Thursday, May 31, 2012


We made it!  
Moving day was Saturday, and finally here on Thursday afternoon I believe that I can declare myself a human being again.  All moves are exhausting, but throw pregnancy and a high-energy toddler into the mix, and it is truly no joke.  We worked ourselves to the bone over the long weekend to get unpacked and settled in as quickly as possible to keep things normal for the little guy, and also because the hubs needed to get back to work from the home office starting Tuesday morning, and we needed things quasi-functional to make that happen.  It was CRAZY but so worth the effort. I must send a huge shout and much love to my parents, my sister, and my brother-in-law, who all went above and beyond the call of duty this weekend in helping us with the little guy and our unpacking process.  And along with that shout out comes an official apology to them and especially the husband for an ill-advised, exhaustion-induced rant regarding bicycle safety that I felt compelled to give over Sunday dinner (at which point I was pretty much having an out of body experience caused by lack of sleep).   Like I said, things got a little crazy.

I had too much nervous energy and mind-racing to-do list action going on to sleep very well from about Thursday through Monday, so I am just starting to feel settled in and back to normal.  I'm still not quite ready to take you on a house tour, although I hope to take some photos and share them soon.  We're unpacked to a functional level, but have a couple more big projects to tackle before this place is ready for public consumption.  I am loving the space so far, and feel so grateful to be here.  Especially compared to our Boston apartment, our new condo is so light and open, and the nights are so blessedly dark and quiet, I can feel myself starting to relax on a cellular level.  And I'm head over heels for our kitchen...

Other things I'm loving about this new life so far:
1) We were about four years overdue for a new mattress, and finally got a new one to be delivered to the new house on move-in day!!!!  This is HUGE for us. We also decided it was high time to make the move to a King.  LIFE.CHANGING.STUFF.  I haven't slept as soundly or as deeply as I have in the last couple nights in YEARS.  The hubs and I both have sleeping issues galore, so both of us conking out in glorious slumber side-by-side is nothing short of a miracle and a complete and total game changer.  I am so grateful and happy for this lifestyle upgrade.  I realize that a new mattress has nothing to do with our new geography, but getting proper sleep for the first time in years could well change my very soul for the better, and must be mentioned.

2) Being an hour from Boston and in a very brick-and-cobblestone New England town, it is so easy to forget that WE LIVE AT THE BEACH NOW!  I have always been a beach girl down to my very core (sorry, mountains) and have long dreamed of this kind of sandy lifestyle for myself and my family.  I can't even believe how lucky I am that this is now my reality: this morning, the little man and I had some breakfast, hopped in the car, and in less than ten minutes, we were doing this:
We even made some new friends!  There is a massive playground that adjoins this beach and the young moms there were so friendly and lovely.  I got clued in to the best ice cream stand, the sweet kid beaches, and the summer concert series at the beach in July, as well as countless other local gems.  Feeling so lucky to live this close to so much ocean awesomeness, and I can't wait to plant ourselves in the sand daily all summer long.

3) There's now a Lululemon in town!!!  This excites me less for the opportunity to buy sexy yoga clothes that I can't afford, and more for all the amazingness a local Lulu brings to the healthy living community.  They host a free weekly Wednesday running club I can't wait to hit up, as well as a free hour of yoga taught by a local studio every Saturday.  Okay, and perhaps I would also like some sexy yoga clothes.

4) Love this place:

5) And I really love living in town with my parents.  It is such a joy and a comfort to have them nearby.  Most everyone I know is pretty far flung from where their family lives, and that has always been the case for me, and I expected that's how things always would be, but just a few days of living with them nearby makes me realize how valuable it is and how lucky we are, and makes me long to have the rest of our clan within a few blocks as well (as unrealistic as that may be).  Really, it's fabulous. Last night, for example, both my mom and the husband had commitments to attend to out of town.  Usually if I am flying solo, the evening and dinner hour can sometimes become a bit of a slog and a battle of wills with the little man, but last night, it simply became a pizza date with two of my favorite guys on the planet:
This is living, my friends.  

