Writing again to share…

Hello sisters,

This blog has been on a long hiatus. I don’t know how much I’ll be writing here in the future, now that I’m expecting another baby, but I know I enjoy looking back at these posts. A lot of big moments have been written about here (and little ones too, which is just as nice), but I thought I’d add another big one.

Kevin and I are moving again, to Fort Collins, Colorado. Now, some of you may be wondering, wait…Colorado is farther away from family and friends, and you’d be right! Kevin and I had been hoping to get back to the East Coast eventually. Being within driving distance of many of our loved ones would be lovely, but at the same time, permanent jobs in the field of ecology are also lovely!

Winter in Fort Collins
I think I may have to learn how to ski…

As Kevin’s post doc started winding down (and federal funding became less of a certainty…), he started applying to permanent jobs. There were lots of fish in the water, but the one that took his bait was Colorado Parks and Wildlife Service in Fort Collins, CO where he will be a spatial ecologist! It’s another big move, farther west. Kevin joked that in 10 years we’ll be in Japan at this rate. Continue reading “Writing again to share…”

A day in the life with a 16 month old

Dear sisters,

This week has felt a bit idyllic. Calvin has settled into sleeping past 6am most mornings (praise the lord). He still rouses a few times in the night, but getting past the 5am or 5:30am wake ups has been nice. Something that seems to have helped was transitioning him to one nap a day. It feels like he’s sunnier and sillier every day and while he definitely gets stridently annoyed about things, time with him is so very wonderful. His ability to play by himself is increasing from 30 seconds to maybe a few minutes! I’ll take it!! This past Monday (which is my day with NO WORK), we had such a wonderful time together that I decided to document it for the blog.

Calvin woke up at 6:15am! Woot!! We had to drop off one of the cars for an oil change, so Dad stayed home a bit later in the morning (he usually leaves at 7am). After dropping off the car Calvin and I played at home.

IMG_20160822_073604786
7:45am Flannel came out to combat the rare early morning chilliness.

Continue reading “A day in the life with a 16 month old”

Speaking Clearly

Hi sisters,

At the end of July I turned 28. That doesn’t sound that old to me, but I most definitely feel much older than I did last July. Maybe old isn’t the right word for it, I feel more…mature. I feel like I’m learning more about my relationships with my husband and child, with my sisters and parents, with my friends and coworkers. At a younger age I wouldn’t have thought much about these relationships beyond: is the other person happy? If no, then how can I make that person happy? Continue reading “Speaking Clearly”

Chasing my summer baby

Dear sisters,

It feels strange and wonderful to be chasing (walking and sometimes running) after my baby. At the library I work at our storytimes for 9-23 month olds is called “Little Movers,” which describes Calvin perfectly.

Black and White

He is still my baby: still wants to be cuddled and nursed back to sleep in the middle of the night. When he wants me, he wants me RIGHT NOW, and has taken to hugging my legs, crying out, then biting my legs when I don’t pick him up fast enough. I’m teaching myself to think of him as my little toddler, not my baby, and encouraging his moments of independence. His happiest times are spent outside, walking/trotting around. People remark on how happy he is all the time; he smiles and chatters and laughs a lot. They’re getting to see him when he’s getting his way, enjoying the outdoors or exploring some place new. When he starts feeling cooped up in the house he becomes a little tyrant, wanting me or Kevin to always play, biting or whining til we cave. It’s not hard to give in to him, though it makes activities like preparing meals, writing emails (or blog posts..cough cough), doing the dishes or packing up for the day difficult.

Continue reading “Chasing my summer baby”

DIY magnetic spice rack

Hello sisters/world,

As some of you have seen from another post, I (Esther) love to decorate. Combine that with Marcus’ love of organizing (he spent several hours separating screws by size today…), and my husband and I spend most weekends cleaning, organizing, rearranging, or making stuff. One nifty project was making a magnetic spice rack! We have a small kitchen, so being able to attach our spice rack to the side of the fridge is an excellent feature of a magnetic spice rack.

Jewel was the original magnetic-spice-rack-maker. We are both here to tell you how it went and what we love/don’t love about it!

Jewel here: I was the first to go for magnetic ball jar spice holders and it’s something that is always commented on when people visit. It’s a lovely way to store spices: you can see them, they’re so handy, they don’t take up counter or drawer space. It’s basically a win win. This was the post that inspired me: Continue reading “DIY magnetic spice rack”

Calvin’s first year for posterity

Dear sisters,

Kevin and I have never been huge celebrators of things. Birthdays and anniversaries go by with smiles and sweet thoughts, sometimes a present or special meal, but usually we just celebrate the little things throughout the year. Moments when we have extra in our budget and can go get flowers for the yard, or when we’ve saved up enough to get a new laptop and can pull the trigger, or when we’re not too tired and seem to be working extra well together and everything clicks. Every once in awhile something comes along that feels extraordinary, worth celebrating to the max. Calvin turning one fit the bill. Continue reading “Calvin’s first year for posterity”

Throwback Thursday: Cooking inspirations

Dear sisters,

I feel like I’ve finally hit that comfort zone with cooking where I can “create” and execute a recipe all by myself, without relying too much on a recipe from the internet. I think I’ve read SO MANY COOKING BLOGS that I’ve absorbed some of the trends and flavor profiles that appeal to me and am now confident enough to go forth and create good meals.

I’m the best at coming up with good tacos. It’s hard to go wrong with tacos. Recently I’ve loved sweet potatoes in tacos, which was inspired by those amazing sweet potato tostadas that Rachel and Krestia made for us a long time ago on our family vacation in Maine.

262566_10150274078075852_3671326_n
This isn’t the actual meal, but a reminder of that little table we crowded around to eat at!

I loved the texture and flavor of those grated sweet potatoes. They were amazing on deep fried tortillas with salsas and cheese. At the time it was a new and amazing way to have tacos! Nowadays I grate sweet potatoes and toss them in some olive oil in a pan, add a sprinkling of cumin, chili powder, oregano and a dash of cinnamon, let them cook for awhile and add salt, pepper and lime juice at the end. When I’m feeling lazy I just dice the sweet potatoes and toss them in olive oil and the spices and in the oven they go!

IMG_4380

The other part of my favorite tacos is a rice/quinoa pilaf with beans, peppers and onions (corn too if you feel like it). Sometimes I add tomatoes, sometimes lots of lime juice, zest and garlic. It depends on my mood.

IMG_4382

The toppings make the taco: homemade guacamole (this time I added corn), queso fresco and spinach. You don’t need much when the fillings are so good! These were so delicious.

Thanks for the recipe inspiration all the way back in 2011 Rach :-). I like that we share our meals virtually every once in awhile. Recently we also had this oven roasted chicken shawarma that Rachel mentioned and it was OH SO GOOD in pitas with cucumbers, spinach, feta and hummus. YUM. Martha recently mentioned a mango curry that I’m dying to try. Sisters and friends, tell me your favorite dinners recently so I can get more inspiration!

Love,
Jewel