So Different; So Good

Over the past week I have spent some time reflecting on the past (almost) four months. Life as an Eick has completely changed! My days have gone from revolving around John and myself to revolving around our family of three. Being a mother is so different than I thought it would be—in the best way possible!

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Here are some thoughts I have/things I’ve learned over the past four months:

Henry’s joy is my joy. When he laughs, I can’t help but laugh. His happiness brings me more happiness than I knew I could possibly feel.

There is no such thing as too many kisses.

Celebrate the small victories. Nothing makes me happier than to watch Henry grow and develop day by day. It seems like every time I blink, he has learned a new sound or is doing something new and exciting. There is such sweetness in taking a moment to celebrate these little things.

Naptime is sacred.

Henry has a great Dad! Watching John become Henry’s father has made me fall in love with him in a totally new way. He makes being a parent so much fun, and I am so thankful for his love and support.

Some days are hard. Growing up my mom read us the story Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No good, Very Bad Day. It’s about a boy who wants to run away to Australia because he is having a bad day. The moral of the story is that “some days are hard, even in Australia.” We all have bad days, and that is okay. We just have to keep our head up, persevere, and keep doing the best we can.

I love being Henry’s mom!

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Snow Much Fun!

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This past weekend we had snow in Chapel Hill. It was very exciting! I am used to “snow days” meaning a light dusting of snow. It is fun to experience lots of snow and ice! Our neighborhood has lots of families with kids so it was fun to watch them playing and sledding in the snow. I can’t wait for Henry to be old enough for sledding!

 

The Eick family snow days included:

Lots of hot chocolate.

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D.E.A.R (Drop Everything And Read) time.

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We love Little Blue Truck!

Snowy walks. Pushing the stroller through slush is a great workout!

Snow stroller

Taco soup for the adults…

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Hands for Henry 🙂

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We thought John would have to spend a few days trapped at the hospital, so we packed him a bag (hence the sad face). Good things North Carolinians ice and clear the roads! He made it back and forth to the hospital with no problem.

John

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Snow days are snow much fun!

My Taco Soup

We had a tasty version of taco soup during our snow weekend. It is so easy to make. In the past I have used a small can of chopped green chilies instead of bell peppers. I loved the substitution of the bell peppers! It was a way to add more veggies and more color to the soup. I served our soup with Fritos and a big green salad.

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Ingredients:

93% Lean Ground Turkey

1 onion, diced

1 green bell pepper, diced

1 red bell pepper, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tsp olive oil

1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 can white shoepeg corn

2 cans diced tomatoes (no salt added)

1 packet taco seasoning (I use reduced sodium)

1 packet ranch dressing mix

Directions:

  1. Sautee onion, bell peppers, and garlic in olive oil until translucent (about 5 minutes), and add to crock-pot.
  2. Cook ground tukery, breaking it up into small pieces as it cooks. Drain fat, and add to crock-pot.
  3. Add beans, corn, tomatoes, taco seasoning, and ranch dressing mix to crock pot; stirring everything together.
  4. Use the black bean can to add 2-3 cans full of water to crock-pot, until the soup reaches your desired consistency.
  5. Cook in the crock-pot as long as you like (the longer it all cooks together, the more flavorful it will be)
  6. Enjoy!

 

Slice of…Apple Cake

I made the most delicious apple cake for our trip to Boone last week! I got the recipe from my mom, who got it from a coworker. I LOVE this cake because it is moist, it is a bundt cake, and it is “healthy” because one of the ingredients is apples (you know what they say: “an apple (cake) a day…”). My biggest tip for anyone making this cake is to  butter and flour the bundt pan really well…

It was all fun and games…

 

Until…oops!

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We were all upset, but only for a moment!

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May not be magazine-cover perfect, but it still tasted delicious! We may or may not have even consumed it as both a dessert and a breakfast food. Vacation is the best!

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Here is the recipe I used:

Ingredients for Cake:

1 ½ cups vegetable oil

1 ½ cups white sugar

½ cup packed brown sugar

3 eggs

3 cups flour

2-½ tsp cinnamon

½ tsp nutmeg

1 tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt

3 ½ cups (about 4-5 medium) apple peeled and chopped (very small pieces)

1 cup walnuts, chopped

2 tsp vanilla

 

Ingredients for Caramel Icing:

½ cup packed brown sugar

½ cup heavy cream

¼ cup butter

1 cup powdered sugar

 

For the cake: preheat the oven to 325, then:

  1. Butter and flour your bundt pan (verrrry important!!!).
  2. Combine flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.
  3. Cream oil, white sugar, brown sugar, and eggs together in a large bowl.
  4. Slowly add dry ingredients.
  5. Stir in chopped apples, walnuts, and vanilla.
  6. Pour into prepared pan.
  7. Bake for 1 ½ hours.
  8. Remove from oven, let rest for about 10 minutes, loosen with a knife, and transfer cake from the pan to the baking rack.

