things no one told me about being a mom – episode 1

You learn so much as a new mother. You learn about yourself, your baby, your husband, and even your parents (there’s definitely a new appreciation there). Some things you (thought you) were prepared for, and some things completely blindside you. I’m going to share some of the latter in this new series.


1. YOUR HOME WILL NEVER LOOK THE SAME

I used to say I would not let the baby stuff take over my home. As I’m sitting here typing this, I can look to my left and see the baby bouncer, look in front of me and see a slew of toys and a baby gym, and look to the dining room to see a highchair and a pack ‘n’ play. It is virtually impossible to keep at bay. I would vow not to get bouncers and gyms and tons of toys, maintaining that my baby would be happy to play on the ground with a cardboard box and a measuring cup. All the time. Also she would never cry and be a perfect sleeper. And I would keep a perfectly clean home, just as before. Duh.

But somehow it happened. I didn’t mean for it to, but now I can buy toys with the best of ‘em, and I love my “lawn” for bottles, and I don’t know what I would do without the baby gym. So things change.

And things get messy. You may do a good job of keeping the baby gear away, but things will still be messy. There will be dried spit-up on the carpet, dried baby food on your clothes, God-knows-what in the carseat…and you won’t really care. The dishes may pile up in the sink you used to keep impeccably clean, and you just don’t worry about it like you used to. I used to get really hyper about cleaning the kitchen after a meal, or straightening up the house, but having a baby tends to rearrange priorities a bit. It goes something like baby, sleep, eat, work, housework, work out. Husband and myself are in there too, but I’m not sure where.

Having Simona has made me much less of a control freak about cleanliness. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not living in filth now or anything, but I’ve realized it’s okay if I don’t get to clean to bathroom this week. Or next week. And the laundry will wait patiently while I scrounge for some good clean underwear. The dishes will get done. But maybe I want to sit on the couch first and have a sandwich.

It’s just inevitable that when you add a new person to your family, you add new things to your life, and new chores to your list. I don’t know why I thought I could get away with having a baby as a neat, poopless accessory. Of course there’s more to it than that, but you know what I mean. As minimalist as you are, you have to at least have clothes and diapers. And then you have to wash those clothes and change those diapers.

So your home will look different. Maybe just a little different, or maybe ‘overhaul’ different. It’s a home where a tiny human will slowly grow into an adult, and that’s a beautiful thing. It is a messier, more chaotic life, but it is one filled with joy and love and baby coos. It’s filled with tiredness too, but that’s another story for another time. The long and short of it is that it’s worth it. I’d never trade the literal bundle of joy that now resides in my house, not for all the clean carpets in the world.

five things friday

We have a perfect day to enjoy here in Chicago! It’s sunny and 70 degrees and spirits are high. You can just feel it. Hope your weekend is beautiful and happy! And hope you enjoy these links from around the interwebs:

An amazing time capsule home.

Can’t stand how cute these moccasins are.

Have you seen this dramatic little girl?

I don’t have tattoos but this is one of the most tempting I’ve seen.

We had these incredible pastries in Paris and now Bon Appetit is telling us how to make them (a really big project though…)!

pinterest in real life – no-bake granola bars

First of all, I realize that I should be taking pictures of my attempts in this endeavor, but I’ve been too lazy. So here’s to not being lazy. I took one picture!

This week I had to try these no-bake granola bars. They looked so healthy and easy. Turns out, they weren’t quite as easy as I’d hoped, because I had to toast oats and coconut, and soak and puree apricots and dates, and chop a whole buncha stuff. Is that a lot of work? Maybe not. Like I mentioned, I’m lazy.

The recipe is nicely modifiable, so I used peanut butter where I had no almond butter, and almonds where I had no brazil nuts. Otherwise, it was really nice to use up all these dried fruit sort of things that I happened to have sitting in my pantry, because I literally had all of the other ingredients on hand(minus hemp seeds, but who has those on hand?). Sometimes I have no idea how I collect these things.

These bars were pretty tasty. My favorite bites are when you can taste the dates and apricots, and because I had some trouble getting a nice smooth paste out of my apricots and dates, those flavors didn’t quite make it all way through the mixture. If you can get a good paste out of them though, I suspect it’d be pretty enjoyable.

