Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

  • The Aftermath

    Date: 2017.04.09 | Category: Birthday, Family, Food, Home, Leela Fish, Life, Me, Norah | Response: 26

    April is the birthday season in our home. Out of the six of us, four have April birthdays (as does one of my nephews). And with Easter falling right in the middle of the month, creating the birthday party schedule proved to be a bit crazy.

    Once I got it all figured out, I looked at Mark and said, “You’re going to kill me.”
    “Whyyyyy?” he asked.
    “Because I’m having back-to-back weekend birthday parties … at our house.”

    Now, anyone who has children knows how much work it is to clean house on a good day, so getting the house “party ready” requires a lot of work on our part. Still though, we powered through it and the parties were both a great success.

    But as with any sort of fun, it seems like we always have to pay the piper the next day. As one of my favorite lines from Hamilton says, “Can I be real a second, for just a millisecond?”

    The morning after the twins’ party, I heard the big girls wake up and start moving around. They usually go in the living room and play, or ask one of us to put on the TV for them. I probably should have known by the quiet and extra 30 minutes of sleep they gave me that all was not well. When I finally got out of bed, I wandered into the girls’ room and both turned around to look at me, exposing their very blue lips and teeth. Sarah and Norah: 2, Cupcakes: 0.

    The resulting mess was all over our kitchen. Turns out blue food dye does not easily come out of, well, anything. After the kitchen mess was scrubbed, I went to use the restroom when I noticed a very strong smell of smoked brisket wafting from the girls’ room. I stopped, walked inside and looked around, thinking Norah had surely made a well-rounded breakfast, adding leftover brisket from the party to her cupcake. But, alas, my inspection yielded something much worse. There, on the lone patch of carpet not covered in toys and clothes, sat a giant pile of brisket grease infused dog vomit.

    “Ugh! WHY?!” I yelled as I got some scooping cardboard and the Bissell green machine out and got to work. It took a long while to get most of it up. (And over a week later it still smells like smoked brisket when I walk in that room, despite liberal treatments of everything from chemicals to vinegar and baking soda. It has to be the grease.). I had no idea how the dog got into it. I had put up all the extra food and taken out the trash the night before. Finally, Mark sheepishly walked into the house from the backyard, holding a now-clean brisket drip pan that Leela saw fit to clean out entirely.

    I went in the room again a bit later and it still smelled terrible. Sarah, amidst her poking around said, “Mama, COME HERE.” She was standing in her closet, pointing to another pile of the brisket vomit.. and it was touching several pieces of clothing that had fallen off hangars. Cue more cursing.

    Not to be outdone, later that day I was picking up their room. When I lifted up a blanket I discovered what can only be described as a “cookie monster crime scene.” There was blue frosting EVERYWHERE, and even a couple of candy eyeballs scattered about. Honestly, I was so tired from scrubbing up dog vomit that I didn’t even make an attempt to get it up. I need to. Still. Really, I should. I mean blue spotted carpet probably isn’t an acceptable home decorating accessory, right?

    And Norah’s mouth and face were stained completely blue. All attempts at scrubbing just left her looking bruised, like she had taken several hits to the face. So that’s how she appeared when I drove through the tornado storm to get to my sister’s fancy bridal tea later that day.
    ****
    Yesterday was Sarah’s birthday party. Again we woke up to another quiet morning, that is until Sarah came running into our room, yelling that Norah was painting her brand new My Little Pony orange… I came tearing out of bed to find that yes, she was indeed painting said pony orange, while sitting in the middle of a giant pile of sprinkles she had decided to decorate our floor with.

    Oh, and she had also found the only set of non-washable markers in our house and decided to give herself warpaint with it. So this time for Palm Sunday Mass, instead of looking bruised and battered, she merely looked like she had some kind of terrible rash going on.

    At least for the second birthday party I had wised up. We had cupcakes with white frosting only, and I made sure they were all gone by the party’s end. Sprinkles, as it turns out, are much easier to clean up the day after. Scented semi-permanent markers though? Not so much.

  • The Night Before

    Date: 2015.04.13 | Category: Family, Food, Friends, Health, Home, Life, Love, Mark, Me, Norah, Pregnancy, Sarah, Twins | Response: 6

    This is it: the last day before our twins arrive.

