Miss this


T-minus 48 hours until I return to work. 

What will I do? 

Savor my time left with the boys, remember all our funny maternity leave mishaps, and dream big dreams for our future.

It is going to be weird to cash in my nursing of Owen in the backseat of my car, to pumping in the mother’s room alone at work. 

Henry’s -isms will have to sustain me from a distance now: “what x is,” “hold you” (when he means hold me), “my pick,” “two babies!,” “I happy now,” and so many more little phrases everyday.

May these next 48 hours take months to pass.

Back To School


If you have not noticed, it is Back To School season. We are currently being inundated with jingles, ads, and messaging of all kinds reminding us, as though we could forget, that in just a few short days schools will be opening their doors to students! It has been a time of the year that I have always loved. In New England, it marks an unofficial start to Fall and things like pumpkin spice begin to creep back into every food item. Temperatures start to cool off and routines start to come back after the relaxing summer schedule of fitting in lots of fun and not a lot of anything else.


Every September my school feels alive with the promise of a new year. Seniors walk through the halls feeling extra important and teachers walk into new rooms filled with new faces. It is very exciting and I love the energy that is present during those first days back. Thankfully, I love my job. When I am on campus, I am surrounded by awesome colleagues who give so much of themselves to the community. They are passionate and interesting men and women and they challenge me everyday to bring my A game. I know that once I am fully back to campus, I will feel like I never left and will feel ready to take on the year ahead, but right now…

I am feeling really sad. My maternity leave was a gift. Having 19 weeks home with the boys to both recover from childbirth and adjust to and enjoy the early days of second-time motherhood was the best time of my life. David and I got to soak up everything about the boys and our summer together with them. David blossomed to a dynamo, multi-tasking dad and he took care of all of us. Henry became a kind and loving older brother and also a rambunctious and playful toddler. Owen came out of his newborn fog and began to give us major glimpses into the sweet little person he is growing into. And I got to be a part of every second of every day with them. YES, some days (and the whole month of July really) were H A R D. There were lots of tears from everyone in the house and not a lot of sleep which I have found I truly need in order to function as a decent human being. But despite all of that, I would do it all again. I would do it all again 100x (minus the actual birthing of the child, maybe I would do that another 2 or 3 times!).

It kills my heart to look at the calendar and see that I am a mere 6 days away from going back to work full-time and missing out on the daytime with Owen and Henry. I am going to miss our pajama filled mornings, while Henry eats his breakfast and Owen and I sit beside him chatting. I am going to miss our outings to the park and our strolls around the block. I am going to miss playing trains and trucks and doctor and play-doh and eating Henry’s “water soup” and dancing around the house like crazy-pants and playing hide-and-seek and all the little chats throughout the day. I am going to miss Jake and the Neverland pirates, and crafting, and bike rides, and reading so many books before nap time. I am going to miss our failed attempts at potty training (once Owen was born, Henry decided he was not that into it anymore), and our trips to the lake. I am going to miss holding them ALL DAY LONG. I am going to miss their little smells, smiles, and feet. I am going to miss, I am going to miss, I am going to miss.

I wish I could do both. I wish I could be in the classroom inspired by my students and at home inspired by my children full-time. If only there was more time in the day. And, I know we will settle into a new routine, a new way of doing things, and a new pattern. I know all of this, but right now my feels are pretty intense. These are the kind of feels that will have me crying into school everyday and pressing the gas after school as fast as I can to return to the men in my life. It is hard to love three men at once, but gosh do I feel so damn lucky to have the opportunity to try. And, boy am I going to miss this summer like crazy for the rest of my life.

Coffee and Brown Sugar Grilled Skirt Steak

It’s summertime and the grill is open for business!

Since moving into our house 4 years ago, we have slowly built up our grill repertoire to be expanded beyond the standard hamburger and hot dogs. Adulting can be a slog sometimes but when you end the week with a cool evening breeze and the grill fired up, it feels pretty sweet!  Since the start of the warmer temps, we have already made this recipe a handful of times. I just love this rub because it is super easy and flavorful. Henry GOBBLES up a massive portion of it every time and we never seem to have leftovers. So it seemed appropriate to finally add it to the blog and recipe list since I think this will be a family classic now.

We serve it up with some grilled okra and asparagus!

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 c. finely ground espresso coffee (not instant)
  • 1/4 c. dark brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp. ground white pepper
  • 1/8 tsp. five-spice powder
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • 2 1/2 lb. skirt steak, cut into 4 pieces
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil

Heat grill to high.

Combine coffee, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger, white pepper, five-spice powder, and cayenne pepper in a bowl.

Remove steak from refrigerator and let come to room temperature, about 15 minutes. Rub steak with oil, and sprinkle with rub. Massage rub into meat.

Grill until charred and medium-rare, 2 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a cutting board, cover with foil and let rest 5 minutes before thinly slicing at an angle. Serve immediately.


Butternut Squash, Sausage, Spinach Pasta

These days it is all about fast!

Before I know it, it is 5PM and time to race everyone to the commuter rail to pick up David. Poor guy ALWAYS gets in the car with everyone screaming (Yes, me included!). And the race home to get all the screaming out of the car can be frantic. My goal each and every day  is to make this pick-up and transition as smooth as possible  which means to try  and have some kind of dinner ready to be eaten immediately upon arrival so all hangry parties can settle. Last night’s concoction was quite delicious and sated the beasts.

