Gosh, it’s been so long since I’ve updated I don’t even know what to say, where to start! So much has happened in the last year, I can’t believe it’s been A YEAR (almost exactly), and I haven’t documented any of it. At least not here, anyway. Which is fine with me, sometimes you need to just live life privately and keep journals and not worry about sharing your life with strangers on the internet.
And then sometimes you kind of miss it, because somehow it feels like it’s a part of you, after blogging all these years, for different reasons and different places.
Not to be dramatic or anything.
So what have I been up to? The biggest news of course is that Julian and I became parents this past October. Not to be completely cliche but, OMG. How amazing are babies? I won’t lie and say “this won’t become a mommy blog” because who knows what I will want to talk about – I certainly hope it isn’t all about babies, but I reserve the right.
To quickly summarize the most intense and incredible year of my life…
Last Winter (Jan 2013), I found out I was pregnant. I had terrible morning/all-day sickness. We found out it was a girl just before we went to Turks & Caicos in May for a “babymoon” where we decided we would definitely name her Nora. When we returned, we learned we had to move houses. No! We moved, begrudgingly, from the house we loved. We worked very hard to get our new house in order before baby girl arrived. We flew back to our hometowns for baby showers and summer visits. We stressed about our to-do list. Parents came to help, baby care and breastfeeding and childbirth education classes were taken. I turned 31. Then, she arrived, three days past her due date…
October 1, 2013 – 12:37pm. Eleanora “Nora” Lynne Smith. The most beautiful baby to have ever been born, of course! What a feeling, I am still reeling from the whole experience and I don’t think I’ll ever get used to the wonder of it all. The delivery went as well as it could possibly go. I doubt I will share our full birth story publicly, but for those who are curious (I am always curious about birth stories since becoming pregnant) my water broke in the middle of the night, we had a fairly quick & very intense labor, and with the help of incredible husband, my doula, my doctor, and a tough-love nurse named Joy, I delivered her au naturale. No drugs, which had been my goal, but wasn’t really sure if I’d be able to follow through with (I have no words, by the way).
The first few months of Nora’s life were spent in a sleepy, foggy joy – what an incredible time, I will cherish those memories forever. Becoming a parent for the first time is interesting. In many ways, it felt completely natural and easy. I was born to do this! At other times, it felt like we were being thrown into a lake without ever having a swimming lesson. Steep learning curve for sure. What a payoff, though. Truly, truly amazing. I could stare at her all day and kiss her little cheeks and stare into her sweet blue eyes and just hold her and never let her go. Which is how I spent most of those newborn days – staring at her and letting her sleep on me as much and for long as she wanted. I was exhausted of course – we both were (are), but when opportunities for breaks came about, all I wanted to do was run back and hold her longer. Ahhh, it’s like a drug!
So then the holidays came, which we stayed home for, and celebrated the three of us. We had lots of family and friends visiting throughout the Fall, and it was wonderful. Then, we moved again. Because we’ve lost our minds! Really our circumstances just changed, and we realized we had needs that wouldn’t be met at the current house, so we moved back closer to the home we lived in before. We moved on January 31. And the last month and a half have been spent settling in, getting into a good routine for all three of us, and giving a big exhale… as we hope that most of the chaos is behind us. Just in time for crawling!
My days look something like this:
7am she is up, give the baby to Julian, go back to bed for an hour or so. Wake for real, breastfeed the hungry baby. Change & dress Nora, drink coffee, eat breakfast, shower (not always in that order, many times without the shower). Play with Nora. Put her down for nap. Do the dishes, do the laundry. Try and remember to eat lunch. Run any errands or go to Mommy & Me if it is Friday. More naps, many more feedings, not as many diapers as you’d think (though we’re using cloth most of the time so I have a lot of extra laundry). Lots of playtime, lots of changes of scenery for my girl who is now at the point where she gets bored with the same old, same old. Around 5-6p Julian is done for work for the day and he and Nora get some QT while I get dinner started, put laundry away, or stare at the wall blankly for a few minutes. She goes to bed around 7-8pm and then Julian and I have our “free time” in the evenings – something that we didn’t have until we moved/she turned 4 months old. Around then she magically decided 8pm was her bedtime, and she mostly sleeps through the night give or take a feeding or two (or three, or four if we’re teething a lot). Around 11pm we decide we better go to sleep or there will be hell to pay in the morning (we are always right).
