On the soccer field

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Once spring arrives, it doesn't just mean warmer weather or greener grass for us--it means soccer! I'm going to admit, I have a love/hate relationship with soccer games. Sometimes there's nothing better than sitting in peace and quiet with the morning sun warming my shoulders and a good cup of coffee in my hand and watching Ben play. It's a good chance to get outside, to sit in one spot for an hour, knowing you can't go off somewhere even if you wanted to, and just take in the game unfolding in front of you. On the other hand, being stuck with a cranky baby on the sidelines for at least an hour, but usually almost two (plus driving time), is not my favorite way to spend my time. I don't get to watch more than a few minutes of the game at a time in between parenting anyway, and Naomi's usually hungry or tired or needs a diaper change. And that girl will not pass up a chance to tell me when she's not completely happy with her situation. Ahhhh, sometimes I just have to remind myself this too shall pass, quicker than I realize.

Of course I take a million pictures of the baby because she's right in front of me with those big, juicy cheeks and the soccer players are too far away to get a decent shot. :) I'm so proud of Ben, though--he's such a champ with all his practices and soccer homework and games. I can see how being on a team and having to be responsible and consistent and persistent are helping shape him into an amazing young man, and I know it won't be for nothing. It will help shape his character and make him strong, and I guess I will have to tell myself that when I'm rushing to his first game of two this week tomorrow evening after school. :)


Healthy banana "ice cream" aka my latest obsession

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

This simple concoction has become an addiction for me. For Bogdan and me, both, actually. Most nights we put the kids to bed (if Bogdan isn't working late) and blend up a batch, stick it in the freezer for 20 more minutes, and enjoy while catching up on our day (and maybe on the news and Jimmy Fallon as well). It's satisfying, chocolatey, naturally sweet, and so refreshing after a long day. I got the recipe from @wildelyraw on Instagram. It looked so amazingly delicious on her feed, I immediately added powdered peanut butter and raw cacao powder to my grocery list, and stocked up on bananas, of course. Hers was called a milkshake, because it does end up pretty runny after blending. I wanted more of an ice cream you can eat with your spoon, so we put ours back in the freezer for 20 minutes or so. And the trick is to use just enough coconut milk to be able to blend everything together, so it stays as solid as possible.

Recipe for two:

3 frozen sliced bananas
2 heaping tablespoons raw cacao
1 heaping tablespoon powdered peanut butter
about 1/2 cup coconut or almond milk

Blend everything together, separate into two bowls, and put in the freezer to harden up for about 20 minutes, or until you get a thick consistency. Top with your favorite toppings. We like pecans, almonds, walnuts, frozen berries, and chocolate chips.

I let my bananas ripen on the counter until they're getting brown spots, then peel and slice them into a glass container in layers of three bananas per layer, placed in between layers of parchment paper. Otherwise they stick together into one big mass, and you can't pry them apart. Also, this way they're premeasured so you don't overdose on bananas. The consistency is exactly like a quality milkshake, and yes, I'm picky about milkshakes and ice cream in general. Ice cream that doesn't even feel cold in your mouth just feels like you're eating whipping cream and sugar, but a good ice cream has an icy consistency to it that melts in your mouth. The frozen bananas in this version of "ice cream" have a smooth, creamy consistency, which is perfect for imitating the real thing. I honestly would eat this over ice cream any day, especially with nuts--heaven.

Give it a try and let me know how you like it!



"To the outside world we all grow old. But not to brothers and sisters. We know each other as we always were. We know each other's hearts. We share private family jokes. We remember family feuds and secrets, family griefs and joys. We live outside the touch of time." -Clara Ortega

A family is such a unique concept. You don't get to choose the people in your family. God places you together and gives each member a different personality and different dreams and desires. You grow up under one roof, and you find a way to get along and to love each other, despite your differences and disagreements. You are attached for life. Even if you grow up and choose to distance yourself from your family, they never stop being your family. Friends will always be able to stop being your friends, but family never will.

I wish for these four to always hold each other close, to share their lives with one another, to never let time and distance get between them. I loved having lots of siblings growing up, both brothers and sisters, and we made so many fun memories together. I get to see all the members of my family pretty often, and both mine and Bogdan's parents live in our town. Our kids are lucky that get to grow up knowing both sets of grandparents. Watching my kids growing up and loving each other--it's the most fulfilling feeling. It's how it should be. It's going to be so fun watching them interact as they grow and as their interests and likes/dislikes change. Growing up is hard to do, but with siblings at their side, I think these four will be alright.


The stink eye

I posted one of these pictures on Instagram, but I had to share the rest here. This little sequence is the cutest thing ever, at least I think so, and of course I'm biased. It marks some of Naomi's first interactions with little kids. She just seems so stunned when Adele doesn't like what she's doing, it's like her little brain is in overdrive trying to figure out why everyone else is so in love with her and here's Adele glaring at her for some odd reason. :) 

"I was just trying to play, Adele. Oh well, whatevs... I'll just chew on my marker some more."


