Thursday, September 18, 2014

mornings around here (and a new favorite breakfast recipe)

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i feel like i live a new life these days. the adjustment from a two-mornings-a-week preschool schedule to a five-mornings-a-week kindergarten schedule is no joke. i'm a pretty organized girl – i'm almost embarrassingly punctual and rarely wait until the last minute to get my act together. having said that, though, we're not immune to the morning rush. it still happens despite my preparedness and will to avoid it. but let's just say it ain't my favorite way to start the day.

bonzo's new school is right down the street from his preschool – a stone's throw, really – so our commute really hasn't changed a bit. but having to get us up, fed, lunch packed, all of us dressed and out the door for an 8:30 arrival monday through friday has taken a serious effort on my part. prep work in the evening: clothes laid out, coffee pot ready to go, lunchbox awaiting its fill – the whole bit. it shaves off a few minutes and sets a more relaxed tone in the morning. it's just easier to flow when i've done the leg work the night before. and the more the morning flows the better in my book. 

last weekend i had the wise idea to batch-prepare breakfast for bonz. i liked the idea of streamlining one more element of the morning and i loved the idea of him having a rad, healthy start to his day.

so on sunday – in our annual late summer heat-wave i might add – i decided to make the week's breakfasts ahead of time: bacon, egg and spinach cups. it was so easy and to say that i have a satisfied customer is an understatement. 

all you need is eggs, bacon, spinach – but the better the quality, the better the result. so we use our usual pasture raised eggs along with the best quality bacon we can find and organic spinach. always best to pack the most nutritional punch, you know?

i pre-cooked the bacon on a wire cooling rack at 400º for like 10 minutes give or take. so it's on its way to being cooked but not all the way done. then i pulled it out and let it cool a bit and lowered the oven to 375º. in a bowl i whisked 8 eggs and added a very generous handful of washed and chopped baby spinach and mixed it all up. once the bacon was cool enough to handle, i took a piece and laid it in the cup of a muffin tin, outlining the opening of all twelve spots. then i filled them about 1/2 full with the egg and spinach mixture and put in the 375º oven for about 20 minutes.

the result: fluffy, spinachy eggs inside a piece of bacon. 

(side note: i was short a couple pieces of bacon so i filled a couple cups of the muffin tin with just the egg mixture and topped it with a tiny slice of bacon. they turned out just as great. in fact, i will probably make half the batch this way going forward just to mix things up a bit – so it's not a full-blown bacon parade every single day.)

i kept three days' worth in a storage container in the fridge. in the morning, i preheat the oven to 350º and put the cups in a lidded glass pyrex container to heat up – 10 minutes or so. i froze the rest and will just transfer to the fridge the night before then heat and serve as before. 

this certainly isn't a groundbreaking concept – the recipe itself or the idea of batch preparing food for a busy week – but it's ruling our mornings right now so consider me hooked.

it feels good to be finding our morning rhythm for our new schedule.




Monday, September 15, 2014

a few mushy fall finds

i still get giddy over having a girl – it's pretty fun. mushy asked me to paint her bitty toes pink like mine the other day and i was having a serious i-have-a-daughter moment. she loves to carry a purse and cuddle her baby dolls but she still knows a bulldozer from an excavator, this girl.

when it comes to buying kids clothes, i always opt for comfort. anything remotely fancy or not suitable for day-to-day winds up shoved in the back of the drawer, forgotten about entirely. and i like quality over quantity. i mean, we stock up on $6 target leggings for mushy like it's our job but it's always the well-made, great fitting stuff that gets well-loved and well-worn. and i like to dress them like kids, not mini-adults. that's my big one.

but my taste is my taste whether i'm dressing myself or i'm dressing mushy: a little girlie, a little boy-ish, mostly neutrals but a bit of color, simple, comfy, practical. so not much in the sparkle and frills department – sorry, mush. hopefully you'll thank me later.

i've got a growing girl and a changing season on my hands so i took to the internet to have a little look-see. i may not fulfill all (not even by a long shot) my window shopping whims (or, in this case, website scrolling whims)  but i do love to add-tocart – even if i never proceed-to-checkout. here are a few things i think would look mighty cute on my little mush:



from top, left to right:
long sleeved tee, leg warmersbaseball teeelephant sweatshirt
tights – or "socks pants", overall dressraglan sweater (file this one under: yeah right), rain boots
camo sweatsstriped dress and bloomersknit coatleopard sweats
overalls, striped tee, sneaks, chambray dress