    I am a huge whirl of emotions that range from extremely excited to positively terrified. How am I going to do this?

    Today was not what I imagined it would be. In my head, I pictured my last day as a family of four, snuggled up with my kids, playing games with them, sitting outside while they played as the four of us basked in our last calm and peaceful day together before the babies arrived.

    The reality was… well it wasn’t that.

    The girls know something is up and they were acting out. Sarah literally clung to my body all day. If I dozed off on the couch, she would jump on my legs or back immediately to get my attention. If I tried to maneuver myself off the couch, she would clutch onto my arm with a death grip and hold me down. I love to snuggle with my kids, but this all consuming clingy thing was overstimulating. Everything on my body hurts, from my hips and back to my skin and hair. Just touching me was enough to make me want to scream.

    Norah woke up in a terror. She was screaming for “”PANCAKE! PANCAKE!” from the moment she woke up. She clung to her daddy, hovering between his legs while he attempted to make the requested pancakes, our traditional weekend breakfast. She did cheer up some after she ate, but was still into everything: yanking cups full of water off tables, throwing her cup and smashing her sister’s toe, crying over having her diaper changed. Time out, our go-to miracle worker, had absolutely no effect on her today.

    Oh, and did I mention that Mark has a sinus infection on top of all of this? He had to go to Quick Care with fever yesterday morning, where they promptly gave him antibiotic and steroid shots, the latter of which kept him up all night last night. And of course I don’t really sleep anymore either. So we were both exhausted and cranky and generally feeling bad.

    By 10am, I was frazzled. We were all sitting on the floor in Sarah’s room and I was trying to pack the girls’ bags for their grandparents’ houses. The girls were more interested in ignoring everything I said and making their big mess into a giant mess. It was overwhelming. How could I possibly handle four children when I was barely keeping it together with two? I had to leave the room freak out and ugly cry for about 30 minutes.

    Shortly after that, my friend Kelly came over and brought communion. I don’t think she was expecting to walk in and see me in tears, but she hugged me and immediately started consoling me. By the grace of God, the girls let the three adults pray together and receive the host without interuption. Immediately I relaxed and so did Mark. It was truly what we needed in that moment.

    After Kelly left, we fed the kids, got Norah down for a nap and Mark got a chance to rest while Sarah and I colored My Little Ponies together, just the two of us, for almost an hour. Then Mark and I traded out and he got to spend the next 45 minutes building Legos with her, enjoying the one-on-one time. About the time Norah woke up from a nap, Nana showed up to get Sarah. We said our goodbyes to her, then got to spend some quality and happy one-on-one time with Norah. She loved dancing and clapping with us. My mom came to collect her a short time later, and she was thrilled to go with her Mimi.

    My sisters came over around 4:30 and put in a solid two hours of cleaning my house for me and provided some much needed conversation and distraction. My friend Stephanie showed up with two lasagnas for our freezer and big hugs and well wishes.

    After they left, Mark and I decided Mexican food sounded excellent, so we picked it up, brought it home and got to have an entire conversation uninterrupted in a quiet house – an unexpected date night that we desperately needed.

    And now here we are. It’s 9pm and we have to be at the hospital at 5am. I didn’t know if we’d make it to goal day. I had three days this past week with regular contractions that had to be stopped by medication. It’s had me on pins and needles, adding an additional level of anxiety. But, by the grace of God, we have somehow made it to goal day.

    I have had so many people call, text and message me to check on me today and tell me they are praying for and thinking about us tomorrow, and that has meant more to me than anything. I’ve done this c-section thing before, but I’m still extremely anxious about it. I worry about the babies and hope their lungs are developed enough and we don’t have to go to the NICU. I pray that everything will be perfect. How many twin moms are lucky enough to make it to 37 weeks? Most are not. Even at the OB’s office I started getting cheers and proud congratulations every time I made it to another appointment.

    We are here. We are at the finish line. It doesn’t seem real, but my body says otherwise.

    I am so excited. I am so worried. I am so happy. I am so anxious.

    We can do this. We will do this. This is it. Whew.

    We appreciate all your love and support throughout this whole pregnancy, especially through delivery tomorrow. Please pray for the three of us, or really the six of us. We all need your love and positive support now and over the coming months. It’s going to be wild and it’s going to be wonderful.

