Dumplings Save The Day

This is not a mommy blog. I don’t really talk too much about parenting and Oliver, not my deal. I love my guy more than anything, for sure, but that’s not what my blog is about. That said, I wanted to share an Oliver experience.

For the past 2.5 years, we had the most wonderful nanny, but she found a real job last month. We hired a summer nanny, but she decided to quit with no notice via email a few weeks ago. Awesome. As Oliver begins Pre-K in September, which is 5 days a week, his dad and I decided that full-time school made the most sense rather than using a nanny as a chauffeur (we live in Seattle, school is on Mercer Island) and continuing him with 5 part-time days. When the summer nanny quit, we had to start full-time a bit sooner. It has been rough. We are in transition mode. He’s not napping anymore, although he clearly needs it, and he’s adjusting his full days at school.

When I picked Oliver up on Monday, he was pissed off from the second he saw me, he literally made an angry noise when I came in the room. That felt terrible. We then sat in traffic for 40 minutes, had to stop at the grocery store to get dinner, I was not allowed to have any music on in the car and he was a disaster. The demanding, frustrated, worst version of his 4.5 year old self. It sucked for us both. Especially as I was so excited to see him after a long day of work. It is a total let down when he acts like that and I have to gear up for our challenging evening with no one to hand him off to, rather than enjoying time with my favorite person on earth. Things are only compounded as I don’t see him every day.

Yesterday when I picked him up, we began the same way. He was mad I was there, he wanted to play with his friends. Traffic was bad again and we still needed to figure out dinner. I did not want a repeat of the night before. I made a game time decision and asked him if he wanted to go eat at his favorite restaurant, Din Tai Fung. He got really excited. It was a 10 minute drive going in the opposite direction of traffic and we got right into the restaurant with no wait as we arrived at 5pm. Win.

We ate green beans and dumplings and noodles and he drank his 3 drinks (milk, water, Sprite – yes, I caved and gave him a very special treat of soda) out of crazy straws. He was happy. A little on the edge and tired, but happy. This made me really happy. We capped the night off with a few video games next door at Lucky Strike. He didn’t want to leave after his 2 games, but he did with no fight. He crashed in the car and I was able to give him a bath and get him to bed with no major meltdown.

It was like a delicate terrorist negotiation. No one was injured. I consider this a success. I obviously can’t do this every time I pick him up, but it felt great to step out of the routine a little and do something special. It is my instinct to cook for Oliver and have our evening routine at home, but it’s also really good for me to remember that when I can be a little bit flexible, the outcome can be so positive and enjoyable!

And I got to have dinner at one of my fave places with leftovers for lunch. Win/win!

My Steamy Little Secret

I get so excited when I come up with a clever little title like that for a post. Because like I’d really share my steamy secrets on the blog, duh! My parents read it! What I will share with you lucky readers is one of my favorite new products that happens to cost under $20. I present to you the My Little Steamer Go Mini Hand Steamer, available at Bed Bath & Beyond for $19.99 (this is the best price, other stores have it, but it is more expensive by at least $10). This guy is awesome. As we all know, I like Joie clothing. Those silky tops are always getting creases and wrinkles, but they’re not dirty, and I have to dry clean just so they look presentable again…until now! (I am aware that I may be sounding like an infomercial, but I’m being serious)

You add tap water, plug it in, and 2 minutes later, you are steaming your way to a wrinkle-free top. I love it! And the small size makes it a solid travel companion. It’s not meant to replace your iron, sorry, but for those dry clean only tops that get creased, it’s a dream.

I don’t understand why you wouldn’t buy this. Do you want to look like a ragamuffin? I didn’t think so.

Sometimes I don’t really think it’s fair that I just give, give, give, but here you go. Again. Happy Monday!

Heirloom Tomato Soup

I love getting my monthly Metropolitan Market coupon in the mail. I get really excited when I actually remember to put it in my purse, use it and save myself some cash! This week’s offer was a free pound of heirloom tomatoes. This coincided with Marin Mama’s Weekly Dinner Menu for August 3rd. She posted a recipe for Heirloom Tomato Soup which she calls her family’s “FAVORITE soup ever!” OK, that’s some persuasive language. Coupon + rave recipe = my Heirloom Tomato Soup fate was sealed.

