Writer, Published Author, Relationship Specialist for High ProfileLeaders, Entrepreneur, Wife & Mom.

today i read an article that shows little appreciation for parenting in the U.S. it is quite disheartening to know that the U.S. is the only industrialized country that does not participate in a lengthy paid time off for parents of newborns. tell me why this is..

sadly, i have to say, i’ve lost faith in this country when it comes to core values. i’m not talking about today’s issues of financial turmoil, same-sex marriages, etc. i’m speaking on behalf of what this country was built on. trust, honesty, loyalty, respect. when did parenting become such a bad thing? why is it better to have a stranger raise your child than raising your own?! and why doesn’t the government allow for such loyalties to our families?

the fertility rate in the U.S. is dropping. this is sad. there are so many people in this country that would love to be parents and would be excellent parents, given the opportunity. so, why make it impossible, financially, for those individuals to make their dreams come true?

when i found out i was pregnant with my son, my husband and i decided it would be more realistic for me to become a stay-at-home mom rather than continue my job. this was something i wanted because i wanted to be the person who saw my baby’s first steps, heard his first words, and was able to teach him in the way i felt appropriate. i did not want someone else raising my child that didn’t take a sincere interest in his well-being. trust me, i’m not saying daycares are horrible places. all i’m saying is that it wasn’t right for me. if the situation required i had my child in daycare, then i would do what was necessary to ensure his safety and best interest were taken care of. my situation didn’t call for it. i was lucky to be given the time to be home with him.

i’m just a little disturbed for those parents who aren’t or weren’t given the opportunity to be there for their little ones. i don’t feel that six to twelve weeks is enough time to bond with your child. more time is needed for the nurturing that a mother or father can do for their baby.
like i said before, i’m a fan of attachment parenting. i would’ve had a difficult time parenting in this way if i had to return to work after a few short weeks.

so, today, i just want to say i feel for you, parents. give your kids a huge hug & kiss when you see them tonight. they are precious. we may not be awarded the luxury of long-term maternity/paternity leave, but we work with what we have and you should be proud!

before my son was born my husband and i made the decision to be involved in attachment parenting. it was with the help of a great friend that told me about the many benefits for the baby and the parents. there are many aspects of attachment parenting that i wasn’t aware of. breastfeeding was a big one for me. this is something i never thought i’d be interested in, but wanting the absolute best for my son led me to change my thoughts about it. then there was baby wearing. i bought an ErgoBaby carrier & wore it proudly. i wanted him to be close to me. i wanted him to hear the sound of my heart to soothe himself to sleep. and then we move onto co-sleeping. this was another important one for me. as a first time mom i was paranoid about any and all bad things that could happen to my little guy. co-sleeping was something that i felt more control of. if he’s lying beside me, not only is it more convenient to breastfeed at night, but also i could feel him if he woke up.

there were many people who tried (and still do) to tell me that this was a horrible idea or that he’d still be sleeping with us at 12 years old. my thoughts about this are…what do you care?! i’m not asking for you to sleep with my child. to raise another point of mine to those who don’t like our sleeping arrangements…he’s mine. i would not nor have not done one single thing in his life to harm him or put him in danger. i’ve never rolled over on him. so, please, let me parent my child.

regardless of opinion, we’re now at a crossroads in our co-sleeping. i always felt that my son could sleep with us until he was confident enough and ready to move himself into his own bed. we had prepared his toddler bed for him, made a big deal of how special it is because it’s all his own, and let him know that we are there now matter what. at 19 months old, he understands that this is his domain. he has become very proud of his special bed. once or twice he has laid himself down on his bed, waited until i cover him with a blanket and sing him to sleep. then there are other times when he wants held until he is snoring. either way is fine with us. but these occasions have only been for nap times.
in the past month or so we’ve started lying him down in his bed for night-time. let me just say, this mama had a harder time getting used to him not sleeping in our bed than he has. the first night he slept in his bed, uninterrupted, from 8pm until 2am. almost every night after that he was back in our bed around midnight. it is progressively getting better.

then there is last night (and the few prior that are quite similar). my husband and i were both exhausted and our son did not want to go to bed. it was close to 10 pm and he just wants to play. trying to keep my composure, i picked up his pillow, put it in our bed, and laid him down. i couldn’t do it anymore. he fell right to sleep!! if i knew i wouldn’t wake him, i may have done cheers of happiness. finally we could get some rest.
i know some of you are probably thinking that i have to be “stronger than the boy and make him do what i say”. yeah, that’s not always going to win with me. it’s not about getting my way because i’m your mom kinda thing. he is only 19 months, but i’m raising him to be independent. i want him to be able to speak for himself. which he does quite well.