More soon as the dust settles!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Back Soon

Friends, I'm a bit overwhelmed.  Our moving truck arrives in 72 hours and there is quite a lot of packing, sorting, loose-end-tying and farewell-saying to accomplish in that time.  I'm finding it a full-time job just to keep the toddler occupied and non-destructive around our packing staging areas, and three weeks of rain have hardly been helpful to that effort or anyone's sanity.  And did I mention the husband has been gone on business travel six of the last eight days?  It has all been a bit much for this pregnant lady.  He returns this afternoon, and we're about to kick it into serious high gear so we can beat the clock and be ready for the movers on Saturday morning.  I think the only wise choice to sign off of the interwebs for a bit and catch you on the flip side. When the dust settles and beds are made and the fridge is filled and the internet connected in the new place, I will be back.  In the meantime, I'll leave you with this morning scene from our new hometown...
It's the light at the end of the tunnel...
Send strength and plenty of caffeine!!!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Random Friday: Thoughts

Randomness coming at you in no particular order...

I had the best run this morning.  Perfect conditions: 55 degrees, sunny, warm, and not too much wind.  I am really going to miss running around this pond...
This run has been one of my top favorite things about living here, and probably my favorite run-from-home I've ever had.  I love the morning sun sparkling on the water, the absence of traffic, the constant fabulous people watching/company (running alone on the rural roads in Vermont I sometimes wouldn't see another soul the whole time and was often concerned about crossing paths with an angry moose or reclusive ax murderer and not having any back up on hand... never a concern at lovely Jamaica Pond), and I love that the loop route from our house is the perfect distance for us (just under 4 miles, and you can easily add mileage in 1.5 mile increments by continuing to loop the pond before heading back).

This morning was especially lovely, and I appreciated the alone time to clear my head amidst all the moving madness.  One funny element to share, however: I am in a seasonal/pregnancy conundrum where my belly has outgrown all my regular workout shirts, but it is a tad bit too chilly to run in a maternity tank (which I have aplenty).  In a few weeks it will be searing hot tank top city, so no need to purchase anything... instead I've created a band-aid solution of wearing the husband's t-shirts to run till the temperature rises, and the one that fits and feels the best is a brown shirt that says "I Love Brown Bits".

If I've already lost you, brown bits (aka fond), are the caramelized bits of food and rendered fat that stick to the bottom of a pan after you sear something.  By deglazing the pan with a bit of wine or broth, you loosen and emulsify the brown bits to make spectacular pan sauces.  The husband is always adamant about not wasting the brown bits when we cook, so at one point this shirt seemed both hilarious and appropriate for him, when we were hanging out with a lot of restaurant peeps and still in our twenties.  Now, it has lost some relevance, and is my running shirt.  Anyway.

I already look crazy enough running pregnant in my sister's old soccer shorts, laughing maniacally to a Joy the Baker podcast in my earbuds.  This Brown Bits shirt really pushes my crazy person look over the top, as if you aren't a line cook or obsessive foodie, well, I can only imagine what the term "brown bits" might bring to mind.  I got some really odd stares and glances sporting that shirt this morning.  Maybe every one in six people got the joke and gave a little grin, but the rest looked at me like I was truly insane.

So, my question to you is: do I continue to rock the shirt and make people's mornings a little weirder until tank top weather rolls around, or should I rethink my awkward preggo athletic fashions?  I need input.
On an entirely different topic, may I rant to you for a moment like the crochety old lady I am rapidly becoming?  Thanks.

I have been selling a ton of our belongings on Craigslist this week, as purging pre-move is bringing me an addictive satisfaction/high.  We'll probably end up showing up to the new place with nothing but a couple of yoga mats and our KitchenAid mixer at the rate I am going.  For the most part, this has been a simple, if time-consuming, process, but on Wednesday, I totally got stood up twice in one day by a potential buyer, and it really got my dander up for some reason.  Said chick was supposed to be here at 2:30pm, and when she didn't show by 3, I texted to see where she was.... she said she actually couldn't get here until 6pm, would I be here then.  Grrr. Fine. Yes. Sure.  Of course 6pm became 6:30 and then 6:45 and as my evening kind of disintegrated before my eyes, I texted again to see where she was... "sorry no car" is all I got back, and that was that.

