Tuesday, August 26, 2014

28


Yesterday was my 28th birthday, which of course brings up all of the dinner conversation topics about time and plans and expectations.  JP took me to a beautiful, long, highly entertaining meal last night, which involved copious amounts of butter and no pauses for breath as we enjoyed adult time without a very cute, talkative 13-month-old at our feet.  I've been with JP for well over eight years, and so very much has changed for us since we met as late teenagers in college.  
There is no possible way I could have predicted where my life would be at 28: married to a wonderful man who challenges and loves me in all the right ways, mother to a little boy who makes me smile while giving me plenty of good parenting stories, well on my way to popping out another Diego pumpkinhead, homeowner of a space that allows our family to grow comfortably, and all with the luxury of being the master of my daily routine.  (Well, as much as August lets me control the routine.)  


None of this, though, is what I'd pictured at 18, or even 24.  JP and I don't have a written timeline of what we want to do at each year of our lives; in fact, we could probably do a much better job of managing our lives and calendars.  If anything, we feel a little ahead of ourselves in terms of what we want out of life: a welcoming home, a budding family, healthy bodies.  Is it too much good?  Should we be doing more with our time?  Why aren't we traveling more, spending our weekends DIY'ing our unfinished basement, entertaining at home, taking August to multiple classes each week?  
At one point last night, I was so wrapped up in telling JP the many things I thought, at 20, I would want at 28, and stopped myself.  How amazing to be ahead of schedule in our own life timeline.  How wonderful to be expecting a little sibling for August, and not be intimidated (much) that we're only the 2nd or 3rd of our friends to have a second child.  What a luxury to have time working on our side whether we realized it or not.  

28 somehow feels like a very settled, grown-up age, and I feel very rooted in my own life.  Lately there have been emotional upheavals (thanks, pregnancy hormones!), and I feel so grateful that my personal anchors are strongly set in my family and friends.  I'm not exactly sure where I'll be next year, in the existential sense, but I feel like every year gets me closer to who I want to be.  

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Career and Family: An Understanding


A good friend and I had one of those nearly age-old discussions that only women seem to have: the desire for a family vs. the desire for a career.  The two of us are on opposite sides of the lifestyle coin, with her firmly in the career corner and I in the family camp.
She has recently received a promotion at work, which entails extra hours, and is making a name for herself in the volunteer circle of her area (lots of work with women and children empowerment).  She likes being busy and having time to herself; in the past couple of years, she has been able to travel Europe, South America, and the US on her own agenda.  She spends her money, for the most part, on what she wants to spend it on.  Without a steady relationship, mortgage, and children, she is the master of her own fate, and can move, travel, or stay out as late as she wants.
I, in turn, have a gorgeous baby boy, another little on the way, a husband to share our mortgaged home with, and plenty of commitments at home.  JP and I have things to save up for, college accounts to add to, and sleeping in late means 8am.  My career is my family and home, which mean I don't have a dress code and operate on a timeline that works best for my peace of mind.
Our discussion centered around whether either of us is furthering the cause of women in the 21st century.  Neither of us can really buy into the 'women can have it all' mentality: she works because she has loans and rent each month for which she alone is responsible, and I can't afford to work unless it covers the cost of relatively high cost of daycare.  What's more, we don't really want the other's life and responsibilities that come with it.  After spending the weekend witnessing firsthand what it's like to care for a 13-month old on a minute-to-minute basis, she looked at me and said, "Is it always this hectic and exhausting?"  before confessing that she wasn't sure she ever wanted the white picket fence life.  The idea of networking and heading out to work in a suit 5 days a week, 10-12 hours a day couldn't sound worse to me.
The beauty is that none of that matters.  We chat, we visit, we appreciate the other's daily routine, and get to go home to our own reality at the end of the day.  I don't have to have a career outside of the home right now and that doesn't make me a terrible feminist or role model; trust me, I work and test the limits of my patience now more than I did with a paycheck.  She doesn't have to wear a wedding ring and pop out babies to show her self-worth or prove she's a woman.  The fact that we chose different paths doesn't mean we're at odds; our honest conversations about the struggles and triumphs of our day gives us insight and appreciation for how the other side lives.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

