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here i am!

Hello there.  It has been a long time since I’ve written anything, because life got real crazy-town for a few months.  One day after my last post we decided to move. We found a teeny-tiny house about 3 minutes from Gavin’s favorite surf spot with a nice big yard in an extremely safe neighborhood. When I say teeny-tiny, I mean it’s only about 650 square feet.  I’ve worn-out every hobbit hole joke I could think of in the months since we moved, so I’ll spare you.

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Here is Ireland playing in the yard right before we moved in

Ten days before Christmas, we sold most of our furniture and hauled our stuff to a new city (because we are lunatics).  I was about 8 months pregnant with a cranky, teething two-year-old so basically I waddled around and cried a lot for no reason.  Sometimes I also waved my arms and shouted “WHY ARE WE DOING THIS??!!”.  Gavin couldn’t get work off so we had to do it all in one Saturday.  Cue more crying and flapping and panting.

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A peek into our teensie kitchen at Christmastime.  It was a big adjustment, but I love it now & whip up lots of yummy vegan meals for my cute family in here.

It was insane, but it was absolutely the right decision and we feel like this place was an answer to our prayers.  Shortly after the move we pulled together a family birthday party for Ireland’s second birthday.  It was a busy day but we pulled off some great food, including this extremely simple & healthy (oil-free! vegan! somebody stop me!) spinach & artichoke dip. I also made some vegan mini chocolate chip banana muffins with a brown sugar glaze which merit their own post.  They were awesome.

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I will share the recipe soon, if only for an excuse to make them again.

It was hilarious trying to fit a bunch of family members into our living room.  I love our tiny little place and I want to do a house tour when I have the time (read: when I’m not nursing/burping/patting/sushing/rocking a newborn).

Ah yeah!  Our newborn.  Would you like to meet her?  She is pretty sweet.  Her name is Piper Rose and she joined us in February:

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Oh, sweet Piper.  To me, you are perfect.  Photo by Merrily Roberts Photography.

That brings us to April.  We did the Easter thing, which was super cute.  I accidentally (maybe on purpose?) forgot to get candy for the Easter eggs, so we made it work with raisins, dried cranberries, and cheerios.  Ireland was SO excited to open each egg and eat her treats.  Ten points for mom.

ImageIreland posing for daddy with her hunted raisins.  See the tip of a boat in the background?  That’s our sandbox.  We love our yard!

ImageFamily of four.

The day after Easter, my sisters came to visit from the East Coast!  I was in heaven, and it was so fun to have all the baby cousins together.  We love them.

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Ireland, Cash, Piper, and Ella

That brings us back to today.  I’m ready to start blogging again, and I can’t wait to share a tutorial for basic veggie burger patties.  Here’s a sneak peek:
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It’s starting to feel like Summer again!  See you soon.

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thanksgiving ketchup.

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Time to play catch-up on the old bloggity blog.  I know you guys have missed me!  Truth is, I have been thinking a while about firing up the old blog-engine to share our vegan junk with people.  I get a lot of questions from friends, family members, random strangers at the grocery store….all about how we live.  They want to know what the heck we eat, & I thought that it would be easier to direct people to one place for answers.  I also get a lot of curious minds interested in how we manage our growing toddler’s menu, as well as how I eat as a growing pregnant lady.  I love finding and sharing new recipes, and this seems like the simplest way to do it.

I am going to do a test-run by blogging about Thanksgiving.  This will be our second year as vegan Thanksgiving-ers and I am a little braver & more comfortable with animal-free ingredients now.

