THANKSGIVING BREAK STARTS NOW

November 21, 2014

hotcocoa

When you’re a teacher, even an assistant teacher as I am, there is no greater sense of accomplishment than arriving at the end of the last school day before vacation. All Fridays are special, but the Fridays before a long holiday are the stuff dreams are made of. I’ve been eagerly anticipating today for exactly such a reason, and I’m here to tell you that yes, it is as glorious an occasion as I’d expected.

We’ve got a busy weekend of dance classes, baseball tournaments, birthday parties (Happy Birthday, Mareluna!), and errands ahead of us, but first things first, I say. There is but one way to properly welcome the Holiday Season, and that is by sipping hot cocoa and nibbling on cookies while watching a Christmas movie.

It just so happens that I managed to perfect the most delicious dairy-free hot chocolate, which might actually be just the most delicious hot chocolate, period.

Unsweetened Vanilla Coconut Milk
High Quality Dark Chocolate (I used a 56% since I was making this for my daughter, but I think it would be superb with an even darker chocolate)
Maple Syrup
Dandies Marshmallows

In a saucepan over medium heat, whisk coconut milk until evenly heated through but not boiling or scalded. Add a few pieces of chocolate, and continue whisking until well incorporated. Sweeten to taste with a splash of maple syrup, top with a few marshmallows, and cozy up with your loved ones. Pro tip: anything made to the accompaniment of Christmas music tastes better.

It’s called the most wonderful time of year because it is!

BEFORE THE HUSTLE AND BUSTLE

November 19, 2014

halloweenowl

my little owl on halloween

This time last year is still so vivid to me, the way it felt to have a baby in my belly and the anticipation of what it would be like to have a new little person join our family.

On Monday, that little person, one Roux Huckleberry Baker, turned precisely 39 weeks old. 9 whole calendar months, exactly. And as cozy as it was to be pregnant during the Holiday Season, it is that much more delicious to have a squishy baby with whom to enjoy all the festivities. Especially a baby as magnificent as my tiny guy.

Practically overnight, he had a massive growth spurt. He woke up one morning last week and actually fit into onesies I didn’t think he’d wear until well after his first birthday. And the scooching! All of the sudden, he’s everywhere. Under the couch, next to the ironing board (the iron wasn’t on, but still!), one minute he’s playing happily under his gym and the next he’s all the way wedged between my desk and a basket of silks. I have a lot of baby proofing to do!

We have experimented with Baby Led Weaning, which is both fascinating and terrifying. On the one hand, it makes complete sense to me, and on the other hand, it’s challenging and risky. While I have been really pleased with the success we’ve had with foods like broccoli and sweet potato and even these little baked lentil quinoa cakes, a small hemoglobin test at yesterday’s check up showed that Huckle is rather anemic. We’re introducing fortified cereals and a liquid supplement with the hope such remedies will increase the iron in his blood.

To think this is the only hiccup we’ve encountered since his birth is a reminder how blessed we have been. He really has come so far. And he is so darn cute, it’s almost silly. On Saturday mornings, I’ve been taking tap classes in Balboa Park. I wear Roux in my Solly Baby wrap, easily one of the highlights of my week, and oh how the sweet old ladies in my class adore him! They kiss his sweet cheeks and fawn over him and all I can think is how lucky I am that this incredible creature chose me to be his mama.

Our days begin well before the sun rises, my Huckle likes to get up early. Once I resigned myself to our predawn routine, I came to cherish those quiet hours when nearly everything is still asleep except us two. We keep all the lights off and snuggle under covers on the couch, babbling to each other before I have to begin my duties for the day. As much as I love my job, and am grateful to have work that is fulfilling and meaningful, it’s getting harder and harder for me to head off to work each morning, feeling like I’m missing out on so many little moments that I can never get back.

Time is passing by faster than ever, we’re heading into the part of year that seems to happen at warp speed, and all I want to do is stop here for a little while. Be with my baby before he’s not a baby anymore, to enjoy my home and my family and this season. To somehow remember all the tiny details – the nuances of his voice and the myriad of sounds that are beginning to emerge, to capture exactly the way it feels when his eager little fingers reach up to explore the landscape of my face, the way he smiles at me when he nurses – because honestly, it’s as if it’s all happened in an instant. And yet, as I plan next week’s menu, I know it’s been a year, a whole entire year, since I prepared a feast in my kitchen with a bump tucked under my apron.

I’m going to try my best to take it slow this season, to live in to each experience, to treasure the time and marvel at just how bittersweet its fleeting can be.