Listen lady, I don't care if you don't want my ten-year-old Pier One wine rack from my bachelorette apartment after all, that's totally fine.  Just drop me a simple line saying thanks but no thanks rather than having me pace my apartment waiting for your arrival when I could be doing things like bathing my kid.  I mean, really, who does that???  Why would you inconvenience someone twice in one day for no reason?  Have societal norms of decency and politeness just totally evaporated?  I was pretty fired up until I realized that my wrath made me just as crazy a chick who made two appointments to pick up a wine rack she didn't want, and then I let it go, but man, I just have very little tolerance for unprovoked rudeness.
Whew.  That feels better.
In closing, a shout out to the Google machine, without which modern parenting would be impossible.  A simple Google search has once again shown me the light...
If you ever need to get a large amount of very strong adhesive glue out of a pair of toddler-sized Crocs, drop me a line, I've got you covered. 
Yes, it has been that kind of a week. Don't even ask.

Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Thief of Joy

This quote hit me like a ton of bricks when I saw it.

We're ten days from our move now, and I can feel the doors closing on this era of our lives.  It will take some time to process all that was the last two years.  We got the opportunity to return to Boston when little J was about nine months old, and I think the husband would agree with me that our life has pretty much been in a state of constant upheaval ever since.  After six years in Vermont, I've loved the opportunity to live in this cosmopolitan, cobblestoned city again and to feed off the energy of such an intense place, but I'd be lying if I told you that these haven't been two of the most stressful years of our lives.  From employment uncertainty to budgetary wrangling to landing in a neighborhood incredibly ill-suited to our lifestyle (not the city itself, mind you, which I actually adore and think was a pretty good fit for us overall, but our little four-square-block radius of said city, which has been loud, dirty and crime-ridden way more often than it has been as charming as the rest of this place), this has been a challenging time in the history of our little family.  As we prepare to depart, I can't help but reflect on the bittersweet nature of this time, and why it was what it was to us.

The sweetness of our time in Boston came completely from the people in our lives. We lived here before we left for Vermont in 2004, leaving some of our oldest friends and favorite people behind, and they were all still waiting for us when we returned in 2010.  People who have lived within ten miles of us in this incarnation here include my husband's closest friend from his childhood, one of my best college girlfriends, my husband's sister, friends from our twenties who we only grew closer to in our thirties, culinary soul mates, a high school friend and his wife who I absolutely adore, and my sister's whole college posse, who act as an infusion of hipness and energy in my life and her proxy since she absconded to Manhattan.  How lucky are we?  To have such a crew all in sugar-borrowing distance was one of the reasons we jumped at the chance to come back here.  And then there are the new friends we've made this time around, in particular a phenomenal group of young moms in my neighborhood who have taken me into their fold and enriched my life in countless ways.  Focusing on all of them makes our stay here seem nothing but sweet.

And yet.  When we left in 2004, we kind of jumped off the train of young professionalism we'd been riding along with all of our friends.  We spent a year working in restaurants (incredible experiences that I wouldn't trade) before embarking on three years in a rural town in graduate school, with most of our grad school friends being a bit younger than we were.  Career-changing a little late in the game was a leap of faith for the husband, and following him to rural Vermont to support him in that change was a leap of faith for me.  The decision was the right one for both of us, and has already been worthwhile in immeasurable ways, but the flip side of that is being in a very different place than most of our urban friends.  When we left we made a conscious decision to hit the reset button on life and essentially start from scratch, while our Bostonian counterparts really took off in careers they'd been chipping away at for the better part of a decade.

Here comes brutal honesty: the differences in our trajectories, and living that contrast daily, is part of what has made this stage of life so hard.  In law school our social circle was all in the same boat, living in student apartments on an academic schedule and budget, and we all bonded together and made the most of it with a lot of humor, camaraderie, and creativity. Landing back in Boston, we were instantly surrounded by dear friends enjoying comfortable homes, domestic help, international travel, and all of the other the fruits of many years of labor.  We work hard too, but live like people just out of grad school, which indeed we are.  It is only now in our departure that I realize what a subconscious thief of joy my internal comparison of our situations has been.   This is embarrassing but important to admit, I think, as I say goodbye.

