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Baby, Life

Family Dinner

One family habit that I want to get started as early as possible is sitting down at the table together every day for dinner. Not just for the food (but the food is oh so important!), but to make time for our little family unit to tell each other about our days and really get to know what’s going on in each other’s lives. At this point, all Nora has to contribute to that conversation is “Gah! Gah! Gah! Gurgle!”, but that’ll change soon enough, and I want to make family dinners a priority even when long work hours and soccer practice or whatever threaten to steal all the time we have together.

Nora has been eating breakfast with us since she was six months old (we skipped purees and went straight for the good stuff – baby-led weaning), and last week we decided it was time for her to join us for dinner, too. This required some changes on our part since we used to eat dinner (in front of the tv, cough cough) after Nora went to bed. Now I have to be a total 50s housewife and have dinner on the table when JK comes home so we have time to eat together as a family before bedtime. It’s been going well so far, with a bit of planning and prep work, but I spy more challenges in the future when Nora not only becomes mobile, but also drops her afternoon catnap.

The food itself hasn’t been a problem so far. We just avoid honey and salt – I don’t add any salt while cooking these meals, but JK and I will add some at the table. I also make sure Nora’s food is easy for her to pick up and eat without being an obvious choking hazard, but otherwise, she is just getting used to our family’s food culture…minus chocolate, which makes up 80% of my diet. We’re enjoying her openness to try everything now, before she has the will to become picky.

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Nora’s first dinner was Crispy Blackened Tofu with broccoli and root mash (mashed potato, carrot, and rutabega). We don’t eat soy that often, we have tempeh or tofu maybe once or twice a month, so I’m not worried about Nora getting too much of it. I will say that the tofu usually looks better than this, but I was trying to use less oil than I normally would when cooking them, so I kind of messed up the blackened part.

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I was wondering how she would be able to eat the mash, but no worries, she just picked up fistfuls of it and started chewing. So cute.

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Next up: Creole Hoppin’ John from Vegan Soul Kitchen: Fresh, Healthy, and Creative African-American Cuisine by Bryant Terry. We would normally eat this with smoky collard greens and mushrooms, but I didn’t think Nora would be able to chew that properly, so instead I chopped up a bunch of kale into tiny pieces, snuck them into the food near the end of the cooking process, and served some roasted zucchini on the side.

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Success!

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The weather was amazing last weekend, so we spent our time working in the garden, relaxing on the deck, and – huzzah – barbecuing with Nora for the first time! She had a Lentil-Mushroom Burger served with zucchini, red pepper, and a fresh tomato.

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When I say “fresh tomato”, I mean “gross, watery tomato and ugh, we should just wait until summer when our own tomatoes start popping up in the garden”, but Nora seemed to like it anyway.

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Eating dinner together like this gives me all sorts of feels. Nora is growing up so fast! I’m currently reading Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation by Michael Pollan, and this part struck a chord:

The shared meal is no small thing. It is a foundation of family life, the place where our children learn the art of conversation and acquire the habits of civilization: sharing, listening, taking turns, navigating differences, arguing without offending.

The thing is, she’s teaching me a thing or two at the dinner table as well. She takes her sweet time eating, living totally in the moment, inspecting each piece of food and seemingly savoring each bite (of whatever actually makes it into her mouth and not onto the floor). It reminds me of our restaurant meals in Rome, where a dinner could take hours of eating, talking, sipping wine. There’s such a different food culture over there – we were encouraged to stay at our table all night, while here in the U.S., the waiter usually brings you your check the second you’re done shoveling in your food, sometimes even before, because someone else needs your table and they want you out of there. Nora, it seems, was born a Roman.

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Oh, and the cleanup? It hasn’t been as awful as I thought it would be – whatever Nora doesn’t eat – provided it’s safe for dogs, of course – ends up being, uhm, composted via Wellie and Basil. Nora starting solids is pretty much the best thing that ever happened to them…and it’s pretty damn fun for us, too.

