We had a wonderful Thanksgiving yesterday, and because Thanksgiving isn’t enough of a theme for our family we had bacon Thanksgiving or “Bacs-giving” as we have been calling it.

Themed Thanksgiving started inadvertently 4 years ago when we took a butter count at Thanksgiving and realized butter was the star of that meal. Not only was it in every single dish, but we used 17 sticks total (for 10 people).

The following year we celebrated Thanksgivingikkuah because Hanukkah coincided with Thanksgiving. Opening Thanksgiving with latkes was filling and I am relieved that we don’t have to repeat that one ever again.

Last year we challenged ourselves to bourbon Thanksgiving and we had fun working bourbon into each dish.

Yesterday we celebrated Bacsgiving, complete with a turkey with bacon feathers, green bean casserole topped with chicharones, bacon cheddar cornbread stuffing, bacon bread, bacon mashed potatoes, candied bacon cocktails (the fail of the day), and last but not least, salted caramel bacon ice cream (made by my chef brother).


We had some novelty bacon soda and bacon cotton candy, but it was not tasty at all.


Thanksgiving is all about the leftovers though, so today we had turkey sandwich for lunch and bacon ranch turkey pizzas for Friday night movie night.

On football Sunday we will have Thanksgiving nachos (where you put all the leftovers on chips and bake it with cheese). It is delicious. We invented that one in the mountains a few years ago.

We will have the last of the leftovers on Tuesday for our co-op meal (we trade dinners one night a week with our neighbors). We will have turkey and gnocchi which is as good as comfort food gets.

I didn’t realize until I finished writing this just how many special meals come out of Thanksgiving. It just goes to show that in the true spirit of harvest and abundance, it is the meal that just keeps on giving.

How was your Thanksgiving city mama?




P.S. Here is the hilarious conversation I had with Ellis on Thanksgiving day:

Ellis (dressed in a princess Elsa costume): What happened to that turkey? Did it get attacked by a serval?
Me: No, this is how the turkey comes. We are going to eat it for Thanksgiving.
Ellis: Elsa’s not eating that. Turkeys are animals. Elsa doesn’t eat animals.

(He did eat turkey and a bunch of stuffing, which was a huge victory since we joked about having to serve air casserole to Ellis/Elsa.)

The Myth of the “Mommy Wars”

I have been a mom for almost 4 years now. When I joined this amazing club of motherhood, my kids certainly put me through the paces, but I was never hazed by other mothers.

Yes, I feel like I earned my stripes and stretch marks and put in my middle of the night hours. I have struggled through potty training and toddler years and that has earned me a place among other parents. I feel like I belong, not like I am at war.

In fact, never once in the past four years have I felt “at war” with other moms.

So what is going on here? Where is this “mommy war”?

There are so many things I dislike about this commercial that circulated a while ago, chiefly that it perpetuates some myth about motherhood in an effort to manipulate me into buying things. But I am starting to wonder if it isn’t just perpetuating the mommy wars myth, but actually inventing it.

It is like when kids watch commercials for toys they never knew existed and decide they Must. Have. It. Except it plays on the self-esteem of mothers. Although I baby-wear I have never felt like a mom pushing a stroller is judging me (nor I her). I have not escaped judgment completely and I wrote about that here, but I realize that I have never felt judged by a peer parent. Another parent would never call a fellow parent “just a mom.”

Telling moms that they aren’t good enough (and claiming that judgment comes from other moms) is a great way to keep them engaged in the consumer cycle of “self-improvement.” A formula for your fears, a stroller for your sorrows, a gizmo for your guilt. But really we know that gear doesn’t make the parent, and moreover the pressure to be a better parent has never come from other parents. In fact, when I am feeling fear, sorrow or guilt, I have learned to turn to other mothers for support, the very mothers who apparently are my enemies on the baby battlefield. I have called mom friends in between conference calls and on commutes and received mayday calls in return during naptime and on the playground. We help each other make it work because that is what parenting is all about.

I don’t have to try very hard not to be a sancti-mommy, even about the issues that are the most important to me . If I can keep my judgments in check about my most important values, I think it is about time we call bullshit on the “mommy wars.” We don’t even need to wave the white burp cloth, because we were never at war to begin with.

A Helpers Heart

In the early weeks of being home with a small infant, I remember looking into Luke’s brown eyes and wondering what of his traits were already the traits I’d see his entire life, and what traits were the passing phases of childhood.

photo 2It’s probably one of the best parts of parenthood; watching your child grow and understanding what those traits are. In the last several months, I feel like we are just coming to understand what makes Luke unique.

He loves music, something I suspected when he was still in utero. He’s an adventurous eater…which I suspected early on as well. And we’ve come to notice that he has the heart of a helper. One of my favorite stories the day care has passed on is the way he approaches free play. Most of the day each day is scheduled for the kids. They eat, do craft projects, have puppet shows, music time, do art projects and spend time outside. Coupled with a long nap time, their days are pretty structured. But twice a day they have a half hour of free play during which, we’ve come to learn, Luke will walk around the room watching the other kids play and, upon noticing something they need or someone one without a toy, delivers things around the room as appropriate.

