Monday, February 13, 2017

Lars & Townes, I love you.

On this Valentine’s Eve, which Bob and I never really celebrated until we had babies and then you take any reason you can to celebrate, I want to write a letter to my boys…my beautiful, awe inspiring boys.

Being your mother is a gift; a true gift.  A gift that sometimes gets disguised in messes and middle of the night waking’s, in dark circles and short tempers, in miscommunication and frustration.  I never knew a gift would include all of these non-gift like characteristics. But that my loves, has been my greatest lesson learned since being your mother.  The gift of complete and unhindered love that I have for each of you.  I love you through these messes and dark circles, through the tantrums and frustration. I love you while I’m cleaning the endless pee off the bathroom floor.  I love you when you need me 4,000 times during the night….for the fifth night in a row. I love you when I’ve asked you countless times to do something and it doesn’t get done. I love you when I lose my cool.  It’s never hard to love you because it’s who I am now, it’s part of my being.  I am here to love you forever, no matter what.  I’m here to support you and believe in you.  To let you fall but help you up, to watch you cry but hold you tight.  I am yours. 

Lars, thank you for making me a mother.  You are the light of my life; the funniest person I know and often times the smartest.  You are witty and curious and so captivated by knowledge.  I tell myself daily to appreciate your strong will and determination because it will serve you well. It’s just hard to see that when your strong will and determination is keeping you from doing what I ask, but nevertheless I appreciate it and I know exactly where it comes from.  You are the most wonderful and caring big brother in the world and you have been since day one.  Honestly, I had my doubts but they quickly diminished once I witnessed you and Townes for the first time.  I love you Lars, more than you could ever imagine. The day you were born was the  most epic day of my entire life and you’ve continued to make most of my days pretty epic since.

Townes, my precious Townesy...another light of my life. Never did I think I could love another as much as I love your brother and then BAM!! you arrived and my heart just about burst with love. You are always the calm to my storm.  When things have been hectic or crazy, you snuggle your precious face into my neck and all feels right. You are so cuddly and squishy and I love nothing more than holding you.  You make everyone happy with your laugh and your sweet little face. I love how much you adore Lars…when y’all are together life feels pretty perfect.  I love that we are still figuring you out but yet we have endless love for you.  You complete the circle, my sweet Townes.  You are what we were all wanting to make our family full, so thank you for being born; for choosing me as your mother and us as your family.  It’s hard to imagine life before you.  I love you sweet baby.

And to the guy who started this whole love fest in the first place….Bob!  I love you plain and simple.  I couldn’t do any of this without you.  Thank you for supporting me, for putting up with me (goodness…that’s a big thanks!), for being so calm and logically all the time, for being my balance…

Friday, January 27, 2017

Food, Food and Food

If I had to sum up my current life in three words it would be: babies (Lars is still a baby, right?), Bob (because I love him and couldn't do this without him) and food (because someone is always hungry and sometimes I feel like we work to pay our grocery bill).

I've said before that we cook every. single. night. and it still holds true. Some nights I wish we didn't have to cook but we live so far out that 'picking something up' is like an hour ordeal or going out to dinner is a 2+ hour ordeal...with a 4 year old and a 9 month old (no thank you).  Our little town has some great food but nothing quick that's for sure. So we cook and we cook a lot. We cook breakfast, lunch for the kids and dinner, so there's a lot (A LOT) of food and cooking going on in the Authement-Keates household.

Our food bill is our second highest bill for the month next to our mortgage and Bob swears sometimes our mortgage comes in second.....I won't divulge what we spend a month on food but buying organic, healthy and when available local is important to us so it's a big expense.

We obviously don't buy meat, except for when Lars thinks he wants to try halibut, crab, shrimp, turkey hot dogs or some other ridiculously expensive meat item that I cave into buying for him because I want him to try food and be adventurous even though I know the cat will end up eating it or we'll give it we don't have (usually) have that expense. But don't worry....I tend to make up for the cost.

I've found that we do best and spend less when I make a weekly menu that includes dinner, lunches for Lars, snacks, any treats we may want to make and food for Townes and then make my list according to the menu.  Otherwise, we're at the grocery store a few times a week and we end up spending way more money than necessary. When I'm on track and get this done, the total when we get up to the register is a hard pill to swallow but I know if we don't plan we end up spending more.

