Monthly Archives: September 2011

There are so many different categories we can put our friends into. We have friends who are super fun and friends that are very serious. There are friends that are younger than us, friends that are older, friends that have no kids, and friends that have a ton of kids (I think we usually fall into this category). Then you have the type of friends that are so much more than that and the word “family” is a much better way to describe the way you feel about them. Similar to falling in love, a friendship like this happens maybe only a few times in your life and Ryan and I feel very lucky to have these types of friends in our lives.

We recently spent the weekend in Santa Barbra with two of our favorite people, Matt & Shannon, celebrating their ten year anniversary. Ten years of marriage is a big milestone for a couple, and Shannon and I got a little teary eyed when we thought about what this last decade has meant, not only to the two of them but to the four of us. We knew each other before we were married, had babies, and became adults, and we continue to watch each other grow into the kind of people we talked about being when we were young.

As comfortable as we are with each other, vacationing with another couple can be a little intimidating! What if we don’t get along the whole time? What if they want to stay in and we want to go out? What if we want to eat mexican food and they want to eat chinese? It was no surprise that the four of us never ran into one of these predicaments but instead we were reminded of what it was to be a kid again, when the only thing you had to do all day was goof around with your friends.

I did however take note of a few things we did that made traveling together a bit more seamless. For starters if your getaway begins with a very long drive like ours did you’ll want to all sync in as far as pit stops go. Meaning use the restroom when everybody else does or you’ll be relieving yourself on the side of the road because you’re the only one that has to go! Second, the first one up in the morning is in charge of making the coffee. You’ll find that non-morning people instantly become morning people because who dosen’t love to wake up to a full pot of coffee?! If it’s mimosas that are being made always put them in a big glass. Apparently nobody likes a tiny mimosa. Lastly, if a four hour Mad Men marathon presents itself take full advantage of it. Grab a few bottles of wine, enough snacks to ruin your dinner and be prepared for the snarky comments about Don Draper to fly! Who cares about how handsome he is, he’s a total dirt ball and why the heck dosen’t Betty just leave him already?! (Shhhhh, Shannon and Matt are in the middle of the whole series and they have  no idea what’s about to happen next!)

Thank you Matt and Shannon for inviting us to help celebrate such a special anniversary. It made me excited for the two of you and for all four of us. The last decade has been an incredible one and I can’t help but wonder where we will find ourselves when the next decade of our lives quietly sneaks up on us.

When I found out I was having a boy with my first pregnancy I’ll admit a little disappointment did set in. I thought to myself “Seriously?! What the heck am I going to do with a boy? I am a hairdresser for goodness sakes and I don’t even own a pair of tennis shoes!” The only thing I knew about little boys then is that they were loud, sticky, and their side of the Baby Gap was not nearly as exciting as the little girls side.

Four boys and a closet full of flats later I have found that there is nothing I am more thankful for than being the mother to loud, sticky, endearing, incredible boys. Not that it was my choice to make but if it had been I would choose this all over again. Without them I never would have discovered what I am truly capable of. Apparently I’m really good at decoding what 4th and 5th grade girls really mean when they make fun of 4th and 5th grade boys (it means they like you, duh), and I have mastered the art of the cool but quick little boy’s haircut. When the times comes I feel like I will be a fantastic mother-in-law gracefully stepping aside, giving my daughter-in-law room to be the most important woman in my son’s life as my mother-in-law has done for me.

Sometimes it can feel like a lot of important decisions in life are surprisingly not up to us to decide. But what we are in control of is how we respond to these decisions that at the time would not have been our first choice. I recently read a quote from a man named Stephen Hawking that I have been repeating to myself for the last few weeks, “Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change,” and I feel like these words hold even more weight if that change was not our choice to begin with. If we only give ourselves credit for what we are at the moment we will never know what we are really made of. As scary as the unknown is, that my friends is when the good stuff happens.

Take for example this black bean salsa. Yes it is a very yummy appetizer and it pairs nicely with some salty tortilla chips, but if that’s the only thing we give this salsa credit for then that is the only thing it will ever be. We would have never known that if you top some grilled chicken with it you now have yourself a dinner worthy to be on the cover of a magazine. You would also never realize that if  you add this salsa to some mixed greens you’ll have created a beautiful, interesting salad.