  • The Biloxi Adventure

    Date: 2015.01.04 | Category: Baby, Family, Food, Friends, Holidays, Life, Mark, Me, Norah, OMG YAY!, Pregnancy, Sarah, Travel | Response: 2

    Adulthood friendships are unique. Chances are if we are friends as adults, then we have common values. With our friendship time limited due to family and work, it takes a special bond and sometimes quite an effort to keep a strong friendship alive. I am so blessed to have several women in my life who I count among my close friends, who keep me sane in times of stress and who blow me away with their generosity.

    So for me, the part of the holidays I was looking forward to the most was the opportunity to spend four days with my very best friend in Biloxi. Susan and I were roommates for three years in college, and when we hang out there are no obligations or expectations. We eat what we feel like, watch our girls play and no one complains when we wind down for bed at 8:00 p.m.

    This trip was especially important, because due to life and work circumstances, we likely won’t see each other again until a couple months after the twins arrive. I’m not going to dwell on that right now because it makes me too sad. So, on with the happy!

    Our trip to Biloxi was perfect (well mostly perfect – the four of us did have mild colds, but we pushed through them).

    Susan’s daughter was forced to share all of her new Christmas toys with my girls, and, for the most part, did pretty well with it. They all wanted to be in costume the whole time, which was fun.

    Our first full day there, Susan and I got to spend the morning together, kid-free. We were mostly running errands, but then we stopped at a local coffee shop and got to just sit and catch up without anyone demanding our attention. It was so cathartic, and I think we both needed it.

    We ate a lot of delicious food and had a great time taking the girls on a “nature walk” and to the park. It was just a little “froggy” out, as Sarah would say.

    The great thing about having a friend who lives on the Gulf Coast is the proximity to beaches and the nice temperature increase. It was about 10 degrees warmer than home, with temps in the low 70’s most of the time. That meant getting our feet wet wasn’t out of the question.

    And building sand castles is always fun.

    Though Norah did get royally pissed off after she made a break for the ocean, face-planted into the cold water and was forced to get out despite the fact she thought she could swim just fine by herself.

    Oh, and Mark was there, too.  We had to tag team chasing down the baby.

    Our last night there, the three grown ups went to The Half Shell, a nice New Orleans style restaurant, and enjoyed ourselves so much. I, of course, couldn’t drink, so I volunteered to be DD. The seafood was outstanding and the key lime pie some of the best I’ve ever had (it’s not good, after all, unless it makes your mouth clench up a little from the tartness).

    And while we had our share of mishaps on the trip with the kids (Susan’s daughter stole my toothbrush and ate Mark’s toothpaste at one point and Norah decided the toilet was an excellent place to play), overall the trip was so nice and so much fun. I’m so thankful we got to do it before it gets too uncomfortable for me to travel.

    And I think it’s safe to say the girls had a great time, too. You know they did when at least one of them does this as soon as we hit the road to drive home.

  • 3rd Birthday: The Party!

    Date: 2014.04.29 | Category: Birthday, Family, Food, Friends, Mark, Me, OMG YAY!, Sarah | Response: 7

    Sarah’s third birthday party was a great success!

    Per her request, we made the party Frozen-themed. We had it at our house and opened up the backyard to a bunch of her friends.

    I love throwing her birthday parties. Some people may roll their eyes at the detail I put into birthday parties (*cough*Mark*cough*), but I sincerely enjoy planning and executing all of it. Plus, this year she was old enough to appreciate so much of it and was so excited.

    Plus my mom and both of my sister (one of whom is 9 months pregnant) helped me pull it all together.

    Here’s the birthday girl’s spread! It included carrot Olaf cupcakes and vanilla princess cupcakes, plus lots of blue, purple and white food.

    The birthday girl had a special shirt from my friend Kristen at Evangeline Made.

    Norah had her own birthday appropriate shirt too.

    We had so many of our best friends come, including my best friend Susan (who lives in Biloxi now) and her family – I guess Norah can be included as part of her family. Susan is like her auntie after all.

    The kids had fun jumping on Sarah’s new trampoline…

    Playing on the fort…

    And decorating cookies at the station we set up with our old front door (hey upcycle!) Mom baked all the cookies in the shapes of snowmen, snowflakes, crowns, castles and shoes. I’m sure the parents appreciated me setting out lots of sugar for their kids to eat. The kids liked it anyway.

