I am a writer and a Mommy. I am a devout Jew. These are the most important books I have read: The Tao te Ching by Lao Tzu, Stephen Mitchell translation. Spiritual Divorce by Debbie Ford. Living Inspired by Akiva Tatz. My kitchen would suggest I'm a closet carny, as would my love of Branson.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Baby Blues

Having a baby at 40 must be something like having your first grandchild.  The feeling of love and wonder has a different taste from the birth of your children at a younger age.  There are other questions on your mind when you look at this child.  I taught my first two kids not to fuss so much, not to cry when they were babies, but this one knows someone will pick him up if he cries.

What do very young people think about when they have a baby?  I remember really wanting to have children when I was in college, wanting to have my kids in my early twenties and I think it would have been great.

I had tons of energy and a fountain of hope for my future.  I was very focused on being great at whatever I was doing.  But the love of my life was otherwise occupied and I got very, very far off track.

When I finally had my first kids I was 29 and 31 - I had much less energy and very little hope.  By then I was lost deep in the woods and unsure what it was I'd hoped for before.  Every year that passed saw me walking further away from whatever I'd wanted - except being a Mommy.   That always suited me.

Yet I think about my first two and the mother they had as babies.  I liked to play with them and show them the world - I think they got a great sense of adventure from an early age, but I was often unhappy and I was like a child myself, looking to my husband to take care of all three of us.  He did for many years.

Feeding them was a chore, bathing them was a pain.  Bed time was Dad's job.  Any responsibility that came with the joy and beauty of those babies was something I happily pawned off on someone else.  It is a miracle I breastfed those kids.

Jacob has a different mother entirely.  I cherish each moment with him.  Cleaning his poopy diapers, feeding him, listening to his yells or squeals, giving him baths, getting him to bed, getting him up in the morning.  He is almost a year old and I still look at him and can not believe that I get to be his mother.

Most of all it's the ways in which he is like his Dad that choke me up and make me fall in love with him.  He sings to himself, just like his Daddy.  He loves music, claps to it, dances to it.  He curls his toes under his feet.  He put his hands into fists and squeezes all of his muscles in excitement at times when he is overwhelmed with emotion.  He laughs easily and loves to play.  He gets scared easily.  He is a huge flirt.  He reminds me so much of his Daddy and I love him for it.

Once I really got the hang of it - when the kids were 6 and 4 - I usually felt two kids were very manageable.  Those two were my buddies in life and I enjoyed being with them - the two days a week I had to share them with their Dad were often unbearable to me.

But there are many more kids now.  I don't know that I have learned how to manage five kids yet or even three kids.  I can see it on the horizon though.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Violence in America

What has happened today?  Late this morning my husband told me there was a shooting at the JCC in Overland Park.

I have not sorted through all the emotions I have gone through today.  Grateful for Facebook.  Sad for my Jewish community.  Devastated for those who lost loved ones today. Heartbroken for all of us.  

Every single day I dropped my babies off at the J I worried something like this would happen.  I prayed that it would not.  They were there for six years all year round.  KC has a gem in the JCC.  I admit that I took it for granted - I did not fully appreciate what it meant to me until I moved a thousand miles away.

Today we talked to the kids about what happened and we explained about guns in the US.  The truth is that no group of citizens, no matter how well armed, stands a chance against our government.  There is no reason that we continue with our right to bear arms.  

I have dear friends who love their guns and my husband and his family like hunting.  But forgive me, if I had the power I would take away all your guns.  

I am so far away from all the people I love in Kansas City so I'm sending you what's here with me: the sunshine, the ocean.  I'm sending you the sound of waves crashing endlessly onto the sand.  My heart is with you always.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Highway 1 Brewery

This is the best place to eat after visiting the elephant seals at Ano Nuevo.

Pot roast sliders are the reliable favorite but this is one of those places with a chef because everything on the menu is delicious.
The boys had Cheez it Mac n Cheese and the chicken pot pie.
The crepe of the day was amazing.

They have only been open for a year or so but I think they are going strong.

Baby Jacob is getting ready to become a toddler.  He likes to chat back and forth with people and is trying to stand up on his own, stand on his own and even takes a step before falling flat.

He has no interest in his toys but wants to play with anything that isn't for him.  He is simply adorable.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Chag Purim

I just made some great, super-easy and quick hamentaschen for Purim.  I used store bought pie crust, cherry filling and Nutella.  Turned out yummy!!

This week I had the amazing experience of hearing a webinar given by Rabbi Akiva Tatz on Purim.  He is an incredible Rabbi, the author of some beautiful books and I will listen to as many webinars by him as I can get my hands on.

There was so much to this, I wish I could share his wisdom, but I most loved listening to his talk because it reminded me of something that I forget so easily: G-d is right beside me.  Well, if you are religious you do believe that G-d is everywhere all around us at all times but for some reason I don't think any of us regularly remember this.  

How can we forget about G-d?  How?  It is so strange and yet most of the day we imagine we are either alone or only with the people who are within earshot or line of sight to us.  Most of us simply do not behave at every moment as if our Holy G-d is with us.  

