Friday, August 31, 2012

One Inch of Sharing

Recently, Delphinium had a friend over to play.  She was so excited to see him, and did a little dance upon his arrival.  Soon they were busy in the playroom  with some of the millions of toys we seem to have accumulated.  At one point, Delphinium was playing with her baby dolls, and when her friend came near, she tried to prevent him from touching them.  I explained that we need to share with our friends, and that she should choose the baby with which he could play.  She thought very carefully, and then raced off to some secret corner.  She came back and handed him a one inch long baby.  This toy was literally the size of my fingernail.  You could barely make out his tiny little face and diaper!  The little boy seemed happy enough, but I am a little concerned that we need to work more on the concept of sharing.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Pregnancy Week 34

34 weeks and the doctor says all is well.  The baby is eight days larger than expected, so she's either going to be early or she's just big.  I'm crossing all of my fingers and all of my toes that I don't have one of those massive chunk babies you hear about from your friends.  She's still at the incredibly busy stage in my tum, so I know there's still enough room in there for her to swing the elbows and knees.

Unlike her sister, she doesn't seem to respond to music played nearby, but she does wake up and dance when Delphinium and I sing in the car.  She also does the wiggle whenever we have story time.  When I was in the later stages of pregnancy the first time, I had a great passion for cookies (not normally a big thing for me).  This time I want spicy food.  Who knows why or how these things work, but it is fun to notice the differences.

As for me, I'm tired and achy, but otherwise feeling pretty good.  I do get a fair number of braxton-hicks contractions in the evenings, but the doctor doesn't seem overly worried by them.  She says I'm just practicing for the big show.  I can hardly believe that "the show" could be here in as little as  four weeks!

Monday, August 27, 2012

No More Rautureau

Oh noes!  Poor Thierry!  Sadly The Chef in the Hat has been sent home from Top Chef Masters.  One week he wins the big prize by cooking an incredibly difficult theme ingrediant, and then the next moment he's out.  It's so disappointing!  Not only is he a great chef, but he was the most entertaining to watch of the whole group.  We'll just have to go and visit his restaurants, Rover's and Luc, to make ourselves feel better.  

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

New Car, Er, Bus

Thank goodness for Grandma because I don't know how any parent could go through the drama and sheer time sink of car shopping with a kid in tow.  M and I were lucky enough to be on our own over the weekend when we went from car dealership to car dealership trying to decide on our best option.  We've known for some time that we would need a bigger (and younger) car before the baby came, so we finally decided to take the plunge.  Consumer reports and some other internet research helped us narrow things down to either a Toyota or a Honda, so we headed out with those in mind.

The first place we visited was actually a Jaguar dealership.  Amazingly, the salespeople in fancy suits did not turn their noses up at our old car and overall shlubbiness, and they kindly allowed us to drive the trade-in Sienna they had on the lot.  It was certainly large, and even without the fabled 8th seat, it certainly had space to spare.  Even the cargo area, which is so tiny in some vans, was generous enough to accommodate a large amount of luggage or groceries.  It was also surprisingly easy to drive.  Given the fact that it is shaped like a huge brick, I was pleasantly impressed by the handling.  Don't get me wrong, it's no sports car, but at least you don't feel like you're hauling it around every turn.  We were tempted by the car, but we still wanted to at least try out the Honda.

Pretty soon it started to seem like we were cursed.  The second dealership we visited had one Honda Odyssey, but the battery was dead.  The third dealership is one we drive by every day, but when we went to find it, we got lost and gave up.  Finally, on the forth one, we had an actual hit.  The drive was very similar to the Sienna, so it was down to little details.  The Odyssey had more power and better steering, but the Sienna had better brakes and nicer interior.  The Odyssey had the 8th seat, but it was older and had more miles.  We were truly torn.  The funny part was that as we sat there hemming and hawing about it, it was clear that the salesman thought we were playing a game.  We were not, so off we went back to the Jag people.

