You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Family’ category.

This is the second in a four-part series. Sequels to follow.

I had an extremely easy pregnancy with the Bunny.  No morning sickness, no concerns about my health (except for that time I gained six pounds in a month – whoops).   No concerns about the Bunny besides a brief Cystic Fibrosis scare when we found out I was a carrier.   I never even got sick.  Everything was looking great.

I was also an insanely happy pregnant woman. The Mayor even bragged frequently that I was the best pregnant woman ever (Yes, he’s a smart man). I didn’t cry my entire pregnancy except one time when I told the Mayor that the Bunny’s room needed a second coat of paint and he announced You are the mother of my child and I love you, but I HATE YOU. (Not so smart that time.)

The Day Before the Mayor Gave Up Veganism

The Day Before the Mayor Gave Up Veganism

I also followed every pregnancy rule to the letter. I did not drink smoothies or fresh squeezed juice. No lunch meat, no alcohol, no soft cheeses. What else is there? Well, whatever it is, I followed it.

We had taken every pre-baby class imagineable – Redirecting Children’s Behavior, Infant CPR, Daddy Bootcamp (for the Mayor), Hypnobirthing (planning “natural” birth), Bringing Home Baby, etc. You name it, we took it.

We had hired a doula and written a birth plan. I heard somewhere that the longer the birth plan, the more likley the c-section, so I had even made sure to keep it to one page. (Yes, I followed ALL the rules.)

I was 32 weeks pregnant and everything was going along perfectly.  We were getting anxious to meet the Bunny, so I had a little talk with him.  I told him that he was invited to join us in the world on October 4th (two weeks before his due date and after I planned to start maternity leave).  I thought he was on board with that plan.

Around that time I told my Vegan co-worker (she is known in many circles as “the Vegan,” so she would not be offended by this over-simplification of her identity) that the Mayor was intrigued by her moral position on the matter. The following week, she arrived with a plethora of Vegan propaganda literature for the Mayor’s cosnideration. I brought it home and the Mayor went Vegan the next day.

The worst part was that the Mayor’s moral revelation was creeping into my head too. Suddenly, I was thinking, What gives us the right to store animals in inhumane conditions and pump them full of antibiotics only to kill them and EAT them. But even worse, I started thinking, What gives us the right to store animals in inhumane conditions and steal their eggs and milk them with a MACHINE against their will?   This was the scarriest part because, OMG, I wouldn’t be able to get pastries at Panera! Luckily, I was able to postpone this dilemna, because, for God’s sake, I was 33 weeks pregnant, and that just wouldn’t be good for the baby, right? Right.

Little did I know…the day before the Mayor gave up Veganism, chicken would be my demise.

Stay tuned…

Dear Sweet Baby Bunny,

You amaze me every day. Last night the three of us had so much fun playing together after your bath time. Your dad laid on the floor and I sat nearby. I gave his fuzzy head a quick vigorous rub, and then you did the same. I gave his cheek a gentle kiss. You opened your mouth and did the same. Then you hovered over him and “played the dad drums,” raising your arms in the air and then hitting his back over and over again. Then you hugged him.

You are such a sweet boy, but you know a stranger when you see one. When some well-meaning baby lover tries to get in your face and make goo goo noises, you immediately give her squinty serious eyes or a great big grouper lip to let her know who she is messing with. Your exclusivity secretly makes your dad and I feel kind of special.

You are amazingly strong. When you crawl, you look like Michael Phelps in the 50-meter freestyle. As you cruise around the room, you pop up and down over and over again, sometimes holding a squat or a plank pose that would make Jillian Michaels cry. You heave large toys and books out of storage bins, and then back in when you decide it is time to clean up.

When you get frustrated, you make the funniest noises. Sometimes you raise your hands over your head, scrunch up your nose, open your mouth wide, and sniff sniff sniff through your nose over and over again. Other times, you grunt and strain like you are in a strong man competition, as if you are saying, Hey! Listen to me!

