Friday, September 30, 2011

{ this moment }

a friday ritual - a single photo - no words - a moment I want to pause - savor - and remember
inspired by soulemama

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Birthday in review.

Well I think the first birthday party was a success. 
There were some definite "moments". Some were even caught on tape/film (or neither, they were caught
I wanted it to be special but I didn't want to go totally overboard.
I think I pulled it off.
We kept the guest list small, served pizza and lemonade, and I made cupcakes (from a box) instead of cake.
I've mentioned I'm not much of a baker before. That's no joke.
Iris got great gifts too. It was a nice mix of clothes and toys and not to heavy on one side or the other.
I have this rule that if the toys start to overflow the toy box (one in the living room and one in the nursery, both pretty small) that we need to edit the toys (i.e. donate or give to friends). So far I've been able to keep to that rule. We'll see if I can do it as she gets older.

And now for those moments I mentioned:

Hmmmm...what's going on around here?


Taking the decorations down might have been her favorite part.

This has to be my most favorite of moments...

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Winner winner, chicken dinner.

Iris's BFF, Vivian, won't be able to attend her party on Saturday so we invited them over for her actual birthday on Tuesday.

I made our favorite roast chicken dinner. It's easy, very little prep and everything goes in the oven.

Potatoes tossed with olive oil, salt, pepper and rosemary.
Carrots seasoned with salt, pepper and a few cubes of butter.

Two small chickens rubbed with a mixture of butter, salt, pepper and ground mustard and stuffed with fresh sage leaves.

I have the POWER!

Yay! for blocks. Made in the USA and non-toxic inks.

Mommy enjoyed some leftover roast potatoes and a fried egg for breakfast.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

One Year Ago Today...

One year ago today she came into our lives...finally. Let me explain. She was three weeks late. It was the most emotional three weeks of my life. I was scared. Not about giving birth but because I was worried if I was making the right decision by waiting until she was ready. There is so much fear mongering when it comes to childbirth. I was planning a homebirth and the chances of that looked like they were slipping away. I tried everything...EVERYTHING! Castor oil, acupressure, Castor oil... again, walking, bouncing, yoga... you name it, I tried it.
What finally did it? Acupuncture. This had been suggested over and over through the waiting process but I was reluctant to do it, not because I didn't think it could work, but because it was expensive and I didn't feel like getting stuck with needles.
I went...finally.
They told me I would need at least 2 treatments so I made the appointment for my second treatment for the following day.
Day two began with a home visit from my midwife. She checked me and said the baby's head was definitely lower. Great news. I went to my second appointment and even fell asleep on the table.
I left feeling pretty good. I really had done everything I could to induce labor naturally. So if it didn't happen I wasn't going to beat myself up over it.
It was Saturday and I had made the decision to give up on the homebirth and go into the hospital for induction on Monday if nothing happened over the weekend. I was three weeks overdue after all.
Let me mention that I was going to the hospital every few days for close monitoring in addition to my midwife visiting me almost everyday to make sure everything was ok. It was.

Saturday afternoon I was sitting in bed talking with G about my day and more importantly what were we going to have for dinner. I had started to feel "crampy" earlier but wasn't getting my hopes up as I had been experiencing Braxton Hicks for weeks. But a trip to the bathroom revealed that this might be more than Braxton Hicks. We didn't tell anyone right away. We wanted to be sure and we wanted to enjoy what was probably going to be the last drama free night we were going to have for a long time. Labor continued. Thank God!
I was just uncomfortable enough to not be able to sleep. I dozed a few times but that was about it so I new it was on.
The next morning we called our douhla, the midwife, my bestie and just about everyone else.
I was surrounded by people I love.

I labored all day Sunday. Contractions weren't strong enough, long enough or close enough to call the midwife yet. The birth pool had been set up in the nursery (for weeks) and it was ready for some action.
We labored on. Another sleepless night. The pain was really starting to pick up. I was howling through the night while everyone got some much needed rest. I hopped in the bathtub a few times which was a welcome relief.
Early Monday morning we called the midwife. I could tell G. was nervous. I think he thought the baby was just going to fall out without warning. He wanted a professional there just in case that happened.
She came, she checked, she gave me the bad news... 1 centimeter.
COME ON! It was Monday. I started this thing on Saturday. I haven't slept for two days. I did what any laboring mother would do... I cried.
I was really in pain now. Not to mention utterly exhausted.
We opted for the hospital. An epidural so I could sleep and a little pitocin to speed things up.
Let me say here that this was everything I didn't want and I had alot of emotions running through me at this time. If she had told me I was 3 centimeters, I probably could have soldiered on. If I hadn't already labored for 2 1/2 days, I probably could have soldiered on. 
I was broken. It was time.
Did I mention the hospital we had to go to was 45 minutes away. Oh yeah. That happened.
And there was an accident on the road we had to take. We were stuck at a major intersection for what seem liked an hour but was probably more like 15 minutes. 
My douhla got out of the car and tried to yell at the cop directing traffic to let our lane go but I don't think he could hear her.
I love her.

Here I am after my epidural...on the phone. I was very happy. 
G. was so relieved he fell asleep.
Everything was progressing nicely and we were getting close to 10cm. 
Then my water broke. Light meconium. Hmm.
Shortly after that, babies heart rate starts plummeting. All very typical of births with medical intervention. Not good, just typical.
Long story short...we ended up in the operating room. Yup. C-section.
We like to joke that I managed to have every labor experience that you could have, all in one.