Ingredients:

1lb Italian Sweet Sausage

Onion

Butternut Squash

Baby Spinach

Lemon

Chicken Broth

Champagne Vinegar

Whole Wheat Pasta

Saute 1lb of Italian sweet sausage in olive oil, add one diced onion and cook until translucent, add 2 cups of chopped butternut squash and stir and cook. Let the butternut squash brown a little bit. Add in 2 cup of chicken broth, juice from 1/2 of a lemon and 2 tablespoons of champagne vinegar, simmer for 2-3 minutes. Add a bag of baby spinach and stir in until wilted. In a separate pot, bring 1 cup of whole wheat pasta to boil, cook to al dente, and then mix into the sausage pot and enjoy!

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Burrito bowl

When you have a newborn, cooking becomes even more challenging. Just when you would sit down to cook your meal, the newborn begins cluster feeding. What is cluster feeding you ask? It is a non-stop, open bar nursing session that can last for hours! Owen would start at 3 and want to stop at 7. So there I am stranded on the couch, a prisoner to my new baby and the boppy. Why can’t David cook you ask? Oh he can! He is better at it than me, but there is the two year old who needs some entertaining and while he is interested in cooking he easily becomes a hazard in the kitchen. 

So what do we do? Starve.

No, we have really amazing friends who bring us amazing food those first few weeks while we get our feet under us. And then those amazing meals become a part of our repertoire when our amazing friends share the recipe! 

We have probably made this one three times since Owen was born and since Lyndsay brought it over to our house the night we came home from the hospital. Gratitude is not enough for the meal drop off those first days and weeks.

Recipe: http://www.iheartnaptime.net/burrito-bowls/

The beginning of the wait update

So here we are day 5,929 of our great baby wait. At least that is how it feels sometimes. Throughout this pregnancy our medical team has pumped me up with hopes of an early delivery: we will have to induce you for the baby’s size, we will have to monitor you for your thyroid, we will have to induce you for fears of shoulder dystocia, we will have to monitor your sugar levels. All these little “red flags” that were tacked onto my appointments gave me the hope that perhaps this time, my baby would come early instead of weeks late. But, this little dude is quite comfortable and each concern sheds away with each passing day. From “let’s just get you to 35 weeks,” we are now hearing, “you can go all the way to 42 weeks!” And, yes I am delighted. I am thankful that we are healthy and that our complication risks are minimizing. I am thrilled that throughout the long months of gestation this little guy and my body got stronger and more adaptable.

BUT, I am SO ready to meet him. Henry and David talk about the little one all the time, and play in his room, and read books about the baby arriving. We have EVERYTHING ready to go from crib to carseat to clothes to burp cloths, to that dreaded double stroller. And now we wait. My new feeling is that instead of an April baby, this little dude is holding out for May, haha. So what am I doing to avoid the painful staring at my belly?

The potty training chronicles are on-going and have been an oddly welcomed distraction!  Henry is doing really well with it too. Almost all of his activities make it to the bathroom and he is getting better and better at telling us. It is really sweet to put him in “big boy undies” and see him playing downstairs and having so much fun. I no longer see him as a “ticking time bomb” waiting to ruin my couch! This weekend to keep our minds busy we are planning to head downtown for a little visit to the North End and some touristy sight-seeing because WHO KNOWS when we will be able to do that again once the new member joins us and on Sunday I am going to my first fitness conference with my fellow coach Nikki. It feels like this mix of teaching, mothering, and coaching is just what I need in life these days. I am busy, and motivated, and feeling strong and healthy (although definitely achy by night fall, I cannot lie that this belly is a burden by the end of the day!). David always has hobbies to keep him busy and to keep him from spinning his wheels. When I was pregnant with Henry it was the summer and I felt very lonely just waiting for Henry to arrive and eventually  I felt crazed. But this time, while the wait isn’t fun (because come on little guy don’t you want to meet earth-side already!?!?!) it is much much more manageable with everything that fills my life and day and I am so thankful to feel like I have real ownership over my day.

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Potty Training Chronicles: Day 2 & 3

We are now three days into our “potty training.” It is going much better than I expected it to. Day 2 Henry and I stayed home and while this was the hardest part for me, he seemed to not mind at all. He played and played and told me when he wanted to use the facilities. The only issue I had was with the looming inevitable: how do we transfer this outside? It was “easy” to stay home and have the little dude run around the house bottomless and then hop on and off the potty as needed, but how do you tackle the world!?!  It felt very daunting on Day 2 and so even though every inch of my skin crawled to do something outside and to go somewhere fun with the little one, my fear held me back. It also helped that it was rainy outside and really where could I go? By the end of the second day, Henry had “mastered” shouting “poopie!” and running from whatever toy or craft we were in the midst of to the potty. It was hilariously cute. There was only 1 accident on day two because we got really involved into a puzzle and were working with color groupings and you know sometimes when you get TOO into something you just pee yourself, no?

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Day 3 was going to be the true test! We had registered for an Egg Hunt in the neighboring town. Could we go? Should we skip and shelter at home during this potty training storm? David and I went back and forth and finally decided “Hey, if he has an accident it is okay, accidents happen and it’s totally fine if this potty training experience is just the first of many attempts.” So we packed up our things and headed to the hunt. Henry used the potty before we left and while hunting for eggs, I asked him if he needed to and he said yes! WHAT? Where do I go? I raced him (as fast as my preggo body could) to the bathroom and Ta da he did it! Henry ate some snacks at the church and then we headed home. Upon arrival he did the potty again! Okay, MAYBE he really was ready for this. Of course during naps and at nighttime he wears a diaper because we don’t expect him to be able to hold it while he sleeps but I am really excited about having had our first venture out of doors! Hopefully as we head back to work this week, we can keep the momentum going even though we know that the arrival of baby 2 might bring about a big regression in this potty business, it is fine. We are trying to stay as casual about it as we can and just trying to follow Henry’s lead.  And, yes we might be using a little ice cream to reward this awesome work!

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