Baby Kisses

Last Tuesday I dropped off Nathan at daycare like I do every morning.  On this particular morning, however, he started crying when I handed him over.  In the 8 months since I started working again, he has NEVER cried before.  I took him back in my arms to console him and to give him one last kiss before abandoning him in his emotional state.

Naturally, the entire day at work was miserable for me.  I kept wondering if he was okay - maybe he was crying because he was sick.  I wondered if I should have just taken him home and stayed with him that day.  I know it sounds extreme, but he seriously had never cried like that before.  Something had to be wrong.

I left work so nervous and anxious to go and pick up Nathan and make sure that everything had gone well.  I was not prepared for what I was about to witness.

Let me just say that normally when I pick up Nathan, his face lights up - arms get thrown in the air and he begins a mad dash towards the door to take him home.

On this particular day, I walked in and couldn't find Nathan.  There was no smiling baby. There were no arms in the air.  There was no tushy making a mad dash in my direction.  The ladies in the daycare were smiling at me and I looked to a small group of kids sitting on the "reading" mat.

My jaw dropped to the floor when I saw Nathan sitting on the mat and being kissed ON THE LIPS by a little girl.  No wonder he couldn't see me.

He was in heaven and had the biggest smile on his face as if the girl was feeding him chocolate!  Where did he learn this behavior?  Where did she??!!

Was it cute?  Yes. 

Was it funny?  Surely. 

I know that I will surely be reminding him of this event when he brings his first girlfriend home. 

I guess it's the germaphobe in me to think about all the germs that little girl passed onto to Nathan.  I mean has this kid not been sick enough lately?  Thanks to his little "kissing" adventure he know has a minor stomach virus.  That will teach him!

Maybe it was jealousy, since he has yet to voluntarily give his mommy a kiss!

Cornel, completely the opposite reaction.  He was like a proud peacock. Especially since it was the little girl putting the moves on Nathan.  Looks like we are going to have the "birds and the bees" talk way before we thought we would.  I mean, the kid isn't even a year old!  These little french girls move fast these days.

I suppose the big secret is out now as to why they call it "french" kissing!
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Organized Chaos

Today I was expecting to write about what a terrible day I had thanks to the National Strike here in France.  I was already forming all the words in my head on how to politely insult the French and how much these strikes screw up my life. 

In actuality the past 24 hours have been like there has been someone looking out for me.

It all started last nigth when - the man came by to fix my radiators!  There is finally heat in my house.  I didn't understand one word that was coming out of his mouth - but I loved him.  I'm easy like that. 

This morning as I was settling in to the disaster that was going to be my day I saw this...  This sweet little adorable face - toothbrush in one hand and mommy's make-up in the other.  My day was already looking up.

I started bundling Nathan up to go to Siberia when I realized I had left his scarf at the daycare the day before.  I put on his summer scarf (yes, he's chìc like that) and we were off.  When we got outside I was surprised to find that it wasn't so cold.  I was able to remove at least one layer of clothing to much to his happiness.

I prepared myself for the long one hour walk ahead of us, thinking that due to the strike there would be no buses or trams running.  Imagine how I felt when I walk by the bus stop and see the sign that says "prochaine bus 10 min" - next bus in 10 min.  I was in shock.  Nathan and I settled in for our 10 minute wait - it was better than the 30 minute walk downtown.  A small victory since I was sure the tram was on strike.

Imagine my surprise when I see the tram happily waiting at the station when we got off the bus.  It was as if he knew we were coming because as soon as I stepped inside, the doors closed behind me and we were off. 

We made it to the daycare only to find Nathan's scarf in his cubby.  Now I didn't have to make a special trip to buy a new winter scarf.

{Make mental note to scratch off to-do list}

The icing on the proverbial cake, however, was when I went in to make my BIG presentation at work to all of the European chief accountants of our company. 

I have been working for almost the entire month on this presentation and I was stressed to say the least.  Stressed because I thought my presentation had to be in French.  I spent hours trying to make sure I phrased things just right.  Hours repeating it in my head to make sure that I could be coherent. 

Imagine my surprise when I walked in and was told that I had to present in English as not everyone spoke French.  Seriously - it was almost as if I could hear angels singing.  What a relief.

