Friday, January 29, 2010


I love London. Really, really love it. My hope is one day, Ryan's job will land us there for a moment. A year. Longer. Unlikely, but a girl can dream.

I sporadically read a few London papers and bookmarked this photo a bit back. It made me think, if I have to do January, let me do so in London where I can
wear black pantyhose,
with a red messenger bag,
shrouded by scarf and snow
as I scurry (by Plane trees),
through St. James Park.

"A woman walks through Saint James's Park in central London on January 13, 2010 as a fresh layer of snow covered the Capital city. Fresh snowfalls hit parts of Britain on Wednesday, forcing airports to close as businesses counted the cost of the worst winter in decades. More than 1,000 schools told pupils and teachers to stay at home, as road and rail transport transport links were gripped by renewed chaos, following several days of warmer weather during which snow had melted. "AFP PHOTO/Leon Neal (Photo credit should read LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

T tidbits for the week

1.) New words: plow, sunflowers, wood, drum, and melon.

2.) Start of the winter semester at Music Together. Learned a cutting-edge new song about Grandmas and Grandpas. (You can well imagine the giggle frenzy that incited for certain people.)

3.) First NY play date with twin girls from Music Together. Successful, despite the anxiety mommy felt watching T drool on a non-relative's toys, furniture, children, ect.

4.) Creative climbing. Yesterday found him atop the bathroom vanity. Standing up, mind you.

5.) Responds to the doorbell by descending long flight of stairs, to open door and greet Dad after a day at work. Plain ol' cute.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

three recent reads

The system is this:
Books that have been read go out in the living room, stored away in the makeshift case that is really nothing more than a sweater chest. Books yet to be enjoyed take their place in a stack next to the bed.

So now that you understand the order of my book universe, you can understand how it unintentionally came to be, upon simply grabbing the next book from the bedside pile (many purchased for me as gifts), that I happened to read three WWII, Holocaust- focused books in a row. I probably wouldn't purposefully pick such a heart-wrenching, mind consuming, makes you want to curl up and cry sorta topic and then read book after book on it....but the system allowed for it to happen. All three books (and particularly the last one) were so enlightening and most certainly worth talking about for a few moments.

The first one, mentioned earlier, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society, was by far the lightest read of the bunch. It peeked into German occupation of the English Channel Islands during the war and mixed in a little love story. Although it did touch on a couple lives affected by mainland concentration camps, it was not the focus of the story. Good, easy read. Go for it.

The second book I dived into was Sarah's Key. Thanks to long naps on Teddy's part and late nights on my own, I devoured this novel in 2 days. It was definitely the "can't put it down until I know the ending" type. Written by a Parisian, Sarah's Key told the story of one Jewish family's struggle under Nazi occupation in France's capital city. It focused specifically on the greatest mass arrest of Jews, on French soil (by French police), known today as the Vel' d'Hiv Roundup. Did you know in the span of 2 years, France alone sent 80,000 Jews to the concentration camps?!? The numbers are so mind blowing, life so devalued, that it's really difficult to even comprehend. Sarah's Key was a heart-stopping novel that makes you believe in the power of historical fiction to educate and help us remember.

My dad sent me Those Who Save Us a couple years ago and for whatever reason, it was never picked out of the pile until last week. When I read the first couple pages and realized it was another Holocaust narrative, I almost reached for a different pick. I'm so glad I didn't. Those Who Save Us told the haunting story of life inside Germany, for both Jewish and non-Jewish Germans. For the many who ask (myself being one), how could the German people allow such atrocities to take place during the Reich's reign? This book is for you. It is such a vivid glance into the economical, moral, and family conditions in German towns during the war. In no way does it excuse the complacency of non-Jews, if anything you could set the story aside with more judgements than when you began, but I promise you this....the story will seep into your soul, floating with you each day. And isn't that awareness, that recognition, that permanent piece of your heart that died just knowing what happened, one of the the only things we can give the victims?

So that's that. All great novels and if anyone else reads one, tell me...I love to talk books. For now, I'm sailing away to life in the southern hemisphere with The Savage Detectives.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


just a weeee bit in love.

Monday, January 18, 2010

mi amour

it is here.
where i first loved you.
that i still love you the most.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

cooking seasonally

My handsome, hardworking husband has been such a busy bee lately. The project here in Albany is starting to wrap up. Exciting, but also stressful. The poor dear has been working nonstop! We knew January would be a crazy month, so I bought a new book to keep me and baby bear busy.

And busy we've been...creating savory dishes to fill our winter bellies! It's the middle of January and my spirit was desperate for the yummy freshness of farm stand food. Our family tends to cook with a great deal of meat in the winter, absentminded of the delectable flavors winter produce can add to a dish. So my goal this week was to experiment with recipes that call for ingredients in season.

A couple nights ago I made a happy little melange of pan-roasted root vegetables. Who knew turnips, parsnips, and celery root could be so tasty when allowed to simmer in their own juices on the stove top! I also made a yummy variation of a favorite Brussels sprouts side dish that came out oh-so delicious! Brussels sprouts are one of Ryan's favorites too, he was delighted to reheat and dive in when he walked in the door later that evening.

Last night I made Pappa al Pomodoro, a classic Italian tomato soup that's thickened with leftover bread. It also has has lots of fennel and carrots (the seasonal ingredients). It was my first time cooking with fennel and I think it was a hit. Teddy loved it! He's a big soup eater, we all are, and I can't bring myself to do canned soups.

I've wanted to start cooking seasonally for sometime, but in the United States where ingredients are available year round, it's hard to muster up the creativity. The pay off is well worth it though, you just can't beat the flavor.