    Everyone was so generous and Sarah got lots of goodies including her beloved Doc McStuffins dress up outfit.

    And everything else a princess might possibly need.

    Oh, and we had some very special guests! My sister MC and her friend Kirstie came as Queen Elsa and Princess Anna. Sarah absolutely loved it and all the kids took turns greeting the princesses and taking pictures with them.

    We gave out Frozen coloring books for party favors.

    It was an awesome third birthday party and I’m so glad it was such a great success.

    P.S. This photo of Mark and my nephew at the party is my favorite.

  • When Cassie Comes to Town

    Date: 2013.11.03 | Category: Baby, Family, Food, Friends, Home, Life, Mark, Me, Norah, Sarah, Toddler Time | Response: 4

    I am constantly awed by the amazing people I have in my life.

    Take Cassie, for example. As soon as I told her I was pregnant, she volunteered to fly down from Pittsburgh and spend a long weekend with me to help out once the new baby arrived. And this was coming from a woman who was about to give birth to her fourth baby under age 5. Sure enough, as Norah’s delivery day started to approach, Cassie booked her flight to Shreveport. This meant her husband had to take off work to keep their four children and she was leaving her 7 month old who refused to take a bottle – all so she could come help me. I was so humbled and thankful!

    She insisted that she was here to help, not on vacation. She planned what she was going to cook in advance, then sent a grocery list to me so Mark could go shopping before she got here. Once she arrived, Cassie went into full on help mode. She immediately tackled and cleaned my kitchen (no small feat) and then put together dinner for the whole family while I sat on the couch and had a glass of wine (don’t worry, I bought her a bottle too and poured her up a glass while she cooked).

    Friday Cassie decided it was high time that we paint the entry hallway and living room – a project I’ve been telling her I was going to do for over a year. While I laid down with Norah, she watched Sarah and managed to take down the awful border in our hallway. Then, together the four of us went to Lowe’s and stocked up on paint.

    We got back and immediately got to work priming the hallway. From the hallway we moved into the living room – moving furniture and priming and painting trim.

    That was the most physical activity I had done since my c-section, which was tough, but I was so excited to finally see it all coming together. Mark was skeptical about the paint choice at first, but as it started coming together he finally saw my vision and jumped in on it, helping Cassie finish when I could go no more. In the midst of all this, Sarah dumped half a gallon of white primer on our carpet, and Cassie scooped down on it and immediately got to work on it. Together we scooped as much paint as we could off the floor, then she took the Bissell Green Machine to the spot. You can barely see it now!

    Is this girl making you tired yet? Not to be outdone, she wanted to run her first 5k out of state. Saturday morning Norah and I were going to take her to the race site, but I woke up feeling terrible – congestion and sore throat – and poor little baby Norah was congested too. Mark volunteered to take her instead while I laid down and tried to rest some more. While I was at home sleeping, Cassie won first place in her age group and 15th overall, earning herself a trophy. Once she was done with the race though, the car battery was dead and Mark had to call his sister to come and rescue them. But they got donuts on the way home, so that made up for it.

    After running that race, she came back to our house and helped Mark finish painting. Neither one of them would let me help because I felt so bad, so I supervised while I finished proofreading for work. Sarah, however, insisted on helping.

    Then, later that afternoon, Cassie took Sarah to go pick up her trophy, then on a long walk to Mark and I could have some quiet time in the house together. Sarah is totally smitten with her (and her trophy). She still asks me about Cassie most days.

    On Sunday, her final day here, we all went for brunch at Strawn’s, a local diner, where we met up with my sister Shannon, her husband and my nephew for some delicious food. It was Norah’s first trip to a restaurant and she did great!

    How do you ever repay someone for all of that? Well you can’t really, but we did what we could by feeding Cassie lots of really good food from local places. And we bought her wine, because wine always makes people happy, right?

    I can’t begin to express how grateful I am for her visit. Having a colicky baby and not getting much sleep makes the days difficult, especially with an imaginative, active two-year old who doesn’t nap. Cassie came in, let me sleep, cooked, painted and cleaned my house, all while entertaining my two-year-old. It was such a nice break and stress reliever. The best part though, was being able to hang out and talk in person. Sure we text and chat pretty much every day, but it’s not quite the same.

