Monday, April 29, 2013

Spring in the City

Yesterday some friends had a picnic in the park near the cherry blossoms on the west side of the reservoir. It was a lovely day, perfect for good friends, good food and beautiful blossoms. Mostly the boys ran around trying to climb trees and dig in the dirt. They were filthy by the time we left. Fiona spent most of the time in my arms due to feeling under the weather. But I actually took the camera with me this time to take a couple shots.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

What's for dinner?

It's sometimes hard to come up with a week's worth of menus all at once, but it keeps me on budget and on track, otherwise we may end up eating cereal for dinner. I have to know what I am making so that I can plan it into my day.

Tues: Quinoa salad with Mango and Black Beans (I add lime juice and a little honey to the sauce)
Wed: homemade macaroni and cheese with steamed/roasted broccoli (loosely based on this recipe)
Thurs: Turkey Burgers with homemade fries and cucumbers
Fri: crockpot chicken tacos with spanish rice and salad
Sat: Pizza and arugula salad
Sun: Chickpea Cakes with Roasted Cauliflower and salad
Mon: Carrot Soup (John loves this and requests it, so I make it a lot)

Saturday, April 06, 2013

It's been a while

I often have a lot of thoughts swirling in my head. A lot. I am my own worst critic. I judge everything I do, and often unfairly. At 35, I have a lot of the same insecurities I did when I was in junior high. You would think that 20 years would give me a better perspective on myself, but alas I seem to be a product of those formative years. It makes me wonder if I will ever get over some of those things.

I think I beat myself up daily over what kind of mother I am. I think I do a lot of things right, but I also think I do a lot of things wrong. The hard part comes when I see the things I want to change, and I really want to change them, but I can't seem to change them because of ingrained habit or upbringing or who knows what. I love my kids. I love them a lot. Sometimes I am too hard on them. Sometimes I expect too much out of them. I yell at them way more than I would like to. I'd like to not yell at all. Sometimes I treat them like they are 10 years older than they are rather than like the small little humans they really are. And at the end of the day, I look back on things I did, things I said, the reactions I got or didn't get, and it makes me want to cry. I often do.

I look at other moms I admire and wonder how they can be so loving and patient and kind with their kids. Of course, I know I don't see everything, just the way people who believe I am that kind of mother don't see everything that happens in my house. I compare myself sometimes to other people, much the way I did in junior high. It's kind of ridiculous and unfair. I know I do a lot of things right. I try to teach my kids and play with them and take them out to enjoy different parts of the city. I get them outside to enjoy the sun and fresh air. We learn and we create. But sometimes I wonder if at the end of the day, they know I really and truly love them, which is the most important thing I could have them know. Did I hug them enough or hold them when they asked? Did I tell them I loved them? Or was I too busy making dinner or cleaning up messes? When I realize it was so much of the latter, I want to cry. And often do.

It's a tough balancing act, this role of motherhood. It's so thankless and and yet I get little rewards throughout the day when my kids tell me they love or when I got spontaneous hugs and kisses. I struggle to know how much discipline they need and how much freedom to just be kids they should have.

I can hardly believe I am 35 years old. How did that happen? Twenty some odd years ago, I was a skinny junior high kid, who learned a difficult lesson. Girls can be very mean. Friendships are hard. And being vulnerable and open takes practice. That one took me about a decade or two to figure out. I had a couple of god girlfriends when I started junior high, but over the course of the year, those friends turned on me and turned so many others against me, and I never understood why. I had to sit by myself on the bus. I had to walk to the bus stop by myself when I had once walked with these friends. They left nasty notes in my locker and teased me. It made going to school really hard. It made going to church really hard. I cried a lot. That must have been really hard for my mom. I just wanted to be loved and accepted. I wanted to know if I had done something wrong.

Sometime after the school year was over, they apologized and we were friends again. But the same thing happened the following year and then the year after that. It was torturous. By the middle of my 8th grade year, I became hardened and indifferent. I didn't want to be friends with them. I wanted them to leave me alone, so I could move on and make other friends. In my heart, I had forgiven them, but I didn't want to be around them. It was all so stupid.