Here’s a look at our menu:

  • Baby Spinach & Radicchio salad with Pears, Pecans, & Poppyseed Dressing
  • Apple-Infused Rosemary Sage Mashed Potatoes
  • Mushroom Gravy
  • Creamed Corn Casserole (gotta have it!)
  • Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes with Candied Pecans
  • Orange-Spiced Cranberry Sauce
  • Sourdough Stuffing with Vegan Sausage Stuffed in Whole Roasted Onions (this will be our main course)
  • Whole Wheat Orange Rolls with a Sugary Glaze (vegan-izing my momma’s old recipe)
  • Pecan Pie
  • Pumpkin Bars

Can you tell we like pecans?  Um, and carbs??  We try to eat a bit  more balanced and “lighter”  the rest of the year, but I am a food-crazy pregnant lady right now so our menu is “hearty”, as my sister politely calls it.  I am considering the addition of a Pumpkin-Shallot Soup to the menu as well, but I’m trying not to over-do it so I may save that recipe for next year.  It would be difficult to transport soup to my in-laws on a bumpy 40 minute car ride without spilling/giving me a panic attack anyway 🙂

I will be kicking off Thanksgiving week on Monday with the Cranberry Sauce since it keeps so well in the fridge & I like serving it cold anyway.  My hope is to prepare a few menu items each day and reheat them on Thanksgiving morning so that I can relax a little and enjoy time with my family.  Each night after I make a recipe, I plan to post about it and tell you all how it went.

From there, I want to start sharing more of our day-to-day eating and lifestyle habits as vegans.  How we keep within a small grocery budget, how we convince our toddler to eat kale, and our favorite go-to family recipes are the types of topics I’d like to address.  Hope you join us!

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where i’ve been

We love you, Ireland Jane.

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the first 730 hours

Sorry for the radio silence.  I’ve been a little distracted by this tiny creature:

Ireland Jane Eddy was born 1/12/11.  She weighed just 6 lbs 9 oz and was 18 inches long.  I’m working on getting the story of her birth all written down and will be happy to share it when I finish.  To be honest, it’s a little hard to look back on, so I’m taking my time.  After I was induced, I labored with Ireland for a little over 22 hours and had to finally deliver her by Cesarean.  I felt a little defeated and I’m still trying to come to terms with it.  Looking at her sweet face everyday is a great reminder to me that I didn’t fail by not delivering her naturally.  I still brought a beautiful, calm spirit into the world and that is something I am proud of.  She is already a lot like her mommy in some ways (calm, content, and just happy to be here) and a lot like her daddy (fidgety, wiggly, and hungry all the time).  From the moment she came out she was peaceful and observant- checking everything out and kicking her strong little legs at all the nurses. 

Now she’s a month old and time seems to be going by too quickly for my taste.  I just want to hold onto her and soak up every second I have while she is still so tiny.  So you’ll all understand why I haven’t been blogging or posting enough pictures.  I forgive myself because it’s more important for me to snuggle my precious daughter and let her know how much I love her.

In the past month she’s added many impressive talents to her repertoire, including but not limited to: nursing like a champ, spitting up on daddy, pooping on daddy, holding her head up, grunting like a dinosaur, looking around, staying awake for more than 5 seconds, snoring in church, and helping with the grocery shopping.

Thank you for the last month, Ireland,  We’re so glad you’re here.

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Thoughts on Buddy the Elf, dishes, Real Housewives of Atlanta, and my husband.

I played hookey from the last hour of church yesterday.  My sciatic nerve is mad at the baby for camping out on it, so I walk like a pirate with a wooden leg and those metal church chairs don’t exactly help.  Gavin brought me home and then cleaned the entire house.  Yeah, I know I’m lucky.  I know he’s great.  Please excuse me while I expand on this a little…

Before bed last night, we watched the movie “Elf” to try to squeeze one last bit of Christmas into the weekend.  There’s a part in the movie where Buddy the Elf (Will Ferrell) goes on a date with Jovie (Zooey Deschanel).  They do very mundane things like buying a “crappy cup of coffee”, skipping across crosswalks, and spinning around in those revolving doors at the entrance of hotels.  Although these things seem pretty ordinary, Buddy is so excited to do them that it makes it fun for Jovie.  He does not stop smiling and laughing through the entire scene.  I jokingly made the remark that being married to Gavin was like being married to Buddy the Elf, and Gav rolled his eyes…but the more I think about it today, the more I realize it’s true.  If you know anything about the movie and you know anything about Gavin, you’re probably nodding your head.  He is so enthusiastic about everything that happens, I can’t help but have a good time no matter what we are doing.  