So given the past 24 hours and the fact that it's Thursday I could list all of the things that I am grateful for; such as the bus in the morning or the heater guy coming by.  I could list them on in detail- but I won't because there is only one BIG thing I am grateful for this week.

I'm thankful for God having me back on days like today when I thought it would all fall apart!

McGlothin Family Nest

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Single Mommyhood

Cornel usually has to travel for work but for the past four months his travels plans have fallen through (much to my happiness).  Sadly, my luck ran out this week and Cornel is now on a business trip to the UK until next Thursday.  This means that for the next 8 glorious days I am officially a single mom = chaos!

It always seems that our life (well mine anyway) seems to spiral out of control the minute Cornel gets in the taxi to the airport and this morning was no different. 

I don't drive in France (it's a long story involving me breaking a car...not crashing...breaking) so when I'm a single mommy this means taking the bus and a tram in order to get to work/daycare.  I HATE taking the bus - not so much because it's a bus (although partly - because I'm prissy and spoiled) but because I hate having to live around the bus schedule.  I feel like I'm always rushing to make sure I get to the bus stop on time so that I don't have to sit for 15 minutes waiting for the next one.  This means a lot of logistical preparation, including waking up an hour earlier than normal to make sure I give myself some "bumper room".

By 7:10 I started putting on Nathan's shoes, scarf, hat and big down jacket (it's freezing here).  He HATED every second of it.  He started screaming and crying hysterically.  Then I realized I needed to take diapers to the daycare so I left him sitting on the rug fully clothed while I rushed back to his room.  I picked up the baby - who is still crying hysterically when I realized that I might need change for tickets.  So I set Nathan back down and proceed to search my purse for change and/or tickets.

At this point- I too have my coat on and am overheating I can only imagine how Nathan must have felt.  I spill out the contents of my purse and wonder why I have so much crap in my purse. 

{I make a mental note to clean it soon!} 

At this point, Nathan has toppled over on his back and is kicking, screaming and crying at the top of his lungs and he can't sit up because of all the layers.  PARENTING FAIL.

I'm stressed and sweating at this point.  Finally I find a book of tickets and jam everything back in purse. 

I then proceed to grab my purse, a bag full of diapers, a blanket for the walk to the bus stop and somehow try to pick up the baby.  Let me just say that circus jugglers don't have anything on me!

I then proceed to go down FOUR flights of stairs.  I seriously thought I was going to die.  I cursed for choosing to live in a building without an elevator.

We finally got to the car (where we keep the stroller).  I put Nathan in the back seat while I took out the stroller and got myself situated.  I was hot, sticky and misearble.  At this point Nathan's fit had subsided I think because he felt sorry for me.  I considered throwing in the towel and say "screw work" and stay home.  This however, would have meant going back UP the stairs and so work was the better choice.

You know it's a bad start when going to work is the best option in your day.  I finally got Nathan in the stroller and got him bundled up with his blanket and gloves.  We made it to the bus stop just in time for the 7:35 bus.  Luckily the schools are on break this week so the bus was relatively empty as was the tram.  This made my morning commute much easier. 

By the time we got to the crèche Nathan was so happy to be inside that he crawled to his friends and waved "bye-bye" to me.  At 11 months he already can't wait to get rid of me.  The girl at the daycare laughed at me - this is nothing new.  I was heartbroken.

When I finally got to work I felt like I had just ran in a marathon.  I can't believe that this is only day 1...I have 7 more days like this!  God help me!
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Do not ready any further if you have a weak stomach and get grossed out easily. 

If not, I am about to introduce you to Morcilla - morcilla de Burgos to be exact.  A delicous sausage from the town of Burgos in Spain.  It is filled with delicous spices and rice and is great served with bread as "tapas" (at least that is my favorite way to eat it).  Actually just writing about it makes me hungry.

Before trying it in person, the thought of Moriclla made me sick to my stomach.  You see, the rice and spices are actually mixed in with coagulated pigs blood - hence the black color.  Kind of gross sounding I know.  I mean - why would any one eat a blood sausage?  Not being one to back down from a food challenge (having eaten grasshoppers and worms in Mexico) when the opportunity to try Morcilla I decided to go for it. I mean it is a delicacy in Spain, so how bad could it be?

