Tuesday, April 29, 2014

April Life

Here's a peek into our April.

First thing first: My sister is getting married! Her fiance proposed on Easter weekend, she said yes, and they plan to get married before the year is over. I couldn't be happier for the two of them!

And now lots of pictures. I took most of these with my cell phone's rather pathetic two megapixel camera, so these pictures are pretty bad compared to usual.

Grace playing in some fountains nearby on one of the days where the temp cracked 90 degrees.

Looks like Michael sprouted a girl where his head used to be!

Grace wreaking havoc on packages of rice noodles at the market.

Visiting with my cousin, his wife, and their son. They were in town from Madison!

Visiting our friends' chickens. Have I ever mentioned that I want chickens?

Pigtails and horsey riding.

All dressed up for Easter. Don't let the picture fool you. She really didn't like that dress.

Over at our friends' house for Easter, now in a more comfortable dress! (Can you tell which camera this picture was taken on?)

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Sugar Challenge

For thirty days, Michael, our friend, Hester, and I limited ourselves to eating the daily recommendation for added sugar - five teaspoons for women, nine teaspoons for men... I'm still not over the injustice of this gender difference! Our sugar challenge ended on Thursday. My thoughts:
  • Eating just five teaspoons (20 grams) of sugar per day is totally doable.
  • After two or three weeks, I stopped craving added sugars much. 
  • As I got used to eating less sugar, I started very easily picking up on sugar in food. The whole wheat English muffins I bought to make mini pizzas tasted sweet to me. Sure enough, they had a couple of grams of sugar in them. Lots of Thai food has a bit of sugar added to it. When I went out to a Thai restaurant with Michael and good friends from church, I could taste it in almost every dish. I made Japanese curry the other day which called for three tablespoons of honey in the whole pot. I could very clearly taste the sweetness.
  • I plan on continuing to stay within the recommended amount on most days. When I go beyond that amount, like when I had a large slice and a half of delicious homemade coconut cake on Easter, I want it to be an intentional deviation from the norm, not just mindless consuming of junk.
  • During the past months, I really really missed dessert a few times. And as the challenge neared its end, I started dreaming about what decadent dessert I would gobble down when my five teaspoon chain was removed. I landed on coffee ice cream with homemade fudge sauce. After eating the small bowl below, I felt buzzed in a light-headed, uncomfortable way for several hours. My body was not used to it!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

A Day in Our Lives

There was much to report in March - another baby on the way, our fifth wedding anniversary, a challenge to eat less sugar, and a fun family vacation.

Now April has come and the everyday rhythms never break. I haven't known what to write about for the past couple of weeks because it's been so quiet, so rather than letting my blog be quiet too, I've decided to share my everyday life. Only problem, there is no normal. Here's a peak into a fairly average Monday for this stay-at-home mom, work-at-home co-partner of a law firm who's married to a college pastor.

7:45 - Wake up, see the end of Grace's breakfast, and fix breakfast for myself. Michael woke up at 6:15 and Grace at 7:00. He takes her every morning so I can get the almost 10 hours of sleep my pregnant self needs.

8:15 - Grace plays on the floor of our bedroom/bathroom while I get ready for the day.

8:45-10:30 - I pass Grace back to Michael. They plant a couple of tomato plants in the backyard, and he goes for a run with her in the stroller. I get about half an hour to pray, read my Bible, and check emails before my law firm partner, Sarah, comes over at 9:30 for our weekly meeting.

10:30 - I take over Grace's care and feed her a snack (cantaloupe, cheese, and a peanut butter sandwich) while I make a grocery list. Michael heads off to a work meeting.

11:00 - Grace and I go outside to meander around the neighborhood. We chat a little with my friend/neighbor, Lori, and her one-year-old, Cadence. She hands me a bag of his outgrown gender-neutral clothes for Grace to wear. Yay!

11:50 - Up to Grace's bedroom for snuggling and a book.

Noon - Grace goes down for her only nap of the day. Michael comes home, and we eat lunch. Our housemate, Jen, and her fiance, Sam, eat lunch too. Michael heads to his desk in the living room to work. I take care of lots of work emails, personal emails, and some frustrating/boring insurance stuff. Then, I start this blog post, read, and plan an outing for tomorrow for me, Grace, my cousin's wife, and her son who are in town from Wisconsin! Since I'm finally sitting still, I feel our baby's gentle little kicks.

