Where You Came From, Lorelei and Mommy's Journey

12 days old, 2/15/11
I decided that since it's so vivid in my memory today for whatever reason, it was time to share or just document for myself my pregnancy and birth story. When I was pregnant, and when Lorelei was born, I didn't have any internet, or motivation to write it all out. I also had a hard time thinking about it because it's a sensitive, and loaded subject for me. But here it is now. Disclaimer, some of the details may not appeal to all audiences. My pregnancy and birth stories are long, and as much as I try to live in the now and move past the emotions of hurt and defilement, I cannot. 

A few months before I became pregnant with my first I had an ultrasound done on my uterus fearing fibroids or endometriosis because I was experiencing pain really frequently. The u/s revealed that I had a birth defect, a septum in my uterus, meaning the two tubes that form the uterus during fetal development never fully retracted to form one compartment. I was told that it would be very difficult for me to get pregnant and that I would probably suffer many miscarriages. That was in December '09, I was only 19. Fast forward to May'10 when my husband and I were married, and not even thinking about it or trying we got pregnant. Our initial reaction was not excitement but fear, fear  even though we both wanted it, because we knew that our chance of actually carrying out the pregnancy was not good. After a week or two we let ourselves get excited, we already had names picked out and were daydreaming about our sweet baby, that we both felt was a girl. When I was 7 weeks along, before ever being seen by a doctor, I started cramping and spotting and I put myself on bedrest after speaking with my doctor's nurse who told me if I was miscarrying there was nothing I could do. It was on a Friday night so I had to wait til Monday to be seen. I had never been more fearful in my life. I prayed and pleaded and promised God that if he would just let me have this baby, I would come back to Him (I have always believed, just went through phases of no church, and of questioning my faith). Saturday and Sunday I was a mess, crying, angry, wanting to be anything but. On Sunday while my husband was at work I was sitting at the computer and got up to use the bathroom. When I stood up there was a gush and I ran up the stairs (we lived in his parent's basement) to the bathroom knowing what I was going to see and not wanting to deal with it. The sight and smell of blood makes me hot, lightheaded, and absolutely sick as it is, but this was agonizing. I sat on the toilet crying harder than ever, shaking, and feeling so alone. I texted my husband and my mom because I couldn't get words out talking if I tried. I couldn't flush the toilet because it felt like if I did, then the baby was really gone. I sat on the bathroom floor for half an hour waiting for my mom to come and get me to take me "home". I was in so much physical and emotional pain and shock, that I couldn't act human. I couldn't just sit on the couch and watch movies like my family does together. I was mourning and I felt like no one understood what I was going through. My husband found someone to cover the rest of his shift and came to be with me, as much as he could, which was just holding me. 

Monday morning I went to the clinic to have my blood drawn to check my HCG levels and make sure they were decreasing because my doctor was sure I had miscarried. Then Wednesday again. And on Friday I saw the doctor. He came into the room asking about the bleeding and pain and how it had carried out. He hadn't even looked at my chart yet and when he did he excused himself and left the room before coming back in to say that my HCG levels were still rising. More hurt and confusion for David and I. The doctor looked as confused as we did. He did an ultrasound then, located the bleeding on the left "half" of my uterus, and the yolk sac on the right side. He said that since they couldn't find a heartbeat, the bleeding was on the opposite side, and the yolk sac seemed to be resting on the cervix against the septum that it was still likely I was going to lose the baby, or that it was just a molar pregnancy to begin with. He sent us to a specialist a week later who did another ultrasound to see that the baby had grown, now resembling a gummy bear. The specialist told us everything he could about my uterus defect (which I already knew from hours of personal research) and was optimistic that though I could deliver preterm or need a c-section, there was a good chance the rest of my pregnancy would be very healthy and normal. And it was. 

