October 31, 2012


I hope y'all were dying to see boatloads of pictures of my kid in his Halloween costume- 'cause that's what you're getting! Little Smith decided to be a fish-y this year, well actually I decided for him because we already had a great knit fish hat- but he has been very obsessed with fish lately so it was meant to be. I can not sew. Despite the fact that I did get a sewing machine for Christmas last year and did promise myself to tackle sewing in 2012, my portfolio of projects consists solely of a single flashlight cozy (how practical!)... maybe next year.

My mother used to make my Halloween costumes as a kid and I really wanted to contribute something to Little Smith's this year, so I decided to pimp out a black hoodie with some felt fish scales and eyes to match the hat. It seemed like a simple little project that would be easy enough to hand sew, but it took me an insanely long time to pull this thing together.

I had to finish it almost a week early so that Little Smith could wear it to costume day at the baby class we attend, and when we showed up I am fairly certain the other mommies thought I had way too much time on my hands. The teacher mentioned that she had been up until 10PM the night before making her own son's costume and I was too embarrassed to admit that I was up until nearly 3AM... stitching felt like a nut job!

No matter how ridiculous, once I commit to a project, it's going to get done. Just ask Big Smith, who has tried to talk me down from the ledge time and time again. I'm stubborn, it's probably my best and worst character trait all rolled into one.

My mom thinks he looks more like a bird than a fish (she's got a bit of a critical eye- the apple doesn't fall far). Luckily he is too little to care this year, he's just happy that the hoodie is comfortable and the hat is easy to remove!

We'll be setting up chairs on our porch and passing out some candy this evening- we get a lot of kids so I hope we have enough treats for all those tricks. HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

*We are grateful that the storm was fairly mild in our area and we can enjoy some Halloween fun today. Most of my family is in New York and still without power, but happily all safe and doing great. Hope everyone else is faring as well and a swift recovery to those who were hit the worst.

October 30, 2012


little bat / halloween 2011
We are entering the holiday season, which means I am looking back at old pictures with a mixture of delight and sadness at how much Little Smith has grown up. What a difference a year makes!
So far the big storm has brought lots of wind to Boston. Our neighbors fence blew apart and into our car, but not much damage in our little 'hood. Hope that everyone else is faring as well and staying safe.

October 29, 2012

A Show

It was such fun to get out of the house to go see Trey Anastasio at the Orpheum over the week-end. We spent many years going to countless concerts and it was just like old times, although we were both far more tired than we remember by the time the encore hit.
We actually realized that we were meant for each other on our way to a concert- what was supposed to be the final few shows for Phish back in 2004. It was a festival where you camp on site for a few days of music up in Coventry Vermont. Big Smith was a mega Phish enthusiast long before we met and I had only seen them a half dozen times at that point. We were both crazy excited for that festival; we were meeting up with a bunch of friends, we had our camping gear in order and our meals planned out. We left a day earlier than anyone else just to get settled, there had been lots of rain leading up and we knew the venue would be flooded and the roads would be more tricky.
We ran into some stopped traffic about 10 miles from the entrance to the festival and basically decided we were likely to be there through the night and had better get comfortable. The next morning came and we still hadn't moved. We cooked food, made friends with the cars around us, had picnics on the roadside with logging trucks blowing by in the left lane. Everyone was in great spirits and totally relaxed about being stuck, I felt like I was surrounded by the sweetest and happiest music fans on the planet and it was fun to be a part of it. The radio was telling us we would all get in on time to see the music and to just wait it out and since our cell phones were spotty we figured we were in better shape than anyone else that we knew since we had left first.

Somewhere around hour 24 of being stopped I started to worry. Everyone else was still happy and calm so I tried to embrace the chill vibe- but I was feeling decidedly un-chill. When the sun rose on that second day I had a sudden realization that these might be the sweetest and happiest music fans on the planet, but they were also deeply delusional and/ or high and we needed a new plan! Big S finally got a patchy call through to a friend and heard that he was ALREADY INSIDE the venue. In fact everyone was already inside except for us. He had left a full day later, read that the main road was a disaster and to take back roads so he parked on some woman's lawn and hiked in. 

After 38 hours of waiting stopped on a highway... we peeled out of there, did a little off roading, made a u-turn, found some locals to let us park in their field and take us within a few miles (seated next to a deer head for 20 bucks a piece), and hiked the last stretch with whatever gear we could pack on our backs.

When we got inside we were euphoric. Yes the whole place was a giant mud hole that sucked off my flip-flops as I walked, yes the porta-potties were so full they were roped off with caution tape and I got mosquito bites on my bum peeing in the bushes, yes we had to roll a guy off of our tent when he decided to take a 'snooze' on top of it, and maybe those were not the best shows... but it was a big ol' party and we made it in, together, without a single fight. That's pretty good teamwork. 