11 Months

In just one month, my baby boy is going to be one year old!  One year young?
The past 31 days have been the best yet- something I'm sure to say every month until...well, a long time.  We've finally got naps down to schedule (two a day, each about 1.5-2 hours long), he's eating great, and he sleeps at night without waking us up.  Someone pinch me.
August continues to be a pretty happy kid, and I just love getting to spend my days with him.  We have a wonderful group of mama and baby friends, some older and some younger, and we have play dates nearly every week day.  Although he's not really playing with other kids yet, he likes being in a group of babies and is pretty well-behaved with them.  Playgrounds have become a favorite, and he really enjoys climbing up and down the stairs, and pulling himself up on the bottom of slides.

There have been a few instances when August has stood up and stayed up for a minute or two, but he doesn't seem really steady yet and gets weirdly fussy after this show of independence.  I'm not sure if he's confused about his balance or thinks we should still be holding him 24/7, but it's very cool to see him discover a new vantage point.
We're still nursing a bit, but it's really declining.  I'll spend this month weaning him, and my goal is to have him on cow's or soy milk by his birthday.  You've got a dedicated post on breastfeeding coming up in the next month or two, where I'll wrap up my experience and lessons learned.  It's been great, but I'm really looking forward to having my body back!

On the food front, August gets puree food pouches when we're out and about (they're just so easy to throw in our diaper bag!), and regular foods when we're at home.  If JP and I are having sweet potatoes, rise, and chicken sausage for dinner, August is having a baby portion of it, too!  There isn't much he won't eat, and his appetite is pretty voracious.  Maybe that explains why he's sleeping 10-11 hours at night.
I can't believe that I've been August's mama for almost one year!  I'm soaking up this baby period while I still can.  Can you blame me?


Friday, May 23, 2014

Our Week in Photos

If the babies are happy, we're all happy.

Lately, when August is having a meltdown, just taking him into our backyard and letting him put his little toes in the dirt seems to calm him right down.  I think he's going to be our outdoorsman.

On Saturday, we took August up to DC to visit some friends and our old stomping grounds. While we waited for our flight, August tried to talk JP into giving up a bit of his cheese danish.

While at the National Zoo, he was more entertained by pie crust from Pie Sisters than by the beavers we sat next to.  Tough kid to impress.

Katrina trekked all in the way to the Zoo to meet us and August!  And she brought my favorite pie!  Friends are the best.

We stayed with our friends who had an 8-month old, and it was so surreal to watch the men pushing strollers.  There was a time when we spent our mornings at leisurely two-hour brunches, sipping mimosas and discussing the late-night movies we'd seen recently.  Now, we're talking about nap times and Netflix!

 August's latest thing is crawling up plastic slides, which results in a treadmill effect for him.  Whatever wears him out.

We got to catch up with Aunt SJ!  She is so patient with the little man, and he loved her tickles.

 On Monday morning, we walked into Georgetown for Baked and Wired and a picnic on the waterfront.
Don't worry- August's espresso cup is empty.

I call this one, "Papa y los patos."

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Buttermilk Bourbon Ice Cream


I recently had some leftover buttermilk from a waffle recipe and, honestly, there aren't a ton of healthy things to do with it.  My favorite buttermilk recipes are to be paired with maple syrup (waffles or pancakes) or cheese (biscuits).  Now, I have one more option for leftovers: ice cream.  Last week I made this buttermilk and bourbon ice cream recipe, topping the final product with honey and almond biscotti.  Oh man...talk about decadent and perfect for summer.  This ice cream has more of a soft serve texture with a tart aftertaste; the bourbon does not hurt either characteristic.  I would love to try it topped with grilled peaches or roasted strawberries- guess I'll have to pick up some more buttermilk.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Our Week in Photos

 The little man's plight: which toy to play with first?