My regular OB hardly acknowledged that our baby was in fact a viable human until I was past 28 weeks along. The whole time I was pregnant, every office visit, I felt like this doctor was not doing a good job. It was all very impersonal, and I always left feeling worse (even after getting to hear that fluttery little heartbeat, or see the little skeletal face that I thought looked so much like daddy) about the experience. I should have found a different doctor, I wish I had followed my instinct and David's and bee-lined out of that practice, but I didn't. I felt it would be difficult to find another doctor. By this time I was living in the country (Marsing, Idaho) with my grandparent's, parent's, and two sisters at least 25 miles from a clinic or hospital, and 40 miles from a good hospital. And David was in Basic training in South Carolina, where he went when I was 16 and a half weeks pregnant. He shipped out the day I found out, alone, that we were in fact having a girl. 

Not only was I going through this pregnancy with a doctor I didn't like, but without my husband, and knowing that I was going to deliver the baby without my husband as well. Knowing that I had no advocate. Not that I was alone when Lorelei was born, I was joined by my mom, dad, paternal grandma, sisters, and an aunt through most of my labor, but none of them understood how important it was to me to deliver this baby peacefully, with no medication, and with as little interference as possible. Least of all my mom, who though she had 3 very difficult, long, all natural labors, is a nurse and people in the health care profession seem to forget that people are not just physically fragile, but that they have feelings and deserve to be treated as humans, not just patients or cases. 

It was hard enough for me that I had to be induced because my doctor didn't believe that I knew my actual due date, because I knew the exact conception date. I was induced 9 days after what my doctor decided was my due date, when in fact it was only 5 days past and I could have safely carried the baby longer and possibly went into labor naturally. Induction is a great start to a traumatic delivery. The nurse who started my IV fluid and Pitocin at 8:15am on February 3, 2011 couldn't get the needle in, and had to stick me 3 or 4 times. That was more painful than anything else I experienced. It took a good 7 hours before the Pitocin they were pumping into me started any contractions that seemed to make any progress. Before those 7 hours, I had not dilated at all. After 7 hours I was less than a centimeter. Then the contractions started getting really strong, it was painful, but welcome. I was so glad that my body was doing anything. The nurses were worried because Lorelei's heartbeat was not coming back up rapidly enough after a contraction. I knew it was because I was stuck laying in the damn hospital bed all day, and that I couldn't even move in the bed because the fetal heartbeat monitor was only picking her up if I laid in one position. The fetal heartbeat monitor that didn't even strap on well enough to stay in one place if I held completely still. The fetal heartbeat monitor, while so useful in situations where there is worry and severe risk, was the bane of my labor and delivery. Lorelei didn't like me laying down, she was stressed by the weight and compression of my body and the awful bed. And then there was the fact that I was having a hard time getting enough oxygen, compressed, in that wretched bed. When I used the oxygen mask Lorelei was fine.  I finally dilated a little over a centimeter by 5:15pm and my doctor was able to break my water and get a monitor on Lorelei's scalp. The contractions continued and I was starting to feel like progress was being made, but the doctor wanted to go home for dinner, and he didn't want to let me labor on my body's own time. I got up to use the restroom sometime around 6:00pm and the nurse checked the urine which had a brownish flaky material in it (with the amniotic fluid). The nurse was worried it was meconium, if the baby is in distress and, well, poops in the placenta it can aspirate the material and be fatal. I had this gut feeling that is was old blood from the subchorionic hematoma in the left half of my uterus when we thought I miscarried. But the chance that it might be meconium gave the doctor his chance to push the c-section so he could go home. He got the nurses on board, and my mother(!), and they cajoled a devastated, broken, defenseless and crying me into the surgery. I felt dehumanized and defiled, like no one would listen to me when I knew I could do it (I have a very keen and reasonable instinct), and like they took away my right and natural womanly ability birth my child. 

With chagrin I signed paper after paper, drank some horrible elixer meant to dry up liquid and food in your stomach so you don't aspirate during surgery, and put on a paper hat and booties. I had given up on myself and everything, and I just wanted it to be done. I hated these people and wanted the nightmare to be over. I wasn't prepared for any of it. I never read up on c-sections, or healing after one because I was so sure that God wasn't going to let it happen. They wheeled my bed into the surgery room, sat me up, gave me a spinal block, moved me onto the table, set up the tent, made sure I couldn't feel anything, and started cutting. It all happened so fast I hardly felt present even though I was completely aware. The nurse anesthetist was my favorite person, not because I liked the absence of pain, but because he treated me the most humanely. He smiled, he was reassuring, he asked me how I was doing, he held my head in the right direction towards my mom with the puke basin as I heaved into it over the gross sensation of cutting and pulling going on below the blue sheet in my face. 