2:30 - Grace wakes up and eats. Not much. Whoops. Fed her too much peanut butter earlier, I guess. Michael heads back to the campuses for the afternoon.

3:15 - Grocery shopping. Grace eats pretzels the whole time. Whoops. Guess she was hungry after all.

4:30 - Make dinner - pan fried fish, black bean and corn salad, and broccoli.

5:15 - Michael comes home and we eat dinner together. The black bean and corn salad is a hit with all three of us. I must make it again!

6:15 - Michael heads off to lead a study of the book of Mark for his students. I put Grace in the stroller so I can go out and get some exercise. Not even one minute into our walk, she starts to completely break down. I can't figure out what's wrong, so I turn right back home. She normally loves chilling in her stroller, so I feel frustrated. I get over it, we play instead, and I give her a bath.

7:30 - Grace eats yogurt with banana insisting on feeding herself with the spoon. It's slow and messy and cute. I help her brush her teeth, we snuggle and start to read a bedtime story. She begins to break down from exhaustion, and I say the quickest bedtime prayer ever. I try to give her a hug goodnight but she's practically throwing her body into the crib so I lay her down to sleep.

8:00 - Lights out... half hour earlier than usual, but alas she was super cranky. Me time! As I sit still, working on this blog post, I feel that little kick, kick, kick again. Hello, sweet baby!

At about 9:45, I'll hear the garage open. Michael will be home! I'm already in bed and getting super tired, but we'll talk for a little while before I drift off to sleep around 10:00.


I am so curious to know what others' days are like! I invite you to, if you have a blog, write a similar post. Or just comment below on your typical Monday, or Saturday, or Tuesday.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Brown Rice Salad with Dates and Tangelos

A couple of weekend's ago, I ended up with dates in my pantry passed on to me from my housemate's fiance's mom. I'll spare you the convoluted story.

I've had dates a few times, have always wanted to like them, but just haven't known what to do with their surprising sweetness and stickiness. While perusing my favorite cookbook, Joy of Cooking, I found this brown rice salad recipe featuring dates as one of the main ingredients along with other Middle Eastern flavors including citrus, parsley, cinnamon, cumin, raisins, and lemon juice.

When I made this Middle Eastern brown rice salad today, I changed about half a dozen things from the original recipe based off of what I had on hand. Final result? I like dates! The dates added little pockets of sticky sweetness to the complex flavors in the salad. I highly recommend.

1.5 cups uncooked brown rice
16 dates, pitted and diced
2 tangelos diced
1/4 cup minced green onions
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup minced parsley
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon or lime juice
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon or 1/4 teaspoon of cardamom (We were out of cinnamon, so I used cardamom and a dash of chili powder instead. Delicious.)
chili powder to taste
salt to taste

1. Cook the rice.
2. Mix all other ingredients in a bowl.
3. Once the rice has cooled, mix everything together and serve at room temperature.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Quirks and Sweet Things

Every stage drags in a new challenge, but little joys slip in unannounced as well. Here are some of Grace's little quirks and sweet things from the past few weeks.

Grace gets really into her eating - by the end of one of her thirty minute meals, she's usually a complete mess. Examples:

Grace will go at an entire fruit often eating half before deciding she's "daw-done" (all done).

I'm glad my daughter has inherited my love of beans.

And Michael is glad she's inherited his love of rice noodles.

I've always been amazed at the way mothers can extrapolate meaning from their toddlers' babbling. When Grace was eating hummus at lunch and said "mum muhmuh" I knew she was clearly telling me that she thought her hummus was tasty. She calls hummus "muhmuh" and her word for yummy is "mum." Do you see it now? I promise we aren't making this stuff up!

Grace gets into everything. Fortunately, since she's not walking yet, her messes stay confined to a relatively small area.

We've been playing a lot of hide and seek these days. I hide, Grace seeks. Here's her expression at the moment she finds me. Pure joy.

Before we eat a meal together, we pray. Grace pauses her eating to watch us closely as we do our strange ritual of talking with our eyes shut. When we finish and say, "Amen," she says her "Meh-men." Same thing with her nightly bedtime prayers.

Sometimes the following interaction goes down between Grace and me: Grace gets cranky, so I ask her, "Are you hungry?" No response. "Do you want water?" Nothing. "What do you want?" She then thrusts her little finger into my chest and says, "Mama." She wants me.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...