Friday, September 21, 2012

Just Like That

Three days ago Cora was running around naked in the back yard, alternately soaking in her pool and drying off in the sun. Three days ago I didn't need to worry about layering clothing, or anything we left in the yard being rained on.

That was three days ago. Today we are wearing wool socks. Today the sky is grey, I reached for a scarf, and the girls wanted to cuddle under a blanket after they woke.  Harlow is teething terribly, she is super grumpy and has seemed on the verge of getting a cold for weeks. I woke feeling like I have a scratch in my throat and decided to head into the kitchen, where these battles are usually fought in our family, beginning with crushing endless garlic cloves. Today I have put away the pluots, and melons and the smell of sauteed onions, garlic, potatoes, and roasting squash are wafting from the kitchen.

Just like that it has become fall. Sure, there may be a few more sunny days, where it's hard to decide if a sweater is needed, but really, the change has come. I don't remember a seasonal change feeling this abrupt in the entire seven years I have called Portland my home. Perhaps it's because we were spoiled by an amazing string of weeks of beautiful sunny days throughout August and September, so that when the change came it came fast.

While I am observing my own personal mourning for the sun, I find that I am simultaneously anxious to get this show on the road. I love Autumn. Every single thing about it. While the Pacific Northwest lacks the glory and pageantry of my native New England, the change of the season here is still very satisfying, quiet, and sacred.

Yesterday we got some late afternoon playground fun in, finding this gigantic old metal spiral slide. They just don't make 'em like this anymore. It was almost too intimidating to attempt, and after three runs Scott thought he might vomit.

I'm telling you, this thing was FAST.

Climbing up to the sky with daddy right behind.

More and more every day, Cora is able to find new ways to play with her baby sister.

My heavy old friend the Dutch Oven was resurrected from it's hiding spot today. Hello old friend, time to get busy creating glorious comfort food. 

Today I made this recipe from Smitten Kitchen, which was exactly what we needed. Warm, comforting, uncomplicated, and incredibly delicious! 

Stewed Lentils & Tomatoes
Adapted from Barefoot Contessa at Home
2 teaspoons good olive oil
2 cups large-diced yellow onions (2 onions)
2 cups large-diced carrots (3 to 4 carrots)
1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
1 (28-ounce) can whole plum tomatoes
1 cup French green lentils (7 ounces)
2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
2 teaspoons mild curry powder
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the onions and the carrots and cook over medium-low heat for 8 to 10 minutes, until the onions start to brown. Stir occasionally with a wooden spoon. Add the garlic and cook for one minute more.
Meanwhile, place the canned plum tomatoes, including the juice, in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse several times until the tomatoes are coarsely chopped. Rinse and pick over the lentils to make sure there are no stones in the package.
Add the tomatoes, lentils, broth, curry powder, thyme, salt and pepper to the pan. Raise the heat to bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer covered for about 40 minutes, until the lentils are tender. Check occasionally to be sure the liquid is still simmering. Remove from the heat and allow the lentils to sit covered for another 10 minutes. Add the vinegar, season to taste and serve hot.
Source: Smitten Kitchen, link here.

Happy Fall Everyone!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Sister Love

From the moment Harlow was born, Cora claimed her as her own. We encouraged this by referring to the baby as Cora's baby. I had braced myself for Cora to fully reject her new sister. Stories of toddlers hitting their newborn siblings played through my mind and I fully expected that behavior to manifest itself.

But of course that's not what happened, because Cora is her unique self, she is sweet and gentle and full of love. The look of wonder on her face as she met Harlow for the first time is something I will never forget. It was immediate hugs and joy, an awesome explosion of love.

Now, on the eve of Harlow's first birthday, there has been a shift in their relationship. Cora has fallen head over heels in love with her little sister. Of course there have been some rough spots in the last year, mostly around Harlow learning to crawl and claim toys for her own, but for the most part it has been patience and love. Recently, however, Cora's love for her little sister has become a fierce and powerful thing.

