Mama Blog


May 14, 2017

Does anyone else have the 11pm weeknight panic attack? I’m having one right now. What will I pack my daughter for lunch tomorrow??? How much past 7 can I sleep in while squeezing the minimum required tasks in? Also, I have to remember to fill out a permission slip, make sure #1 is wearing red for spirit day and school photos, and…there’s at least one more thing, but I can’t think of it, and now I’m stressed that I won’t think of it tomorrow until it’s too late. You’d think after nine months of this, I’d have gotten it together. Then there’s all the stuff on the list that I didn’t do because, well I just wanted to watch some trashy TV and eat a second dinner since most of first dinner is spent getting people drinks, seconds, napkins, and cleaning up the floor. Summer camp. Language classes. How will she ever learn to ride a bike?!?! All these things are running through my head, and my husband is sound asleep next to me. He spends one morning at home and sees me leafing through a scholastic order form at 10am, and we laugh about how great my life is.  And you know what, I’m never offended because my life is damn good! But still…what the heck am I going to pack for lunch tomorrow morning when I have 45 minutes to get kids up, dressed, get lunches packed, breakfast made, dishes done, and both kids off to two different schools?  Oh, and probably need to wear something kind of nice because it’s Mother’s Day Tea Party at #2’s pre-school.  And speaking of Mother’s Day – should I say that I want a subscription to the salami of the month club or do I just get it for myself?  Well, I’m going to cross my fingers and hope it goes well tomorrow, because right now I need to know what’s going to happen on the Criminal Minds season finale. This is the life of one mom, and I stand by it!  HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY to all you lovely moms – enjoy it!

I’m always here: SLMG MAMA

April 25, 2017

It’s the last week of April. I can’t believe that since September I’ve been saying “okay I’ll write a post this week. Thursday.” Every single week since September, I’ve been trying to write a perfect post for my mom friends. I’ve been too tired or too exasperated or too cold, and I put it off so much, and so much time went by. I’ve also had this elaborate and heartfelt “please forgive me” New Year’s resolutions post up on my computer since January. But the thing is, I think about you guys ALL THE TIME. I think about all the stuff I want to tell you. So….I’ve decided that I will just get amnesia about what an absent member and writer I’ve been, and just take the plunge with something totally random and slightly overdone but definitely mom-worthy.  But before I begin – seriously….PLEASE FORGIVE ME. I’m getting back on this wagon.  I love my life, I love my kids, I love my friends. I have a lot to share.

I was randomly walking the aisles of the fancy grocery store that makes tons of pre-prepared foods for us lazy moms who can’t be bothered to cook a meal because their kids are constantly barraging them with insane things like “Mommy carry me! Mommy, Jessica is bleeding…Mommy, I’m hungry! Mommy, play with me!” You know the drill. Walk, walk, walk, what can I get to eat that’s a little healthy because I’ve been eating McDonald’s breakfast with TWO hash browns for the past three days because of those damn coupons they are always sending me. Soup? No I have to either heat it in a pot or a bowl, and that means an extra dish to wash. Mac and cheese? Lasagna? Nope takes too long in the oven. Beef ribs? Meatballs? Chicken fingers? Fried filet of sole? Nope nope nope, and ew. So I come up on the salads and I see a tuna nicoise in a clear salad container with dressing in its own separate thingy. So I pick it up, and look at it and think…well…not really in the mood for canned tuna on a bed of lettuce. Then I put it back and I see right next to it…a salmon nicoise salad.  It was the same as the tuna nicoise, just with salmon. It was crispy romaine lettuce with some pitted olives (thank you for pitting them!!!), hard boiled egg, grape tomatoes, and some skinny French beans (of course all the French stuff has to be skinny), potatoes, and a lovely pink chunk of perfectly poached salmon. It was kind of a cold day, but I bought it anyway and took it home for lunch with my baby.  I forget what she had for lunch – probably some leftover pasta – but she saw my salad and demanded potatoes and egg whites. Needless to say I loved the salad, and needed more. Being the daughter of really cheap parents, I thought “I would love to have this salad every day. I would love to have double the amount for half the price.” And voila! I decided to make this salad at home! It’s not like I’m trying to build myself a night table because I have junkyard lumber in my hoard or jury-rigging a baby bottle holder/feeder for my baby from a Bunsen burner holder and string. It’s just a salad that you mix together with a bunch of ingredients that you make ahead. Easy peasy mac and cheesy!  The beauty of it was that even though my kids don’t eat lettuce (and I feel like it’s pretty common for kids to not like lettuces), they looooved the salmon, potatoes, and especially the lemon Dijon vinaigrette. I could get them to eat almost anything if I drizzled that “dip” on top. So everybody wins. The kids get a full meal with carb, protein, and vegetables (dipped in a super healthy dressing); and I get a giant salad that does a colon good.

