Grow Your Own Way

Where has the time gone?
Such a cliche, but it has to be said.
Over three years since my last post.
I’m certain all bloggers go through this.
Especially single mother bloggers.

You get stuck in a pattern. Maybe not a great one. Sometimes you don’t cook at all. There are times when you don’t even eat dinner. You stand in the aisles of the grocery wondering how the hell you’ve managed to keep yourself and your child alive this long. What the heck do we even eat?!?

Every day starts to feel the same.
The days get busier. Your children grow up. Suddenly, you’re cooking the same things over and over again. You buy cookbooks and then think about the grocery bill you’d rack up cooking all that stuff. It’s a little harder when you have to pack lunch for your kid, and yourself, every day (for the rest of your lives). You start to get tired of things, and there’s already so much you can’t eat. Some days, I dream about running up and down all the aisles at the grocery just shoveling a bunch of crap into the cart. It’s glorious.

Today, I ate cereal for breakfast when I should’ve been having lunch. It was delicious, smothered in organic strawberries and blueberries. I had a cup of decaf coffee and found a new recipe on Instagram for chicken thighs, green beans, and tomatoes in pesto.

So, that’s dinner.

Sometimes we eat out. Sometimes we eat at a friend’s. Sometimes we stand in the kitchen and eat chips and salsa for dinner. Other days, my daughter’s breakfast, lunch, and dinner last all day long. She’s a big fan of second lunch, and second dinner. We’re still alive (thankfully). As long as we’re eating. And growing.

It’s a Science

I try my best to pump my child full of really good food.
It’s easy considering she eats two breakfasts, two lunches, two dinners, and a dessert every day. Pretty sure she’s either the proud owner of a very large tapeworm, or training for a triathlon.

We spent part of the day at the pool this morning.
Last month, we were at the pool for ten hours. I learned that day that my child is immune to sunscreen. She is not immune to freezing cold water, though, unless it’s at home in the shower. Today, she got too much sun, again. I put sunscreen on her every hour. We’re back to wearing swim shirts, and me trying to remind everyone that I do, in fact, love her and spend a lot of time trying to keep her safe and healthy. She was comparing her white belly to her tan/red chest and shoulder. She said, “I wish I was this pale again.” Such a change from the 80s when no one wore sunscreen and everyone was out to be as dark as humanly possible.

To make up for being overexposed today, I coated her in aloe from our plant and I made some of her favorite foods for dinner. Kept up with the green theme. It is my hope that she is healed from the inside out, and that we somehow figure out the perfect recipe for skin protection.

I heated olive oil and butter in a skillet with one whole clove of garlic. I used a vegetable peeler to make zucchini ribbons. I added some kosher salt and removed the garlic clove as I was preparing to plate the noodles. I topped them with shredded mozzarella cheese.

I prepared the steelhead trout in the same skillet I cooked the noodles in; no need to add more butter or oil. She ate every bite of all of this PLUS a bowl of vanilla ice cream. And hey! There’s nothing wrong with being vanilla.


Keeping It Simple

I am a mostly grateful mother when it comes to mealtime. My daughter eats pretty much constantly. And she enjoys things like raw peppers, sushi, shellfish, Indian food, hummus, and edamame.

That being said, she does exactly what I did as a child. She eats one thing at a time, and will save the strangest things for last; like eggs. She doesn’t like things touching. My dad used to say about me, “When she gets married, we’re going to register her for Chinet.” 

My daughter has recently reverted to her 2-year-old self. She is constantly asking me “Why” this and “Why” that. “What does that mean?” “Who was the first person to hold me?” “Where was the first restaurant I ever ate?” “What was the first song I ever heard?” We’re taking it back to the basics here, this summer. So, after receiving a zucchini from my cousin’s wife’s garden, I thought we would make a very basic dinner. And, wouldn’t you know it? My daughter dumped her roasted butternut squash into her zucchini noodles. (She is always surprising me.)

I wish I had better photos, but that’s what usually comes of nighttime and dinnertime.

I was happy I had zucchini left after all the raw zucchini she stole off the cutting board. Reminds me of me and my poor mother peeling and chopping potatoes. One for the pot, three for me. 

I peeled the zucchini in long strips with a vegetable peeler. I heated 1T of butter and 1T of oil in a skillet with nearly a whole clove of garlic (you could use more, of course). Then I added the zucchini strips, salt, and pepper. I cooked it for about a minute. It was out. of. this. world. My kid begged for more, and was disappointed when I told her we were out.

I also roasted the butternut squash, after peeling and chopping, tossing in oil, with salt and pepper. I have to say, I think butternut squash has become my favorite vegetable. I melts in your mouth, and has such an amazing flavor, which is such a great reward considering all the work you have to get into the darn thing and on to the baking sheet.

This is going to be a recurring theme for the rest of the summer.
Back to basics. Yep.
And I’m loving it.

20150707_210921 20150707_210324~2

Funny Girl

I eat fast. Really fast. My mother once asked me if I had perhaps starved in a past life. Sometimes, I don’t think I even taste my food.