First sight.
Before they pulled my baby out of my sliced and diced body I could hear them speculating her weight by the size of her head. They had to suction her head to get her out of the incision. They were saying 9.5-10 pounds. Then I saw her and I cried, happy and sad tears, and all I could muster was "she has hair". They quickly cleaned, suctioned and swaddled that 8 pound 6 ounce, perfect baby and brought her to see me. Then they took her away just as quickly so they could close me up. As they did the doctor happily informed me of what I already knew about the amniotic fluid, the substance in it was old blood, not meconium, and it was separate from the amniotic sac and placenta. He also told me that it looked like the septum had moved or disappeared to accomodate the pregnancy. The doctor and a nurse joked about my rock hard abs under my flesh and how they don't see many pregnant women's abs. I tried to see it as humorous, but even after seeing my healthy, beautiful baby I resented these people. These people who make decisions for you like they themselves are God, like they really know what's best. A little less than an hour after delivery I was in recovery nursing and talking to my husband on the phone, who felt as angry and defiled as me that I had to get the c-section, and that he couldn't do anything about it. 

Mommy and Lei Lei, that blue bow was so fitting!
My experience in the hospital after delivery was not completely awful, aside from one really asinine nurse. Who, after Lorelei had one drop in blood sugar in the nursery, insisted on torturing both of us by poking and squeezing (incorrectly nonetheless) Lorelei to check her blood sugar again even though she was doing very well. The same nurse, a few hours after I was able to get out of the bed the first time, insisted I do it again after I told her that what I really needed right then was to take a nap because I hadn't slept more than an hour and a half in a 36 hour period and that I would get up (really, it wasn't like I couldn't or that it was too painful) after I rested, so the idiot let me nap 20 minutes while my mom and pediatrician were in the nursery with the baby, and then WOKE ME UP, to make me get out of the bed. A while later she came in to take out my catheter, and when I was about to stand up from the bed my mom had to come running across the room to grab the catheter bag that dummy was holding above my hip level (a big no-no) as I stood, and tell her that she would help me instead. The same nurse insisted on giving Lorelei sugar water to prevent another blood sugar drop, which hijacked the good breastfeeding progress we were making for a few hours (don't you think just having the baby get enough colostrum would prevent the blood sugar drop?!). But the recovery from the c-section itself, physically, wasn't bad. I never had any pain meds other than ibuprofen while I was in the hospital or at home. Mostly I only took the ibuprofen for the inflammation. 

At my post-partum check up the doctor said that I should think about having more imagery tests done to see about the septum. But then he said maybe it didn't matter because I went full term, had a healthy baby, and would HAVE to have a c-section if I had more kids anyways...Excuse me?

Only trying to eat my face off. She was a piglet. :)

Baby Mine
The emotional healing has taken a long time. For a year and a half I would cry every time I thought about the experience. Even writing about it now, almost two years later makes me a little bit sick, and very angry. I loathe the scar, the reminder of my insufficiency to stick up for myself and baby, and inability to fulfill my womanhood, my motherhood. Sometimes I have felt that giving birth naturally would have made me a stronger mother, and that maybe I'd have a better bond with my child. Not that we weren't bonded from the moment I found out I would be her mother, but sometimes I feel a little incomplete in it, because we didn't bring her into the world together. And then there is the fact that because of my experience we decided we wouldn't have any more kids. That was in the raw, early steps of my grieving over it, and my husband likes to remind me that we decided that, as saying it then makes it concrete, every time I voice wanting another. 

