Monday, October 05, 2015


ek has been playing soccer this season - her first time attempting the sport. when i was signing her up, i volunteered justin and myself to assist in whatever way - team mom, assistant coach, etc. well, a few weeks before the season started, they called and asked if justin would please coach. of course he said yes, even though we have no foundation for this at all.

the team is pretty adorable - 6 kids, 3 girls, 3 boys. our friend cate is on the team, plus a super sweet girl named gabby. the boys are patrick, hudson, and mateo. mateo is basically a professional soccer player - it's insane. this kid is unbelievable.

anyway. ek is starting to get it, maybe. slowly but surely. when we play at home, i'm actually really impressed with her ball handling, scoring, etc. she does great at practice. but the execution in the game can be a little tough. she spends lots of time asking for snacks and/or whining because she only wants to be "in" when cate is also in. then, there's the whole disconnect of going after the ball. we spend every other minute of the day demanding that she share and not take things that don't belong to her...then in the games we're like "GET THE BALL! TAKE IT!". so, i can see where that is confusing (even if she's not the best sharer out there anyway...).

all that being said, it's been fun so far. the kids looooove justin and he's really good with them. he's super patient and they climb all over him and i think they leave practices and games feeling like they are having fun. the first game was rough on everyone - i didn't know what to expect and i may have gone a little too tiger mom on the situation, but we are getting the hang of it. as the weather gets milder, it's even more pleasant.

Friday, September 18, 2015

school update.

it's hard to believe we're only three weeks into the school year. holy cow. there have been some amazing things so far this school year, and some rough patches as well (already).

when this whole transition period started, i was super worried about hollis. he is a less adaptable kid than emme is, in general, and he never really fully got into the groove at his last school, even after over a year there. he was managing it all a bit better the last month or so (there was a particular teacher that he finally got away from, and i think that helped a lot), so i was even more nervous that he would flip out when we uprooted him again.

so not the situation. he cried the first day i dropped him off (understandably), and has not cried a single day since. he can still get a little squirrely here and there, but he is just handling everything so. well. i am super proud of him. he loves his teacher, miss iliana; he loves swimming a couple days a week; he loves riding the bus to "ja-nastics"; he loves the "jumpoline" when he's at gymnastics. the class size is a bit smaller and the classroom offers lots of opportunities for independent play, on which hollis really thrives. i think he *might* even be starting to make some friends. but regardless...all good things.

ek on the other has been a whirlwind. i don't know why i wasn't really worried about her. i guess because she is so adaptable - she has always handled new situations rather well. she doesn't just dive right in, but she cautiously observes what's happening and then ultimately does her thing in any scenario.

this time has been much harder. obviously, there are many more elements at play, much more responsibility, all of that. but we've had some challenges. the first week, the big thing was the bus between after school and second after school. which i get - the first day didn't exactly engender confidence in the whole schedule. but even beyond that, she was super upset every day. there is a sweet fifth grader named jacob who helps her buckle and holds her hand on the ride, but she would start getting upset even in mr. butler's class just anticipating the ride.

we also discovered that she was in after after school with lots of kids of all different ages, and that might have something to do with her flipping out about the bus. so i asked the coordinators if they could put her into a section with younger kids - maybe the kids who do full-day preK there who are her age? this was a suggestion from hollis's teacher, and it turned out to be the answer! she enjoyed her time in aftercare a lot more, and the bus ride became less menacing because of that.

the second week brought more fun challenges. there's a conduct system in place in her preK class, similar to lots of schools i'm sure. red, yellow, green, then rainbow if you really go above and beyond. well, last tuesday she told us that in spite of ending the day on green, she had been on yellow at one point. yikes! i will leave aside my personal feelings about arbitrary conduct systems, etc - the fact of the matter is you have to figure out how to succeed and thrive in whatever environment you're in. so, we talked about being on yellow, etc. that behaviour was coupled with general mean-ness - she was being mean to hollis, being super mean to cate on the walk to school, being mean to justin and me. she was also being demanding and rude in the evenings. all just stuff that made me feel like "whose kid is living in my house?".

anyway. thursday, a few hours after i arrived in nyc, i got a text from her teacher asking when i would be back in town. never a good sign. so, monday afternoon, i called him. we ended up talking for 25 minutes, wherein he described an incident thursday that led to her finishing the day on yellow (she was disrespectful to another teacher - something that is unacceptable). she was also refusing to help clean up after centers, and generally just upping the ante on any less-desirable behavior she saw from her classmates. sigh.

monday night, we had a nice long talk about respect and he behavior. we role-played the conversation she would have the next morning with the teacher she disrespected and wrote her an apology note. after getting to school, she did go apologize, so i was really proud that she handled that moment. we also started talking about kindness, and how that's a huge thing - being helpful and kind. i feel like i'v'e been talking about and reinforcing this stuff forever, but i clearly needed to amp it up.

so...tuesday she had a much better day, and then wednesday and thursday she made it to rainbow both days! i am super proud. we still have some work to do on carrying that kind and helpful behavior over to home life, but i know she's got a lot to tackle right now, and it's hard to hold it together 100% of the time. so i am working on being patient and extra loving with her while she figures out how to harness her powers for good. yay, parenting!