I think it took us 42 hours from start to finish to make it to a destination that was about a four hour drive, so we figured if we could get through that with smiles we could probably stick together for the long haul. Luckily the band got back together and we have seen many many more shows since, and luckily there will also be many more in our future... just with a few more yawns at that encore!

*some crazy winds here so far, hope everyone is safe and warm in this storm!

October 26, 2012

Details A10.03

pressed leaves mid-morning lunch electric bus wires reflection spinning out bike happy family supper fishy costume freeing those leaves (oh well!)

Life has been very busy lately, I imagined that fall would actually bring more free time since our garden isn't as demanding, but oh how wrong I was. I did start taking a yoga class on Monday evenings which has been a great way to begin the week and it feels good to do something 'just for me'. We have still been finding plenty of time to get outside and enjoy the fall colors, but the leaves are starting to drop and I can feel winter on the way. I'm kind of excited, we are determined to get Little S on skis this year!

I'm pretty much done with a Halloween costume for Little Smith. It's very simple, but I am not at all crafty with things like this and I am embarrassed to admit how long it took to sew a few felt fish scales onto a hoodie (I was up after 2AM twice- not the best use of my time I know!).

Today my mom and her dog, Blue, come to visit for the week-end. Some friends are joining us for dinner tonight, tomorrow we plant bulbs during the day and Big Smith and I get to go to a Trey show at night. We are giddy, we haven't been to any concerts since a few weeks before Little S was born and that's a looong time for a couple of music lovers.

So the busyness will continue through the week-end, but it should be a whole lot of fun. Now I am off to tackle my mountain of laundry before guests arrive. No one should ever see this much laundry, I wish I couldn't see it either. Happy week-end!

October 25, 2012

Squash, Cauliflower + Bean Couscous

We have finally had a modest success with butternut squash, and I am delusionally pleased with myself after so many years that went bust. We only have a few and they are relatively small, but they taste wonderful and are such a versatile squash.

This dish is curryishit uses curry powder and coconut milk but I'm sure anyone who really knows anything about curry would be horrified by the corruption. To accommodate our little eater this version doesn't have much liquid and the flavors are quite mild. You could easily double the broth or half the veggies if you want a soupier mix, and add more spice for additional heat.

I love the firm garbanzo beans with the squash and have been enjoying cauliflower in everything lately. Little Smith likes us to call it 'white trees', perfect foreshadowing of winter. I like to roast the veggies first which improved the flavor and texture.

Squash, Cauliflower, and Bean Couscous: this has been adapted fom many recipes over time, but I haven't kept track of the evolution!
  • 1 small butternut squash, pealed and chopped in 3/4" cubes
  • 1 small head of cauliflower cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/2 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can whole coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon yellow curry powder (this is mild, double for more heat)plus 1 tsp for roasting veggies
  • 1 1/2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp soy sauce or nutritional yeast
  • olive oil and salt for roasting
  • couscous (I use the quick cooking type)
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Toss cubes squash with about 1/2 tsp curry powder, a little salt, and a drizzle of olive oil. Distribute on a metal baking tray. season the cauliflower the same way and distribute on a separate baking tray.

Roast the veggies for 20-30 minutes depending on how tender you like them (Little S likes his soft so we go a full 30), tossing every 10 minutes. Set aside.

Meanwhile cook couscous and set aside. It needn't stay very hot as the veggies will warm it up as you serve.

Heat a large wok or frying pan over medium heat. Add 3/4 c of the coconut milk and stir for a few minutes. Add the curry powder and stir, smoothing out any lumps, for 3-4 minutes.

Add the sliced onion and toss to coat, add the remaining coconut milk, sugar, and soy sauce. Bring to a simmer and stir occasionally for about 5 minutes until the onions begin to soften. Add the garbanzo beans and simmer, stirring occasionally for an additional 5-10 minutes, until the beans soften.

Add the roasted vegetables and toss to combine for 2-3 minutes. Plate with the couscous first, then top with the vegetable mixture.

Little Smith loves this meal, I think the sweetness and textures make it an easy sell for children, and it's such lovely colors for the season.

I like that the clean up is pretty easy and that you can roast the veggies in advance and then prepare dinner in just a few minutes. It would also be excellent with rice if you have a little more time, or quinoa of course (everything is good with a little quinoa I think). This is my favorite way to cook, versatile and simple!

October 24, 2012

Leaves Without A Peep

As a mother, it's normal to worry about my child (please tell me it's normal or else I am in big trouble!). I worry a lot. I worry about everything and Little Smith is no exception. If I had been blogging in his first year I could seriously have done a daily update with a fresh new freak out. You wouldn't necessarily know it if you met me, I don't seem nutty like that, but just check my google history. No wait, please do not check my google history.

