Well….this has been quite a year…

I hope you are all doing well.  What an unbelievable time to be alive.

It’s certainly scary and uncertain times, but I have faith it’s going to be okay.  We are at least all in this together.

I don’t want to focus too much on what’s going on in the world here, we have plenty of news stations to take care of that for us.  While we will remain vigilant and practice social distancing, my family and I trying to take advantage of this time.  We are focusing on each other and valuing this unexpected time we have together, we are decluttering and reducing our waste, and we hope that when things return to somewhat normal we’ll have a better appreciation for each other and the world around us.

The original purpose of this blog was to discuss food and share vegan recipes and products and I will continue that since I need a distraction from everything that’s going on.  Thankfully we are still able access grocery stores and purchase fresh produce.  We have a decent supply of canned goods and other non perishable goods (and maybe a box of wine) in our basement.  I’ve been trying to be more resourceful and creative with my cooking.  Now that I’m not packing lunch for work, I’m trying to only make what we will eat for dinner, and utilizing my freezer so I can access frozen veggies, bread, etc. for later.  I’ve honestly just been eating dinner these last few days and having some veggies or a piece of toast here and there throughout the day.

This is truly an incredible (and not in a good way) time in history that I’ll be talking to my (hopeful, no pressure boys) grandchildren about.  I’ll be back with some recipes later…

Baby #2

Let’s just say baby #2 is a game changer, especially when you have a toddler at home.  While it’s been challenging I’m finding having a newborn the second time around so much easier than the first time!  I don’t know if it’s because Baby C is super chill or if I’m some sort of magical parenting expert or maybe a combination of both.  However, you throw in the toddler factor and all Hell breaks loose.  I’m mean what’s up with these two year olds?  Learn how to regulate your emotions already, my goodness.

Since I have a few moments with Baby C content in his newborn lounger (which his older brother never liked) I thought I would make a top 5 list of differences with my second baby since I love making lists so much.

#1 Less Anxiety

Brought to you by Lexapro, well yes but also as a second time mother I’ve done this before and have a healthy and most of the time happy two year old.  My second round of motherhood comes with a confidence I didn’t know I had when I had Soy Bean.  I’ve been pretty open about my struggles with postpartum depression, anxiety and OCD here and this was certainly a factor during my last pregnancy.  I advocated for myself and was open about how I was feeling plus I was at a different practice and received much better mental health care this time around.  With my second I know what I’m doing and that feeling is empowering.

#2 Recovery

I want to dive into this further in a separate post but the recovery after the birth of my second was so much easier than the first.  In my case I opted for a VBAC (vaginal birth after caesarian).  I pushed for a VBAC my entire pregnancy and again I’ll dive deeper into this in another post but the recovery from the deliveries were like night and day.  Anyone who ever says having a C section is the easy way out could not be more incorrect!  I felt like a million bucks after having this baby.  I feel so fortunate to have both birth experiences.

#3 The Stuff!

Bables come with a lot of accessories and stuff.  Carseats, strollers, adaptors, breast pumps, blankets, and so on.  The list is really endless.  However, with a second you know what you need and don’t need and most likely you already have what you need.  Most of the items I had to buy for Baby C were just because.  He is using the same crib, carseat, bath, etc.  I bought him some cute clothes and of course had to spring for a double stroller (thank you Facebook Marketplace) but besides what I WANTED to get him we already had everything we needed.

05D1F100-C470-48D8-95C0-FE4574F824BB

#4 It all Changes…

When I brought Soy Bean home from the hospital I thought I would never sleep again.  I thought I would never have another date night with my husband and I would spend the rest of my life changing diapers. It might seem that way when you bring your first baby home but trust me it all changes.  Time goes so fast and before you know it they are walking and talking.  With Baby C I am trying to soak everything up.  He’s not going to be so little forever.  He’s not going to fit perfectly on my chest for snuggles and sleep next to me in his bassinet forever.  I find that’s the toughest part about being a parent.  We lose some of ourselves when we give our lives to others but if we do our job right they don’t need us so much anymore.  Dylan and I have had one glorious date night dinner since we brought Baby C home and we always remind ourselves that all of this is only temporary and that we need to enjoy it.

