make-believe: oregon coast afternoon

7.28.2014


If there's one thing that nursing a tiny infant affords you, it's plenty of forced downtime. And while I admit to sometimes whiling away this time trolling instagram for longer than I should, generally, I allow myself to enjoy a good little daydream. Lately, all I can think about is last summer's trip to the Oregon coast.

If I had a spare hour or two to myself and was lucky enough to find myself back in Falcon Cove, I'd scoot down to the beach for a little reading, a little beach stone collecting, and plenty of breathing in that Pacific Ocean air. And in my daydream, I also have:

1. a sweatshirt for staying cozy | 2. bobby pins for wrangling beach-blown wispies | 3. a lidded jar for sneaking a single serving of rosé | 4. a good beach read for getting lost in | 5. a cozy beach blanket for lounging on | 6. summer sneaks for navigating the rocky parts | 7. cut offs with deep pockets for tiny treasures

my week in objects (mostly).

7.25.2014

five little things that made my week.

1. this summer fruit.
fruit
{and the gobbling of it.}

2. this new york scene.
central park
{and a few extra afternoon hours to soak it in.}

3.  this gummy smile.
smile
{because, game-changer.}

4. these scissors.
scissors
{because these days snagging even 30-seconds to do things like deadhead a window box makes me feel triumphant.}

5. this book.
book
{for keeping smiley occupied. well, kind of.}

other things:
drawn the road again.
rewriting your birth story. (thanks, rachael.)
get outside.
i think i need these.
boat share, anyone?
dinner in ny.
ha!
this pocket.
dresses with buttons.


Baby Proof: Have Baby, Will Travel

7.24.2014

Untitled
It's almost August, which means that the population of New York has begun its annual shift. Our neighbors have drawn their shades and made off for who-knows-where and a whole new population of visitors have arrived to stroll the promenade and sample treats from neighborhood ice cream parlors.

While we sadly don't have any adventuring planned for our own immediate future, James and I have started to think about what traveling with our little Junebug will be like. Thank goodness for a big sister to pave the way. Cait's thoughts on air travel with a baby, below. Semi-unrelated photo of prop plane taken by James on our trip to Oregon last summer, above.

Surviving the Skies with a Little One
by Caitlin Boyle

I recently made a staggering calculation, and it was this: I have spent an entire month of my 18-month motherhood traveling by plane with a baby. More specifically: I've spent a month's worth of days—thirty travel days by air, to be exact—and probably close to fifty individual flights, with a babe in arms. 

A month of days at 30,000 feet. A month's worth of diaper changes in a tiny airplane bathroom. A month of security lines with an impatient baby and a few whispered prayers. Or curses, depending. 

I don't claim to be an expert, and I am not a seasoned parent by anyone’s definition. But I've been humbled enough by the process of flying with an infant, and now worse, a toddler, to understand that it is not for the faint of heart. It is for the bold of heart, in fact. Or maybe the somewhat-crazy-of-heart. Or just the operating-wholly-with-the-heart-and-not-at-all-the-rational-thinking-brain kind of heart.

Oliver has experienced 30 days at 30,000 feet not just for the love of adventure, mind you, but in recognition of necessity. My job and my husband's require a good deal of travel. And ours is a bi-coastal marriage, too, which means there's at least a couple thousand miles of air between Oliver and one set of grandparents pretty much all the time, no matter where we are or where we’re headed. That kind of situation, in our case, demands some air travel. 

And it demands a good dose of humility. I’m perhaps not my best parenting self whilst bouncing a cranky toddler up and down (and up and down) the aisle of a 747. I’m decidedly fazed by negotiating a full-on poop-splosion on a changing table the size of a cutting board. I’m not the picture of calm as I charge to the taxi stand, bags a-flying, to escape the pitying (or worse) looks of fellow passengers as I debark a three-hour crying fest known as the direct flight from Salt Lake City to JFK. No, not at all an ideal parent in those moments. But a bona fide parent nonetheless, in all of parenthood’s messy, tired, improvisational, small-victories glory. In fact I think I feel more like a parent in those traveling moments than at most other times. It’s me, my kid, and our baggage against the world. Literally and figuratively. 

Beyond humility, though: I’ve gathered some tools to ease these journeys. Perhaps they’ll be helpful to you, too. Or to a friend or sister or cousin who’s coming to visit you, and who could use some pointers from someone 30 days in: 

One: Buy, borrow or steal a very lightweight travel baby carrier. I like the Boba Air, but you may find another that’s just right. The key here is easy-on, easy-off, easy-stow. 

Two: A carry-on backpack and the willingness to wear the same pair of jeans and shoes for a week, so as to pack all one's essentials (and the baby’s) into it. Sailing past baggage claim and out into the fresh air with a done-with-flying-let-me-run toddler makes the lack of wardrobe options worth it. 

