Life Lately: Easter at IKEA

It’s a spring miracle: I’m working on a post while Avery is awake! This is only possible because every time she comes over and “asks” to be picked up, I do indeed pick her up but then immediate start filing her nails, which she hates. So she’s keeping her distance for now. Mom of the year!

Easter-ing indoors, as is the Seattle way

Easter-ing indoors, as is the Seattle way

We had a pretty good Easter weekend. One highlight was a child free trip to IKEA (my mother in law was in town and watched Avery). It was a pretty glorious excursion and we got a ton of crap for the twins’ room. My approach to their nursery is amusingly different from what I did for Avery’s. Avery’s room color: picked the perfect VOC free paint. Twins’ room color: color from the last owners looks fine to me! Avery’s room art: ordered stuff online and spent a ridiculous amount on professional framing. Twins’ room art: IKEA prints are cute enough I guess. Avery’s crib: found a charming mid century modern-ish crib via some blog I followed. Twins’ cribs: IKEA’s $99 option seems legit. Etc. etc. Sorry, twins. There are a lot of hand me down clothes in your futures, too, so get used to the neglect now.

Getting weird off IKEA espresso

Getting weird off IKEA espresso

Easter weekend also featured a dinner out, sans kid, for Will’s birthday. We went to Girin and ordered the tasting menu, which was reasonably priced and delicious. It’s a Korean restaurant, so meat and veggie heavy, so I didn’t feel totally disgusting afterward which was a nice bonus. If I overeat these days, the food and baby in stomach combo makes me feel like I’m going to die.

GirinSteak

Next notable life happening: family trip to Kauai in about a week. Six hours on a plane with an 18 month old seems pretty scary. I plan to get through it by imagining how much more terrible flying will be with three small children instead of just the one.

Holidaze

Look at me, posting two weeks in a row. Impressive, I know.

I’ve been getting into the holiday spirit, which means decorating, overeating, non cheesy Christmas music, and wine. Good times!

tree

Although she won’t remember this holiday season, Avery will be able to enjoy it at least a little bit, as opposed to last year when she was pretty much just a lump. In holiday experiences thus far, she was pretty into the cookie I let her sample. I think we will skip the Santa photo ordeal this year because I really don’t feel like dealing with it, but we may go check out the gingerbread houses at the Sheraton.

Yum

Yum

Back to the cookies: if you like ginger, these are amazing. I made them and then ate an embarrassing number of them in one day. Then I tried to get my husband to take the rest of them to work, but he wouldn’t, so I hid them in the pantry to protect me from myself. #issues.

In other news, Avery is now napping once a day in the afternoon, which means weekend brunch is back on the agenda. Including brunch at Fat’s Chicken and Waffles, which we can walk to from our house.

Hell yes

Hell yes

Look at that amazingness. Highly recommended when you want what our household refers to as fatbrunch. Avocado toast/brunch salads/green juice = not an option here.

tea

To combat the cookie binges/superfluous gravy consumption/excessive wine drinking going down as of late, I’ve really upped my tea game and have been trying to swap wine and dessert for tea several evenings a week. These are all pretty delicious and as a bonus, I can take them to bed without risking crumbs and the wrath of my husband.

Summer Smoothie + Cocktail Deliciousness

I made up and created not one but TWO delicious beverages within the past 24 hours. Pretty impressive for a busy mom on the go (shoot me in the face)! I’m sure my award will be arriving in the mail shortly.

Smoothie fixins. Thank God new house has subway tile for my super profesh food shots.

Smoothie fixins. Thank God new house has subway tile for my super profesh food shots.

I drink smoothies for breakfast most summer mornings. Quick, healthy, tasty, and I fucking love drinking things out of straws so this habit gives me an excuse to buy them. If you keep a decent stable of ingredients on hand it’s pretty easy to keep your smoothie game interesting. This one was a winner. I was so obsessed with it that I texted my husband “I just made the best smoothie in the world” to which he replied “maybe at the time.” Rude!

PB and J Smoothie

Blend together for one smoothie (I used a Vitamix, you might want to omit the chia seeds if you don’t have a high speed blender):

1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or similar)
½ frozen banana
3 frozen strawberries
1 medjool date
2 TBSP peanut butter
1 TBSP chia seeds
1 generous dash cinnamon

And now for something boozy. Balance! This next bev is still pretty healthy though, and really refreshing. Fruity, without being too sweet.

Yellow watermelon, you so fancy!

Yellow watermelon, you so fancy!