In March this is all I did

Monday, April 28, 2014

It seems I didn't do too much in March, because all I have from that month is a bunch of baby pictures. Always baby pictures. Enjoy. 

 her diaper butt just makes me want to pinch it!
 sometimes the only way i can get her to sleep is put her in the car
 i keep extra pacis on the crib so she can always find one
 her expressions--the best
nakey baby!
doing her thing
happy baby
this shot is fuzzy but i couldn't bear to delete it off my phone. it was her first time feeling grass. i just plopped her down and she took off, until she realized it felt really weird under her hands and started screaming. but she never stopped crawling, ha ha! :) sometimes i like to torture my kids for my own amusement.


Moments like this

Saturday, April 26, 2014

I remember this day, sitting out on the front porch with Naomi, letting her get used to her surroundings. She's always hesitant around something new, and on this day she didn't love the concrete and kept studying the bench too. It was beautiful outside, a feeling of warmth and spring being right around the corner. We had just come home from grocery shopping, and the Starbucks inside the store had called my name, so now I sat outside sipping my caramel macchiato, and Naomi enjoyed the fresh air next to me.

These moments, when all your senses are alive and you are completely present, are so rare and so fleeting. As a parent, I love being busy, love working on something and accomplishing it. I love being able to check things off my list. It feels good when at the end of the day I'm tired in my bones, and I go to bed knowing my day was full and I did all I could and tomorrow is a new day. It feels good to use your body, to use your hands to clean and carry and wipe tears away. There is dignity in working hard. I love taking care of my family. But the fact that these four humans rely on me so much right now, and demand of me physically no less, doesn't leave me much time for slowing down and reflection. It has to be a conscious decision with intentional effort behind it. That's why I am thankful for the moment in these pictures, spent with my baby by my side. As Henry David Thoreau said it,

"Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influence of the earth."


Nine months of this face

I take a million pictures of her and then I can't decide which ones to delete because they're all so different and all equally cute. As long as I keep clicking, I will get a different face from her each time. And of course they're all stinkin' adorable and they all stay.

At nine months we sent her packing to her own room. No, I'm kidding, with much deliberation and trepidation, we moved her crib out of our room and into hers so we could all start getting a better night's sleep. It worked, and she started sleeping longer stretches and Bogdan and I started getting deeper, more restful sleep because we weren't being woken up by every little sound she made. It was hard to make the decision and follow through with it. We had been considering it for over a month but kept stalling. It's just one of those bittersweet moments, especially this time around since I know it's my last time for everything.

She loves to dig in my potted plants and eat the dirt, loves to climb the stairs, loves veggie straws, is really ticklish, eats all the garbage on the floor, and despises getting dressed. Her favorite place to be is at home, and more specifically, in the living room standing against the coffee table. She hates the store and hates the car but since she is a fussy sleeper, if she falls asleep in the car I just let her sleep. Sometimes it's the only way she'll get some rest. She still loves playing in the bathtub, but when it's time to lay her down to wash her shampoo off, she starts grabbing at the sides and screaming. It seems she forgot how to lay down in the water after I started having her sit up for her baths, and now hates the reclining end of her tub. She got a brand new highchair this month because her vintage one was actually not very safe. It didn't have a bar between the legs, so when she was little she could have slid down and out under there! Also, she'd get her arms stuck in the metal bars on the sides, and the tray could actually be wiggled free from the vibration of the tray when she smacked it enough. I couldn't ever leave the room when she was in it for fear that she'd get the tray off and fall out of the chair. This new chair is so crisp and white and smooth and pretty and SAFE. I love it.


A day with the animals

Friday, April 25, 2014

I have always wished our zoo was better, but I have changed my tune in the last year or so. Even though we have the strangest assortment of animals, and even though some of them are farm animals, and the zoo is tiny compared with just about any other zoo, I still like to go. It's always nice to get out of the house and do something active, that's one thing. But I have learned to change my perspective, and now instead of being underwhelmed with how few animals they have, I look at it as a day at the park, spent walking around and playing on the playground and a few other fun spots, with a few animals thrown in. And it works! Now a day at the zoo is fun and just what I expected. Love how that works. 

 feeding the goats and sheep
 I cringe at the germs but they love it so I don't say anything
 inseparable--everything has to be done together
 selfie! (with my partner in crime, always)
pretzel break
 her cheeks and chins are too much
 hey, we have zebras! i always love seeing these. i mean, God created black and white stripes on an animal?!
 wild pigs, what an interesting choice for our zoo. :)
 the monkeys are always a favorite
 Ben is dying in back
 jellyfish are so beautiful, delicate, and graceful 
those toofers though
jumping off rocks
the crew