I remember thinking how horrible it was going to taste and had a glass of water ready at my side to wash it away.  Bread in hand to mask the after taste, I took a forkful of fried moriclla, closed my eyes and took a bite.  Hm...the texture was a bit funny but the flavor was not half bad.  The rice and spice combination was actually quite good.  Who would of thought, Morcialla is delicious.

Now that I live close to Spain, I don't miss an opportunity to try Morcilla de Burgos whenever I can.  In fact, I think I had it at least once a day while we were in Madrid.  That is why I was so excited when Jose and Iliana went on vacation to Spain and asked if we wanted anything.  "Morcilla de Burgos" - there wasn't even a need to double think. 

And so this past Saturday I was given my sausage, and we have since enjoyed it for a "tapas" dinner.  I love how easy it is to prepare since I just took of the skin and fried it slightly in a pan.  If you are ever feeling adventourus and get a chance to give it a try please do.  You might be pleasently surprised.

With that being said, the French have their own version of "blood sausage" called boudin (both white and black).  From what I understand it has no such spices or additivies and is just that - a blood sausage.  I have not given it a try and I am afraid that my adventerous stomach has its limits.  So while millions of French people love Boudins - this American girl will not be giving it a try.  I sadly made a mistake of trusting French popular cuisine and tried and "andouillet" sausage which smelled like feet and tasted worse.  Oh well, you live you learn.  Bon Appetit!
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Rainy days and Mondays

The weather here has definitely taken a turn for the worst.  Cold, rainy, windy and dark.  I am so not a person made for cold weather.  I grew up in Arizona for goodness sakes - I didn't even have a winter coat before moving here. 

It makes me sad just to think about how cold it is going to be this winter and how Nathan will probably spend most of his time indoors.  Poor kid can't catch a break.  He hasn't been able to go to "bebe naguers" since he was so sick, and now that he is better it is too cold to risk taking him in and out of the pool.  Luckily he has a lot of things to keep him warm even when we are around the house.
(I know his pajamas don't match, but it was that kind of day)

Now this weekend wasn't all bad.  Even though it was cold the sun was shining on Saturday and we took full advantage to run birthday errands.  Nathan's favorite part was stopping for lunch and finally getting to sit at the table like a "big boy".

This weekend Cornel finally put up my "MAMA" picture in the living room.  I am so in love with it and only five months after Mother's day!  Better late than never I suppose.

We also took a big step to save our marriage. We became a two computer household (actually - if you count our work computers we are a four computer household, but anywho)!  DH treated himself to a new computer.  Isn't she pretty!  Say hello to the new member of our small family, the 27" Imac with an i5 processor.  Now I get to claim our laptop all to myself!  No more fighting over the's all about the little things!

And just to jinx myself - Nathan went an entire week without getting called home from daycare!  *Knocking feverishly on wood* that we can make it two weeks in a row.  While I love our pediatrician I really don't feel like seeing him this week.  I would love to NOT see him until Nathan's 1 year appointment.  Only time will tell.  Luckily next Monday is a holiday so I just need to get myself through the week!
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The Final Countdown

Until Nathan's 1st birthday that is!  In only 17 days from today I will go from being the mother of a baby to being the mother of a toddler.  To be completely honest there is something about the word "mother" that still doesn't feel all that real to me.  Sometimes I wake up and think to myself "really, I'm a mom?".

Anyway, the birthday countdown has begun and invitations have been sent - there is no turning back now!  Who knew that there was so much that went into planning a party for a one year old.  The "to-do" list keeps getting longer and it seems like my days keep getting shorter.  All this for something Nathan won't even remember - but it's worth it, right?

Not to say that it is all bad and stressful.  It has actually been a pretty good week.  Aside from all of the crazy strikes and demonstrations going on here.  It has been pretty calm in Clermont-Ferrand, other than a pretty loud demonstration held in the streets on Tuesday.  Since I've had to stay put lately I find it all rather amusing.  I mean, all of this chaos because they might have to work an extra 2 years?  Amusing only because I haven't been affected.  When I was stuck at the Lyon airport over 9 hours I was ready to flip someone's car over and light it on fire myself!  But that's another story.

