* written over the month of October.
DOING: sitting on the couch & typing, while Joan sleeps in her bed. I was planning on preparing for my client session tomorrow but she's yet to send me some information and so now, as I find myself with a lovely window of "me time", I have decided to take notes on life right now.
HEARING: the birds outside, the refrigerator humming & this song, which I always pop on for Joan to fall asleep to.
DRINKING: A mug of green tea.
EATING + COOKING: when Joan wakes, we'll be baking a cake. Going through my old blog posts and uploading them to my new site has reminded me how often I used to bake. And though I've experienced a shift in my preferences over the past year or so from sweet to savoury, I do so love to bake. This morning I spotted two over-ripe bananas (too ripe to freeze for smoothies, even) that would be perfect for a banana cake. I googled "banana cacao cake" (because a chocolate cake sounded quite appealing) and came across this recipe. I don't have almond meal, so I'll use spelt flour and see how it goes (update, it was DELICIOUS. See the above picture). We've also made these easy cinnamon rolls recently (that coconut condensed milk...YUM) and I plan on baking this cake soon. Joan is most pleased by my recent baking resurgence.
Other than baking, we've been eating a lot of chickpeas. For a change, I have been using dried chickpeas, soaking them overnight then cooking them in water. Ordinarily I would open a can, but my meal prepping habit has helped me to be more organised and resourceful in the kitchen. Chickpeas make a great snack for Joan, and we've also been adding them to quinoa salads and vegetable curries. For the latter, I use this Sophie Dahl recipe as inspiration, with homemade chicken broth in place of vegetable stock, and stopping after step 4 (I simply serving our curry with steamed rice or couscous).
I continue to love sourdough toast for breakfast - one slice with natural nut butter, the other with avocado, both with sea salt, hemp seeds and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. I really cannot get enough of this meal. If I don't eat it for breakfast, it might happen at lunch, unless we're having quinoa bowls or, more recently, salad rolls. I like to use cape seed rolls, spread with hummus and pesto, avocado or mayonnaise, and topped with spinach, grated carrot + grated beetroot, cucumber, tomato, cheddar cheese, red onion and perhaps tuna or egg. A pickle would be welcome, too. Man, they're good.
WANTING: big cushions with a mustard-coloured linen cover. Or perhaps green, I'm open to green, too. Two of them, for the room we call the "couch room", which houses a built-in bookcase (it's really our reading and tv-watching room). I feel it will help tie in the grey couch that we bought years ago with our new style. A reddish Afghan rug would also do the job, but $$$$$$$$$. Update: my mum gave us one of her old, big pillows that has an Afghan rug feel - two in one! For free! Woohoo! Thanks, mum x
Speaking of couches, I wanted to quickly update you on the outdoor couch we bought a couple of months ago. In the end we went with this style and so far we're super happy with it!
LOOKING: forward to our trip to Hong Kong. We leave in less than 5 weeks, and I am already planning what to pack and where to eat. We'll be spending lots of time with family, including attending a wedding (which is the reason for the visit), and we also plan on visiting the Big Buddha and eating lots of dumpling noodle soup.
DECIDING: what to pack in our suitcases.
ENJOYING: the flowers in my garden. Suddenly we are surrounded by pink and purple blooms. I am grateful for our previous owners, who were such thoughtful, seasonally-minded gardeners.
WATCHING: season 3 of The Fall. In an attempt to save money, I held off purchasing it on ITunes and I am so pleased that I didn't cave in, because it came to Netflix! Ben and I also started Game Of Thrones, coming very late to the party. For a while I didn't see the big deal but now I'm loving it. Though I do often find it unsettling and ask Ben to turn the sound down while I avert my eyes. For some reason I can deal with The Fall but the gore of Game Of Thrones makes my skin crawl. Huh. Update: I just finished season 3 of The Fall and loved it, though I am disappointed with the ending (which was precisely the point, I expect). It's such a disturbing, well-made series.
READING: I picked up a copy of Gorky Park at the library last month. It's a crime novel set in Moscow and while I probably won't finish it, I have enjoyed the flashbacks to 8 years ago, when Ben and I visited Russia. We spent 2 weeks in Russia (as part of a 9 month backpacking holiday), with 4 days in Moscow before heading to St Petersburg. It was such an amazing trip. Update: I returned Gorky Park and now, after spotting it at the library, am reading Sarah's Key. Oomf. Heartwrenching stuff. It's breaking my heart and also making me want to visit Paris.