 He's always first in my book!

 There is a great playground nearby with this wheel that August loves.  Such a little car dude.

 Taking a quick nap on his papa before playtime.
The tenderness here just kills me.

 Could August look more grown-up here?!  We had lunch with his abuelos at a nice restaurant, and he was on his best behavior.

 My diaper bag is a wreck.

 On Mother's Day, we all got waffles!  The grown-ups did use utensils, though.

Papa needs supervision in the yard, apparently.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Waiting for Dogot, Part 4

video
Could this dog be any more patient?  She is approaching sainthood.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

One More Thing

You might know BJ Novak from his many roles in movies and TV shows we love to watch (The Office, Saving Mr. Banks, Inglorious Basterds), and now you can have his book sitting on your own bookshelf!  
One More Thing is a collection of short stories (some very short, just a few lines) that you will just totally breeze through.  There's the guy who wears the same red shirt every day so that he's easy to pick out in the 'Missed Connections' section of the newspaper, the girl who gives great advice, a child who wins a cereal competition which unravels his life.  One of my favorites is about a woman on a blind date with a great guy except that he's a warlord.  (This American Life did a radio show of this story, which starts 7 minutes in here.)  
You'll love it for a beach day, as it's easy to find stopping points, or for a day of travel on a flight with a child. I totally enjoyed it.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Sick Days


August has been sick for the past few days (since Thursday, when he registered a 102.1 fever), so we've been taking it easy around the Diego house.  Nothing too serious; our doctor just thinks he has a baby version of a sinus infection, and his fever is gone as of this morning.  There is a lot of coughing and nose stuff happening, though, so most of my attention has gone to the little man.
What to do with a little man who is under the weather?  Our play dates were canceled, dinners with adults were rain checked, and we've hunkered down inside the house.  I've got a few tricks up my sleeve, though!
-Bubbles!  We've got tubes of them around the house (near the high chair, living room play area, upstairs nursery, diaper bag), and they are perfect for distracting a fussy kid.  I can usually get at least 15 minutes to contented play out of them.
-Outdoor time.  I've got two picnic blankets (one in the car, one near our backyard door), so we can head outside to listen to the birds, watch Mia sniff around, touch all the leaves near the stairs, and swing!  We can be outside for up to 30 minutes without complaint.
-Baby gym. More than anything, August just wants to be mobile these days.  With adult supervision and guidance, he loves crawling/walking up our stairs as many times as our legs allow it.  He also loves to scurry over pillows I lay on the living room floor, pull himself up and 'cruise' along a furniture 'obstacle course,' and find me as I hide behind corners in the house.  The more active he is between naps, the longer he sleeps!
-Story time.  August absolutely adores books, and we have piles of them around the house for his perusal.  We do a few 10-minute story times, including a couple of songs, throughout the day.
-Drive-through outings.  Sometimes, I just have to leave the house, if only for a drive around.  August and I like hitting up the Starbucks and enjoying a treat at a park, or sharing some frozen yogurt in the back seat when I park.  He really doesn't mind his car seat, so we can be out for 30 minute increments.
-Mama workouts.  As much as I love going to classes at our YMCA, I can't leave August in their daycare while he's sick like this.  When his fever is down, though, I love taking him for runs in the stroller around our neighborhood.  He likes getting out and checking out the scenery, and I love that I don't feel like a bum sitting around the house all day.  We're usually out for about an hour this way.  Mia usually joins us, which keeps August extra entertained!
-Lots of snuggles.  Need I say more?


Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Lemon Braised Chicken with Beans and Pesto

This recipe for lemon braised chicken is going to change your life during the summer; not only can you make it in a crockpot, it can also be served cold in its leftover life.  Brilliant!
I tweaked a few little things: soaked my navy beans overnight in the crockpot (thus didn't have to dirty another bowl), added more boiling water than recommended because I wanted it a bit soupy, and used a store-bought basil pesto.  I'm sure the mint is absolutely delicious, though, so certainly make it if you've got the time!  It's great served over white rice.