Hungry Hungry Hippie

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Party weekend

The birthday posts continue!  Even though he officially turned two last week, we held a small birthday party at a local park this holiday weekend.

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Our big two year old!

That was on Monday…so first lemme back up…Kyle’s parents arrived in town on Saturday and we went to watch Kyle play ultimate frisbee as a big group.

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We hit up WF for groceries after…Happy Valentines’s dinner to us.

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I went the totally easy route with quinoa, rotisserie chicken and Caesar salad.  Not much hands on time, so I could be with family as much as possible.

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And what is the 14th without some chocolate!?! Am I right??  The toffee was the best of the three.  Not that I didn’t love on the Theo bars too…but the toffee and sea salt combo was the hands down favorite.

We had a mellow Sunday morning…walked to Starbucks with the group and dug in to baked French toast after we got home.  I guess I forgot to take pics, but it was the same recipe as linked above only I used Udi’s rolls instead of baguettes because WF was out of baguettes.  Same delicious outcome.

After P went down for his nap I worked on birthday party stuff and Kyle and his parents went out to get their rental car…they came back with food from Nugget.  :)

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My two VERY FAVORITE items from Nugget, to be exact.  The salmon ABLT on gluten free bread and the broccoli salad. Oh happy day.

After the little guy awoke and ate lunch we set off for the zoo.  Thank goodness we are members because the line to buy tickets was craaaaazy long.  Good weather and a long weekend brings out all the families.

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My monkey loves watching the animals.  Here’s his flamingo pose.

I ran out to the grocery store for some more last minute food and party things while the rest of the crew played at home; and then it was dinner time.

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Another simple meal – Mexican bowls with crock pot shredded salsa chicken, brown rice, black beans, avo, salsa and cheese for the others.  This meal is perfect because the rice cooker and crock pot do most of the work plus P eats all the same stuff so it’s a definite winner.

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After dinner I did more party prep (so that pretty much everything was ready for the next day) and then we all shared more chocolate.  Ghirardelli’s sea salt soiree for the win.

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This kid <3

The party was low key and perfect – nibbles for all (but mostly kiddos) plus cupcakes.  And since we rented out the park, the clean up was virtually nada.  Home in time for dinner.  Although all the digging and playing sure wore P out because we had to watch carefully to make sure he stayed awake on the (short) car ride home.

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He opened a few presents back at the house and then once my fam headed home he ate a more substantial dinner (after snacking the whole afternoon away on cupcakes and fruit and sausage).

And then…

Date night!

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We put P down and Kyle’s parents stayed back at the house so Kyle and I could get some solo time as a couple.  We went to Our House in downtown Davis, which had nothing but positive reviews from friends.  [Also, we had sampled some of their food at past farmer’s markets]

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We started with two orders of the bacon wrapped dates stuffed with goat cheese.  For my entree, I got the special which was a seared ahi with fried kale/brussel chips and roasted heirloom carrots.  Kyle order the flank steak sandwich.  We both licked our plates clean.

It was a lovely and relaxing time, but we both crashed pretty hard after we got home.  Cupcakes all around and then bed for some much needed zzzzzs.

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Back to the normal weekly routine on Tuesday…pancakes for P and quick bread with a fried egg for mama.  I need to tell you about this bread by the way!  I keep forgetting to post about it and it’s nearly gone now.

 

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I know Elana’s “paleo bread” has been all the rage for, like, ever now, but I am not really hip on that scene.  However, the venn diagram intersection of our allergy friendly kitchen and dietary preferences does sometimes include paleo recipes.

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So after bookmarking the recipe ages ago, I finally got around to making it.  I will be honest and admit that the main deterrent in me not making it sooner was the fact that it used a special shaped baking pan that I didn’t have.  And had no interest in buying.

So my solution was to just make a loaf in my mini loaf pan and pour the extra in a glass dish to bake separately.  Which worked out great!  I could just as easily see this making bread-like muffins too.

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Since it’s an almond flour based recipe, it was not for pacman.  I used the “old” recipe on the link above, which worked fine for me, even though I subbed ground chia for the ground flax and mixed it by hand (instead of using a food processor).

