Wednesday, November 9, 2016

"Wrecked" was the only adjective that seemed appropriate last night. I must have texted it over one hundred times to my brave, brilliant, beautiful, strong friends who rode the brutal tide of emotion with me. And surely I repeated it as many times aloud as Evan tried to keep me from unraveling.

Wrecked for myself, most definitely. I am not blind to my candidate's flaws. But I had faith our citizenry would look past its preconceptions and elect an imperfect candidate over one who ran on a platform of fear and hate. I had faith it was our time -- a woman in the White House! After 240 years! So, yes, this one is personal.

Moreso, I'm wrecked for my loved ones and clients who now legitimately fear -- for their right to love whoever they choose, for their access to healthcare, for their place in this country. You are in my heart and on my mind, and I am in your corner, battered and bruised, but not finished.

Interestingly, L woke up wrecked this morning. She does this on occasion -- just decides her world is crumbling before even opening her eyes. We've learned to let her work her way out of it, and, sure enough, after 45 minutes of wailing and a solid breakfast, she was ready to roll. She played happily as I finished packing lunches and started to say my morning goodbyes. She stopped all of a sudden, remembering something important, and turned to me and happily exclaimed "Mommy! Is Hillary the first GIRL PRESIDENT today?!"

I lost it all over again on the kitchen floor, hugging my baby girl and saying all the things we're supposed to say in these situations (which, oddly, sound a lot like Frozen lyrics: "people make bad choices when they're mad or scared or stressed; throw a little love their way and you'll bring out their best." Thanks, Disney).

She looked at me and asked simply "what is Hillary now, if she's not President?"

What are we all, guys. What are we all? What was this all for? What can we DO better? How can we BE better? If THIS wasn't it, how can we make it happen?

I stuck a note in Leighton's lunch tote today. It said...

"You are a brave, brilliant, beautiful, strong light in the world."

Y'all, I am flickering madly - I am wrecked as hell - but I'll not be put out.

Keep burning, friends.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Day in the Life: Fall 2016

Time again for some epic navel-gazing!  If you'd like to join in the fun, Julia is taking DitL submissions until October 16th over at My Life in Transition...

DitL Fall 2016: Tuesday, October 11

I am 33
E is 34
L is 4.5
B is 2.5
Boom is 10

5:40 am - My alarm rings and I hustle to get teeth brushed and locate workout clothes. L did not wake up in the middle of the night so that is a plus {she's been appearing at my bedside 4 or 5 nights a week, usually around 2:30 or 3 am -- either complaining of a nightmare or a lost yaya. She is a cinch to get back in bed - she only requires a tuck-in and a big kiss - but she always startles the hell out of me and it takes me nearly an hour to fall back asleep after the initial OMG-THERE-IS-A-DEMON-CHILD-IN-MY-ROOM adrenaline rush. I've seen one too many scary-kid horror movies, it seems}.  The window in our room is open, and it's quite chilly.  I check the weather and confirm a jacket would be a good idea.  The only one I can readily find is hot pink...which goes just swimmingly with my hot pink running tights. I look like Legally Blond Workout Barbie. Good thing it's dark outside! 

