Little Guy’s first vacation

I am pretty much the luckiest lady in the whole wide world. Here’s a snapshot of my amazing week:

 

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Max testing the [ocean] waters

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Make way for ducklings!

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Blueberry beer at the Cheers bar

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…where everybody knows your name.

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Max’s first swing ride!

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It wasn’t until I saw this picture that I realized he’s pretty much eating the monkey bars.

I was a little worried about traveling with Max for the first time, but it was just perfect. We brought tons of books and toys, and I packed waaaay more than we needed (especially since we were showered with gifts in every place we went). Most importantly, though, vacationing with a new human is one of the most wonderful things I’ve ever had the opportunity to experience — if only because it gave me a renewed appreciation for little things I might’ve taken for granted before. It was so amazing to see him experience sand for the first time and splash in the ocean for the first time and enjoy his first ride in a swing.

What a perfect week. What a perfect little guy. What a perfect life I lead.

I am so ridiculously lucky.

One delicious salad, juicy pork chops, and everything else that came up.

I wanted to write this one down quickly because tonight’s dinner was borderline one of the best meals I’ve ever made. So here goes:

Fig and Goat Cheese Salad

There’s probably a better way to do this, but I just spotted figs at Trader Joe’s today, grabbed some goat cheese, and otherwise just used ingredients already in my kitchen, so hopefully over the next week or so I’ll update this recipe.

Ingredients

Black figs
Goat cheese
Spinach
Raspberry Vinaigrette

Directions

1. Wash spinach.
2. Slice the figs in halves (or even quarters).
3. Pour fig quarters and sprinkle goat cheese over spinach.
4. Top with raspberry vinaigrette.

Yeah, I’ll keep thinking about that one. But the real masterpiece was this epic, juicy pork chop recipe.

Epic, Juicy Pork Chops

10365732_10152278302127997_302988230325923401_nIngredients

Pork chops
Vinegar
Olive Oil
Adobo seasoning
Garlic powder
Onion powder
Cumin
Thyme
Black pepper

Directions

1. Coat the pork chops in vinegar, and then olive oil.
2. Season with garlic powder, onion powder, and adobo seasoning.
3. Leave to go to Trader Joe’s and pick up the rest of the ingredients as well as some more groceries (i.e. figs).
4. Catch up with an old friend, go to Starbucks, eat a sandwich, try the free samples at TJ’s (mmm sangria!), wait in line, bond with another mom, give someone else the evil eye for touching your baby’s foot without your permission, check out…
5. Come back 2-3 (maybe 4?) hours later, and add cumin, thyme, salt and pepper.
6. Try to cook quinoa as a side dish. Burn it. Give up.
7. Put oil on a saucepan, and read “How Much I Love You” to your baby.
8. Cook pork chops in saucepan for, I dunno, maybe 10 minutes per side? Take it off when it looks cooked.
9. Bite into the most amazing juicy pork chop you’ve ever tasted.

Sorry that my recipe doesn’t include any measurements. It’s just as much as you want; I have no idea how much I used.

This is my friend, @ruthsjkang.

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Every few months, I stalk the hell out of her and find new things to love about her. I find new evidence that she’s one of the most amazing, thoughtful, kind, beautiful human beings who has ever come into my life. Things like this blog post — which brightened my day and touched my heart…and says so much more about her than it does about me.

Ruth is someone who’s endlessly positive. She sees the good in everyone, and she shines a light on your goodness and inspires you to be better — to live up to the wonderful person she seems to think you are. She’s hilarious. She’s beautiful. She spends a questionable amount of time with her sassy elderly neighbor. I also happen to know that she really, really likes Dental Plus Tarzana. (This girl’s so good she makes you want to see a dentist while you’re on vacation; she’ll even help you get a great deal.) She’s just a wonderful human being.

When she first came to the Coalition, we were all blown away by this smiley and cheerful badass fundraiser. It broke Kerry’s heart when she told him she was only available in the evenings, and shortly after she made staff, we lost her to the dark side of the force — the door team. I was fortunate enough to see her out and about on a few special occasions that usually involved tacos, nachos, or dance floors. And every time I got to introduce one of my friends to her, I was so excited because this girl THIS GIRL is the real deal. She’s someone I admire so much for her relentless positivity and her kind, loving, beautiful spirit. Everyone should have someone like Ruth Kang in their lives. Everyone should be more like Ruth Kang.

You’re amazing, Ruth. I’m so happy to know you.

Keep the change.

I have no comfort zone.

Sometimes people tell me that I’m bold for always taking such huge leaps so fearlessly. It’s easy for me to leave behind everything I know to move to a place that I’ve never even visited. It’s easy for me to start a new life today that’s completely different from what my life looked like yesterday. It was sort of easy for me to, well, have a baby and adjust to motherhood.

Enormous life changes don’t frighten me. I love change. It’s getting comfortable that’s tough for me. I have fears about feeling a false sense of security; it makes it easy for me to start new things but hard for me to stay the course.