    So to Cassie: I thank you!

  • Pinteresting Food

    Date: 2013.08.18 | Category: Food, Home | Response: 9

    We are notorious for getting stuck in the habit of eating the same dishes over and over again because we know what goes in them and they are easy to make. But I’ve gotten tired of those same things, so with the help of Pinterest, I’ve been branching out. So far, every recipe has been pretty good, though some need a bit of an adjustment the next time I make them.

    Here’s a quick review of what we’ve tried lately:

    Ranch Chicken Enchiladas
    http://therecipecritic.com/2012/12/ranch-chicken-enchiladas/

    Difficulty level: Easy
    Rating: 3 stars out of 5

    We both agreed that this was a “make again” recipe and the insides of the enchiladas were tasty.

    What needs to be improved:
    More veggies. Next time we’ll add bellpeppers and onions to the inside. Maybe beans too.
    Less ranch. The ranch on the inside is perfect. The ranch on the outside was too much. We’ll use sour cream instead next time.

    BBQ Pot Roast Over Cheddar Ranch Grits
    http://www.plainchicken.com/2012/05/bbq-pot-roast-over-cheddar-ranch-grits.html

    Difficulty level: Easy
    Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

    Again with the ranch, I know – but we agreed that this is a mostly make again recipe.

    What needs to be improved:
    Again, less ranch in the grits. Mark thinks we should sub mashed potatoes for the grits and it would be drastically improved.

    The biggest surprise about this dish is that the grits, pot roast and sauce really do need to be served together. The flavors individually are mediocre, but together they are really good!

    Cookies and Cream Cupcakes
    http://www.annies-eats.com/2010/06/02/cookies-and-cream-cupcakes/

    Difficulty: Medium
    Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    There is nothing that can improve these amazing cupcakes. Just make sure not to over bake them and dry them out. The frosting even tastes like the center of an Oreo…

    Hasselback Potatoes
    http://www.seasaltwithfood.com/2009/05/hasselback-potatoes.html

    Difficulty: Super Easy
    Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    Again, not much can be done to improve a potato with olive oil, butter and salt. Though we did omit the garlic. They made for easy dinner sides one night.

    Slow Cooker Beef Stew
    http://www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/browse-all-recipes/slow-cooker-recipe-classic-beef-stew-10000000614077/index.html

    Difficulty: Medium
    Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

    We had this for dinner tonight and it rocked. It’s a bit reminiscent of Italian food, surprisingly, but we’re ok with that at our house.

    What needs to be improved:
    Cut the potatoes thinner and add a bit more salt.

    Chicken with Sun Dried Tomato Basil Sauce
    http://www.gabbiskitchen.com/chicken-with-sun-dried-tomato-basil-sauce.html

    Difficulty: Medium
    Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

    My husband, surprisingly, loved this dish, even more than I did. But I made the huge mistake ofbuying large sun dried tomatoes when I really needed to buy some already chopped up. They are impossible to cut up dry, so I waited until they were re-hydrated and it was a mess.

    What needs to be improved:
    More salt – maybe we’re just salt hounds? It needed something to give it a little more kick… maybe some red pepper. But Sarah and Mark gave it two thumbs up, so we’ll make it again!

  • Annual Austin Trek

    Date: 2013.08.17 | Category: Family, Food, Friends, Life, Mark, Me, OMG YAY!, Sarah, Travel | Response: 4

    We have had such an incredibly busy (and blessed) summer. I’m so glad we’ve gotten to share so many experiences with Sarah and take the time to enjoy being a family of three just a little bit longer.

    One of our summer highlights was making our annual trek to Austin to visit our friends Scott and Dana and their little boy. We had such a great time hanging out, eating good food and spending a lot of time poolside.

    Thanks to the handy dandy wagon, walking to the neighborhood pool each day was a breeze.

    Sarah is still a bit timid in the water, but little Sam was a natural and showed no fear! Dana and I just enjoyed the sunshine.

    And in the mornings, because Sarah is always the first one up, we took a walk down to the neighborhood playground so Sarah could run and scream and slide down huge slides without waking up the entire house.

    And enjoy playing outside before the 95+ temps kicked in.

    And when you’re in Austin, you have to eat great food. This time we picked up from Rudy’s one night, went to Chuy’s the next night (where Sarah was so worn out from swimming that she passed out while we waited, which never happens).