I'm in my car at 5:54 and at the park to meet my friend K by 5:56. I suppose I could add another .5 miles to my workout and jog to the park, but that would require an earlier alarm. I check my email {and erase 287 from Gap, Old Navy, and Loft... I feel your pain, Hillz} and IG. K arrives and we do our regular power walk.  We'd been doing a 6 am pilates class but our instructor is very pregnant and the sub is not our favorite. We do a very hilly and chatty 2.5 miles.  I'm back in my car at 6:50 and home again, home again lickety-split. 
7:00 am - I hear B rustling around in his room so I rush to put my shoes away, let Boom out, feed her, and take a super speed rinser shower. Really, really glad I put the trash and recycling out last night + my hair will do just fine with some dry shampoo.  B has been waking up earlier and earlier so a leisurely morning routine is becoming a thing of the past. 7:12 - I'm halfway through curling my hair when he ramps up the volume, shouting MOMMY MOMMY MOMMY! I head in to grab him and he is bouncing up and down like a jack rabbit, shouting MY TURN TO PICK! I NO WANT TO CHANGE MY DIAPER! I explain it's sister's turn to pick TV today and we have to wait until after nap time + a diaper change is inescapable.  So much disappointment for such an early hour, but he takes it in stride when I remind him we have "muffin tops" {these breakfast rounds that he likes} for breakfast.  He wants his Halloween Snoopy shirt and hipster toddler arrow / pine tree leggings. L hears us and emerges from her room.  She can't wear a lot of her PJs because of her cast, so she's wearing soft shorts and a regular t-shirt.  She runs to get her Halloween duds on as well.  We all pop back into the master bath for me to finish my hair, makeup {love, love, LOVING my new Benefit "Soft and Natural" Brow Kit}.  B tries on my shoes, and he and L form their own percussion bathtub band with pill bottles and left-over post-partum Miralax packets. There are some adorable snuggles with E that I am too slow to capture. 
7:25 am - The kiddos and I head downstairs while E gets up.  L wants a smoothie and a waffle, and B wants those "muffin tops" ASAP.  It's his turn to pick his plate first and he picks the pumpkin, leaving L the black cat. I pop a breakfast round for me and a waffle for L into the toaster, nuke B's breakfast round since he's so impatient, and start on smoothies: spinach, black cherries, banana, chia seeds, unsweetened vanilla coconut milk, and a tiny bit of honey.  L and I split the smoothie and I sit down with the kids for about 5 minutes before B demands another "muffin top." E joins us, and he and L are singing to Boom which makes her bark; her barking drives me absolutely batty in the morning and I pull the Mean Mom Card and kick her outside. I clean out the blender and go to pull the grounds out of the cold brew system.  I overfilled the coffee sock this time and it's stuck.  It takes me about 10 minutes to get the precious coffee safely out and then clean out the sock.  I added chopped up vanilla bean and ground cinnamon to the sock this time, and, while the resulting coffee concentrate is delicious, the grounds are filled with this "cinnamon snot" and the sock is difficult to clean.  Make a mental note to buy cinnamon sticks instead.  The coffee snafu took way more time than I intended and now I need to hustle to be out the door by 8. E heads up to shower while the minions play, and I toss pre-made lunches {sunbutter sandwiches, yogurt, and strawberries} in lunch sacks and put those + B's shoes in the school bag. It is also B's week to bring snack for his class {no school for Columbus Day yesterday}, so his contribution {fig bars + string cheese} also get packed. 
7:57 am - E is back downstairs and declines a selfie as he's still not fully dressed.  I gather my hard-earned coffee, key card, sunglasses and phone + the Jackson Hole Farmer's Market tote I've been using to haul my work stuff around {I'm getting an office next week, huzzah!} and start saying my goodbyes to the minions.  They are both singing Doc McStuffins karaoke happily, but B is not pleased I am leaving.  I find his beloved pumpkin socks and he's slightly appeased. Big kisses and hugs for everyone and I'm in my car with my podcast plugged in at 8:04. Karen, Georgia, and murder keep me company as I commute. Traffic is not terrible at all this morning; I'm momentarily stopped on the I-35 flyover, but I enjoy the view of downtown's skyline while I wait. 
I'm parked by 8:26 am, which might be a record.  I say howdy to the random collection of urns and faux ivy in the lobby and take the elevator up, up, up. I wish Ann Richards an excellent morning and hit up the kitchen {voter's registration cards on the kitchen table - yippee!} to put away my lunch and use the restroom. I have no full-length mirror in my life at this time -- a situation that needs to be remedied because I keep putting random things together that don't end up translating great IRL... like this combo. 
One of my teammates is out for the morning, so I squat in her office and get powered up. I chat with a colleague and then print out some client documents to review. I have a few technical difficulties since I'm accessing my drives remotely, and I give my new bestie, the IT guy, a ring.  We get to hang practically every day since our case management system really dislikes me functioning without a permanent homebase. He gets things sorted out quickly, and I get back to work. I review files, then do a little research before I call my client back. I take a coffee break at 10 am and note the mini pumpkin spice Coffeemate pods have been restocked; I grab some for my colleague who also enjoys delicious pumpkin chemicals. I call my client back and end up on the phone with him / working his file for a while. Since I'm already in the telephone groove, I roll down the call back list -- lots of folks are actually answering their phones today! I email back and forth with E about our December trip to New York. Our favorite hotel is booked solid -- sad panda.  E says we can get incredible deals on all of Trump's properties right now.  NOPE NOPE NOPE.  I get a text from Amazon that B's Spiderman costume was delivered -- yay! 
12:00 pm - My office hostess arrives so I skeedaddle out of her hair and grab my lunch.  Another colleague just left so I move to her office for a quick 15 minute desk lunch. I brought leftover quinoa and sweet potato salad. It is delicious cold! I'm finished with my callbacks and have no files that need attention, so I head into the file room to help with the massive on-going organizational effort. My pumpkin-spice-loving colleague and I get through two huge file drawers before calling it quits.  I return to my borrowed work space and check the wait time for the CVS minute clinic -- I'd planned on getting flu shots for myself and the minions today.  Turns out the wait time is over 90 minutes.  I give our pediatrician's office a call and they have a spot available for all 3 of us during their Thursday evening clinic. Excellent; my crazies will be jazzed about no pokes today.  I enter a few new callbacks before it's time to cut out at 2:35.  Six hours went by pretty swiftly today! 
