Seriously. It’s so incredibly boring. It’s just me blabbing to myself about where I am and what comes next. Save yourself and click back now.

I’m sitting just outside the door of our little TriBeCa (see how I capitalized correctly? and oh, yes, I forgot to mention – we moved to NY!) apartment, on the worn carpet floor, indian-style (I do believe I just said something not politically correct – good, let’s not take it back), back against the wall, hunched over my laptop. Shhh…I’m hiding.  There’s a two-year-old just inside who is mighty manipulative, in the most endearing way. If mommy is inside trying to work and daddy is putting her to bed, she’ll escape the bedroom and come crying to me as if traumatized. If I’m just outside the door, she happily goes to sleep for her daddy. So I’ve taken to sitting outside the door. My neighbors all ask “is it the two year old again?” I say simply, “yes.”

Are you asleep yet? We’re off to a fascinating start, aren’t we?

I have a delimah. dilimah. dilemma. Who the heck knows how to spell that word?? Not spellchecker, that’s for sure. Anyway, I digress. I’ve got two (and a secret third) blog. One’s about food. One’s about pregnancy and the first two years. The third is rarely updated and contains slightly abstract writing that would likely alienate any audience more than these posts even.

Point is, I need to rearrange, consolidate, change the subject a little to reflect where I currently am. Does that make sense? But the thought of dealing with all that technical stuff just exhausts me! Any volunteers? Oh well. Never mind, tomorrow is another day. I’ll think about that tomorrow.

Where am I in life?  I’ve abandoned all three of my blogs for quite some time. I could tell you what I’ve done with that free time, but it would bore you because you already know how busy we all are so that any free time is all to easily eaten up by a million other to-dos or, worse, Facebook and the like. By the way. I’m so deleting my Facebook account. The only reason I haven’t already is because I dread the task of salvaging photos I don’t want to lose that only live on Facebook. We got rid of cable t.v. and I highly, highly recommend this if you have things you want to accomplish at night. It worked better than I ever imagined.

So – where am I. We’re living in New York City. My husband, daughter, dog, and I. We live in a tiny but cute apartment in the overpriced neighborhood TriBeCa. I love the neighborhood but if we’d known the city better we would have chosen a cheaper but equally awesome neighborhood. I am staying home with Catherine and doing freelance writing at home for extra money. I intended to get a job right away, but I found a million other things to do besides job/nanny hunt – namely, savor this fleeting time when I get to spend every minute of the day with my daughter.

This week, after a series of events I cannot mention here, I started a new routine. Every day is thoroughly planned in advance, and I stick to the routine. I’m getting much more done and our days are going so much more smoothly.

Here’s an example of how our days go.

  • Take Meeks (our dog) out for a quick walk.
  • Make Catherine’s breakfast (examples: fruit and bacon; fruit and oatmeal; veggie omelet)
  • Morning run while Chris showers/gets dressed/watches Catherine.
  • Take Catherine to the park with her scooter/stroller/bubbles/current favorite stuffed animal. (Or sometimes the grocery store, or errands I need to run, etc).
  • Make a quick lunch (a simple spin on leftovers usually) and eat together. Take Meeks out.
  • Nurse, book, nap by 2pm.
  • While Catherine naps, I get furiously to work on freelance or other computer-related tasks or undesirable customer service phone calls.
  • Catherine wakes after about an hour and a half to two hours if I’m lucky, and I give her a snack (green smoothies; homemade treats; yogurt; etc.) and we have a planned activity. Sometimes that’s coloring, sometimes blocks, sometimes a special surprise I’ve created for her.
  • Then she “helps” me clean, do laundry, etc. and make a super-quick, tasty, nutritious dinner. I’ve stopped making overly intricate nightly feasts in order to invest that time more wisely. Catherine eats by 6pm.
  • We take Meeks out.
  • I give her a bath, read her books, nurse her, brush her teeth, and put her to bed (sometimes Chris puts her to bed, especially since I turned over a new leaf and began requesting it so that I can have some time to work on my own projects. I’m not a night owl so if I don’t start by 8pm it’s really difficult to accomplish anything). She is in bed by 8pm. And I am out the door to write. Whether it’s for my freelance work, the blog, or a short story, I’m using this time to write.

That’s a great example of how our typical day goes. Everything down to every meal is extremely planned out in advance. That’s my secret to good days.