Just as this black beans salsa has the ability to adapt and change for the better, so do we when life forces us to change into something we never dreamed we could be.

I don’t know how your weekday mornings go down, but ours looks a little like this…

6:30 am – Wake up! Make coffee. Wonder why I never remember to preprogram my coffee maker the night before.

6:40 am – Wake up the boys! Make breakfast. Cereal, oatmeal, frozen waffles, bagels, quick! What do you want to eat? Eat it fast because we need to get ready!

6:50 am – Drink coffee. Put coffee down. Forget where I put coffee. Find coffee 15 minutes later. Now it’s cold, sighhhhh.

7:10 am – Kids get dressed! Are you seriously going to wear that shirt again? Did you brush your hair? Did you brush your teeth? Are your jammies in the hamper? Please make your bed. Please tie your shoes. Please pick out a snack.

7:40 am – Everybody out! Have a good day at work. Have a good day at school. I love you. I’ll see you this afternoon. No I don’t know what I’m going to make for dinner tonight. Yes I’ll pick you up a new tooth brush at the store. Kiss, kiss, kiss, kiss! Love you! Bye!

Now here is a peek into our weekend mornings…

8:30ish – Wake up. Stay in bed. How did you sleep? Good? Me too. You had a funny dream last night? Oooooh tell me all about it.

8:45ish – Gaven hops into the bed. Ewen, Jude, and Lucca trickle in one by one. Snuggling turns into a crazy tickle fight. Mom hops out of bed.

9:00 am – Coffee is already made. Ryan remembered to preprogram the coffee maker. Hurray!

9:10 am – Slowly sip my coffee. Turn on the news. What’s for breakfast mom?! What do you guys want? Pancakes? Muffins? Ham and eggs? I know, huevos rancheros!

9:20 am – Cracking eggs into a hot skillet. Yes you can turn on cartoons now. Babe what should we do today? Can somebody let the dog out? Mmmmmm, breakfast smells good! Yes it’s almost ready…

9:35ish – Grab another cup of coffee. Sit down together. Pass the sour cream please. Don’t forget the salsa! Can I have some orange juice? Fried eggs are my favorite! Mine too. Grab seconds. Watch my boys gobble down their breakfast. Give thanks for lazy weekend mornings.

My life has been missing something and I can’t quite put my finger on it….

Could it be adventure? No, I have plenty of that going on over here! Having three boys on three separate soccer teams and getting them to their games which are of course are on three separate fields is incredibly thrilling! Hey, it may not be zip lining in Costa Rica but I’m betting it’s just as intense and just like when a person has finished flying over the tree tops, getting everybody to their game on time is an accomplishment you can look back on in amazement that you had the strength to complete.

Could it be excitement? Nope, being married to the type of person my husband is has provided me a more excited life than I ever could have imagined. Everything is a possibility to him, he never takes “no” as a final answer, and somehow everything always works out right for him in the end. Whenever he calls me during the day a little part of me always wonders if he is calling to tell me about some new adventure he’s gotten us into. Even though I would describe myself as a person who enjoys the comfort of schedules, I absolutely adore being married to someone who has always wanted to walk into an airport, buy a ticket, and hop on the first plane to a tropical destination. He’s been trying to get us to do that for years and I’m sure he’ll talk me into it one of these days.

I’ve got it! Bacon! Crispy, savory, amazing bacon. I guess with all of the perfect produce summer has been pumping out this season, bacon has kind of taken a back seat in my cooking. My taste buds and cast iron skillet have been missing it  and I am ready to bring bacon back! Here is my take on a pasta dish I have been eating since I was a kid. My mom made her’s with ham and asparagus, but considering asparagus is out of season and I really want bacon I decided to make mine with peas and you guessed it, bacon! This pasta dish was a very nice way to introduce bacon back into our lives and nobody was happier than I to hear the sound of it sizzling away in the pan!

Have you ever “stalked” food before?

I know what you’re thinking, “What is she talking about?” I’ll explain, about a month ago a food blogger posted a picture of this deviled egg salad on her Instagram. No recipe, no list of ingredients, not even a hint as to what was in the dressing on this captivating salad. Just a fuzzy photo of delicious deviled eggs atop a bed of beautiful green butter lettuce.