My case:  While he was washing dishes yesterday (dishes!!) he started singing.  I couldn’t tell what it was at first, but when I concentrated I realized it was “The Ring Didn’t Mean a Thing”.  If you haven’t heard of it, that’s because you’re boring, and probably a lot classier than  me.  Sometimes…I watch Real Housewives of Atlanta.  I know, I know, it’s gross.  I’m gross.  Whatever, it’s out there now and I’m over it.  I love the hair, I love the accents, and I love the drama.  One of the ladies on the show thinks she’s a singer and recorded this awful song that she sings on the show all the time, and that’s what Gav was singing…because MY SWEET HUSBAND who I GUARANTEE YOU would rather be watching the Chargers or Lakers game will sit and watch it with me after a 10 or 12 hour day at work so I don’t have a crazy pregnant lady meltdown.  So there I was yesterday, propped up on the couch surrounded all the pillows he had fluffed for me, praying my baked potato feet would stop swelling, feeling bad for myself, and Gav was scrubbing the dirty pots and pans, singing away.  HOW DO YOU GET THAT HAPPY????  Sure, he’s super good looking, can grow a mean mustache without even trying, and has rad dance moves…but this natural enthusiasm and happiness is why I married him.  He wakes up smiling, tickles and kisses my grumpy attitude away until I’m smiling, smiles at work all day long, comes home and smiles some more, and then goes to sleep smiling.  I’m telling you, he is Buddy the Elf.  Smiling is his favorite.

My point:  Driving home from Gavin’s work this morning, the baby woke up and started her usual morning jazzercise routine in my tummy.  Most mornings I groan and try to move into a position where my ribs are spared her extreme high kicks, but today I tried to stay still and just feel her.  It was so overwhelmingly reassuring to know that this sweet little girl is just as rambunctious as her daddy.  She is Gavin’s daughter, and I’m glad for that.  I can already tell she is just like him.  She can’t sit still, and that makes me love her more and more everyday.  I love my tiny family, and I feel so blessed to be surrounded by so much enthusiasm and joy.  

Sure, Gavin’s not perfect.  Maybe he talks through every movie we go see, but what he says is always funny and makes me laugh super hard.  And maybe he can’t sit still and is basically vibrating with energy all the time.  But you know what?  That makes him a hard worker AND he still has the energy to take me out on a date or sit and talk to me after working all day.  If I tell a joke, he will laugh the loudest and hardest and make me feel like Seinfeld.  If I say something and no one else pays attention or hears me, he loudly proclaims that I am super smart and that no one else in the universe would have thought to say that.  He makes me feel like I’m a lot cooler than I really am, and smothers me with attention.  When I was first pregnant and really sick all the time, he would come in the bathroom and rub my back and hold my hair and then carry me back to bed.  Even now, when I get up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night (which happens a lot when you’re 9 months pregnant) he rolls over and kisses me on the cheek (or the arm, or the nose or the ear…his aim is a little off at 12 am..and 2 am, and 3 am, and 4 am, and 5…).

Probably no one will read this all the way through because it’s super mushy and gross, but the bottom line here is that I know I got lucky.  I am married to my very best friend.  We have our own language, love each others families, and can spend every waking moment together without getting annoyed.  So thanks for the belly rubs every night, hun.  And the trips to 7-11 across town for juice.  And the 3,000 verses of “Baby Beluga” to get the Sea Monkey to stop kicking and let me sleep.  And the remote control.  And the fluffiest pillow on the bed.  And for being Buddy the Elf.  You can have the whole box of Candy Cane Joe Joes- you just keep doing what you’re doing.

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mama drama.

Hi.  I haven’t put up christmas decorations.  Nope, they are sitting in a nice box right next to me on the couch.  I’m such an over-achiever.