No joke, this soup is perfection, rave-worthy, and unlike most tomato soups, no cream necessary. Pretty and delish, this little gem would be a lovely starter for your summer dinner party. Heirloom tomatoes are in season from August until early October, so now is the perfect time to make yourself a big batch. I wish I would have doubled this and put some in the freezer (or just gone on a massive soup bender and eaten it all this week). I will definitely be making this again! Another brilliant creation from Marin Mama Jackie!

Heirloom Tomato Soup – courtesy of Marin Mama Cooks

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 yellow onion, medium dice
  • 1/2 cup olive oil, divided – you will use 1/4 cup twice in the recipe
  • 1 bunch fresh basil
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 4 sprigs fresh marjoram
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced (Jackie’s recipe calls for the garlic microplaned, but it’s all being puréed, so I didn’t see the need for the microplaning)
  • 5 overripe heirloom tomatoes (any color), cored and large chunked
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

Directions

Prep all your ingredients.  Wash your herbs, chop up your onion and core and chop your tomatoes into large chunks.

Take your bunch of basil, your 4 sprigs of thyme and 4 sprigs of oregano or marjoram, and tie them up together with some kitchen twine.

Heat 1/4 cup olive oil, the diced onion and herb bunch in a dutch oven or soup pot over medium low heat, until the onion is soft, tender and translucent, but not browned.  You’re basically sweating the onion here.

Stir in the garlic and quickly add the tomatoes and 1/2 tablespoon of salt. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for about 10-15 minutes or until the tomatoes are broken down.  Make sure you occasionally stir the tomatoes.

Remove the herbs.  Stir in the 1 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar and the in the 1/4 cup of olive oil. Turn off the heat.

Puree the soup either using a hand held immersion blender or a regular blender. If you’re using a blender, return the soup to the pot after your puree it. (Lynne’s Note – I used my immersion blender and found that it wasn’t quite smooth enough, so I threw it in the blender. This worked much better, but I had to do two batches.)

Keep warm until ready to serve.

I served with another seasonal fave, sautéed zucchini with garlic and red pepper flakes. A light, summer dinner, and it’s even vegan! A real shocker for this meat/dairy lover. So, so good.

Summer Dinner

Surrender

Over the course of the past few weeks, I have gone through some personal catharsis. It’s been kind of intense and it involves getting to a new and different place with my divorce. I don’t talk about the details of my divorce on the blog, because that’s no fun for anyone and it is frankly no one’s business.

I have been on my own for 2.5 years and it has been an arduous process rebuilding my life and working on myself. With time and a shit ton of therapy, I am in a really good place. I am happy. Happy in my new house, happy with Oliver, happy in my own skin. And there’s no guy or anything that helped get me here, it’s just me (I love that part!). I don’t think it is a coincidence that as I am here, in this space, I am also ready to let go of the anger that has lingered these past few years post split. What’s so funny is I never realized how good it would feel. How crazy is that? By surrendering to forgiveness, which I thought insurmountable at one time, I feel this massive weight has lifted. Seriously, it feels amazing.

This has not been an overnight transformation from angry Lynne to happy Lynne, by any means. It has been an evolution of healing and processing which has lead me to a place that I am finally ready to accept and forgive. As much as I needed to hold on to my anger for that time, to really feel it and be in it, I don’t need it anymore. I am ready to move on. And now I can see how much energy I was spending holding on to it so tightly. Energy that I can now put into something much more gratifying, like just living and enjoying not having any major conflict in my life for the first time in for-fucking-ever!

Does that mean I will never have angry feelings again about how challenging divorce and co-parenting with your ex can be? Duh, no. But I am going to take a minute and appreciate where I am today and hope that it will help me through the challenges going forward in a different way.

This post has been a draft for 2 weeks. Today in my amazing Corepower Yoga class, the instructor read this quote during shavasana:

Listen to this truth: We are each in our present circumstances for a reason. There is a lesson, a valuable lesson, that must be learned before we can move forward.

Something important is being worked out in us, and in those around us. We may not be able to identify it today, but we can know that it is important. We can know it is good.

Overcome not by force, overcome by surrender. The battle is fought, and won, inside ourselves. We must go through it until we learn, until we accept, until we become grateful, until we are set free.

…and I realized that I needed to finish the post as I have been set free. In the words of Dina Manzo, Namaste Bitches.