{deep, warm, cedar-smelling bear hugs from us to you...keeping it seasonal.}

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

in my heart always

Mary Kathleen Krutzig Morrow: 08/17/54 - 01/13/02

Eight years without our hugs is far too many.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

kitty strife

Our human child is under the hilarious assumption that he is a cat. Although he loves Omar and Greta (our furry felines), they've also fittingly developed a sort of sibling rivalry. If the cats are playing with the squishy ball, Teddy wants to play with the exact ball. If Teddy's cuddling on my lap, Omar will stand 2 ft away meowing incessantly waiting for his turn to be held. The photos below demonstrate the situation. O and T are in combat over the box.

Clearly, they enjoy the same sort of games.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

our toddler

Family photo taken in Nov. 09' by Thea Coughlin

Our dear, sweet Teddy has become a toddler. No if, ands, or buts about it. He's in a state of internal struggle with one arm clinging desperately to me and the other flailing wildly about, reaching for control over his world.

Over Christmas, he learned how to say "no." Now he uses the new vocabulary often. For example, I'll call out, "Teddy, it's dinner time." He'll call back, "No." I'll say, "Teddy let's go take a bath." He'll say, "No." You get the picture. The odd (and lovable) thing is the tone of his voice. It's not at all what you'd expect. The negative declarations squeak out quietly, ending in almost a whisper. He compliments them with big, wide puppy eyes framed by a raised eyebrows. Cute enough, right? After all, he's only 1 years-old and excited just to say new words. The thing is, despite the soft voice, he means business. When we insist that an activity be completed, despite his nix, he begins to cry and once in awhile will end in a full blown tantrum. Becoming less cute, right?

These outbursts are still pretty new to us. I began to see the first sign of them while in Minnesota last month. I chalked it up to the ear infection creating a sleep deprived, unhappy little snow angel. Now that we're home though, and the infection is gone, it's clear Mr. Theodore is just aching for more control in life. To be honest, I can appreciate that. It must be hard to have someone else make nearly every decision for you. After all he's intelligent, with likes and dislikes just like everybody else. Unfortunately he's still just a wee babe and incapable of making reasonable decisions. (Sorry, I know I'm stating the obvious....typing out loud ; ) So how do we find that harmonious balance of respect, authority, and love in our family?

My sweet husband only had to witness one such storm to kick start his solution-orientated mind. After the dust settled, I found him online frantically googling "toddler tantrums." He didn't have much luck so the next day I headed out to pick up Dr. Harvey Karp's, The Happiest Toddler on the Block. After some research of my own, I'd learned Karp's book was beloved by both parents and critics.

Well, that was earlier this week and so far I've read about half the book. I've found the material and research fascinating. Karp begins by educating parents on the mechanics of the toddler brain. He explains how immature it still is, struggling for language and logic, especially when it's upset. He goes on to give tips for communicating with anyone who's upset (toddlers included) and most notably reminds us to listen and repeat, rather than rush to distract and hush away their feelings.

So I'm anxious to finish the book. Although parts of it are clearly aimed at 3 and 4 year-olds, I've been able to put a few ideas into practice and I think we're seeing some positive results. I'll share more after I've utilized the strategies for a period of time.

Hope you are all having cozy, cuddly January days. We are in it. In the heart of winter. Over Christmas, I turned to my dad on a particularly frigid day and asked "Who lives like this? What sort of extremists exist in such conditions?" Although I love a snowy day, I hate the below zero stuff. It makes my bones ache and my mind numb. Today I'm dreaming about the hot, heavy days of summer.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

home from the holidays

We are finally back in New York after a wonderful holiday break in Minnesota! Well, most of it was wonderful. Theodore did get a pretty nasty ear infection and Ryan did a lot of scurrying back and forth across the country, but all in all it was a great holiday.

Highlights of our time at home:

1.) First night back in Minnesota, cuddled up in bed, staring out at the soft, still, snow-covered lake. The shoreline alive with the swaying shadows of leafless branches dancing in the yard.

2.) Decorating yummy cookies at my dad's house with he and his wife, Maria. My brother and I managed to quietly slip through childhood without ever decorating Christmas cookies so it was a treat (no pun intended) to start this tradition. Note to Self: For at least the next couple years Teddy may be better utilized as a cookie taste tester rather than cookie decorator.

3.) Having my husband home for four days in a row! He'd worked every single day since Thanksgiving, so when I picked him up at the new train station on the 23rd we were SO EXCITED! Four full uninterrupted days together! Teddy's ear infection also fell over that time so it was a Godsend to have him home with us.

4.) Completing my first quilt. Over Thanksgiving I started a quilt for Kelly's growing bambino. With lots of support from my wonderful in-law's, I finished just in time for her shower. It was a challenging project...picking out fabrics, deciding on placement, but it was so fun! I also got to spend lots of time with my lovely mother-in-law as she patiently gave tips, helped re thread the bobbin, and simply kept me company during a few late nights. A special project for a baby that is already so loved and fantastic time spent learning the craft with Ryan's mom.

5.) Helping to host Kelly's shower. We tried to create a vintage theme centered around old family china, teacups, platters, table clothes, and aprons. All the guests wore an apron and we talked about all the ways they can be used by a dry little hands, wipe away a tears, or hide a shy child. It all came together beautifully and everyone seemed to have a great time! Most importantly, it was a special day set aside to celebrate mother and baby as they are much too far away from us most of the time.

Hope you all had a lovely holiday season too! I did want to mention, I finished The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society over Christmas and found it to be such a charming story. If you haven't read it yet, go pick it up!