* written over the month of January, in dribs and drabs as I catch moments here and there.
DOING: sitting on my bed, typing. I've got a coffee to my left and further to my left, Joan is sleeping on the single mattress next to our bed. My, times have changed since we used to babywear for practically all our naps. I suppose I should talk more on the transition. Alright, I'll start a new post and share some thoughts on the matter. But just know that it will be a while until it's ready. For big posts like that I tend to dump all my thoughts, then spend a long time editing. I'll try to be succinct, but you know that's not my strong suit. Ha.
HEARING:Regina Spektor, live, via my earphones. I adore this woman's music. And now Joan is starting to appreciate it, which pleases me. We play "On the Radio" and sing the "O Oh" part together. She calls it the "O Oh" song, and it's adorable.
DRINKING: Lots of water and smoothies. Summerrrrrrrr! Yesterday we made a smoothie for breakfast (see the above pic!) and it really hit the spot, so I thought I'd include the recipe for you. I made it for two, and Joan and I devoured it while Ben slept (he's been working hard and travelling, and not sleeping a whole lot). I poured 1.5 portions into my cup and gave Joan a half serve, with some yoghurt to extend it and make her feel like she was having a big portion like mumma. I'm making sure I eat lots and keep a good amount of fat on my body to help with my lady hormones. So it's been an extra scoop of this and an extra serve of that... Joan adores smoothies, and likes to have exactly what we have. She also insists on saying, "cheers!", while looking directly into our eyes. It's really sweet. This smoothie also works well as "ice-cream" simply by reducing the milk content. Use any milk you like, we favour organic full cream cow's milk in our smoothies, though sometimes coconut milk. I plan on making want to make almond milk one of these days, too. Homemade roasted almond butter makes this smoothie even more delicious, so I do encourage you to try that (see this post for details). Next level good.
Banana and Almond Butter Smoothie
1.5 large frozen bananas (I keep them peeled + broken into pieces in a freezer bag)
2 tablespoons almond butter
1 cup milk*
1 tablespoon hemp seeds**
1 tablespoon chia seeds**
1 medjool date, pitted
1/4 an avocado
1 tablespoon coconut oil***
* add more or less based on how thick you like your smoothie **optional, but yay extra protein & healthy fats! *** optional, I just love the flavour!
Method: pop everything in the blender and blitz it up! Taste and add more milk to thin it, more banana to thicken/sweeten it, add some rolled oats to make it more filling, whatever floats your boat.
EATING + COOKING: As I said above, we made almond butter last week and have been devouring it in various ways - from the jar with a spoon, stuffed into medjool dates, in smoothies and banana ice-cream, on toast, drizzled over quinoa salads, and in this recipe, which has been on my wish list for a while. It was absolutely delicious! I altered the recipe and made a topping of raw cacao powder + maple syrup + coconut oil + almond butter + seat salt, warmed in a pan until melted and smooth, then spread over the mix (in which I didn't use coconut flour, just extra shredded coconut). I am a huge fan of raw caramel slice (really, I adore anything that involves nuts and dates) and it had that kind of vibe about it. It's funny, I've never liked regular caramel slice (or regular caramel) as I find it sickly sweet, but date caramel is so my jam.
We've also been eating lots of pasta with zucchini noodles (I do half zoodles/half regular spaghetti), as our farm box has been rich in zucchini. I made a killer tomato-based sauce recently with grated zucchini that I must do again and take notes. Last weekend we collected our half lamb from Colin and Sally, so we've been tucking into that. We froze most of what we bought, though yesterday we cooked lamb cutlets on the BBQ, and we plan on using lamb mince in a dish with hummus, alas this kinda recipe. I am so in love with this lamb. The flavour is insanely good, Ben shakes his head in amazement while eating it, proclaiming, "We're never buying meat from anywhere else." It feels so great to showing support to a hard working family who are farming in a way that is good for the environment and good for the animals (as good as you can get when you're a conscious meat eater, short of farming and slaughtering animals yourself). We ration our purchases but it's not about the money, because this organically-raised meat is so much cheaper than regular retail prices. For us, it's about using less meat and focusing on plant-based foods from a health and environmental viewpoint. I know I talk a lot about "how we eat", and compared to conventional shopping it is a different way of consuming so I appreciate that can take some getting used to, but once you find good producers and enter into the world of alternative food purchasing, you cannot fathom doing it another way. The food tastes amazing, it's generally better for you and the environment, your money goes towards people you know AND you save money (oh, and half a lamb, cut up into portions, takes up less freezer space than you might think). Seriously, what's not to love? Thank you for what you do, Colin and Sally. Let's hope this way of producing and consuming spreads and becomes the norm.
WANTING: to visit our niece and nephew in Hong Kong. They just left to go back home after spending Christmas over here, and boy do we miss them! Joan keeps saying their names and looking at me with questioning eyes. We tell her that they're back home in Hong Kong, and she says "Hong Kong" quietly, and it breaks my heart! She adored them more than I could have possibly anticipated.
PLAYING: Joan's latest game is "FLY!!!!". She puts her arms behind her back and yells, "FLYYYYYYY!" and runs around the house. Then she stops, yells out another name (whoever the chosen one is - "Mumma!", "Dadda!", "Nana!", "Pa!", "Nanan!", "Popop!" and that is their signal to follow her, doing the same, running around the house flying. She also likes to pretend to call people on the phone (and sometimes she actually presses the right buttons and calls them). Joan has rung friends I haven't spoken to in years, family friends, Aunties, the Grill'd store in Carnegie...and she'll laugh in this hilarious, fake way, and I have to wonder where she gets that from.... Huh.