Thursday, September 17, 2015


hollis is hilarious in the car, especially on the rare instances he is in the car solo with me. when i'm driving on a curvy road or even just going sorta fast (like 40mph), he will say "wheeee mommy you're making me bizzy!". i assure him i always drive the speed limit, but he insists it's a wild ride.

last night he and i were driving to the (super uneventful) open house at his school and he said "mommy i love when you go fast like the speed lemon and make me bizzy".

he is also super concerned with the music selection while driving. he will frequently interrupt conversation to ask "can you turn some songs on please?". he let me know yesterday that he likes the macklemore song can't hold us (the nah nah nah song), the dragon song (aka uptown funk), and some random song that was on the radio at that moment that i don't know if he'd ever even heard before.

Monday, September 14, 2015

new york, new york.

this year for my birthday, jb surprised me with a trip to nyc! it was an amazing gift - super thoughtful and something i never would have done for myself. a few of my close friends still live in the city, and several other great friends live in the northeast, so he tried to coordinate it for a weekend when many people would be able to make it into the city to hang out.

the reality of stuff like that is kind of tough, though - especially now. in my younger days (when i was in/around new york a lot), no one had kids or "real" jobs or whatever. we were content to cram into whomever's apartment and sleep on whatever floor/couch/bed had a sliver of space. but now, i guess we are adults. ha. and being an adult can be expensive and also comes with all sorts of fun responsibilities.

anyway. i stayed with my dear friends matt and joey and my friend aaron was able to head into town to meet us one of the nights. it was awesome. while i would have (of course) loved to see some of my other friends, it was super fun to get real quality time with those guys and this just means i need to take another trip to visit my other people :).

matt procured tickets to the us open women's tennis semis and finals, so that was basically a once in a lifetime experience. we got to see serena get upset at 300:1 odds. we got to see the first ever all-italian final. we got to see flavia pennetta announce her retirement minutes after winning her first grand slam and like four seconds before receiving a check for $3.3M. just so cool all around.

beyond the tennis, we ate at lots of amazing places: westville, cookshop, a sushi place i can't remember the name of (woops), saxon & parole, kava, 44 & X, and little owl. we walked a lot, went into a super rad gallery (where i got to see a few banksy's and some original warhols, among other awesomeness), strolled through a great little bookshop, and did a lot of laughing.

resetting is something i am notoriously bad about giving myself the space/time to do, but i am so thankful to justin for creating the opportunity for me. i heart NY.

Monday, August 31, 2015

first full day.

admittedly, i have had some nerves about this week. there are a lot of changes and a lot is riding on scheduling coordination during times when i am sitting at my office, and that makes me nervous. and then, this afternoon, this happened:

after-after school care called me
they were like "why isn't your kid on the bus?" (this bus is the source of all my afterschool angst, i swear)
i'm like...she should be on the bus, blah blah
so i call debra
the pre-after school coordinator person
and she's in a room like "amy? amy? has anyone seen amy?"
and i'm like it's EMME
and then she's like "i'm going to have to call you back"
so then i am freaking out and about to get in the car
and then after after school calls me back and they're like "never mind she is on the bus now"
this whole ordeal was like 4 minutes

but still
all my worst fears about this arrangement were realized in this 4 minute period.

also, i am so glad this is not a cautionary tale. 

in other news, last night before bed, hollis said "i have a secret, mommy. my eyes are very fancy." 

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

first day! preK!

dear emme,

today was the first day of a huge new chapter in your life: elementary school. this is, to a large extent, what you'll be doing for the next fourteen years or so. it's a big deal.

your teacher is mr. butler and, though you were a bit reserved with him initially (your usual MO), you warmed up to him during the first day and had lots of stories about his silliness. you even gave him a hug on the way out the door!

your capacity to get on board with new situations and people is amazing to me - that adaptability is a great quality that will serve you well throughout your life. you don't dive head first, but you approach change with thoughtfulness and acceptance.

i know you are sad to leave your old school behind. you've told me so, and i've seen the fun you've had there - the attachments you've formed with other kids and many of the teachers. you've been comfortable and safe there, and you've learned a lot. but this is just the first of many times when you will have to leave the comfort and safety of one environment to venture into something new, and i am immensely proud of the way you're approaching it.

i have so many hopes for you this year. i hope every day ends with you full of stories about yoga and books and silly dancing and all the shells you found on the playground. i hope you continue to love the thrill of sitting in the cafeteria. i hope you grow in compassion and kindness toward your friends and classmates and your love of learning continues to blossom.

i love you so much little goose, and i am so excited to stand by you this year and experience all that it has in store.



