Aug 31 2012

From the Garden


Davy started chirping as soon as I brought in that bowl of cherry tomatoes. “This. This one. Mine. Eat. Matoes! Mmmmm!”

So I put them on a plate for him, cut in half and sprinkled with a little fleur de sel (fancy schmancy!), and he promptly ate them all.


The zucchini is destined for tonight’s stir-fry (with tofu, carrots, ginger, and scallions), but I also made a barley salad using some garden herbs:


The bell pepper in the salad was supermarket-bought, as the one pepper plant I bought for the garden was an early casualty of the Squash Wars. At this point the tomatoes, zucchini and kabocha squash have carved up the garden bed amongst themselves, with the parsley, basil, mint and chives sort of hanging out around the edges. Next year the squash and zucchini will be moved to their own bed, and I’ll have another try at peppers, eggplant, and leafy greens.

Barley Salad with Fresh Herbs

Adapted from a Whole Foods recipe

Combine three cups of water, a teaspoon of salt, and one cup of pearled barley in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to simmer until the barley is tender, about 40 minutes. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, toss 1/2 cup chopped green onions, a diced red pepper, 1/4 cup chopped parsley, 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil leaves, and 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves. In a second, small bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup mild-tasting olive oil, one or two tablespoons of fresh-squeezed lemon juice, and a clove of garlic that’s either minced or put through a garlic press.

When the barley is cooked, drain it and add to the bowl with the herbs. Toss with the dressing and add salt and pepper to taste.

Aug 30 2012

Cubby Photos

At the preschool, each kid has a cubby for their backpacks and jackets. The cubbies are labeled both with the kid’s name and with a photo, so that even the youngest children can easily identify their own cubbies.

Here’s the photos I sent in this year for Robin and Davy:



School starts next week!

Aug 29 2012


We had lots of appointments yesterday! First Thora had a vet check in the morning (10.7 pounds and practically perfect in every way), and then we split up in the afternoon: Sam took Robin in to the doctor for some booster shots, and I went to meet with a new midwife, because I am once again enceinte. I still find that term very charming. Wikipedia says it’s “from Latin incinctus: girdled, surrounded…a French term used technically in fortification for the inner ring of fortifications surrounding a town or a concentric castle. In architecture, generally, an enceinte is the close or precinct of a cathedral, abbey, castle, etc.” Isn’t that an interesting metaphor for pregnancy? Because, you know, at that stage, the walls of the abbey have rather been breached.

I suppose it’s the baby who is meant to be fortified.

I used to have a quote at the bottom of this blog: “I positively think those ladies who are always enceinte quite disgusting; it is more like a rabbit or guinea-pig than anything else and really it is not very nice.” —Queen Victoria, mother of nine. In fact Queen Victoria is an excellent source of trenchant commentary on motherhood in general. (“I must say it is a bad arrangement.”)

Fortunately, my outlook is sunnier than Her Majesty’s. For us three children was always in the plan, although the truth is that of late we had started to feel two was a very comfortable number as well. So we weren’t exactly trying—but a new baby is a perfectly welcome result nonetheless.

I’m about 11 weeks along at this point, which would put my due date in mid-March. We won’t know for a while yet whether it’s a boy or a girl; I’d love to have a baby girl, but there’s also something appealing about the idea of having our own little pack of boys. Really the only source of anxiety is about outgrowing our two-bedroom bungalow. “Let’s just stay here and pile the kids up like kindling,” Sam said, which I took to mean “bunk beds,” and, well, that’s one solution. St. Louis is another. But basically, the future is both a little more exciting and a little more stressful than it seemed just a few months ago.

Aug 25 2012

Meet Thora


Omigosh you guys! Do you know about puppies?

Thora is our puppy. She is made out of warm velvet and love. When you pick her up she snuggles into you, and when she snuggles into you, you feel nothing but happy.


Also she very much enjoys taking naps.


That’s all I know about Thora so far! More to come!

Aug 24 2012

Before and After: Breakfast Nook

Of course, every time I think about moving, I look around our house and am struck with pain. I love it here. I’ve just about gotten everything the way I want it! Look, here’s the before-and-after on the breakfast nook:

house 017



Yes, ideally, I would like to change the tile (I’m thinking hex tile) and give it a new coat of paint, but it’s pretty much done. We use this space all the time. (We even use it for breakfast!) The table was Sam’s grandmother’s, the tomato salt-and-pepper set were a gift from his sister, and the orange chairs and clock and phone were flights of whimsy on my part. It just makes me a little bit happy every time I walk by.

Aug 23 2012

Back from St. Louis


We flew to St. Louis last week to visit Nanita and Markie, and had a great time doing all the tourist stuff: eating toasted ravioli, going to the Arch, visiting Grant’s Farm, touring the zoo… The weather was great for our trip, too. It’s been unbearably hot, but the heat broke just as we touched down, and we enjoyed balmy 80-degree days during our stay. It was just hot enough to cool down with a sno-cone:


Robin rode the carousel, and Davy was intimidated by goats:



“Pick me up, Mommy! Goats will eat me!”

We left impressed again with St. Louis’ livability and affordability: we saw charming four-bedroom homes, in walkable neighborhoods with shops and parks, selling for $200K. We love our own bungalow, but it’s likely that we’ll be outgrowing our sweet little two-bedroom home soon—and the shops near us are mostly boarded up, and the crime is a constant low-level worry, and…what with one thing and another, the whole “maybe we should move to St. Louis” conversation has been resurrected. It’s a question we’ll probably reconsider seriously at the end of this year.

Aug 12 2012

Pool Party


Pool party!” Robin screamed. “Pool party! Pool party!” And intermittently, the other kids would pick up the chant: pool party! pool party!

It was, as you can see, the teeniest of pools, but it seemed to suffice:


It was sunny, and there was a hose, so that the water could be replenished as it was enthusiastically splashed away. And the important thing, the really crucial thing, was that four of Robin’s friends from school came over and splashed around with him, and agreed that it was indeed a pool party. With their agreement they made it true.

And we all ate cupcakes:


And watermelon:


And there was a piƱata:


And we had balloons, and beach balls, and some of those balsa-wood gliders that break if you look if them too hard but are fun to throw around the yard a few times. And Nonna and Pappy came too, and helped with the party. So even though it was a dead-simple backyard hangout, just a couple of hours of splashing around in the sun, it still felt like a super special day: a birthday.

Aug 8 2012

This Is How Much My Kids Like Fruit

Last night at six PM Sam came home with a bunch of bananas, two pints of strawberries, and three nectarines.

Today at 3 PM we have in the house 0 bananas, 0 strawberries, and 0 nectarines.

Aug 7 2012


Robin: “A monster car could be useful. But monster trucks can be useful too because they’re big! They could say RAWR like Godzilla!”