Catherine’s naps this week have been used to research nursery schools and get my job credentials up to date, leaving nights for freelance mostly.

My goals continue to be:

  1. to soak in every second of motherhood and be the amazing mom Catherine deserves.
  2. to give my writing the time it deserves.
  3. and on a related note, to give myself the time I need to make the above happen.

I refuse to bore you further.

Because I always go back to food. :)

photoShell peas from the farmers market (shelled by yours truly while watching The Royal Tenenbaums with a big bowl perched upon my lap), freshly shucked corn on the cob (Catherine’s fav), green mac n cheese (a staple here), and biscuits (the only biscuit recipe I ever use, except I use all butter because I never have shortening – for shame!). I cook about 5 nights a week, but this was post-worthy because in all my years of cooking I don’t think I have ever enjoyed a meal I cooked as much as this one. It was really perfection, to me anyway. We had leftovers tonight but it just wasn’t the same.

Catherine loves corn on the cob. More than ANYTHING. To watch her eat it, you’d think she hadn’t eaten in days.

Almost-two is definitely an amazing age. It should be called The Wonderful Twos in my opinion.

So much has happened since I last blogged. Catherine has blossomed into a perfect almost-two-year old girl with big blue eyes and white blonde curls. We have moved to New York City. And, I have discovered this smoothie and haven’t looked back.

[Here is where you imagine I took the time to post a photograph of this pure grass-green smoothie in a tall glass on my white, sunlight-drenched breakfast table.]

Here’s a little exercise I did just for you.  Q: Can you describe this smoothie in a few words? A: Yes. Clean. Creamy. Refreshing. Filling. Light. Perfection.

Banana Parsley Smoothie

1 banana

1 big handful fresh parsley

chia and flax seeds

water and ice

Blend until smooth. Drink. Enjoy flavors like: subtly sweet and creamy from the banana, grassy and clean and fragrant from the parsley, substantial from the seeds, and cold and refreshing from the ice water. You’ll feel completely satisfied and it will hold you over for hours, yet has very few calories.

Tonight we had sandwiches, cut into the shape of stars.  They were grilled extra sharp white cheddar cheese sandwiches, with finely chopped spinach inside, all on “whole grain” bread bought at Target, because there was no time to get any really good bread from the farmers market, and this was the only imperfect part of the whole meal, though it was barely noticeable.  Because the sandwiches were stars only in shape; the true unintended star was the dip/soup.  Composed of sweet potatoes, carrots, celery, onion, parsley, cooked chickpeas, and a little sea salt, pepper, and bay leaf – simmered in just enough water to cover – then, and this being key, pureed in the Christmas Vitamix (as it shall hereto forth be known, for obvious reasons) to the consistency of velvet, it was first dipped into, then devoured with a spoon – poor grilled cheese sandwiches cast aside (you got that, right? GRILLED CHEESE. CAST ASIDE!) in favor of orange velvet soup, by okay let’s be honest the TRUE, BIGGEST star of the table who has been on this earth only 18 months but knows a good dip/soup when she tastes one.

The moral of this star-studded story is that kids like to dip, and when we act on this knowledge we sometimes stumble upon something too good to share the stage.

I know it doesn’t look like much, but 18-month olds’ tummies just don’t lie.

P.S. You might want to know that this meal comes together in 20 minutes – if, and I repeat, IF, your husband helps out with the child.

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When you become a mommy, you instantly love your baby more than yourself, or any other person or thing – or even any dream.  Yet while you gain a new identity – mommy – you also remain who you always were before you began changing diapers and sitting on the floor making a dolly talk for someone else’s entertainment – before you were wearing diapers and making a dolly talk for your own entertainment, even.  Me, I was born a writer.  Not a great one, but one who feels deeply, deeply called to write.

Now that I have a precious daughter who will always come first, I’ve finally understood that if I want to fulfill my own lifelong dream, I must consciously choose what comes second.  If I choose writing second, that means other things will have to wait.  Running, cooking, cleaning, corporate ladder climbing, shopping, showering, sleeping, relaxing, traveling, socializing, even time with my husband…it all has to come third, or else I will never, ever achieve my dream.  I decided I at least have to try.  Even if I am never published or no one likes my work, as long as I gave it a go and produce something I like, then I will have no regrets.

But let’s be real here – I am actually hoping to become famous.

