Monthly Archives: April 2015

TBT: First memory

While we were in Lakeport a couple weeks ago, I mentioned something about how I wanted to get some ABC cookie cutters. (Kinda silly since do you know how complicated making roll-out cookies is?? I never do it.) But my mom said she had some, and she went to find them.

She didn’t have the ABCs, but she had a set of numbers, which is also cool…and she also came back with this box:

IMG_0250

I saw this box and it was a huge immediate blast from the past. I feel like my first real, conscious memory (unlike the vague “feelings” I have about being at my grandparents’ house in Van Nuys before they moved to Northern California) was standing in the kitchen looking at these cookie cutters, and being delighted to have them for my very own. I have the notion that they came from the SF Exploratorium although that’s probably wrong.

But look at the back of this box. That is some juvenile handwriting there. That has to put at least a “no later than” date on it.

Memory is a funny thing, because it just goes, doesn’t it? Not even just your first memories, but then also like, what did I spend all my time doing in high school? (Hanging out with my bff?) When was the first time I ever met Drew? (A class, I think?) What was B like in those newborn days? (I remember him sleeping a lot, and us stressing over his weight gain.) How do I not remember these things that you’d think would be kind of important…?

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Fun with Fire Hydrants

B has gotten really into spotting fire hydrants, which is interesting for me because I never really paid any attention to them. But they’re all over. (I guess that’s a good thing.) They also come in a surprising range of colors.

We were driving home from somewhere, and talking about all the fire hydrants, when Drew mentioned something about “the blue reflectors.” I didn’t know what he was talking about, so he started pointing out the blue reflectors, just off of the center line, every time there was a fire hydrant on the side of the road.

I have noticed these reflectors before, but accepted them as…what? Nothing? Sometimes I deliberately run over them because it’s satisfying to aim for something and feel that bump-bump. But now that I know what they represent…I see them everywhere. I feel like a whole new world of city planning has opened up for me.

Am I the only person who didn’t know the purpose of the blue reflectors??

  

3 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

What I Learned from Meal Planning

I got this idea in my head that meal planning is a grown-up thing to do. I remember as a kid having a weekly (or monthly??) menu posted on the fridge, and then I think that for the most part we actually followed that menu.

I have said before (loudly and frequently!) that the hardest, most tiring part of being a parent is being in charge of someone else’s meals every single day, particularly when that person is a 2-year-old who primarily wants pappunoni pizza, watermelon, meenut butter and jim, or cake. So when meal planning, I tried really hard to take this opinionated little guy into account, and plan things that we could all actually eat together.

We did one week of following a meal plan, and here’s what I learned:

You can’t actually shop for the whole week at once.

This was my original grand plan. I had a gift card to Safeway and I went and stocked up on basics and necessities, and I was really proud when all I paid was $18 over the gift card amount. But the truth is, you can’t always buy produce on Sunday that’s for eating on Friday. We lost a couple things that way, and I had to do a second trip partway through the week.

I guess I should have known that. I’m aware of how quickly produce goes. But I got so caught up in the money-saving, time-saving, health-conscious extravaganza that I was taking on that I didn’t really think about all the logistics.

Cooking meals each night takes a lot of time.

It was really nice to have the pressure off at 5pm when the “What’s for dinner” conversations started happening. But, here’s the thing: Usually, B eats at 6pm and we just hang out with him, and then Drew and I eat after B goes to bed. So not only was one of us spending a bunch of time each night preparing a more elaborate meal than usual…but that time was happening between 5-6pm, prime play time.

Also, Drew and I probably forage for dinner 2 or 3 days a week. For example, last night he had eggs and chicken-apple sausage, and I had a sandwich. These took 10 minutes to prepare concurrently. So just in general, cooking a family meal every night added a lot of time to the in-the-kitchen schedule.

…But it is nice to have leftovers.

It was really nice to have interesting leftovers for all of us to take for lunch the next day. B gets a lot of repeat meals, so being able to throw something new in there was probably nice for him, and made me feel like I was being a good parent. Also, since I went on a big grocery shopping trip, I wanted to be able to parlay that into lunches so I didn’t have to spend money during the week.

There’s actually an element of “planning.”

