1 comments 29 October 2007

Elliot I rushed out the door and to save time I brought myself a sandwich and a snack to eat in the car. As we were driving down the road I decided to start with my snack, a tangy berry Fiberful - yum! If you are familiar with this treat you will know that sometimes you get an extra thick one, sometimes they are a little tough and stale and sometimes they are just perfect, soft and chewy. Well this one was especially soft. It was so soft and tasty that I found myself making mmmm noises out loud. After two bites I was halfway done and I decided to look at my food...

This will not keep me from eating or recommending this tasty treat, but I would suggest looking at your food before you eat - haha!

3 comments 25 October 2007

  • Make and devour a homemade double 1/2 Caf Soy Mocha (this always comes first)
  • Read e-mail
  • Read Benbo (including comments, I am obsessed)
  • Check Flickr for adorable babies (Vivian, Jonah and for some reason I look at Elliot's too even though I am generally the one that posts them)
  • Call Dale
  • Use the restroom
  • Add to Elliot's baby book
  • Brush teeth
  • Return phone calls
  • Stare out the window
  • Stare at the sweet sleeping baby making sweet sleeping baby noises
  • Throw in a load of laundry
  • Brainstorm dinner (one bright idea is for Dale to pick up dinner...Chipotle or Indian)
  • Wash dishes
  • Cook dinner (see brainstorming)
  • Empty the dishwasher (the downside to cooking = more dishes)
and last but never least...

4 comments 23 October 2007

I used to hate daytime TV (circa 1990) when the only thing on was soap operas and talk shows (and re-runs of The Andy Griffith Show). And even though I know intellectually that daytime is different now with so many channels to choose from (Food, Home, Music, History, etc.) and DVR’s to help get through those dull moments, I still held on to that loathing for daytime TV. But that all changed when Dale went back to work and Elliot began nursing like a champ…I turned on the tele and it has now become a ritual when I sit on the sofa to feed Elliot I tune in to Food TV! I seem to always feed him during Paula Deen, Everyday Italian, 30 Minute Meals (don't hate Rach) or Diners, Drive-In's & Dives. These shows have been both entertaining to me and have been bringing out my inner chef. I have always been a Food TV junkie (from way back when Emeril was still cool), but I would watch from afar (with admiration) never thinking I could really cook something that good! I would express my inner-foodie by dining out, not in. Over the years I gained more confidence in my cooking (practice, practice) but never really got very adventurous. Well, if you spend enough time in front of Food TV you are going to get inspired eventually. In the last two weeks I have been inspired to make a few things and have been so impressed with myself that I had to share.

Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches - I made the chicken, toasted some rolls and called it dinner!
Penne with Spinach & Arugula Sauce - I used Arugula in the sauce and it added a little kick. This is a super easy weeknight and if you toss in a bit of grilled chicken you have a very complete meal too!
Parmesan Crusted Chicken Fingers - Nothing special, but better than just plan old chicken. The dipping sauce is yummy!
Steak and Arugula Salad - I used flank steak and it was great! This is a wonderful weeknight meal when you want some meat but nothing super heavy.
And...(Drum roll please)
Halibut with Balsamic Glaze - This recipe was a bit of an adventure because my regular grocery store does not sell seafood (a few packages of pre-marinated salmon) so I bought fish for the first time at a nearby Asian market where the seafood is so fresh it is swimming in tanks. I've been to this Asian market before, but never for seafood and since I am a novice with seafood to begin with I was a bit nervous. All they had for halibut were steaks and I needed fillets, so a guy came out and cut this giant steak into four pieces, removed the skin and bone and convinced me they were fillets. This recipe was a big deal for
me because I have mental block when it comes to cooking anything from the sea - love to eat it, fear cooking it! My sweet husband even took a picture.

3 comments 20 October 2007

On Thursday my 'check engine' light came on while driving home from music class. I have a very loooong history of issues with my car that I will not go into today. When I got home I realized that Elliot and I were housebound until the car was examined. Normally I would not mind a day at home if it were a choice I made but because my car was trying to prohibit me from leaving the house my urge to go somewhere was so strong. The grocery store where I usually shop is right by the Starbucks featured in a previous post "A Short Walk" so I decided that since I survived it once it would be healthy to do it again (5 miles roundtrip) only this time I would bring lots of water and wear appropriate footwear. After all, those pesky pregnancy pounds are not melting off by themselves!

I packed all the necessities in the bottom of the stroller (water, diapers, extra blanket, wipes, cell phone, etc.), I strapped in Mr. Graham and we were on our way. It was a gorgeous fall day, sunny and warm but not hot. We were breathing in the fresh air and admiring the changing colors of the trees in our neighborhood (yes, we have real autumn in California - a rant for another day). So over the hills (freeway overpasses) and through the woods (overgrown bushes that required special stroller moves to avoid getting branches in Elliot’s face) we went on our merry way to the grocery store. Once we were over the hills (out of the housing area and into the shopping area) the air was not quite so fresh and as we approached the first major stop light I realized that there were no other people walking - we were alone. Well, that is not entirely true...we did pass an old woman walking to the bus stop and when we got to the parking lot of the grocery store there was a disabled homeless man in a wheelchair. Other than that, walkers were absent from the streets. You could tell that the drivers were not used to seeing walkers either because when the red hand was solid folks were hesitating to turn in front of me and when the white walking android was signaling for Elliot and I to walk people were carelessly turning in front of us - yikes this was dangerous! Keep in mind I was actually hit by a car once (in a crosswalk!).

