Friday, August 30, 2013

It's My Prerogative

It's my prerogative.
I'll do what I want to do.
It's my prerogative.

Anyone remember this song from the 80/90's?? I don't know which decade it came out of because I wasn't aloud to listen to non-Christian music growing up and thus much of my "music experience" was mushed together into whatever tapes and records I could hide under my bed or listen to with headphones in. My older brother Daniel actually gave me a "Madonna tutorial" a few years ago after he heard me admit that I had never listened to the album Like a Prayer. My world was never rocked by Nirvana or Pearl Jam, I didn't get angry with Alanis or fall in love with Boys II Men. I tried to memorize all the lyrics to Ice Ice Baby last year because it seemed like the right thing to do for a child of the 80's. I gave up and content myself to smile proudly whenever the familiar electric guitar intro starts when my Ipod is set to shuffle...because Grant can't help himself and raps the entire song. One person in a household should definitely know how to shout out

Rollin' in my 5.0
With my rag-top down so my hair can blow


I learned just enough of the chorus or refrain of popular songs to be able to join in with my friends while we sat on the rock wall outside the school and talked about "life".

But this isn't about music or junior high days or even Bobby Brown, surprisingly.

It's about this day, August 30th and the brilliant ability of my 33 year old stay at home Mama self to exercise my prerogative. I woke up at 7a with a smaller bedfellow then usual- Grant had snuck out early to hit the gym before work and Pursy had stumbled in and was taking up more than a decent share of my pillow. Knox was in his crib hollering repetitively "Mama! Poop! Mama! Poop! Camel!". We took care of bodily functions then snuggled together and read a dinosaur book.

Usually at this point I take a fast shower while Knox flushes items from my bathroom drawer down the toilet and Pursy pretends our bathtub is a balance beam. I get them dressed and we all head downstairs for breakfast and coffee. I know from experience that if showering and putting clothes on does not happen before we go downstairs, we not only will not leave the house until the afternoon but pajamas will stay on until after lunch and naps. It has to happen before the first feet hit the first step.

But today Pursy and Knox were both wearing my favorite pajamas- shorts and t-shirt sets from Carters with ladybugs and monsters on the front. They were so snuggly and cute that I decided today would be a pajama day. We went defiantly downstairs without showers or getting dressed. We ate breakfast together on the floor picnic style, and I had a second cup of coffee.

Because the day started so early, by the time 11a rolled around we had:
1. Eaten breakfast and cleaned the kitchen
2. Picked ripe vegetables from the garden
3. Boiled and shocked some roma tomatoes and had them ready in a gallon baggie to stick in the freezer for sauce making
4. Mowed part of the lawn
5. Painted
6. Colored
7. Cut paper
8. Made pictures with Elmer's glue and rainbow bowtie pasta
9. Watched two episodes of Curious George
10. Played airplane
11. Vacuumed the dining room rug with the dustbuster (Knox)
12. Played Dinosaur Land
13. Read 14 books about dinosaurs
14. Pretended to have T-Rex babies running around the house
15. Played with a super ball
16. Cleaned up broken glass from playing with the super ball

All in our pajamas. Without leaving the house. Without formal activities, a schedule or a plan. We just played. It's my prerogative. I'll do what I want to do.

Next year at this time when I am taking Pursy to preschool and wondering how I went from being pregnant with her to packing her lunch, I will know that I may not have enjoyed every minute of being a stay at home Mama but we had days like this.

Thanks, Bobby Brown.





Monday, August 26, 2013

Welcome to Our Table

I am a foodie. A curious, dedicated, obsessive, want to talk about it all the time foodie.

We have a wedding coming up in September in which both Grant and I are in the wedding party. I love love the bridesmaid dresses (yay Caryn) and feel great in it now (also have a pretty sure thing in nailing one of the groomsmen that night..) but would love to tone up my arms and lose about 5 pounds before the wedding. Just to feel extra great. I suggested to Grant that we try a juice fast for two weeks, or kick up my workouts to five days a week for the next month. He noted that in order to do that, I would need to get up at 5am every day so that I could get to the gym and back before he needed to leave for work. I thought about gym vs. juice for about 3 seconds before saying "I think I could get up at 5am".

I am a foodie.

This week we ate eggs. Lots of eggs. There is something so rustic and beautiful about a pile of eggs with cheese and herbs, and both my babes love them. They do take a delicate hand though- one too many turns with the spatula and you have a pile of rubbery yellow funk. We also tried new recipes, had a fabulous dinner party with new and old friends and ate straight from the garden. I also realized while uploading this week's pictures that quite a few meals did not get photographed. Like the handmade pizza Grant made the night I worked (surprisingly, he doesn't think to grab the camera before he eats), the Thai peanut noodle dish I made after three hours of sand volleyball on Sunday evening (the picture would have been way better then the meal itself- sauce was watery and I should have known not to expect great things when the recipe called for ground ginger instead of fresh), or the parmesan chicken breasts with steamed broccoli (again, not a winner but put enough cheese on something and it's never AWFUL...)

