Since we've moved here, one of the most common questions we're asked is what we miss the most about Boston. Usually we just say family and friends and, for the most part, that's been the truth. But now it's summer. And even though I wouldn't claim summer as my favorite season, it turns out that in my heart there are certain things that make summer summer. Things like fried seafood from Woodman's and beach days at Crane's Beach. Things that are far away in New England.
Meredith turned two! And we had a really great day celebrating. We did a little prep the night before- me decorating with red and white polka dots in a (not-so) subtle Mickey Mouse theme and Chris assembling her awesome new wagon from his parents.
started her birthday with balloons in her bedroom and Mickey Mouse pancakes.
Then the birthday girl was in need of a morning nap. She woke up to a delivery of balloons from a dear friend of ours, also a Meredith :) People, if you are wanting to send a gift to a two year old helium balloons is probably the great idea EVER. She was the happiest little tot.
Eventually we got ready and took Meredith to Emma Prusch Park.
Meredith's two favorite things are the farm and the park, so when I
found a place that combined the two, I knew she'd love it. We had a
great time chasing chickens, puddle jumping, playing at the park and
watching pigs, cows and bunnies.
After another nap, we went to meet Meredith's birthday twin for some cupcakes and fun at Susiecakes. Diana had made everyone hats and it was fun for the girls to get to run around together for a bit.
Then we returned home to get ready for a little family cookout. We
enjoyed hot dogs (the birthday girl's preferred choice of meat) and
later cupcakes. She wasn't so sure about presents, being pretty tired.
But the birthday song and blowing out candles? Best. Thing. Ever. We
seriously relit and blew out her birthday candle about 10 times. She
All in all, we had a really, really nice day. It was the perfect low-key way to celebrate our sweet, sweet girl.
I am nesting. In some senses, I am nesting in the typical way- purging and organizing where ever I can. I've noticed, though, that I am also focusing some of that energy on cooking. I haven't been very interested in cooking since getting pregnant again. Sure I still cook for my family most nights, but it hasn't brought me the joy it typically does. Last week it occurred to me that I am suddenly excited by it again. I've rejoined the land of Pinterest and have been pinning lots of different recipes.
You may not really care what the beaktweets family is eating, but in case you do, I thought I'd share. I always love hearing what other people come up with. Last night we enjoyed these burrito bowls. I also added some chicken sauteed with green peppers and onions. They were heavenly and made for super easy dinner.
Tonight, I have cashew chicken in the crock pot. I'm going to make some brown rice and sugar peas to along with it.
Then, I am planning on cheesy zucchini enchiladas. Candistweeted about sweet corn cake last night, which I hadn't heard of. Once I googled it, I realized I do know what it is- that delicious gooey corn stuff served with some meals at Mexican restaurants. Going to attempt that, too. I will probably add some white beans into the mix so it's extra hearty. I'm also going to make this Superfood salad, though I'll probably do chicken instead of shrimp, just because I have it on hand.
Ok, and for two dinners from last week: This chicken really is some of the best chicken I've ever had and quinoa sushi!? Yum! We had shrimp tempura sushi, california rolls and avocado rolls. Trying to keep it all cooked since I'm pregnant. It's not quite as easy to roll as sushi made with sticky rice, but it was still pretty easy and very delicious. Also, I only had white quinoa, no black, and it turned out just fine.
I saw this image on Pinterest earlier in the weekend and decided I would like it to be my motto as I anticipate the birth of our second baby and as I negotiate the choppy waters of being a new mom to two.
It's easy to let the short, but stressful moments overtake what is an otherwise perfectly wonderful day. Meredith is in this incredibly fun stage. She is learning new words daily and consistently blows my mind with the things she understands. And yet, of course, there are moments when she pitches fits, or only wants to watch TV, or wakes up at 6 am and I struggle to keep perspective on how brief or insignificant these moments really are. This quote reminds me to take note of the good. And really that's not hard because there is so much good.
I especially want to do this when the new baby is here. I feel like we've hit this incredibly smooth stride as a family of three and I am slightly terrified about how hugely it will be shifted as we transition to being four. I am excited, of course, but nervous, too. Knowing myself, I will have difficulty finding peace when the laundry piles up, or I need to ask Chris to pick up a pizza on the way home, or when the baby is screaming and Meredith simultaneously needs my attention. I will have a hard time feeling like a good mom if we sit on the couch and watch TV all day, or if we don't eat many vegetables in a given week, or if the dishes are piling up in the sink and floors are smattered with crumbs and gooey stuff.
So my hope is to find the good moments.The moments when I am happy and when I have the perspective I need- that what I am doing is enough.
I thought I'd share some moments from the past week when I thought, or murmured, or exclaimed, "If this isn't nice, I don't know what is."
Sitting on a bench, leaning into Chris, watching Meredith run circles around a fountain
Finishing a breakfast of french toast with Chris and Meredith as we sat outside on a completely quiet sidewalk in our town's little downtown. Meredith was eating contentedly allowing me and Chris to drink our coffee in peace
Laying in bed with Chris and Meredith after having returned home from breakfast. Meredith was happy with Mickey Mouse on my phone, Chris was dozing and I was enjoying my book. It was so perfectly lazy and peaceful.
Sitting and chatting in a newly discovered baby pool that Meredith just adores. She transforms into this daring, splashing, crazy little fish.
Laying in bed at night feeling my belly jiggle wildly with the movements of our little boy.
Taking family bike rides and walks nightly after dinner. These moments have been giving my so much happiness- time to connect with Chris and also the chance to exercise my ever-growing body.
My mom and sister share a birthday. Now it's also the day my sister got engaged :) The three days leading up to their birthday were chock full of shopping. Like, my body was incredibly achy and sore we shopped so much. Tuesday was a welcome break from all that and was, instead, spent enjoying each other's company, good food and some beautiful scenery.
After starting our day with some birthday donuts, we headed for Santa Cruz. It was a perfect weather day.
After some time at the beach, we headed to the downtown area for some lunch at El Palomar.
We arrived home from Santa Cruz and minutes later Lydia's fiance, Cory showed up at the front door :) Shortly after, we left for the city to enjoy a few scenic spots and a nice dinner. I'll share the dinner and engagement photos in another post!
Having my sister and mom here for over a week was heavenly. The extra help, the girls' outings and just the familiarity of family is something I miss everyday. I always heard parents say how hard it is to live far away from family, but now that we've done it, I really understand what they mean. No built in back up and support can be trying and tiring. The silver lining, I suppose, it that is makes us appreciate the time we do have with family in a whole new way. We're already counting down the days until Grampa (Chris's dad) arrives! I just thought I'd share some pictures of Meredith with family over the past couple weeks.