I face obstacles.  I don’t even know what to write.  I’m tired of writing about food.  I mean, I love food, but don’t you think it’s become a little cliché?  What else is there to say about it?  Everyone’s talking about local, seasonal, organic, blah – as if it were their original idea!  They’ve described it in every term imaginable.  I guess it’s fine to still talk about food as it relates to real life, after all, I do love it, but I see myself talking about food in a much more down-to-earth way.  I don’t want to hear another word about plump, juicy, deeply red heirloom tomatoes with just the right balance of sweetness and acidity.  I want to read about the cherry tomato that Catherine bit into – then promptly spit out – so that its juice stained my t-shirt and its seeds stuck to her high chair tray as well as to places I’ve yet to discover them.  Oh, it wasn’t even a good tomato.  It was slightly shriveled, probably loaded with pesticides, and came from some hothouse in Florida.  No wonder she spit it out.

I could write about something really nice, a place I’d like to be.  Perhaps I could write about a girl who dwells in a little cottage on a rocky cliff overlooking the New England Atlantic.  Each morning, she sits at a wooden desk beside a window, and writes and writes over numerous cups of steaming earl gray.  When she can’t write anymore, she takes her dog out for a run on the beach below.  She picks up pastel-colored seashells along the way, then drops them clinking into a shallow crystal catch-all dish on the foyer table – where they look effortlessly charming.  At night, she chops vegetables for a simple soup and goes back to writing with a glass of red wine.  Other nights, she prepares a feast and invites friends over.  They sip brandy by the fire and converse long into the night.  Before she goes to bed, she braids her hair, puts on a pretty nightgown, and reads a little before dozing off, worry free, in a four-poster bed under a white down comforter.  I’m pretty sure she doesn’t own an iPhone or a Facebook account.

If this were my story, even with no brawny stranger to enter it, I guess it’d make me a romance novelist.  If it feels too perfect to be true, it lacks soul, and there’s absolutely no satisfaction in that – not for me.  Instead, maybe I’d write about a walk across the parking lot to Target at 7:59a.m.  It’s cold, dreary, and misting.  I’m carrying my 18-month old daughter on one hip.   Her face is crusted with boogers and oatmeal.  She’s wearing a pink beanie and a puffy jacket.  We’re going to get a cappuccino and stroll around under florescent lighting in search of q-tips and laundry detergent.  Getting these items back into our apartment will require two trips up the stairs, since we’ve also brought along a toy baby stroller bearing a white stuffed kitty.  By the time we make it back inside, I’ll have just enough energy to deposit the plastic Target bags on our foyer floor, and they, like the seashells in my dream, will also look effortless.  You wouldn’t know it, but these early morning walks with Catherine are the happiest part of my day.

Aside from the subject matter, yet to be determined, there’s something else to consider. Can I not care what you think?  Because in order to write well, I can’t. I’m not sure I’m capable of writing all the stupid things I need to write, in order to get to something halfway decent, with you watching.  Wait.  What is that you’re saying?  I’ve already written lots of stupid things here?  Oh, trust me, it gets way stupider.  Or then again, maybe it gets better.  In the past I’ve written with others’ perceived tastes cluttering up my mind, and the result is something that rings ever so slightly untrue.   So the reverse should be an improvement, right?   We’ll see.  I’m not sure if I should start an anonymous blog, keep a Word doc, or take my risks right here in front of God and everybody.

Do you know the feeling of having suddenly decided it’s worth it?  You just know.  That you’d rather be skinny than eat ice cream.  That you’d rather be alone forever, than stay in your current relationship.   That you’d rather be poor, than stay in your current job.  That you’d rather be happy than right.  That you’d rather be wrong than silent.  That you’d rather get lost than keep driving the same boring route every day.  That you have defined your priorities, and you know what to do.  It feels good, like steering a ship, one you’re qualified to steer, your ship.

What I’m doing tonight (actually writing) is important.  Even if it feels really small, it matters.

Speaking of really small things that matter.  Tonight, we all went out for tacos and margaritas at Pure.  Chris, Catherine, and I – plus our neighbor, the suave and svelte Dawud and his super fashionable novia Maria.  Chris and I sat back and let Dawud and Maria fuss with Catherine.  We were shameless and relieved.  We relaxed.  We sipped our margaritas.  We talked about grown-up things.

