Posted tagged ‘gratitude’


February 2, 2012

Jane turned one (ONE!) this past Saturday.

For the week or so leading up to her birthday, my mind kept coming back to what I was doing last year at this same time.  Waiting.  I was waiting.  All her tiny clothes had been washed (one vivid memory stands out of folding onesies in my sunlit laundry room, wondering about the brand-new person that would fill them). I had occupied myself for days organizing the pantry and the cupboards in the kitchen.  I spent hours roaming the mall, trying to coax out the little one who seemed to want to take permanent residence inside my body.  She was a week late… and that week seemed longer than the entirety of my pregnancy.

Jane finally arrived after 14 hours of labor and an unplanned C-section.  And she was amazing.  I didn’t fall completely in love with her at first sight, though.  It wasn’t until I held her for the first time (about 30 minutes after her birth) and felt her latch on to breastfeed that I was completely overwhelmed with the enormity of being someone’s mother.  And completely taken aback by how much I loved this tiny baby girl.  Every fiber of my being belonged completely to her.

The first few months of her life whirred by in a sleep-deprived blur.  I wrote lots of things down during that time, in her baby book that I haven’t touched since she was 6 months old.  Then, there seemed to be lots of time to write and contemplate.  She and I had a slow, easy rhythm to our days.  But, once she could sit up (at about 6 months… I am sure I wrote it down somewhere), our times together exploded with possibility and little adventures.  And writing things down fell by the wayside.

I find myself wanting to capture every moment with her in my memory, freeze it so that I can look back and cherish each moment like folks keep telling me to.  But everything happens so quickly.  Now she is a big girl who eats brown rice, tofu and pineapple for dinner with her Baba and I.  She says “mama” and “baba” continuously.  She adores bananas (NANA!) and books (which we have to read over and over again).  She is a toddler.

I am fascinated with the child she is becoming.  She loves people.  The folks at the Y and at the church nursery always talk about what a happy child Jane is.  Amy & I didn’t have much to do with that, Jane just kind of came that way, but I bask in the compliment nonetheless.  At the mall playground the other day, a little girl wanted to hug Jane.  And she did.  Multiple times.  Jane gamely played along.  She even gave the little girl a kiss.  She is just that kind of kid.

Our days aren’t without meltdowns and tantrums; Jane has a strong will and her own idea about how things should go.  And any disapproval in my tone can send her into a crying jag.  But she rebounds quickly.  Tears are followed by hugs and (if I am lucky) a kiss.  I like that she knows what she wants.  And I am thankful that I am strong enough to set boundaries for her.

Jane had her very first cupcake for her first birthday.  She dove right into it, grabbing fistfuls of blue icing and shoving her little hands into her mouth.  She ate that cupcake like she lives her life, with enthusiasm and joy.  I am so amazed that I get to be her mother.  And so very grateful.

love at first lick


Orlando, do you like me the way I like you?

January 7, 2012

It seems as though I might be developing a crush on Orlando.  I find myself wooed by the vegan options and the adorable arts district.

Ethos Vegan Kitchen is located in Orlando’s Downtown Arts District.  I have mentioned Ethos before:  vegan comfort food.  Delicious.  I find myself almost overcome with excitement at being able to order anything in the whole restaurant without having to play 20 questions about the ingredients.  True, I always order the same thing (the What’s the Dilly, Philly?).  But I COULD order anything.  I am so enthused about this place that Amy bought me one of their shirts.  Now I can claim my veganism proudly, while advertising their rad restaurant.  Sweet.

After lunch, we trekked down to Artichoke Red Vegan Market.  The place is tiny, but they pack a lot in.  The have everything from fresh bread and some frozen meat substitute options to health & beauty type stuff and (this is the best part) candy!  Amy bought me a dark chocolate peanut butter cup.  I never really appreciated being able to walk into a store and just buy food that I wanted before I became a vegan.  But I appreciated the hell out of that vegan peanut butter cup.  And, just like Ethos, everything in the store is vegan.  No guesswork, no reading labels.  Just pick something up and enjoy it.

So, yeah, I am crushing pretty hard on Orlando and its vegan-friendly ways right now.  I have felt a little beat-up about the vegan thing lately, so I was pretty grateful for the reprieve today.  Cheers to the little things!

Simple Pleasures

December 14, 2011

Today… I ran.

Thank the Good Lord.

It had been 7 full days since my last run.  Most of those days, I was too overrun by the plague, and taking care of Jane (who has an ear infection), to really lament my missing runs.  But by Monday, I was Cranky McCrankerpants.  I wanted to run, but I just wasn’t sure my body could handle it without going into meltdown mode… and reinfecting itself with the plague.  Normally, I would be willing to take such a risk.  But we have a big trip planned to visit a certain mouse this week, and I couldn’t risk getting sick again.

But today… today I threw caution to the wind, tied on my running shoes, and Jane and I headed out.

It was a slow run.  I only did a 5K.  But it was the most relaxing run I have taken in a while.  It made me remember what is fun about running… how free I feel, how light.  I get to just be.  Not be someone’s mom.  Not be someone’s partner.  Just be.

Glorious.  Truly.

Unexpected Joys

December 1, 2011

The past couple days, Jane has been a crying, teething mess.  Apparently, it is tough to be 10 months old.

I wish I could say I have infinite patience.  I don’t.  Yesterday, I went to the YMCA more for the free babysitting than for the workout.  I just needed some time to breathe.


For the past couple days, every time I take her out of her car seat, she hugs me.  And not just a quick hug.  She hangs on to me for a bit.  We spend several minutes snuggled up in the car before we go about our business.  And each time, the hug catches me off guard, and I am amazed by this wonderful little girl I get to love.