Watermelon Margarita

Serves two

Crush a cup, ish of watermelon in a cocktail shaker (I just mashed the shit out of two triangular shaped slices with a spoon-I used yellow watermelon but red would also be just dandy)

Add to shaker:
Handful of ice
3 oz silver tequila
Juice from two limes
Dash of orange juice (you can also use triple sec but I am too cheap to buy Cointreau and I think cheap triple sec tastes skanky)

Shake, shake shake and pour into your glasses of choice.

Delicious though I must admit that I probably won’t make it through summer without consuming one of these at least once.

Still Pregnant…and Eating Fudge

I have officially hit 41 weeks and am still pregnant with no real signs of impending labor…pretty typical for a first timer but it’s still a mental struggle. One day at a time! She can’t stay in there much longer than a week or she’s going to be forced out by various medications and doctors.

Kickass new Seahawks library card for future baby/library adventures

Kickass new Seahawks library card for future baby/library adventures

Something productive I did recently was make some delicious peanut butter sea salt fudge. So, so good. I gave a bunch of it away and Will and I ate the rest in about a day because we are horrible pigs.

So good

So good

Recipe is here, from Cup of Jo (I used creamy peanut butter and plain old brown sugar but I do recommend stocking up on some flaky sea salt to fancy these up, I used Maldon and I don’t regret it one bit). So I guess this weekend’s agenda is to walk around a lot and try to get this baby out. Wish me luck.

Helpful (And Unhelpful) Pregnancy Tips

Being pregnant can be overwhelming, to put it mildly. There is a shitton of information out there regarding what to eat, drink, do, wear, buy, use, and avoid. It will hurt your brain and stress you out if you let it.

I think, in general, if you don’t do anything blatantly dangerous or unhealthy, e.g. drink a 6 pack of PBR a night, sniff paint fumes, take up amateur lion taming, etc. you can figure out what works and feels right to you, and you and your baby will probably be just fine. Obviously, listen to your chosen medical professional, too.

Having been pregnant for almost 40 weeks now, I do have some observations regarding what worked for me and what didn’t. One thing I have learned is that the pregnancy experience varies widely, so these tips might be totally unhelpful for you.

But, throughout these last nine months I have enjoyed hearing about the pregnancy experiences of other women in as specific detail as possible, even if I ultimately rejected what they had to say. So here are some thoughts on what I have found helpful/unhelpful while preggo.

I stocked up on delicious but healthy beverages for hydration and to make myself feel better about not being able to drink wine. This is a good one.

I stocked up on delicious but healthy beverages for hydration and to make myself feel better about not being able to drink wine. This is a good one.

Worked!
Yoga I took prenatal yoga classes at Seattle Holistic Center, and I really enjoyed them. I found prenatal yoga to be very gentle and non sweat inducing which would usually bore and annoy me but was actually quite soothing and restorative while pregnant. I’m fairly convinced that a lot of the poses help prepare your body for labor, which will be hard to quantify, but believing all the yoga I did will make a difference is probably like 80% of the battle, anyway.

I’m not a share my feelings with strangers and chant mantras kind of person and there is a little bit of this going down in the classes I attend, but I kind of liked it. The spiritual elements helped me connect with and think about my baby in a way I wouldn’t have otherwise.

Chiropractor At about 24 weeks pregnant I started having heinous SI joint pain on one side of my lower back/butt. By the end of each day, I could barely walk. I’m not great with physical impairment and injuries and this really fucked me up mentally- I started to freak out a little bit, imagining that I would be couch bound for months and turn into a sluglike Jabba the Hut type creature who never left the house. I was totally skeptical of chiropractic care, but I was desperate, and saw Dr. Devine until I exhausted my insurance coverage (20 visits total).

Not gonna lie, the chiropractic experience is kind of weird (is this dude cracking my back for five minutes on a creepy table really doing anything?). However, Dr. Devine either cured me or the pain disappeared completely all on it’s own, and the latter seems unlikely to me given how severe the issue was. Highly recommend giving a chiropractor a try if you experience any back/neck/other pain during pregnancy.

Ignoring most food rules OMG, the food rules one hears while pregnant. No lunchmeat! No sushi! No soft cheese! These rules mostly stem from fear of foodborne illness, particularly listeria. Right….if you read the news, like, ever, you know that listeria, salmonella, etc. can come from anywhere. Yes, it is probably wise to avoid shady grocery store sushi and also smart to watch mercury levels of the seafood you consume but you can’t convince me that fresh, high grade, wild caught salmon sashimi from a reputable restaurant is an unhealthy choice for pregnant women.

Not allowed, ate it anyway.

Not allowed, ate it anyway.