 I listen to a RadioLab episode about pistol shrimp and bubble power on the way to nursery school.  Highly intriguing! I'm in the parking lot with time to spare today.  I dash in to grab my little nuts -- pick-up is my favorite thing ever at these ages; they are both so excited and so affectionate and huggable.  Our school has a strict "no cell phone" policy on campus so no shots of my lovable sand monsters clothes-lining my legs with their hugs.  In addition to half the sandbox, B is covered in black paint and yogurt. I love how dirty they get {no sarcasm!} and how much they play at school! I speak with B's teacher about a rash {bug bite?} that appeared today and we walk out with one of L's besties and her mom. L is anxious because she thinks we are going to get flu shots.  Her buddy tells her she already got hers and it only hurt a tiny bit. L is still relieved when I tell her we won't be getting them today.  B is convinced he should drive us home and I have a bear of a time wrestling him out of the driver's seat and into his car seat {photo above was taken before the straps were tightened...just FYI}.  We discuss what exactly "indigo" is on the way home {it's the color of the week in L's class} and try and think of indigo items we have that L can bring for Show-and-Tell on Friday. I honestly have no fucking clue. Surely we have an indigo My Little Pony somewhere. 
3:15 pm - We arrive home and B is thrilled {moreso than that photo would suggest} to find his costume package on the front stoop.  Obviously we try it on immediately.  L gets her Wonder Woman costume on, and B picks Curious George Boo Fest {"I WANT NO-NOGGIN!"} for screen time.  I get them settled with George and their snacks of choice {goldfish + fruit snacks for L; popcorn + fruit snacks for B}.  They look so thematic!  I clean up and get organized for the first 15 minutes of the movie {unpack lunches, load dirty food containers into the dishwasher, stain stick B's t-shirt, put away my purse and work tote, change into jeans and a top since I'm going to a meeting this evening, etc}, then I join the kids for 45 minutes of snuggles and spooky monkey happenings. I decide to make myself an iced coffee to pep me up.  I also answer some emails -- one about a Charlie Brown Great Pumpkin PJ + Pizza Playgroup and one about winter break gymnastics camp.  I also type up notes on my day and make photo collages. L is super antsy and keeps hanging upside down and trying to rip B's mask off. 
4:15 pm - Boo Fest is over. My wee bottomless pits are still hungry and request whole apples {their new favorite thing ever... fine by me!}.  I ask them to take off their costumes so they're not totally trashed by the 31st and B has a minor breakdown. Minor breakdown is made slightly more major by the fact that his Snoopy shirt is now sitting in the laundry covered in Shout. He finds L's sparkly jack-o-lantern shirt in the clean laundry pile and indicates that is an acceptable substitute.  Apples are eaten, Van Morisson Pandora station is switched on, and onions and garlic are chopped for supper. Kids finish their apples and wander off to play. 
General evening to-dos... Unload dishwasher, fold laundry, organize a week's worth of kid art. B wants to scoot outside for about 5 minutes before we comes back in to play with his alpha-bots, and L is playing "parade." We need some calming lady voices up in here so I switch Pandora to my Nanci Griffith station because I'm actually 67 years old. Dixie Chicks make an appearance and I know I've made a good decision. 
5:30 pm - I'm trying to make the garlic sauce for tonight's Mediterranean Bowls, but my mini chopper is  rebelling and making a ginormous mess. I throw all the parts in the sink and make the sauce in the Vitamix {which never lets me down}. L is telling me about a baby shower she is apparently attending this evening -- the baby has two mommies and a baby sister: "because all families are different, you know!" All the heart eyes. I help her make a "birthday party invitation" for "Audrey" -- she is super into spelling things lately. I start the tumeric rice and pull the marinated veggies I prepped last night out of the back fridge.  The nails on L's left {cast} hand are really long and dirty so we clip them.  She requests Piggie Polish and B joins in on the speedy manis. Kiddos are having pesto pasta for dinner and I put the pasta on to boil.  B is starting to get manic and is tossing random things about. I put him in time out while I try to rush their supper onto the table.  He tries to run off but comes back after an empty threat - "mama's going to eat all your green pasta!"  He helps clean up the things he threw, and the kidlets sit down for dinner.  I make a bowl for myself so I can join them. We talk about our favorite parts of the day: L's is getting to stay at Extended Stay and playing with her friend E. She also talks about being the door holder this week.  She is super chatty tonight and B says "it's my turn to talk, sister!" B's favorite part of the day was "playing with Miss Cathryn." 
Dinner is a big hit with everyone -- B & L are super jazzed that I made "airport green pasta" at home {whenever we fly out of Austin at a meal time, we get pesto pasta from this little bistro called Annie's in the non-Southwest end of the terminal and the kids eat the ever-loving shit out of it} and I'm super pleased that the "Greek Burrito Bowls" are equally as delicious sans animal protein! I clean up the kitchen, make E a bowl to eat later, and pack leftovers for tomorrow's lunches for all.  E is home and he and L start cleaning up the playroom while B and I pick up the den. Usually, E does bath time with both kiddos a bit later but since B didn't take a nap today {Extended Care}, I go upstairs early with him.  We do a quick bath and pick out bear/moose jams. L and E come up just as B and I are ready to read.  B says goodnight to L and E, and we read Pirate Jamboree, Goodnight Gorilla {"Night-night, Rilla!"}, and Click-Clack-Moo.  L comes in again for more brother kisses.  I plop B happily in bed at 7:05 pm {a good 30 minutes earlier than normal, but much needed on Tuesdays!}. 
I head into L's room and break the news to her that I need to leave for a meeting, but would love to read one book before I go.  She lays on the guilt pretty thick, something she's gotten impressively good at since I started work -- "Well, I guess you don't even have time to read a long book." I tell her I have time for any book she wants, and we read The Real True Dulcie Campbell. E and I each pick an outfit for L and she picks E's selection for tomorrow.  Goodnight kisses and hugs and I'm out the door by 7:17 pm. 

