The Dawleys

Saturday, April 30, 2011

It's the Simple Things

Today was a beautiful day! I love days like this. Warm and sunny with not a cloud in the sky. A day where you just want to be outside and soak up all of the sunshine and take in as much fresh air you can. A day where you notice the beauty in all of the simple things from the flowering trees to the emerald grass to the sound of the birds chirping. To add to this beautiful day, it's the weekend and Dave is home with us to enjoy it all! He has had to work so many weekends lately and now he is off every weekend until the middle of June. That makes Ella and I very happy and it made today even better.
Today Dave made us French toast for breakfast and even did the dishes! We hung out around the house until after Ella's nap and then went out to enjoy the day. We had a delicious lunch at Jason's Deli (Ella adores their bean salad and corn muffins). We then bought some plants at Home Depot and did some grocery shopping at Target. When we got home, Dave did some yardwork while Ella watched, pointing and laughing every time he passed by the door with the mower. After dinner, Ella helped me plant strawberries. It was such a simple day, but these are the days that mean the most. And there is nothing like a sweet little toddler to remind me of that.

Ella watching Daddy mow the lawn.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Ella is One!!

It's hard to believe that my sweet little girl is ONE! We had a wonderful weekend celebrating with family. Ella is so blessed to have so many great people in her life. And Dave and I are blessed to be the parents to such a sweet and spirited little girl. Ella has changed so much in her first year. Dave and I have changed so much as well though. Who knew that this sweet little girl could change us in ways we never thought possible? This past year has been amazing and I look forward to this second year in Ella's life!

Ella's birthday party was butterfly-themed since she has always seemed to be drawn to all things butterfly. We had butterflies everywhere, from the blinds, to the ceiling fan, countertop, and even the cupcakes. She loved pointing them out and oohing over them. For food, we had a little Mexican buffet since Ella loves beans! It was also a great way to make sure that everyone had something to eat that they liked. The cake was something that I tested for many weeks. I wanted the perfect cake for her birthday (not to mention I had an excuse to bake and eat a lot of cupcakes). I wasn't completely happy with any of the recipes I tried, so I modified one and created my own. They turned out amazing if I do say so myself!:)

Vegan Orange Cream Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting

Cake Ingredients:
1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup canola oil
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup orange juice
2 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line a muffin pan with cupcake liners. Mix the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. In a separate large bowl, mix together the canola oil, sugar, orange juice, and vanilla extract. Sift in the flour mixture and mix until no lumps remain. Fill cupcake liners and bake for 20-22 minutes until done. Transfer to cooling rack. Once cooled frost with buttercream frosting.

Vegan Buttercream Frosting Ingredients:
1/2 cup shortening (I prefer Earth Balance)
1/2 cup margarine (again I prefer Earth Balance)
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup soy or almond milk

Beat together shortening and margarine until fluffy. Gradually add the sugar and beat for 3 minutes. Add the vanilla extract and milk and beat for 3 more minutes.

Natural Parenting Blog Party (April 15th-30th)

I decided to join a Natural Parenting blog party at the Peaceful Housewife. I think it will be a fun way to keep me blogging and also find some like-minded blogging mothers! I am a little late getting started, but better late than never.:) Here are some get-to-know-you questions:

1) How many children do you have, and how old are they?
One daughter that turned one on April 8!

2) Do you have a partner, or are you a single parent?
I have been married to my wonderful husband for 5.5 years, together for 9 years in May...!

3) What are your “hot button” parenting issues?

4) Have you made any parenting choices that you didn’t think you would make before you were a parent, i.e. cloth diapering a child when you had previously thought it was disgusting?
Cloth-diapering was something I never thought I would do. We started using cloth when Ella was 3 months old, and it was a great decision!

5) Is there one book or person in particular that’s heavily influenced your parenting choices?
My instincts are what influenced my parenting choices. I didn't realize that what I was doing was Attachment Parenting until Ella was about 2 months old. I was so happy to see that there were other parents like me and was thrilled to discover Dr. Sears as a wonderful resource.

6) If you had to describe each of your children using only one word, what word would you use?
Spirited :)

7) Is there one parenting decision that you regret more than others and wish you could change?
I try not to regret things because it has no benefit to myself or family. I try to do the best I can, and that's really all I can do.

8) Is there an area of your parenting you wish you were better at?
I wish I was more creative and fun! I try to take ideas from when I used to work with infants at a daycare, but sometimes I wonder if I'm not stimulating Ella enough.

9) Now for the fun questions – is there one particular food or type of food that you could eat every day?
Chocolate. I keep leftover chocolate chips in the freezer for baking, but I always end up sneaking handfuls every day and they never get used for baking...

10) Vanilla ice cream or chocolate?
I love both.

11) What’s your guilty pleasure?
All of the Real Housewives shows...and Bethenny Getting Married...and Pregnant in Heels. I'm a Bravo TV junkie.

12) If you could be part of any television show, which show would it be?
Glee would probably be fun.

Sunday, April 3, 2011


One aspect of Attachment Parenting that I struggle with most is balance. Everything I read, tells me to remember to take time for myself because this style of parenting causes me to give so much and it's important to not get burnt out. But no matter how one parents, or whether one has children or not, we all struggle with balance. We all have good days and bad days, days where we're more patient and kind, days where we overreact and snap too quickly at our loved ones, days where we are pulled too much in one direction, and those wonderful days where everything seems just as it should be. We all need balance.
I am someone that places a lot of pressure on myself. I strive to be as present as possible with Ella at all times. I try to plan menus with the most optimal nutrition possible and stress more than I should when Ella picks over the most nutritious parts of her meals. I try to keep the house clean (using only the greenest cleaners) and clutter free (which is so hard with a one year-old and our 4 month-old weekday friend). My Type A personality causes me to stress out when things are not in order.
With these types of expectations of myself, it is hard to stay balanced. Lately it has been even harder than normal. Dave has worked the past three weekends (on top of his 5 days during the week). He has had to work late 2-3 nights a week as well. This leaves me to do dinner, dishes, bathtime, bedtime, and end-of-the-day cleanup all to myself (although he is wonderful and helps out wherever he can when he gets home). This after long days of giving as much positive and patient attention as possible to my sweet and spunky little girl and to our little weekday friend. The giving lasts all day with no break, and none of the giving is to myself.
On top of this I am stressing about getting the house in order this week for family coming to visit. And this magnifies my need for perfection.
Needless to say, I am feeling very off-balance lately. I never seem to have a moment to myself. Even my rare free time is spent doing things such as Googling better ways to deal with the ammonia smell in our cloth diapers, meal planning, or reading books on positive, gentle discipline and vegan family cooking.
So this week, in the midst of the stress that I will no doubt put on myself, I am going to make sure I devote some time in the day to myself. Time just for me. Not for Dave or Ella or our dogs. Just me. It's not going to be easy for me, but I know I have to do it. I am in desperate need of recharging!