DECIDING: what to wear for our friends' wedding on the weekend. This is the 3rd Wedding in 3 months with this same group of friends, which is so much fun, though I'm running out of dress choices. I just looked at the weather and it says 26 and sunny. Well, that's perfect! I'm really looking forward to dressing up and drinking champagne with my love and friends, especially because this is the first wedding where I won't be leaving at 9:30ish to race home. We are going to stay until it ends! And I'll get cake. Woohoo!
ENJOYING: this cup of coffee. Often I'd have two cups a day, but with my desire to get my hormones flowing happily, along with upping my calories I am cutting back to just one cup a day. And that's cool, it hasn't been hard, I just loooooove it so much and would drink 7 cups a day if I didn't know it affected me.
WATCHING:The Night Of. It's intense! I'm up to episode 2. I also recently finished the OJ Simpson documentary on SBS on demand, and then convinced Ben that we should buy this from ITunes and watch it together. So that's up next, when Ben has time to watch a show with me and not just work. The dude is working very hard at the moment.
READING: I'm still working my way through The Trespasser, which I'm enjoying. I'm just a slow reader. Or, rather, I get through four pages and then zzzzzzzzzzz. I'm also reading The Whole-Brain Child, and really loving that. I'd certainly recommend it, along with The Optimistic Child, which I'm working my way through on my phone's kindle app - perfect for those moments when Joan falls asleep in the car.
LOOKING: at my empty plate. I just devoured some almond butter fudge, which is like this recipe but with almond butter in place of the desiccated coconut.
LOVING: How Joan is conversing with us lately. Her words have exploded, she says so many things these days! I swear, it's like every day she has two or three new words. This week she said "pie" and I just about cried because I LOVE PIE. We were reading this book that our dear friend Rosa and her family bought Joan, and Joan said "Pie" when the pie picture came up. We do read Each Peach Pear Plum a lot... Anyway, baby girl understands so much, and recognising this and involving her in decision making is has been really neat. To appease her toddler desire to control situations and express autonomy, I often give her two options when going about our day. The fact that she can reply verbally, or at least point, is making our lives so much easier. "Do you want to visit Nana and Roo, or go home?"... "Roooo!", and "Which pants do you want to wear, these ones or these ones?" and "Do you want to go for a veggie juice or go home?"..."Ooome". I ask her a couple of times to see if she's just picking up on a word and repeating it, but even if she is it gives her a sense of control and makes our days more grizzle-free.
BUYING: we're on the hunt for a tent for an upcoming camping trip with friends. My family went camping every year when I was growing up, and it's definitely something I want to do with Ben and Joan! Ben is not quite as keen (he'd prefer glamping), but he's coming around to the idea. And I think he's going to love it this time, Joan, too! What is better than running around in nature with friends and sleeping in a giant teepee? Nature is just the best thing for kiddos. Joan is absolutely loving the beach lately, after feeling unsure about it for some time. And so whenever we get a chance, we're off to play in the sand and splash in the water.
PLANNING: this camping trip! As well as possibly another trip mid-year, which feels too lofty a goal to discuss.
WEARING: demin short and white tops. I have to soak my tops constantly, because Joan will attack them with food/dirt/whatever she's into, so I perhaps should change this up but I just really like wearing white.
CRAVING: that's a hard one right now, for some reason...not a lot is sounding appealing. Perhaps it's because I'm not eating as intuitively as I usually do, with all the calories I'm trying to eat. Food must be losing its appeal. Spaghetti bolognese will always go down a treat, so let's say that. Yes, actually, that'd do nicely.
SAVOURING: these quiet moments while Joan naps and I type. It feels good to get my thoughts out and reflect.
FEELING: I've found myself in this lovely stage of feeling very content with my present and grateful for what I have, and also excited for the future. With all the hurt in the world these days, I do not take feeling this way lightly. It's a blessed thing. I've also recently recognised that I have been holding onto shame surrounding my lack of career ambition. Ben and I have discussed whether I should actively promote and grow my business, and start more formal work hours...but we concluded that it just doesn't make sense for us, both financially and in terms of what will make us, all of us, most happy. I wrote about wrestling with feelings of insecurity from not earning a paycheck in this post, and I suppose it's taken me until now to fully own my role, unabashedly. Because I love being home, raising Joan full-time, cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, making sure Ben eats well and meditates and exercises... I honestly love it and, at least for now, I don't pine for more. And I guess felt ashamed because it reinforces that gender stereotype, you know? Though I realise that I can absolutely be a feminist AND want nothing more than to be at home, caring for my loved ones, keeping our pace slow and present and helping us live economically so we can indeed continue our slow and present life. My ambitions just look a little different than others, and it took me a little while to feel fully comfortable with that. I absolutely adore my work, it brings me such joy and I truly feel driven to do it, and I want it to continue at this very friendly, manageable and enriching pace. I don't want it to take me away from my main role, which is mother and wife. And gosh, that feels archaic to say, but it's how I feel, so I'm owning it. I feel grateful that Iget to be here and keep my family chugging along happily, while nurturing Ben's busy work brain. I'm realising that there's no shame in being a support person, and I'm celebrating the fulfilment I get from that. Running a business is demanding, not just in terms of the hours required, but the emotional investment and the fact that you never really clock off. It's a lot. And I need to start recognising my role in helping him succeed AND helping him stay to healthy and happy and be a present parent. Successful business people, including Sheryl Sandberg (who is clearly very different from me in regards to work), have acknowledged that who you marry can be the most important career decision you make. So I guess I gotta own some of his paycheck too, you know?
Happenings posts inspired by Pip.