Lately, he wants to help with all of the household chores. And, this can be adorable and simultaneously annoying. It can take twice as long and sometimes generate more of a mess bringing him in the loop. But, for the most part, I do what I can to make him part of the action. We wash dishes together and he helps us load and unload the dishwasher. For months he has “helped” deliver the laundry from the washer and dryer to its appropriate place in the apartment. But usually, the laundry needs refolded after this endeavor. We sweep, throw things away, and pick up toys at the end of the night. He cleans up his own spills with napkins and paper towels. When we get our monthly shipment of diapers, he can barely contain his excitement in helping us unpack things.

photo 3He’s most proud of his latest chore, feeding the cat. Without prompting, Luke’s taken it upon himself to check Foxy’s food dishes to see if they’re full. And he knows where we keep her food and points there yelling “Kitty! Food!” until I help him open the containers. It’s doubly sweet to see him so eager to help and take care of a being he loves so much.

I take very little credit for Luke’s interest in all of these activities. I think it’s a fortuitous combination of his personality and some exceptional coaching by the day care teachers. I hope it’s something we can encourage in the years to come. In the meantime, I can’t wait to learn more about what makes this little man tick and watch him put it to work taking on this life of his.

Clear the Way

I accept that my kid just isn’t crafty. He isn’t really a maker. He will play with playdough –and if you think you aren’t a control freak just try playing playdough with a toddler—or more accurately try cleaning up…so many specks of mixed up colors drying out everywhere, but I digress. Other than playdough Ellis has zero interest in crafty things. He doesn’t color. He will instruct me to “draw a shark and color it in blue” but he won’t actually do it himself. He likes to take the caps off all the markers and line them up like a train, but that doesn’t count as crafty.

But after reinventing my own crafty area to great result I started to wonder if this was a space problem and not a craft issue. So this post got me thinking that I need to practice what I preach for the boys. I have loved having a space of my own and it has encouraged me to do the activities that I love. I want the boys to have space to do the things they love too, but I often just expect that they can make it work without too much help from me. Markers come out at the kitchen table and I spend a lot of time reminding Ellis to draw on the paper not the table. That set up is not fun.

So on a whim we tried out a new set up on the screen porch. Turns out this sweet vintage kids table is an ideal spot for crafting and my kid who never draws started churning out works of “art” (in my eyes). He doesn’t have to worry about marking up the table (it can take it, marker wipes right off) and he is free to wander out there whenever the mood strikes to color instead of asking to use the markers and enduring the production of setting up.


Buoyed by my craft table success I decided to try an improve the outdoor play experience too. I have noticed in the last few weeks that when I say “go outside and play” the kids have been out for shorter and bored faster. This has been baffling to me because the weather is perfect and there are leaves everywhere. It is the best time of year to play outside. But today I figured out that the leaves were getting in the way of playing so we raked them all up and wouldn’t you know it they played for HOURS in the sandbox.


I know raking and putting a table outside isn’t really revolutionary and I realize this might seem obvious, but it reinforced a central value of parenting for me. I know I am not the best at just playing with my kids, but I am good at setting the stage to make good play possible. I feel like it is my job to clear the way and then move aside to let the fun begin.

Weather or Not

photo 1Without fail, every October we’ve lived in LA has been blazing hot. This year we went to two pumpkin patches and I wore tank tops to both of them and still I was sweating. We even found ourselves at the community pool a few weekends seeking relief. But, as if Mother Nature was watching her own calendar, last week found us hitting cooler temps and I for one am thrilled.
I have a reputation for being a summer girl–and I definitely don’t mind it–but I absolutely love the change of place that fall brings.

The cooler air, the holidays and the dark evenings make me want to slow down and appreciate friends and family in a way that spring and summer just don’t allow. Traveling for work has given me an early taste of the cooler weather but now that it’s hit our home town I’m ready to jump in with both 2We’ve just dipped below 70 and I’m pulling out scarves, light jackets and cardigans. Meanwhile, Luke has been forced into fleecy footie pajamas and into coats on his way to and from daycare. It’s laughable coming from a couple who would wear flip flops and shorts all winter when we were living back east.

The weather man is predicting a cool wet winter for us here and this Californian couldn’t be happier. I have a backlog of autumn activities on my mind and I wasted no time this week getting caught up.

For example, in the fall, I make tea after dinner and light candles to bring more warmth and light to the rooms. (This has prompted Luke to sing happy birthday each time I do; so are the joys of living with a toddler.) The warm light in our apartment makes it feel homier and encourages me to dial back a notch or two in a way that I can’t find during the sweltering months of July, August and September.

This weekend, we laid low… I wore flannel, knit socks, and hoodies. We spent our time cleaning, watching sports, cooking and hanging with friends. Luke took a three-hour nap yesterday, which NEVER happens, and I got to sit on the couch and knit to my heart’s content.