As high school commenced, we put all that ridiculous behavior behind us, and we were friends once again. And we have been ever since. I actually consider them 2 of my dearest and longest friends. I admire them as women and mothers. They are beautiful and wonderful people. But that experience made me insecure about friendships with girls. That has never gone away. I was always better friends with guys, never felt judged by them or felt a need to compete or impress them. It has always been that way. But even now, at 35, I am often insecure about my female friendships. I don't have a lot of really close friends. The ones I do have, I have probably had for more than a decade, and if you ask any one of them, they would tell you that it probably took a long time for me to really open up about things that were really personal and important.

As I find myself a happily married woman with three beautiful and wonderful children that I adore. They take up about 110% of my time and energy, which makes it difficult to invest in new friendships, but that doesn't mean I don't crave female friends. I do. I am a woman. I am programmed to thrive on female friends. Most of my good friends have moved away, which makes spending time together difficult. Having kids makes communication difficult because it is hard to talk on the phone or send emails when they are awake. I have a lot of good mom friends, but mom friends are not the same as friend friends. I love them for their example and the validation and companionship they give me through this time of motherhood, but I often miss that deep connection I had/have with my good friends. And I find that I get insecure around them. I feel left out often and wonder how so many of them have managed to connect and become good friends. It's like junior high all over again.

But this is where I am in my life and would not want to be anywhere else. I am happy to be a mother and to devote my time and attention to these little humans that have been given to me. Their happiness is my happiness. I would not want to go back to being single. This has tested me in ways I never knew possible. But my joy is full because of my family. All things will work themselves out in time. Meanwhile, I am truly grateful for those women I call friends, true friends, whether near or far. Their love and support and genuine interest in my life mean the world to me.

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

What's for dinner

I totally forgot to post last week, so here is what I made last:

Tues: Quinoa with craisins and broccoli
Wed: Pasta with tomato sauce
Thurs: slow cooker garlic chicken and couscous
Fri: pizza
Sat: Cobb salad and homemade bread
Sun: roast beef in crock pot
Mon: carrot soup

And here's what I'm making this week:
Tues: cheese ravioli with brown butter, sage, apples and walnuts with sautéed zucchini
Wed: Hawaiian fried rice
Thurs: chicken curry and green beans
Fri: sweet and sour ground pork meatballs over rice
Sat: creamy broccoli and white bean soup
Sun: mozzarella, tomatoes and basil sandwiches with salad
Mon: leftovers or quiche or macaroni and cheese

Monday, March 18, 2013

What's for dinner

Sometimes I cater to my kids' requests because they don't make that many when it comes to dinner, we had hot dogs and broccoli on Saturday instead of chili. That pushed things back a day, which is cool by me. So here's what we are eating this week:

Mon - potato tart and asparagus
Tues - crockpot sesame honey chicken and carrots over rice (it was good. Not awesome, but good. I roasted the carrots, which were lovely. When I make this again, I might have to make some adjustments to make it awesome, but it gets a thumbs up for being easy and practically hands free.)
Wed - broccoli pesto pasta
Thurs - honey lime tilapia with green beans and rice
Fri - waffles and smoothies (it's my birthday so I reserve the right not to cook anything fancy)
Sat - Brussels and shells 
Sun - ranch house pork chops in the crock pot with mashed potatoes
Mon - corn cakes with avocado tomato relish

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

What's for dinner?

My blog is sad. Sorry. But I had a thought that I would start posting my weekly dinner menu because maybe there is someone out there who needs a good dinner idea like I do sometimes. And if not, it's a good record for me.

I was at Trader Joes yesterday getting a few staples ( alone, I might add, which was heavenly despite the crowd), and I decided last minute that I didn't want to go grocery shopping again this week. I didn't have a menu plan so I just thought of what I already had and what I could get at TJs, so here it is.

Mon - chicken soup and bread
Tues - red Thai curry with beef and snap peas
Wed - pasta/gnocchi with tomato sauce and broccolini
Thurs - black beans and rice
Fri - pizza and salad
Sat - chili
Sun - potato tart with roasted carrots

Happy eating!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


John and I are talking about Japan this week. WE have watched videos on Tsunamis, Sumo wrestling and karate. We made a folding fan and attempted some origami. Today we worked on Haikus. Here are 2 of John's:


Leaves are soft and brown
Falling down to the wet ground
Big and small for all.

Waves crash on the shore
Salty breeze on white bubbles
Hot on my wet skin.