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life lately

May 9, 2014

We are winding down and so ready for summer.  The weather is warm here; we have a week left of school, and there are 26 days between me and the Yucatan peninsula. Not much to complain about.

 

Jude has been helping me often in the yard lately. We’ve worked on a few flowers, tomatoes, squash, zucchini, cucumbers, and lots of herbs. He’s so interested in it, and it’s fun to watch this hobby grow for him.  He was very vocal and opinionated when the two of us went shopping for flowers.  “I want this one, mom!  This one will look the prettiest – don’t you think?”

 

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We also went to a neighborhood block party a couple weeks ago with 60 kids and met so many other families! It’s great to be in a place that’s starting to feel like community. …Plus Jude won the sack race which was a crowning accomplishment he felt pretty good about. Ha.  Sister loved trying to steal his candy winnings.

neighborhood block party

I hope your summer is getting off to a good start as we head toward Memorial Day. Happy weekend!

Easter Weekend

April 21, 2014
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We had a cancelled neighborhood party on Saturday which was a little disappointing.  But the weather improved on Sunday, and our little neighborhood shindig was rescheduled for next weekend, so in the end, I guess we just get to stretch it out over two weeks.  It was a fun holiday, and I love this time of year.

 

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haha.  Norah's face! SMILE.

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I hope the holiday brought great things for you and your family!

Egg Hunting

April 17, 2014

I feel so lucky my kids’ school is my own place of work.

 

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I’ve been able to stop by for a birthday celebration, reading to a class, or within seconds if someone is sick.  Never for a second do I take this set-up for granted.  It has made this year a pretty easy transition, all things considered.

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Yesterday was their annual Easter Egg Hunt, and it was such a treat to watch.  Georgia weather has been weirdly cold this week, but the sun showed up for Wednesday afternoon. (Plus I got to dress Norah in a hand-knit!)

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This weekend is busy with another egg hunt and spring block party in the neighborhood and two family celebrations. So much happening this time of year.  We seem to race from one event to another – reunions, Easter, end of the school year, Norah’s birthday.  All with summer around the bend.

Terriyaki Salmon with Zoodles

April 2, 2014

We are really enjoying the spiralizer I posted about earlier.  I am not completely on board with Paleo diets considering my whole grain obsession, but I do love that this little gadget gets some extra vegetables in our diet.  The kids love slurping the “noodles,” and Jude especially loves when I leave the pieces super long after running the zucchini through the spiralizer.

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This recipe is loosely inspired by one I found here.  I just changed it a bit to suit our preferences, and I simplified the prep a little.

 

Before you begin, mix the sauce:

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon of honey

 

Now get out your other ingredients:

  • 2-3 smallish salmon fillets (Our kids usually split one.)
  • 1 cup broccoli (fresh or frozen is fine, just cook longer if frozen)
  • 1 sliced red onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2-3 spiralized zucchini

 

 

Next I added a little oil to a large skillet and threw in my frozen broccoli.  Cook until the broccoli is warm (5-8 minutes or so) and add your sliced red onion and 4 cloves of garlic.  Continue stirring and cook until the onion is soft (another 5 minutes or so).

While all of that is getting started, place your salmon fillets in a separate lightly oiled skillet.  Spoon out about a tablespoon of your sauce on each salmon fillet.  Cook a few minutes, flip, and repeat the spoonful of sauce on the second side.  I do about 4 minutes per side to get mine pretty fully cooked.  But you could do 2-3 minutes for something a little closer to rare or seared salmon.

Once the salmon is cooked, I turn off the stove and let it sit in the pan.  Next add your zucchini “noodles” to the other veggies and stir it all up to mix it together and get the zucchini warm.  Pour what is left of the sauce onto the veggies and noodles.  It only takes about 3-4 minutes to cook the zucchini because it is so thin.

That’s it! Plate it up and you’re done. I snapped the photo above very quickly with my iPhone because it was a Monday and I had tired and hungry kids at the table.  The whole meal is done in 20 minutes or so – perfect for a weeknight!