in the end of our co-sleeping journey, i have no regrets. i couldn’t be happier with the way our decisions have made our son confident and happy.

with our daughter’s arrival just around the corner, i realized that with two little ones in our bed i may lose my husband to the guest room. this is why we started to help our son into his bed. its working out just fine.

so, co-sleeping, baby wearing, & breastfeeding.. we’re ready for round two!!

for dinner last evening i made pork chops. typically, i would leave this up to my husband since he is king of the grill and living in a warm climate allows us the opportunity to grill most everything. instead, i made them on the stove top. my husband raved about how tasty they were and that blogging about them is a must. so here goes..

i made simple pork chops in a skillet with a little olive oil, garlic, salt & pepper, rosemary, creole seasoning, and red wine. they were quite delicious, i must say. one thing about cooking with red wine is that it made the pork chops a little acidic. i’d be cautious when using it because it may make them too tart. if you like a very tart flavor then add more. i can’t give any specific amounts of anything that i used because i don’t usually measure seasonings. i season until i feel its enough, taste test, and hope for the best. remember less is more until you taste test. you can always add to the recipe, it’s harder to remove.

the dinner was made along with scalloped potatoes and veggies. i think next time it would pair better with roasted rosemary potatoes. that’s another easy recipe. the potato recipe came from my mom. she’s a great cook who knows how to add flavor to anything. but don’t ask her to cook in moderation. her meals for 2-4 people usually end up in leftovers for a week. (love you, mom!!)
back to the roasted rosemary potatoes. it’s quite simple.. red potatoes (washed & diced, but not peeled), olive oil, rosemary, garlic powder, salt & pepper, and creole seasoning. mix everything in a large bowl. place on a baking sheet & bake at 350 degrees. if you have a large amount of potatoes, cook for an hour or until tender. if you have a smaller amount, i usually start at 30 minutes then go from there. either way, cook until slightly crispy on the outside and tender inside. they are beyond delicious!

of course, you have to end a meal like this with a great desert. i strongly recommend something chocolate with a red desert wine. if you like really sweet wine, please try Red Electra from Quady Winery. (when possible, this is the only wine i drink.) this wine adds the right amount of sweetness and tartness.

if you make these recipes i hope you enjoy them as much as we did.

did you ever notice the fine line between reality and your dreams that you know are attainable, yet seem so far away? that’s how my want and/or need to be in france makes me feel. since childhood i’ve wanted to move to paris, eat at quaint cafes, and wander around the city swooning over the Eiffel tower. this is completely possible and will someday be my reality. but in the meantime every time i watch a movie set in france or read a book, the need to be there feels more intense. the same goes for ireland, england, germany, and many other amazing spots.

to make matters worse, i’ve been reading books about fashion in paris. if you’ve ever wondered how to make your life more french and you haven’t read Parisian Chic by Ines de la Fressange, you definitely should. it is an excellent book with many fine tips. a great read. another helpful aspect of the book is it not only gives details of french fashion, but it is loaded with ideas of where to shop, kid-friendly activities, museums, etc. really, it’s a great book!

quite a few years ago i was given another book as a gift. it’s called Entre Nous; A Woman’s Guide to Finding Her Inner French Girl by Debra Ollivier. this book not only let’s the reader into the inside take on french lifestyle, but it also gives a bit of background of why france is very cultured. it stems back for generations. read it!

tradition is such a integral part of european lifestyle. if you look at why some things are done to such detail and others are done so simply, it always seems to have begun many years prior to the time by family that had done the same things for classic reasons. now this is a way to live. living for a meaning, not just because its comfortable is unique. it’s not something that people in this decade seem to care about. maybe we should take tips from the previous generations more seriously. take into consideration that they live for health, happiness, family, and enjoyment rather than money, free benefits, and whatever is easiest. working for a living is one thing, but if you don’t enjoy what you do, why do it?! don’t complain, change it. sit back, have a glass of fine wine, a simple and lengthy dinner, and remember why we are put on this earth. if we can’t enjoy life, its pointless. there are so many stressors in our daily lives that we should minimize the ones we can. don’t make our days more complicated than necessary.

i don’t have the inside track from anyone in europe. i don’t know what the general population thinks and how they feel about their lives, but i don’t think they live their lives to be stressed or unenjoyable.