I'm a little late, but luckily, I'm not going far.  My meeting is the monthly event hosted by our neighborhood "Moms' Club" for mothers of preschool aged kids.  This group has been an unexpected surprise for me -- it's much more highly organized than I was anticipating when I first heard about it, but everyone is so lovely and chill.  Our monthly meetings always have some sort of theme -- anything from a Favorite Things Party for holiday stocking stuffer ideas to wine and chocolate tastings to a sex ed expert advising us on early education about bodies / consent / sex / etc. We also have playgroups organized by kindergarten entry year, couples' nights out, family parties for Halloween / Winter Holidays / Easter, etc.  I am on the Exec Board this year, and I'm jazzed I don't "age out" of the "club" until Fall 2019!  This month, the new principal from our neighborhood elementary school was kind enough to come and chat about his background and his vision for our school. The old principal was much beloved and served our school for 27 years, so I think everyone is anxious about his replacement. I'm happy to report I was really impressed with "the new guy," and I think he will carry on the same spirit the school has always boasted {this is the school where I attended third through fifth grades, and I am so excited our kids will spend their elementary years there!}. He started a lot of his sentences in the vein of "I know this sounds kinda hippy-dippy, but..." which always fares well with me :)  I also drank a decent amount of wine and chatted happily -- always a decent way to end a Tuesday.  I did not take photos of our hostess' gorgeous home as I didn't want to be THAT creeper. 

