DOING: I'm typing on the computer while Joan naps.
HEARING: the heater. It's cold, man! These are the days when I fancy a fireplace, without the cleanup or worry that Joan will want to explore the flames. She's into everything these days, EVERYTHING.
EATING: lots of quinoa breakfast bowls. I've kinda gone off yoghurt and smoothies, now it's positively chilly in the mornings, and find myself reaching for leftovers for breakfast. On the weekends, it's all about scrambled eggs with avocado toast and lots of fresh parsley from our garden. I've also been loving on Pana Chocolate (their "raw cacao" or "orange" varieties), mandarins and hummus, lots of hummus!
DRINKING: coffee, what's new. Also green tea. I've found myself a little sleepier than usual in the mornings. Joan has been working on these top teeth so is waking a touch more often than usual overnight. And I've been watching shows on the iPad while I give her her final night feed, which I know impacts my quality of sleep but I've become slack with my "no screens rule" (side note: you guys, I JUST finished the book I started in February. I adored it, but I so love to tune out to a show). For the sake of my sleep quality, I need to recommit to the no screens rule, saving it only for weekends when Ben and I watch The Sopranos, especially when Joan is going through wakeful periods. But back to the mornings...just before I hop into the shower I pop the kettle on and make a cup of green tea, which I'll sip while Joan plays bott-bott free and I slowly get her changed/dressed. Another side note: I love to have her bott-bott free at times during the day, letting her air out without a nappy constantly attached.
COOKING: I've been working on a few recipes for food company clients (like this one!), which has involved a lot of cacao, oats and seeds - good stuff! I've also been making pots of beef cheeks and lentil soup for the freezer. One time I made the beef cheek recipe but subbed in lamb chump chops (from Colin and Sally) and used a herbs de provence mix because that is what Joan grabbed from the spice drawer. I added quartered potatoes and a little more stock and it was kind of amazing. I also recently baked a layer cake for the first time, a practice run before Joan's birthday in just under 2 months (see the pic at the top of the post). Gosh that was fun!
READING: I wish, I wish, I wish I could see Hamilton. I've heard Lin Manuel Miranda interviewed many times and I so admire him. Here is his Tony Award acceptance speech. Now I've finished All The Light We Cannot See, I'm thinking I want to see if I can borrow this from the library, as I adore Lena Dunham. Speaking of the lady, I saw this recently (via Cup of Jo) and it confirmed my adoration. I'm finding many good articles on Lenny Letter, which I might read when Joan has her afternoon nap and I want to slow down and pour a bit of thought and good into my cup. I also recently read this article about helping friends through infertility, what may be useful to say and what to avoid saying. Everyone is different in terms of what they find comforting and useful, but I thought this was a pretty good article and articulated some nice ideas. I'm at the age now where a lot of friends are falling pregnant and I can imagine that for those who are not yet there but want to be, it would be tough on the heart.
WANTING: A second coffee. Not even for the buzz, just the warming loveliness. Perhaps I should start making chai at home. I have a good blend of leaves/spices, I could steam some milk and add a little honey....yes, that'd be nice. I'm not a matcha latte fan and the turmeric latte I tried at a cafe one time was a little potent, though perhaps I could make my own at home. Hmmmmm. PLAYING: lately, we've been playing this song if Joan is agitated in the car. It makes her pause and improves her mood splendidly, helping us get home grizzle-free.
DECIDING: which recipe to cook from Every Grain of Rice. I bought this cookbook for Ben a couple of years ago, and it is fantastic. The recipes are simple and the instructions clear. Whenever we cook from it, we end up with wonderfully delicious, authentic dishes. All you need to do is stock up on a few sauces, vinegars and spices that you might not have, and you're good to go (these are amazing!). Ben enjoys cooking, however I do most of it as he's usually working right up to dinner-time. However some days I chop everything up and get all the sauces out so it's ready to go, and he'll finish fifteen minutes early so he can come into the kitchen and attack the wok and do something creative. It's good for his mind and good for my belly. I think we're going to make beef + celery and a saucy eggplant dish. YUM.
ENJOYING: the days when I wake feeling rested and things just flow. You know those days? Bubba agrees to hang in the playpen while I shower, and goes one step further, happily playing with her toys while I change, make the bed, put the kettle on and maybe unload a few dishes. We then eat breakfast, go on a walk, come home for her nap and she sleeps long and soundly in the Ergo while I drink a fresh coffee and write. And the rest of the day unfolds similarly, without too many challenges and a whole bunch of sunshine/deep breaths/how blessed am I moments. Those flowing days as a mother of one...they are brief and special and you better believe I am savouring them.
LOOKING: at the photographs we had taken by my talented friend, Kat. We printed a bunch and had them framed and they are STUNNING. They make me so happy. Joan was around 6 or 7 months when they were taken, back when she had less hair and chubbier cheeks, but they're so true to Joan and her personality. Kat is so incredibly gifted and lovely, if you book her for newborn/family pics or your Wedding you will be overwhelmingly pleased. Trust me!
