Happenings 18.5.17

* written over the end of April/beginning of May, in dribs and drabs as I catch moments here and there.

DOING: sitting in bed, next to sleeping Joan and a mound of soft toys. It's 6:47pm. Ben and I planned a date dinner, so I fed Joan early and got her to bed. A pot of water for pasta is coming to the boil as I wait for him to get home from work.

HEARING: the white noise app, "Heavy rain", drowning out the noise I make while typing on my laptop.

READING:  In my last post, I mentioned that I wasn't super into this book, but it really picked up towards the end and had some good twists. I also liked reading about the frosty Icelandic setting while tucked up in bed. Yesterday I got an alert from the library that this book is ready for me to collect, so that's next on my list.

LOOKING: forward to dinner. I am HUNGRY. Whenever Ben and I decide to have a date meal, it's usually pasta. Yesterday I took a portion of lentil + tomato ragu from the freezer, and we'll eat it with spaghetti and, as always, a greedy portion of parmesan cheese.

And right in front of me is a vase full of green and white. Flowers in my bedroom make me happy. `

WANTING: some ugg boots. My feet really want them, but after our massive Vitamix purchase last month, it's a total luxury I don't need.

PLAYING: we're deep into pretend play at the moment. Hand Joan a bowl and a spoon and she's off scrambling eggs and making "bolonaisey". She's been gifted a couple of tea pot+cup sets, and all day every day we're drinking tea. And for some reason, bath-time has become coffee time. After dinner I'll tell her its time for a bath, and she'll reply with, "Coffee!", before spending the entire time pouring herself and Ben cups of "hot coffee". Baby see, baby do. Though she's not a baby anymore. Can you believe she will be two years old in just over three months? I thought we went through the "No" stage a few months ago, but that was laughable in comparison to what is happening now. Let's just say I'm practicing deep breathing to remain unruffled.

DRINKING: lately Joan and I have been drinking a lot of ginger tea. I slice fresh ginger and place it in mugs, before pouring boiling water over it, along with a squeeze of lemon. Sometimes I'll add honey, too. Joan had a cold a couple of weeks ago, with a rough cough, and this ginger, lemon + honey tea was very soothing. Update: we're still recovering from a virus and have been downing ginger tea like it's our full time job.

EATING + COOKING: pasta. Lots of it. We're a once a week/sometimes twice a week pasta household, but lately, it's been twice a week/sometimes three times a week. I think the increase in quantity has been a combination of simply wanting it more + the appeal of an easy meal. Lately Joan has been insisting on being in my arms, and pasta is easy to make one handed.

Lunches have been quinoa, Transition Farm veggies, roasted sweet potato, canned fish and toasted seeds or goats cheese. That's all I've been wanting, so I've been rocking it.

I've also made a few batches of chocolate chip cookies, attempting to modify this recipe to make it nut-free, but it still needs more work (what a shame). We've also been cooking our way through my pal, Vanessa's, new cookbook that came out this month. Vanessa is incredibly talented, and her recipes are inspiring yet achievable. We've gone nuts over the fish fingers and sweet potato hash browns, and next up I plan on making the gingerbread pancakes with fudgey tahini ice-cream. I highly recommend getting a copy and enjoying her beautiful recipes and advice for feeding little ones.

Lastly, with this sickness, we've been making and eating homemade chicken broth weekly (see that recipe link for notes, but lately it's been just an organic, free-range chicken + garlic + onion + ginger + water). I'll use the broth to cook quinoa and rice, add it to dahl or bolognese, or simply drink cups of it when we're not feeling well.

DECIDING: what to cook for dinner tonight (it's Friday). Update: I made dahl. It's such an easy, nourishing meal for our family. I always cook extra and freeze little Joan-sized portions for dinner emergencies, like when she has an early nap and won't last until Ben gets home. Years ago (almost 3!) I posted this recipe for dahl, however over the years it has certainly changed. Mainly because I lost the garam masala and haven't purchased more. I'll work on posting my updated recipe. It's heavy on the homemade broth and ginger.

ENJOYING: practicing surrendering. It's a wonderful skill to have, serving me particularly well as a parent (because boy, it's an unpredictable ride) and also when trying to conceive.

