A milestone birthday. We celebrate with brunch and pie, and the kids mostly cooperate with an afternoon walkabout in one of our favorite neighborhoods. In an attempt to duplicate a dessert we had at Pleasant House Pub in the fall, I make a vegan trifle. It’s great, but the recipe makes far more than we needed, and as I wasn’t up for converting the recipe twice, we eat trifle for three days. There are worse things that can happen.
Work is hard and dispiriting, and despite making changes that have made me feel better about the work that I’m doing, I come home frustrated and upset more often than not – and still have to do more work after the baby goes to bed in order to make deadlines. This is not sustainable.
The big kid learns to play poker and wins his first game, defeating his papa who used to play poker to pay the bills. That obsession lasts a week, and then he’s on to playing chess. Thankfully his imaginative play has moved on enough that he can play with his stuffed animal “friends” – in addition to many games with Papa, and many chess puzzles on the tablet (which he pronounces “tabbelet”).
The baby and the cat continue their love affair, with the cat sleeping closer and closer to us every night.
In lieu of Lent, I resolve to focus on mindful spending, dividing up many expenses into YES/NO/MAYBE categories. I’ve been working on a YNAB-esque budget framework for awhile; this is just a bit more rigorous. We hope to move and to travel this year, and these things take money. Despite the resolution, we impulsively buy a lovely padded rug after a playdate; it transforms our living room and makes the floor a space where we want to be.
I don’t know why it took us so long to realize that the baby doesn’t have to be in his carseat in the stroller anymore. He’s so much happier facing forward, kicking his feet and squealing with delight at blowing leaves. Perhaps because it’s so exciting, he’s also reticent to nap in the stroller, something we could rely on with his big brother.
The big kid is exercising his will in new and different ways. Lately he’s been rejecting or complaining about my cooking but also finishing his entire meal and saying that he’s “still hungry!” with a lilt in his voice that makes it clear he knows he’s driving me nuts. We had curbed this habit with the introduction of his snack cup a few months ago; now he’ll ask to save his meal as leftovers in favor of raiding the snack cup. That’s not how it works, buddy.
I spend one day violently sick and sleep for most of the day, a rarity in nearly any circumstances for the parent of a baby. Thankfully, I’m the only one affected, but it takes several days before I have my strength back entirely.
Still no crawling, though the baby has started to figure out that he can roll here and there. We go to a playgroup where he watches the other babies with interest, though he is still stuck in one place.
A dear friend visits for a weekend. The time is restorative – walking and talking, good food, small adventures.
I take the big kid to a group run by the lakefront. He runs an entire mile, despite needing hugs after a midroute spill. He is so proud to have “won the race”. I think he’ll be up for a 5K by the end of the summer.
Spring arrives, finally, as I mark seven years in Chicago, longer than I’ve lived anywhere else as an adult.
- From the NYTimes:
- Seared cod with beet salsa – I am still learning to cook fish. A month of avoiding restaurants means it’s a little easier to justify the cost of a nice filet.
- Slow roasted citrus salmon with roasted potatoes, even though I hate salmon (I made shrimp for me).
- Fennel and white bean casserole, beige but comforting.
- Brussels sprouts and winter squash hash, or the idea of it anyway
- Roasted butternut squash salad, again, more of the idea than the actual recipe
- Chickpea stew, good but unremarkable
- Cabbage and tofu rice bowl, better in theory
- Skillet beet and farro salad, also better in theory
- One pot turmeric coconut rice with greens, burned spectacularly in the IP, salvaged for leftovers
- Warm lentil and potato salad, delicious but in need of more salt
- Coconut cauliflower soup, the big kid’s pick, though he grumbled about it once at the table
- Pasta e ceci, good, but not as good as Smitten Kitchen’s take
- Saucy coconut noodles, great for a quick meal when an afternoon outing ran long
- Persian herb and chickpea stew, a nice variation on a theme