my goal in this life is to not worry about the things that i can not change, but to live for the life i want for myself and my kids, and make every day more enjoyable than the last.

my husband gave me a pendant that says “i love you more today than yesterday, but not as much as tomorrow”, in french. its romantic. and the french writing makes it more beautiful.

until next time.. enjoy life!

currently i am 31 weeks pregnant. obviously, it’s too early for her to be born, but i am quite ready to be done with pregnancy. having a second child is something i never thought would happen. okay, having the first one was really the surprise. but, anyhow, baby #2 is coming soon and i couldn’t be happier.
it’s funny how people say ‘is there anything you will change with this baby’. no. i love the way my son is. as most parents, i had no idea what i was doing when i brought him home from the hospital. reading parenting books, “preparing”, and all the advise in the world can never really prepare you for how your child will be. he’s mine so, of course, i think he’s perfect. and the cutest little guy i’ve ever laid eyes on, but i’m biased.
back to the point.. having a daughter will be different from a son. i already know this, but i am up for the task. knowing that life will be back to normal, somewhat, is quite appealing. since i’m not a huge fan of being pregnant, i can’t say i’ll miss this part. i will, however, be sad that this will be the last time i look into our brand new baby’s face knowing that we made this miracle. that this little person is mine and i get to take her home to be mine for the rest of my life. that those little fingers and toes are there for me and her dad to hold and tickle. and to know that all the love in our hearts is there for her and her brother. that is the only part of this i will miss. the rest is up for changes, challenges, and every hug i can get from the two little loves in my life.

i am excited! there are parts of being pregnant that have to be experienced to understand. but the part of being a mom doesn’t require pregnancy. the love you feel when you look into that baby or child’s face is all you need to melt your heart, no matter how black-hearted you thought you were. (that’s for you jenn!! hehe.)

so, let my countdown continue. soon we will be bringing her home to start life on a different page with a new member to our family.

let’s talk about cooking.  have you seen the movie julie & julia?  talk about inspiring.  not only did it motivate me to purchase some french cook books, but also boosted my confidence to try different and possibly challenging recipes.  not all french recipes, though.  i’m trying new things..in a wide array of flavors and complexity.  its nice.  and its twice as nice when my family eats them without complaint.  (although, they may hate them after dinner, i’ve not seen this yet…)

my most recent cooking adventure was something i grew up eating.  pork and sauerkraut.  some of you may be thinking its impossible to mess this up, but for someone who is “experimenting” as she goes, this was a major fete.  i was quite proud.  we invited my brother over for dinner that night.  i overheard him talking to our parents on the phone later saying it was excellent.  **ding,ding,ding**  more points in the right direction!!

okay, enough about that dinner.  moving on to other recipes i’ve been working on.  bruschetta chicken pasta.  i had eaten this before at a restaurant & couldn’t get enough.  the restaurant is nowhere near our home so i had to make it myself.  it had been awhile since i had it so i improvised.  olive oil, garlic, chicken, broccoli, tomatoes, linguine, and italian seasoning.  yum!  not sure how others make it, but this hit the spot.  in fact, i made it two weekends in a row. 

i’m always on the prowl for new things to try.  complicated, not really my forte, yet will give anything a chance.  so, if you’re feeling like sharing some of your’s, please don’t hesitate to comment. 

…and remember, motivation is key in trying new things.  don’t be afraid to experiment.  especially if you have a family like mine that will try just about anything.  it does help that we have the old school rule of “you eat what i’ve made or you don’t eat!”  (don’t worry..its not harsh.  there is not a hungry belly in the house.)

until next time…eat up!!

this is me. i’m jessi. the soon-to-be mama of two, happily married girl living in arizona.

my mind is full of many ideas that i will be sharing through out this journey. they range from mamahood to travel to my love of tattoos. friends and family are quite important to me as well. there are many aspects that i love to talk about and learn more every day.

since i was a child i had a passion for all things european. i had always imagined i would travel through europe and spend much of my days in a cafe in paris. who wouldn’t love that?! well, it hasn’t happened, yet, but that’s okay because my husband and i have plans to do so someday. that some day may be in the distance due to our kids’ ages, but no worries. we will make it there. in the meantime, i am learning all i can to make our experience through this life as enjoyable as possible and open our eyes to the many avenues that this huge world has to offer.

so, stay tuned for our little adventure(s). our #2 will be here soon to enjoy the ride with us!