Sunday, April 27, 2014

Be Here Now

THIS was a great weekend. Time with my favorites.

Saturday: a day trip to Austin to attend the ages 0-3 Baby Bloomers program at the Thinkery, lunch on South Congress, back to SA for a first haircut and a nap. I made a little video of the first part of the day-->

The back of her head is always snarled.

Wanting to take advantage of the mild weather (prescient), later in the day we walked to a nearby restaurant for some patio-sitting and Spurs-watching. I had a nonalcoholic strawberry daiquiri, shrimp cocktail, a tomato salad, and key lime pie... one of the most refreshing and delicious meals I've had in a long time. This summer I'm vowing to no-cook cook -- fruit, salads, pita and dips, and everything smeared with tzatziki.
Sunday morning: Walked to Quarry farmers' market, shared Sunday Times at Whole Foods, faced C toward the check-out so she could do one of her favorite things: smile, wave, wish shoppers buh-buh.


Because I find it so much easier to be out and about with her than home (and she seems to enjoy herself more), we spent the afternoon at the La Cantera, first blitz-summer-clothes-shopping with Luke, then strolling and enjoying a meal the Nordstrom CafĂ©. The little trooper made it through a Sunday grocery run and finally HOME. Tomorrow's lunch is packed, my clothes are laid out, sun comes out and we start again.

From the morning:
she is just so lovable.


Friday, April 25, 2014

Here & There

Ingenious salad dressing bottle with instructions for Asian, Caesar, French, Greek, Italian, Vinaigrette, Balsamic Vinaigrette, and Honey Mustard. It's on its way to my house.


Say NO to busy! (New York Times)

On the 'older than my years' front: contemplating a Gentle Souls purchase (any recommendations out there -- worth it?) and enjoying More magazine ('Why are you reading that? It's for old ladies.' -- my mother) [ps gold booties!!!]

To try: vegan banana cherry garcia ice cream (via The Simple Veganista) Doesn't that look delicious? Everything's in the freezer already.


 Scandi-fab macrame plant holders and mobiles

Foil packets! Will this finally be the summer I start grilling? Inspiration: grilled desserts (Food & Wine), molasses pork chops with peach slaw and other grill packets from, and 50 Things To Grill in Foil

Have a great weekend!

Monday, April 21, 2014


Swinging and snoozing.

A portrait of my child, once a week, every week, in 2014.

Saturday in the Park

Monday: I insisted on going to a sushi place near us in the 60 minutes before Luke's rehearsal because I really needed a shrimp tempura roll. The service took forever and we ended up getting it to go and eating $40 worth of sushi hovering over our kitchen island. Fast forward four hours to Luke getting food poisoning. Which I don't realize until the morning because I am a very.sound.sleeper.

Tuesday - Friday: Luke giggin'. Julie contrite about food poisoning episode. C works on waving and saying buh-bye, buh-bye. She also seems very close to turning doorknobs.

Saturday: Planned family day - C and I went to the Y [aside: my one chance to channel surf and land on the Food Network -- why is Trisha Yearwood's show always on? Maybe I don't like Trisha's Southern Kitchen because I hate gravy and she is ALWAYS making some kind of gravy]. After my 30 minute 3.4 mph amble concluded (any faster than that and the round ligament pain starts -- on the right side, the same as before. I have an ipsilateral 4 cm paratubal cyst, I wonder if that's the culprit. Filing in the bulging accordion folder of 'things I'll never know').

We stopped at Central Market for picnic lunch supplies, got cleaned up, and drove to Morgan's Wonderland for the afternoon. [I volunteered here in 2011]. As soon as we arrived C fell asleep so we read magazines in the car for an hour. With everyone rested and caught up on the New Yorker, it was off to enjoy the perfect weather - overcast and about 70 degrees. MW is immaculately clean, state of the art, and almost vacant. I have no idea why it isn't the busiest park in SA. The next stop was a craft beer festival on the Riverwalk but we were soon chased away by a no-shade situation.

Sunday: Luke played a Spurs pregame show at the AT&T Dome (this Sunday was a convergence of SA enthusiasms: the Spurs, Easter, and 420) and I took C for a stroll on my favorite stretch of the Riverwalk from Pearl Brewery to the north part of downtown. Later in the day I was stricken by some sort of terrible GI illness, providing karmic symmetry to our week.

All very glamorous, I know. Wishing you a great week, friends!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Spring in St Louis!

This weekend C and I traveled to St Louis for a perfect combination of professional development and friends and family time. An afternoon flight meant some daycare time for C and brunch at Magnolia Pancake Haus for us - we've never been because the wait is 1.5 hours + on the weekend. Weekday brunch, such a treat! I'm never out and about on a weekday so it always feels hooky-ish and fun. When we picked her up she was asleep on her mat -- we are amazed they can get her to do this.