Some creepy painting my BFF took in the hallway.

In the end we had a healthy little baby girl. We were ecstatic.
And despite the drama and immediate seperation we had after her birth, she latched on right away and never looked back.

The day I came home from the hospital, my mom and sister came to visit. They were in love too.

It's hard to imagine that she was ever that small.

He was reluctant to hold her at first. But look how cute they are together.
They're still best buds.

It has been a year of firsts..

...first nap in the crib


...first foods

...first ear infection (that was rough)

...lots of loads of diapers

...first avocado

...first day in the pool

...first friends

...first underwear on head.
And yes, those are my underwear.
She likes to help me with the laundry.

First Birthday.

Monday, September 19, 2011


Tomorrow is a special day for us.
Iris will be 1 year old.
Anyone who has children knows what a particularly special birthday this is. 
I get butterflies just thinking about it.

It marks a year growing, changing, laughing, crying, learning, expanding and the list goes on and on.
And that's just me. Kidding.
This week is all about Iris!

Stay tuned!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Random things...

Almost another week has gotten away from me without blogging. 
We made our last trip to the shore.
 Our usual last stop is to Ocean City, NJ. 
It's so nice after Labor Day. No beach tags needed. No crowds. It's just right.
Next year I want to get a house there for a week so we can really unwind and enjoy the seaside environment.
24 hours just isn't enough time. Especially with a baby. No sooner have you set up a pack and play, the mobile highchair and whatever else you need, it's time to pack it all up and leave.
We did manage some beach time and a walk on the boardwalk.
Even a trip to Mack and Manco's Pizza. 
If you're not familiar with them, it's like a boardwalk institution.
It really is the best pizza ever!

Iris was gettin' jiggy with Uncle Ricks birch beer.

I even learned a new game. Mexican Train Dominoes. So fun!

Now I'm preparing for Iris's birthday party.
I finished the invitations.

I also completed a little project in the midst of chaos. 
I saw this on pinterest and happened to have two strands of lights that I wanted to do something with but wasn't sure what. 

They were left over from our wedding (5 1/2 years ago). They have 8 different settings. Some, seizure inducing. I had my BFF Danielle collect 2 large glass olive jars for me from her work. I washed them, soaked and scraped the labels off and inserted the lights. Easy.

It adds just a little extra light and whimsy in my workspace.

I have to confess that part of my erratic blogging is due to a certain nugget that does not sleep through the night (even though she's a year old).
I wouldn't even mind if it was one (or even 2) wake-ups a night.
It's more like 3 or 4.
Perfectly spaced out in 3 to 2 hour incriments.
That's an improvement from the 5-7 times a night.
I have had 5 hours of uninterrupted sleep maybe 5 times in a year.
Sometimes I just feel like I'm completely losing my mind.
Most of the time I feel like crying.
I know people who have had it alot harder than me.
I try to remind myself of that when I'm feeling particularly fragile.
I'll share more on that some other time.


Thursday, September 8, 2011

Favorite Tomato Tart.

I've been making this tart since 2002. Wanna know how I know that? 
Because this magazine is from the fall of 2002.
It's a William-Sonoma publication. 
I don't know if it was the only one they ever published but I never saw another issue other than this one.
I looked...believe me.
If anyone knows if there were other issues I'd love to hear about it.
Please comment below. I heart comments!
Anyway, I will never throw this magazine away. One, because I never throw magazines away. I recycle them or pass them on. And two, sometimes a magazine captures my heart and I keep it forever. 
Like this one.
 I think the subtext says it all... "Paris in the Fall".
There are so many recipes in this magazine that I have used over and over.
Simple. Fresh. Delicious.

In particular is the dough recipe for this tart.
Crunch Dough
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2/3 cup ice cold water
1 1/2 sticks cold unsalted butter (6oz.) cut into cubes
In mixer (or by hand if that's how you roll) combine dry ingredients.
Add butter and mix until crumbs form.
Add enough of the water for your dough to come together.
Remove from bowl on floured surface knead it together a few times and form a patty.
Wrap it in plastic and chill for at least an hour before using. 
The recipe recommends chilling overnight so if you were doing this for a group you could make this the day before.

I blind bake it for about 10 minutes then remove the pie weights and bake it for about 5 more or until the bottom looks dry.

Then I slather a layer of Dijon mustard, crumbled goat cheese, salt, pepper, thyme (dry or fresh), caramelized onions (1 large or 2 medium, not pictured) and then the tomatoes. 

I had some heirloom tomatoes so I just sort of haphazardly layered them on but if you use plum tomatoes you could arrange them in fancy circles.

Then I just bake it off until the tomatoes look wrinkly and roasted. 
Honestly, I don't know an exact time but if I had to guess, about 20 minutes.
If the edges of your crust start to get to dark cover them with foil.

I also make a balsamic syrup to drizzle over it. You must make this. 
This tart just isn't complete without it.
Balsamic syrup
 1 cup balsamic vinegar
3 tbsp. honey
Simmer until it coats the back of the spoon.
Store in an airtight container.

Serve the tart with a nice salad or top it with some microgreens.