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Let’s Talk Food

Food. Who doesn’t love food? It’s creamy, salty, spicy, gooey, sweet and oh so delicious. Not only does it taste good but it sustains your body and feeds your soul. We have built our lives around food. People travel the world to taste its fine, mouth watering, delicacies. Food is living. We experience life through our mouthes. When a girl breaks up with her boyfriend, she eats. (Yes, it may be a whole gallon of rocky road ice cream, but hey, we have all been there). When you pick someone up for a first date where do you take them? To dinner. When a loved one passes away or a friend has a baby what do you do for them? You bring them food. Yes, you need to eat to survive, but many of us actually enjoy eating. Take a look at your Pinterest board. What do you see? Recipes. Delicious creations sitting there on your pin board waiting to be created. See. Food. Our world exists around it. But, what if the way your mouth feels about food isn’t the same as the way your stomach feels about food? What if your mouth enjoys every bite you take, yet your stomach wants to reject it? Most people are lucky enough not to have this problem. I am not one of those “lucky” people. My stomach hates food. Loathes it actually. It despises it so much it has made itself allergic to almost everything. Ok, I am being a little dramatic. No, my stomach didn’t wake up one day and decide it no longer liked certain foods. But, I have become allergic to things I wasn’t always allergic to. So, what types of food does my stomach resent begin ingested? Lets see…Gluten, dairy (of any kind), chicken, tomatoes, and too much sugar. All the good stuff. Trust me. I have tried to force my stomach to get over itself and just get used to cheesy pepperoni pizza with tomato sauce and gooey cheesy slathered on top of a wheat infested crust. Nope. My stomach speaks clearly when I am hunched over in the bathroom regretting every bite of that pizza I took. It lets me know loud and clear as my head pounds and my mood swings from one spectrum to the other that the stuffing on Thanksgiving so wasn’t worth it.  If I can’t convince my stomach to like my favorite foods what do I do?

When I first became gluten and diary allergic, I thought my food loving days were over. Everything, I mean everything yummy has some form of gluten or dairy in it. Then add the chicken, the tomatoes and the “too much sugar” and I might as well take on the diet of a rabbit. But, thank God for Pinterest. It has helped me sift (get it, a cooking pun!) through the “its alright” recipes, the “oh my gosh I’m going to puke recipes”, and the “I can love food again” recipes. So, I thought I would make it a little easier on those of you who may suffer from allergies like mine. Ive done that hard work for you and eaten the food that tastes like cardboard or fermented mushrooms so you won’t have to. I will do my best to post a recipe I have tried and loved every week. I will limit my recipes to gluten and dairy free since my added allergies are un-common ones. I hope this helps you if you are feeling lost. I know I was for a while! It is about time that those of us with food allergies or angry anti-food stomachs start enjoying food again and not just eating to survive. No more of that!!

So, here is your first recipe.

I love pizza. I can’t get enough of it. I could eat it, every day. So, when I could no longer stomach the crust, I felt lost. I found the recipe that made pizza a part of my life again. It was soft, moist and so good. Plus, it was so easy to make. Who doesn’t love simplicity? Obviously I can’t have cheese or tomato sauce so I made a BBQ (yes, it has tomato products, but I can tolerate it in small amounts) and veggie pizza with no cheese. I topped mine with green bell peppers, cilantro, olives, pepperoni, ham and bacon. It made my mouth happy and most importantly it made my stomach happy. Let me know what you think!!

Sharing is Caring…

Co-parenting. One of the hardest things I have ever had to learn how to do. The “Co” in co-parenting should stand for           co-mplicated. Complicated parenting. Where no situation is the same. Where there is no “one size fits all.” It is messy and full of glitches. It can become like a game of tug of war. Two parents pulling while the child is stuck in the middle feeling more like an object than a blessing. It takes trial after trial and error after error to get it right. It takes work to become a well oiled machine. And even then, fights happen, tempers roar and the two “co-parents” become “co-vert” about the lives they share with their child. Blame, resentment, and fingers are often pointed. And through all of this, your child is left ripped apart. It isn’t right. But, as humans, it’s hard NOT to do. I’ve been there. I’ve been that mom who tried to keep my baby all to myself. I’ve been that mom who looked for ways to deem him an “unfit” parent. Was that better? Heck no! Having a good relationship isn’t easy. But, it can be done. A good relationship can be formed, over time. It is possible. Just look at how far I have come.

I was 19 when I got pregnant. I was young, naive, and that girl that thought teen pregnancy couldn’t happen to her. I was so naive that I didn’t even feel I needed to practice “safety” in this department. We all know what happened next. Yes, I got pregnant…shocking. Needless to say, neither of us were at a stage in life where we were ready to start a family. We were selfish, unfocused, and stumbling through life ourselves. A baby threw a wrench in things and magnified the areas of our relationship we tried to ignore. Eventually, we broke up. I became a single, pregnant, now 20 year old, who had no idea how the heck I was going to do this on my own. Even with family help going to college full time, raising a baby full time, dealing with an ex full time. It was a lot. Usually when you break up with your boyfriend, they go away. They poof out of existence and you are left with their faint memory. Well, not when a child is involved and the father wants to be involved in its life. They. Never. Go. Away. Ever. Sorry to disappoint.

