? Yes, indeed!

While I’m not eager to have a repeat of last week any time soon, as I found myself reflecting on the week we just had I realized how hard days, weeks and even months give way to such a season of gratitude in my heart. I can, like most people, become easily dissatisfied with the here and how. Sometimes I find myself trudging through a workout or not wanting to do that email follow-up that’s been on my to-do list for a number of days. Or maybe it’s the freelance bookkeeping – admittedly my least favorite part about my job – that I need to reconcile at the end of the month. Sometimes I bring a really crappy attitude to it all when I lose perspective of the gift of work and motherhood and finding a balance between the two.

But this week, with last week still very clear in my mind, I found myself SO eager, thankful and excited to do all the tasks that might otherwise seem mundane. Suddenly doing laundry, making toddler lunch, cleaning up subsequent toddler mess, working through emails and making the bed had an added layer of sparkle. Heck, I was just glad we weren’t watching the same 10 episodes of Curious George over and over! But most of all I was very thankful to have my bright, expressive and even strong-willed toddler back. Seeing her listless and sick for days on end without her usual spark was so incredibly sad; even though I don’t relish the meltdowns and battles of the will that come with this age, I found myself thankful that she was feeling good enough to show off that spunk.

For me, I think one of the best and most difficult parts about motherhood has been that it teaches reliance on God by stripping you of the things you think you need the most. Basic needs like sleep become a rarity and personal space, which for an introvert like me is crucial, can be stripped in an instant. And while it’s important to find rest in the margins of motherhood, God’s grace and sufficiency becomes clear when we don’t have the things we “need” to lean on. (Side note: God’s grace is also very evident in the form of moms who come and spend the weekend with you, organizing your house and doing your laundry…)

I have a feeling that in eight weeks or so, with baby girl is here, I’ll be coming back to read this post and preach to myself as I learn to navigate life with two little ones. 🙂

Madison

Family, Pregnancy

On Trusting My Body

February 1, 2017

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{Hatch Collection Bateau Top} // {GAP Demi Pannel Maternity Skinny Jeans}

Today I went to my doctor’s appointment. I’m 25 weeks pregnant, meaning I’ve got about 15 more weeks to go, and every time I have to step on the scale I cringe just a little bit. I would be lying if I said, given some of my past issues with body image, that it’s easy for me to see my body growing and changing rapidly. Actually, this time around might be playing more games with my mind than Ainsley’s pregnancy.

It’s a luxury, isn’t it? To be able to worry about things like gaining weight. During Ainsley’s pregnancy it was a luxury that I didn’t really afford myself because I was focused on other things, like whether or not my baby was healthy and growing appropriately. Like I said, a luxury to even think or worry about these things but something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately as we go further and further into this pregnancy.

While I was fretting about my pregnancy weight gain after my appointment today, something registered in my mind.

Trust your body. 

Anyone who has experienced pregnancy loss or infertility can attest to the fact that trusting your body doesn’t come easily. In the midst of my losses I didn’t feel I could trust my body at all. It had failed me in doing the thing I wanted so badly for it to do. But throughout Ainsley’s pregnancy, and baby girl #2’s pregnancy, I’ve felt a renewed sense of trust in what my body can do.

I’ve seen my body expand and grow, gaining 35 pounds, enduring 16 hours of labor and 2 hours of pushing to give us our beautiful Ainsley. That same body lost those 35 pounds and then some. It’s pushed a stroller for miles and bounced a fussy newborn for hours in the middle of the night. It’s run races and endured countless workouts. When I’ve called on my body to be there for me it has been there and then some.

So today when I was tempted to worry about what my body was doing and how much weight I’ve gained, I made the decision to trust my body and believe it will do what’s needed to grow and carry this baby. And then when that baby is here, it will feed, cuddle, and nurture that baby, too.

So fellow pregnant mommas, join me in giving your body the grace and appreciation it deserves, even on the hard days. Because the hard days will come. We’re only human, right? But how we choose to respond to those hard days is what really matters.

Madison

Family, Pregnancy

Baby Hofmeyer #2 is a….

January 9, 2017

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GIRL! We are shocked (both of us thought it was a boy) and really, really excited to welcome another little lady into our growing family. I get all teary eyed thinking about Ainsley having a sister to share so many wonderful memories with in the years to come. Although she doesn’t quite understand yet, I keep assuring her that this is the best news of her little life. She keeps running around the house saying, “Baby Margaret!” (all you Daniel Tiger watching moms will appreciate that…)

Since I’ve gone 22 weeks without much of a real pregnancy update, I thought it was high time I did a little mid-pregnancy update for those of you who are curious. I have looked back at my updates from Ainsley’s pregnancy a handful of times and always like comparing this pregnancy to her pregnancy. I really wish I had done more frequent updates this time around.

HOW FAR ALONG? 22 weeks 1 day

FEELING: Lots of kicks! I started feeling pretty consistent kicks around 20 weeks, with a few occasional kicks around 18 or 19 weeks. I really thought I would feel kicks sooner the second time around, but that wasn’t the case. These days little lady is moving all the time.

As for me, I’m feeling pretty good! I’ve been generally sicker this pregnancy than with Ainsley and I’m convinced I’m never really going to feel truly “great” this time around. While I can’t say I’m consistently nauseous these days, it still hits me from time to time and I still have a hard time finding foods that really sound good to eat.