I didn’t realize how to manage the details. I just threw things on different days, and tried to space out all the chicken. But now I know, if you have two meals that use basil, maybe put them closer together so your basil doesn’t completely wilt between them. Or, if you know Survivor is on on Wednesday nights, don’t plan something elaborate that you’re going to have to be either cooking or cleaning up while the show is starting. And give yourself an “egg sandwich” night in the middle of the week, as a break from all the “shepherd’s pie” nights.

Sometimes something comes up.

There’s a lot more life getting in the way than I realized. When planning, I had to work around such things as Easter, dinners out with friends, and other events. We ended up doing this on the least busy week possible, so that we could really give it the old college try, but there always seems to be something coming up.

We also have a slight disadvantage in that Drew doesn’t get home before 5pm, and I am usually at least half an hour behind him. When I think about my parents or my friends, many of whom are teachers, I realize that they have a major heads up over us in that they are home earlier in the day. One friend of mine posted a recipe on Facebook, saying that it was super easy because you could just stick it in the oven and come back 2 hours later. While I do appreciate the ease of that, and plan on taking advantage of it on a weekend, I just don’t have 2 hours’ worth of cooking time on a weeknight.

Overall

It’s really nice to just have a plan in place. And to have that plan include vegetables, which are already in the fridge and ready to be cooked. Without a plan, we have nearly nightly conversations that go, “What do you want for dinner?” “I don’t know, do you have any feelings?” “I don’t know, I just want you to pick something.” “Well, I don’t know…” So going a week without having that conversation was really nice.

Some nights, B would eat what we were eating and it was like this magical curtain of “we’re doing it right!” fell around us. Some nights he was not interested at all and we had to settle for “oh well, we tried.”

I tried to make another weekly schedule but then it just kind of fell through. Maybe next week we can get back on the wagon, because I think overall it was beneficial, albeit tiring.

Help me out with next week, and leave me a comment with your favorite plan-in-advance weeknight meal! (Bonus points if a toddler will eat it.)

2 Comments

Filed under Children, Drew, Family, Food, Humor, Nonfiction

Impromptu Clear Lake visit

This week was the last week of my second term of school, so when I had pretty much wrapped up everything by this weekend, I was eager to get all of us out of the house. Drew suggested we go visit my parents, since we haven’t been up there in awhile, and the weather in Lake County was supposed to be sunny and in the 80s. So yesterday we drove up there for a quick random visit (we were only there for about 5 hours).

It was so nice to see everything again and see what my parents have been doing to their house and yard. B was perfectly happy to play in their garden storage area, which has a gravel floor, and practice scooping and pouring (and dumping and mess-making). I had been thinking a lot about the county park which is nearby their house, so after lunch we all drove over there to check it out.

The play structure I remember is gone, but replaced with one that’s more plastic-based (and probably safer). My dad was pushing B on the swing and B said “Awesome! Is AMAZING!” So cute. My dad said, “Has he been on a swing before?” We were like “YES all the time.”

IMG_0167

Then, since the lake is RIGHT THERE, we couldn’t resist letting him go in a little bit. I walked in with him and he splashed and picked up rocks and algae. He kept saying “Go out there” and pointing out to the lake. Next time we’ll have to take him swimming for reals.

IMG_0177

We went back to the house and he drew with my parents on a chalkboard for awhile, and tried to get close to the cats (good luck) and played with blocks and letter magnets. We left right before 4 when he started melting down from not napping. Drove all the way home with him chatting in the back and not napping. He told us a bunch of times he “had fun with Grandpa and Grandma.”

5+ hours in the car? Totally #worthit!

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Sleep Talking 32: The Snake

I’m currently reading Augusten Burroughs’ A Wolf at the Table, which is a memoir about his father, and I know some people have had issues with the story because he starts with “memories” from when he’s a toddler, but you know what, I’m okay with that. But it’s a hard read, because all he wants is affection and love, and his mom has some problems with her mental health, and from what I can tell so far, his dad is insane and possibly dangerous. I keep telling Drew, “You have to be a loving father. You have to give him lots of attention.”

Anyway. I was reading last night, and then I turned off the light, and Drew said,

“Did that snake come to bed with you?”

I said, “What?!”

And he said, “The snake. On your shoulders.”

EXCUSE ME? Ew! And for the record, NO.

Leave a comment

Filed under Books, Drew, Sleep talking