I remember when Dale and I lived in San Francisco (where I was hit by a car) I made the argument that people in cities were probably "healthier" on average because of the amount of walking they do. One of the things I miss most about The City is our inability to conveniently walk to most places (dinner, to get groceries, pick-up dry cleaning, etc.) Walking to the grocery store in the suburbs is a 2-hour mission filled with smoggy air (yes the city has that too), inconsiderate drivers (ok, city has these too) and an overall landscape that pretends to be walker friendly (bushes overgrowing sidewalks, sidewalks missing where you need them most - the city doesn’t pretend). Have you ever noticed that the sidewalk ends where the driveway begins at shopping center? How is a walker supposed to enter the shopping center safely? I was forced to walk in the same driveway that cars use and then bolt to the nearest shopping center sidewalk to avoid getting smeared. Figured I should end on a dramatic note. Oh, and I guess I should mention we got home safely :)

3 comments 18 October 2007

One of our weekly adventures is Music Class. Elliot and I go every Thursday morning and we sing silly songs, play instruments and we dance like camels. We all know that music in and of itself is good for children (brain development, etc., etc.). I realized that it is also great for our babies to see us Moms and Dads being silly and having fun too! I am often stuck in this way of thinking about what is good for Elliot and forget sometimes that what is good for Mommy is also good for Elliot. So we danced around like camels and I experienced extra joy in this special time with him (only 2 1/2 months until I go back to work) and as I danced around him he reflected that joy back at me with a huge gummy grin!

Here is a picture from class...Elliot would be the one without the Mommy or Daddy :) We'll try for an action shot next time (dancing like camels, playing instruments).

2 comments 15 October 2007

I have always found comfort in food. When I am feeling blue I might make myself fried eggs (over-easy) on toast or an English muffin with peanut butter. When I am feeling restless or bored I will make frequent trips to the kitchen browsing the pantry for a cracker or two, some cookies, or some more crackers. Restlessness sometimes even inspires the baker in me and most often it is chocolate chip cookies that I am inspired to make (from scratch, never from a mix!). It is not only when I am down that I take comfort in food, what better way to spend catching up with a good friend then over coffee and a treat. Or what better way for Dale and I celebrate our relationship than over a decadent dinner. You get the idea.

Over the years I have learned to choose healthier foods but I have never stopped finding comfort in them. I spend a lot of time in particular searching for new snack foods (low fat, high fiber) that are not only a bit healthier but taste good too (TJ's has the best selection of these). Dale and I often enjoy finding and tasting new snacks together and when we find a really good on
e we enjoy sharing it with our friends (they share a lot with us too!). As you know from my previous post I recently pulled out old family photo albums from storage. As I flipped through the photos piecing together memories I came across a photo that says so much about who I am today and the comfort I find in food. I thought we would all get a kick out of this one! Enjoy!

Here's some of my favorite snacks:

Fiberfuls (TJ's)
Kashi TLC Cheese Crackers (quite tasty dipped in peanut butter)
TJ's Everything Crackers (quite tasty dipped in TJ's spicy hummus)
Clif Mojo Bars (peanut butter pretzel flavor)
Soy Crisps (BBQ)
Vita Tops (Choc and Blueberry are best - especially with peanut butter, though there is a new corn flavor that I haven't tried yet)
I almost forgot Snackimals the best little cookie ever! All flavors!

4 comments 12 October 2007

I went to my storage unit today looking for old photo albums so I could finally compare what I looked like as a baby to what my son looks like. I found a ton of great old photos decorated with lots of avocado green, burnt orange and shag carpet. I also found my baby book. For those of you that are second in line you know what it is like to have an incomplete baby book. I don't have any hard feelings, that's just the way goes (I am sure it is even worse if you are a third or fourth child). My mom had written a few little things in the book like, "Eats like a Pig" or "Quite a temper". These are the same sorts of things I write about Elliot in his book (though maybe not quite so honest). Now that I have a baby I have so many questions...How many ounces did I eat at each feeding and how frequently did I eat? Did I cry when my diaper was changed or when I had a bath? I want to be able to share back with her how much Elliot eats and how he would shed real tears when we took him out of first baths. When I write "smiles all the time" in Elliot's book I hope to also be able to share in more detail with him when he is an adult how much his smile captivated us and how his Dad and I would look at each other and say "It's intoxicating!" every time he gave us that big gummy grin. I hope he never has to wonder what his Mom meant by "smiles a lot".