Rabbi Tatz reminded me that this is a game we play with G-d and he plays it right back with us.  If we act like he can't see us, he acts like he can't see us. If we push him away, he goes twice as far.  And likewise, if we pull him close, he wraps his arms around us tight.  If we remember that he is with us every second, he speaks to us.  And so on and so forth.

There is so much more to this - here is another Purim talk by Rabbi Tatz
or you could read World Mask or Living Inspired.

I was inspired to share these religious thoughts by a recent blog post by Adam Hamilton.   I really respect and admire Pastor Hamilton.  When I lived right by his Church I sometimes went to services there.  I have heard him speak at a Synagogue and have listened to him live online and enjoyed his podcasts. Whenever I had the chance to hear Adam speak I was deeply moved.  He is an amazing religious leader who is so evidently connected to G-d and who brings G-d to the people he speaks to, no matter your religion.

In this blog post Adam divides the Torah and the New Testament into three buckets and says we can read more about how to understand the Bible in his new book called Making Sense of the Bible.  I have not read his book, but the bucket concept really upset me.

Jews believe that the Torah was given by G-d and is the truth.  So when Adam suggests there is a bucket that does not express the heart, character or will of G-d, it sounds ridiculous to me.  I like his explanation of how we all pick and choose how we follow the scriptures -- I just want to suggest to Adam that we can accept the word of G-d as truth given directly from G-d but simply admit that we can't understand it. There are scholars who spend their entire lives studying Torah and arguing about what certain passages mean.  It is very shallow to pick out those terrible passages that don't "feel" like they are expressing G-d's heart and dump them in a bucket that we can treat differently from the passages that make us feel good.

I would rather simply admit that I don't understand and continue to pray and ask for understanding.  

Purim is the holiday of hidden things and that which is hidden being revealed. It's a great time to remember that G-d is with us every single moment and be grateful and happy about that!

Friday, February 28, 2014

Tackling Pad See Ew

The very best thing about living out here is that a ton of Asian people also live here.  The only way this could be better is if my husband actually liked Asian food.

He likes American which is the only kind of food I could never eat again and not care.  Except pizza but it's hard to say who can really claim that.  Only Pizza Hut is truly American and I can live without it. Maybe.

I love Japanese food the best but I get very happy when I can have Korean, Vietnamese or Thai.  Several months back I started thinking about a Thai dish I love called pad see ew and wondering about those wide rice noodles.

I finally tried to make them myself and the outcome was fantastic.  And I also found a grocery right by my work where I can buy them fresh so I can have pad see ew at home whenever I like.  But it's time to get a wok.

I've worn out a couple of huge frying pans over the years but they don't get hot enough to do what I need done here. I'm going to look for one at Ranch99 next week.

Why are Chinese grocery stores called Ranch99 or Super Store 888?  What does it mean?

My love of Asian food has no limit.  In fact my children think we are somehow from Japan because of the way I'm always feeding them rice and handing them chopsticks.

Jacob will be my most Japanese kid though.  I don't know why but I can tell this already.  His favorite toy is a tablet that you push to hear hiragana and he loves when I sing him Japanese songs.

He loves rice more than all the kids combined and I'm sure he'll be using chopsticks around the same time he masters a fork.

It's really so fun to learn to cook something you love to eat.  Maybe I'll make some more noodles tomorrow while baby naps.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Gluten free Portuguese cheese bread

Wow!  It worked.  I forgot to add salt and I used regular muffin tin.  Delicious!

Easy Brazilian Cheese Bread? Gluten Free is not bread....

I'm finally all the way adjusted to being at work full time and not nursing anymore.  But I will never adjust to being a little over weight! 

Damn you sitting on my ass all day!

I was down to below my pre-pregnancy weight before I went back to work because when I was at home my office was upstairs so I ran up and down my stairs 10 to 20 times a day and I ate healthy snacks when I was hungry - like black beans in a tortilla with salsa.  I pretty much ate that every day but my office is not conducive to healthy eating in any way.  

And I have to force myself to take breaks and go move my body.  I always feel guilty as if getting up from my desk during the day is not acceptable.  

I'm not giving up.  Never!!

Having said that, I'm going to try this recipe tonight - I will let you know.  It's from here: 

Easy Brazilian Cheese Bread Recipe

  • 1 egg*
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • Scant 1 1/2 cups (170 grams) tapioca flour
  • 1/2 cup (packed, about 66 grams) grated cheese, your preference, though we got the best results from Mexican farmer's cheese - queso fresco
  • 1 teaspoon of salt (or more to taste)
Special equipment recommended:
  • One or two mini muffin tins. Mini muffin tins are about half the size of a regular muffin pan. The muffin openings are about 1-inch deep, and 1 3/4 inch wide at the top.
*It helps when baking with eggs to start with eggs at room temperature. If you don't plan ahead (that would be me, usually) you can put the egg in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes to gently take off the chill of the fridge.


1 Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease a mini-muffin tin. Put all of the ingredients into a blender and pulse until smooth. You may need to use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the blender so that everything gets blended well. At this point you can store the batter in the refrigerator for up to a week.
2 Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes, until all puffy and just lightly browned. Remove from oven and let cool on a rack for a few minutes.
Eat while warm or save to reheat later.