BUT TONIGHT, YOU BELONG TO ME

October 26, 2014

hucklehandmamaface

from a few days ago, when I wasn’t feeling well and he was my nurse

In my heart, I’ve always been a New Yorker. It’s been over a decade since I lived there, yet every year around this time I get really nostalgic for life in that magnificent city, and I miiiight have poked around Craigslist for apartments (ha!) in the midst of a “what if” moment last night. MAKE OF THAT WHAT YOU WILL, UNIVERSE.

But that is not what this post is about.

Continue reading “BUT TONIGHT, YOU BELONG TO ME” »

ROSY THE APPLES, CRIMSON THE LEAVES

October 12, 2014

Sorbet

image via

Just as I’d suspected, September was a mixed bag, a helter skelter array of misadventures punctuated by a few golden moments and a couple milestones thrown in for good measure.

The first few weeks of school have been frenzied and greuling, with both the mister and me adjusting to life as working parents juggling an infant. We’d thought we had secured reliable childcare for one Roux Huckleberry, but we were mistaken, forcing Babe into the role of primary caretaker of our tiny guy during the hours I’m away at school. And while I’m not working nearly as much as I had been prior to taking maternity leave, it feels as though I’ve never worked harder in my life. I’m sure if you asked, Babe would tell you the same thing. When it comes right down to it, though we’re both grateful that Roux is able to be at home with his parents as opposed to another person, and while it requires a tremendous amount of flexibility and sacrifice, we seem to be finding our way.

October brought with her a burst of inspiration, which is exactly what I needed. We’ve already made two trips to the craft supply store, and all of the Halloween decorations we had on hand have been proudly displayed for days. Elaborate plans for costumes have been devised, and the kids are excited to share the magic of the season with their new little brother.

Oh, that baby! What a deliciously squishy rolly polly he’s turned out to be. Although, he’s not one to sleep too much, to the chagrin of his parents, he is charming as can be, with a smile so electric it makes even the longest nights a little less painful. Kissing him goodbye in the morning is never easy, but the look of joy that washes over his face when I walk in the door at the end of the day, and the squeals of delight that erupt from his body as I scoop him into my arms to smother him with kisses as I drown myself in his scent, those moments are magical.

We spent the weekend rearranging our living room, finding places for things that never quite fit before. We also adopted a half dozen plant babies, and I’m so smitten with them that I’m convinced I need at least a dozen more. A rubber tree! And a Kimberly Queen fern! I mean, this is some fancy foliage. And everything they say about plants is true, in so far as they really do soften the place up and make for a nice and cozy environment, and I’m absolutely certain the air in our house is suddenly cleaner. There are definitely less flies, too, because welcome to the family, Pitcher Plant, you exotic and carnivorous beauty.

We’re coming into a good time, I can feel it. Although the weather here in San Diego hasn’t changed much, there’s been a noticeable shift in energy. Or, maybe it’s just me, finally seeing some light at the end of a very dark tunnel. Whatever the case may be, I’m taking full advantage of all the positive vibes as we approach the busiest and brightest part of the year.

SUMMER, STAY A WHILE

September 1, 2014

ob_sunset_831

credit to babe baker for this gorgeous shot

Early Friday morning, Emet and Jade left with their dad for the annual Miller Family camping retreat, an event which very clearly marks the end of this beautiful season. They’ll return late tonight, with just one day to spare before the new school year begins, our life once again governed by alarm clocks and lunch boxes.

I like to reorganize their room while they’re away, to tidy their drawers and clear their space of any clutter, in anticipation of the chaos these next few weeks are sure to bring. Of course, all I’ve managed to do up to this point is make a much bigger mess than they ever could! At the moment, however, I’m avoiding doing anything about it at all, since both my mister and my baby are sleeping and I can’t remember the last time I was able to quietly sit and sip an entire cup of coffee with nothing but my thoughts and the ceiling fan buzzing about.

I have mixed feelings about you, September.

We watched the sun set over the ocean last night, and as the last of the light dipped into the sea, it occurred to me that while the freedom of summer break has come to an end, our adventures do not have to suffer the same fate. Sure, we spent more time in our house than anywhere else these past several months, and maybe we didn’t have as many barbecues or sleepovers as we could have, but we do happen to reside in one of the premiere vacation destinations in the world, and I fully intend on stretching out this summer by punctuating the rest of the year with twice monthly beach days and at least a dozen exploring expeditions (as per my goals for this year, ahem) because why live in San Diego if we aren’t going to live in San Diego?

With that, I wish you a very happy and relaxing Labor Day. I’ll be making a slow tomato sauce while I finish sorting through the last of the big kids’ things, all the while pretending that Fall isn’t just around the corner. Summer Forever!