And it keeps giving: there were obviously leftovers that I packed for the kids’ lunches. Hopefully she didn’t get made fun of at school, but it was one of the few times she has gobbled up every crumb of her lunch.

Mommy also got to eat leftovers for a couple of days after. I would run out of some of the ingredients, but then the great thing about a salad is that you can hodge-podge and throw in whatever you have.  So if I ran out of tomatoes, I would put cucumber slices in it. I ran out of kalamata olives, so I put green olives in it.

The salad was so great I decided to do it for a pot-luck Easter lunch. I prepped the ingredients ahead of time and went to Costco for almost all of the ingredients since I was boosting the quantity.  There were tons of kids there, and half of them (yes, from one family) were vegetarian, so the fish aspect of the dish rocked.  Also, Easter was the perfect time to use up all those hard-boiled eggs that would otherwise have languished in my fridge! More importantly: Have a friend who hates olives? (I don’t have any friends who hate olives) Keep them separate.  Kid doesn’t want to eat tomatoes? No problem, give them some beans or tomatoes. Kid doesn’t like fish? Give him egg! Bingo!

(Sadly, I didn’t take photos of the pot-luck salad! What is wrong with me?!?!? It looked like the first iteration but in much more quantity, and it had the hard boiled eggs)

For a family of two adults, two little kids, and plenty of leftovers:

La Salade

The amounts here are just what was convenient, available, and how I feel about each ingredient

  • 2-3 pounds of salmon fillet, skin on
  • 2 heads of romaine lettuce. Washed, trimmed and dried.
  • a bag of beans or French beans (haricots verts)
  • a container of grape tomatoes
  • a bag of baby potatoes (sometimes they call them new potatoes?)
  • 1-2 cups of pitted kalamata olives
  • hard boiled eggs

Lemon Dijon Vinagrette

  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 2-4 tablespoons of dijon mustard
  • onion flakes
  • extra virgin oilive oil (approx. ½ – 1 cup)
  • salt
  • pepper

Stir together the lemon juice, mustard, and seasonings in a large bowl or wide mouthed jar. Whisk in the olive oil until the dressing is a consistency that you like.  I like to put the vinaigrette in a jar of some sort so that you can shake it up before you serve it, since the oil will separate from the lemon juice when it sits.

Some notes:

  • I like roasting my salmon in the oven. The first time I did it, the top got too crispy. The next time I did it, I did exactly the same thing (hot oven, drizzle of olive oil, salt & Pepper) but I covered it with foil and then uncovered it for the last 5-10 minutes. If you like, you can poach the salmon instead.
  • I steamed the beans very briefly and then dumped them into a bowl of cold or iced water to keep them green and crisp.
  • I also steamed the baby potatoes, because I love steamed potatoes. I overcooked them the second time I made the salad, but fixed it by drizzling with olive oil, salt, pepper & herbs, and roasting them in a hot hot oven.
  • I totally forgot to do eggs in my first iteration!!! I love eggs, so I can’t believe I had forgotten. Don’t forget your eggs!
  • You could do this salad with a lovely canned tuna or some seared ahi tuna. If you’re going to do a tuna nicoise, I’d recommend some good quality anchovy fillets. I skipped the anchovies for the salmon salad.

Hope you like it! Want to ask me something? I’m here: SLMG MAMA

September 18, 2016

For this first post, I had grand plans of an eloquently worded prose that would rival L.M. Montgomery; but 1) I couldn’t stay up late enough to finish it; and 2) I went to Registration Day, and I really wanted to share my feelings with the group.

No matter how many times I do this, I still feel so awkward meeting new people and even catching up with people I haven’t seen all summer. It’s because I’ve dumped my kid in childcare and have two minutes to myself where no one is crying or yelling or talk-talk-talking in my ear; and suddenly when I want to say something, I get stage fright. Sometimes I feel like I’d be nothing if it weren’t for having kids. Then I start to feel insecure, and awkwardness ensues. So, if you were someone that I smiled at in an awkward silence, please excuse my gaffe. If you were someone to whom I said something totally random and weird, it’s because I was trying unsuccessfully to avoid an awkward silence. Please look past my weirdness. I’m fairly normal, and my kids are adorable. 😉

It should have been an amazing morning for me. Meeting new people, catching up with old friends, coffee from Lit, amazing scones from Cobs, and no kid! Oddly, I came away from it feeling exhausted and shaky in my resolution to come to more Monday meetings this year. Despite having been an SLMG member for many years, and despite knowing that I owe my happy and successful career as a mom to this mom’s group, I often feel dread when I think about Monday mornings. Then I wonder – how could I feel dread about the amazing speakers and moms who add so much depth and breadth to my parenting style? Why would anyone dread being able to drink coffee and have a morning snack without a kid hanging off of you yelling, “More. Please. MORE PLEASE!” Being on a break from your kid only works if she wants a break from you. Mine doesn’t, and she puts up a ruckus louder than alley cats. It’s very stressful, and it’s not really a break. The reality is that as a parent, you never really get a break. How naïve of me to think that it’s a possibility!!!

