Currently Digging

20 Sep

The_BeatlesNow that Game of Thrones is over, I’ve been casting about for a good series to dive into. Nothing had quite hit the mark so I turned to documentaries as I browsed Hulu recently and happened upon the new Ron Howard documentary Eight Days a Week. 

THE BEATLES WERE SO CHEEKY! I quickly fell hard and fast for it. I’ve loved the Beatles years now, but I didn’t have quite the same introduction to them as most. My mom loves Sarah Brightman, Andrea Bocceli, and Elton John so those were the voices I grew up with. (And Billy Joel. Thanks Dad.)

As with most things television, film or music, I have to credit my husband for helping me grow to appreciate the Beatles. Some of the first mix CDs he made me early in our relationship featured Beatles’ songs that are some of my favorites to this day. Songs like “When I’m Sixty-four” still make me chuckle:

I could be handy, mending a fuse
When your lights have gone
You can knit a sweater by the fireside
Sunday mornings go for a ride

Still, my knowledge of the group is largely culturally sourced. Broadly, I know they’re considered the most creative force to hit popular music and I’ve picked up bits and pieces over the years about various songs, like how Paul McCartney supposedly wrote Hey Jude for Lennon’s son, Julian. But it wasn’t until I watched Eight Days a Week that I learned just how rare a group they really were. Their candor and silliness in their early days, matched with their artistry rendered them unlike any other band in history. When I look at artists like Taylor Swift today, I see a product. I’m not saying Tay is any less an artist, more that what so many artists today strive for is what The Beatles just had by nature of being four young, talented friends who wanted to make music together.

Beatles_HWB_CD_Cover_RGB

I can’t recommend the documentary enough. It gave me an excellent peek inside the lives of these artists I’ve come to love and piqued my interest enough to pick up some reads so I can dive a little deeper. And in the meantime, I’m adopting a new musical appreciation strategy for our kids that will henceforth be known as Beatles Sunday. All Beatles. All day. It’s never to soon to start teaching them to appreciate good music, right?

Sources: 
Dempsey, Liam. How the Beatles Changed Music. Digital Music Academy [online resource]
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Picco’s Warm Spinach Salad

20 Sep

10562588_938865354494_5022638164799507105_oA few years ago the advertising agency I was working for catered lunch for us from local Boston eatery Picco. While the pizza was to die for, it was this warm spinach salad that I absolutely fell head over heels for. It’s a seasonal salad so the second the temperature turns cooler, I look for it on their menu, but when it’s not available, (or I’m craving it on a weekday and can’t drive into the city) I like to use the following recipe to make it at home:

Warm Spinach Salad

Ingredients

  • 4 slices bacon (cut into 1 inch slices)
  • 1 cup red onion (sliced)
  • 1 1/2 cups white beans
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 small clove garlic (grated)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 ounces baby spinach
  • ¼ cup goat cheese (crumbled)
Instructions
  1. Cook the bacon in a pan and set aside reserving 2 tablespoons of bacon grease.
  2. Caramelize the onions in the remaining bacon grease and remove from heat before tossing with the beans and set aside.
  3. Add the vinegar to the pan and deglaze it.
  4. Add the reserved bacon grease, sugar, garlic and season with salt and pepper and remove from heat.
  5. Assemble salad, toss with dressing, and serve immediately.

How Life Has Changed Since Having Baby #2

19 Sep

I didn’t know how I was going to survive with two kids the first few weeks home, I’ll be honest. It seemed that one child was always awake when the other wasn’t and demanding my attention, be it to nurse (C) or wanting one-on-one solo time (E). I recall describing my life in those first few weeks as one endless cycle of pajamas and lukewarm coffee. Add to that the fact that I started a new part time job a week before I had C and went back to that job just three weeks after and it’s no wonder I didn’t think I was going to make it.

Now, nearly three months out, I still joke with people who ask how things are going: It was pretty rough in the beginning, but once you let them break you, there’s nowhere to go but up! Hahah. A mom friend also relayed something she’d been told after she had her second: “One is one and two is ten” which definitely resonated. In truth though, just as with our first, there is a bit of a shock when you realize how drastically changed your life is again and it doesn’t immediately register in your newbie mind that that change is forever. But life with two is actually better than I could have imagined.

With our first, I think that was the hardest part for me: adapting to this new normal. I kept trying to do, do, do at the same pace as before we had a child and eventually realized that it’s just not possible to maintain and stay sane. I had to readjust my expectations and as soon as I did, my life as a mom started to feel more manageable.

Eventually, I realized I needed to reprioritize and cut myself some slack because this was my life now and things wouldn’t be returning back to what they were. You’d think I’d have realized there would be that same period of adjustment with a second, but again, I struggled. I think that as a new parent I’m still learning that everything is fleeting. It’s ALL a phase I like to joke to Brian. Before C came along, Brian and I found ourselves relaxing into how independently E had started to become, playing alone for longer and longer periods of time and as quickly as we gave breath to the observation – on to the next phase! In E’s case, this meant the explosion of that independence into a need to do everything “me-self” [herself].

To give an example, initially I was daunted by the prospect of taking a solo trip with both children anywhere until recently and would often load the girls into the card to run out for coffee just to get out of the house and then I’d delay returning home, sometimes driving a bit beyond our destination just to get a brief break and a chance to observe my own thoughts without a child wandering into my brain.

But this morning, I masterfully juggled both girls and managed to get them both out the door and off to the gym where C slept soundly for nearly an hour in her car seat carrier and E happily played with the other kids her age. We even snuck in a local errand and a Dunkin’ run before returning home where, amazingly, E enjoyed her lunch and then went down for her nap with little to no fuss. It made me realize more than anything how much kids pick up on the vibes you out out because naptime isn’t always so easy breezy.

All this is just to make the point that, with C’s arrival, there was a long period of adjustment and then, suddenly around maybe week 9 or 10, things finally started to feel manageable and even, dare I say it… better? It’s not that they’re both suddenly excellent sleepers and model children, but I think the highs of parenthood are simply amplified with a second child. And for me at least, experience has taught me to savor these moments because I have finally learned that every moment is fleeting with kids and they’re growing up before my eyes.