Why am writing/publishing this for the world to see?  Because I think it is important not only for me to stand up and admit it to myself, but I also want to make a mark of it both in the timeline of my life and in my brain.  I want to stand and face this ugly truth about myself and then LET.IT.GO.  As we pack and say farewell, all I can think about is how much I care about these people and how much depth they bring to our lives, and yet in our living here, the comparison I felt between my life and theirs soured me more often than I care to admit.  I also wanted to say all of this out loud because pointless comparison is something that I think we all engage in as part of the universal human experience, and it is something that makes us all a bit smaller and less whole in the end.  If seeing that butt-kicking quote and hearing me out as I think this through can help someone else shed the burden of comparison, then this outing of my smaller self is totally worthwhile.

Fact: we have what we need.  We have more than what we need.  We are blessed in innumerable ways from a healthy child and a healthy second pregnancy, to families and friends who would do just about anything for us and break their backs to help us out on a regular basis.  I have a life rich not only in the things that truly count, but also showered in frivolous extras like delicious, healthy food, lovely products, cultural experiences galore, and trinkets and togs that suit my fancy.  I want for nothing that is necessary or beautiful in this life.  So why the comparison? If there is one thing I want to take away from this period, I think it would be this primary and fundamental lesson that COMPARISON IS THE THIEF OF JOY. 

In our next station in life, I want to focus on the blessings this family has and not waste an iota of energy thinking about how they measure up to those around us.  Even our most successful friends in the city have faced grueling life challenges while we have been here by their sides, and might even compare themselves back to us, living in relative simplicity and blessed good health here in our cozy apartment.  Comparison is odious and entirely a waste of time.  If that is the one lesson I take away from our time here, I think it going to fare me well going forward more than I even know.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Random Friday: From my Phone

This Random Friday, here is our week as captured by my iPhone...
Even a trip to the grocery store is an adventure.

Tired, rainy, sicky sweatshirt time.  This pic kind of says it all about the last two weeks.

Child labor.

Bright lights, pale skin, round belly: solo maternity shopping is not for the faint of heart.

Challah Day!  This photo says it all about why I love baking with the little guy.  The look of enthralled pride on his face is completely priceless.

Wishing the loaves a successful second rise.

Voila!  The house smelled completely insane.

Fresh challah means challah french toast and blueberries for dinner.  Stoked!

I'm looking forward to a weekend of catching up on moving projects, getting back to a normal, healthy routine, relaxing and spending time with Boston friends before we depart.
Wishing you a happy weekend!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Challah Day

Between a good, solid fourteen weeks of all-day morning sickness followed directly by this pesky and lingering chest infection, I kind of feel like I've been sick forever.  I am grateful that underneath these (rather minor in the grand scheme of things) ailments lies a healthy body and a healthy pregnancy, but I can't deny that feeling this rundown for this long is taking a bit of a toll on my general attitude.  Two nearly non-stop weeks of rain also aren't helping.  I get that rain is good, and the trees are a glorious green for being so well-watered, but I'm totally running out of indoor toddler activities at this point.  And the more we stay indoors, the more my belongings taunt me, saying, "you should be packing/selling/tossing me right now, but you are watercoloring/playing stickers/having a toddler instrument jam session/watching Curious George instead!  Moving day is coming, you fool!!!"  All in all, we've got some festering, moving-stress-enhanced cabin fever going on.

When I awoke to another day of pouring rain and another round of morning coughing, I knew we had to change it up today.  The husband took our car to a meeting for the day, so we are truly housebound, and I can no longer bear another round of messy watercoloring or round of Frere Jacques.  No friends, today we bake. And not just any baking project, but one that requires us to tend to it for hours and hours, transforming our housebound status from something aggravating to something useful!  Today, we bake challah!

We get books every month from the PJ Library, a non-profit with a mission to share Jewish literature and music with children.  We always look forward to the book or CD arriving in the mail, and they're always unique titles that would be hard to find elsewhere.  This month we got A Holiday for Noah, which is basically a love story between a pre-school aged boy and his favorite challah snack (he's always waiting for a "challah-day"... get it? Hahaha.  I digress...).  Little J adores this book, so I thought he'd get a kick out of spending our day indoors making, kneading, rising, punching, and braiding this special bread.  And I could use the uplifting aromatherapy of a couple of loaves in the oven.  So, off we go.  In case you are trapped inside with your little ones (or your dog, or just yourself) today, I thought I'd share our plans and our recipe so that you can play along at home.