Motherhood so far is a strange mix of unpredictable and completely predictable. Just when you think you’ve got your routine figured out, something new happens and everything you’ve just become used to changes. On the other hand, you do the same thing 7-8 times a day. Sing the same songs, play with the same toys, pet the cat (“gentlyyyyy”) twelve times, nurse in the same chair, wash the same dishes, the same pajamas, collapse into the same couch at the end of the day. The days take so long but go so fast. How do I have a six month old? I’ve only just given birth yesterday. This little baby that used to sleep all day and had to be woken up to eat now laughs at me and can sit up without me supporting her. It’s too much for me to handle. I try to soak it up – try not to become distracted with thoughts of things I “have to do” and just focus on her, on these little moments. I let things slide, I choose yoga pants over jeans, I forget to call people on their birthday, I ignore the dust bunnies in the dining room and the granola bar wrappers piling up in the car.
Still, I am learning that I need to make time for myself so that I can be the best Mom I can be. I will gogogogo until I breakdown, mentally and physically (my arms, back and neck are SORE. My chiropractor is my new best friend.) I am much happier and less [insert scary face] when I take a few minutes to be alone at the end of the day, to try and get out at least once a week by myself, even if it’s just to the grocery store (though last week I went to Target and wandered aimlessly and it was AWESOME).
I know the last thing I need is to start a blogging routine again, but it would be nice to know I can come here periodically and share whatever little piece of me needs to be shared, without thinking “ah but I haven’t posted in a year.”
So here we are! Baby is in bed, husband is working late, and I am here thinking about how I’d really like to learn to sew. And move to Europe. And take Nora to Disneyland. And go wake her up because I already miss her, even after it took an hour to put her down tonight! But really I need to go to bed because tomorrow is another joyful, exhausting, priceless day.
So hello again, and goodnight!
P.S. Call me crazy but I don’t think I’ll be sharing photos of Nora on the blog, or Twitter, or any public forums. Maybe I’ll change my mind one day, but I want to respect her privacy at this point, so I’ve only chosen photos here where you can’t see her face. But trust me, she’s cute!!!!
Isn’t it fascinating how music can transport you to a different time in your life or make you feel a different emotion? Julian and I were in the kitchen talking about this last night because a song came on that reminded us of the beginning of our relationship (I guess you could say it’s “our song” but that is somewhat cheesy so we won’t). Of course we didn’t really talk too much about it, mostly he just paced around saying “Wow, music is incredible!” as he usually does. I was reminded of this music nostalgia thing again today when The Strokes came on my Pandora in the car.
There is plenty of music that reminds me of different phases of my life, but for some strange reason I get more nostalgic with The Strokes than any other band. I used to play their albums out in my early 20s. Before the days when everyone had iPods, when we drove around with CD albums in our cars (how great was that, by the way), their CDs were always in the front of mine. Their earlier albums take me back to a more innocent time, when I hadn’t a clue about life or relationships, but definitely thought I had it all figured out. I remember cruising around town in my crappy car blasting their songs & pretending to sing to whoever was on my mind at that time. It’s nice to revisit that feeling now, as an adult who sometimes feels like she’s getting too boring & old. As carefree as I felt back then, I am definitely happier now, but it reminds me how important it is to be youthful, regardless of age.
How odd is this video, by the way? I’ve never even seen it before today. I used to think Julian Casablancas was such a stud, but it’s obvious Fabrizio Moretti is the real knockout here. Kristin Wiig has good taste!
Today is a very special day because it happens to be my beauuuuuutiful sister’s 25th birthday!! Happy birthday, Ana! You mean the world to me and I am so thankful to have such an incredible person as my sister. I love you and I hope your day is perfect!
the weather finally beginning to change • buying new boots • sleeping with the windows open (& finally being able to turn off the AC) • resisting the urge to cut my hair short again, even though it is at a really awkward length right now! • Scout sleeping ON me every night lately, and waking up to both of the cats in bed with me • getting new nailpolishes, since when did they start selling Essie at CVS by the way?? • candy corn, you slay me • taking walks with my dog • hole in the wall bars in Echo Park • brunching with my friend and her adorable baby (or perhaps he should be called a toddler… still a baby to me!) • looking forward to visits from good friends next week! • drinking green tea everyday • taking vitamins • making plans for home redecorations, soooo fun right now • sending boxes of goodies to my brother overseas • my sister’s birthday tomorrow! • finding those quiet moments in LA when you almost forget where you are • clear nights when you can see the stars • my Pilates instructors, they are the best! • having a clean car, and keeping it clean • seeing my husband happy • the way a $9 bouquet of flowers can brighten a room (I usually split them in half and put them in two rooms, though) • Pumpkin Butter WoodWick candles • healthy cats! even though they are getting up there in years, they are both very healthy which makes me one happy kitty mama • really hot showers, first thing in the morning • cooking dinner at home together and it being more fun than going out.