Maybe this thrusts me into bad mother territory, but I ate/eat sushi, smoked fish, turkey sandwiches, oysters, and all sorts of soft cheese while pregnant, in moderation, and I have been fine. It may make sense to follow the food rules during the first trimester since the theory is that if you contract food poisoning you may be more likely to miscarriage, but if you eat a spicy tuna roll at 8 months pregnant is your baby going to die? Doubtful.

Did Not Work/Need
Pregnancy pillow I heard many raves about those ginormous pregnancy pillows that cost like $80. I intended to acquire one at some point but never got around to it, and found that making my own nest comprised of multiple regular pillows shoved I already owned worked just fine.

So many pillows!

So many pillows!

Jury Is Out
Dates There are studies (possibly with small sample sizes rendering the results a bit questionable) that show that consuming dates made labor easier for women who did so. I’ve been eating 4-6 dates a day for a couple weeks. I like them on their own or blended into a smoothie. We’ll see how labor goes…if nothing else they are giving me extra fiber and something sweet to eat that isn’t full of refined sugar like all the shit I really want to eat.

Also helpful to me/my raging pregnancy sweet tooth: keeping sweet shit that isn't candy around.

Also helpful to me/my raging pregnancy sweet tooth: keeping sweet shit that isn’t candy around.

Stretch mark oil I slathered on Bio-Oil or Earth Mama Angel Baby Natural Stretch Oil twice a day starting in the second trimester and still don’t have any stretch marks. HOWEVER I also had pretty minimal stretch marks to begin with so I don’t think I’m particularly prone to them, and my bump has remained relatively small. But I don’t think lubing up your skin really well can hurt when it comes to helping it stretch. It just kinda makes sense to me: soft things expand more easily.

Coconut oil is great for dry, itchy pregnancy skin.

Coconut oil is great for dry, itchy pregnancy skin.

Pregnancy tea I’ve been downing 2 or 3 cups of this a day (Traditional Medicinals, Earth Mama Angel Baby, Yogi and probably others make this-I purchase it at Whole Foods or Central Co-Op). Supposedly it helps strengthen your uterus and prep your cervix and stuff. Again, we shall see how labor goes. At the very least it’s keeping me hydrated and giving me something more interesting than water to drink.

Tea

Preggo Power Smoothie

I’ve been drinking this lovely creation for breakfast on the regular.

Terrible photo but the Seahawks glass makes up for it.

Terrible photo but the Seahawks glass makes up for it.

Yeah, it’s sort of (very?) hideous to look at. But it is full of ingredients that are supposed to be extra beneficial for pregnancy, and actually tastes pretty good.

Here is the basic recipe, this can definitely be tweaked many ways:

1 cup almond milk (I like Whole Food’s brand organic unsweetened vanilla)
½ cup ish organic plain yogurt (calcium, protein, probiotics)
½-1 frozen banana (potassium, fiber, creamy factor)
1 cup fresh or ½ cup frozen spinach (iron, folic acid)
2 TBSP flaxseed (omega 3s for brain development)
1 TBSP raw cacao powder (tastes like chocolate, lots of minerals, fiber, protein)
2 Medjool dates (supposedly make labor easier, fiber, tastes like hippie candy)

Blend and feel awesome about yourself because this shit is super healthy.

Random Pregnant Stuff

About two and a half weeks left until it’s birthin’ time, holy shit. I haven’t been feeling super awesome so I’m trying to lay low and enjoy being a self-indulgent slug while I still can. Lots of trashy TV and reading and pre natal massages.

Delightful Saturday Morning

Delightful Saturday Morning

Food is also fun when you are pregnant, however, I’ve started getting some really heinous heartburn which is obnoxious and really interferes with my gluttony. However I did still manage to eat bacon for breakfast all three days this weekend. #lifegoals

Vegan Eggnog French Toast. And Bacon...

Vegan Eggnog French Toast. And Bacon…

Armed with Tums, I’ve been trying to cook lots of delicious things while I have time to do so, and trying to venture into restaurants to be served delicious things by other people since I know my dining out habits are going to be curtailed pretty soon. Fun fact: when you can’t booze, dinner bills are way cheaper.

Seattle’s Manolin is a newly discovered favorite. Seafood-focused small plates that are almost too stunning to eat and a really enticing looking cocktail menu (dammit). They don’t take reservations so show up early.

Ceviche Mixto at Manolin.

Ceviche Mixto at Manolin.

Doesn’t that look amazing? Anyway. If you need me I’ll be on the couch binge watching Bachelor in Paradise.

Cool Shit on the Internet

Oh hey. Just over here being 35.5 weeks pregnant, tra la la. I’m experiencing an increasing number of rando aches and pains but am generally doing pretty well.