Throughout my pregnancy, we hardly talked, unless it was to fight or bicker about something. He went to one doctors appointment because that was all I could handle. He was still the same person. He hadn’t changed (yet). When a woman gets pregnant, she immediately has to change. She stops doing things that are harmful (drinking, smoking, eating unhealthy, etc). Her boobs hurt constantly. You stop loving your favorite foods and crave the most disgusting things. Yes, pickles and ice cream together are amazing when you are pregnant. You are constantly reminded you are carrying a child as you hover over the toilet revisiting the lunch you just ate ten minutes ago. Your body changes in the most uncomfortable ways. But, when the baby moves, you are reminded of the joy that will soon follow all of your discomfort. That kick in the gut gives you strength to keep waddling on. Women become insta-moms. Some dads however, take longer to come around. When I became pregnant, I was like an oven. I took 9 months to prepare for the baby. I nested, got her room ready, felt her growing inside of me. Her dad, my ex, he was a microwave. He did his thing while she was in the womb, then quickly became ready when she was born. It wasn’t until he held her for the first time that he finally truly felt like a dad. It was a bitter sweet moment in that hospital. On one hand, I held my beautiful, curious, sweet baby in my arms. On the other hand, so did her dad. The man I was no longer with. The man I would have to share her with. The man who a percent of the time would take her away from me. That is how I saw it back then.

Six months after she was born, we went to court. It was a long, expensive, painful custody battle, that we needed. Yes, we actually needed court. It was time for a reality check. For me, I needed to come to terms with his girlfriend (now wife), being involved in my daughters life. But, thats a whole other topic. Spoiler alert! We are actually friends now! I also needed to see it from his point of view too. He loved our little girl and not only did I miss her when she was gone, but he missed not seeing her too. We both loved her. Equally. Differently. Deeply. He needed court to take a walk in my shoes as a new mother. This was a hard step. A painful step. And going through this process got us both to see where each of us was coming from. Like I said, it hasn’t been easy. I still remember the feeling of my heart being ripped apart as I dropped my 6 month old off at her dads for her very first over night visit. I still feel the pain of my first Thanksgiving staring at her empty high chair. That’s what happens when you have a child with someone you don’t spend forever with. You share. And sharing means you don’t get your child all to yourself. What parent wants that? No parent. But, it has to happen.

Over time, we started talking more as two people, on the same team, with the same goal. It took a co-parenting class to actually get us on the same page. It felt awkward and uncomfortable at first. It started with small talk, short trips to the park together and even lunch with him, his wife and our daughter. Yes, I was the awkward third wheel. Things would be going great. We would be communicating effectively and then bam…something would be said, or done and those few steps we took forward were erased by ten steps backwards. We knew when to take a breather. To stop talking until we cooled off. We had to remember how the other person works. He knows (and sometimes forgets) that I need time to process. So, when he is asking for more time, giving me a day to think about it usually ends up better than making me decide on the spot. For him, shutting him down right away creates an explosion. Even though we are not tougher, we still need to understand how the other person ticks. Without that, no good communication will ever happen. It was through lots and lots of communicating, crying, arguing, and disagreeing, that we finally began to see the bigger picture. Our child. We saw the joy spread across her face when we both took her trick or treating. The excitement she expressed when we both cheered her on for soccer, ballet, and cheer. The love she showed when she got to hug us both on Thanksgiving. Being a co-parent sucks sometimes. But, having a child feel loved, cared for, cherished and happy. Well, for that, Ill smile and include him and even become his friend. Because my daughter is worth it.

These steps worked for me.

1. Talk. To start, find something you two can agree on and start there.

2. Start participating in something involving your child together and actually support them together.

3. Get to know who they are in a relationship with. Remember, this person is involved in your child life too. Find out who they are and give them a chance. Unless there are reasons of safety involved, disliking their hair color is not a reason to not like your baby daddy’s girlfriend or wife. Chances are, she is feeling ten times more uncomfortable and on edge than you.

4. Talk positively about the other parent to their child. If you talk negatively, you’re the one your child won’t want to share things with. Encourage their relationship with the other parent. I know it’s hard.

5. Explain your feelings to your co-parent. Chances are, they are feeling them too.

6. Stay focused on your child and what is best for them. Most of the time doing what is right is the hardest thing. But keeping them in the forefront helps.

Like I said, no co-parent situation is the same. If anyone has any questions or comments about the struggles of co-parenting, please comment below. I have been through hell and back with my ex and would love to talk or even listen. And remember, keep taking in like a mom, even when having to co-parent.