Sunday, August 23, 2015


i came out of the shower this evening and emme was wearing a disguise over her pajamas. p.s. it is 100 degrees outside.

me: hahaha, sweetie are you incognito?
ek: where is cognito? is that a country?

this kid.

Friday, August 21, 2015

eat this now: crockpot chicken curry.

as we all know, my food photography is more than a little lacking, so no pics of this. but y'all. this curry is the easiest thing to make EVER and it is freakishly delicious. i love things with just a few ingredients that work together and are amaze.

this recipe sizes well - double it, or just add a little extra of whichever ingredients to make it your own.

- 1.5-2 pounds chicken thighs (you can use breasts, but thighs are more delicious i think)
- carrots (i usually pile quite a few in there - you can use baby carrots or chop some up, whatever meets your fancy. probably 4-6 carrots' worth)
- red potatoes - for this size i use 5-6 smallish ones, diced to bite size
- garam masala - this is an indian spice that i love. use at least a tbsp or so
- kosher salt - just a little
- curry - you can use any color, powdered or paste. this most recent time i used powdered green curry, about a tablespoon because i don't like it crazy spicy
- 1 can of full fat coconut milk
- 1/2 a can of tomato paste
- cilantro and greek yogurt for garnish (optional)

place chicken thighs and veggies in slow cooker (chicken on the bottom). sprinkle with garam masala, curry and salt. be generous, really. in a separate bowl, use a fork or spoon to mix the coconut milk with the tomato paste. pour that over the meat/veggie mix. let cook on low for ~8 hours. my slow cooker has a timer so i have it stop cooking and switch to the warm setting at the eight hour mark which i find keeps the veggies soft but not overly mushy. use a fork to mix it all around/shred the chicken, then serve. you don't need anything else, but i find it's delicious over a bed of cauliflower rice. regular rice would be tasty also, if you're down with grains. cilantro as a garnish is a nice finish, as is a dollop of greek yogurt (especially if you were a little heavy-handed with the curry).

this is the most basic form of this recipe, but i have made it with sweet potatoes, peppers, onions, etc. as added veggies. also, if you don't have/can't find garam masala, it's not necessary - just add a little garlic powder and maybe onion power to round out the flavor profile. you could also do this with chickpeas, throw in some spinach...the possibilities are endless!

bon apetit!

Monday, August 17, 2015


so, it was only 48 hours, but we hit the beach in south texas this weekend and i think it was the most successful vacation endeavor we've had to date. we shared a house with two other families and everyone pitched in for food and gear and we had a great time. the drive was longer than we expected/would have liked thanks to super fun traffic, but next time we will stay an extra night and i think that will be perfect. there were eight families all together and it was a fantastic way to wind down the summer before the insanity of the next several weeks.

- emme and willa being super sweet with each other
- emme and oliver getting along amazingly and playing non-stop
- the older kids being sweet to the younger kids
- kan jam
- hollis's beach nap in our tent
- tate's gluten-free ginger cookies - find these and eat them
- hollis eating an entire bag of goldfish
- the chimichurri sauce i made
- tacos, obviously
- hanging out with so many friends in a low-stress environment
- our golf cart
- being mostly phone-free
- bringing the right amount of food - not too much, not too little, and we didn't have to go out to eat once!

anyway...we didn't bring a camera, but i took a couple pics with my phone when it was nearby.

when i was a baby.

the kids are saying some hilarious stuff these days. i want to be better about writing it all down because i know i'm going to forget/do forget so quickly.

hollis says "right now" about everything. we should really get it on video because it amuses me to no end. he says it in place of please, or in addition to it. it's not demanding, exactly, because he also uses it as verbal filler. examples: "i'm wearing this spiderman shirt because right now" or "can emme give me my spoon right now". he draws the now out so it sounds kind of like noooow in his baby voice. i love that.

the other thing the kidlets are obsessed with lately is "when i was a baby". they start with that, and then they whisper whatever random thing they think of and then lose their minds giggling at it. for example: "when i was a baby, i wanted to take off my eyeballs" and "when i was a baby, i wanted to be naked all the time". i have no idea where this comes from, and much of the talk involves nipples (potty talk is a favorite pasttime of theirs these days), but it is pretty funny.