Thanks to consistent workouts, I’m feeling more in shape this time around and more like myself than I think I did with Ainsley, but the pesky groin pain I experienced with my last pregnancy is beginning to bother me again. Regular trips to the chiropractor and lots of stretching will hopefully get me through the rest of this pregnancy relatively comfortably.

WEIGHT GAIN: I gained 10 pounds during the first trimester alone, but the weight gain really slowed down after that. As of 21 weeks, I was up 15 pounds.

CRAVING: Nothing, really! Food generally doesn’t sound good or bad to me right now, and my appetite has slowed down significantly from the first trimester. I still really love orange juice, specifically mixed with sparkling water, apple cider vinegar and stevia. I really can’t stand sugar this time around, and every time I eat something sugary it makes me feel ill, so I’ve been steering clear as much as possible.

DOING: Work on the nursery! Well, just starting to plan for the nursery, really, but the room is cleared out and we have moved Ainsley’s dresser into the baby’s room since Ainsley doesn’t need it anymore. We’ve ordered a crib and have a rug and that’s about it so far.

We’re also renovating the basement and moving my office in to the basement since this baby is taking over my former office, so I’ll have a new dedicated space to work downstairs, which I’m super excited about!

Madison

Family

Potsafe :: safer cooking with kids

December 15, 2016

This post is sponsored by Potsafe in association with The Women Bloggers. As always, all opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting the brands that support E&C! #safecooking 

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When I became a parent, one of the things I looked forward to most was being able to cook with my daughter from a young age. I remember my mom giving me so much freedom in the kitchen, cooking and mixing and helping her along the way, and it really helped foster a love of cooking from a young age. Hey, it even became my career! As Ainsley has grown into a toddler (cue all the bittersweet tears…) I’ve enjoyed letting her help more in the kitchen with me. She loves to stand next to the mixer and watch it turn, and help add ingredients to the mixing bowl along the way. It’s a total mess, but I love watching her have so much fun!

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One of the areas that we’ve struggled with, however, has been the stove top. Ainsley is always coming close to my legs and the hot pans when I cook, and despite telling her many times to steer clear because it’s “hot!” she is a little stubborn. While she has never actually grabbed a hot pan, I’m constantly watching her like a hawk to be sure she is a safe distance away.

Enter Potsafe, a kitchen safety accessory that secures your pots to your cooktop to prevent burns. It’s great for kiddos, but also has a wide variety of uses including for your elderly family members that may have issues steadily gripping a pot or pan. We put the Potsafe to the test at my sister-in-law’s house this week and it performed well! I loved how easy it was to set up and install, and the grip on the pot was very secure. We actually have a gas stove at home so this particular style of Potsafe won’t work at our house, but I’m hopeful that they have plans for a gas stove version sometime in the future!

There’s still time to order for your holiday gift giving. Check it out over on Amazon!

Family

seeking, seeing and affirming the best

December 14, 2016

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Let me brag on my husband for a quick second, will you? On Monday I returned from five days away with my mom in NYC. My mom took me as her plus one on a fun work-related trip, so our schedule was predetermined, and I was a little nervous about leaving for five whole days. I’ve gone on weekends away, even four days, but five days away from Ainsley (and five days of solo parenting duty for Joe) was a first.

Now my husband, friends, isn’t one to complain. In fact I would be hard-pressed to think of a time when he did gripe or complain about much of anything. He’s my better half in so many ways. Patient, even-keeled, steadfast, adaptable. Being the parent with the flexible job, I spend quite a bit more time with Ainsley during the weekdays, so I made every effort to prepare for three different drop-offs, pick-ups and meals while I was away. Oh, and did I mention that while I was away Ainsley decided that 5:30 is her new favorite time to wake up for the day.

All things considered, I fully expected to walk into a house Monday night that looked a little messy, maybe a little out of place. My baby was happy and things had gone well while I was away, so that was my primary concern. But the house, you guys, the house! It was spotless. Ainsley was in bed. Laundry had been done and, knowing my need for a bath the second I get home from a trip, the tub had been scrubbed and thoroughly cleaned.

Such a long story, right? But the next day I found myself walking around thinking, mediating on how amazing my husband is. How selfless, skilled and thoughtful he is. How well he parents and how easy he makes it look while I’m away. And I started to realize that more often than I would like to admit, I get stuck in a pattern of picking out the bad, rather than the good, about my spouse. I think we all do, right? Little minor annoyances and things that are done differently than I would have them done. But small thing after small thing becomes what I mediate on, leaving me dissatisfied and hard to please. Not really something I hope to be known for by my husband.

Spending my day thinking about all the things my husband does well we so refreshing. Not that I walk around every day thinking about the things he doesn’t do well, but I felt a shift in thought process. Seeking and seeing the good rather than walking through my day with a perspective of correction and criticism.

This attitude and frame of thinking has so many other applications, of course. Meditating on God and His goodness. Our children and their shining qualities rather than their shortcomings. Difficult relationships in our life. Our relationship with ourselves. I’m sure it will take a little bit of practice on my part, but I hope to become a more affirming and less critical person over time, affirming the good in those around me rather than picking out their shortcomings.