Thursday, October 31, 2013

pumpkins and candy


although we don't celebrate halloween, this season is practically begging you to stuff your face with candy, carve a pumpkin or two (the one on the left is my first one ever!), and have a Harry Potter marathon. and so that's what we've been doing...

growing up, my mom and another family we were close to would get together and have treasure hunts for yummy treats like pumpkin pies instead of dressing up and trick or treating. but these days, it's all about the store bought candy. except not the scream cadbury eggs. ew, yuck!

my favorite candy is twizzlers. usually i try not to buy them because once i have one, i can't stop myself. it's frightening.


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

johnny's so long at the fair

on saturday we bundled up the baby and drove down to the Georgia State Fair, which moved this year (apparently, according to the Houston Chronicle which seems like an odd place to learn about the Georgia State Fair...) to a new location: the parking lot of the Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton. now, if concrete and yellow parking lines under foot don't scream Fair! to you, i can't say as i recommend it. it was much more like a carnival than a fair. re: toothless, one-armed hagglers selling candy apples and the chance to win a mask for $3! and the smallest carousel i've ever seen.

but on a happier note: fried everything. and a petting (feeding) zoo!

the sun was shining. the day was cool. we rode the carousel, we won some masks, we fed some goats and we conquered many fried foods.

we didn't see any clowns. but there was one really cute Wiley Bear.


and his mama and papa

Monday, October 21, 2013

portrait of a mother


my guilty motherhood issues begin with a pizza.

i made a pizza the other night for dinner. you know. you saw it. it was not an artisanal, made-my-own-dough-from-scratch pizza. not a gluten-free pizza (sorry loverboy). not even a whole wheat pizza. a straight up pillsbury-dough-boy, cheddar-cheese supplementing-the-"pizza"-cheese, cut-up-tomato-masquerading-as-toppings pizza. and i'm not ashamed. i am, kind of. but, really, no i'm not.

loverboy says to me, as we're stealthily shoveling pizza in our faces in the den because it's farther from the nursery and the baby has been sleep-regressing (yeah, that's what we're calling it) and also he can hear your socks crinkling is how light a sleeper he is, "this pizza is totally a rebecca pizza."

"the taste of it reminds me of you. the simplicity of it."

that's when i really looked at the pizza and realized how bad it was. so, either i'm cheap or i'm lacking in finesse or i'm boring. (if you say 'or all of the above' i'll hurl something. probably a cheap pizza.)

i don't know if you know this but being compared to lame pizza is not exactly an ego booster. because here's the thing, the pizza does say something about me.

it says: when i put my mind to it, i can make a very lackluster pizza.

and also: i'm not a perfectionist. and yes, i'm maybe kind of utilitarian. as in, robotic.

i've been accused of being robotic about things before — cooking, usually. which i consider a terrible and accurate criticism. terrible because i do actually like cooking. or i used to. i think. i mean, i love food. i love cooking utensils. i love reading recipes. i like gatherings around food. so, i must like making food, right?

and accurate because, um, bad pizza.

here's the thing—feelings of guilt and inadequacy reach their peak in motherhood. or at least, it seems to be that way in this day and age. everywhere you look, you are reading about what it means to succeed, whether women can have it all, or have enough and what that looks like anyways. and if not, then you're reading about what you should be doing. seriously, my to-do list has hit an all-time freneticness. (i have to say though that loverboy has always been amazingly supportive and helpful and never pressures me to make dinner or complains about what i've made. the pressure and guilt are all self-inflicted.)

but then i had another thought: dinner is at the bottom of my to-do list. and i'm okay with that, at least for right now. (clarification: making dinner is at the bottom. eating it is always at the top!;)

last week was one of those weeks. you know those weeks? when your loverboy is working late hours and it's up to you to entertain, bathe, feed and put the baby down, whilst simultaneously making your own dinner and also, maybe keeping the rest of this machine we call a household going. it is a machine. and yes, sometimes what you get is a cog in the wheel, not roses for smelling. (mixed metaphors are my true artform).

i don't know how anyone else does it. those wonder moms who somehow create culinary masterpieces, work full-time jobs outside the home and probably have 2 or 3 more munchkins than i have. or those single moms who never have an extra set of hands around. let's nominate those women for medals of honor!

mothers are machines, in the best sense of the word. but—and maybe this is my real point?—artists, too.

i may not make a succulent, bon-appetît-worthy spread every night—or even every week.

i may pinterest far more cute, home-made, craftsy projects than i actually do. (i might not even do one.)

i may sometimes take a picture for the sake of having a picture, instead of getting the artsy shot.

i may shop at target instead of cool, vintage stores.

i may occasionally (usually) make pumpkin pie with canned pumpkin.

i may buy my mini cacti at ikea.

but i am an artist.

my artistry is—

learning the perfect kissable spot on wilder's back to get his laughs out.

cooking, blending, freezing, thawing and mixing vegetable after vegetable to find one he likes.

wiping the water away from his eyes during bathtime. and towelling him off ever so gently afterwards, so that he will not get grumpy. 

using special voices to make goodnight gorilla a little more interesting. 

row, row, row-ing your boat on the living room floor during the dinner hour (aka fussy hour), instead of kneading dough in the kitchen. (if i'm gonna knead dough, there better be scones happening!)

there will come a day when i will like the kitchen again and whip out mouthwatering, gourmet dinners (and i dream of jeannie, too;).

but for now, i am shaping something else. he matters more, i think.

thanks to store-bought, pillsbury dough boy pizza crusts everywhere for enabling this true confession of an epiphany,


mother B.