also, hollis has been weirdly gracious in his language. this weekend in port A, he was eating breakfast and he just busted out with "thank you so much for making this delicious dinner for me, mommy". such a sweetheart. we were sitting on the beach at one point and he crawled into my lap and said "this was a really fun day mommy". i don't know where this awesomeness comes from either, but i'll take it!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

how (and why) to make homemade mayo.

i started making my own mayo when we did our whole30 back in april/may and it is the best thing ever. i have always like mayo, but i can also take it or leave it. i realize people have crazy strong opinions about mayo, but i think even people who aren't mayo lovers would get behind homemade mayo. it's super versatile and one of those fabulous healthy fats. mayo (and the process of making it) doesn't photo very well (and i am not a food photographer in any capacity), but this is for instructional purposes.

homemade mayo (unlike store bought) has only a few ingredients:
- 1 whole egg
- 1 1/4 cup of light olive oil (seriously, do not use extra virgin! i've heard avocado oil works well too, but i haven't personally tried it yet)

- juice from half a lemon
- salt (to taste)
- dry mustard powder (to taste - i usually just sprinkle a lil in there and don't really measure, but i think a quarter to half teaspoon is plenty)

that's it! no additives, sugar, creepy preservatives, etc.

the secret to good mayo that's the right consistency is starting with ingredients that are all at room temp. so, take your egg out an hour before you're making this, or just plop it in a cup of warm water for 5-10 minutes. make sure your lemon is room temp too, if you keep your citrus in the fridge.

so, just whip out your food processor (i have tried to make it with an immersion blender and that works well too, but i like the more hands-free method with a food processor).

put the whole egg, 1/4 cup of the oil, lemon juice, salt and mustard powder in there. put the lid on and turn that puppy on. while it's whirling away, drizzle the remaining cup of oil into the top slooooooowly. seriously. it should take you more than a minute or two to drizzle all that business in there. your arm will get tired. but slow is what you need for that perfect texture (in addition to the room temp thing). once you've finished drizzling all that in there, you can stop the food processor.

use a spatula or a spoon to transfer all your gorgeous mayo into a cute mason jar. label it if you think expiry will be an issue - it's not at our house since we go through a jar in about a week here, but homemade mayo will last one week past the expiration date of the egg you used. so, a while.

some ideas for tasty mayo use:
- use a dollop with an acid (citrus, some form of vinegar) and a little sesame oil to make a creamy and delicious salad dressing (especially perfect for cole slaw)
- toss a little with sauteed veggies and fresh dill for breakfast or a side dish
- dip homemade sweet potato fries in it
- make a variation - i love cilantro lime (add cilantro and garlic to your food processor at the beginning and use lime juice instead of lemon), dill, garlic, and any other herb variation
- mix it with roasted red pepper sauce for the most delicious sauce of all time, perfect for zoodles

bon apetit!

Thursday, August 06, 2015


sunday was my birthday, so i'm in my mid-thirties now. it was a good day - i've been rocking this super fun summer cold for about a week, so i was a little drugged up and out of it from the nyquil, but my rad family was good about letting me be a bit lazier than usual. we had fun the whole weekend.

friday night i threw a little dinner party for benny who moved to california this week. he's going to teach at stanford, so i guess if you have to have a good friend move away, stanford is a pretty good reason for it...

saturday, we went to marble falls with the perques and the kids rocked out on the lake alllll day. they had an absolute blast. we haven't spent as much time with the perque fam over the last several months because everyone's schedules are psychotic, so it was super nice to just hang in the water with them. the kids skipped nap in favor of time on the boat and more time leaping off of the big water mat, so they were obviously exhausted by the time we headed home.

jb had arranged for miss crystal to come babysit so we could have a little date night, so we threw some dinner together for the kidlets and took the fastest showers ever. we were pretty tired after our lake adventures (and these stupid colds) too, so we went out for sushi and headed home right after. we did have this king salmon nigiri that was the most unbelievable fish i have ever eaten, and going on dates with jb is always a super special treat.

sunday morning, the fam let me sleep the nyquil off until about 8 or 8:30 when they serenaded me awake with happy birthday and cards the kids had made. they also brought me coffee in bed, the quickest way to my heart, while attacking me with sweet cuddles. i love those people.

we got up and headed to brunch downtown at z tejas. it was (amazingly) still cool enough to sit outside under the fan and the wisteria, so we did. the kids ate chocolate chip pancakes and jb and i split a tejas benny. jb also surprised me with a plane ticket to nyc, the nicest birthday gift of all time. so, i'll be in the City in september for a weekend with old friends. yay!

the rest of the day was spent getting a pedicure, doing a little sewing, and hitting the neighborhood pool. ek is becoming quite the little fish and it is super fun to watch her get a little more confident in the water each time.

all in all, a great birthday, setting up for a great year.

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