First time meeting, Lorelei was 17 days old.
So, pregnancy to motherhood, it wasn't easy on me. Was it worth it? Absolutely, yes! Does that mean I should not be upset about what I can't change anymore? Maybe, but part of me will always feel like I failed here. That part of me wants to try it again, so maybe it turns out different. That part of me worries that it would make the hurt deeper if I had to go through it again. But another part of me, would do it all again for the result. :)


Dau Sot Ca Chua: My American-ized, Vegan Take on a Vietnamese Dish

Photo Courtesy of Photography by David L. Clark
One day several weeks ago I googled "tofu and tomato sauce" and found a few different versions of this Vietnamese fried tofu in tomato sauce recipe. I'm not really all that good at sticking to a recipe. That's way too orthodox for my cooking style (unless I'm baking, because that involves chemical reactions, which I understand and respect the importance of precision of)! So I made some changes, obviously omitting the fish fish sauce to make it vegan, substituting organic tamari for that and adding garlic because I really can't help it. I have to use garlic. I also decided to serve it over a bed of steamed cabbage, because I had a crap ton of it, and because tomato sauce and cabbage = delicious.

This dish has made it's way into our regular rotation of recipes, and we eat it at least once a week. Before trying this, I honestly wasn't a huge fan of tofu (also, organic tofu makes a huge difference, for me personally, it doesn't taste like absolutely everything has been processed the hell out). I highly recommend shopping around for tofu and trying different brands to see what you like best. This weekend while we were jaunting around Seattle (more on that tomorrow) I saw a place in the international district that sold fresh, handmade tofu (!!!). Blah, blah, blah, irrelevant stuff.

1 package extra firm tofu (1lb.)
5 medium tomatoes
3 tablespoons tamari (shoyu is fine too)
3 cloves garlic, chopped finely
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 cup olive oil
2 cups shredded cabbage + 1 tablespoon olive oil
Green onions for garnish, about 1 per serving

1. Press the tofu to remove excess moisture. Do this by wrapping the block in a clean, lint free, kitchen towel and sandwiching between two plates. Do so for at least 20 minutes.
2. Cut the tofu into pieces, I cut them into about 1 inch cubes.
3. Pour oil into a pan small enough to have it be at least 1/2 inch deep, and heat over low-medium heat until a single piece of tofu dropped in deep fries on contact.
4. Fry all of the tofu this way and put into a glass or metal bowl covered with foil to keep it warm.
5. Cut the tomatoes. I first cut them into eighths, and then cut those in half. Then toss them into the leftover oil from the tofu. Immediately add the chopped garlic, tamari/soy sauce, and sugar. Cook on medium heat for about 10 minutes.
6. While that cooks down steam/sautée the cabbage in oil.
7. Put the tofu into the pan with the tomato sauce and stir to coat. Cook an additional 5 minutes. Add water, tablespoons at a time to the tomato sauce if it becomes too thick ( I haven't had to add water to mine).
8. Serve over cabbage, or steamed rice if you like, both would even be good, and topped with thinly sliced green onions.



Photo courtesy of Photography by David L. Clark

This is my attempt at a fun post modeled after Danielle of Sometimes Sweet's Currently. feature. That lady has so much talent for writing and passion for her life, and I seriously admire her. Plus her kid is stinkin' cute! Here it goes...

Watching: a regular rotation of Nashville (who isn't watching it, it's strangely addicting even with the auto tuning and divas), Parenthood which my husband and I have watched from the very beginning and always makes me cry, and Grey's Anatomy with all the dark and twisty turns. We also watch Mad Men on occasion when there aren't new episodes of our other favorites. I think we're on season 3 right now. Every time we watch it I want to browse ModCloth for midcentury fashion and listen to the swing, standards, and crooners. We are also excited about watching some holiday movies, Elf and Home Alone being at the top of the list. Oh, and we just watched Leon the Professional, Natalie Portman's breakthrough role. I guess we sit in front of the screen more than I'd like to admit, but what else do broke folks do?

Listening To: right now, as in while I type, I'm listening to a Little Hurricane session on Audiotree. I've also been listening heavily to Ben Gibbard's solo album Former Lives, A Fine Frenzy's PINES along with the accompanying video, A Very She & Him Christmas, and David listens to Mumford and Sons A LOT (not complaining). Lorelei is digging Sucré, because it's her kind of dance music.