Lately Joan has been favouring books about ballet (Angelina Ballerina!) or Peppa pig. Peppa Pig is a recent discovery after a friend gifted us a book and, well, it's love. Joan absolutely adores Peppa. My MIL bought her a Peppa toy, which she carries around everywhere. She has no idea there's a Peppa Pig show, as she only watches Play School and very occasionally, at that. I like Play School compared to other kids shows, as it's gentle and slow, which I feel is good for her mind. Plus it's a show I'll willingly sit and watch with her (we both like Leah and Tao). I've never been a fan of cartoons, they drive me nuts, to be honest. I think it's the constant movement and colour and loudness of it all. I think I'm a bit sensitive to that stuff, like my Dad. But again, I can totally watch The Fall, so go figure. I know there are a number of good shows out there, and I'm totally excited for the Sesame Street days and movie nights to come, but I've noticed that screens can make Joan a little batty, so I limit them. Also, she has been playing so well independently lately, so I haven't felt the need to pop PlaySchool on while returning work emails or finishing up dinner. For our upcoming plane trip, however, I'm going to make sure we have some Peppa Pig episodes on the iPad and I have no doubt it will BLOW HER MIND. I'm also planning on packing reusable stickers, paper and crayons, lots of ballet and Peppa books and LOADS of snacks.
WEARING: denim shorts (or jeans, if it's cooler) + white tshirts and summer dresses. My boots are buried deep in our shoe basket, while my sandals lay on top. Warmer weather, I'm so happy you're here.
BUYING: a mattress for Joan. We're using a very old single mattress at the moment, and it's not very comfortable. I didn't expect to move Joan into her own bed this early, so I'm a bit late on the upgrade, but she's been sleeping in her bed since the start of the month! I still go in and spend the night with her when she wants me to. Which, so far, has been every single night from somewhere between 10-12am. I'm not in a rush to push her to learn to sleep without me. It'll take time, I think. I need to adjust to the change, too! I'm actually pleased when she calls me in. Though not when she's kicking my full bladder at 4am...
We received a recommendation for this mattress, and I have been looking at these two, also. Does anyone have any experience with these brands? Foam, latex BLAH it's all confusing to me. Update: we went with the Koala mattress, based on the amazing reviews and cheaper price tag. Thank you to the lovely person who recommended it to us! It's great!
PLANNING: what I'm going to cook for my brother who is coming for dinner on Sunday night. I'm thinking a Sunday roast - with roast chicken, potatoes and carrots or pumpkin, plus steamed broccoli. And then I can make stock form the chicken bones, as our freezer stores are low. Perfect.
CRAVING: roasted pumpkin, meatballs (which we recently made and were AMAZING) and pesto.
LOVING: my conversations with Joan. She's excellent company - so funny and smart, I find myself constantly smiling, laughing and affirming. I'm absolutely loving this age of 2 years and 2 months. Joan responds to the limits I set really well (thanks to RIE for the encouragement and inspiration in that regard) and so even the typical toddler challenging stuff doesn't feel that challenging at the moment. I'm savouring it!
SAVOURING: the warm afternoons, when Joan is content to play outside well into the evening. I'll head inside and prep dinner, while her scoots around and draws with chalk on the bricks. Time outdoors is so good for both of us.
PLAYING: in the sandpit. Most days we're out there at some point, making pretend cakes. My girl is loves pretending to make "white cake and pink cake" or "white cookies and pink cookies". Pink continues to be everything and anything. Joan loves to pretend to measure things. My mum gave her a little tape measure, and she'll wrap it around my legs or across her teddy's belly. Standing up against the wall the other day, she measured me and pronounce "26!". When I, as instructed, measured her, she announced her measurement to be, "Pink!".
FEELING: It's been a pretty tiring few months, and I'm so happy to be feeling energetic and normal again.
* warning, menstrual cycle talk ahead. I've spoken about these issues here before, so I wanted to follow it up, both for my sake and to provide a source of connection and reassurance for others going through similar difficulties*
I had a fairly easy recovery immediately following my miscarriage. My period actually came back 5 weeks after the D&C, which is a HUGE deal. I had unexplained amenorrhea for years after coming off the pill, and I was so happy when it returned at last. I danced around the house! However my cycles since have been intense and I've felt positively exhausted in the lead up and during (though my iron levels are good, I checked). So it hasn't been an easy few months in that regard. However after this past cycle, things have started to feel normal (I didn't realise how abnormal things were until normal arrived). I've had a lot more energy and it feels as though my body is ready to start trying for more kids again. Though this time, I feel much more laissez-faire about the whole endeavour. We'll actively try, of course, but I have let go of wanting it to happen in a certain way or by a certain time. Hands in the air, whatever happens, I am surrendering to this wild ride. I feel free to simply enjoy the now and savour my beautiful healthy daughter, for whom I feel so lucky to have conceived, grown, birthed and nurtured.
It's funny, my miscarriage has both hardened and softened my heart. I see and feel more pain than I did before, and I also see and feel more beauty. The same thing happened when I lost my brother. Grief, in whatever form it comes, changes you like nothing else. A podcast I recently listened to articulated this point quite nicely (if you listen to it, I have to agree with Krista, Joans really are the best).
Happenings posts inspired by Pip.