0 comments 11 October 2007

When I wrote "Ode to some wise Mama's I know" Elliot was just 2 months old and we were still in the midst of a feeding frenzy trying to get his weight up. Leaving the house was pretty tough and even if we did go out we couldn't stray too far. Elliot is 3 months old now and just over 13 lbs! We go out quite a bit these days and have some wonderful adventures.

About a week ago Elliot and I were supposed to have lunch with a friend when I awoke in the morning to the sound of our street being repaved. There was no way to get my car out of the garage, so I asked if my friend and her son would meet at our house and we could walk to the nearby pizza place. According to my yellow pages search the pizza place was only 3/10 of a mile from home, so while I was at it I checked how much further it would be to the nearest Starbucks and was thrilled to discover it was only 1/2 mile further than the pizza place. When they arrived we headed for the pizza place and asked if she and her son would be up for the walk to Starbucks afterwards. It was a beautiful day for a walk, so of course she said yes (something she surely regretted later).

After lunch we walked and walked and walked and walked...45 minutes later we finally arrived at the Starbucks. We were dripping with sweat and Elliot was overdue for a feeding. We ordered coffee (and H2O) and I proceeded to feed (which took an hour because I had not learned yet the art of shortening feedings which I learned a day too late at 'Mommy & Me'). So with two kids and two strollers a cab was out of the picture so we headed back and after another 45 minutes we arrived home. Somehow even with the giant blisters on my feet the walk home did seem shorter. I guess it wasn't the best day to break in a new pair of shoes.

I know I just had a baby and am not in the best shape of my life but that walk really did seem longer than 8/10 of a mile. I decided to go back to the yellow pages and it did indeed say 8/10 of a mile (with Mommy brain you can never be too sure you read something correctly). So I clicked on the map link and proceeded to create driving directions to see which route the 8/10 was taking. And according the driving directions it was actually 2.5 miles one way or 5 miles round-trip! 5 miles is a long trip when you are pushing ~25lbs. But what went wrong? Why were the two distances so different? My husband and I put our brains together and figured out that the yp distance is based on an imaginary straight line between two points/locations. So even though one would NEVER be able to actually travel the imaginary straight line, the nice people at yp still thought we'd care to know that distance! The difference between the two might not always be so large, but since where we live there is a HUGE nature preserve blocking our ability to travel the imaginary straight line it was very significant.

3 comments 09 October 2007

For the last 6 years my dear husband has had to listen to me complain about the fridge I wanted that we didn't buy. I think it generally goes something like, "I told you so" whenever we are soaking up the water leaking from the fridge we did buy. I decided we had waited long enough and I was going to take the baby with me to a local appliance store and damn it, I was buying us a new fridge!

The long awaited bottom freezer like we had when I was a kid (though this one was not avocado green) was ordered and would arrive in a week. A week later it did arrive but the door opened from the wrong side! Easy enough said the delivery man as he proceeded to change the door (as I was trying to occupy sweet Elliot I could hear the sound of screws stripping - not good!). After an hour he realized that this particular model needed a different part in order to convert from a left opening to right...and the part would take a week. So out went the new fridge and in came the old one and I put every condiment, beverage and bag of frozen veggies back. Fortunately I have a wonderful neighbor who was willing to let me store my breast milk in her freezer so as to not risk a partial thaw (it's liquid gold, can't take any chances)! A week later the part arrived at our house? The appliance store assured me it was customary to send the part to the customer. Makes perfect sense to me! Waste more of the customers’ time switching the door out instead of having it done at the warehouse ahead of time. While he had me on the phone we scheduled the fridge to be delivered again. After 2 more weeks I still didn’t have the fridge AND I had multiple people leaving me messages asking if I had received the part. I believe I can be quoted as saying, “Are you F****** kidding me? Yes I have the part! I called you two weeks ago to tell you this”! I had had enough of the back-and-forth and finally told them to keep the fridge and give me my money back!

I really wanted to support a local business, but it was time to call Old Faithful. I went online picked out the one I wanted and called in the order so that I could once again specify that the door hinges be on the LEFT side. I was so excited! I so badly wanted a new fridge and I really felt like it was now going to happen. A few days later my 2nd new fridge arrived and once again the door opened on the wrong side. Is deafness inherent in all appliance stores? My first thought was that the delivery man would just switch it himself as it was not the exact same model and should not require the "special" part. Heck, even if it did need the special part, it was ok because I still had the one I got for the 1st fridge. Unfortunately the delivery man from Old Faithful said that they don't switch them on site and so I quickly called customer service to find out how to proceed - keep the new one and wait for a service person to come out OR have them bring back in my old one. According to customer service they don't switch the doors for this model and want to deliver me a whole new fridge (they only switch at the factory? I wasn't entirely clear on this one). This time I would at least get to make use of the 2nd new fridge while waiting for the 3rd one to arrive (trying to find a bright side).

And so on October 8th, 2007 I once again took everything out of the fridge and freezer and they delivered our new Bottom Freezer Fridge with a door that opens on the right side!