Planning: our weekend. My dad will be in town for the NFL PPK competition he has volunteered to work at for the past 7 or 8 years. He loves it because it means he gets to see a Seahawks game and have a mini vacation. He's only here for two full days with not a ton of free time, so we'll be going to dinner at Plum Bistro, a vegan restaurant in Capitol Hill and hanging out with him downtown. We really want to squeeze in going to Kerry Park so David can photograph the iconic Seattle skyline view. I'm also planning our christmas menu and trying to figure out how to decorate our tree without spending money.  So far I think food wise we're going to go nontraditional and make homemade thai food (!!!). As for decorating, David found clear string lights in the trash when we moved here last February, I grabbed some paint chips from Lowe's to string and hang for color, and I want to scavenge some pine cones to paint the edges of.

Thinking About: How I need to filter my language/behaviors/reactions better. I've been noticing how much Lorelei is picking up on them and feeling that she can act and speak the way I do when she's upset. The other night when she was not going to bed, every time I put her in her crib she was screaming "Damn it, Mommy. Come here," and that was eye opening for me because it's something she obviously picked up from me. I haven't always used strong language or reacted strongly to things she does, but she's a toddler now, very near two, and there seems to be less time when she's not doing something to push my buttons than not. That sounds like me making excuses, and it kind of is, I'm just growing more and more exhausted with all the lack of sleep, her busy-ness, and never, ever having a break from her. I am with her 24/7 with no other company or activities. We're both bored and under stimulated and we're both growing weary of each other.

Reading: gardening books and cookbooks. I really, really love cookbooks. We recently acquired Veganomicon, that I have tried two recipes from and loved. I'm also currently digging Pure Vegan, which I checked out from our local library and can't wait to own someday. It has beautiful photos and the recipes are organized by time of day. I'll be sharing a recipe I love from it this week! I've also been putting a bunch of books on hold at the library, I think sometimes I check out more than I can feasibly read or look at before they are due. I just get so excited about books. Like, I've been trying to read The Idle Parent for almost 2 months and I just have so much else I want to do all the time I forget about reading it.

Making Me Happy: life in general, despite how I seem to complain. I feel pretty content lately, as in I'm comfortable with the life I have and not really in a place where I'm constantly wishing for change. I feel like I'm getting better at living in the now and it's really liberating to not always be thinking about or hoping for whatever is next. I've stopped stressing out about how much Lorelei still wants to nurse and am letting go of notions I had of weaning her on my time. I no longer mope about my physical appearance (read: 15 pounds I still need want to lose from pregnancy) because I realize that changing it is completely in my hands, and that I can do it if I just try. I've been going to the gym whenever I get a chance and doing between 2 and 3 miles of interval training on the elliptical. Doing this makes me feel good, and I've lost 5 pounds in the last 2 weeks.

Other things I've been up to or enjoying this week: Bekah's post on water conservation. Drooling over these adorable and obscenely priced kids clothes. Conversations with Birdie. Looking at cute cases for my hand me down iPhone 1/ & 2/. This gorgeous blog and this post on meditating with children. Oh, thanks to Kelly Ann for sharing this design she did for this blog that I am really digging. And the Totally Awesome Blog Hop, giving bloggers like myself a chance to connect with other bloggers and bring in more audience. :)

What are you up to lately?


Leeky Irish Stew + Skillet Cornbread

Photo courtesy of Photography by David L. Clark.

Here is a recipe that makes it's way into our dinner menu frequently enough I thought I should share. The idea for this recipe struck when I decided it was about time I purchased and tried some leeks. I perused Pinterest for soup recipes and was disappointed that they were all creamy and pureed soups. Not that I dislike that sort of soup (I actually get on kicks where I make some variety at least once a week), I was just looking for something more substantial. I was looking for comfort food, and I was missing things like corned beef and cabbage and ground beef with cabbage (favorite meals while living at home and before becoming vegan).

Cabbage is one of my absolute favorite vegetables, of all time. It's the trace amounts of Irish blood running through my muttley veins. So, I knew that my soup needed cabbage. And potatoes for heartiness. Then, carrots for color, because I believe in colorful food. So this is what I came up with. It's pretty simple, pretty delicious, and will feed an army. In fact, if you don't like having leftover soup to eat for days I would consider halving the recipe.