Sometimes you make sweet sounds. In a soft voice, you quietly say, ahhhhhhhhhh. Other times, you make goofy noises, like zerberts or like the rolling “R’s” in the Spanish word perro.

You love to watch things fall. You throw peas and cheerios from your high chair and look over the edge as they join those who have gone before them on our stained carpet. When I shower, I put you in your pack and play with some toys. You then proceed to hold each toy over the edge, while you look at me with mischievous eyes. You tentatively let each toy leave your hand. You then quickly look over the edge as if to confirm that gravity is still in effect. Last night, you tossed your dump truck off the balcony and into the living room. Good thing we got that balcony baby-proofed!

Usually, you move very quickly and impulsively. But when presented with a stack of blocks, you stop and consider the situation for a moment. You then (very) carefully attempt to remove only the top block from the stack. You like a challenge.

When you were a newborn, I used to lie on the floor next to you and read you book after book. You would just lie there and stare at the colorful pages as I turned them. Now, you are usually too busy for books. When you are willing to indulge me, you quickly flip the pages to get to the one you like. You chew on the paper or cardboard until it begins to disintegrate. I think you like eating books more than peas.

Sometimes when I am eating an apple, I let you chew on it too. The other day, I let you eat some of my pluot. You loved it. You grunted when I took it away.

This morning before I left for work, I held you and said, “kisses. kisses.” You sweetly opened your mouth and gave me a big slobbery kiss on the cheek. I love those kisses.

I hope you have a good day today. I can’t wait to hear your sniffs and rrrrrs tonight!

Love,
Mom

Every Sunday I suggest an easy picnic recipe – something light and portable, perfect for some outdoor family time.

Little Man’s Aunt Polly is in town this weekend, and he is smitten! Yesterday, we decided to go scope out Bonita Cove as a potential picnic location for Little Man’s first birthday. In theory the spot is ideal – it is on the bay, it has a playground, and it has big shade trees. And we had a great time (though parking was scarce). We practiced walking in the grass, and the Little Bunny started getting more adventurous, crawling off his mat to grab random leaves and acorns. We also read The Little Island while Little Man made goo goo eyes at Aunt Polly.

 

Aunt Polly Makes Bunny Faces Too

Aunt Polly Makes Bunny Faces Too

 

 

For lunch we packed these Sweet & Savory Clubwiches (recipe adapted from this Cooking Light recipe I found a few years ago). They are delicious!

 

Sweet & Savory Clubwiches

Sweet & Savory Clubwiches

First, prepare the bacon. I use fully cooked turkey bacon, sprinkle it with brown sugar, and bake it at about 400 for 5-10 minutes. Just follow the directions on your package of bacon and cook until you achieve your desired texture. The brown sugar makes an awesome sweet glazed crispiness on the bacon. Cut bacon strips in half.

Next, assemble your sandwiches. For the bread, I use Hawaiian Sandwich Rolls. They have started coming out with these larger sized Hawaiian rolls, but even if you can’t find them, you can use smaller rolls for mini sandwiches. I have even seen Hawaiian sliced bread. Spread dijon mustard on bread. Layer sliced turkey or chicken, bacon, bread and butter pickles (these add more sweetness than dill), and swiss cheese.

Finally, press your sandwiches. If you have a sandwich press, that’s great. I just use a pan with some olive oil and press with a cast iron hand press. You could also use a heavy pan or plate on top of your sandwich. You could even use any heavy household item covered in aluminum foil. Cook on both sides until browned and cheese melts.

Cut sandwiches in half diagonally.

This is the first post in a four-part series.  Prequels and sequels to follow.

Two days after he gave up veganism, the Mayor wheeled me down the white hallways decorated with butterflies and tributes.  My legs and hands shook, but luckily my stomach was still numb.  We washed our hands with scalding hot water.  I had never cared so much about clean hands.