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Challenge, Life

Six Week Challenge

I got a migraine yesterday. Bizarrely, it only lasted half a day (rather than the typical three days, thank Jebus), but it was definitely a migraine…and taking care of a baby while vomiting and being partially blind from an aura sucked just as much as I thought it would. I assumed I would be free from migraines as long as I avoid gluten, but I’m pretty sure I didn’t ingest any rogue glutonium yesterday, so now I’m freaking out that they might be returning. Hopefully it was just a freak hormonal thing, but I might as well use this as a wake-up call to start living healthier.

Beyond not eating gluten, the things I assume might help ward off migraines are the old oh-so-important cliches: Eat well. Move more. Get enough sleep. I currently kind of suck at all of these, so I need something to keep me accountable. I really enjoyed being part of tumfit earlier this year – it motivated me to squeeze in short but very efficient workouts during naptime – but I totally fell out of that habit when the challenge ended. The solution (I hope)? Join another challenge! I signed up for Adventure Baby Boost, which starts next week. I’m hoping a group of fellow outdoorsy mamas is just what I need to keep going.

75 degrees today. Can it just stay that way until October, please? Woodland baby

My main goal for the six weeks is simply to create a habit out of taking the time for myself to exercise – beyond the walk I take every day with Nora. This will help me Beat the Blerch come September, too…and hopefully make me feel the good sort of tired that will end this stupid insomnia (and the consequent chocolate binges).

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Life

Reboot

As a massive introvert, I really, really hate talking about myself in real life…but I love sharing that stuff online. I feel like I do have stories to tell and adventures to share, and if I write about them on my blog, people can choose whether to read about them or not, and I won’t have to endure having any sort of attention drawn to me (the horror!).

It’s been hard to get back into blogging after Nora was born, but having an outlet like this is important to me. So, in order to give my blogging mojo a boost, I decided a redesign was in order! I haven’t updated the look of my blog in years, so now it feels all fresh and new and inviting to me – and it should be much better to view on a phone now, which is how most of us seem to be reading blogs these days.

There are still some things I need to fix (like the content of the menu bar), and the photos in my old posts are kind of awkwardly sized, but everything should be working at this point. Please let me know if you come across something weird.

Here’s to springtime and new beginnings!

Life

A handegg convert

It’s Blue Friday, and Super Blue Friday at that! I used to hate handegg, but when JK started getting into it last season, I felt like I was missing out. When I finally sat down and truly pay attention to a Seahawks game (and have JK explain the rules, because man alive, so complicated!), I realized it’s actually an insanely exciting and interesting game. Way more so than real football (sorry, rest of the world).

Representing Seattle at Skinny Legs

I lucked out with the timing since the Seahawks ended up going to the Super Bowl last season, and we got to watch them win while sitting at a bar called Skinny Legs in Coral Bay, St. John. Aaah, memories. Now we’ve made it to Super Bowl again, and while we won’t be watching from quite such an exotic locale this time, at least I won’t have to sneak out to puke during the game. #morningsickness

Go Hawks!!

I may be called a bandwagoner thanks to the suspicious timing of my fandom, but at least Nora was born a 12th Man. The Hawks played their first game of the season the day Nora came home from the hospital, so she got started early, experiencing her first game while snoozing on pappa’s chest.

Nora's first 12th man photos At Qdoba, official sponsor of the third trimester and most of my postpartum dinners
U mad bro? Good luck charm

Today we went into JK’s office to take part in the Blue Friday celebration. I’ve never experienced a community getting this excited about a team before! Seattle is blue and green as far as the eye can see. Our little Baby Beastmode got Skittles, of course.

Nora's first Skittles

Nora and JK’s personalized hats were made by my mom, by the way – aren’t they amazing? Nora’s hat elicited countless “aaaaaaws” from passersby today.

Blue Friday

Anyway, Super Bowl Sunday is no longer just a day I love because all the trails are empty. Now it’s a day for sitting on the couch while yelling, cheering, (possibly screaming so loud that the baby starts crying, if the NFC Championship Game is anything to go by) and eating greasy things.

Snowshoe football

Wait, does this mean I’m becoming American?

12th Marmot

GO HAWKS!!

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Baby, Life

A wee bit late…

…but god jul and happy new year from the cutest little santa this side of the North Pole! If 2015 is even half as good as 2014 was, we’re in for a good one. <3

This looks like a festive political campaign ad