I can’t say that I ate these with the fervor with which I demolished the coconut macaroons I made the other day, but they are good. (Maybe it’s not fair to compare macaroons to granola bars. Yeah, probably not.) And the nice thing is that I cut up and wrapped the remaining bars into individual sized portions and stuck them in the freezer, so we have snacks or breakfast in a pinch!

Verdict: Unsure
For some reason, I wish these were a tad easier to throw together. Maybe they would be better with a different nut butter or something, but I don’t see adding these to a regular rotation. I’ll keep the recipe for now, because it’s healthy and tasty.


first picture is mine, second picture is from the original recipe post

life lately

We’ve had a busy past few weeks. I have a feeling though, that this is just how life is going to be now. So maybe we’ve had a normal past few weeks. Whatever.

I’ve been making tons of baby food, trying out new recipes in my new dutch oven, trying to keep up with housework, permanently doing laundry, enjoying the warmer weather (and by warmer I mean over 40 degrees), hosting and attending dinner parties, attending other events and even going on a couple dates. So it’s been all good, but it’s been all tired. I mean I’m all tired. What day is it? I swear I just can’t go like I used to.

Here’s some iPhone snaps of recent days.

Paddington Bear for Baby Gap head to toe (on Simona). That stuff is dangerous.

She can feed herself, kind of, which makes things convenient for Joseph.

We celebrated our anniversary last month. My mom was kind enough to watch Simona overnight and we stayed in the city. I also got this fabulous print of the date from Ashley Barlow.

Her first time on the swing. She didn’t really seem to care.

We frequent this diner for brunch on weekends. Best pancakes ever.

A new hat from a friend.

Simona has a thing for jackets, I guess. Like her mom.

A Sunday walk.

reading list



I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately. It’s amazing how a good book can make real life fade into the background. The Divergent series has caused me to get behind on all sorts of work and hangout time with my little family. I’d put Simona down for a nap and pick up the Kindle, telling myself I’d just read a little bit but accidentally sitting there until she woke up (usually just 45 minutes later, but still).

I also tend to be in the middle of like a bunch of books at the same time. I don’t know why I can’t just finish one and then start the next one. Attention problems…but that’s another story for another time, maybe, if I remember to do it without getting distracted by another topic.

That being said, here is what I’m currently reading:

1. The Divergent Series
I decided to read this because my husband had, and he thought I’d like it, and the movie was coming out in a week so I didn’t know if I’d finish it in time. I tend to not whip through books like he can. But I sure whipped through these. As I mentioned, it was a real time suck. It was not a problem to finish the first book, Divergent, before the movie came out, and I’ve finished Insurgent, the second one, since. I haven’t started on Allegiant, the third one, but I’m looking forward to it. They are quick, exciting reads. (I was slightly disappointed in the movie though.)

2. French Kids Eat Everything
Since starting Simona on solids, I’ve been thinking a lot about how to introduce a variety of foods to her and not have her only used to eating bland, unseasoned purees all the time. Yes, she needs to get used to the fruits and vegetables, but after that, I want her palate to experience a lot of flavors in hopes of reducing pickiness later on. I’ve only started this book, but she seems to have some good rules.


3. The Paris Wife
I started this a bit ago, and I like it, but for some reason it’s taking me longer to get through. It’s about Ernest Hemingway and his wife Hadley, and their life back in the 1920s. It’s a fascinating read, especially if you’re into that era and sort of thing.

4. Notes from a Blue Bike
I picked this one up because I’m really into the concept she addresses: living slowly and intentionally in this chaotic world. Americans tends to rush everywhere, and do everything quickly, and constantly multi-task (myself included, especially since Simona). I love the idea of enjoying one thing at a time, and focusing on the life and people in front of you instead of a screen. It’s a really hard thing to practice though.

