Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Dear Baby Jane- Happy Second Birthday

Dear Baby Jane,

Today as someone asked me how old you were, I heard myself respond, she'll be two tomorrow." And I almost gasped out loud.  How is that possible?  Just yesterday you were growing inside my tummy. It's was you and me kid! And now, two years later, it's all about you.  

You are so joyous and expressive. When you hear us describe what you did at school like "today the children went outside and explored their mud kitchen..." your face lights up as if you were there. If we ask you to roar like a tiger, you grin, wide-eyed and in a soft hush, with mouth open wide say, "whawhhhh..."  There is no R in your roar. For now, it is mellowed by a slurry wh sound but it is no less ferocious!

You love to read books.  You can choose Madeline off the shelf just by looking at the spine and you giggle when she tells the tiger, " poo-pooh!"  You love to read about the big ole caterpillar and can identify everything he ate from chocolate cake to shawami (salami). And if we say, "he ate the plums BUT..." You will answer, "he's still hungry."  And we smile and laugh to one another.

You love your friends at school.  Your teachers say that you are smart and kind and very much a leader.  And for that I am so thankful. Every morning on our way to school I ask you to raise your hand if you are four things...  Smart, kind, sweet, and funny.  And every morning you raise your hand and repeat each one. I hope that you always remember that these are the qualities that represent you. Your beauty is inherent.  You choose to be the others. Life is full of choices, but if you choose to be these things, you will be an amazing young woman.

I love you more than chocolate cake and salami.  I love you more than Elmo and Madeline.  In fact, baby Jane, I love you more than anything I've ever loved. You are the greatest thing I have ever done.

And as I sit here in Chicago returning from a work conference wishing I could kiss your one year old cheeks one more time, I want you to know that you are in fact the most important thing in our life.  At the end of mine, I may never be known as the worlds greatest CPA but I hope you consider me the worlds greatest mom.

Two years ago, you stole my heart. After many years I found myself praying again because there was no doubt in my mind that you were a gift from God.

I love you through and through my sweet baby girl.  Happy second birthday,


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Well, Hello October!

Anne of Green Gables really got it right!

Jane is in love with all fall decorations.  She thinks "punkins" are very fun!  And she loves to point at black cats and say, "Hi kitty cat, meowwww."  

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

My Thoughts on Making Marriage Work, Jane's First Day of School, and a Whole Lot of GIVEAWAYS!!

Yesterday, I contributed a post on the New Orleans Moms Blog about making marriage work (even after baby) that I hope you find interesting.  You can find it HERE.  I'd love to hear what your secrets are to keeping a happy marriage!!!

Also, the NOMB has some AMAZING giveaways going on right now.  You can find out more about how you can enter to win HERE!!

Today was Jane's first day of the new school year.  Every year on our first day of school, my parents would take us to our favorite donut shop for a treat.  It was something I looked forward to each and every year.  Since Jane loves croissants, I took her to our favorite local bakery for a delicious flaky pastry.

She's still in Pre-K1, but she's in the older ones this year.  When we arrived today, her friend Charlotte ran up to her and hugged her and said, "Hi, Jane! Hi, Jane!"  Talk about getting all teary eyed!  It was soooo sweet.  Jane was so excited to see her too.  It made me feel good all day to know she was happy and secure and in a place where she loves to be.  

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Tasty Tuesdays: Nectarine, Basil, and Jalapeño Salsa

I have mentioned the Hollygrove Market and Farm a few times, but I seriously cannot say how much I love this amazing New Orleans community.  One of my favorite parts of the week is checking their website to see "What's in the Box?" for that week.  Sometimes I run out of ideas for creating new dishes, but when I read their list of locally grown produce, I find myself desiring to try to things and new flavor combinations.  

Yesterday, when we stopped in to get our box which included, pecans, okra, creole tomatoes, shitake mushrooms, apples, arugula, and fresh herbs.  They also had some beautifully ripe nectarines.  I grab a handful and added them to my box.  

I originally planned to snack on them at work, but remembering how messy that can get, I thought I might search around for some other uses for them.  That is when I ran across an amazing looking recipe for a Nectarine Basil Salsa.  In its ingredients list were most of the things I had picked up from the market and a few I had left over from the week before. 

We chose to serve the salsa over grilled chicken and mixed greens.  It was a perfectly delicious and flavorful meal!!

Nectarine, Basil, and Jalapeño Salsa
as Adapted by me from Pinch of Yum

Prep time:  

Total time:  4
Serves: 2-4

  • 3 ripe, juicy nectarines
  • 2½ tablespoons very finely diced red onion
  • 1½ teaspoons minced jalapeno (seeds and ribs removed)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1½ teaspoon sugar (optional)
  • 8 fresh basil leaves

Dice the nectarines into cubes.
Stir in jalapeno and red onions until well mixed.
Add lemon juice and sugar.
Cut 6 large basil leaves into thin ribbons and add to mixture.
Refrigerate for thirty minutes.

This salsa would pair well with chicken, pork, or fish. 

I strained the salsa over a fine mesh sieve.  To the juice, I added a dash of champagne vinegar and two tablespoons of olive oil.  It made a delicious, bright, and slightly vinaigrette that we used to top the salad greens.

This was one of the best meals we have made in a long time.  It helped me conquer my fear of cooking with jalapeños!!  I hope you can find some perfectly ripe nectarines and give this a try.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

I Wish We All Could Be California Girls

We spent the last week in sunny California for a family wedding.  We spent the first four days at a house my husband's family rented.  It is the kind of house you dream of spending time in.  It was 6,000 square feet of luxury and included the most spectacular infinity pool and a hot tub.  