And since it's Thursday I'm about to jump into all of the things that I have been grateful for this week.

1)  No calls from the daycare.  That's right, mark this day down in your day planners.  This is the day Nathan went a full week of daycare without having to be sent home. While we are on the subject, I'm grateful I didn't have to see our pediatrician.  I mean, I like the guy - but I was kind of tired of seeing him.

2) Thankful Cornel was able to get to Lyon to pick up his passport and come back uneventfully.  Last time he had to go to Lyon he took my keys and I was homeless for the evening!

3)  Thankful Cornel now has a current passport!  This means the trip back to states for Christmas is definitely on...unless these crazy strikes continue that is!

4)  That the dates for my Atlanta trip have been decided and that I will get to see Brent and Nate.  I miss them!

5)  Grateful that Cornel and Nathan will be having a daddy/son day tomorrow!  I wish I could have taken the day off work - but sadly it was not in the cards for me.

And of course, ever so grateful that the weekend is right around the corner!  I could definitely use a day off!

McGlothin Family Nest

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Biscotti Cookies

A couple of weeks ago one of my colleagues brought in these delicious biscotti cookies that his wife had made.  They were delicious and went perfectly with my 10 a.m. coffee.  I knew I had to give them a try so I was very excited when I got a hold of the recipe.

I am always scared when trying a French recipe.  For one the measurements are on the metric system so I have to whip out google and the handy converter.  Second almost all the ingredients are given in terms of weight.  I wonder where in the world all of these French people are keeping a scale in the kitchen. I refuse to have a scale anywhere in my home let alone the kitchen.  I would never ever cook if I had to weigh everything.  Sadly, even google can't really help me since one is a measure of volume and a conversion can't be done based on weight.  Sigh.

These biscotti cookies (croquants as they are called in French) where so good, however, that I bit the bullet and decided to give them a try.  I have a basic rule of thumb when converting French recipes which is grams = milliliters.  Okay so this is not at all scientific, but my measuring cup also has milliliters so I go with it and it hasn't really failed me yet.

So now, to make these delicious cookies.

Ingredients (complete with French translation):

1 cup of flour (220 grams)
6 tbs of sugar (75 grams of sugar)
2/3 cups of almonds or hazlenuts (100 grams)
1 tsp of baking powder
1 egg
vanilla (according to your liking I used 1 tbs)
1/4 cup of water (40 ml)

Toast almonds for 10 minutes in a 390℉ degree oven (200 ℃) tossing frequently.  Remove and let cool.  Turn oven down to 350℉ (180℃).

Line a cookie sheet with wax paper.  In a bowl mix all ingredients (it is easier by hand but be careful it's sticky)!

Form 3 logs on the cookie sheet.  (Don't panic if they are very runny and don't look right, they will firm up in the oven).

Bake for 20 minutes keeping an eye on the color.  Once they are golden brown remove from the oven and close the door.  Immediately cut the logs into slices (use an oven mit, they're HOT).

Place the slices flat (cut side up) on the lined baking sheet and put back in the oven for 10 minutes to dry.

These are so delicious dunked in coffee or simply all alone.  Since this recipe makes 40 cookies I sent Cornel to work with a full tupperware for fear of finishing them off myself.
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Weekend Wrap-up

It has been a busy weekend in our household.  We finally got to scratch some things of the "to-do" list and what's more we got to spend some quality time as a family.  It helped that the weather was wet, cold and cloudy.  There were no distractions to keep us out all weekend pushing back all of our projects.

Our Saturday started out like any other - after breakfast we finally went shopping and stocked up Nathan's winter wardrobe.  He has an adorable down jacket that he got as a gift from his Tia Belen and Tio David, but he had not much else.  After our C&A shopping excursion he now has not only 1 but 2 pairs of winter shoes, winter gloves, winter hat and a scarf.  I call them "winter" clothing, but the sad thing is that he will be wearing most of it within the next few days.  He has already been wearing the down coat for a week now.  It would depress me so much more if he didn't look so cute in his new digs.

Aside from shopping - we finally put up curtains in our dinning room!  It seems like an eternity that I have been wanting to put up curtains and we finally got around to it!  It really makes the entire room feel so cozy!  I'm in love. I just want to sit and stare at my window for hours. The best thing it is that the total transformation was only 27 euros!