Friday, September 12, 2014

this time last year

i thought when we hit the year mark of mushy's stroke that it might feel like some magical turning of the page or a circle completing itself. i dreaded the day, i looked forward to the day, i felt so beyond superstitious of the day – and it came and passed and nothing changed. its impending arrival felt huge but its actual arrival felt unceremonious which was exactly how i wanted it to feel. i wanted to live it and move forward, to be done.

but what i've been realizing so much lately is that the year mark of when it happened isn't where my anxiety lives. yes there are more tormenting memories surrounding that day – and the handful that followed – than i have yet to fully digest but, if i'm honest with myself, the hardest part of it all was the year anniversary of now.

when i think about where i was this time last year i cringe and i can feel myself not wanting to feel it. we were between two appointments in san francisco with the specialists for mushy and as the date of the second appointment neared i was unraveling at an alarming speed. and i see it so much more clearly now than i did then, too. not surprisingly.

last year i felt like i had to compartmentalize two separate realities. the day-to-day, preschool drop off, swim lessons, grocery store reality and the crippling fear and debilitating worry reality.

the scales were tipping faster than i could keep up with – and one reality outweighed the other so heavily that i felt like i was trying to keep a boulder from rolling down a mountain. i was trying so hard to keep it together and act normal and be normal and keep that boulder from slipping but it was getting heavier and i was getting tired and, well, it was going to roll. it was an impossible situation.

i just kept thinking that if i could act normal then things might feel normal. if i tried to seem okay maybe i would be okay. i remember one day right about a year ago, mushy's doctor told me that she could tell i wasn't okay – and i remember being shocked and slightly offended by that even though i knew it was true. like, for her to notice (how i thought she could miss it is beyond me) despite my efforts to not show it was like when someone tells you that you look tired even though you dutifully dabbed on concealer, blush and mascara in an attempt to not look it. it's like, thanks. but dude, if the now-me was looking at the then-me – like i have been doing so much these last few days – i would have seen the same thing: i wasn't okay. trying to be and actually being are two very different things.

i was freaking out about everything. her appointment was inching closer and i knew it would re-open wounds that had not nearly come close to beginning to heal for both me and her. i knew we were facing the waiting and wondering and ultimately, an outcome. in the early days after her stroke we wanted to know why so desperately but after tests and tests and tests that didn't reveal anything conclusive, the potential findings of this appointment loomed heavily to say the least. if they found something at this point that they hadn't prior it would most likely be a very unwelcome finding. i was looking at my perfect baby girl who'd recovered so quickly and was seemingly the picture of health and yet i had the very real possibility that there could be something major going on with her. it was almost too big to feel – but i was feeling it through and through. it was crippling.

being a mother comes with a certain amount of worry. it just comes with the territory: the what-ifs we feel after stories break on the news, the worst-nightmare sort of stuff, the everyday concern. but to actually be faced with a what-if regarding your baby is a feeling like i can't quite describe. it's the worst of the worst (and yet doesn't even begin to compare to what families who are faced with that as a reality. to say i have mass empathy in that department is an understatement. my heart feels that pain for other families in a way it didn't before – and i thought i felt it before.)

so i was a wreck and my coping strategy was to just go forth and deal with the feelings later. what else was there to do? so we faced our second appointment and miraculously were given the best possible outcome: no findings, no known cause, no conclusion. but like i said, at this point no news was good news.

i wish i could say that i arrived home from that trip with a sense of relief and closure. but i had been in such a low low that even getting the best news we could have hoped for didn't lift me out. i could feel that it was good but i couldn't feel relief. everyone was asking me if i felt so relieved and a lot of the time i said i did because it felt weird to say i didn't. but really, i felt next to nothing. it was a really strange time.

a month or two later i thought i was starting to feel better, that i was feeling some of that relief that i wanted so badly to feel. and i was. but i still had a long ways to go – i know because the way i feel now doesn't even compare to how i felt then. i was still pretty buried. and what i'm realizing lately is that i don't think i'm out from underneath it fully even now – honestly, i don't think i'll ever be completely free of it. living through that time, i think, changed me forever. and that's okay, life changes everyone forever. that's the name of the game.

it's just been on my mind so much lately. i've been remembering things about where i was last year that i had completely forgotten about – little details that might seem pointless but they help weave the story back together for me. i was sort of feeling like talking about all this here and now was too much, too late but it's felt good to document my process along the way and this is just another part of that process, i guess.

the anniversaries of big dates, both happy and sad, can bring up strange feelings, i've realized. but i like taking pause and looking back and comparing the then to the now. it's a good way to measure growth and change – especially when the process is slow and you can't see it in the day-to-day. but to look back at a year (or more) you just see things through such different eyes and sometimes a fresh perspective is really helpful. for me, with this, it is.

and then there's this sweet girl. healthy and happy as can be. what a year, mush.