This weekend was nuts.  I thought I was going into labor, you guys.  I’m totally serious.  I started having contractions Sunday morning and figured they were just Braxton-Hicks, but as the morning stretched on they started getting closer together and becoming more painful.  I reassured Gavin that I was fine, sent him off to church, and started timing the contractions.  After only a few hours they were only 10 minutes apart and pretty uncomfortable.  I sent him a text that got him home pretty fast (using the words “labor”, “contractions”, and “hospital” in a sentence will cause a fuss, apparently) and we scooted off to labor & delivery….again.  Groan.

When I got there, a nice but unconvinced nurse strapped me to a monitor and left me for almost an hour.  She seemed put off by the fact that I was calm and not ripping anyone’s hair out.  I’m a silent sufferer.  What can I say?  When she finally came in to check on me, I was dismayed by the lack of activity showing up on the monitor…I swear I felt contractions!  Just as she was about to leave the room, I had a pretty strong one.  She came over and palpated my stomach…yep, it was a contraction.  Apparently the machines they use to monitor contractions aren’t very sophisticated, but after she moved the contraptions around to different spots on my belly, they started to show up on the screen, in regular 8-10 minute intervals.

She called the doctor.  Some sweet bro in a white suit came in.  Ugh.  He looked like the kind of person who has blue flames and an iron cross painted on his surfboard.  I guarantee you he has something like “the chicks dig it” airbrushed on his 1997 Mustang.  He examined me (and said some things that totally skeeved me out) and concluded that there was “nothing to be done” and that I would have to just endure constant contractions for the next 6 weeks.  Uh, right.  He also mentioned that the discomfort “couldn’t really be that bad”.  I wanted to rip his perfectly sculpted chin beard OFF OF HIS FACE.  Has he ever had a contraction?  Don’t get me started on this skeezeball.  What a freaking loon.  I was diagnosed with “preterm contractions” and sent home with a pat on the back and some tylenol.  The weak kind, too.  Not even extra strength.

I got in to see my real doctor today.  She took me seriously, which was a nice change.  She told me that the contractions aren’t harmful to the baby, just annoying and uncomfortable for me, so they should be fine…except I would have no idea when I was really in labor.  Since the contractions are so regular and constant, I basically feel like I’m in the early stages of labor everyday.  No big…just like a trip to Disneyland.  I’m having the time of my life over here.  Anyway, she prescribed some medication that will stop the preterm contractions happening.  The nice thing is that when I really go into labor, the medication won’t be able to stop real contractions and I’ll know that it’s go-time.

In other news, my big pimpin husband got a new calling, I need an external hard drive for my laptop, and today I made the ugliest (but still super delicious) toffee ever.  That’s all she wrote.

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christmas is coming…

…the belly’s getting fat!

Just so you know, I had to lean waaaaay over to see my new (very comfortable) shoes that I snagged at Nordstrom Rack on black friday.  We did buy one other item that day, and it’ll be delivered tomorrow…so expect another post on that soon 🙂

In other news, we bought a rocking chair for our baby girl’s room!  It’s super comfortable and upholstered in the happiest green fabric I have ever seen.  I’ll admit I’m pretty dang proud of this find- it is in perfect condition and has all of the original upholstery and hardware from when it was originally manufactured at a local San Diego furniture company.  It rocks and spins and even came with a cute bundle of vintage pillows.  Here’s a shot of it in the shop before we brought it home:

Last thing I have to share is the Christmas craft that Gav was so sweet to help me with.  Being this pregnant keeps me from rearranging furniture and cooking extravagant meals this holiday, so I’ve gotten slightly crafty.  Blame it on the boredom (at least I’m blogging more, right?? Two days in a row has to count for something).  It was a pretty simple project- wrap a foam wreath in yarn, make flowers out of felt, and glue them on.  Anyway, here’s the project halfway through:

I can’t get the pictures of the final product to upload, and I’m running out of patience, so I”ll try again tomorrow…maybe…

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