I have always been more of a pool than beach lover.  And let me tell you, I loved this pool.  We spent most of our time in it or lounging around it.  For someone like me who has trouble relaxing, who finds her mind racing most of the day, I struggle with laid back vacations.  I always want to get out and do something new or see something different, but for the first time in a long time, I felt at peace with nothing but a warm pool, cool breeze, and good family around me.  There were moments where I couldn't imagine a life outside of this peaceful respite.  And when we left, I found the only thing better was to spend three days with just Mark and Jane at the Hotel Del Coronado.

It's the kind of vacation you don't want to end.  But, aren't those the best ones?  I always feel solemn at the end of a vacation. It's the same feeling I have on New Years Eve. That feeling that you just aren't ready for things to come to an end.  That these events mark the timeline of our lives and its all just moving so fast. On our next summer vacation, Jane will be one year older, as will we. On this trip, she stills showed signs of being my sweet baby girl.  She still raises her arms at me when she falls in the sand.  She still looks to me for my excited approval when she splashes her tiny feet in the pool.  But, next summer, she'll be a big girl. Knowing that, the end of this trip made me long for the seemingly endless days of summer to slow down just a little.  Just so I can watch her play in the sand with the naive bliss of a toddler who finds it infinitely amusing to watch it spill through her tiny little hands.  

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

New York Family Weekend: By Day and By Night

We spent the weekend in New York City! There was a moment a few weeks ago when I thought that I should stay home and let Mark and Jane go.  I am a bit swamped at work and thought it would give me a little space and time to work overtime.  I am SOOOOO glad that I went.  It was just the break I needed.  We spent such amazing family time together this weekend.  We certainly experienced the two sides of NYC, the day and the night!!

We had lunch at Pier i Cafe which overlooks the Hudson.  It was the very best lunch spot for a large group that included several kids.  You order at the counter and the foods is ready pretty quickly.  It's easy, but the menu is also fairly sophisticated.  Jane munched on french fries and an all beef hot dog while Mark and I delighted in a lobster roll.  The view was spectacular and there was a wonderful playground just a few feet away where the kids could escape to if they needed a little escape from the table. 

We walked through Washington Square Park and stopped to look at the fountain.  Jane loved feeling the water sprinkle in her hair!  She would shout "rain!!" at the top of her lungs.  The sun was hitting the sprays of the fountain in such a way as to create the most beautiful rainbow.  Jane couldn't get enough of it!

As is our family tradition now, we spend the mornings swinging in Tompkins Square Park.  I think Jane will grow up thinking that NYC is the place where you go to swing everyday!

Mark, Jane, and I had the tastiest lunch at Blue Ribbon Bakery.  I had the egg salad sandwich and Mark had the burger, but the best order of all came by way of Jane.  We ordered her a grilled cheese sandwich and it took all of our restraint not to eat it for her!!

As many fun memories as we made during our days there, we also found time to spend with my brothers and sisters in law.  We had a fabulous meal at Lafayette on Friday night followed the next evening by one at Empellon Cocina.   That was also where I discovered I actually like tequila! I had the pineapple and cilantro margarita and found it to be the tastiest cocktail I have had in a long time!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Oh Hap-pee Day! Jane Pee Pees on the Potty!!!

Jane is getting so big so fast!  Just check out her PONYTAIL!!!  I am unable to take her baby mullet any longer, but I am just not ready to cut her hair so the pony is the only solution that works.  But, it makes her look sooooo grown up...
Back to the hot topic of the day.  Jane's pee pee.  I recently read an article about the dangers of blogging about our children and how later on in life they may not appreciate us sharing the details of their trials and tribulations on the wild wild world of web.  This is certainly one of those stories, but I just can't help it.  I'm so excited.
For several weeks now, Jane has been fascinated with the potty.  I started taking her with me when I went to the potty so that she could understand what the potty does.  She constantly mimics me (makeup application, teeth brushing), so I figured this would be a great way for her to learn.  Sure enough, she was soon telling anyone who would listen, "I poo poo.  I pobby.  Peeeeece."  That translates to "Even though I just pooped my diaper I still really want to sit on the potty like a big girl, please."
So, any time Jane would say I poo poo or I pobby, we would take her into the bathroom and let her sit on the commode.  She would get a few squares of tissue and drop it into the toilet and flush and feel very proud.  Until the last couple of weeks, however, this routine was just fun for her and interesting for us to observe.  Recently, it became more and more apparent that she was connecting the sensation of having to potty with telling us she had to.  But, we could never make it in time for her to avoid the use of her diaper.
UNTIL...  Last night we were chatting with her, and she suddenly looked up and shouted "I pobby, I pobby!"  She held her diaper in a way that indicated she really did have to go.  So we ran into the bathroom, sat her on the potty, and sure enough, she pee pee'd on the potty!!!!  Ahhh!!  She was not nearly as excited as I was, because she thinks she has been doing that for weeks, but this time it wasn't just pretend. 
When we were done flushing and washing hands, she got to run to Mark and tell him, "I deed it. I deed it!"  It was such a huge moment in our house!
She is by no means potty trained, but it is so cool to see her brain processing things like this.  Twenty months ago, I had no idea that another person's potty habits could make me this happy!!
I don't know what steps to take from here?  I guess we should get her a baby potty??  Suggestions?  What worked for you?


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