Wednesday, October 2, 2013

One year young

It's been the sweetest, most rewarding and exhausting year of my life - my baby, who's now a big girl, turned one on Saturday. I still don't know that I have completed accepted the fact that the year went by so fast and that she is being Miss Independence already, but the dates don't lie.

I've been reflecting on this day well before it's come -- reminiscing on all the things I've learned, recalling all the special moments we've had and dreaming about everything that lies ahead. While I know this will be a list that I will probably want to add to, I wanted to at least start jotting down some of my learnings this past year--both as a reminder for me and maybe as a helpful list for others.

So here it goes: What I learned in your first year.
  • There is no user manual or step-by-step instructions. Books and Google can only get you so far, much of what you do is intuition and instinct. 
  • Parenthood is the most challenging, yet satisfying job I've ever had. There are no vacation days or days off.
  • Life will never be the same. I don't even remember what evenings and weekends consisted of before you were around. When I do remember (occasionally on Saturday nights ;)), I realize I wouldn't do a 'backsies' for the world.
  • I have not know what exhaustion truly is until I brought you home. Gone are the days of eight straight hours of sleep and restful Sundays. (I lie, I have my eight hours back now. Thank you, Dr. Ferber).
  • Time management. I always thought I was organized and could manage multiple projects well. Turns out I've gotten a lot better at it. If it needs to get done it will. If it needs to get done but really isn't necessary, it won't (until a later date).
  • Babies make messes. In their diapers. With their food. With anything they come into contact with. I stopped caring about cleaning these up and being grossed out about it. It's just a mess.
  • Eating healthy, balanced meals is important. I've always know that fruits and vegetables are good for you and should replace other more unhealthy options. Now that I'm focused on your growing body I've gotten much better at planning out nutrient-packed meals. Now if only you'd choose to eat them all the time.
  • There is never enough snuggle time, or too much of it. Squeezing you because I can, and giving you kisses whenever I want is important. Some day you'll hate it. I've got to bank it up while it lasts.
  • Sleep training works, and we should have done it sooner than we did. We are all happier with the improved sleep patterns this training (CIO) taught you. It may not work for everyone, or be everyone's preference, but it sure worked miracles for us.
  • Single moms are my heroes. Don't know how I could do everything I do without pm. It's hard enough sometimes without having family nearby.
  • Muffins make for a great cover up to feed you vegetables. I don't remember ever making so many muffins in my life.
  • A temperature of 101-102 with no symptoms is nothing to freak out about, or at least that is what the doctor on call will tell you. Even if you are "okay" I will still try to do anything and everything in my power to make sure you are comfortable and happy. Yes, I will sleep next to you by your crib holding your hand if it means you can sleep peacefully.
  • Having a pediatrician and nursing staff that is available for you when you need them (via phone and email) is priceless. I cannot even begin to count all the times I have saved myself a trip in the office for something very basic because of having these relationships.
  • If something hurts you, it hurts me 100x worse. This is why I make pm come with me when you have to get shots. I am getting better.
  • Don't freak out about milestones. So you don't roll over when other kids do, or crawl when others do. You'll do it eventually and no one will ever know. This was never the case for us, you just wanted to be mobile as soon as you could.
  • I have bragging rights. I can talk about how proud I am of you, all the fun things you do as much as someone will listen. Even when exhausted, I will never tire of talking about you.
  • No matter how big you get, you will always be my baby.
What am I missing? :)

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Red: The Color of Summer

It's not to say I've always wanted to be in Spain during "La Tomatina", but if the day ever presents itself I don't know that I would say no. To that end, I would feel a little guilty about throwing around tomatoes, and essentially wasting them. Sad because I am sure most of the tomatoes being throw aren't the flavorless, often mealy tomatoes that crowd our produce aisles stateside. These are most likely the tomatoes that make such a sweet, rich gazpacho -- my favorite summer treat from Spain aside from Cruzcampo.

Tomatoes always remind me of summer. I look forward to when the day finally comes that we actually have a yard and can have a small garden. Until then, our herb and flower garden on the balcony will suffice, as will weekly trip to the Farmer's Market to buy fresh, ripe heirlooms.