    And then, of course, we had to stop and get our traditional Amy’s Ice Cream. (Too bad Sarah was way too cool for dad in this photo).

    And just to prove that we do, in fact, hang out with adults while we’re there, here’s a photo of Dana and me extremely happy because the boys watched the kids while we went and got our nails done.

    And while we were getting our nails done, the tech informed me that my baby was very lucky because she will be a girl born in the Year of the Snake and she’s a “full snake,” meaning she was conceived and born in the same year. I’m not sure about her being snaky, but they assured me this was a good thing.

    I love going to Austin and am so glad we got to spend this trip eating, relaxing, visiting and spending time poolside!

  • Baby “Sprinkle”

    Date: 2013.08.05 | Category: Baby, Family, Food, Friends, OMG YAY!, Pregnancy | Response: 12

    My sister called me a couple of months ago to ask if she could host a “Baby Sprinkle,” aka a baby shower that was small in size for baby #2. At first I was a bit hesitant about having a shower for a second girl, but then my sister assured me of several things: 1. She was pregnant and didn’t get to help with Sarah’s showers so she wanted to do one this time. 2) Baby R. needs her own things too and 3) We’d keep it small and invite close friends and family only. So, I let her run with it! She pulled in my other sister, mom and Kelly to help pull it all together and they did an amazing job (even with Kelly three days out of a hospital stay – that’s commitment y’all).

    My nursery colors are gray and yellow, so they took that and ran with it. I’m pretty sure Kelly has some more photos from the event, but here are some that managed to make it onto my camera.

    Lots of yummy food including key lime pie bars!

    Glasses and one of my baby photos.

    Cupcakes!

    Customized onesies!

    Sarah rather enjoyed the balloons!

    The hostesses.

    Ang and Ev.

    Stephanie and Alyssa.

    Mimi is ready to meet grand baby #3!

    Nana and Aunt Stephanie are too! (Sarah’s still not sure about all this).

    Auntie love from Shannon and Martha Claire.

    Likely the closest I’ll ever get to having two little boys. :)

  • Successes and Failures

    Date: 2013.07.03 | Category: Family, Food, Home, Life, Mark, Pregnancy, Sarah | Response: 17

    There are so many things you don’t think about when you’re pregnant for the first time. After all, it’s hard to get beyond those blissful imaginings of those sweet little baby toes and the smell of baby’s head. And both those things went beyond my expectations in how wonderful they actually are. But there are those things that happen a couple of years down the road that you don’t think about at all.

    Toddlerhood is its own beast and we’ve been fighting many battles lately. Frankly, I’m exhausted. But unlike the first pregnancy, I have to keep chugging along for the sake of the little girl in our home who needs so much.

    Let’s start with the recent Failures.

    Failures:

    1. Potty Training. This will go down as one of the most frustrating experiences of my life. I have serious envy for anyone who had no problems getting their kid to start potty training. After testing out most of the “guaranteed” strategies and failing, we’ve discovered that we are going to have to come up with a new plan entirely that fits our daughter.

    Naked training? She hikes her leg and pees on things like a dog.

    Reward system? She dumped the chocolate chips on the floor and peed on them, and then later peed on the sticker sheet.

    Wet panties? She screamed and cried when we tried to pull them off of her. She doesn’t care that they’re wet and dirty. At all.

    New strategy has started. I don’t want to curse myself, so I’ll fill you in if and when it works.

    2. Fruit. I think I must have the only toddler in existence who hates fruit (besides bananas). I’m pretty sure this is a complete texture issue. We continue to offer her fruit, which she loudly and wholeheartedly rejects. So, we continue to make fruit smoothies and applesauce, both of which she loves.

    3. Naps. I know I’ve decried the lack of nap in the past, but even then she’d cave and nap at least three days of week. Those days are over it seems. Her day care teachers have also given up hope and we’ve resigned ourselves to having a kid who is done with naps. Every once in a while we’ll luck out and she’ll pass out in the car, but I am dreading having a newborn and a kid who doesn’t nap. Mimi or Nana may have to move in for a while…

    Successes:

    1. The Dinner Table. We have had so many stand offs at the dinner table over the past 6 months. She suddenly started completely rejecting foods she used to love, leaving us in complete dismay. So, we finally bit the bullet and did the hard thing. Now she no longer gets an after school snack (we distract her with outside play and water instead). And if she doesn’t eat what’s at the dinner table, then she doesn’t eat. I was so worried about her going hungry, but what do you know? Turns out it actually works! Kid scarfed down chicken quesadillas two nights ago loaded down with bell peppers and last night she had THREE helpings of red beans and rice and turkey sausage.