{Please ignore the jumperoo and walker that have taken over this room}

Also in terms of home decorating, we finally got around to framing the "MAMA" pictures that Cornel took of Nathan for Mother's Day.  We found this great frame at Ikea for only 14 euros and it was exactly what we needed to frame all of the pictures.  If next weekend is cold and rainy maybe I can convince Cornel to put them up.

I also took out the sewing machine and hemmed up a curtain that I have behind our front door.  Sounds crazy - I know, but I absolutely love it!  Now I'm just wondering what I'm going to do with all of the extra fabric I have lying around.

I also spent some time in the kitchen this weekend.  There is nothing better to do on a cold rainy autumn day then bake!  Cornel had been asking for pretzels for a few weeks now, so I decided the time had come to make some.  I used my old recipe except this time I added salt to the batter and also to the pretzels before baking.  I don't eat pretzels, so from what Cornel tells me they were an improvement.  Maybe if I feel like making them again I can perfect the recipe a little bit more.

I also made delicious hazelnut biscotti cookies.  I got the recipe from a co-worker and decided to give them a try.  I'm so glad I did, not only are they delicious but they are so easy to make!  I will be sure to share the recipe tomorrow when I have more time to write.

The topping to my weekend was Nathan.  Besides being such a great trooper while Mommy and Daddy worked all over the house - he wanted in on the action and started taking out the tools out of the toolbox (under strict supervision of course)!  He was so tuckered out that he took two naps on Sunday, sleeping for a total of 6 hours!  What's more is that he fell right asleep at bedtime.  We can only wait and see what the rest of the week has in store.
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Thankful moments

It's Thursday again?  I'm honestly so glad it it's almost the weekend because it has been another one of those weeks.  Remember on Monday how I said that this would be the week that we wouldn't have to go and see the pediatrician.  Wow, how wrong was I.  Maybe I jinxed myself - I don't know.

No later than I wrote my blog did I receive not one - but two calls from the daycare about Nathan's fever.  Apparently it wasn't breaking and they needed us to pick him up and take him to the doctor immediately.  Either way - I was teaching a class and had no way of getting off work, so my dear sweet wonderful husband took the rest of the afternoon and rushed Nathan to the doctor.  The kicker, by the time he got to the doctor the fever had broken and Nathan was fine!  It is yet another ear infection and we are on another round of antibiotics.  We got referred to an ORL, or ear nose and throat as they call them here.  He was fine the rest of the week so we have yet to make the appointment, but sadly I'm afraid this day will come.  Anyway, the pediatrician prescribed Nathan to stay home for three days.  I have never missed more work than after putting Nathan in daycare.  Since I had taken days last week, Cornel was a trooper and stayed home for two days with Nathan.

He is feeling much better and is back in "school" and doing great - but then again he always does great Wednesday through Friday.

With all the stress that goes on in our lives there are some small moments that always seem to brighten up my day.  Small things that make me smile and help me hang on until the next small emergency and for that I'm thankful.

1)  Thankful for heat and for furnaces that work.  You see, our building is on collective heating and today was the first day they turned on the heaters!  Just in time for the frosty weather outside.

2)  Thankful for a husband who didn't even think twice about taking the time off work to care for Nathan since I had a full week at work.

3)  Teeth that have broken through the surface to make for a happy baby and a happy mommy

4)  Happy for websites that broadcast American television so that I don't have to miss a new episode or heaven forbid watch in French!  EEK.  And while we are at it, I'm thankful there are so many great shows I get to catch up on so that I hardly ever have to turn on the French television.

5)  Thankful that Cornel was able to get two weeks off in December and will be spending Christmas with us in Arizona.  And even more thankful that he was able to get on the same return flight back as Nathan and I!

6)  Amazing people like Terry who was able to calm me down without making me feel stupid due to "sick baby anxiety" (yes I just made that up - and yes I think it really does exist).

7)  Fresh baked bread that make even a reheated meal taste delicious.  Especially on those "I don't feel like cooking dinner so let's just eat bread and cheese" kind of nights.  Even if the bread arrives home a little soggy and slobbery!