#5 Love

My heart was already full with Soy Bean.  I loved Baby C from the moment I found he existed.  When you have an additional child never worry about how you are going to possibly love them because it’s there.

Vegan Review: True Bistro (Date Night!)

I’ve been very fortunate this week.  This week I ate at two of my favorite vegan/vegetarian restaurants.  Go me!

Let’s start with Tuesday night.  Dylan and I were lucky enough to have my parents want to babysit Soy Bean, so we had the evening to ourselves.  I think the secret to a happy marriage is having at least one date night a month.  It doesn’t have to be fancy, but it’s important to have a meal with no interruptions where you can just enjoy each other’s company.

IMG_6265
My handsome date.

Dylan and I have been to True Bistro a few times, it was actually one of our earlier dates (he must have been feeling fancy).  True Bistro is a more upscale vegan restaurant.  You know it’s fancy if Dylan doesn’t wear workout clothes to it… Everything is vegan, no vegetarian options.  If you plan on dining here you should be prepared to drop at least $100 because you’re going to want dessert and apps.  Cocktails and mocktails are excellent as well.

The restaurant has been remodeled since we last visited (which was when I was a pregnant lady sucking down mocktails) and the initial greeting was a little awkward.  When you walked into the restaurant you basically walk into a wall and don’t know which way to go, there’s no host stand.  Now I worked in restaurant for years as a hostess as well as a server.  Your first impression is when you walk in is the greeting.  A server asked if we had a reservation (we did) then brought us to what I would assume was a manager sitting a high top who again asked us if we had a reservation.  They seemed a little confused why we were there (to eat duh!).

So finally we were seated.  Our server was very nice, but inexperienced.  I mean, like not clearing extra glasses and cans inexperienced.  Not great for my OCD, but I managed (and of course still tipped 20% as you always should, unless someone is a jerk to you).

IMG_6266
Oyster mushrooms. Yum.

We started with the seared cauliflower and cornmeal-crusted oyster mushrooms.  I not crazy about the cauliflower dish but we’ve ordered the oyster mushrooms every time we’ve visited and it’s never disappointed.

IMG_6268
Red-Red Black-Eyed Peas

For our meals Dylan had the temple skewers and I ordered the red-red black-eyed peas.  That’s probably my favorite dish there.  Its unique and has a nice spice to it.  For dessert we had the cheesecake, which was amazing and recommended by our server.  They really have the best desserts there.

IMG_6271
Amazing cheesecake.

Moving on…

IMG_6272
Vegan nachos for the win!

The next day Soy Bean and I went to visit my brother in Watertown.  We walked around Mount Auburn Cemetery (not creepy, it’s a beautiful spot with lots of famous graves!).  Kiel then treated us to some delicious vegan nachos and juice at Red Lentil.  I’ve done a review of Red Lentil before on here.  It hold a special place in my heart since Dylan and I had dinner there after we got engaged.

What as awesome week.  Only a week and a few more days of summer for this gal.  I’m looking forward to everything pumpkin, foliage, and sweaters!

Summer Check In

Is everyone staying cool out there?  This is the hottest summer I can remember!  I just got  back from a brief stroll around the neighborhood with Soy Bean and I’m exhausted.

IMG_6243
Found this on one of our walks…

I can’t believe it’s already August!  I feel as though the summer has flown by yet we’ve been out of school forever.  I’m torn because there are parts about going back to work that I am looking forward to, but I love the casual routine of summer and my time with the boy.

Soy Bean and I have walked a ton this summer, well I’m the one doing the walking he’s in the stroller…We’ve enjoyed trekking around our neighborhood as well as the waterfront in Plymouth.

IMG_6238
Beautiful morning in Plymouth.

Yesterday we celebrated my hubby’s 39th birthday.  Last birthday in his thirties…I’m going to have to plan something substantial for next year…

Manly gift...