Maybe I subconsciously only take pictures of the meals that we liked. Like the charred corn crepes with goat cheese that we had Wednesday evening... oh, yeah.

Unfortunately the dinner party meal, which was delicious and perfect for a table full of hungry foodies, I also forgot to take any pictures of. It was a crock pot coq au vin that was so easy to prepare- all I had to do right before dinner was steam some carrots and toss with vanilla, brown sugar, butter and cinnamon, burn some kale with olive oil and sea salt, make rice in the rice cooker, and have a glass of wine with my guests. Perfect meal for a busy Mama still looking to entertain while two hungry baby birds hang off my legs asking for apple sticks and "corn!" (TJ's Beurre Meuniere popcorn).

I will share the recipe because it was THAT GOOD. Slow Cooker Coq au Vin from the Wheat Belly cookbook, page 178. And for those of you turning up your nose at my dabbling with gluten free foods, really this recipe had nothing to do with eliminating gluten except I used 2 Tbs GF flour. Then I served over jasmine rice.

Here is our eating week!

My Favorite Summer Drink

Sous Chef

The start of a perfect omelet

I hate to brag again, but I make flawless omelets. Thank you, Dad.

Pursy chose the garnish.

Passing along the wisdom of chopstick as coffee stir stick to the next generation

Pursy gets tired of me taking pictures before she can eat

Pursy and Mama breakfast while Knox sleeps in

Please ignore the no make-up morning face and messy top knot and notice my gorgeous daughter and new glasses. Aren't they fabulous? Modo frames. Totally love them.

Farmer's Market Sweet Corn, ready for charring
Charred Corn Crepes (Smitten Kitchen) I can also turn out a pretty decent crepe, thanks to a Grandmother who got up at the crack of dawn to make sure we went off to school with a hot breakfast.

She suggests stacking the crepes in a sort of "crepe pie" with layers of chive and goat cheese inbetween.


End result. A little dry and not much textural intrigue, but we served with a spinach salad and together the flavors were outrageous.

Baby spinach with fresh tomatoes, leftover sweet corn, goat cheese and vinaigrette dressing. The crunch and acidity went perfectly with the crepes. An impressive (but definitely not time saavy) meal. From charring of the corn to making of the crepes to dressing of the salad, dinner took about an hour. A fun hour, but still an hour.)

Garden Booty

Not a food picture, but I caught Knox being all pensive and pose-y.

More eggs. Scrambled with gouda.


Oh, that face.

I love eggs!!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Falling Slowly

Take this sinking boat and point it home
We've still got time.
Raise your hopeful voice, you have a choice
You make it now.- G.H.


 
I love Glen Hansard's voice and the song is so full of longing and desperate hope for the love he thinks he found. He isn't even sure the love is his, but he is ready to offer whatever broken thing his heart is for the chance to be saved.

These are the moments I realize I am a hopeless romantic. Not the kind that loves rose petal lined hallways leading to castles in the sky. But the romantic that craves darkness and the beauty that comes from light breaking in. The sinking ship destined for destruction on the rocks that love points home to safety and no more fear. Desperation and salvation. Clinging to each other knowing that life without the other person would be closer to death. One person. This is insane. And I have it. The reality of that catches my breath sometimes.

Maybe this is why my favorite love ballads are from the likes of Glen Hansard and Tom Waits.

You can send me to hell but I'll never let go of your hand.- T.W.
 

Monday, August 19, 2013

The Good Bits

Confession.

I have been hiding behind food blogs and Hawaii pictures and funny anecdotes because writing about real life for the past three months has been too hard. Grant and I have been struggling to keep our relationship healthy. I have been resentful and anxious and fatigued with my full time gig of parenting Purslane and Knox. My body is still soft and not as strong as I hoped it would be almost two years after my last pregnancy. Our house is chaotic and months have passed since our last dinner party. I practically run out the door on the one day a week I work and only when I walk in the door of the hospital do I feel like I am playing offence instead of defense.

 I had lost even the illusion of control. I used to be able to hide behind play dates that were no more than an hour long, or better still, days would go by where we did not leave the house at all. Because parenting outside the privacy of your home is so much harder then having your own walls to hide behind. Not inviting people to eat with you is much easier then trying to cook a meal during the witching hour- the magic time of day when all children realize that they have base human needs that need to be met RIGHT NOW and you are just the parent to do it.

So we hid. Or more appropriately, I hid. I stopped inviting people to our home. I stopped taking the babes out in public or took them to places where we were alone and outdoors. Grant and I told ourselves that having evenings together as a couple was a thing of the past and grew resentful of the long summer daylight hours- treating our children like they were things to be dealt with instead of delights that we got to play with longer. I convinced myself that this season of life was going to be terrible and I needed to just make it through instead of thrive.