And of course - thankful that it is finally the weekend and I can spend time with my wonderful little family!

McGlothin Family Nest

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Keeping Busy

Remember when I took up sewing as a hobby?  I went out and bought my sewing machine and after a couple of projects the machine got put away and I thought it would end up in hobby heaven.  Just recently, however, I've dusted off the cobwebs and decided to put my machine to use.

The first thing I did was make these adorable "baby legs" for Nathan.  You see, while fashionable and super adorable - "Baby Legs" don't exist here in France and I am hardly going to to pay $15 plus $30 for shipping.  This left me no other option than to make my own.  I turned to my trusted friend google and found a quick tutorial on how to make them myself.  There truly is a tutorial for everything.

They were super easy and quick to make.  Not only can Nathan wear them on his legs, but also as arm warmers.  Now that the weather has turned cold they have come in handy.  I can put them on when he wears a short sleeve onsie and under his pants before we take him to brave the elements on our way to daycare.  Love them.  What I love even more is that instead of $15 I only paid 1 euro for the pair of socks! I wonder how many more I have to make to fully depreciate the machine?  Check out the finished product and my super cute model...

I've also used the sewing machine to hem a pair of pants that have been dragging on the floor for over a year.  The pitfalls of only being 5 feet tall.  In the very near future I have the intentions of hemming some curtains - but we'll see if this actually makes the cut after I finish the other gazillion things I have to do.

As for my life - I have finally started the preparations on Nathan's party.  I will hopefully have invitations out by the end of the week and have purchases a very pretty cupcake holder thanks to Ikea. Now if only the cupcakes could magically appear.

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Weekend Love

I had so may things planned to do this weekend, including birthday invitations and all of those other things that I don't get around to doing during the week - but the weather had other plans in store for us.

Our Saturday started out like any other  - and after bundling Nathan up in what seemed like a hundred layers we were ready to go.  Imagine my shock when we get outside and it's warm.  Go figure - August and September are freezing but October it is nice and warm.  There was no way we could stay indoors and not take advantage of the sun; so after breakfast we drove the 2 hours and headed to Lyon.

Now, I have spent what seems like hundreds of hours in Lyon but only in the train station and airport.  I was looking forward to actually seeing the city.  It seemed like everyone had the same idea that we did because the downtown was packed full of people.  That's quite a change from Clermont.  Nathan still wasn't feeling 100% but I think he really enjoyed being outside.  Especially since Daddy carried him around his shoulders most of the trip.

The town was beautiful even though we didn't get to see much.  We did some window shopping and for one small afternoon I felt like I was back in the states.  Obviously not for the language - but because of the shopping.  Oh how I miss all of my American brands!  If only I could afford to pay the 150% mark-up but window shopping is always nice.  And just like shopping in the US you can always unwind with a nice cup of Starbucks!  I was in heaven.  What was this world like before a 5 € cup of coffee?

We ended the afternoon early and headed to one of my other favorite places in the world Ikea!  There is something about put together Swedish furniture that just makes me giddy!  I only wanted to go to buy curtains and ended up coming out with wine glasses, bowls, picture frames and what seems tons more stuff that I didn't need - but oh how cute is it going to look in my living room when I get around to putting it all up.

Sunday was a little bit cloudy so Maria came over and taught me how to make an authentic Spanish Paella.  Delicious!  I know that this will quickly become a favorite recipe in our household.  Who knew my cooking repertoire would become so International?  And now, I just have to get ready for the week ahead.  Hopefully Nathan will make it one straight week without a visit to the pediatrician.  A girl can hope can't she?
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11 months...

Really?  Already?  I can't believe that in just 4 short weeks my little boy will be turning one year old!  Is there a way to stop the clock right about now, because I need a couple more months to adjust to the idea.  Now that I have moved on from my own birthday denial I have moved on to Nathan's birthday denial.  I am so not ready to be the mother of a one year old.  Right  now he is still my baby but in just a few weeks he will be a toddler!  

Age - 11 months old today

Height - I have no idea this month.  Even though we've been to the doctor about 3 times in the last 2 weeks, he has yet to be measured.  Although sadly, I think at this point he is about half my size - he is either really tall for his age or I'm exceptionally short!