I do know that whatever my latest nail biter might be, it's almost certainly all in my head and in a few months I will laugh and dismiss it. I wouldn't want a bigger Little Smith to look back and wonder if he was too slow at some milestone just because his mother is a wee bit neurotic, so for the most part I try not to enumerate my concerns here.

Happily, this year has also been far more mellow. I guess that a little experience has given me the confidence that everything will work out. After all he did crawl, did get hair and teeth (although he still doesn't have many... I'm trying not to worry). Each child is so different and it really is not fair to compare them, but it's also really hard.

At nearly two, Little Smith still is not really talking. He babbles and he does communicate, but it's his own language with very few clear words and he doesn't 'repeat after me' the way many other kids his age seem to. Most of his friends are speaking in sentences, 'these my punkin socks', 'I go outside now', 'mama hit curb with car'... yes those are real quotes from a couple of 23 month old's.

My guy just is not there yet, and sometimes I worry that it's something I am doing. Maybe I don't engage him enough or talk enough, maybe he doesn't get enough time with other children or should be watching some TV. I understand so much of what he wants without words and I get his gibberish (wyanese as we call it) so I might not be giving him the opportunity to use language.

Lately he's been obsessing over leaves. We have been collecting leaves on our daily walks and he loves to carry them proudly, then throw them in the air and shrug his shoulders looking all around and asking, 'air eef go'? No one has a clue what he's saying but I clearly hear, 'where did the leaves go?', and and play along. It's possible that if he was with a nanny or at a daycare where no one answered a babbled question he would get frustrated and try harder, but how can I pretend not to understand the cutest grunts and babbles in the whole world? I can't.

I know that in time he will be talking, it will probably be a sudden explosion of language and I will lament another step away from babyhood and say he is growing up too fast. I love that we are so connected that we can communicate to one another with very few words. He's perfect and he's just as he should be, but it is tough, when you are the primary person responsible for a kid's development, to know that you are doing it right. Am I  as informed as I should be, am I making the best choices?

I do get wrapped up in this second guessing, but thankfully an afternoon with Little Smith always reminds me to lighten up and just let life happen. Sometimes you just have to shrug your shoulders, throw a few leaves, and enjoy the silence while it lasts.

*these pictures were taken at a cemetery near our house with some gorgeous maple trees that we enjoy. we are always very respectful when we visit.

October 23, 2012


big and little smoothies / summer 2012
During the summer we really got into making smoothies with fresh veggies and fruit. Now that the produce is less plentiful and temperatures are chillier we have cut them out of our daily routine... but I'm missing them, and judging by the way Little Smith slurped down a giant one at a cafe over the week-end, I think he is too.
Anyone have good recipes for healthy smoothies that are seasonally appropriate? Do people still drink smoothies when it's cold out? Somehow it feels strange having anything frozen with a sweater on, but maybe I'm just looking for an excuse to indulge in some hot cocoa!

October 22, 2012

Last Taste of Summer

There's no question that fall should be celebrated, we all love rust colored leaves, tights and sweaters, pumpkin everything... but boy oh boy is there something to be said for one last shot at throwing on those sandals and soaking up the warm sun.
As if 70 degree temps wasn't gift enough, we were treated to this final summer kiss on a Saturday- that's some kind of crazy luck! We decided to head to the Head of the Charles, a big regatta on the river with lots of boats, crowds, and action to enjoy.
Little Smith was particularly in love with all the acorns which he rolled and danced around in. {During a recent day full of tantrums we resorted to watching Happy Feet and he's been trying to dance like that penguin ever since... the acorns were just what he needed to get his slide on.}
We finished the day by smuggling out some acorns and strolling to our favorite veggie cafe for an early dinner. Little Smith has recently been 'a handful' out at restaurants with our friends, and wouldn't you know, when no witnesses are there to see it, he was a perfectly charming dining companion (honest!). We drove home with windows open to drink in that warm air.
Of course we also went to sleep with every window open and woke up to a much chillier morning. That's okay, we do love you fall. Thanks for giving me one last crack at those sandals.

October 19, 2012

Details A10.02

sunday breakfast chalk and rock newly knit hat birthday cake goodbye's are getting tough cat perfect weather looking for sticks afternoon light
We had a crammed but satisfying week. I had meetings or classes three nights in a row (that is busier than usual and I feel it), we squeezed in some birthday celebrating, and we spent a ton of time outside enjoying the nice weather while it lasts. Really we have been so spoiled with sunny skies and those ridiculously beautiful fall leaves showing off their colors. Why is fall such a short season!? 
I have slipped back into my bad habits of staying up way too late and not getting anywhere near enough sleep, but Little Smith has been sleeping more than ever. He's actually settled into that single nap and he has been sleeping late in the morning (8AM!) too. I am hesitant to write that, because it seems whenever I announce a routine is working our luck ends... but it just might be working!
And now I am off to bed, too late as always. Enjoy the week-end.