Friday, October 18, 2013

of pumpkins and cookies


cookies are really hard to make. i know you probably think that's ludicrous because everyone can make cookies. even my friend's kid makes them. he's three. to be fair, i'm pretty sure judging by the fact that they each had a neat little picture of the cars characters on them, they were break and bake. but still. i know. cookies are baking elementary. right?

wrong! cookies are the holy grail of baking. yeah, you didn't see that coming, did you. well, it's true.

to me, pies are a cinch in comparison. and listen, i enjoy cutting the butter into the flour just as much as the next person, but that's really as hard as it gets.

but cookies....aaaah. where do i begin? i've been trying cookie recipe after cookie recipe for hello, all my life, and sometimes a recipe will come out right and then the next time, poof! it's all off. i can't figure it out.

the chocolate chip cookie is the worst. my mom made chocolate chip cookies every week for my entire childhood. maybe even twice a week, who knows. and yet, i can't find and reproduce the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe more than twice. it's tragic is what it is.

a few years ago i was really, really lusting after the perfect pumpkin chocolate chip cookie. it was mystifyingly hard to find even one recipe. and then the few i did find were just awful. (or else i'm no good at baking cookies???)

so, as soon as i saw this recipe on hey natalie jean, i had to make them! and let me tell you, they are really as good as she says. i can't vouch for their ability to be just as good the second time around, but this first time, they were top notch.

i'll let you be the judge. go bake your own. these are about to all be in my tummy.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

my (yester)day

in photos:

"a morning without coffee is like sleep." — someone wise
cooked carrots for baby food.
he didn't want to eat his carrots.
mama eats lunch on the floor.
a little writing while the baby naps.
making myself 2 p.m. we're on baby time.
free sweet potato and toasted marshmallow Jeni's ice cream in Decatur!
and now this day is a success!
the bouncer is one cute dude. maybe i'm biased.
all the dishes are almost done. for now.
carrots mixed with sweet potato. a no go. 
freezing the carrots and rinsing strawberries in vinegar water.
afternoon snack and baby signing time. on the floor, of course.
this little bear gets grumpy after his bath. too much toweling!
story time!
this basket is never empty for long.
my idea of cooking dinner these days. 

Monday, October 14, 2013

for the love of all pumpkins


as a kid i loved pumpkin pie so much i'd ask my mom to make it for me instead of cake for my birthday? i kind of ODed on it to the point that now i only like pumpkin pie around thanksgiving. sometimes i wonder if i make it just for the sake of nostalgia. but i do love pumpkin bread and pumpkin lasagna and pumpkin muffins and pumpkins cookies! pumpkin anything, it's a fact, is sure to brighten up any day. except of course if you don't like pumpkin (apparently pumpkin is not big in Russia, or at least wasn't when a friend of ours was growing up there).

and there is no better way to gear up for fall than with a saturday morning trip to a pumpkin patch! can you believe that i still have my doubts about Georgia, when there are all these fun things to do around? i mean i never went apple picking or pumpkin patching in texas, but there you have it, there is no logic to the heart.

anyhoo, we pumpkin patched and much fun was had by all. i'm still thinking about those fried raspberry pies. why not fried pumpkin pies, is what i wanted to know. but the raspberry was darn tootin' good.

okay, prepare for a million pumpkin photos:



Friday, October 11, 2013

photos of birthday weekend continue...


...with a picnic! i've been wanting to get this little man outside somewhere verdant and breezy where he could stare up at the blue sky and feel sunshine on his fingertips and inhale the carefully curated oxygen of urban greenery. and so, on saturday, to continue my non-birthdate birthday festivities, we betook ourselves to a park with a very simple picnic of quiche, salad, watermelon and chocolate cake. in other words, all you really need to be happy.

we had planned to go to piedmont park, but got sidetracked and found ourselves pulling off at a park along ponce de leon. it was perfect, really. no parking issues, no long trek to the perfect green spot. genius. it was almost like the best of summer and my birthday, at once (and neither actually). so confusing, right? still, a perfectly adequate way to spend an afternoon. ;)

beautiful boys.
he loves standing.
this salad dressing was the extent of my cooking over the weekend and it was glorious. 
the salad dressing was only okay. 
they really dote on him. it makes me happy.
dark chocolate cake by grandma. so yummy!
i'm pretty sure that wilder had the most fun, getting tickles and snuggles from grandpa.