Soup Ingredients:
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 leeks, thinly sliced pale parts
3 tablespoons of olive oil
3 medium potatoes, cut to your size preference with or without skins
1/2 head of cabbage, cut
1 large carrot, sliced rounds
8 cups vegetable stock
4 cups water
Sprig of thyme
Bay leaf
Salt and pepper

1. Add olive oil, sliced leeks, and garlic to a 5 qt or larger pot and heat on medium high heat until softened and fragrant.
2. Toss in the potatoes, carrots, bay leaf and thyme and cover with all 8 cups of stock. Cook on med-high heat for about 20 minutes, until potatoes are tender.
3. Once the potatoes are tender add the cabbage and 4 cups of water, stir well to combine, and let cook another 5-10 minutes.
4. Salt and pepper to taste.

Photo courtesy of Photography by David L. Clark.

The cornbread is the second vegan cornbread recipe I have tried and it will definitely be my go to for easy and scrumptious dinner bread in a pinch. The recipe is from Veganomicon, and mostly unmodified (save my flavor additions).
Makes 8 big slices, that you'll devour whether you're still hungry or not, at least that's what I did.

Cornbread Ingredients:
2 cups plain soy milk
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
2 cups cornmeal
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar (okay, here I used 1/8 cup agave nectar because my sugar canister is near empty)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup oil

1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Lightly oil the bottom and sides of cast iron pan (you can make this in a 9"x13" baking pan if you don't have an oven safe skillet). Preheat the oven with the pan inside.
2. Combine soy milk and vinegar in a measuring cup/small bowl and set aside to curdle while you prepare everything else. This is a vegan substitute for buttermilk.
3. In a large mixing bowl sift or mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Create a well in the center and add the soy milk mixture and oil. Use a wooden spoon to mix until just combined, lumps are okay. This may seem a little liquid-y for a bread batter, but it's a moist bread so it's okay.
4. Pour the batter into the heated skillet and bake for about 30 minutes, until inserted fork/knife/toothpick comes out clean.
5. Let cool a bit before slicing and serving.

My variation was to add one clove of finely minced garlic and a pinch of finely chopped fresh thyme (still trying to use it up from Thanksgiving). It gave a very subtle amount of flavor to the bread.

When corn is in season, I'll sauté some of that to throw in!

Earl Grey

In our apartment building there is a nice common area with big windows, couches, wifi, and a self serve coffee/tea bar. One day Lorelei wanted some tea so we headed over with our Starbucks mugs to get some earl grey. On the counter was a bag. At first glance I thought it was a gym bag that someone had left and someone else set it out for them to find. 

Then I looked harder. There was a note tucked inside the front pocket reading, "Hi! Read me! -Tiel". As I grabbed the note to read it (whether it was for someone specific or not was lost on me, I'm awfully curious) I realized the bag was a canvas and mesh pet carrier and there was a fluffy, beautiful grey kitty huddled against one side, terrified, in there.

I expected the note to read of regrets of moving or allergies, some reason for this poor cat to be sitting on a counter in a bag for any weirdo to take. The note was jolly, and went on about the cat's personality and needs. As I read the note I cried (that's something I do pretty easily, but this was different), out of sadness and empathy for this cat who had no idea what was going on, and out of anger that people can do that sort of thing (and do all the time). 

I called and texted David until I could get him to meet me there to see (he does maintenance in the building we live in). David's first reaction: "So do you want to take him?". He knew I did, and I don't think it bothered him much, he's kind of a crazy cat lady. 

Anyways, I brought him home and David informed the management. They found out through video footage who left him and that he had been there for an hour and a half.

Yesterday marked one week of Earl (something we always wanted to name a grey, male pet. And yeah, we talk about pet names on occasion) living with us. The first two days he didn't come out from under the crib at all so we fed and gave him water under there. Poor guy was in shock and feeling rather displaced. On the third day I took him into the bathroom and shut the door so that he could use the bathroom without feeling threatened by our toddler or two other pets. He then took up behind the toilet as his hiding spot. Eventually he moved into our walk-in closet. Finally, night before last he came out exploring the whole apartment. And howling. That boy is a talker, and he only wants to talk after everyone else is in bed. And he's loud. We've lost some sleep over it, but we're trying to learn to overlook the little quirk. He is a sweet heart.