We're going to use the Best Challah recipe from Smitten Kitchen and we're going to get started as soon as I finish this cup of coffee.
It's a challah-day, yo.  Play along with us?

Also, what is your favorite and most creative way to pass a rainy day indoors?

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

It Takes a Village

I have:
1) Some sort of bronchial infection.
2) A suddenly present 16 week "bump".
3) Cabin fever from a week-plus of nearly non-stop rain.
4) An out-of-state move approaching in just over two weeks.
5) A dog who is turning increasingly anxious at the sight of packed boxes and other signs of upheaval.
6) An urge to sell or toss almost everything we own (thank goodness I have the husband to temper this urge to a reasonable degree).
7) A sense that I can't be nearly as productive as I'd like to be given the limitations of sickness, pregnancy, and full-time responsibility for a highly active and mischievous toddler.

Sometimes you need help in these situations.  Sometimes you need a break, and to buy some shirts that fit you before things get ugly.  Sometimes you need to drive somewhere in the car listening to NPR instead of "Sing Along with Putamayo Kids" and collect your thoughts, and hatch some plans, and get some things done.  And this is where the village comes in and where debts of gratitude are owed this rainy Tuesday.

I'd like to send a major shout to of love and gratitude to my dear friend who hosted the little man this morning so that I could zoom over to one of my least favorite places to go in general, and especially with toddler in tow, the mall.  Maternity gear was necessary, and I was being defeated by the online shopping gods who offered me only XS and XL on nearly every site.  My days of pre-move freedom are numbered, and she saw that I was getting flummoxed and generally defeated in my juggling act and stepped in gracefully with a helping hand when I needed it the most.  Thank you, friend.

And I'd also like to say a hearty thank you to my sister, who endured 30 minutes of blurry, harried iPhone photos, in order to help me weed through 1001 nearly identical and quasi-ill-fitting ruched tank tops until I found one that was half decent.
She currently has roughly 20 of these in her text inbox, and still appears to like me.  That's love.
I am a Libra, you see, and should never be sent shopping alone, as I cannot decide for the life of me what to purchase.  I'm grateful for the advent of photo messaging and for the patience and availability of my sis.  Pale, sick, hurried solo maternity shopping is not for the faint of heart, and clearly back-up was necessary.

Further shout outs go to the husband, who weathers my Libran retail adventures with patience and good humor (for the most part) and who has pulled double the weight around the house as I've coughed and hacked my way through the last week; and also to my other sister, for giving me the tough love and telling me to just shut up and take care of myself as I kvetched to her last night about my inefficacy and lack of exercise and productivity.  Finally, shout outs to the little man, whose sweetness adds levity to any situation.

Here's hoping that I can pull it together, kick the cough, pull on a roomy maternity tank, and get back to business here soon.  Till then, my heart and my gratitude go out to my village.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Random Friday: Just Plain Random

I am sick.
I am tired.
I am sick and tired of being sick and tired.
And yet, life is so good, I really can't kvetch, so I'm going to put a sock in it and just hit you with some simple randomness to end the week.
Just in time for the hot weather to hit (we are ready whenever you are, hot weather), you must check out this post on Bon Appétit blog called Four Steps to the Best-Ever Margarita.  This is one of those things that I pinned that was immediately re-pinned again and again... solid advice on one of the summer's most important art forms.

And if you are like me and temporarily off of the 'ritas, check out this alcohol-free "mockarita" recipe on Bleubird Vintage.
Bowl of guac and hipster chick in Ray Bans not included.
The recipe looks legit, and has inspired me to salt the rim of any citrusy drink I may imbibe this summer.  Bleubird Vintage's Miss James is also knocked up at the moment, and therefore posting a series of mocktail recipes (a virgin Bloody Mary one just went up), and I can't wait to try them all.

Also from Bon Appétit, I loved this slideshow of 25 Ways to Use Sriracha.
Sriracha, a spicy hot chili garlic sauce, happens to be one of my main pregnancy cravings at the moment (along with iceberg lettuce, tangy frozen yogurt, lemonade, and Peanut Butter Puffins).  I seriously just put it on a bowl of Annie's Mac and Cheese for lunch.  The recipes on BA (sriracha garlic bread and salad dressing to name two) look infinitely better than my mac and cheese creation, and I intend to try them all.  Lookout husband, time to buy a case of Prilosec.