Last week I made an appointment with my PCP to have some neurological symptoms checked out. I have had numbness and tingling in my hands, blurry vision and extreme fatigue for several months. Of course, I self diagnosed with MS or a brain tumor. She worked me up, drew some lab work and referred me to a neurologist.

Everything has come back normal. I am a tired Mama who, with the air of a martyr, gave up the things that used to make me happy, brought me joy, peace and contentment. My mother in law asked if I had considered the fact that I might be a high functioning depressive. Maybe she is right, but I think it was more that I believed my own story about not being able to handle my own life. Every bad day or bad moment became another reason why I should just be content to fold up deeper inside myself and cloister us off from community, friends, and family.

And bigger then all of this, I believed the rumor that no one was as interested in my self-preservation then I was. Grant just wanted me to be a good wife and a good mother. My friends just wanted me to show up and be a good friend to them. My boss just wanted me to be a good nurse and make the hospital look better. Purslane and Knox just wanted me to take care of them. Everyone in my life just wanted whatever I had to give. It's a fallacy that made me suspicious and stingy with my time and my affection. I felt frantic to take care of myself because no one else would.

I had it all wrong. I was asking all the wrong questions and beating myself up with the wrong answers.

If I simply started from the presupposition that my life is not only manageable but *gasp* full and overflowing with goodness, it makes getting out of bed easier in the morning. If I believed that people might actually enjoy the chaos created by two gorgeous and wild children, it would make serving dinner at 730 when the dinner party started at 6 less embarrassing. If I accepted that having a conversation with Grant interrupted a thousand times by little hands and voices was normative, I would be far less protective of his attention. If I valued the extra minutes to chat with Grant at night and to snuggle with Pursy in the morning, I would be more gentle with my persistent round hips that could disappear from more frequent sweat sessions at the gym.

So to those of you who have said you value the honesty and raw experience you find here at More Than A Weed, rejoice! I am hot mess who could use more sleep, should probably drink less coffee and gin, needs a new pair of jeans because I found a hole in the crotch yesterday and so on along those lines...

But maybe those are the good bits after all?

Monday, August 12, 2013

Welcome to Our Table

This week our menu included pork tacos, herb omelets, rainbow quinoa with fresh parmesan and new gluten free recipes. Grant has become used to the camera being part of the table setting and my babes are thriving in their role of food model.


Tools to build a fantastic herb and cheese omelet

I actually make a pretty perfect omelet- I learned from my Dad who used to make them all the time when we were growing up. He perfected his technique and passed it along to me.

Fancy food for a fancy Knoxer man

I mean, come on... even on a plastic plate that is beautiful.

Salsa from the farmer's market

With handmade blue corn chips

The fixings for shredded pork tacos. We usually use queso fresco but TJ's was out. Shredded Monterey Jack and Sharp Cheddar were good in a pinch. I put the pork tenderloin in a deep skillet and covered it with pork seasoning from Reyna's in the Strip. I have no idea what all the spices are..:) Once I browned the pork on all sides, I added a cup or so of vegetable broth and put the lid on the tenderloin so it would cook slowly with lots of moisture. I had to refill the liquid 2 or 3 times- just enough to keep the bottom of the skillet covered. In about an hour the pork was perfectly cooked through, seasoned well and still moist. Shred with two forks.

My friend Caryn says that late afternoon light is the best for photos. I think this taco would have looked delicious in any light, but I have to say there is something magical about the natural light.

Cinnamon Alphabet Letter Cookies

Gluten Free Blueberry Pancakes. I used the recipe on the side of the TJ's gluten free flour, but substituted buttermilk for the water it called for. Why use an ingredient that has no flavor when you can use something that makes pancakes taste so yummy?? I also used half the flour and used almond meal for the other half. Loved the nutty flavor it added.

These were delicious- light and beautifully fluffy for gluten free.

My staple Summer breakfast. Homemade almond and vanilla granola over yogurt and fruit.

Pensive breakfast face.

What does milk do for your body?

Makes big muscles!!

My personal café.
Knox, can I have a drink of your juicewater?

Nope.

Still sucks on his food. Super cute.

My beautiful girl.

Pancake beard.

Not really a food picture, but this is Knox in my best attempt at a quick tent.


Green beans with butter and salt, carrots sautéed with brown sugar, vanilla and cinnamon, rainbow quinoa with fresh parmesan, grilled chicken with lemon pepper seasoning.

Ice Cream Bar goatee.

Happiness.

The base for a potato, egg and cheese breakfast casserole. I always leave the skins on- it adds color and texture.

Felt a bit like Giada as I was doubling the amount of cheese the recipe called for...

Something about a bowl full of eggs is so poetic.

The peanut gallery watches me make breakfast.

Our tip of the hat to Shark Week.

The first morning Pursy cut her waffle up all by herself. She was so proud.

A mound of gluten free almond waffles. I used the traditional recipe from Better Homes and Gardens big red cookbook but substituted gluten free flour and almond meal for the regular flour. I also added vanilla and agave.