The hardest part aside from the lost sleep is that he's not hitting it off with anyone but me and David. Our other cat, Roxy, is very interested and follows him around, but if she gets too close Earl grumbles and hisses. Then our mini schnauzer, Edith, is a very excitable little thing, and loves cats, but she is also pretty authoritative and when someone does something she doesn't like she gets persnickety. It's good when cats try to scratch on the couch and she chases them away, or when Earl is being loud and she herds him back into the closet. But she also wants to keep him from getting any attention or coming onto the bed with us. And then, Lorelei, she absolutely adores animals, all of them, and she's very gentle, but none of them want anything to do with her. Probably because she moves quickly and she's loud.

So yeah, we now have a toddler and 3 pets in our one bedroom apartment and once everyone can get along we'll be happy little clams.

Just out of curiosity, what kind of pets do you have, and what do they do to drive you crazy?


Just Another Manic Monday!

Among the posts I have building up to edit for, draft, and publish, this is the only one I have the stamina for today. For some reason last night Lorelei decided she didn't want to sleep. In fact, she was up for 13.5 hours straight, into the wee hours of the morning. When I finally got her into her crib at 2:30, our new cat decided that it was time to come out of the "shell" he's been in since we brought him home. He ran around the apartment yodeling at the top of his lungs like a female cat in heat (if you don't know what that is like you are lucky, and I would never wish it on anyone!). He knocked my dishsoap and countertop spray into the sink, toppled a box off of the bar, and tried to climb into the Christmas tree. I hate to say it, but he's a pest... I finally brought him into submission with catnip and put him in the closet (with the doors open y'all, I'm not completely evil) and he stayed quietly until Lorelei woke up again sometime between 5 and 6. 

I don't know if I've said it here, but my child isn't a good sleeper. She's the opposite of that. We've struggled with her sleeping habits since we moved her out of full time co-sleeping when she was 6 months old. Today she is 22 months old, and no closer to sleeping more than a 5 hour stretch at a time or having regular naps or bedtimes. It's mostly my fault, I'm terrible with routine and structure and I'll be the first to admit it. Right now she's sitting on my lap as I try to get this posted. It's been a long, and exhausting almost 2 years, but gosh do I love her! 

1. Refuses to eat a whole meal in the highchair. 2. Baked potato with chopped Field Roast, sautéed spinach, and red wine shoyu redux. 3. Doin man things. 4. Homemade crust and marinara, Daiya mozzarella shreds, Tofurky pepperoni, unstuffed green olives, and sautéed portobello. 5. Sriracha Thyme pasta with spinach. 6. Ginger wheat shortbread cookie with matcha ginger glaze. 7. Driving us bonkers. 8. Mac Daddy 9. Everyday  

1. Earl Grey, out of hiding. 2. Head start on our container garden. 3. Breakfast. 4. Klimt, Sea Serpent finally hung. 5. IS II. 6. Free garbage shelves. 7. Matcha almond milk latte. 8. My favorite monkey, giving me ovarian twitches. 9. Shy boy. 


Thanks 2,000!

This week I am excited that MaeLiveFree hit over 2,000 views, and had my most views on one post yet! I wanted to say thank you to those of you that follow and/or regularly read here, and also a very big thank you to Reddit vegans! It seems that the direction I've started taking here is paying off in many ways. For one, I'm more inspired than ever: to get out of my cooking rut, to create (recipes that is), to write more, and to share my life here. If it weren't for those of you who take any interest, for whatever reason, I would have given up on blogging a long time ago! I'm also very excited for the more active role my husband is taking in making this blog what I want it to be. He has always been supportive, and by default takes more pictures than me (therefore it's always been mostly his images here), but now nearly all of the images seen here will be his photographic work. I think it will be fun to document his evolution in photography skills in this space. So anyways, big, BIG, thank you to all of you. I hope this holiday season is looking merry and bright. Cheers!
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