family

Knee replacement update: this is hard

On Monday I was going to write a post entitled “We’re Doing Fine!” I was feeling optimistic coming out of a 4 day weekend in which I’d spent every free moment preparing for the week ahead. I even bought gas for the car when the yellow light came on!

But by the end of the day on Monday, there wasn’t enough time to post if I also wanted to drink a glass of wine while watching an episode of Insecure. That’s my carrot on a stick these days, if I get everything done by 10pm, that’s how I reward myself. 

By everything done I don’t mean folding all of the laundry, which is clean but hasn’t been put away in 3 weeks. I also don’t mean going out to the recycle bin in the cold or bathing the kids. Just the bare basics, dinner, clean up, breakfasts, lunches, getting the kids to school fully clothed, and to bed with teeth brushed. Showering.

Tuesday was not so great, the kids gave me a hard time in the morning, and the evening. Exhaustion was beginning to set in from going nonstop. And when I woke up this morning I thought: Oh god please help me because it’s only Wednesday

By 7:00am I was in tears. 

I once read this article by a single mom talking about how offensive it is to her when people use the phrase “Single Momming It” when their partner is away for the evening, or sick, or even gone for a few days or a week. I never used that phrase again. 

This is really hard, this knee replacement business. Normally, Shane cooks dinner, cleans up, folds laundry, buys gas and toilet paper, does the grocery shopping, helps with the kids, takes care of the car, lifts the heavy things, changes batteries, and that’s just the start. He was there when I gave birth, he was there for those newborn days. He’s still here, even though he can only sort-of walk.

And it’s exactly because he’s here—in the other room or on the couch or doing PT or whatever—that no matter how hard this feels right now, I’m sure it’s nothing compared to being a single mom. And I appreciate my partner all the more.

I wrote this post on the train.

P.S. My amazing brother-in-law brought us Franke Pepe’s.

Thanksgiving latergram

It’s a sign of a good time when you forget to take pictures. There are so friggin’ many things I have to be thankful for always, but in particular this year:

Family near who welcome us with open arms when we’re not well enough to visit family far. And then send us home with ALL the food.

Family far, whom we miss.

Friends.

A career finally, and those who got me here.

Knee replacement, which eats turds, frankly, but isn’t cancer.

Gracious husband/patient.

Sister who babysits (and baby whispers)

Brothers-in-law on call, because I am too small.

Daughter, incomparable daughter, exceeding all my expectations.

Son, snuggles, comic relief.

Mom & Dad who gave us half their house because we were too unconventional and/or dense to find career paths in our 20s and 30s like normal people.

Mom & Dad who endured a year of construction hell so that we could have a home.

Home.

Thankful doesn’t even begin.

Day 29: Throw a hunk of cheese on it

My dad cooked for us tonight, except for the broccoli which I made while Sid alternated between crying, playing with slime, using a garlic press as a nut cracker, crying more and eating cereal – all while wearing a purple cape and mask. Good times.

The main course was salmon with anchovy and caper brown butter. I’m going to go ahead and assume he used this recipe because as you may have heard, my dad always cooks Melissa Clark.

He also made some lovely roasted root veggies and there was the broccoli.

So what does a vegetarian person like me do when my family is eating meat? Oh, nothing special. I just throw a hunk of cheese on it.

30 days of posting challenge: day 27


We had our first fire in our very own fireplace tonight. It’s actually the first fire in the first fireplace I’ve ever had in my own home as an adult, so that made it extra awesome. That and the fact that I got to watch out the window as Shane sharpened a hatchet and then chopped wood.

For the record, yes, I certainly did yell out the window: “Aw yeah! That’s the way to do it! Chop that wood, baby!” Which Shane may or may not have appreciated.

We had dinner with the downstairs neighbors (aka my parents) since we had the good fireplace ambiance and all. Shane made some steaks. I made pasta with Marcella’s Sauce. My mom made grilled romaine with a Franks Red Hot and mayonnaise dressing (yum!) and red peppers stuffed with panko, feta and chopped pistachios (also yum!)

It’s really feeling like home around here.

 

Day 19: Melissa Clark

My dad cooked tonight (I know, the men around here) When we complimented him on dinner he said “Don’t thank me, thank Melissa Clark, she’s my girl.”

My dad has cooked from the New York Times, pretty much exclusively for a very long time. Like since they started delivering the Times in Boston. Before that he only cooked Marcella Hazan. For a while he was into Bittman, now he’s a Clark guy.

He makes this eggplant dish (Melissa’s) that he calls 100% vegetarian, even though it’s got anchovies in it. We don’t complain, it’s really good. Eggplant, onion, anchovies, ricotta, provolone, parmesan, breadcrumbs. All baked up into a nice melty, cheesy, flavorful dish.