When I'm scrounging the interwebs and cookbooks for recipes I generally look for vegan recipes.  We're not 100% vegan but I find vegan recipes to be more plant based and nutritional than a lot of vegetarian recipes. I would guess that roughly 4 out of the 7 meals we have a week are vegan.

Also, sorry for the crappy phone pictures of all the food.  There's just no time after dinner's made to take pretty pictures....maybe one day :)

Pumpkin Pie with Pecan Oat Crust (vegan, gluten free, refined sugar free)

Spicy Pesto Pasta with Roasted Veggie and Goat Cheese  (it's a spin off of this recipe)

Chili Cheese Nachos (vegan, gluten free, soy free)

my lunch one random day. garlic quinoa, spinach, cucumbers, olives, tomatoes and avocado with a spicy tahini sauce. no recipe. 

Creamy Vegetable Curry (vegan, gluten free) I would make this every single night because I love curry but Bob hates curry. So I make it when we have company that also enjoys it. 

Thai coconut curry sweet potato soup with roasted tamari almonds (vegan, gluten free)  (curry for the win!! bob was cool with this soup for all you curry haters)

Nachos Supreme. (gluten free) chips, topped with cheese, roasted veggies, Spanish rice, homemade refried black beans, veggies and chipolte cream sauce. 

banana nut bread (vegan, easily made gluten free...this one isn't, refined sugar free)

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Tripod Holiday Photos

Some years I have my shit together enough to have Katherine take our photos and other years not so much. This year was of the latter.  This year was a set the camera up on the tripod and hope for the best.  I've done this twice for family photos and after we're done I swear up and down that I will never do it again and I will get it together the following year.  It's hard enough trying to get a good family photo with no one crying or pouting or making a 4 year old cheese face with a great photographer let along blindly trying to take it. What's a girl to do?

There's this place in our yard that at around 4:30 has the most spectacular light.  I've always loved it and had this grand idea that we would take these beautiful back lit family photos for the holidays. Well, i got a few of those but I also got an abundance of lens flare which looks cool in some of the pictures but most of them were a hot mess. Trying to set up a picture, get the kids looking at the camera, making sure Bob's not being ridiculous and that I look like a doting loving's exhausting.

this is by far my most favorite and it was the last one taken. the way lars is holding townes' hand... it's almost too much to handle. so much love

these guys have my heart! oh lars, you are so 4 years old! 

the word love seems insignificant to the way i feel about this guy. 

and this guy, my squishy

and this one too

this picture sums everything up perfectly.  i thought for sure everyone was smiling wonderfully at the camera.  Townes is obviously confused as to why he's not on my hip and why i'm so far away.  Lars is being Lars and this is what happens when I ask him to do a good smile and Bob who was being a trooper but was pretty not thrilled because I pulled him away from the middle of an Eagles game to take these pictures

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Lars' Room

I have a slight love affair with empty white space.   That probably doesn’t come as a surprise to people who know me.  Even in my work it shows up more often than not. I like empty space because when things feel cluttered around me, I feel cluttered.  When we began renovating our house (excuse me while I throw up in my mouth….ughhh…that was the worst) painting the walls white was one of the first things we did and boy did it make a difference!  It brightened up the entire house , made it feel airy and clean (even though it was in the process of renovations and there was dust everywhere). 

I also have the opposite of a hoarding problem.  What’s that called?  I can’t stand when stuff accumulates and when I say stuff I mean STUFF.  Toys, crafts, shoes, clothes, towels, reusable grocery bags, etc….Some mornings I’ll wake up and I’m on a mission.  Bob just goes and gets a bag or 4 and I make piles to donate and to take to the dump. 
I like our space to have as little clutter as possible.  You’d probably think I was lying if you walked into my house on any given day but I can only control so much.  Day to day life often times takes over and it takes us a few days to get things back in order. The fewer things we have the less clutter there is and the less mess we have to clean.