We still have about three and a half weeks left until I go back to work.  It’s weird to starting thinking about school again.  This is my third year at my school and I already know what my goals are for this year.  Organization!  I’m already a fairly organized person, but now that I’ve been at this job for awhile I want to strive to be as efficient as possible.  As a special education teacher, I balance a lot of paper work, and it will make my job so much easier to have a structured system in place.

IMG_6239
He’s getting so big!

Besides plenty of walking around Plymouth we really have no big plans for the remainder of this summer.  I haven’t told my husband yet, but I want to plan a little couples weekend for the fall.  We’ll see if he reads this…

What I Hope Your Kids Know

Okay, so I realize I’m fairly new at this whole mom gig, but I have been teaching kids for quite some time.  I’ve worked with kids who have summer homes and I’ve worked with kids who have no home.  I’ve taught kids who receive free lunch and I’ve taught kids who have personal chefs at home.  I have kids whose parents were high school sweethearts and I have kids whose mother was killed by their father.

Despite all these differences, my hope for your kids is always the same.  As the mother of a baby, I look at him and I plan for how I can mold him into a happy and successful human being.  The following is what I think is most important from my perspective as a high school teacher.

I hope your kids know about money.

Of course I’m not saying share all your financial woes and personal finances with your kids, but they need to know the value of a dollar.  The word “expensive” should be a part of your child’s vocabulary.  They should know what that words means, whether something is expensive to you or not.  They should know when they have something that others don’t.  They should know they should not throw away new school supplies at the end of the year or destroy other’s property.  Even if you can afford it, please don’t just buy them random sh#t.  It does nothing for them.  Spend time with your kids.  When I ask student how their summer was they talk about what they did, not what they bought.

I hope your kids know their teachers don’t care about their grades, we care that they try.

When I was a kid I always assumed my teachers would be disappointed in me if I got a bad grade.  As a teacher today, nothing could be further from the truth.  While I might be disappointed for a kid if they bomb an exam, I am never disappointed in them as long as they tried.  What kills me is when a kid gives little to no effort.  Apathy gets me, and it doesn’t get you very far in life either.

I hope your kids know their are other options out there besides college.

I can write an eloquent five paragraph essay no problem.  I can’t fix a car.  I’ve had kids who can’t write a five paragraph essay if their life depended on it, but they can fix a car.  They could probably build a car if they had to.  Am I smarter than them?  Absolutely not.

I’m a huge fan of public schools, and I think we do an excellent job differentiating instruction, but we as a society need to start recognizing intelligence that is not based in a classroom.  We need to celebrate that everyone brings something different to the table. Some kids are going to be great writers, some can fix things, some have interpersonal intelligence, some are amazing artists…the list goes on.  If your kids can spend hours working taking something apart and putting it back together but struggles to compare and contrast the Articles of Confederation and Constitution, don’t make them feel as though they are lacking.  Celebrate their gifts.

I hope your kids know what basic manners are.

As someone who has worked in the service industry, I can tell you this makes a huge difference.  Plus when you are kind, people are more willing to help you and go out of their way for you.  It’s that simple.

I hope your kids know that they are special.

They’re not better than anyone else, but they have something special about them.  Whether it’s their quirky sense of humor, love of animals, or gift for writing.  There has been something I’ve appreciated about every student I have worked with, no matter how hard of a time they gave me.

I hope your kids know there is no job that is beneath them.

If there’s anything my generation can pass along to their kids it’s this.  Growing up we were taught that you get good grades, go to college and then get the job you want.  After that you can save up money, buy a house, have a car, go on vacation once in awhile and so on.  Yeah, not so much these days.  When I graduated in 2007, the job market was terrible.  For the first decade of my life after college I always had to work two jobs.  It took me a long time to get the teaching position I wanted.  I consider myself very fortunate to own a home and be able to take the summers off.  Over that ten years after I graduated college I cleaned some gross bathrooms and was talked down to a lot by people who thought they were better than me.  You are not better than anyone else.  Waiting tables, making coffee, cleaning, and so on is not beneath you.  Never ever judge someone by the work they do.

Well, that’s all I can think of for now…I know the minute I publish this I’ll come up with something else.  I know we all want the same for our kids, and sometimes in the hustle and bustle of our lives we lose track of what is really important.