Tuesday, September 30, 2014

then and now

since my vintage – scratch that: childhood – books have made it into our daily rotation, i've had a couple laughs about the differences between the 1978 printing of richard scarry's best word book ever and the 1991 printing that i bought for bonzo when he was wee.

as long as one of the copies is being devoured, i have happy kids. in fact, it's just gravy having an extra copy so there's always one on the shelf, ready for action, and one to tote about willy nilly.

no matter which way you slice it, richard scarry rules.
but i guess the powers that be must have just felt like they needed to dial up the gender equality and dial down the stereotypes to make it more... well... modern maybe?

my vote's totally for the old school version. obviously.
but life moves on. daddy bunnies help in the kitchen and girl bears pave roads. it's just how it goes.

old on the left, new on the right:



they nixed the notion of being a cowboy when one grows up. along with being a commuter or train conductor in favor of being a reporter or photographer:

a quick bow and we've got a she at the helm.

this spread – one of my childhood faves – doesn't even exist in the new school edition:


there's that bow again. sigh.

now we've got ma out there earning her keep:
this page fell by the wayside, too:
the last words of the day didn't make the cut? tough crowd.

happy reading!

Monday, September 29, 2014

findings and happenings

oh hi. it's been a little while, hasn't it? i feel like my feet are slowly getting back underneath me after a seriously busy few weeks. this kindergarten stuff has been an adjustment for all of us, clearly. the days just seem to go by a little faster (sigh) and the to-do list just seems to be at a perpetual stall.

a nice little round-up is always my favorite way to return to this space – so with that said, here are a few of the latest findings and happenings from around here:

it's getting darker earlier. i used to dread that change but it suits life with kids so well that now i welcome it with open arms. it ain't easy to sell a 7:30 bedtime when it's broad daylight in july – but when it's dark (or at least nearing dark) we've got buyers lined up around the block. glorious. mushy goes down closer to 7 o'clock so lately we've been playing a board game, just bonzo, chooch and me some evenings before bonzo turns in. i scored us a near-mint vintage chutes and ladders off ebay a christmas or two ago because the new-school rendition (or worse yet, the super hero edition) of that adorable classic is so ugly it hurts my eyes. some things were just better in the 80's. we've also been playing another game called sunny day pond which is cute and i like it because it's totally non-competitive (not that chutes and ladders is real cut-throat) and simple but sweet and fun.
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i get knitting – and crafting – fever like crazy as fall nears. every single year, without fail. i've pinned a few things that i want to get busy making. you know, in all my spare time. hedgehogs! penguins! leg warmers!

speaking of spare time, i don't watch much tv anymore – we cut our cable months ago and didn't even flinch. i thought i might miss it but i rarely even think about it. but fall means season premieres so thank goodness for technology so i can still watch a few favorites. parenthood (don't even talk to me about how it's the last season!) and nashville, i'm talking to you.

you know how you sometimes don't realize the silly little things you say until your kids say them too? well, when something's truly delicious, i've been known to exclaim that i want to bury my face in it because it's so good. i know for a fact i don't say it that often but i'm certain it comes up every now and again. case in point: the other night as bonz was falling asleep he sleepily said, "mommy i don't like it when you say you want to bury your face in your food because then i wouldn't get to see your beautiful angel face. so let's just say 'this is really good' from now on, okay?" then my heart exploded into five million pieces. man, i love that kid.
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there's much more to say, but this is available now and i couldn't recommend it more – plus: baby bonz!

i simmered a huge batch of one of our favorites on the stove-top all day yesterday and i'm already excited for leftovers at lunchtime this week.

so, it took me about five minutes to realize that twitter is not my jam. but i'm getting more in the swing of facebook – join me over there if you're so inclined.

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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