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And as you can see, I’ve enjoyed it several days since.

I will say it’s a bummer that it makes such a small loaf because it uses FIVE eggs, which is a lot for a baked good that only yields a mini loaf, but it was delicious so I will probably be making it more often now.  Plus, it’s always nice to have a lower carb savory bread option in the morning.

Anyway, back to our Tuesday.  We hit up the usual library story time…which wore him out for a nice long nap…which meant a super delayed lunch…which meant a barely on time arrival at “school” that afternoon.  Definitely a packed day, but we don’t typically have school on Tuesdays, however, the holiday meant a make up day.  The good news was that Kyle joined us (it’s a parent co-op nursery school that we go to for 90 minutes a week).  He was originally going to take the whole day off to hang out with his parents so he got a ton of his work done in advance, but then his parents went to visit family on Tuesday instead, so he decided to take advantage and come to school instead.  Yay!  It’s always more fun when we are together as a whole family (that sounded so cheesy but I really do mean it).

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Dinner was spaghetti and meatballs with GF noodles.

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I used TJs frozen meatballs so the meal came together in no time.

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Unfortunately the meatballs have gluten so they aren’t patty-cakes friendly, but he had leftover sausage as his protein instead.  Plus a pound or more of snap peas, which are his new favorite thing.

Kyle’s parents headed to Napa today so that was our fun filled party weekend.  Thanks to the Monday holiday it feels like the week is flying by, which makes me so happy because MY SISTER IS COMING TO THE US in two days!!!  It’s just a quick trip but I am super excited.

Allergy friendly cupcakes for three

I didn’t end up making these for my little dude’s birthday party because I ran out of time and used an allergy free baking mix instead (Cherrybrook Kitchen), but they were great and P loved them so I figured I should share.  If you multiply the recipe by 4 you would have a dozen allergy-friendly-not-too-sweet-but-delicious-and-fluffy-vanilla-flavored muffins.  And if you add frosting they become cupcakes, so there you go.

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Allergy friendly cupcakes (for three) [gluten free, dairy free, soy free, nut free]

Ingredients:

  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup GF all purpose flour
  • 1/4 heaping tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 tbsp coconut milk

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a muffin pan with 3 liners (or grease it).

Combine everything in a mixing bowl and stir.  Pour batter evenly into cupcake liners.

Bake at 350 for 15-18 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out of the center of the cupcakes cleanly.

Let them cool and frost as you want.

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Notes: For an allergy free frosting, whip the top (solid) portion of a chilled can of full fat coconut milk with (~2-3 tbsp) powdered sugar until you reach your desired consistency.

Here are the ones I made for his birthday party…

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Minis for the minis.

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And bigs for the bigs.  :)  I frosted them with coconut icing as described above.

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Birthday wishes!

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Dairy trials

A while ago I mentioned I got our allergist’s blessing to do some at home trials with P’s allergens.  For a variety of reasons I was optimistic that it would go well…First off, he was tested way back when he was 9 months old and so much time has passed.  But even more importantly, he had never actually consumed several of the foods he tested positive to so how do we know the blood tests were even accurate.  False positives and negatives are common and there’s also a large scale of immune responses so I didn’t really want to do more blood work because numbers are just numbers.  Instead, I thought I could give him oral challenges at home in a safe and cautious way.  For the record, his initial blood work revealed 2s and 3s (on a scale of 0-4) which is then based on what his symptoms were.  It’s not like a certain number corresponds to a specific reaction…it’s a very individual scale.  Since “his 3″ was an anaphylactic reaction, it seems obvious that he is severely allergic to those foods.  But what about the 2s?  He had never tried any of the foods that he tested allergic to with a 2 rating (dairy, wheat/gluten, etc.) so what if that response was a mere rash?  Or what if he’d outgrown those allergies?  So many possibilities.

Another reason I chose to do this now, as opposed to waiting, was I thought it would be awesome if he DID tolerate new foods because then other people (family/friends) could help us out even more in the coming months when we have a newborn and I don’t have as much time to devote to cooking all of Patty-cakes’ food.