The Mayor already knew the ropes.  He picked up the phone by the sink and called the nurse.  Its the Bunny’s parents.  Can we come back?  We showed our bracelets to the woman behind the window.  The bracelets displaying our son’s name.

The NICU at our labor and delivery hospital was small with mostly healthy little feeders and growers.  This NICU was huge.  I saw babies smaller than my hand, weeping parents,  lights and bells, mothers caressing their babies through the tiny holes of sterile incubators.

We got to the Bunny’s bed, and I cried.  He had his very own nurse who was caring for him, and only him.  As I cried, she rubbed my back, and said, I can’t even imagine.  This woman I had known for seconds, said the perfect thing, the only thing that could be said.  I asked her how the Bunny was doing.  

Well, he’s a very sick boy.  

I didn’t know what that meant.

I sat next to my baby, and I cried.  The drugs made him sleep as the machines around him made his chest rise and fall.  We watched every number on the screen above him, trying to find some meaning in them, nervously awaiting intervention when bells rang and whistles blew.  

We could not hold our Bunny. We could not even touch him. So, we sang to him and read to him.  Again, I cried as I read The Little Engine That Could.  I tried not to cry for my little boy, but I could not stop.  So, I read Hop on Pop. As I read Seuss’ rhymes, I tried to control my voice, for fear that if my voice sounded too fast and rhythmical, bells would chime as his heart rate soared.  He seemed so fragile.

Every three hours I left his side to pump milk, hoping for the day that he would be able to drink it.  Every afternoon and every evening, the NICU closed for a few hours. We wandered the white halls, sat in the gardens, and ate donuts in the cafeteria, waiting for the doctors and nurses to save our baby.  At night, I slept next to my pump, while a stranger cared for my very sick boy.

Every Sunday I suggest an easy picnic recipe – something light and portable, perfect for some outdoor family time.

The Mayor had to work yesterday, so the Bunny and I met up with him for a lunchtime picnic. I brought along this New Three Bean Salad and a bag of Zucchini Muffins (we got zucchini and green beans in our CSA box last Sunday). I made some chicken to go along with the salad (because the Mayor is once again the anti-Vegan), but forgot it at home! I also realized after the fact that I was supposed to chop the green beans (I don’t follow directions very well – this will likely be a recurring theme here). Smaller pieces of green beans probably would’ve made all the ingredients come together more effectively, but it still turned out to be pretty tasty! As for the little Bunny, he had some Cheerios and also tasted some small pieces of green bean.

New Three Bean Salad with Zucchini Muffins

New Three Bean Salad
This recipe is slightly adapted from the August issue of Sunset Magazine.

Steam 10 oz frozen shelled edamame for four minutes. Add one can drained and rinsed chick peas and steam with edamame for four more minutes.

Mix zest of two lemons with 1/4 cup lemon juice, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. sugar. Add edamame and chick peas to lemon mixture.

Separately steam 10 oz. green beans (chopped to 1 in. pieces) for four minutes. When done, immediately immerse in ice or run cool water over beans.

Add green beans and 6 diced green onions to edamame chick pea and lemon mixture.

Serve within one hour.

Zucchini Walnut Muffins
This recipe is available on www.cooks.com.

In large bowl combine 3/4 cup whole wheat flour, 1 cup all purpose flour, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1 tbsp. baking powder, 3/4 tsp. cinnamon, and 1/4 tsp. salt.

In a separate bowl, whisk two large eggs, 3/4 cup milk, and 1/2 cup melted butter. Add 1 cup shredded zucchini (about 2-3), 1/2 cup dark raisins, and 1 cup walnuts.

Pour liquid ingredients into dry ingredients and mix just until combined.

Bake at 375 for 20 minutes.

There is something you should know about me, but please don’t tell anyone.

I am an introvert.