After an uneventful flight (besides wrangling 20 lbs of squirm), my parents and I had dinner with my Aunt Jane and then continued on to Washington. On Friday I presented a slide session to the residents of my training program and then popped over to the History Museum to catch up with Amanda and meet Becky, on a playdate with their sons at the fabulous History Clubhouse. [There are a bunch of incredible kids' activities in the Lou and Becky* has a calendar here] To paint a picture of this glorious spring day (I don't have any pictures because I was having too much fun relaxing and visiting and just being with friends), this afternoon involved:

// perfect spring weather -- blooming trees everywhere
// pulled pork-on-a-cornmeal-waffle lunch at Melt 
//  treats from Whisk
//  picked up this onesie from Tiny Little Monster
//  I tried to hit up many STL favorites and places I've missed out on!

*A very St Louis story. I heard about Becky's blog from a friend who works at Wash U (hi Trish!) - at the time former St Louisan Becky lived in Washington DC but then she wrote that her family was returning to St Louis. I thought that Amanda and Jackie - who have sons of the same age as Becky - would get along swimmingly with her so I mentioned her and her blog to Amanda and Jackie while Skype-brunching and said you gotta meet her!... and it turned out that Jackie already knew her! Now they are all (re)connected and play-dating and such, and it's so St Louis.

On Saturday I volunteered at the CAP See, Test, Treat event in which women who otherwise would not have access undergo Pap testing (with same day results and treatment, if needed) and mammograms. Here I am at the lung cancer booth at the accompanying health fair showing a slide of lung cancer to a participant.


On the left is the amount of sugar in ONE SERVING of common foods like Mountain Dew and Teddy Grahams; blob of fat; on the right, amount of fat in fries, Snickers, Big Mac, etc. WOWZA!

From left: very enlarged heart, normal aorta, atherosclerotic aorta, normal fist-sized heart

My former labmates screening Paps:
So good to see these folks!

After the event I picked up sandwiches at Mom's Deli in my old neighborhood and headed over to Tom and Amanda's for MY PARTY! They hosted, Paul & Stacey whipped some some crazy delicious food (=cooked like crazy for two hours while the rest of us noshed and chatted -- thanks Jorwehes!) Again not nearly enough pictures but I was just happy being with my people.

Paul and the bacon

Not pictured: lamb burgers and bacon-stuffed beef burgers

guys I just took your engagement picture in one shot. BAM! I know a lot of cute people but these two are definitely the cutest.

 Meanwhile, back at the ranch, C chased Heidi the fox terrier:


I pet you
Dragged this tiny chair into a corner:

 And Heidi finally found refuge:

Looking forward to another visit in May! See ya then STL!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014


Escape artist // opening dog crate. It has the same sliding latch that she figured out on a half-door at her daycare, prompting the staff to move the latch to the other side. (The only baby to figure it out, I might add).

Baby MacGyver

Walking with Grandma // in Tom & Amanda's backyard

A portrait of my child, once a week, every week, in 2014.

Monday, April 14, 2014

April Reads

After reading Lorrie Moore for the first time earlier this month, I'm going to pick up her short story collection Birds of America and novel Gate at the Stairs later today.

Two thirds of the way through How Toddlers Thrive -- a peek into how to deal with the roiling toddler psyche. Three isn't going to be a picnic - several moms have mentioned recently (Becky here and hey Becky it was great to meet you this weekend!) how hard that age is. I must plan some coping strategies because I am not patient by nature. (Author intro below)

Oh cookbooks always cookbooks to thumb through -- The Cook's Illustrated Baking Book (a beautiful book except that it's in black and white -- food photography looks terrible in b&w! Reminds me of the vignette "The Case of the Colorblind Painter" in Oliver Sacks' Anthropologist on Mars in which an artist loses his color vision and one of his many challenges is overcoming his disgust of food that looked so unappealing - for a while he was able to eat only foods that looked 'right' in black and white -- black beans, white rice, etc).

Healthy eating kick  Going to re-peruse Martha Stewart Inc's Meatless and Power Foods. I was feeling good about pregnancy weight gain for the first trimester but now something like this has happened:

oh dear.
Anyhoo healthy, reasonable countermeasures must be employed. Cutting down on meat has left carbs carbs carbs; it shouldn't but I haven't figured out how to swap meat for not-cheese, not-pasta. I've started reading the blogs Skinny Taste and Eating Whole for inspiration. I made the crockpot skinny buffalo chicken last night, scooped it on to romaine leaves, proclaimed it tasty (same for this salad - no stone fruit in season so I swapped strawberries). We'll have lettuce cup tacos later this week. Another post for another day is the stressful dinner situation I find myself in: C is starving when she gets home, Luke is on his way out the door (if not gone already), and I want to cook something nutritious and sit and eat it together Around the Table Like All the Studies and Anecdotal Evidence Say We Should (as does How Toddlers Thrive).

Reading good stuff? Recommendations, life coaching, and childrearing tips welcomed.