Lars’ room is perhaps the exception to my mantra.  When he started having ideas and opinions for his room, I tried hard not to stand in the way.  The only thing I said no to was painting his walls pink (his favorite color) only because we had just painted every wall and ceiling in the house white and we hope to sell the house in the near future.  I told him whenever we get into a new house he can paint his walls J

Lars like any 4 year old has lots of interest.  Obviously dinosaurs take the lead but he also loves rocks, animals, star wars, crafts and books.  And that’s mainly what his room is all about.  In the beginning I had the urge to take things off the wall because if felt cluttered but I’ve come to love it.  When you walk in his room, you know exactly who’s room it is. 

I love that everything in his room means something to him.  His dream catchers are one of the first things I purchased for his room when we had just moved in.  His drawings are one that he obviously loved enough to tape on his wall.  His rocks...OH his rocks! They are very important and have been specially selected, washed and rinsed and placed.  

He is constantly hanging things on his walls and adding more rocks to his dresser or shelf.  He loves his room and that makes me really happy.  He even gets excited about changing his sheets!! He has two sets of dinosaur sheets and when I was a set, it's like he's never seen them before.  It's the cutest. I'm not super into printed bedding (again love affair with empty white space) but when we got Lars his big boy bed he desperately wanted dinosaur sheets and let me just tell you....they were not as easy to find as you would think! 

his quilt was made by his favorite and beloved aunt ann when he was just a wee lad

i framed this preemie onesie that he wore right after coming home....sigh  his maraca was a gift from my mom while on a trip to Mexico.  the framed painting is the first finger painting he ever did 

a pot that he picked out from my aunts house 

a giant moth that he insisted on keeping 

a map of costa rica (because he can't wait to go there) and a small portion of his books and a framed water color frog print he selected

a parrot that's been past down to us from his mimi, and a framed jelly fish water print he picked out at the lavender festival

love him so...and his room

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

This weeks dinners and my grocery list....

Last weeks menu was a hit at our house.  The only recipe I didn't get around to making was the Carrot Tahini Soup which is on the rotation for this week because it sounds too delicious to pass up.  I skipped the soup because we ended up getting a late start on dinner one night and had leftover spaghetti and neatballs.  It worked.

I try to make my menus last a full week, Monday to Monday that way we have Monday or Tuesday to grocery shop.

this is the vegan ramen from last weeks menu.  it was easy but a little more time consuming than i would normally like to spend only because i've never made ramen and i was following the recipe pretty strictly and once I got half way through it, I noticed it said to let the broth cook for TWO HOURS......ummm that didn't happen... but we all LOVED it.  

this is the carrot and broccoli salad with miso ginger sauce.  it was amazing and you must make it! 

This week menu

Carrot Tahini Soup (vegan and gluten free.  also, i refuse to pine nuts because they are stupidly expensive so i'll probably use pumpkin seeds)

Luxurious Tomato Basil Pasta (this is a vegan, gluten free recipe that we all love and is from one of my favorite cooks books, Oh She Glows)

Spicy Potato 'n Black Bean Burritos (this recipe is vegan and gluten free, but I foresee us adding some cheese and maybe greek yogurt)

Falafel Wraps with Tzatziki Sauce (no real recipe for this. I use the falafel mix from whole foods and make a quick Tzatziki Sauce  and top it with spinach, olives, feta and tomatoes)

Black Bean Burgers and Fries

Pizza (Bob's famous weekly addition)

Spicy Peanut Sweet Potato Soba Noodles (this one is making it back on the list from last week, but it's super quick and yum.  I may change it up a bit)

If I'm feeling sassy :) i may make these One Bowl Jumbo Chocolate Chunk Cookies (vegan, gluten and refined sugar free)

Here's my grocery list...after i sent this to bob I immediately texted, OH AND WINE...OF COURSE

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Getting Back to Dinner

There once was a time when I had dinner mapped out weekly, the meals were delicious and healthy, the grocery list was well thought out and double checked and  we weren't going to the grocery store 3 times a week.  Then.... BABY.  Since Townes was born dinner has been sort of a shit storm most weeks. There were a few unusual weeks tossed in the past 6 months that I had it together but very very few and I've been ok with it until NOW. Having a new baby is hard.  It takes any routine you had and tosses it out the window, drags it down the road, puts it on a plane and sends it to a small far away country that you didn't even know existed and if you're lucky it comes back to visit every once in a while but mostly you create all new routines.  It takes time. So, I wasn't too hard on us for having the same 4 meals on rotation (for 6 months) or for having to hit up the grocery store 3 times a week.  We were in the trenches; trying to create this new life and new routine.'s time! It's time to get it together. I'm tired of spending extra money on groceries because we can't get a list together and I'm tired of eating some form of coconut sweet potatoes and black beans, butternut squash, kale and goat cheese and pizza.  All of those are delicious but we've exhausted them.