Some people who know me would be surprised by that. I am not overly nervous or shy, and can be quite outspoken at times. I have a small group of good friends, most of whom I have been friends with forever, and most of whom do not live within driving distance of me. With the Mayor, the Bunny, my parents, my siblings, and my friends, I can be talkative and silly. I can be myself.

I appear confident at work, and I can even handle myself in a big group of people. But here’s the thing – I don’t like to. I hate parties where I only know one or two people. I hate networking. I hate making small talk. It exhausts me. I would rather hang out with the Mayor and the Little Man (or even by myself) than go to happy hour. Is that so wrong?

I have been reading about other Mommy Bloggers who went to Blogher last weekend with thousands of other women. From the sound of it, gossip, cliques, competition, secret parties, and judgment were rampant. Blogher sounds like my worst nightmare.

Of course this introversion has drawbacks when you move often. We have lived in San Diego for over two years now, and still have few people who we would call friends. Before the Bunny was born, this did not concern me. I thought the Mayor and I could handle everything on our own. In fact, I specifically told my mom that I did not want her to visit during the first few weeks after the Little Man was born because the Mayor and I wanted to have the time to figure things out ourselves and bond with the Tiny Bunny.

And then, wham! The Tiny Man arrived six weeks early by C-Section. The first day, he was in the NICU at the hospital where he was born. Then at 4 a.m. the next morning, the Neonatologist came into my hospital room and woke up the Mayor and I to tell us that the Bunny was being transferred to a different hospital because he needed a higher level ventilator. My mom arrived that morning, the Mayor’s dad was there the next day, and my Dad the week after. We could not have survived without them.

Luckily, the Little Bunny made it through, and was at home three weeks later. We were so glad. This is what we had been longing for those three long weeks. But by the time he was home, our parents were gone, back to the other side of the country. And there we were. In San Diego. Just us and our Bunny. Our Bunny who slept for twenty minutes at a time. Our Bunny who had reflux and colic. Our Bunny who could not be exposed to germs. Our Bunny who hated hates his car seat. Of course, our parents did come to visit here and there, but they live 2,000 miles away. We were mostly on our own.

Now that we have the Little Man, I wonder if my introversion is a liability. I wonder if we need to push ourselves to make new friends wherever we go. I wonder if we actually can’t do it on our own. I wonder if we need community. I’ve been trying. But its hard.

Always.

My dad is a creature of habit. He goes to the same Cuban coffee shop twice a day, every day, and orders a shot of espresso. He has lived in the same house for over 40 years. He always eats cereal for breakfast and soup and saltines for lunch.  

Always.

Me and My Dad

When I tell him about something I am cooking, invariably, he says, always start with a sofrito. This is just one of the many pieces of advice that comprise the world according to my dad (others include, fix bayonets and charge and make your bed.) This advice could be the subject of an entire book.  But before we get to more recipes, I think we need to at least address the sofrito issue.

What is a sofrito? Essentially it is the beginning of all good cooking. You start with a little olive oil in a pan over medium heat. My dad then adds diced onion, garlic, and green pepper. I usually just do the onion and garlic. Cook until softened. And there you go! Sofrito. Sofrito is traditionally used in Latin cooking, but Sofrito makes almost anything better. Making burgers? Add sofrito into the burger mixture before forming your patties. Making Spaghetti with meat sauce? Start with a sofrito.  Making stir fry? You get the point, right?

Some people add more to their sofrito, but even the basic onion and garlic will completely change your dish.

About Me

Mom to a one-year-old Super Bunny. Amateur cook and photographer. Tiny living enthusiast. Lawyer who would rather write about muffins than motive.

If you're new here, please subscribe and leave me a comment. Thanks for stopping by!

Add the Bunny to Your Reader

Let me hop around your inbox!

Bunny Tweets

Error: Twitter did not respond. Please wait a few minutes and refresh this page.

Ask me for your very own Bunny Button today!

Bunny Bites

del.ici.us