 

 

only Wednesday?

March 26, 2014

What a week.  I am not sure how it is only Wednesday or how everything seems to go wrong at the same time and create a perfect storm of inconvenience.  But seriously, how does that always seem to happen?

 

Scott had only about 32 hours of travel time this week when he’d be gone.  One night.  It happened to coincide with a big reception event I was coordinating at work and a million student appointments for research papers.  And then I get phone call Tuesday at 1:30 that poor Jude started crying at school with an aching ear.  I rush across campus (which means I walked one block at my tiny university) to get him and brought him back to hang in my office while I finished up some tasks and student meetings.  Then I dragged him back to get Norah and hauled them both in the grocery store to get a large sheet cake and a million other items for this work shindig.  It was less than ideal, and I feel certain the cashiers at Publix felt so sorry for me as it was obvious I needed more hands and arms than I had.  The bagging lady offered to help me and we ended up forming a caravan to the car with two carts and two exhausted children in the fiercest March wind I can remember.  (Where is spring, by the way?)

 

So this morning was that should I take my kid to school or should I not? dance that every parent knows.  Made all the more difficult by the fact that I truly had to be present for this reception and Scott was out-of-town.  So not bringing him would have been a difficult feat to orchestrate.  And did I mention I slept from 10-1 last night and then Jude’s cough woke up Norah and it was 4am when I got her back to sleep?  And then Jude busted in my room at 5am.  So I got 4 very broken-up hours of sleep and put on a happy face for a work event today.

 

And I survived.

 

The event went well with a large crowd.  Jude feels alright and his teacher reports a good day.  I came home to this delicious dish on the table because Sunday Me had the forethought to plan for Wednesday-Late-Work-Event Me and prep it to wait on us in the fridge.  Scott made it home safely and baked it for us, and Norah was asleep by 7:45, Jude soon thereafter.  It’s a fact of life that when it rains it pours.  But it’s also a fact of life that the vast majority of the time, that thing I stress about and wonder how it will get done gets done after all.  We survive and move on, and I fully intend to turn in early with my latest reading in just a few minutes.  Tomorrow is a new day.

Sweet moments shine through a bit if I look for them.

 

I found Norah helping Margo this morning. Her arthritis flares in the morning, and when Norah saw her having trouble, she decided to bring the food bowl straight to her.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed with working mom guilt and question every decision you make, wondering if you’re doing it right.  But sometimes you see your kids make small choices that tell you something must be going well after all.  The more experience I get in this motherhood job, the more I cling to those moments as comfort.  And the less I beat myself up.  Tomorrow is a new day.

 

weekend notes and new seasons

March 17, 2014

It was such a good weekend, one that balanced productive and relaxing which is a rarity.  Saturday’s forecast was pretty bleak, but she surprised us with some good weather anyway.  Georgia is doing that typical March pattern where we will enjoy 70 degrees and sunshine for days at a time, and then we are caught off guard with rain and temperatures back in the 50s again.  We just take it for what it is though and enjoy it for the little while it lasts.

playing outside in this perfect weather

We got some odds and ends done around the house and did some boring tasks that you avoid but feel good when you complete them – dogs to the vet, taxes retrieved from the accountant, fridge cleaned out.  Then Scott’s parents wanted to watch the kids for a while because they haven’t in a long time.  So we enjoyed a dinner out without kids for two (!!) weekends in a row.  I am pretty sure 2009 was the last time that happened.  There are so many things I will miss about having a baby in the house, but as they grow a little older, there are definitely a number of things that get easier.  Leaving them with someone else is one of those things. For both kids lately, I see so much new independence.  It is amazing to watch.  And to be honest, it is very welcome for me.  I’ve loved having babies, but I love the kid years that lie ahead, too.

Yesterday’s weather was awful with constant rain and cooler temps outside.  We did head over to the new library near our house though, and we followed up with frozen yogurt.  Dinner was SkinnyTaste’s Spinach Rolls, and I managed to freeze two more for later this spring.