WATCHING: Ben has been interstate for work a lot this month, so I treated myself to the final season of Girls on ITunes. I'm watching it slowly (because I am not ready for it to end), and so far it is excellent. Oh, and last month we watched Big Little Lies. I had heard so much about it, and it was fantastic, surpassing my expectations. Ben and I rarely binge watch shows (most of the time we struggle to watch one full episode because zzzzzzzzzzzz), however we churned through this in a week and a half. Joan and I have been watching this youtube video of girls from a Russian ballet school. While she was sick, I found it a helpful tool of distraction and rest.

WEARING: jeans, cozy knits and boots. Gumboots, mostly. Mt MIL purchased Joan a pair of pink gumboots from a recent trip overseas and she is OBSESSED, insisting on wearing them all the time and instructing me to wear my gumboots too. Ben bought me a couple of pink jumpers from Cotton On for Mother's Day (well, I bought them and told him it was my present), which I've been living in.

BUYING: no big purchase on the cards for us. Or little ones, for that matter (besides splurging on takeout, I guess - more below), as we continue saving for future travel plans and general life stuff.

PLANNING: on updating my passport (it's expired) and getting Joan one. It's been on my To Do List for a while. We're planning on going to Hong Kong in December for Ben's cousin's wedding. It's been years since I visited, and I am so excited to show Joan the city, eat wonton and hang with family. Initially we were unsure whether we would be able to attend, as we didn't know when I would get pregnant - if it happened super quickly, then I may have been too far along. However it now looks like December will be a good time for us to go, and if I am lucky enough to get pregnant before September, I should hopefully be out of the intense morning sickness stage. Bring it on!

CRAVING: curries. As soon as it gets cold, I cannot get curries out of my mind. Tagines, too. Warm, slow-cooked, spiced dishes are my favourite this time of year. Last week I bought a Rendang blend from Zest Byron Bay and it made the most amazing beef rendang, with carrots and potatoes.

LOVING: date nights at home with Ben. Pasta is our go-to, though we've also had takeaway on a few occasions. If it were up to Ben we'd get takeout regularly, but because I'm not working a lot, I don't like to drop $30-50 on one-off meals and always end up whipping up lentils or pasta for a quick, satisfying, cheap meal. If we had $10 ramen bowls at our disposal, it may be a different story, but we don't have those options where we live. Having said all of this, Ben has convinced me three times over the past couple of months to get takeaway for dinner. First up we had Thai, and on the second and third occasions we ordered some dishes from a local Afghan restaurant - slow cooked lamb, rice, Middle Eastern salads - which were fantastic. These date nights have been good for us. I realised recently that Ben and I haven't gone out for dinner together, just us two, since Joan was born. We've been to a few weddings, but never out to dinner on a date. Joan has always been fairly attached to me in the sleeping department, and we haven't felt the need to change this, so haven't considered it an option. Eating takeout together and snuggling up while watching 90s Grisham movies was really lovely, and I'm excited to do it more often. Not going out for dinner isn't a big deal, but there's something lovely about treating yourself to a special meal after a long day (and not having to do the dishes afterwards!). I took the pic below on our second date night, when we ate lamb korma and frozen yoghurt on a yoga mat on the floor, to be close to wakeful Joan. It was great. A note on the wakeful thing, we'll be moving the babe into her own room in a few months, and I'm sure that once she's out of the habit of looking for me + cuddles, she won't be so wakeful. I don't want her to feel kicked out of the bed when a new baby comes, so we'll begin the transition with plenty of time. Ben will get up and sleep with her if she wakes, and I'll likely be left in a King sized bed alone. I think I'll love that, but I know I'll miss having my loves in my bed.

SAVOURING: last month I said I am savouring this time with Joan and again, that's what comes to mind. I know our lives won't always be this slow and gentle. It won't always be so easy to sit back and just be there, with no-one else to tend to and nothing else to do. FEELING: content. Thankful. Excited. And itchy. The travel itch is strong! We have Hong Kong on our mind, and in the coming years we hope to spend time in Italy and visit a friend in Amsterdam. At some point, we'd also love to visit friends in the USA ... Let the day dreaming begin.

Happenings posts inspired by Pip.

Heidi xo