Then, with very little game playing or fuss, we negotiated a price and bought the car.  I guess luxury car people just don't engage in all the shenanigans and running back and forth to the manager that others do?  Anyway, we were happy with the price we got, and drove off in our shiny, nearly new car.  My heart was in my throat the whole way home because I'm not used to such a large vehicle, but I did not whack anybody along the way.  More than a week, and one road trip later, this is still true, so there's hope for me yet.  Now we are officially suburbanites.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Two Good Reads and One Stinker

This summer, with the baby and all our running around, I've hardly had time to see any movies, concerts, or shows, but I have had the occasional moment to read.   Two of the stand-outs are both well known at the moment.  Yes Chef is by Marcus Samuelson, and it is a memoir that recounts no only his amazing professional life, but also his Ethiopian birth and subsequent adoption to Sweden. Written with such grace and openness, this book rises far above the usual retelling of the grind in a professional kitchen.

My second favorite is not a novel, as such, but rather a fictionalized retelling of real events.  Normally I am not a fan of this type of writing because I think you should tell the truth or just not tell the story.  I am also not a fan of Ernest Hemingway who I think was a great big jerk (to use words I can get away with here).  Nevertheless, I heard such great things about The Paris Wife by Paula Mclain that I had to give it a try.  Sure enough, the crowds were correct, and this is a very well-written book.  The main character is most definitely not Hemingway, but his long suffering first wife, Hadley.  The depiction of her struggle to keep pace with her unusual husband in post war  Paris is quite something.  Somehow McLain makes the whole thing work, and you're rooting for Hadley, if not for "Nesto," the whole way through.

The last book I want to mention is Fifty Shades of Grey. As I said before, I often read books that get a lot of hype just to see what all the fuss is about.  Frequently I do not love these pieces, but I can almost always see why people do like them. Probably it's an old habit left over from reading all the current kids books when I was a teacher.  Anyway, I read Fifty Shades of Grey by E. L. James with the same thought.  I honestly cannot figure out what people are so excited about!  The writing is poor, the characters are thin and weak, and I'm pretty sure you can find that type of titillation in plenty of grocery store novels.  I was not moved except to boredom and annoyance, and I have no desire to read the other two in the series.  If you want something decent, or even just something racy, go elsewhere.  Also if you figure out what the fuss is about, let me know.  Happy reading.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Sandwich Ideas

We are still waiting to hear what restrictions our new school might place on nuts in lunches.  However, I'm pretty confident that peanut butter will not be allowed.  If we are lucky almond or sunflower butter will be okay.  It would be a big help to be able to pack almond butter and banana or jam sandwiches from time to time.  They are full of protein, and it's something I know she'll eat.  Still, there is a decent chance that no nuts or seeds will be allowed at all (it all depends on the allergies of current students).  Therefore, I've been asking anyone and everyone for alternatives to spread on the bread.  Here are a few of my favorite suggestions:

Bread (always whole wheat) + cream cheese (low-fat spread on both pieces of bread) + nearly any fruit or veggie your kid will eat

Bread + hummus + cheese + bell pepper + olives (optional)

Bread + pesto + cheese + tomato (separate container?)

Bread + eggs salad (keeping things very cold) 

Bread + butter + veggie deli slices + pickle + tomato

Given that she only goes to school two days per week, we should be in decent shape.  Nevertheless, any other great ideas would be much appreciated.  I don't want to be one of those moms who resorts to the same tired menu every single day of the week!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Top Chef Masters

How can I have mentioned Top Chef being filmed in Seattle, and not have remembered about our other bought of food fame!?  Our own Thierry Rautureau, the Chef in the Hat and the owner of Luc and Rovers, is now appearing on Top Chef Masters!  His competition are some seriously famous cooks such as Art Smith.  A few episodes in (I'm behind as usual) he seems to be doing quite well.  He's great fun to watch due to his quirky style and great affinity for food.  It turns out that Seattle does have a respectable food scene after all!

Monday, August 13, 2012

What You Eating?

The other evening, after a lovely dinner out with the family, we stopped by a local cupcake shop.  Our goal was to purchase some treats for Elder Niece's birthday party the next day.  All three of us took our time admiring the delectable display case, and then we placed our order for eight cupcakes in a box.  I carried the box out of the shop, and we were careful to explain that they were FOR TOMORROW and FOR YOUR COUSIN.  Everything seemed fine until we got into the car.  Delphinium was strapped into her car seat with M and I up front.  The cupcakes were balanced on my lap.  This is what we heard from the backseat:

D: What you doing Mommy?
Me: Just getting ready to go.
D:  What you eating?
Me: Nothing, I'm just holding the cupcakes.
D:  Daddy what you eating?
M: Nothing.  I'm driving.
D: You eating something?
Me:  No Honey we are not eating these cupcakes at all.  We are saving them for your cousin.
D: You eating cupcakes?
M:  We are not eating anything up here.
D:  What you eating?