It was hard to get up this morning.  It’s chilly, and I could hear rain outside.  I also had a sleeping Norah cuddled up on me because she woke up for a midnight diaper change and requested a bed move.  Lately, we begin the night with only two in the bed, but usually by morning, all four of us are piled in – or at least three.  I don’t mind it all that much knowing seasons change and kids grow up.  For now, I can deal with the occasional elbow in my face and wayward knee in my back.  For now, we  are watching the yard slowly change from brown to green and looking forward to the weeks ahead.

33 Goals for Year 33

March 11, 2014

I didn’t mean for a whole month to pass before posting again.  We’ve been so busy this past few weeks, and I’m excited to say spring is around the corner.  I celebrated my birthday on Sunday with dinner outside and strawberry shortcake Jude helped me make.  It was a perfect way to begin my year and inaugurate the spring and summer.  Longer days and more time outside lie ahead.

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I’ve seen goal lists for new year’s posts and birthdays, and I love the idea, so I decided to do one for myself.  As always, accountability is a reason to post it here, and I figure it will be fun to post a little every now and then on my progress.  Some of these are a little embarrassing in that they are things I should be doing already, but I am putting it all out here anyway.  Some are just for fun.   I hope to come back to this post and cross them off as I get them done.   I love fresh slates and new beginnings, and I have a good feeling about 33.

1. Go to the dentist.  (Recently neglected for me.  I think it’s been about two years!)

2. Get an actual physical.  (So embarrassing to admit this, but 2007 was the last time I had a physical.  Seven years ago!)

3. Establish somewhat regular exercise.  Emphasis being on somewhat – I’d be happy with 1-2 times a week if it really happens.)

4. Start submitting some freelance writing pieces for publication.

5. Travel somewhere I’ve never been before.

6. Start using my camera again – not just my iPhone.

7. Get at least three facials before I turn 34.  (My friend’s skincare clinic is AMAZING, and I’m old enough to take care of my skin a little better.  I love visiting her for treatments when I can.)

8. Discover a new musician or two.

9. See three movies in the theater.  ( I never do this anymore!)

10. Go on a few real dates.

11. Blog more often, at least 24 more entries before I turn 34.

12.Pack some good food for a real picnic once this spring or fall.

13. Have some fun new experiences with the kids – maybe a day trip, a new museum, festivals, etc.

14. Get to know our library.  It is walking distance from our home and just opened this year.

15. Get to know our new farmer’s market this summer.  It’s busy and thriving and one mile down the street.  So much better than the supermarket!

16. See a concert.

17. Focus on taking a true sabbath every week. No plans, at least a few hours of no housework and phones and computers.

18. Master steak in a cast iron skillet. (Some claim it’s the best way to cook them.)

19. Make homemade gnocchi.

20. Complete 5 knitting projects.

21. Create more time for reading, and finish more books.  (I’m leaving them unfinished so shamefully often lately.)

22. Establish some flowers and vegetables in our back yard.

23. Create a reading nook in our master bedroom.

24. Finish the family recipe book I began last year.

25. Complete Norah’s second year album.

26. Finish our 2014 family album.

27. Finish the guest bedroom in our house.

28. Get a better understanding of retirement savings and save more in general.  (I know we put money away, but at this age, you don’t question or worry too much.  I could examine it a lot more carefully.)

29. Continue to invest more time in my close friendships.  Maybe even a brief girls’ trip this year.

30. Streamline my closet a bit, throw out old clothing and be ruthless about it this time.

31. Share 6 recipes here.

32. Go strawberry picking with the kids and enjoy the apple orchards again as we did last year.

33. Make use of our screened porch and outside space this summer.  (I have big plans for ferns, rugs, extra seating, and a sandbox for the kids.)

Thanks for reading if you’ve made it this far.  What about you?  Any goals for the upcoming year or the season ahead?  Spring is a great time to make big plans.

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