When she first wakes in the morning, Cora no longer runs to me, but runs to her sister and wraps her in hugs while whispering "Hi baby Harlow."  Last night the girls spent time with their babysitter, who was helping Cora create a picture of her family in a boat. Cora refused to put me or her dad in the picture, adamant that it is a picture of two sisters on a high seas adventure. I love this. I love her growing awareness of her special relationship with her sister, that it is of our family, but also transcends it. It is what I dreamt about and hoped for all throughout my pregnancy with Harlow. It was a difficult pregnancy in many ways, and chasing after my growing toddler seemed like a mountain of work. Exhaustion and extreme discomfort were my close friends, and when those days got too difficult, I would focus on the gift I was giving my two girls.  The gift of a lifetime of having a sister so close in age that they will never remember not having one another. And now, one year later, their love is blossoming right in front of my eyes, and I am full of joy.

Just Two Sisters Out On An Adventure

Oh The Love When Daddy Gets Home!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Did That Summer Really Just Happen?


It's a cool morning here, the first cool morning in many weeks. Perhaps there is even a touch of fall in the air. I poured my first cup of coffee as Cora perused our substantial record collection.  She carefully selected John Lennon and The Plastic Ono band's album Imagine, and gently carried it to me so I could put it on our turntable. She is an uncannily great DJ, and she doesn't even know it yet.

This summer has been tough. Tough, tough, tough, tough. I'm not even sure I have the strength to write about it yet. In short, Scott was in a major car accident, then both our girls got brutally sick with Pertussis (Whooping Cough), then a large chunk of our community moved away. Blech.


I've been remiss to write here, in part because we are so blessed that it feels ridiculous to complain. But alas, writing has always been a necessary step in my process and I certainly need some help reconciling the stresses our family has been under. I have missed this space, missed the opportunity to document my growing family and our beautiful life together.

The girls are feeling much better now, it looks like Scott is going to make a full recovery, and life continues. We moved into a lovely little house in a perfect neighborhood, with a park, community center, and produce stand all within walking distance of our home. We were miraculously (between illnesses), able to travel to Chicago for my brother's wedding and a family reunion with Scott's family. Our days are slowly but surely starting to even out, a routine of comfort and familiarity is starting to emerge. Our little boat is slowing it's rocking and we have our fingers crossed that it will be calm seas for a bit.

Harlow will turn one year old next month. 

How did that happen?

She is stunning, vivacious, and a rocket of energy that makes our family unit complete. It has been delightful watching her personality emerge as she makes a full recovery and grows bigger, stronger, more capable.



Monday, March 26, 2012


Two sisters, one swing.

Grey blue eyes just like the sky in the Pacific Northwest.

She squeals with delight now, it's such a wonderful sound.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Two peas in a pod

Cora can't resist climbing in the crib and snuggling with Harlow. Her little sister squeals with delight and spends the time trying to grab Cora's hair. It's such a beautiful experience, watching their intense love for each other.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

We're Still Here

Photobucket did I get here? How is it that I have two children, the youngest of which will be 6 months old at the end of this month? There have been many instances in the last few months where I wanted to write, but writers block is a real and nasty problem.

At this moment I have my lovely babysitter at home with the girls and I am spending a few minutes in a coffee shop. It's my first time at this particular place and, ironically, it's super kid friendly and everyone here has toddlers with them. I felt guilty for a quick second, only a second.

I have been blessed with a busy work schedule, my clients are the best. I have been so busy that it is incredibly rare to find me sitting in a coffee shop writing. I also faced an incredible challenge in recuperating from Harlow's pregnancy and birth. Actually, let me restate that. I am having a hard time recovering from giving birth to two people in two years. I am getting stronger every day but it is taking some hard work to get back to center.

My writing brain is rusty. I hope that by breaking the surface of my silence things will begin to flow once again. Until then, here are a few photos.