    2. The Big Girl Bed. Let me start by saying this was a two week long failure, and after weeks of spending two hours in the middle of the night putting her back in her bed over and over, I was so over it and ready to reassemble the crib. But while I was in Colorado, Mark discovered that she just wanted her door open. And now that she can see out at night, she stays put until morning time!

    3. Morning Drop Off. Sarah would cry and throw a tantrum every single morning at day care drop off. Mark and her teachers though have somehow managed to conquer the problem together, and now when she gets there she gives daddy a kiss and moves on to play. And in the mornings when it’s time to leave the house, she runs up to me, gives me a kiss and enthusiastically says, “Bye bye, Mama!” before running outside to get in daddy’s truck.

    Sometimes it’s hard to see the successes when the failures are constantly right in front of you, but I am proud that we’re making some headway on three things that were such terrible difficulties for so long. I can only hope that we’ll make some headway on at least two of the failures!

    P.S. I had my own great success yesterday when I passed my glucose tolerance test with Baby R. Now, someone get mama some key lime pie.

  • Denver or Bust!

    Date: 2013.06.25 | Category: Food, Friends, Me, Sarah, Travel, Work | Response: 10

    I spent most of last week in Colorado at a conference for work.

    I had a great time while I was there, but I’m still trying to recover from the overwhelming exhaustion of the constant work, travel, late nights and altitude changes. And I haven’t even had a change to zombie out since I returned because I have so much more work waiting on me. But, as my husband always says, best to make hay while the sun is shining.

    So let me tell you a little bit about my trip (in bullet points because I’m tired).

    • They have direct flights from Denver from our airport now!
    • When we flew into Denver there were tornadoes everywhere, which meant we had to stay in the air and fly around for a bit until it was safe to land. The view from above was sort of creepy. But at least I didn’t end up in an airport tornado shelter like many of my colleagues!
    • My friend Becki traveled and roomed with me.

    • Her boyfriend’s family is from Denver and he was there too with a vehicle, which meant we had an extremely kind and dedicated chauffeur the entire time.
    • I think our hotel room bathroom had a poltergeist. We had to call maintenance FOUR times to repair our tub drain and toilet. At least we scored some breakfast room service as a consequence.
    • The conference was mostly great. I feel so much more well versed in the ins and outs of social media in the workplace.
    • I got to hear a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist speak on “finding the story” and it was amazing.
    • Lots of free swag!
    • We won a national award for our family life column! I am so proud of Katie for all her hard work each month.
    • My friend and counterpart in New Orleans, Peter, won the highest journalistic award there. So proud of him and our state!
    • There was an awful cheer camp going on outside my hotel window. Soooo many teeny boppers!
    • In my free time, Becki and I sampled two Diner, Drive in and Dive locations: Bagel Deli (a Jewish delicatessen) and Steuben’s (a hipster diner). Both were amazing. Katie Ett should be especially thrilled that I finally ate a lobster roll.
    • Oh we and also went to Downtown Denver. It’s really beautiful down there and very pedestrian friendly!
    • I went to the top of Pike’s Peak (elevation 14,110) on a cog train. There was snow at the top and I only got a little dizzy!

    • I saw some big horn sheep and a marmot on the way.
    • I made the entire train wait on me while I made a painful and panicked run to the porta potty halfway down the mountain. At least I could blame pregnancy!
    • I went to Garden of the Gods and was blown away by the giant red rock formations.
    • I also went to a great kitschy Old Wild West museum where I learned all about the gold rush.
    • Foods I tried for the first time included: lobster roll, brussle sprouts, boboa tea, matzo ball soup, knish, kishke and latke.
    • We went to a crazy candy store that sold things like ranch dressing and buffalo wing sauce soda, as well as bacon frosting. I played it safe and bought a key lime pie soda.
    • That was the longest I’ve ever been away from my baby and I only sort of cried once!
    • I came home to this beautiful face at the airport.