Happy spring everybody! Seems like the abominable snow-winter has finally loosed its grip.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Hold On (Clementine)

Fox Daytime At Nine: Lucas Jack performs the song he wrote for our daughter ...  watch here
My heart-cup runneth over.

Winning the 2014 Battle of the Bands at the Arneson River Theatre

Monday, April 7, 2014

Miscellany with a Side of Peas

Hey everybody, guess what! Two little upper teeth are poking out, ending the 4 month dental development hiatus.

In other (non) news:

As an example of our ships-in-the-night family schedule, on Friday morning Luke arrived home from a gig at 2:45 am and I woke up at 4:45 am to catch a flight (actually, four flights total ugh) for a work daytrip to Oklahoma. I kvetch about this quarterly trip but I usually end up enjoying it somewhat. I finished this fantastic short story collection and caught up on a few of the New Yorkers that arrive weekly to be deposited in the 'to read...someday' stack [where they eye me reproachfully]. This article about the history of death certificates and TV critic Emily Nussbaum's essay on the bad fan and the antihero as hero were interesting.

It was a weekend for being home, and it was glorious. The three of us went to Pearl to distribute press materials for Luke's Thursday show, had chicken sandwiches from Smashburger (the spinach-cucumber-goat cheese is so tasty -- and I pretty much hate grilled chicken), C and I went grocery shopping and I made up for the cooking I haven't had time to do recently. By cooking I mean baking and by baking Luke asked on Sunday night, scrounging for dinner, 'so, did you make anything other than desserts and that giant meat pie?'

I realize I like to bake because I don't mind measuring but I hate prep -- peeling and chopping vegetables, trimming beef, arghhhhhhh. Baking is only as difficult as the measuring!

// The giant meat pie is the Italian Easter Pie from Cook's Country, the ambitious project of the weekend
// I doubled pressure cooker mac and cheese and threw in a big bag of frozen peas. It appears Someone Aged Fourteen Months is adroit enough to express her opinion about that.

Time 0
What peas? All done.

// The Big & Chewy Oatmeal Cookies were a hit
// The crumb cake inverted during baking (?) but is still tasty.
// The bran muffins got a healthy mix-in of chia seeds to boost their marginal virtuousness. (All from Cook's Illustrated Baking Book)
// Not pictured: baked pumpkin pie oatmeal from Budget Bytes -- I can't make myself like it but the rest of the household does. I'm giving up on oatmeal, end of story.
Luke was in rehearsal Sunday afternoon so C and I went to the library and Target to get out of the house (a rainy morning meant no park time) to browse and spend $92 on I'm not exactly sure what. C fell asleep in the car seat in the parking lot and I began one of my checked-out books, How Toddlers Thrive. A very pleasant hour and a half passed, reading, people-watching, listening to her breathe in and out. And that was the point of this post, to remember some downtime in the car on a lazy Sunday and listening to one baby girl doze and feel another move in my belly.*
*Time to abandon the twee euphemism bump. It's a belly and I'm not sure what it's going to end up as with 14 weeks to go...starting to feel like a very Big Mammal again.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Clementine at 14 Months

Teeth count: 2 and holding. She's had just two teeth for four months.

Favorite foods: Oranges and clementines. Avocados. Yogurt. She doesn't refuse too much except for the pouch purees like 'barley, kale, and spinach' -- which, admittedly, are disgusting.

Funny things: My mom taught her to say "MMMMMMMMM!" when eating. Lately when I pick her up at daycare she runs over to me, stops short, and then goes over to and gestures to her bag of stuff (sippy cups, jacket), as if telling me not forget it. The weird part is that she doesn't want anything out of the bag and she doesn't do anything similar with my purse or the diaper bag in another setting.

She and Luke have a morning ritual - he picks her up and takes her over to the closet door, the inside of which houses a full-length mirror. She squeals with anticipation and he flings open the door - WHERE'S CLEMENTINE?!! - and she dissolves in laughter. (Repeat x at least 3).

She is: Very fast! She can really careen around now.

Interests: Flushing the toilet, inspecting the nightstand for phone/glasses/magazines to rip up, taking shoes and socks off when confined to car seat and stroller (that's not new).

Because she ignores toys: I put her new instruments on the kitchen island shelves among the items she is interested in - box of garbage bags, cookbooks - and it seems to be working. So far the wave drum and xylophone have generated interest.

We're down: to one bottle at night. She flat out refuses to drink anything except water from a sippy cup/cup with a straw (we have tried about seven models) and even then not very much. [Exceptions: lemonade and milkshakes]

Sleeping: She regularly sleeps twelve hours starting around 7 or 8 pm - bottle, book, and she fusses in the crib for about 2 minutes or less. Then, out. She is more tired on weekdays because of all the play and interaction at school.


Luke loves this 'smiling through the tears' expression
Feeding herself a pouch