It’s odd. There are some things that I do repetitively — almost compulsively. If I eat at Rustik Tavern on a Saturday morning then I start to crave it every Saturday morning (and, okay, Sunday, too). If I eat a chicken caesar wrap for lunch one day then I’ll want the same thing for lunch again the next day and the day after that and so on. If I find a song I really like then I make a playlist with just that song playing over and over and over again, and I listen to that playlist day after day after day.

But every now and then, I need everything to change.

When I can’t change everything as quickly as I want, I try to make changes in the areas of my life that I can control. For example, I spontaneously cut my hair again.

Photo on 8-6-14 at 6.01 PM

I also bought a new dress that looks exactly like every other dress I own. Because some things never change.

My addiction to change makes parenting really fun and interesting. Every month, Max is like a completely different person with a brand new set of needs and interests — and so much for me to learn. You perfect your swaddle, and suddenly your baby is too big for swaddling. You finally learn to attach the car seat to the stroller, and then he doesn’t need to sit in the car seat anymore. Everything is in constant flux. He’s always hitting new milestones, and I’m constantly adjusting and readjusting to help him continue to grow and thrive.

I don’t think it’s necessarily a negative thing that I don’t have a comfort zone — or, maybe more accurately, that my comfort zone is everything new and different. It’s actually helped me in a lot of ways. I’m so happy that I was able to fearlessly move to LA and that I had a ton of amazing experiences that then led me to start my career and life here in DC. I just want to achieve a better balance, mostly so I can provide a structured, stable home life for my son. I don’t want to pick up and move him around every few years. I think my compulsive behaviors show that there’s some part of me that craves stability — and just wants things to stay the same. But I’m afraid of achieving that kind of stability in areas of my life that are more important than food and playlists…because what if it all falls apart?

I’m embracing another huge life change right now, and it’s exciting and new and wonderful in so many ways — but I think that the best thing about it is that it’ll give me both the stability AND change that I want over the next few years. I’m creating a new home, in a way, in a place where I can grow.

My latest addiction?

Project home

I got a new sink yesterday. It was sort of by accident. I tried to wash a bib in my bathroom sink, but the bib was covered with banana bits, which clogged the sink. I used drano to clear the clog. Then, the sink just broke. I’d show you a photo, but it was all really gross. The handyman actually found pebbles in the drain when he came to fix it. How pebbles ended up in my drain, I’ll never know.

But I ended up with this snazzy new sink:

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Just be glad it’s not a picture of my baby.

The new sink inspired me to deep clean the whole bathroom. And then I started cleaning the rest of the apartment. But I didn’t finish, because I never finish.

It’s a constant struggle for me: to clean or not to clean. Don’t get me wrong, I like living in a clean space. A cluttered home is a cluttered mind; kinda – you can always just leave the house and find a better place to focus. My problem is that I could die tomorrow, and I don’t want to have spent the last day of my life cleaning.

There are just so many better things I can do.

This guy gets me. As someone who works from home twice a week, I find myself feeling guilty at the end of those days when my apartment is still a mess.

When I take breaks, I read to my kid. I sing “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes” to him because that’s his latest favorite. I pick him up and play “Superbaby” with him. I tickle him and pretend to eat him.

I don’t do the dishes, even though I know I really should. I just don’t care enough.

Even before I had Max, it always made sense to me to do everything but clean. I definitely got some complaints from my college roommates about it. I took classes, worked three jobs, and I’d say “I don’t have time to clean.” But I found time to party and volunteer. I found time to take trips to New York and Sacramento. I found time to play Scrabble, get drunk, talk on the phone, throw Alice in Wonderland-themed parties, go on hikes, meet new people, read fiction, hang out at Starbucks, sing karaoke, watch hours of Law and Order, write letters to the editor, attend concerts, meet celebrities, and make scrapbooks.

I just didn’t have time to clean.

I think I’m finding more balance lately. Sometimes, when Max naps, I throw out the trash and stuff. But usually, I use that time to dance around my apartment.

I’ve also found myself avoiding the news lately. So many terrible things seem to be happening in the world, and it makes me feel so helpless. With planes being shot down and executions being dragged out and everything else happening, I just want to retreat into a place where the biggest challenge is whether or not you should give a mouse a cookie.

I’m going to resist the urge to close this post out with totally adorable photos of my son covered in banana (your loss) and instead close out with the non-baby-related highlight of my week:

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That one really got me in the feels. (The fundraiser feels; I keep them separate from my other feels.)

#Superbaby drinks from cups.

All kinds of cups.

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Baby cups? Not even a big deal.

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Glass cups? I gotchu.

Sorry, y’all – I get so excited when my baby does things that people do, like drinking from cups and stuff. It just blows my mind because I hear/read all of these stories about how hard it is to get babies to accept the bottle and then transition to the cup — and even how hard it is to get babies to sleep at night and how fussy they become when they’re teething — and it’s like I was just blessed with the world’s most perfect baby who sleeps perfectly, easily accepts every new thing I introduce, and just makes this “mmmmmmm” sound when he’s in pain from teeth literally breaking through his gums.

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World’s happiest teether

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no srsly, it’s party time, y’all.

ok. I’m done. #superbabyftw