WONDERING: what I might cook alongside the salmon and potatoes I plan on baking for dinner. Now Transition Farm is on their winter break, we are shopping for our veggies at local stores (which thankfully stock many locally-grown options). It's more expensive to buy organically-grown at the shops and the quality isn't as good as the farm, so I am aware more than ever how great we have it with our CSA. We're eating a lot of pumpkin and carrots, as I can find big bags of organic carrots cheaply. Then it's a lot of legumes and grains and parsley from the garden. Seasonal eating this way makes you really appreciate the different foods when they come around...Spring with its' abundant greens, Summer for the tomatoes, corn and zucchini; Autumn broccoli and less colourful but oh so comforting stews and soups and curries in Winter.
LOVING: the moments when my mum and MIL watch Joan and I prep for work and see clients. I brew a fresh coffee and sit down on the couch to type out recipes and prep for the sessions. Every now and then I will stop and look at Joan reading books with her grandmothers and it breaks my heart. I feel so blessed and thankful for "my village" in those moments. She loves to sit and read and turn the pages these days, which is really special because she never sits still. It makes us all very happy, this arrangement. What a lucky pair Joan and I are!
BUYING: I wanted to update you on a couple of purchases I've made recently, things I was on the hunt for and mentioned here on the blog. One reader suggested this placemat for Joan and we LOVE it, couldn't be happier with out purchase We also bought this plate & spoon/fork set, and while it's super cute, she can still pick the plate up and move it around, so that's not ideal (see the pic below). We try super hard to not even flinch when she drops her spoon or plate and looks to us for a reaction. Baby girl, I am not going to encourage that, even though I do find it hilarious. I've been pretty great about not purchasing a lot - as I mentioned in the last Happenings post, I'm tightening our spending strings as we save for a house. This means a lot of pantry meals instead of hitting the shops, as most of my money tends to go towards food.... Oh, hang on, I am getting my hair done this week and I ordered a dress from here. After seeing my first clients last month I decided to spend that money on myself, gosh darn it! I really feel like I deserve a little pampering after these 10 months with Joan. I am blessed and happy and thankful to be her mumma, AND I also really need my hair done and would like to feel pretty. So that's happening.
PLANNING: our first date without Joan. When I was pregnant, Ben and I discussed how we felt it was important to have regular dates without our baby, even just going out for coffee. We thought we'd be sensible and aim for once a fortnight from when Joan was about 4 months old, for about an hour. Ha! That didn't happen. Time flew by and all of a sudden our baby is 10 months old and we haven't had one date without her. Honestly we just adore being with our babe, and we want her to come everywhere with us, but I think it's really important for Ben and I to be together, just us two, even for a brief moment. I think that's a smart thing to do, particularly as we don't have nights alone as I go to bed with bubba. We don't feel like we need to right now and it'll be hard for us to leave her, but I think it's good to do it anyway (maybe we have just forgotten what it's like to be us two). So, cheers to more dates!
WATCHING:Orange Is The New Black, and it's doing it's job of helping me tune out and wind down at night. I'm not loving the series like I used to, so I'm hanging out for Netflix to release the new seasons of The Fall and Happy Valley because as creepy as they are, those are my kind of shows.
CRAVING: I had a massive yum cha craving recently which we finally satisfied. It had been far too long since I'd had my favourites - har gow, fried turnip cake and lo mai gai. Joan ate congee and beef balls and had a glorious time. I think we'll be doing yum cha more regularly! Other than that, my friend bought me back chocolate-covered almonds from Trader Joe's from her trip to the USA last month, and they are really hitting the spot.
SAVOURING: naps with Joan in the carrier, gazing down at her beautiful face and feeling her sweet breaths on my chest.
CONSIDERING: though we both clearly adore our carrier naps, I am trying to get Joan used to napping on the bed. We stopped day naps in the bed/cot as she'd previously wake if I lay her down (either immediately or after around 10 minutes), without any chance of resettling (no matter how slowly I did the move away - she's so used to me being right there...however a big reason for her to nap in the bed and not the carrier is so I can have some free moments to do housework or client work or even just have a few moments of quiet to myself without a baby attached to me. The bed works sometimes but the absolute longest she sleeps there is 30minutes. Recently we gave it another go and while the first try wasn't a big success (we had our first nipple biting experience. MAN. Ouch), we are working to slowly make her day naps on the bed cozy, easy, long and lovely. Send all the extra treats to help me get through the inevitably overtired/"I've had multiple shitty naps in a row" afternoons until bubba gets used to napping out of the carrier.
WEARING: there's a lot of yoga pants + big sweaters + gumboots going on at the moment.
FEELING: I've had lot of feelings this past month - exhibit a and exhibit b sum it up pretty well. We've also had some very exciting news, which I'll update you on in the coming month. But I feel like I have to let you know that it's not related to a baby, as that tends to spring to people's minds once you have a child. Ooooooooh no, folks, I'm still waiting for my hormones to chill out and flow and let my cycle return. And frankly I'd like Joan to be a little older before we (hopefully) bring a second baby into the family. So anyway, it's been a month of feelings. Many heavy ones, many elated ones...many mixed moments. Late June/early July, you've been a lot!