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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

the bedtime rigmarole

time to get ready for bed: those six little words kick off the last hurrah of the day, every day. sure it can feel like groundhog's day – the jammies (and in this case super cute jammies!), the toothbrushing, the stories, the stall tactics – but it's also the last chance to connect, have fun and wind down the day.

there are some nights when i feel like i'd love a fast-forward button to just get to the part where all four little eyes are closed and silence washes over me but most nights i find myself wishing for the pause button, wanting to slow it all down and savor those moments rather than rushing through them.
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now, i'll be honest, gymboree isn't a place i find myself often but when they asked me to pop by and see their cute collab of sleep-and-playware with one of our favorites, the iconic eric carle, i thought it was the perfect excuse to check out what they had going on. i am, after all, a serious sucker for cute jammies.

since we don't do media, we also don't do commercial characters over here – so no super hero tees, no movie-themed lunch boxes, toys or sneakers – but kids are kids and fun jammies are fun. so i was excited to see a cheerful little line-up of cute duds with some of our favorite illustrations from the books we love. so they each scored a new pair of jams. mushy got flamingos and bonz got moon and stars. they both love them and they meet this mama's pajama criteria: cute, good fit, great quality. so, you know, these are perfect.

the very hungry caterpillar was one of my favorite books from when i was little – i remember thinking the holes punched out of the food that little guy ate was pretty next-level stuff. so of course watching my kids love it too is pretty rad. our eric carle collection has only grown from there and they're always on the top of our list of go-to reads. so i know two little people who thought it was pretty fancy to match their stories. and, with that, the bedtime rigmarole commences:

first stop: the sink, brush teeth, make crazy faces in mirror, the usual. and mush likes an extra couple hand washings for good measure.
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choose stories carefully. good night theme welcome but not required.
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horse around a bit, obviously. activities include, but aren't limited to, jumping, rolling, singing and dancing.
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those punched holes: so cool aren't they mush?
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oh it'll be nice when the time changes and we're not downshifting into bedtime in broad daylight.
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oh hey mush. so glad you love your fwamingos!
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some are ready for bed earlier than others.
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the energy shifts, mellow vibes finally find their way in.
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and that's all she – or, well, he – wrote.
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hey gymboree, big thanks from bonzo and mushy for sponsoring this post... i may very well have missed this cute collection of clothes otherwise and i'm so glad i didn't! truth be told, we'll probably be back for the baseball-style play tees because they're super cute.

this is a sponsored blog post. i received compensation from gymboree but the opinions and text are all my own.

and note from gymboree:
"Inspired by Eric Carle’s Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See, from 9/2-9/30, we will be hosting a photo contest, where we are encouraging parents to help their little ones take a picture of what they see. Entrants can submit a photo via Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr or via our designated direct photo upload site, using the hashtag, #WhatDoYouSee. Entrants of the #WhatDoYouSee contest will have the chance of winning one of ten Eric Carle gift baskets including: A House for Hermit Crab book, a signed copy of The Very Hungry Caterpillar book, figurines, stickers, The Very Hungry Caterpillar Sippy Cup, Chunky Colored Pencils, Match and Munch Game, Place Mats Book, and Stage & Play (Approximate Retail Value (“ARV”) $144.99). The winners will be announced at the end of the contest period, which is 9/30/14."







Monday, September 8, 2014

seven years

it's been seven years and i'm pleased to report there's no itch in sight. i love this guy more now than i did then – happy anniversary, choo choo.

but seriously, seven years. it was a beautiful day.

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that gardenia smelled like heaven.

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my mom needlepointed this pillow for my grandfather (whose name is now bonzo's middle name!) before i was born. you're a prince. seriously. perfect.

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my grandmother's butterfly broaches.

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