10:30 pm - Another decent way to end a Tuesday is coming home to a massive box from J.Crew Factory. I chat with E about our days and tomorrow's schedule for about 20 minutes and slice up some fruit to go along with leftover "airport pasta" for school lunches.  As I'm doing so, I randomly remember where the sugar skulls are for which I've been searching for the last 2 weeks.  Hooray! Now if I can only drag my butt out to our shed for our outdoor Halloween decorations... an endeavor for another day.  I kiss E goodnight and haul my goodies upstairs. My feet are pretty much too big for the vast majority of the business-y shoes I've actually saved {thanks, two pregnancies}.  Factory was having a 50% off sale and I went a little nuts. 4 pairs of shoes are staying with me {approx $30 a pop!} and one is going back, along with an ill-advised flannel shirt. I listen to NPR Politics podcast during my mini fashion show. I roll through my nighttime teeth and face routine while listening to a quick Modern Love. 
11:25 pm - Yikes, so late! E comes up for another kiss and an iPhone charger.  I make some photo collages and finish my DitL notes. I set my alarm for 6:45 am and read half a page of Amy Schumer's memoir {very much enjoying it} before passing out.

Another Day in the Life in the books!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

unexpected greens

{Many thanks for the kind words on the new job sitch! I've had a surprising number of inquiries as to a rebirth of ITPitB... This tickles me to no end and I promise to mull that one over!}

Fall is... I dunno... hereish? 

My office is about 62 degrees so boots and cardigans and tights are in full effect {although I look like a total asshole traipsing through the sweltering nursery school parking lot in suede and blended fabrics 30 minutes after quitting time}, and, like the rest of my white lady brethren, October has me pining for cozy comfort food. 

Here's two easy meals that fit the bill while staying on the light side. 

Big Green Cobbler 
adapted from My Name is Yeh 

I spotted the jumping-off-point recipe for this savory "cobbler" on Pinterest a month or so ago and thought it looked like a delicious variation on pot pie -- tons and tons of green veggies tucked under a blanket of homemade biscuits. I'd bet major money the original ingredients make for one hell of a skillet meal, but I was looking for something a little less indulgent. I cut out all the dairy, added some extra spinach, replaced split peas with green peas, and used Immaculate Baking Co's canned biscuits {had to leave in a *little* fun} instead of rolling out my own. Things could have gone poorly but the end result was absolutely delicious and rich-tasting without the post-supper food coma. L loved this... B loved his biscuit. 

- 1/2 sweet onion, thinly sliced
- pinch of sugar + dash of ACV
- 3 T EVOO
- 3 leeks, halved and sliced thinly, light green and white parts only
- 1 large zucchini, quartered and sliced 
- 4 cloves garlic, minced 
- 1 t salt 
- 1/2 t black pepper
- 2 t thyme 
- 1/4 c all-purpose flour 
- 1.5 cups veggie broth 
- 3 cups fresh spinach 
- 1.5 cups frozen peas 
- 1 can of refrigerated biscuits {I like Immaculate Baking Co} 

Slice your onions first and then sprinkle them with sugar and ACV. Let onions rest while you chop the remainder of the veggies. 

Heat oil over medium heat in a large oven-proof skillet or Dutch oven. Add onions and sauté. I like to cover them and let them sweat for a bit, before removing the lid and letting them nearly caramelize - about 10 minutes. Add in leeks, zucchini, garlic, salt, pepper, and thyme - sautéing for another 5 minutes. Sprinkle flour over veggies, stirring to coat. Then slowly pour in broth, stirring continuously. Bring mixture to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer. Allow mixture to simmer and thicken, stirring occasionally for 5-10 minutes. Stir in spinach and peas. 

Once the spinach had melted, top the entire shebang with the biscuits and cook in a preheated 425 degree oven for 15-20 minutes, until biscuits are brown and cooked through. Allow dish to rest and cool for 10+ minutes. 

Serves 4-6 as a main dish. 

Poblano & Corn Chicken Tortilla Soup
enjoyed via How Sweet Eats

I pretty much followed this recipe to a T, so I'm just going to redirect you to Jessica's original post. I stirred in a few more chopped tortillas at the end to serve and topped our bowls with fresh avocado and a tiny bit of feta {which sounds ridiculous but works rather nicely when one is fresh out of queso fresco}. Oh! And I used rotisserie chicken and frozen corn. Because I like my Tuesday nights like I like my Sunday mornings. 

Serves 4-6 and would be great to freeze {but any extra non-pureed tortillas you added will turn to mush in the freezer so only add those to the portion you plan to eat fresh!}.