For the Icing:

  1. Heat brown sugar, heavy cream, and butter in a small saucepan until bubbling.
  2. Allow to cool.
  3. Stir in powdered sugar.
  4. Drizzle over cooled cake.
  5. Enjoy!

Joy

Yesterday was a hard day. Henry was fussy; I was tired; it was freezing cold outside. As I put Henry to bed, I felt defeated. We all know that feeling. It can be so discouraging. John is working nights this week, so I cleaned up a bit, watched “Flip or Flop” on Netflix, and started getting ready to go to sleep. I decided to break one of my rules and peak at Henry in the nursery before crawling into bed. I am so glad I did. As I looked down on my sweet, sleeping boy, my heart grew and grew and grew (I’m imagining the Grinch here). I remembered how much I love my son and my life. Being Henry’s mom brings me so much joy. To me, this is worth a billion hard days. He is a precious gift and I’m so thankful he is part of my life. This experience reminded me how important it is to stop, smell the roses (or peak in the nursery, in my case), and remember that I have much to be thankful for.

JOY!

Boone

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We had a wonderful time in Boone last week! It was so nice to get away as a family. We loved spending time together, eating yummy food, and doing some hiking!

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Boone is a really cool town. My favorite part about it was the Christmas tree farms-they were everywhere! It was fun to drive around and see fields full of Christmas trees.

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We stayed in this adorable cabin. It was perfect for our trip! It had a great kitchen and fireplace. There was even a great fenced in area for Lucy.

One morning we hiked part of the way up Elk Knob mountain. It was so much fun because there was snow on the ground. We only made it about halfway up because we were worried about Henry getting too cold. The high for the day was 32!

We made turkey chili for dinner one night. It was healthy and delicious. I would definitely recommend this recipe!

I loved getting out of town with our little family. I’m so glad we decided to do it! When we got home from Boone, my mom came in town to visit for the weekend (talk about a great week!). Henry LOVED spending time with his Gran and I soaked up every moment spent with my mom. She is such a special person. She is both my dear, dear friend and my role model. Needless to say, all the Eicks were sad to see her go yesterday!

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Now, it’s back to reality here in Chapel Hill. We are praying our way through today as both Henry and I are not in the greatest of moods. I have definitely had  the opportunity to practice mindfulness. On tough days it is so easy to get caught up in being stressed or frustrated. However, taking a moment for a few deep breaths can make a world of difference!

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“Do not disturb!”

Mindfulness Monday

Happy Monday! The Eicks had a great weekend; I hope you did too! John worked Friday and Saturday night, but we were still able to squeeze some good family time.

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Henry loves his Daddy!

The weather was finally nice enough to take this little monster for a walk on the trails in our neighborhood!

We leave tomorrow for a short trip to Boone, North Carolina. We have rented a cabin, and are so excited to hole up by the fire, eat good food, and do some hiking (weather permitting).

Mindfulness: What is it?

This week I started researching mindfulness. There is so much to know about it-I’m definitely only touching the surface. I am excited to learn more about it, share it with you, and start practicing it in my own life.

Mindfulness, according to Jon Kabat-Zinn, means “paying attention in a particular way; On purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally.” Jon Kabat-Zinn is a famous teacher of mindfulness in the United States. He teaches through his Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program the importance simply being in the present moment. Mindfulness is about letting go of the past, not focusing in too much on the future, and living in the present. Kabat-Zinn says, “It’s about living your life as if it really mattered, moment by moment by moment by moment.”

I love this concept because I often worry about the future. I also have a hard time letting go of the past. When reflecting on the general meaning of mindfulness, I am reminded of what Jesus taught us in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew chapter 6. Verses 26-27 say, “Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?” Later Jesus reminds us not to “be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself.”

This week I am going to focus on living in the present. To actively pursue moving my thoughts away from the past or the future. To enjoy life as it is right now, today, in this very moment. To try letting go of my worry-wart tendencies.