Those hugs make even her bad days seem like a gift.

Vegan Thanksgiving (Take 1)

November 24, 2011

Vegan Thanksgiving success!

No, really.  I know, I can hardly believe it either.  But everything I made was delicious!  And, I escaped with little to no ridicule about my vegan choices from my family members.  Okay, so I did basically have to cook my own Thanksgiving dinner, while my sister cooked for the rest of the family.  But, that isn’t really important.  Because the important part?  Delicious.  All of it.

The biggest question for me this Thanksgiving was what to use in place of turkey.  I haven’t eaten turkey in years, but each year it is a challenge to come up with the anchor dish for the Thanksgiving meal. This year, I treated the turkey substitute as less of an anchor and as more an equal player with the other dishes.  I chose Gardein Savory Stuffed Turk’y.  I have had a few of their products and really enjoyed them, so I bet the farm on their ability to make a meat substitute that wouldn’t disappoint.  The finished product may have looked more like a breaded potato than a piece of turkey, but it sure was tasty!  Crispy on the outside.  Juicy on the inside (with its own stuffing and cranberry built right in!).  And it came with gravy, creamy and spicy (I wish I could identify the spice… may have been rosemary, but could have been thyme or sage).  I loved it.

I had never made stuffing before, and I was a bit intimidated by the whole process.  But the recipe I chose from Savvy Vegetarian cooked up pretty darn easy.  I know for a fact that it had both sage and thyme in it, which gave it a rich, earthy taste.  In fact, it tasted like Thanksgiving to me.  After baking it, I found the stuffing moist but not really cohesive.  I could still see the individual bread cubes, as a matter of fact.  I think the gravy is what really made it come together.  The thick gravy, with little pieces of mushroom, coated the stuffing and the flavors played off each other perfectly.  Another win!

My family makes Sweet Potato Souffle every Thanksgiving.  You know the one:  candied sweet potatoes cooked in butter, mashed with marshmallows on top.  I totally dug it as a kid.  But even before the vegan bit came up, I thought that Sweet Potato Souffle might be a bit sweet for me.  Just a bit.  So, I seized the opportunity to go with a squash dish instead of the usual sweet potato.  I found a recipe for Acorn Squash with Fig, and it was divine!  I loved that the squash wasn’t sweet, but the candied fig & pecan filling was.  The only drawback was attempting to hack through an acorn squash at 6:30 a.m.  But, WAY after the fact, my sister mentioned that their are easier methods to getting into an acorn squash than just hacking away at it with the biggest knife you can find.  And, apparently, they do not involve a chainsaw, which was my next option.

String beans with toasted almond slivers made up the healthiest portion of the meal.  I can’t for the life of me figure out where I found the recipe.  But all it involves is fresh green beans, lightly steamed, a tablespoon of lemon juice, a teaspoon of olive oil and some toasted almond slivers.  Light and refreshing.  I think this is my new favorite way to consume a green bean.  Okay, no, I didn’t really have a favorite way before.  But now I might actually choose to eat more green beans… Another win!

My dessert arrived courtesy of my sister and her boyfriend, who live in Orlando.  They brought me a vegan pumpkin pie from Ethos Vegan Kitchen.  If you are ever in Orlando, please go check them out (Ethos, not my sister and her boyfriend).  I have only eaten there once, but from that experience, I expected pie excellence.  And they totally delivered.  The final win!

This was the best Vegan Thanksgiving ever!  I think this might be the best Thanksgiving I have had in years.  Such good food and a wonderful time with my family.   I am so grateful for all I have.  Happy Thanksgiving y’all!



Keep On Movin’, Don’t Stop…

February 22, 2010

Yesterday marked Day 1 of my cycle, the first one since the loss of Blat.  Tomorrow is the baseline sonogram (or ultrasound… honestly, I can never remember which is which).  Remarkably, I feel okay about these facts.

I think I feared I wouldn’t be ready… that I would feel rushed or pressured (by no one but myself, honestly).  But I don’t feel those things.  I do feel a urge to move forward.  My therapist pointed out that there isn’t much use dwelling on the loss of Blat.  I can still process those feelings while moving on with my plans (and my life).  I believe that to be true.  So, onward!

And, I am remarkably enthusiastic about this whole process (when I figured I would be kind of meh about it… okay, okay, I figured I would be really meh about it).  I guess what I have is hope.  It feels pretty good.


February 11, 2010

I started feeling sniffly last night.  And my tonsils feel like they are contemplating mutiny.  This falls into the category of VERY BAD NEWS, since I wanted to do another long run today (my long run on Monday didn’t go exactly as I wanted–and I am nothing if not neurotic.  I wanted a do-over).

So, since sickness seemed to be descending, I slept in a bit this morning.  After my oatmeal and coffee, I drug myself to school for a meeting, alternating between feeling hyper-energetic and feverish and achy.  When I got to school and tried to park on campus, the parking machine declined my card… so Monkito had to come get me and drop me off at the English Dept (oh, and the parking machine that declined my card charged my account anyway.  BASTARDS!).

Now I am trying to keep my chin up; really, I am.  But the combination of swollen tonsils, achy back and Parking Fiasco 2010 has left me a bit frazzled.  Then, I walk into my office…. and I see an entire plate of cupcakes baked especially for me by my friend JD.  Vanilla cake with chocolate icing.  And SPRINKLES!

Friends make things suck a lot less.  Just sayin’.  Oh, and cupcakes don’t hurt, either.