Take It Like A Mom…

The other day, I had just finished cleaning up after my tornado of a daughter, made a delicious one pot spaghetti dinner I had found on Pinterest, cleaned up the kitchen, and finally got to taste my pasta creation, twenty minutes after everyone had already started.  As I sat down, for probably the first time all day, I let out a huge sigh. It was as if the relief my feet were getting somehow had escaped my soles and made its way up my body and out of my mouth. Yes, today we were eating in front of the television, which I was not happy about, but we had gotten home late from cheer practice and my daughter politely asked to watch one of her very favorite shows “Peppa Pig.” You choose your battles.

So, there were were. I looked around at all of the empty plates and then down at my very full plate. I always seemed to be the last one to eat. As I picked up my fork and began to twirl my pasta, my daughter decided that sitting on her mom’s lap, while she held a very full plate of spaghetti, seemed like a good idea.  As she crawled across my lap, taking the longest and most difficult route, her bony knees kneading my thighs, her elbow suddenly found its way deep between my rib cage and my gut. As I let out a huge “OW” and almost dropped that very full plate of spaghetti, my four year old turned and looked at me, finally comfortable, and said “Aww, take it like a mom!” As I stared at her, puzzled at how she even came up with this remark, I began to laugh.

Take it like a mom. She was right. As a mom, we take a lot of elbows to the gut. In fact, life can often feel like a constant elbow to the gut and we simply take it. Every minute of every day. Schedules, tantrums, diets, cleaning, budgeting, time itself. My little four year old was on to something. She is far wiser than her years. So I started to think. How do you take it like a mom? I’ve heard the saying “Take it like a man”, but that seemed trivial. (No, I am not here to bash men or to say that what they do isn’t as important as the role of a mother. It is simply different.) I love my fiancé and know for a fact he takes a lot with his job. But as a mom, we take a lot from every angle. We take it like a mom by painting fingers and toes just to watch them pick them off ten minutes later. We take it by making dinner only to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich because the chicken is too spicy. We take it by trying to squeeze out the logic, the to-do list, the stress, from our brains for just ten minutes so we can pretend to be jungle animals in the grass in the back yard. We take it like a mom all day long. We answer the same question 100 times 100 different ways because explaining why the sky is blue the first 99 times didn’t work. We listen to Frozen’s “Let It Go” so many times we hear it playing even when the song isn’t on. We listen to the temper tantrum of our screaming children because they can’t have the toy they wanted because it is not in the budget this month and they don’t understand why you can’t just go to the magic machine that just gives you money. And then, on top of all of this, we have to be human beings. We have to shower, clean, do laundry, work, use the bathroom, love our husbands, and even be social. It’s a lot of work. I mean A LOT of work.

So, how do you take it like a mom? You laugh; don’t take life too seriously. Your kids won’t care why the sky is blue, or want to crawl around in the grass pretending to be a snake forever. So stop. Clean the house later. Make the grocery list later. Play and laugh…a lot. Breathe; when life feels like an elbow to the gut, just breathe. Regain composure. It will work itself out and if not, just know you have to tools to figure it out. You’re a mom for pete’s sake! You have changed a poopy diaper in the tiny compartment of an airplane, pushed through the pain of a tingly, dead arm, to feed a bottle to your baby while driving on the freeway, and have managed to keep fifteen 3 year olds happy at your child’s third birthday while waiting for the jumper to arrive. Look around; stare at those beautiful faces of those children you worked so hard to have. Stare at their cute smiles, their messy hair, their tiny freckles. And know that they are the reason you keep going. They are why you do this. Life sucks sometimes. It gets overwhelming and chaotic. But take a moment to remind yourself that you can do this. They are why you do this.  Know you are amazing. It takes a special person to be a mom. I am amazed by all of you. So, keep doing what you’re doing. Keep loving your kids to the moon and back. You can never be reminded enough! And most importantly…Keep taking it like a mom!

About Me

Hi. My name is Hannah. I am 25 years old and a mom to a wonderful 4 year old. I was a single mom up until a couple months ago when my amazing fiancé decided to jump in and help share the load of being a parent with me. Life has been an adventure. There have been ups and downs, struggles with co-parenting, trying to figure out how to cook for a picky eater while being lactose/gluten free,  and just being a mom itself. Most of my friends are on different pages of their life story. Mine is unique and sometimes complicated. So, I decided to start writing a blog. Isn’t that what everyone does these days? They write a blog sharing their special qualities and ideas with the world.

I hope to inspire those who feel lost with their co-parenting/single parenting adventures. It isn’t easy, but you can have a good relationship with the other parent for the sake of your kids. This was a hard road to travel, but I am glad I put in the effort and am at the place I am at now with my daughter’s dad. It was worth it.

I hope to help those struggling with food allergies and cooking for young children. I have found some wonderful recipes, (and some not so great ones), I look forward to sharing. It may taste different, and may take some getting used to, but it doesn’t have to taste disgusting.

I hope to share stories with those who are mothers.  It is the most amazing, most difficult, most exhausting, and most rewarding job on the planet. Children are a gift. A messy gift hand wrapped in an explosion of glitter. But, they light up your world.

Check out my blog on motherhood to find out how I came up with the title of my blog!