You can find the recipe here, thanks to my dad for introducing it to us. But as he’d say: you can thank Melissa Clark.

As always, a delicious salad by my mom (slivered parsnips and pistachios!)

Happy weekend. xoxo

Day 15: 10th birthday latergram

We celebrated Rose’s 10th birthday last night. 10 is kind of a big deal, both for us emotionally, and for her milestone-ally. We wanted it to be really special.

After a weekend in New York visiting friends Rose wanted to celebrate with family at home. She asked for Shane’s ribs and he basically took it from there, with a few gentle reminders from me about how people might want some vegetables.

Shane’s now makes ribs with ease in his Smokey Mountain Smoker. This is a relief, because there was a time when he would labor for days over only to declare them unfit for dinner because the meat didn’t fall off the bone in quite the right way. He spent a good part of the past week preparing and smoking the ribs and making Boston Baked Beans from scratch along with a couple of homemade sauces. His new go-to site is Amazing Ribs (dot com).

Family pulled us through the rest. My sister made two batches of cornbread (one “chunky” and one plain) with fancy herbed butter. My mom made a batch of our family favorite Blair Slaw (recipe below). Ronni brought one of her amazing salads. And JP Licks took care of the cake for us (chocolate Oreo & mint chip ice cream with Oreo garnishes).

Aside from arriving late because of the car accident, things were pretty easy. My mom decorated while we were away—thank goodness I saved the hand-cut hand-glittered birthday decorations from when she was five— and had the periwinkle and/or cornflower balloons and roses delivered (by my dad).

It was a truly lovely night and seeing our amazing girl so happy and gracious kind of made up for the heartbreak of her hitting the double-digits.

• Blair Slaw •
from our friend Blair’s mom

3 cups shredded cabbage
2 cups thawed frozen peas
3 cups chopped scallions
3/4 cups toasted chopped almonds (or pecans, or both)

Dressing:
1 cup sour cream
1 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons curry powder (toasted in pan until golden-er)
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar

Put chopped cabbage, peas, and scallions in a large bowl. Chop nuts and toast gently in the oven or a pan until just golden – watch to make sure they don’t burn. Set nuts aside.

Mix dressing ingredients to combine and add to salad bowl with cabbage mixture and nuts. Toss dressing, cabbage mixture and nuts until evenly coated. Serve cool/cold.

 

30 days of posting challenge: day 14

I want to tell you all about the meal we had for Rose’s 10th birthday tonight. I really do. But after being at the front of a 3 car accident and arriving home 1/2 an hour after the party was supposed to start, we’re plum worn out.

Tune in tomorrow to hear about the meal Shane spent all week preparing, and more. Love to all the family who cooked, set up, and came out on a school night. I’m off to ice my neck.

xoxo

30 days of posting challenge: Day 10

Even after 1,000 (or whatever) years of marriage, I still get a kick out of comparing my dinner to my husband’s. It’s true, I married a giant meat-loving man.

Tonight we had burgers (for the burger-eaters), a hearty salad (spinach, roasted sweet potato, chick peas and miso dressing), new potatoes, a plate of red vegetables and cheese with crackers.

Sid doesn’t like any of those things except crackers, so we made him him a very special kids meal… you guessed it, ketchup with a spoon.

30 days of posting challenge: Day 7

We had a lovely, delicious, early dinner tonight with framily (OMG did I just coin that?!) which I forgot to document.

Instead, I give you this unsolicited message from Rose who thinks we need more followers. Perhaps I should put her in charge of my social media strategy.

It’s Sunday night. Go to bed. xoxo

P.S. Dang! I did not coin framily.

30 days of posting challenge: Day 6

Today was one of those days. Shane was working. I tried to do some unpacking since we moved back to our house in June and are still in boxes. Between 10am and 1pm, I managed to unpack approximately one box, thanks to my incredibly helpful offspring.

I tried to take the kids for a “fun” trip to Party City.

Mistake.

Took them to Trader Joe’s partly as punishment and partly because I wanted to buy wine.

Mistake.

After rolling all over the floor of Trader Joe’s, Sid screamed all the way home because he wanted to take his sweater off, but couldn’t because he was in his car seat. When we got home, he stripped naked in the parking lot and demanded justice at the top of his lungs.

By then, Shane was home so I locked myself in the office to contemplate what kind of salad might just be good enough to turn my day around.

I settled on this salad from Epicurious, but substituted walnuts for pecans, and radicchio and romaine for red endive.

It’s a lot to ask of a salad to be so good it turns your day from poop to gold, but this salad did it’s best and I give it an A for effort. And I’ll definitely make it again.

Shane made pork tenderloin.