My child can take an hour to eat a scoop of ice cream. The words “Hurry up” bring her instantly to tears. She has always moved to the beat of her own drum.

She has been struggling, a bit, with math. It’s too fast for her. And knowing she is being timed just makes it worse. She has always had performance anxiety, which is sad to watch (from where I’m sitting). She’s such a talented singer and artist. But the thought of anyone “watching” her makes her insane. The thought of “messing up” and knowing that people witnessed it is too much for her to handle. I know this is a required step in child development, but it’s a little more than that.

Of course I blame myself for her falling behind a bit in math. It’s not my strong suit. And, by the time I get home I’m hurrying to make dinner, hurrying her to do her homework, hurrying her to bathe, and get ready for bed. I’m not helping. And there isn’t much time for anything else.

Today, she brought home a piece of paper from school. I asked, “When did you do this?” She said, “We had free time during reading.”

Remember…beat of her own drum. The math will come. WP_20150109_003

Isn’t It Funny

Parenting is, hands down, the most interesting thing I’ve ever done.
I pretty much spend every day trying not to dumb my child down to my level.
Pay attention.
Look when she’s talking to you.
Don’t assume you know what she’s trying to say.
Believe her when she sees something.
Make things interesting.
Learn something new.
Be new.
Be fun.

I don’t know what I would do without this child in my life.

Before she was here, I could go to the bookstore and hang-out until they turned the lights off and politely told me to “Get the hell out.”
I could wake up when I wanted, go to brunch (or not), eat chips and salsa for dinner (okay…that never really changed).
What I am trying to say is, I didn’t have to come home. No one was waiting for me anywhere. I didn’t feel guilty because I wasn’t home making someone’s dinner.
I wasn’t going to be punished for neglecting anyone.
I didn’t punish myself for doing nothing special, or doing too much.
I could go where I wanted, when I wanted, and stay as long as I wanted.
I didn’t have to hear anyone complain about how bored they are.
I didn’t have to limit my time because someone else wasn’t enjoying the moment.

Now, every single thought revolves around this child and what makes her life meaningful.
I don’t eat, sleep, or think without her face in my mind.
“How can I make our lives mean something?”
“What can I do to make sure she will remember me, always?”
“Is she happy?”

The holidays have passed and I didn’t take the time to blog.
Not since September.

I would like to think it’s because we were too busy having fun.
But, in all honesty, I didn’t feel like I had anything worthy of writing.

So, that will change.

I’ve set many goals for myself for the remainder of 2015.
Most of them revolve around remembering what makes me happy.
And we all know…when momma ain’t happy, nobody’s happy.
The rest have to do with my lovely child.
Create memories.
Don’t be so hard on her; she’s hard enough on herself.
Remember that I know who she is; who she has always been.
And most of all, look forward to the unknown.

Welcome, Fall (and All the All)!

It’s that time of year…! My favorite time of year, though winter is my favorite season. Fall is the foreplay. My closet is much more suited to colder weather. I love sweaters, and layering, and a lovely pashmina scarf. I also love soups.

In an attempt to not send my child to soccer practice on a full stomach, I had the brilliant idea to get out my crock pot. What the heck has it been doing in the cabinet all this time? Seriously, man. Make yourself known.

Last Wednesday, I made pork tenderloin (which she devoured, and had enough time to digest before she went off running for two hours). This week, I’m thinking some type of chicken soup with vegetables, and the leftover garlic cheddar biscuits I made for dinner last night (if they make it that long).

Hang Me In The Closet

(That’s what my dad always said he’d do for me when I wondered what I’d look like as an old woman: “We’ll just hang you up in the closet and get you out in the morning.”)

Well, I can honestly say, I never imagined this day would ever come. Or rather, tomorrow would ever come.

Two weeks ago, I found out my rod is broken in two places. It’s been bothering me for a little over a year. No idea what I did/how it happened.

Friday, I had two CT scans. Tomorrow, I will find out if my rod is coming out, or if I have to have a new spinal fusion.

I’m really hoping that, after 25 years, my spine is completely fused and that I’ll be able to live the rest of my life without it (and without looking like the Hunchback of Notre Dame in my eighties). If my spine is not fused, I’ll have to have this rod removed and a new one will be placed.

The silver lining is (and, yes, there is one), my pediatric orthopedic surgeon retired from Children’s and is going to be doing the surgery, with his fellows, at UC Hospital. I’m a very lucky girl. I recently read an interview with him where he said, “I discovered if you help a child, you’ve made a friend for life.” If the man needed a new lung, I’d strap mine on him.

So, if you’re the praying kind…please, pray for the removal of this thing that has become such a part of me whole months go by that I don’t even think about it. It’s sticking pretty far out of my back at this point, which wasn’t what was actually bothering me. And it didn’t bother me until Dr. Crawford said, “My main concern is how long your skin can withstand the pressure from inside.” That kept me up one night, the thought of sitting at a restaurant and someone coming up and saying, “Um…you’re bleeding profusely from your back. And your table is ready.”

I’ll let you know what I learn tomorrow.

Thanks, friends.