 

*Most of my information was gained from the Greater Good in Action website about mindfulness. It contains some great videos. I learned a lot from this one as well.

 

Slice of…Frittata!

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A couple of nights ago we had a delicious frittata for dinner. I love making frittatas for dinner because you can pack them full of yummy vegetables. They are quick and easy to make, and I personally think they are deeelicious. This one was particularly good, I’m attributing it to the sweet potatoes. We ate ours with a big salad. Such a great dinner!

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Healthy Veggie Frittata

Ingredients:
2 tsp olive oil
Brussels sprouts, halved
1 sweet potato chopped into 1 inch pieces
1 orange bell pepper, chopped
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 eggs
6 egg whites
1/4 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350, then:
1. Heat oil and garlic in cast iron skillet.
2. Add sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts; sautée for 6-8 minutes
3. Add onions and bell peppers, sautée another 5 minutes.
4. While sautéeing vegetables beat eggs, egg whites, and milk together.
5. Add spinach to other vegetables.
6. Pour egg mixture over vegetables, cook in the skillet for 1-2 minutes.
7. Move skillet to preheated oven and bake for about 15 minutes.
8. Enjoy!

 

3 Months

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Wow! The past three months have absolutely flown by. I can’t believe how much our Henry has grown. When he was first born, he was so tiny that we called him our little packet. Yesterday, John looked at me and said, “I don’t think Henry is a packet anymore!” I have to agree. He has gotten so big. His precious personality has also started to come out. He certainly is such a sweet gift to John and me 🙂

present

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Here are a few of the many things I have been loving about Henry lately:

Henry has found his voice. He has turned into a Chatty Cathy (or I guess in his case, Chatty Carlos?). He discovers new sounds almost daily. My favorite time of the day is second thing in the morning (first thing is fooood!) when Henry tells me all about his night and what dreams he had and what he needs to accomplish for the day (aka he is goo-ing and coo-ing like crazy).

Henry is a serious soul. I touched on this a bit yesterday. He is definitely a serious guy. I can already tell he is going to be a “thinker.” I love his serious little soul so much.

Serious
“Hmmmmm”

Henry has the BEST smile. Our serious soul definitely has a fun side! He has been smiling like crazy lately. All it takes is a smile from mom or dad and he cracks a big one. Even on the longest of days, his sweet smile warms my heart so much that I sometimes worry it might explode!

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Here are some things that Henry has really been loving lately:

Henry loves his bouncy seat. Henry is so content to sit in his bouncy seat and watch me in the kitchen. It makes my heart so happy to look over and realize he has been intently watching my every move.

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Henry loves lights. Who needs toys when you can look at lamps or Christmas tree lights?!

Henry loves reaching for toys. He has started grabbing things in order to examine them more closely.

Henry loves naps. This is something I am particularly thankful for. Henry really does love and benefit from nap time. He’s usually a grump if he doesn’t get a good nap or two during the day. We definitely make naps a priority!

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Napping with Grandaddy is the best!

Henry “loves” tummy time. Ok, the word love might be a bit of an exaggeration. He may not absolutely love it yet, but he doesn’t hate it anymore. He has gotten so much stronger and has even rolled a couple of times-victory!

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Henry loves food. The boy loves to eat. He comes by it honestly.

 

Henry you are such a blessing to your Dad and me. You have brought us more joy than we thought was possible. We are so thankful for you and we love you so much!

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Lazy Days

As a busy resident, John’s days off are few and far between. I always look so forward to them and they are always over way too fast. This month he is working in the Emergency Department at UNC. What does this mean, you ask? It means he gets way more time off-hooray! This week he has yesterday and today off.

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“Hi Mom!”

Yesterday, the three of us had a lazy morning filled with coffee, the Today Show, and our newest activity- the Bumbo. We love this floor seat because it allows Henry to practice sitting up on his own. The jury is still out on whether or not he loves it too. He takes Bumbo time very seriously. This is very typical of Henry.  I have loved watching the serious side of his personality emerge over the past month. He reeeally thinks long and hard about things before he decides whether he likes them or not. I have a feeling that in a few days, after a little more practice, we will all be loving Bumbo time!

 

Later, we went for a run-walk on the Fan Branch Trail in Southern Village. Running with a stroller is serious business! It’s lots of fun, and is super challenging. I’m still learning all the tricks of the trade because we did not start running with Henry until very recently. It will be fun for me to see how much I improve endurance-wise! Yesterday, we ran about 3 miles.

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We love spending time as a family!