This past week our kitchen has been overrun with tomatoes. Last weekend we made a huge batch of salmorejo (the Sevillano version of gazpacho, which includes bread). We are still eating it, and it makes for a very filling and nutritious meal. During the week we've been preparing to make some homemade tomato sauce. This way we can have a jar of summer in the cold days of winter. Once it's complete, I will be sure to post some photos and if it turns out, we'll include the recipe as well.

I don't often associate periods of time with colors (or with vegetables, okay technically fruits), but this week has been nothing short of red, red and red.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Hiatus

The hiatus is officially over, that is until the next one begins. I've been extremely busy in my time off; mainly being pregnant and having a baby. A beautiful baby girl who will be one in nearly a month. Time sure does fly.

I've been absent mostly because I've had a hard time carving out free time for myself. I've had ideas, don't get me wrong. I've even implemented some of them -- painting the nursery, making prints for the baby room, painting the foyer, sewing some blankets, etc. Despite these small victories, my creative brain has been on hold.

Well, hold no more.

Given that my time is limited, I've decided to plunge back into things while also crossing items off the "to-do" list. We need to eat. Our weekdays are nearly impossible when it comes to preparing meals. Despite the fact little one is now eating all solid foods, pm and I just don't dedicate our time on meal prep.

For my last big (ahem, ahem) birthday, pm got me a great gift. A gift that in theory should keep on giving. A cookbook -- and not just any cookbook -- Julia Child's cookbook. I highly doubt I will Master the Art of French Cooking, but I am going to try one recipe at a time. I am also not just going to do it from this book. We have lots of cookbooks and recipe cards that just never get used. I tend to earmark and collect the ones that have beautiful pictures; but I think what attracts me most about Child's cookbook is that the art is very limited.

I want to try to make recipes and then photo document them. On the menu tonight--since baking is my therapy, I needed a little break and we have 6# of blueberries in the house--I have decided to make Clafouti aux Myrtilles (aka Blueberry flan). We'll see how it turns out. Both the flan and my little plan.

Bon App├ętit!



Monday, April 30, 2012

Ikea wood countertop with Vika legs

We were looking for a smaller desk for our guest bedroom/office and found this great DIY project in Apartment Therapy. We liked the looks of it and for the price it was hard to beat. However Ikea had a surprise for us, both the Pronomen countertop and the Vika Inge legs had been discontinued and, while you can find the Lagan countertop (which looks identical to the Pronomen, makes you wonder if the folks at Ikea just changed the name), the Vika Inge legs are nowhere to be found. We really liked the look of the hairpin legs on the desk, and while looking for alternatives found a great selection on hairpinlegs.com. Their products are really nice but out of our budget for this project. We also looked on Ebay and then got lucky on craigslist, someone that lives literally blocks away from us was selling four used Vika Inge legs. I guess you can call it serendipity, these legs where just posted on craigslist that same day and cost us only $15! Another good thing that happened is that, while the guy selling the legs only had the legs and not the mounting plates, we were able to get in touch with Ikea and they sent us the parts we were for free (and from Sweden!).

Putting together this desk is quite easy, these are the steps we followed:

First you need to install the four mounting plates. We decided that we were going to place the center of the mounting plate three inches away of the borders. After you have that mark, using a mounting plate you can also mark the holes where the screws that will hold it will go.

Solid wood desk - Step 1: Measure

Solid wood desk - Step 2: More measuring

After that, we drilled the holes using a 1/8" bit. Make sure you don't drill too deep, this is easy to avoid by marking the desired length in the drill bit with a sharpie and not going any further than that.

Solid wood desk - Step 3: Drill

Screw the mounting plates and then the legs. Hopefully your drill doesn't suck as much as ours and your batteries are not out of juice yet...

Solid wood desk - Step 4: Screw

In order to protect the desk and cover up a couple imperfections, we decided to give it a couple coats of Minwax finishing wax.

Solid wood desk - Step 5: Wax

The final product:

Solid wood desk - Step 6: Enjoy!

The total cost of this desk was $55, I know we got lucky with the legs and that drove our cost down, but even if we would have had to pay more for it, the desk feels rock solid and in our opinion looks better than anything else that you can buy in the less than $75 price range.