I put out an APB whenever I make chili and our friends come by with beer and corn bread. It lends for a nice evening of catching up and casualness. Last year it never got cool enough to eat chili let alone have the stove on for a few hours.

The year before, I had perpetual heartburn during my pregnancy and a cranky newborn that wouldn’t allow for us to make it either. I’m thrilled we were able to fit it in yesterday and even with our guests we have leftovers to last us for days.

We had a tiny baby visiting for the first time since Luke was born and he did a good job playing “the big boy” showing Joshua his toys, and “pushing” him in the baby swing (with MUCH supervision).

photo 5Today I bundled up for work finally getting to don a handknit cowl that I finished months ago. And walking around Hollywood to run errands it was the perfect weather to sport it.

We’ve had Thanksgiving’s in years past where we opened all the doors and windows to combat the heat from the oven. I’ve driven with the windows down while listening to Christmas carols. We’ve landed back in LA on New Years Day and promptly changed into shorts.

So it goes living in a warmer climate and come late January when my Facebook feed fills with posts about yet another snowstorm, I’m happy to be living in such a warm city. But this time of year, even if it’s fleeting, I’m thrilled to wake up to brisk temps and a warm cup of coffee at the start of the day.

Varsity (Blues)

Today is the first day of Adam’s new job. As a stay-at-home parent when your spouse gets a new job, so do you.


In a lot of ways the new job is a much better fit for our family. Although Adam was lucky enough to mostly work remotely for the past 5 years, the new local job ends the 10 months of weekly travel to DC that we have all endured; eliminating a lot of auxiliary stress. It brings new opportunities for professional growth for Adam.

Even though the DC commute was brutal the other three days a week Adam got to work from home, which was such a gift to us as a family. Now Adam has a traditional job that is almost an hour away. So he adds 10 hours of commuting to his work week and I add an additional 10 hours of solo parenting to my load.
I would love to say that I am only excited and grateful for this opportunity, but the truth is I am nervous that I am not up to the challenge. I was a work-at-home mom when Ellis was really little and I became a full-time stay-at-home mom right before Calvin was born, but I have always had a super supportive involved partner. When Adam worked remotely we saw him for lunch, he could run inside if the boys were doing something adorable (or abominable) and he was right there if I just needed an extra pair of arms so that I could go to the bathroom. Now we are on our own for 11 hours a day. I feel like I just got drafted for the varsity team from the rec league. Although let’s face it there is nothing amateur about parenting. It is relentless and all consuming for one hour or eleven hours.

I am most dreading that at the end of a long day I will be so drained that I won’t feel like parenting or partnering with Adam. I am mourning the loss of our teamwork as we each delve deeper into our own zones (professional for him and home for me).
I don’t know how this will go (since we aren’t even half way through day one) but I hope we are able to cope. I know we will have to get creative. I have my eye on a gym membership with built in childcare. Don’t be surprised if you find me reading in the locker room just to get a break.

Riding in Elevators with Boys

I work on the fifth floor of a five story building. I live on the second floor of a three story building with a toddler and tons of gear. I spend a lot of time in elevators.

My new building is predominantly occupied by various entertainment companies. A documentary film production house, a casting agency and an event management organization. The ratio of men to women at these companies swings wildly in favor of the guys.

So several times a day I find myself in a metallic box, either making small talk or not making eye contact waiting to move on to my destination. It’s prompted me, however, to find myself thinking a lot about feminism.

I wouldn’t classify myself as your traditional feminist. I like wearing dresses, heels and makeup. On formal occasions or even date night, I like it when someone opens the car door for me. Still, I want equal pay for equal work and I want the opportunity to do whatever job I so desire.

It’s recently become prevalent in my day-to-date life to be on the receiving end of one of the last bastions of chivalry. I’m astounded by the number of men that wait for me to enter or exit the elevator on a daily basis. All kinds of men too…men in suits, UPS men, hipster dudes in t-shirts with handlebar mustaches. If I’m being honest, I find it a little annoying.

Sometimes I’m not paying attention and I don’t realize they’re waiting for me. Sometimes I have to hurry up to the elevator because someone saw me coming and felt obligated to wait. Sometimes I don’t want to be acknowledged for having a vagina.

Recently I was in a crowded elevator in a hotel. There were 6 women and a man, who got on last. Instead of stepping off the elevator, he moved like a Tetris piece around us all waiting for every lady to step off prior to exiting himself.

I feel a little bratty admitting it but I just don’t understand it. In many instances, particularly compared to an older man, I’m stronger and more agile. And, of all the things to have withheld the sexual revolution, what is it about the elevator that has caused it to hold on.

Now, I’m not about to suggest we burn our bras in protest of an act of good manners but I am putting it out there to find out…am I the only one whose noticed this? If I’m not, am I the only one annoyed by it? And, what do you do?