Three: An arsenal of mini or multi-purpose items. Tiny shampoo and toothbrushes; fold-small sundresses; a few favorite mini board books; a lightweight blanket that does quadruple-duty as a swaddle, lovey, sunshade and changing pad. As Oliver has grown from his first plane ride (2 months; approximately 10 pounds) to his most recent (18 months; approximately 27 pounds), trading luggage weight for baby poundage has become increasingly necessary.

Four: Advance planning. After the first few trial runs in which I gave nary a thought to what I'd need for a baby after landing, I began diligently arranging for a portable crib, carseat, and stroller to be borrowed or rented ahead of my visits. If you’re staying in a hotel, a mini-crib is usually available without any advance legwork, but finding a friend-of-a-friend (or barring that, a rental agency) from which to secure loaner equipment is key to packing light, particularly if you're solo parenting en route. Shipping diapers ahead is also convenient, though I’ve been known to stalk stroller-pushing strangers to ask for the nearest local diaper purveyor, too. 

Five: Okay, this one you can’t totally control, but...the kindness of strangers. I tune into it, and I actively try to tune out the irritated folks who shoot ungenerous glances and audible sighs my way. (Muttering to oneself, "You were a baby once, too!" always helps.)

A bit more on this point: Just as often as there are grumps among your fellow passengers, there are those who gracefully—even merrily—survive tantrums and blocked ears and shrieks of wriggly frustration or joy. I look for these people (hint: they often take the form of grandparents). They’re always there to shore up one's confidence with encouraging glances and undue praise. "He did very well," they say, even when he most certainly did not. 

I take it as evidence that, even if I’m not always the parent I want to be, there are people around me to cheer me on, in mid-air as on firm ground. 

panzanella, no tomatoes necessary.

7.22.2014

panzanella
My very favorite part of summer produce are the heirloom tomatoes. No doubt I'm not alone in this. I can eat a juicy summer tomato in the same way I eat a peach—teeth breaking the thin skin, pink juice dribbling down my chin and wrists. A good summer tomato requires little more than a pinch of sea salt and a drizzle of olive oil to turn it into a meal. And if you've been reading these tea leaves for awhile, you'll know that the faster a meal comes together, the happpier I am.

This is all a roundabout way of saying that yesterday I found myself with a loaf of past-its-prime bread and no juicy August tomatoes to turn it into a lip-smacking panzanella. I was gearing up for a sad dinner of French toast when I remembered a slender bulb of July fennel tucked into the crisper.

Like any modern woman faced with half an idea for dinner, I turned to my friend Google and began to type:

"PANZANELLA FENNEL QUICK"

Why I google as though not equipped with a proper command of the English language, I don't know. But, abracadabra! The spell worked and a recipe I found. I strapped Faye into her stroller, wheeled her down the street to pick up what I could remember of the list I left behind and came home to make a dinner that turned out to be quick and delicious and worthy of sharing here.
panzanella
Radicchio, fennel, and a bunch of flat-leaf parsley for a pre-peak-tomato-season panzanella.
panzanella
If there's nothing else that appeals about this recipe, the lemon zest added to the croutons will. So simple and such a game-changer.panzanella
The result? A salad that tastes like someone tossed the antipasti plate into a bowl and called it dinner. Pasti?
panzanella
Fennel, Radicchio, and Olive Panzanella

Adapted from this recipe from Bon Appetit. Slight changes based on what I happened to have at home, what I remembered to buy on my trip to the grocery store, and what I like best.

3/4 loaf of day-old baguette (or whatever bread you happen to have), cubed
zest of one lemon
olive oil to taste (lots)
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 red onion, finely chopped
juice of 1 lemon, plus more to taste
1 small head radicchio, torn into pieces
1 small fennel bulb, thinly sliced
1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, removed from stems and roughly chopped (don't skimp)
1/2 cup or so pitted green olives, halved if you care to bother
shaved Manchego to taste (I used about an 1/8 of a pound)

1. Preheat the oven to 400° F. Toss cubed bread with the lemon zest and a generous drizzle of olive oil (really coat those cubes); season with salt and pepper. Bake until crispy, making sure to jiggle the pan occasionally. Allow to cool.

2. In a large bowl, mix red onion, lemon juice, salt and pepper. The original recipe calls for shallot instead of onion, red wine vinegar, and fresh oregano. I had none of these, but feel free to add them here if your heart desires. If you'd like to use vinegar, cut the amount of lemon juice by half.

3. Add chopped radicchio, fennel, parsely, olives, and a hearty portion of shaved cheese. (Hard salami could be added here for meat-lovers.) Toss to combine. Taste and add another squeeze of lemon or drizzle of olive oil as you desire (I finished by adding the juice of a second lemon). Chill.

4. Remember hours—even a day—later that you've got dinner in the fridge and serve.

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