Tuesday, March 19, 2013

A Woman in her Thirties at Month Nine

Dear Mr. B,

This week you are nine months old.

Yes, you are.

I'm not even kidding.

Things are starting to get fun over here.  You are just figuring out crawling (who would have thought I would end up with a crawler?!), but you haven't quite figured out how to do it with your belly off the floor.  So you look like this at lot of the time:

But that's okay, because you're getting there.  You are so, so active, always wanting to get into everything, always wanting to grab at things and put them in your mouth.  We were lucky with our gentle little Anna in that way:

(Anna at nine months.  Can't handle it.)

She wasn't the explorer that you are.  But then again, she wasn't the extrovert you seem to be.  There is no one that doesn't make you smile.  

Not just smile.  Beam.  And it's ridiculously easy to make you laugh.

And I love that about you, so much.

It's March (AND STILL SNOWING, SOMEONE PLEASE MAKE IT STOP), and I can't help but go back in my mind to March of last year.  Sure, it was 80 DEGREES, but despite the beautiful weather, things were starting to get a little scary around here.  I looked like this:

There were a lot of doctors, at lot of scenarios, a lot of crazy what-ifs.  Sure, I might be rockin' the leggings in that picture (you know it), but Momma was getting scared.

And yet, here you are:

Perfection.  You might be nine whole months now, but you should know there's not a day that goes by that I don't thank heavens for our good fortune; that you found your way to us.  

Now if you could please start sleeping through the night...


Saturday, March 9, 2013

A Woman in her Thirties and Pinterest

Fact:  One of the inventors of the PC (and one of the filthy-richest people on planet earth), originally thought of the home computer as something only his wife would use in the kitchen to store recipes.  Don't ask me how I know that-- I just do.  A woman in her thirties has her secrets.

Why do I share this?  Because I think of it every time I'm on Pinterest.  I have to admit that when Pinterest first came out I was not interested.  I am not crafty and not interested in DIY projects. (I am interested in OTHER people doing them for me, though...)  But then something happened.  I started logging on and seeing recipes I could probably use, then ideas for around the house that I could use, then ideas for the classroom.  And then this last Christmas came around and we used it to compile our Christmas wish lists (which, for me, was highly preferred over the 'Whaddya want?' emails that fly around in December).  Pinterest rocks.

While I have definitely had my share of Pinterest fails (this one is the first one that comes to mind-- NASTY), there have been two wins that I feel I must share with my fellow women in their thirties.  Here they are, in no particular order:

1.  Strawberry Lassi

I used to work with a South African guy who (I'm pretty sure) ran a real-life Fight Club in Beijing.  One time, while riding a sky glider with him over some sort of park in Chengdu, he gave me an important piece of fitness advice:

Work out hungry.  And always have some kind of protein right after.

Okay, I guess that is two pieces of advice.  Now keep in mind that I am hardly Ms. Fitness USA, nor am I Ms. Perfect Diet USA.  But I did read In Defense of Food and I know that all those preservatives and artificial nonsense in our foods is making us fatter, more tired, and more prone to illness. So I try to eat whole food as much as I can, and (almost) never diet food.

I'm not a huge fan of Jamba Juice, partially because I'm cheap and $5 for a stupid smoothie is ridiculous, but mostly because they are just WAY too sweet for me.  So I tried  this recipe out and made some changes and additions, and the end result is this:

1 banana (or any fruit, but I like bananas best)
2 big ol' scoops of nonfat Greek yogurt
two handfuls of ice
a drop of honey
a pinch of salt
and then fill the blender to the top with spinach and blend it up good

I drink this at least twice a week after I run on the treadmill.  It's so good, and with no protein-shake chemicals or Jamba-induced stomach ache.  Pinterest WIN.

2.  Black Bean Brownie

I remember before I had kids I saw Jessica Seinfeld on Oprah.  She was selling her cookbook Deceptively Delicious, where you puree healthy foods and 'hide' them in your children's food so they'll eat them.

I huffed and puffed over this.  My children will eat what I put in front of them!  My children will eat well because I'll teach them to eat well!

Yeah, well, there was a time when Anna's favorite dinner was chicken, spinach, carrots and polenta.  There was a time when the mixed vegetable puree was her favorite baby food.  Not anymore. Getting this girl to eat anything that isn't found in the dairy aisle is a serious challenge.

Except when it comes to sweets.  She most definitely inherited her Momma's sweet tooth.

So I saw this recipe on Pinterest and I thought I might give this whole tricking-your-kids-into-eating-healthy thing a try.

This is not the most delicious brownie you will ever eat.  How could it be?  THE MAIN INGREDIENT IS BLACK BEANS!  (I even omit the chocolate chips because that's how mean I am.) But guess who can't get enough?

And then, of course, is the humor section of Pinterest, which I don't visit often, but when I do I usually find a gem like this:

Because a part of a woman in her thirties is still a ten-year-old girl playing Mad Libs, no matter how old she gets.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

A Woman in her Thirties on a Snowy Day

We have just had our last big snowstorm of the season (she says, fingers crossed).  School was cancelled, music was cancelled, the neighborhood snow plows were in full effect.  As this is my fourth (FOURTH!) Minnesota winter, I have found that I have done less complaining about the weather this year than I have in winters past.  Could it be that I'm finally taking a liking to the seasons?  Or is it that I've got my hands too full most of the time to notice?  I'm not sure.  Either way, this always-California-girl-at-heart has learned to embrace the snowy days.  Here's how:

1. Appreciate the beauty of it
Come on, that's pretty.  Not Mai Tai on the beach pretty.  But pretty.

2.  Go out in it
This is the first winter that Anna can actually enjoy the snow.  Today we made snow angels and dragged a sled around (she refuses to ride in it) while Aaron napped.

3.  Be equipped for it

A certain someone reading this blog gives me a hard time for my shoe-snobbery.  This picture might illustrate why a woman in her thirties needs a good, tall pair of snow boots in these parts. (She also needs a good short pair, a good warm pair [treated, if leather], and a not-so-good junky pair for slipping on and off in the yoga studio.)

4.  Ask for help when you need it

Today I built my first snowman.  It didn't go well.  Dear Minnesota friends, I believe it might be too late to teach me.  But please, teach my children.

5.  Hunker down

I'm well aware of my tendency toward cabin fever.  Here's how we made it through the rest of the day today:


Crawl Practice

 Little Einsteins (Have you seen this show? Adorable. Plus, my kid can say 'Tchaikovsky'.)

Tea Party

Fort building

Barn playing

I can't believe I'm saying this, but as much as I'm ready for Spring, I'll miss the snow when it goes this year.  Who knows-- I might actually get my big butt in a pair of skis next winter.  Or maybe to snowman-making lessons, at the very least.