I remember my very first SLMG meeting ever with the first-born. I kept waiting for the door to open and for my name to be called out to attend to an inconsolable child. The first time a name was called – it wasn’t mine! Whew! I let myself get more caught up in the speaker and the topic. Click. The door opens – they need me to step out and console my inconsolable child. And so it went on like this for ten months. TEN. MONTHS. On the odd day that my name wasn’t called, it wasn’t because she had actually enjoyed playing with new toys and other kids; it was because she hadn’t cried profusely. I think the first time she actually “enjoyed” herself was at the last or second to last meeting. I’m sure it was because she intuited that she would never have to come back.

So now we are here today, and I have #2; and of course she’s exactly like #1. Both of my kids were born with donkey DNA (from their dad’s side of course), and they are single-mindedly attached to mommy. Needless to say, last Monday’s registration day was a total show. People would come up to me and I’d think, “OOOH someone wants to talk to me,” but it would just be someone telling me that the babysitters needed me to come soothe the beast. It was heartbreaking seeing her standing at the door waiting for me with tears streaming down her face. Then she would bark a desperately happy choked up “MOMMY!!!” when she saw me. I would leave her again, and then ten minutes later I’d have to go back and she would be standing right where I had left her, crying just as hard as the first time.

So here’s a summary of my Monday mornings:
a) I’ve left my child with strangers, and she does not like it.
b) I can’t hold any sort of meaningful conversation when I know I’ll be interrupted to go attend to my screaming child.
c) I calm my child and manage to find an opening to leave, but she’s bawling again.
d) By the time I get back to the meeting, I’ve missed ten minutes of the speaker.
e) I do it again twice during the hour.
f) Yup. It sucks.

So now you’re asking how can I possibly do this every week? How can I do this to my child again and again? And my response is that I don’t think I can. I Just. Can’t. Do it. But… I’m going to anyway.

I share my story with you not to discourage you, but to tell you that it gets better. It’s worth going to the meetings. I also share my story with you because I myself am trying to find the courage to do this. I tell myself that what I’m gaining from these meetings will help me be a better mom. It will make me happier. And my donkey girl will learn that I go away sometimes, but I always come back.

Here are some of the things that make Monday mornings worth it:
i) Mondays are a medium for seeing all my friends without having to make separate plans with each of them. Over the years I have made many friends, all of who are true friends in one way or another.
ii) The speaker gives one little nugget of advice that makes my head go “ding!” I start to feel that I’m not doing such a bad job after all; and I start to feel happier.
iii) I hear another mom share an issue that mirrors my life.
iv) I share an insecurity with the group; and immediately people reach out with support.

Suddenly I realize that I’m not alone. I mean, yeah, I guess I knew that; but suddenly I don’t feel alone. I’m part of a community that cares; and all I have to do is show up, and the universe works its magic.

Here’s an ugly truth so that I don’t sound so rainbow-unicorny. Some days I show up, but I’m having such a bad day that I dig in and resolve to feel surly out of principle. I won’t be talked down from my surliness. I vow that not even the most mind blowing parenting revelation will make me feel good. So I sit seething in silence and growl on the inside at every sane and ingenious thing the speaker has to say. Sometimes it’s on these days that I look at the clock and realize it’s already 10:55 and I haven’t been called out of the room to go console my baby. I get home and realize that I feel calm and refreshed; and I have a plan for tackling tantrums, meals, and potty training – at least for the next day or three. It’s something that I have to practice – showing up on both good days and bad days. Anything can happen. It’s not always a good morning, but over 95% of the time I feel glad that I came.

Now that I’ve told you my story, I know you may recognize it as your own. You may recognize it as a story that you heard on Registration Day as you were being asked to go console your child. The mom you were talking to said “can you check to see how my kid’s doing? He’s the one in the grey shorts with the yellow truck.” You will no doubt hear its re-telling in your new playgroup to which everyone will nod, laugh, and say OMG THAT WAS TOTALLY ME!

I can’t wait to share more versions of this story and new stories through the coming year; and I look forward to hearing your stories on Monday mornings in between coffee and checking on our kids. It’s going to be good for the both of us. Trust in the universe. So… see you Monday, okay? I show up, you show up. Great things happen. Rinse and repeat. It’s going to be wonderful.

Hope you like it! Want to ask me something? I’m here: SLMG MAMA