I made this Angel Hair Pasta with Chile Lemon and Arugula this week, and hot damn was it good.  
Photo and recipe via Shutterbean, who adapted this recipe from Tyler Florence and coined his new nickname, T.Flo, which I have been using with abandon.
The husband usually prefers his pasta products with a red sauce and a meat, and even he really loved this dish.  It is fresh, light and springy, and the lemon really gives it a great acidic zip.  Just don't pull a preggo brain-dead maneuver like I did and zest a whole lemon only to discover the zest still under the grater when you go to wash the cutting board.  This is a healthy, flavorful recipe that would be a perfect spring dinner party dish with some grilled asparagus and a great bottle of white.

Finally, on a sad note, RIP to MCA (aka Adam Yauch), co-founder of the Beastie Boys, who passed away today at the age of 47.  Like most people in my generation, the Beasties were the soundtrack to some of my favorite high school and college adventures (and misadventures).  MCA was a musical pioneer, and will be very missed.  

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Rainy Afternoon Postcard

The little guy and I are on a several day sojourn up north to find him a pre-school for the fall. We're staying with my parents, and I love hanging out in their zen garden of a home.  I'm always drawn to the artful vignettes that my mom creates around the house, so I thought I'd share a few this rainy Tuesday.
Baby orchid, antique perfume bottle and pottery vase (made by my sister) by the kitchen window.
More Asian antique perfume bottles, collected by my grandma.  These are destined for my home after we get settled in... I love the intricate carvings and especially the deep color of the red bottle.
Potted miniature weeping pussy willow by the tea kettle.
The little man creates his own little vignettes around the house... here we have couch arm as parking lot.
This has always been my favorite print in my parents' house... it says:  So far the crocuses have always come up.
The school visit part of this visit is fairly all consuming, and I'm grateful for this rainy, quiet moment while the little man naps to gather myself before we jump back in this afternoon.  I am fully in perspective about the fact that this is just pre-school and pretty much anything we pick will be a winner, so there isn't a ton of angst in the choosing, moreso I'm just feeling fully entrenched in absorbing every detail to accurately relay to the husband (who is home working and watching the mutt) so that we can make this decision as a team.  Also, it seems like the choice we make will dictate, at least to a certain degree, what our community up here will look like, so I'm just trying to really feel out the people and the vibe at each unique place to try and determine where we belong.  No pressure. Really.

So, if you're keeping track at home, our major life changes are officially thrice: new gig for the hubs, new babe on the way, and this move, which is, in fact, not down the street, but out of state and into a totally new lifestyle.  Happily (and this is part of the reasoning behind this particular relocation), our new town is not totally new to us, as my parents live here and I lived here myself for two stints in my twenties.  We have some good friends awaiting us, and already know where the good coffee, burritos, martinis, dog beaches and hikes are to be found.  Even so, this is a major change from living in the city, and I'm sad to say good-bye to the old and new friends who have surrounded us for the last two years, even though they will only be an hour away.  I've been excited but anxious about the goodbyes and the changes, and I'm finding this visit to be incredibly reassuring that this was a great choice for us.

Today, after our morning pre-school visit, I stopped by a local kayak outfitter where I used to work, and was warmly received by the owner, even though it has been over ten years since I worked for him. With little J running all over checking out the boats and paddles, my old boss gently prodding me to try stand up paddle boarding this summer even with the knowledge that I'll be six-plus months pregnant, surrounded by the familiar boat storage area and launch, I felt suddenly at home.  The next month of packing, organizing, uprooting and saying farewell will be challenging, but I'm comforted by the familiarity that awaits on the other end and the lure of all the water up here (the ocean, river and bays) which we love so dearly.  I can't wait!

For now, it's back to logistics for me.  Do you know anything about Waldorf, Montessori, and/or the Reggio Emilia approach to early childhood education?  If so, please hit me up... I'm knee deep in all of it!  And just to end with a bit of humor, look who was able to reach my make up bag from his car seat on the drive up here on Sunday...

He's looking fetching covered in BareMinerals bronzer and a hearty slick of DiorShow mascara, no?  Lessons learned, lessons learned...
Happy Tuesday to all.