Weight - He is just a little bit over 9 kg or 20.25 pounds.  Trust me - he feels a lot heaver going up and down four flights of stairs.

Sleeping Habits - Still sleeping through the night. Although we've had a few rough nights due to illness where he wakes up a couple of times a night.  It is nowhere near the newborn stage and it doesn't last for hours so I guess I still don't have much to complain about.

Eating Habits -  We have regressed, again due to illness.  He doesn't like to eat very much lately so we've started the bottles up again.  Hopefully once he gets better we can go back to his normal diet.  Although he has expanded his selection and loves to gnaw on fresh baked bread!  He also loves to eat some tabouli salad and semolina especially when he can eat if off his daddy's plate.  Sadly more of it ends up on the floor than in his mouth but since he is such a picky eater lately - anything he shows interest in we let him eat.  I think he has his mom's unusual love of carbs!  Every Saturday he has started joining in on the tradition and he now has his very own "mini" pain au chocolate which he usually devours - although not by rubbing all over his face and hands!  

Teeth -   He still has only four teeth.  Remember those two teeth that I said were coming last month - yeah well, they are still on the way.  He has had to stay home the past two days due to a teething related fever!  He now has six on the way that have yet to break through the gums and the boy is MISERABLE!  The pediatrician suggested we scratch his gums (making them bleed) to relieve the pressure and help the teeth come in faster.  Seriously, who is he kidding?  I can't get anywhere near his mouth!

Milestones - Well let's see - he has spent almost the entire month sick!  We have been to the pediatrician almost every week this month.  We started out with a cold and laryngitis, then we progressed into an ear infection, and just lately the teething which led to an ear infection due to the extra drainage.  This poor kid has had a rough month.  I'm really hoping he gets better soon.  It kills me to see him like this.

As for his development- he is all over the house.  He crawls everywhere.  He lifts himself up on everything.  He can't walk on his own yet but grabs our hands and walks to wherever he needs to go - which is usually either to his toy car or to his jumperoo.  He starts mimicing everything we do and his favorite thing is to wave "bye bye" to people - even when we are not leaving anywhere.

And since it's also Thursday I have to admit that I am so grateful to have made it to 11 months with a happy well adjusted baby!  It has been a rough month to say the least, but there is nothing I wouldn't do for that little boy and just watching him grow up is an amazing gift!

McGlothin Family Nest

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Going pink

Photo Credit: (National Breast Cancer Awareness Month)

I changed up the design of my blog a little bit in honor of “breast cancer” awareness month. This cause is very near and dear to my heart.

In September 2005, right after turning 25, I packed up my entire life and moved from Phoenix, AZ to Greenville, SC. I wasn’t sure what I was expecting when I arrived, but was looking forward to a change of pace.

By November of the same year I had finally settled in and started adapting myself to my daily routine. I asked a colleague for recommendations about doctors more as an FYI and to schedule my yearly exam. She recommended Dr. D and I made an appointment for just a couple of weeks later.

I have never had anything abnormal with my exams, so I was just expecting to go in, get the meet and greet out of the way, and then schedule my appointment for the next year. Little did I know what I would have in store. During my exam Dr. D found a lump in my right breast. She didn’t sound too worried and said it was probably a cyst but that I should get it checked out anyway. She wrote me an order for an ultrasound – and we scheduled it for just a week later

Just even the thought of the word “lump” had me nervous. I mean, was this really happening to me. I was terrified. What made it worse was that I was completely alone. I knew no one in South Carolina. I had no friends to turn to, no family to count on. I didn’t want to call my parents and tell them. I didn’t want to worry them until I absolutely had to. I tried to keep it together as much as I could. I was a mess. I cried every night. This doesn’t happen to girls my age.

I went to my appointment alone. I was lucky that the Greenville Hospital Systems had an entire center dedicated to Breast Health. As soon as I arrived in the waiting room I noticed that I was the youngest person there. The waiting seemed to take forever. I was finally called back to a tiny ultrasound room. The nurse in the room was preparing me for the procedure. She was around my age and was trying to make me feel at ease with the whole thing. They would use the ultrasound to determine if it was just a harmless cyst- as was the case in most women my age and that I shouldn’t be worried. She took out the gel and began scanning and taking pictures. I couldn’t see the screen and she wasn’t talking very much. She was making small talk, but nothing about what she was seeing. After 10 minutes she wiped me up, I got redressed and she said she would come back with my scans.