The exciting evenings of a preggo

The exciting evenings of a preggo

In other news, despite what our retail establishments want you to believe (see: back to school ads, stores stocked with fall clothing, and halloween decor displays, wtf especially to that last one), THERE IS BASICALLY A MONTH OF SUMMER STILL LEFT TO ENJOY.

This cool kid is super psyched about the rest of summer

This cool kid is super psyched about the rest of summer

Hallelujah. I, personally, would rather be completely sick of summer and 100% ready for crispy leaves, blustery weather, and pumpkin spice everything than feel robbed of a true summer, which has definitely happened in previous years here in Seattle. Summer 2015 has been around basically since May and I will gratefully accept that!

Anyway. Here is a roundup of delightful things I found on the interwebs recently:

1. Since we have a month of summer left, you should probably grill some burgers. Here’s how to make a delicious one. Cup of Jo

2. This may out me as a dog obsessed weirdo (as if the above sunglasses photo didn’t already) but I am really into this dog age calculator by breed. Pedigree

3. I’ve read some really annoying advice from “nutrition experts” about limiting fruit intake due to its sugar content, which always struck me as ridiculous. This backs me up. Fruit is good for you, duh. Detoxinista

4. Non celebrities recreating celebrity Instagram shots. Dying over the Kim K on a mountain one. Bustle

5. I want to eat this cheese plate RIGHT NOW. Cupcakes and Cashmere

Biscuit Party

Portland (the one in Oregon. Sorry Maine, I’m sure your Portland is great, too) is a magical land. Delicious food abounds, which is notably cheaper than Seattle options, with less random mediocrity: even the nondescript unknown eateries are usually pretty solid. Portland’s hipsters seem friendlier than Seattle’s. And gas station attendants pump your gas for you, for free, by law. Amazing!

Will and I ventured south on I5 a couple weeks ago to visit his parents and gorge ourselves, as is our usual plan of attack vis a vis Portland. We finally made it to Pine State Biscuits and it did not disappoint. The line at the Alberta location was heinous, even at 10:30am on a Monday, but the biscuity goodness was on point.

Chicken Club

Chicken Club

We shared The Chatfield, The Chicken Club and, since neither of those featured gravy and we are kind of disgusting, the Biscuits and Gravy. The salt induced preggo bloat, which left me with cankles for a good 48 hours, was well worth it.

The Chatfield, Biscuits and Gravy

The Chatfield, Biscuits and Gravy

Also worth the wait in Portland, IMO? Salt and Straw. Their ice cream kicks Seattle ice cream’s ass. The seasonal berry pie flavor was particularly amazing. Ugh, I just looked at their website and a couple of the August flavors look just ridiculous…Chocolate Caramel Potato Chip Cupcake anyone (yes that is one flavor)?

Recent Trader Joe’s Favorites

While I maintain a membership to Seattle’s wonderful Central Co-op and do make an effort to shop there for bulk stuff and produce, if I’m honest, most of my grocery shopping goes down at Trader Joe’s.

#basic, I know, but low prices + a bounty of healthy options + compact and easy to navigate = grocery heaven. The Capitol Hill Trader Joe’s parking garage does make me want to shank someone, but that’s not enough of an issue to keep me away.

Here is a little roundup of some recent TJ’s faves.

Hot & Sweet Mustard
Possibly the perfect mustard. A delight on sandwiches, burgers etc. but I also like to use this as salad dressing. Pretty healthy and a little goes a long way.

Mustard Perfection

Mustard Perfection

Jalapeno Stuffed Olives
I like to keep assorted jars of salty shit around to keep life interesting and this is a very satisfying option if you like a little heat. Amazing savory snack or chopped up in salads.

Spicy good times

Spicy good times

Organic Frozen Chopped Spinach
Great to throw into smoothies: spinach flavor is way easier to cover with a little fruit than kale flavor. This is a perfect purchase if you don’t drink smoothies every day and want to avoid a rotting bag of greens situation.

Blend me

Blend me

Spelt Risotto
Kind of a random find but so tasty as a healthy, easy meal. Takes like five minutes to make. Very flavorful with a nice, chewy texture courtesy the spelt.

Yum

Yum

Organic Baked Tofu
I keep this around as easy protein for salads or sandwiches. Short ingredient list. Processed soy is shady but I think tofu eaten once or twice a week is legit as a vegetarian protein source.

I'm much too lazy to bake my own

I’m much too lazy to bake my own

Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Pretzels
I don’t buy these often because they encompass a perfect, deadly trifecta of my food weaknesses and I will kill the bag embarrassingly quickly. They are SO GOOD.

Holy shit yes

Holy shit yes