It went on this way the WHOLE way home.  Luckily she forgot about them overnight, so we didn't have to endure a repeat of the car scene the next morning.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Facing School

In a matter of weeks our little girl is going to go to school!  I can hardly believe this fact, but it's true.  She will go to a local preschool for two mornings a week as a way to keep her busy and playing with kids while I'm preoccupied with the tiny addition.  I'm really not trying to farm her out, I just want to make sure that she doesn't have to slow down her activity level just because I have.   During the day this seems like a logical choice.  I'm still at the point where at night, in bed, it seems like a horrible idea, and I am filled with dread.  Luckily all the angst seems to be mine, so I have high hopes of her going with a light heart.

Of course the impending transition to school means that I'm thinking (when I'm not consumed by baby) about all things academic.  From clothes to books to crayons and paper, this is a side of back-to-school that I haven't thought about since I was a kid.  The teacher side of going back means something quite different, so all those years I spent prepping in August really did not prepare me for all this.  Does she need supplies at this age?  Will I need to dress her differently than I do at home?  What about lunch?  I'll be packing everything she eats, but what will be allowed?

Last year, at her toddler group, two highly allergic kids meant that milk, tree nuts, wheat, berries, fish, eggs, and soy were all on the no-no list.  Do you know how hard it is to find snacks that do not contain milk, wheat, eggs, or soy?  Very hard indeed!  Of course those poor kids didn't have a choice about their allergies, so there's no sense in getting upset, but it does make for challenging times at the pantry door.  I'm hoping very much that we will not be quite so constrained at this new school, and that everyone will adapt easily to all of our new circumstances.Come on parents repeat after me:  I solemnly swear not to ever ever buy any lunchables no matter how dire the situation.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Seattle Welcomes Top Chef

I don't know if I've mentioned it here before, but I have a fairly serious addiction to cooking shows.  Call me soft-headed, but I can't help myself!  No, no I don't let the baby watch them, but when nap time comes, the TV goes on, and I enjoy a wide variety of personalities.  One of my favorites, and one of the few my husband likes too, is Top Chef.  It's a reality competition to choose the best cook, and it includes all sorts of culinary challenges.  It's been around for several seasons, but usually manages to stay fairly fresh and interesting.  One way it does that is by changing the filming location for each season.  This time they've selected Seattle!

Woo!  There have been sightings all over the city (and a few outlying areas) where they visit a restaurant or a Whole Foods.  Of course we know they will go to Pike Place Market (obligatory for any TV show in Seattle) and probably visit a Tom Douglas restaurant, but it will be interesting to see what else might be featured.  Only time will tell.  As yet, Bravo is not saying when the new series will be aired.  Maybe sometime in the fall?

Monday, August 06, 2012


Whew!  Our former home office is now a masterpiece in white and lilac.  Not only did we clear out the junk and paint the walls, but we had the carpets cleaned as well.  We have the perfect backdrop for a superb big girl room.  She can use her current toddler bed, we got a new blue dresser from Ikea, and now we have the task of finding just the right rug, curtains, and bookcase to make things really sing.  I remember how much fun it was to get a new room (thanks Mom!) and I really hope she will enjoy it was well.

Once she's all settled into her new digs, I'm closing the door on the nursery in hopes of making it go out of mind a little bit.  Then, when she's otherwise occupied, we'll go in and move everything around a bit.  The whole idea is to make her think of it as just a room that we give to the baby instead of HER room that the baby invades.  It's a nice theory right?  Wish us luck.

Friday, August 03, 2012

Giving Up

That is it, we give up, we throw in the proverbial towel.  After spending eight months and looking at 65 houses, we have decided to suspend things for a while.  The baby is due in only a matter of weeks, so by the time we were to close, moving and new babies would be way to close together for comfort.  Contrary to popular belief, I'm not completely crazy.  This means we now have to find a way to live with the parts of our current home that made us want to move in the first place.  Hopefully the acquisition of a storage unit will help.