I love my dog far too much to dress him and/or paint/glue his body with various robot parts, but this is great. Poor dog looks miserable though!
This summer I made Julian’s dreams come true when I agreed to watch all the Star Wars movies with him. Yes, ALL OF THEM. To be fair they weren’t that bad, I actually kind of liked them though my eyes did glaze over more than a few times during battle scenes. It’s nice to “get” certain jokes in pop culture now, including this costume.
The jury is still out on whether or not we’ll put a costume on Frank this year. He is 80 lbs now, so it’s a little hard finding something that fits. This was his costume last year and it was a hit!
Sometimes I put it on him to wear around the house just for fun. He doesn’t seem to mind.
A little late… not to mention this is the first of these I’ve done in…. MONTHS. Happy Thursday!
The Good Wife • drawing again • making new girlfriends and having girls nights • meeting the owner of El Compadre – you’d think I met Brad Pitt • making green smoothies everyday • chatting with my brother online almost daily – big deal because he is overseas right now and I miss him sooo badddd • putting together care packages for him • getting to the point where I actually look forward to Pilates instead of griping about how I have to go work out • cleaning up my office so I actually want to spend time in here again (my cats like it, too) • “sam, tun, turk, & chic” • ”Oooh man that salmon smells good! Makes me wanna go Episcopalian!” • “I would have flirted with you in a chatroom. I would have asked ya for a pic.” • cleaning the filters on my Dyson, and having it work 100x better (these are the things that excite me… wow) • also, de-cat hairing my bedroom and office so I can breathe in here again • taking after dinner walks • playing fetch with Frank • Intelligentsia coffee in the French press (I’ve started drinking my coffee black, by the way,and it’s great. I feel like my Dad) • buying fresh art supplies … and USING them • having an iPhone again • making friends with 80 yr old men • evenings spent by the outdoor fire eating s’mores, drinking wine and listening to music with my husbie • running errands in the middle of the day when everyone is at work • making cauliflower popcorn • reading our texts from the first year Julian & I knew each other…
I chose this because it sums up a lot of what I have been channeling since I turned 30. Less criticizing, less judging, more self improvement, more leading by example, more time spent becoming the person I’ve always wanted to be. I have a lot of respect for people that exhibit this behavior, and always find myself wanting to be around them more. Not to mention these are usually the people I look to for advice or guidance. What a brilliant quote!
Last week I sent Julian to the grocery store for chicken breasts and he came back with chicken thighs. Ok. No problem, there are plenty of great uses for chicken thighs. Last night I looked at our pantry and decided that despite the 90-something degree temperature outside, I was going to use those thighs and make chicken noodle soup. Instead of following a recipe like I usually do, I decided to wing it and try to make it myself. I have to say, it’s my favorite chicken noodle soup I’ve ever had! Like even better than the deli. So I thought I’d share the recipe like a good friend. Of course I didn’t take any photos because all my food photos look like gruel.
3-4 tbsp olive oil
3 chicken thighs
4 cups low sodium chicken broth
4 cups water
4 chicken boullion cubes
1 small onion, chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
salt & pepper to taste
good pinch of marjoram
good pinch of oregano
1 bay leaf
2 cups short pasta (I used bow tie, literally anything will work)
1. Heat olive oil in large dutch oven/pot (I used this). Add chicken thighs and cook 5-7 minutes on each side over med heat. When cooked through, remove chicken from pot, setting aside. Don’t dump the pan drippings!
3. Add onions and celery to pot and cook a few minutes until soft. Meanwhile, cut cooked chicken into bite sized pieces.
4. Add carrots, chicken, chicken broth, water + bouillon cubes*, marjoram, oregano, bay leaf, and salt & pepper to taste. Simmer for 30 minutes.
5. Add pasta and simmer for another 10 minutes.
Voila! I kind of didn’t measure the spices, so you’ll have to just give it your best shot. It doesn’t need too much salt, though.
* You could obvi just sub more boxed chicken broth instead of the water + bouillon cubes, but this is what I did, so this is what I’m putting!