These days

Here are a handful of pictures from the past several days.

Clockwise, starting at top left:

P and I had a much-needed evening on our own last Friday.  We sent Bee and Mei to their grandparents’ place.  We went out to dinner (such a different experience eating out and only being responsible for feeding yourself!) then headed to the drive-in.  We watched two truly awful movies (the second so awful that we didn’t stay for the entire thing).  It was fun, though.  Felt like a great last hurrah for the summer.

As mentioned previously, Bee and Mei started preschool/daycare.  Bee had been counting down the days until she could start but was a bit subdued when it was actually time to leave her.  She still had a great time.  I took this picture of her right before she conked out for a much-needed nap, not long after she got home.

At almost any point of time, Bee and Mei can be found piled on top of each other.  I love it.

We had promised Bee that we’d go to the public pool at some point this summer.  This week we realized that the pool closes at Labor Day.  We acted fast and spent the evening there yesterday.  Bee and Mei were shivering like crazy, lips blue, but neither wanted to leave.

Happy end of summer.

Away

Today was Bee’s first day back in preschool and Mei’s first morning at daycare, ever.  There were no tears (theirs or mine) and I didn’t even linger outside the door after we said goodbye to Mei.  The worry/anxiety is there, but I am trying to hold it at bay.  It helps that the daycare is five minutes or a phone call away, and they are only there for mornings.

It hasn’t been easy for me to leave Mei, in general, because she is so attached to me and often only wants to be soothed by me (and my supply of breast milk).  When I’m away from her, I have to really be intentional about not obsessing about how she is doing, how she is feeling, whether or not whomever is watching her will be able to comfort her and meet her needs.

I’ve been following Ashley Ann’s adoption journey from the very beginning and I was overwhelmed with joy (and tears) when I read her update this morning.  They finally got to meet their beautiful daughter!  My heart overflows.  Reading their story put my own anxieties about Mei in perspective, that’s for sure.  So much of parenthood is risk–the risk of having your heart halfway around the world in China, or five minutes down the street at daycare.

I have to remind myself that, unlike in the picture above, Mei is not a newborn anymore!

Elsewhere

Here are some links to things that caught my eye this week.  Happy weekend!

Home:

Gorgeous, gorgeous 540 sq. ft. house
Yes, I’d live in a houseboat
Decorating with maps (I don’t think I’ll ever tire of this trend)
Food:
Korean food recipe round-up
Lucy Knisley illustrates her favorite snacks
Food for thought:
Adoption: a mom’s thoughts the day before she flies to meet her daughter for the first time
Stuff:
Soft dohar baby blankets
Photo-editing apps

Tiny vacation

My brave (and crazy?) friend O offered to watch both girls (along with her little one) so I could have some time to myself.  She volunteered this within seconds of me just mentioning feeling a little blah/unmotivated.  (I have great friends.)

I dropped the girls off at around 8:30 this morning and am currently hanging out at my favorite cafe in town.  I love this place because it is bright and happy, not artificially urban and moody, and the “regulars” range from old guys asleep at the table to parents grabbing a treat for their kids on their way to school.

It didn’t take me long after Bee was born to realize how important “alone” time is for me.  There is nothing that reminds me of my own identity apart from motherhood than being out by myself, cup of coffee and a paper (or my laptop with my RSS reader) in hand.

(Not) weaning

This comic popped up on my RSS feed last night and I laughed out loud. Although we’re past the point of constant nursing with our youngest, she does NOT want to wean and I often find her attached to me. (She is quite persistent and grabby and has this crazy way of thrashing around until hey! grub’s on!)  As much as I appreciate the wonders of breastfeeding, it’s been a year and sometimes FEELING LIKE A COW gets really old.

from Keepers of the Orb
(The comics about motherhood are right on.  I definitely recommend this blog!)

Pinned: Home library

L-R: pinpin, and pin

I love Pinterest, just like everyone and–literally!–their mother.  It’s fun to go scroll through my boards every few weeks and identify patterns in what I pin.  (I like white walls, apparently, but am
starting to get over my previous obsession with white kitchens.)

One thing that stays constant is my love of home libraries.  The greater the volume of books, the better. 

Summer meal

I should be clear from the get-go: on my list of resolutions every year is to rediscover my love for cooking.  So far, it hasn’t worked.  In fact, it’s been a dismal failure.  Cooking stresses me out.  The last time I could honestly say that I even had a love for cooking was in college, when making a meal was as social as it was creative and/or productive.  Unfortunately, I have four mouths to feed, all of which really, really love food.  This cooking-eating problem is tempered by 1) having a husband who does not balk when he gets home after a long day of work and realizes that I have no idea what we’re having for dinner and 2) a small arsenal of tried-and-true and, more importantly, easy dishes that we generally can whip up in twenty minutes, with ingredients* we generally have on hand**.

A summer staple is Japanese buckwheat noodles (soba).  It is traditionally prepared like this, but we have come up with our own version. While the noodles are boiling (this only takes a few minutes), I chop tofu, scallions (we were out when I took the picture above), and cut up nori.  I also fry an egg beaten with mirin and sesame oil.  I rinse the noodles in cold water and dump everything in bowls.  While it is almost as easy to make the dipping sauce/broth from scratch, what makes this dish really easy is the existence of bottled soup base (tsuyu) that is easily found at Asian grocery stores and online.  Sometimes we do it the traditional way and dip the noodles in the sauce, a bite at a time, but other times I just pour a bit of tsuyu in a bowl.  (I realize this entire dish might be considered sacrilege, but it is quite delicious).  If we have some on hand, I top the dish with sesame seeds or pickled vegetables.

Quick, easy, and delicious.  And great for hot weather.

*A note on the ingredients for this meal–we have a great Asian grocery store nearby, but I included (affiliate) links for convenience.
**Full disclosure: this really means grilled cheese sandwiches.