The waiting seemed endless. She came back with the doctor – this was not a good sign. She began talking – the mass was solid (not a cyst). They would have to do more tests to determine whether or not it was cancerous and whether or not the lump would have to come out. All I remember was shaking and trying to hold back the tears. The doctors continued to reassure me that it could be nothing. That the mass was small and for the moment caused no serious concern. I went home and I cried for hours. Since I had no definitive answers I didn’t worry my parents – I kept it all inside.

Less than a week later I found myself back in the small ultrasound room. They would use the same ultrasound to find the “mass” except this time they would stick a long needle into my breast and guide it via the ultrasound. Once the “mass” was pierced the needle would shoot like a gun and capture a sample. WOW. The procedure was explained and I felt worse than ever. The first of two needles went in with the anesthesia. I was so scared. I was so alone. The nurse held my hand through the entire thing. This made me start crying. I had so many thoughts running through my head. “Why did I move to South Carolina?”; “I shouldn’t have to do this alone”; “Dear God please let me be okay”. After the first needle went in the doctor started the procedure. It took longer than planned since the muscle was so tight that they couldn’t guide the needle correctly. The anesthesia started wearing off and I could feel the pulling and the tearing. The tears kept flowing. Finally, they were able to get a sample. They taped me back up and I went home. It would be two weeks before I would hear anything back.

The worse thing out of this entire experience was the waiting. It seemed like the longest two weeks of my entire life. Finally I got the call from Dr. D’s office – the results were in. The nurse who checked me in was very friendly. When she saw what I was in for she told me she had the same experience. It was comforting in a way. After my blood and urine work, she took me back to wait in Dr. D’s office.

Dr. D arrived and she was incredibly calm at explaining the results – and she dumbed it down for me. I find this reassuring since big medical words have always tended to freak me out. It wasn’t cancer – but she was still concerned. I felt such relief taken off my shoulders. At least for that moment – I was cancer free. I thought about what I would have done had she not said those words.

I never expected to have that experience at the age of 25. Since that moment breast health and breast cancer awareness has been something that I care a great deal about. It is not something that only affects older women – it is something that can affect all women – at any age. Given my history I have to be extremely vigilant because I know that one day I won’t be so lucky.

Also, if you enjoyed what you read could you please click on the little brown button on the top right hand corner or click here to vote for me!  Remember you can vote once a day and I will be forever grateful!
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Soup on a cold day

Here's a little tidbit you might not know about me, when I was 19 I started working at TGI Fridays.  We're talking pieces of flair and all!  It wasn't lucrative work, but for a college kid it was a great gig.  The hours were flexible and best of all you got to eat cheap food.  Granted it wasn't figure friendly as anyone who knew me back then could tell you.

In any case - one of my absolutely favorite things at TGI Fridays was their soups especially the brocoli and cheese (Broc cup)!  Yum!  I hadn't thought about that soup in years until I came across this brocoli and cheese soup recipe at Annie's Eats.  Coincidentally this has become one of my new favorite sites for new recipes to try.

It looked so easy, and the picture looked so yummy!

Photo Credit:

Since Fall is in full effect here in France (sadly - summer never truly made an appearance) it is now time for warm sweaters and hot soup.  And so last night armed with a bunch of fresh brocoli (one of my favorite things in France is all the fresh veggies) I set out to make this soup.

I followed the directions almost to the letter - until it came time for the cheese sauce.  While a lot can be said about just a normal cheese sauce - I always like to make mine just a little bit different.  This is why instead of using 2 cups of milk, I only added 1 1/2 cups of milk and 1/2 cup of white wine!  Seriously the flavor upgrade is A.MAZ.ING!  I also added just a tiny little bit of grated nutmeg since it is so yummy in any cheese sauce.

It was super quick and we ate it warm with some fresh baked French bread!  Even Cornel finished a bowl - which is saying alot since he doesn't like soup!  I will definitely try to make this again now that the cold weather has decided to stay for good!
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