So here we go. I adore fall and all fall foods. It's my favorite, so what better time to start?

This weeks menu:

Carrot Tahini Soup
Easy Vegan Ramen  (i'll let you know how 'easy' it is)
Spicy Peanut Sweet Potato Soba Noodles
Lentil Walnut Tacos with Smokey Cashew Sauce
Carrot and Broccoli Salad with Miso Ginger Sauce 
Lars' Favorite Spaghetti and Neatballs (I don't make this vegan, but loosely follow this recipe.  I use Parmesan and sometimes an eggs in the mix)

I'm also hoping to whip up these bad boys: Pumpkin Ginger Bread Muffins and some more of these Peanut Butter Munchy Bars which I actually made into balls instead of bars.  Lars LOVES them and they are great for sticking in his lunch.

That's a wrap.  Hopefully this post will keep me honest and I'll have some pictures of wonderful dinners!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Baby Led Weaning

Have you heard of baby led weaning? If you have babies, I’m sure you have. It’s basically the idea of letting your baby (6 months or whenever they reach for food) feed themselves.  No pureed baby food or mashed up bananas and avocados.  You just let that baby grab a pork chop or in our house a slice of pizza and let them go to town.  The idea is that by around the age of 6 months babies are developmentally capable of feeding themselves.  The term was coined by a former midwife, Gill Rapley.

I had read all about this when Lars was getting close to 6 months.  It sounded like a lovely idea and I was intrigued.   Everything I could find about baby led weaning was positive.  It seemed to be the new way to go about feeding baby. 

While I continued to make Lars pureed baby food, we also did baby led weaning off and on.  It was going swimmingly until……..he choked.  That was the end.  He was chewing on a piece of apple and started choking.  Not just a little cough choking… like couldn’t get air choking.  I’ve never in my life been so panicked and terrified. I literally felt my heart stop.  For whatever reason, I lodged my finger down his throat (probably not the right way of going about things) and got the piece of apple back up.  He then started throwing up and coughing so much and crying. Everyone was crying.  It. Was. Horrific!  For days following I was so paranoid.  I was basically feeding him smoothies.
I never even gave baby led weaning another thought.  Lars began getting pieces of food when he got teeth and we felt ready. 

It scared us way too much to even consider it again.  It wasn’t an option.  The fear lingered and the thought of trying it again made my stomach turn.  Sort of like when your older friend buys you way too many cranberry vodkas for your 16th birthday and you spend 2 days throwing up and the thought or smell of cranberry and vodka to this day sends you hurling to the bathroom.  No, that didn’t happen to any of you?  OK, well just imagine :)  The fear still lingers.

It didn’t work for us and personally I don’t think (my) 6 month olds were ready to be biting off pieces of food.  I have friends who love this method and have never had a scare but we did and we’re done.
Townes just turned 6 months and we’ve been playing around with food (pureed food).  He loves it (not as much as big brother) but he’s really enjoying it. 

Some say that giving pureed baby food distracts baby from learning proper eating and chewing methods and maybe it does but I have one HUGE exception to that rule and it’s my 4 year old who was fed pureed baby food 95% of his baby food life and from the moment I put food in his mouth, is one of the best eaters out there.  Has zero problem chewing, eating or trying foods.  So, we’re going to stick with the tried and true method. 

Townes’ favorites so far:
Sweet potatoes (of course)
Green beans
Roasted squash and garlic

His not so favorites:
Broccoli (funny, because it was also the only food Lars ever turned his nose up to. He now loves it)

this is Lars (left) and Townes both around 6 months. 

those tummy rolls!!! LOVE

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