That’s all it took and I was hooked. I couldn’t get this amazing creation out of my mind! At the gym, deviled egg salad. Folding laundry, deviled egg salad. Brushing my teeth, deviled egg salad. I have made and eaten this salad so many times in my head I was beginning to feel like a stalker! I either needed help or I just needed to roll up my sleeves and make the gosh darn salad once and for all!

I finally made it one night for our very good friends (and for their four beautiful children) and yes, it was everything I hoped it would be. The deviled eggs were creamy, the lettuce was crisp, and the garlic parmesan dressing was divine. My unhealthy obsession for this salad was cured after I made it, but only for a few days. I needed to make it again soon, but I wondered if I should hold off for a special occasion. I quickly decided that a Wednesday night dinner with just the six of us was a special enough occasion for this quirky, yummy salad!

Dear Summer,

I know our time together is quickly coming to an end, so before you have to go I just wanted to take a minute to let you know that this summer has been awesome.  I’m pretty sure it’s the best one I have ever had!

The boys and I did not waste one gorgeous day, and we spent as much time as we could outside. Ryan planted a garden for us and from it we got a handful of roma tomatoes and a few months of fresh basil. We enjoyed countless bbq’s with our friends and after we put the kids to sleep we sat outside and relaxed in your warm summer nights.

Thank you for all of the beautiful fruits and veggies this season! The farmers market has been the place to be and you have inspired me to come up with a fresh peach pie milkshake. A little bit of vanilla ice cream, peaches, a dash of spice and cookies for the “crust”. It taste just like a peach pie, but without all of the baking!

This has been a wonderful season of sun and I can’t wait to see you again next year. Tell Fall I said hello and let him know I am looking forward to his visit as well, but between you and I you will always be my most favorite season of all!

Love always,

Melissa

P.S.   Please don’t let Spring see this letter! You know how sensitive she is and I would hate for her to try to rain on your parade like she did last June. Thanks!

My first year of motherhood wasn’t exactly what I thought it was going to be. During my pregnancy I pictured peaceful walks to the park, happy play dates with friends, and restful nights of sleeping at least 6-8 hours at a time. Instead what I got was a fussy yet sweet baby boy who had a very nervous, inexperienced mom that didn’t quite master the art of getting out of the house (baby, stroller, and all) for a good six months after he was born.

Ryan and I got pregnant very quickly after we got married. Like three months after the wedding quickly and like a lot of young parents we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into! We giggled at lamaze class and rolled our eyes at all of the silly animals on baby clothes. We remained pretty clueless all the way up until the delivery room where I was begging my sister to sneak me in a hamburger despite the doctor’s strict orders to not eat anything while in labour.

Then Gaven came and everything we thought about anything changed. In a blink of an eye my life suddenly revolved around this tiny gorgeous human and the weight of responsibility for him lay heavy on Ryan and I’s shoulders. Even though it wasn’t my best year, it was definitely my biggest! In that short amount of time I realized what my priorities were, what crazy love felt like, and what it is to be an adult and stay home on a Saturday night. Every son after Gaven was a breeze in comparison to him and no other grandchild on my side has topped his ability to scream bloody murder for hours (my parents nicknamed him the screamer). Despite it all I wouldn’t trade any of those long, tired days I shared with my first son for anything because in that time a mother was born and I am so thankful to Gaven for that.

Our very dear friends just welcomed their first baby to their family and we are so excited for them to have joined the very privileged club of parenthood. They definitely had their act together before their bundel of joy joined their household! Aside from a little sleep deprivation (and maybe a little baby poo on the carpet) this first year of parenthood will be an incredible ride for them. To help celebrate of course I had to bring them dinner. What do you make for a woman who just gave birth to a 10 pound baby boy? Something awesome and this chicken cacciatore is the first thing that came to mind. It is hearty, comforting, delicious and it taste even better the next day. You know, as in leftovers, as in I’m so tired I can’t even see straight let alone cook!

Congratulations Ryan and Brittany. We love you guys are we are so excited for your lives and facebook profiles to be filled with the incredibly adorable Weston Wallace!!