5. Girl at the End of the World
Just finished this last week, and it’s one of those that’s hard to put down…for me, especially, because I have a personal connection to her story. I grew up in a ‘branch’ of the same fundamentalist Christian group that she did. I was much more removed from it than she was, and was only 17 when it all broke up, but I found the stories she told both familiar and shocking. I wasn’t aware of everything that went on, and as I read her honest personal account, I found myself angry, tearful, amused, shocked, pensive…basically all the emotions. That’s telling of a good book, no?
What are you reading?

pinterest in real life – arugula steak salad

Here we are again. I may have missed a week…or two…

I’ve been eating a lot of sweets lately, or more accurately, I’ve been eating a lot lately. Of everything. It’s bad. I didn’t really do much cooking or grocery shopping for the past couple weeks and that has led to a lot of takeout and things like Chipotle and Portillo’s. There’s only so much convincing I can do to myself to believe that a hot dog has enough servings of vegetables on it or a burrito bowl somehow constitutes a salad. I haven’t gone so far as counting fries as a vegetable yet…but maybe I’m heading down that road.

I need to quit.

So yesterday I finally got to the store and we had this arugula steak salad for dinner. It felt a little healthier than what I’ve been having, and it was a nice low carb meal. The steak I got though…I don’t think it was the best. (What’s up with that, Whole Foods?) It seemed a little tough and chewy, and I didn’t overcook it. I don’t know if I did something else wrong, but for me, it wasn’t awesome. My husband ate it though, even though he agreed about it’s toughness.

The salad itself though, was great. I loved the caramelized pears and pecans, and naturally the gorgonzola took it over the top. Very yummy.

The verdict: Saved.
I’ll keep this one around, and hope for a better steak next time.


Recipe and photo found here

the early months / napping

It was a rough first few months.

The ever-growing dark circles under my eyes could’ve told you that though. No amount of concealer could hide the lost hours of sleep and countless crying spells. I even have a really good concealer…at least according to the lady at Ulta. I wonder if she has kids. I wonder if I had mentioned motherhood if she would have said, “Oh, we have something for that,” and led me to a secret back room with Magic Makeup for Moms. Made by elves.

Anyway, it was a trying time, in many ways. I had(have) a good baby though. A beautiful, healthy, happy girl with a strong taste for short naps. She’s 7 months old now, and still, the majority of her naps are 45 minutes long. That’s how it’s always been. I think she may be starting to grow out of it now. We’ll see. We’ll hope and we’ll see.

I fought it for a long time. I tried everything I could think of to make her naps longer. Was she up too long? Put her down earlier. Up too short? Keep her up longer. Not stimulated enough? Take her on walks, dance for her, make her lift weights.

I read so much about it that I finally just gave up reading about it. It’s too tiring. You can find anything you want to find out if you look it up on the internets. You’ll find arguments from both camps on any subject and you can basically just pick what you want to do anyway.

The other thing about researching everything is that every baby is different. You can find a bunch of info, but no other baby is your baby. So your baby isn’t doing x, y and z yet? That’s okay. Nobody else can tell you exactly what works for him or her. Parenting is so much trial and error. You figure out what you can and can’t do, and you survive. There will always be babies and parents that are doing “better” in your eyes, and there will always be someone with a more difficult situation than yours.

So I just accepted the short naps. It took months, but I accepted them. That’s just Simona’s way. And I can’t necessarily change it. But I can change my outlook.

So I learned to become a fierce multi-tasker. Silver lining, people. Those 45 minutes sure fly by though, when you’re trying to do laundry/respond to emails/clean up the kitchen/take a shower/watch Price is Right.

I’m also learning that these times take patience. A baby is not a machine, as my husband likes to remind me. You can do everything ‘right’ and your baby still doesn’t respond as you’d hoped. Babies are constantly changing and growing and adapting. Just when you think you figured something out they change again. This is both frustrating and beautiful. You wouldn’t want your baby to always remain a baby (or would you?). So if you’re in a rough patch, just keep going. It will pass. Your baby will learn and grow, and you will too, in the process. That’s the bonus. Or maybe…that’s the purpose.

spring pastels

It doesn’t feel like spring around here. Yesterday we woke up to a dusting of snow and a high in the 20s. I had been refusing to wear a winter jacket but I was forced to put one on for a windy walk around the block with Simona.

I keep desperately checking my weather app and finally it’s showing some consistent 40-degree weather with a couple days in the 50s. This winter has been cruel, to say the very least, if those temps seem warm. At the end of March.

But I’m gonna keep eating berries, wearing shorts, and looking at pretty pictures in hopes that I can will spring to be here.

images: one two three four five six