Speaking of small things that really, really matter.  We looked at Catherine, who was being particularly well-behaved.  She LOVES attention.  People.  To socialize.  So she ate her chips, her black beans, her rice, her fried fish, fished from Chris’s fish tacos.  Drank her water, tipped her head back, cocked it and smiled winningly at Dawud and Maria.

I talked to Maria, completely thirsty for girl talk.  I was so curious about her, and I couldn’t remember what exactly she did at her job and was scared to ask because I should know, but I really wanted to know everything about her.  I am starved for adult – and in particular female – conversation.

All in all, it was an amazing night out.  And we MUST make a habit of it!  I miss it, a lot!

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I see this blog morphing into a Little Fingers Food blog.  Ha – I just came up with that name as I wrote that sentence.  I wonder if that means I should start a new blog?  Anyway, these days I’m all about creating food that’s 1) delicious 2) healthy 3) easy 4) adorable – in that order.  I guess it’d be kind of similar to Weelicious, except I’m not a 6-feet tall model who’s friends with Gwyneth Paltrow.  But I pretend to be friends with Gwyneth – does that count?

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Anyway, this latest creation fits all of those categories perfectly. And it passed Catherine’s taste test – in fact, this might be the first time I’ve gotten her to eat eggs – so here we go. I’m going to provide the “recipe,” since it requires no measuring. I find writing down measurements really tedious.

Miniature wonton quiches

Preheat oven to 365 F.  Whisk 6 eggs and add S&P, cheese, caramelized onions, and any lightly-cooked veggie you like (I used broccoli).  Line an 8-muffin mini-muffin tray with store-bought wonton wrappers.  Fill each with egg mixture. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until egg mixture is firm.  Watch brunch guests look impressed, or your kids stuff their faces.

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*I should note, if I attempted to come in from work on a weeknight and start steaming and chopping broccoli and caramelizing onions for these quiches, the battle would be half-lost.  Instead, the night before, after C went to bed, I took a few minutes to prep my veggies, making dinner the next night extra easy – an absolute necessity when I’m the only one home with a 1-year old on weeknights.

 

Has anyone else ever noticed that motherhood – well, at least the early years, since that’s all I can speak to – is filled with highs and lows that happen within seconds of each other?  One second your newborn is screaming her head off mercilessly in the backseat and you have to bite down on your hand to keep from screaming yourself.  The next you’re holding her, she’s sighing contented sighs between gulps of milk, and the two of you are happy, albeit on the side of the road.

Or like the other night, while I frantically sautéed some squash, one by one Catherine picked up her peas and released them from her outstretched hand to the floor, staring me down defiantly.  She banged her hands on the high chair tray.  She yelled at me impatiently.  If she’d had a whip she would have used it.  I don’t know what it is about crying and whining, but it’s got to be more effective than water torture.  She had me in tears.  And yet.  Moments later, she had her squash and was shoving it in her mouth appreciatively, all the while casting winning smiles in my direction.  And all was okay.  I made a drink and leaned against the counter, watching her fill her belly with good food.

Come to think of it, I guess it all depends on when Catherine decides to scream, and when she decides to stop.

Don’t think I don’t know how obsessive I sound 2 posts ago.  Gosh.  I’m fraught with anxiety.  Torn between audiences. But I’m not deleting the post, because I’ve got to let myself make mistakes on this blog.  Be honest about who I am, imperfections and all.  I’m going to write a lot of really, really bad stuff.

On another note – we’ve been eating lots of muffins around here.

Butternut squash muffins.  My favorite so far – truly delicious.

IMG_5693 IMG_5696 IMG_5710Blueberry coconut muffins.  These would be much better as pineapple coconut muffins…coconut muffins with chocolate chips?!

IMG_5774 IMG_5841Carrot muffins with dried pineapple.  Tasty but a bit dense – they were loaded with carrots so no wonder.

IMG_5851Fig bran muffins.  Good right out of the oven, but later, just okay.

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Everyone loves kale chips. Except me.
IMG_5739They’re easy. They’re cute. They taste like fried kale. I’d rather have it steamed with tahini. Or a potato chip.

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Chris liked them. Even Catherine liked them.

IMG_5751 IMG_5762I don’t think I’ll be making kale chips again soon.  On another note, have I mentioned I have a very silly, playful girl?

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