Our allergist suggested I start with things that he was most likely to be exposed to when out and about, or that would facilitate cooking for everyone.  And he also said the forbidden foods are usually better tolerated when baked/cooked into dishes with other safe ingredients.

For that reason I started with dairy.  Dairy is an easy source of fat and protein and would open up a ton of options for meals and snacks.  Butter is frequently hidden in dishes in restaurants and inadvertent exposure is common.  Plus, the protein content (to which his immune system reacts) in butter/cream/ghee is super low thereby giving him the safest possible trial.  I mean, it’s essentially all fat.  So he would be eating the lowest rated allergen in the lowest form.

I tried butter a few weeks ago and he showed no immediate reactions.  His skin flared up a week later, but it has random bouts all the time, so it’s hard to draw any correlations when it comes to his eczema.  I mean, he is exposed to shared toys every day of the week between library, gymnastics, “school”, swimming, music class, etc.  There’s bound to be allergens on them.  So skin reactions are a hard thing to rely on.

Next up was cream.

I made oatmeal the same way I always do (with water) and at the end added a little bit of cream to it.  Maybe one tablespoon.  I didn’t measure, but it was hardly anything because it was in a cup or so of oats.  Needless to say, it didn’t go well.

He broke out in hives on his hand and cheek nearly immediately after eating it, but he seemed fine otherwise (he wasn’t scratching the hives).  So I waited.  And watched.  Like a psycho.  (Over) analyzing every little thing.  And an hour later I thought things were all good.  The hives went away and he seemed fine.  But then he puked.  A lot.  And then an hour later again.  And this time it was all over me, which freaked him out the most.  Poor kid was so confused and scared and in shock…and me…well I was a nervous wreck.  Parents of allergy children will get it, but I don’t know how to explain it to others.  Watching your child after potential exposure takes years off your life.  The worry is insane.  While I was holding him and covered in vomit, his face started to turn blue and I immediately called Kyle to come home in case I needed to give him his epi-pen.  I needed another person there to bounce my ideas and worries off of, who could see him in person and give me a second opinion.  My calm and collected nursing self always talks my emotional mom self down, but sometimes my mom self wins.  Kyle came home and I showered (trust me it was necessary) while he held (a very freaked out) P.  And then we went to the hospital.

I won’t bother continuing the story because it was all fine and no further interventions were needed (plus I decided not to check into the ED after a certain amount of time had passed and he was proving to be his normal self again), but I will talk about how the event affected me because writing it out here is like a form of therapy.

The rest of the day I was like a hawk.  With sky high blood pressure and adrenaline constantly surging through me.  I left the door open to check his breathing at regular intervals throughout his nap (even though we have a video monitor).  I documented everything and the times at which they occurred.  And took photos of his rashes and their progression/decline.  And I asked him if he had any “owies” whenever he displayed any emotion that wasn’t happiness (omg, he’s a toddler for crying out loud!).  For the record, it definitely helps having a verbal child when allergy testing because he did tell me when his stomach hurt after eating the cream.  I asked him if he had an “owie” and he said yes and I told him to point where and he pointed to his belly.  :(  But man oh man, it is SO freakin’ scary.  It’s so easy to second guess everything.

Now that several days have passed and I feel like my head is clear again…I can say with certainty, I have no interest in doing any more tests any time soon.  His skin is a hot mess right now and while I’m glad he didn’t have an anaphylactic reaction to the cream…it WAS JUST cream!?!  With, like, negligible amounts of dairy protein!!  The hives and massive vomiting…now that’s a very alarming reaction to the “safest” allergen trial.  Not what I was expecting at all.

Silver lining?  Now we know.

My next step is discussing a probiotic with our pediatrician and/or allergist because have you seen this study!!!

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The weekly menu

This post is laaaaaate…ok, so I’m just going to do both the past two weeks in one post because I am so behind.  I have good excuses – my little man was sick all last week and then he got better and then had an allergic reaction (during a dairy trial) and then all of a sudden it was his birthday!  So I now have a two year old.  Crazy stuff.  How about some food peppered with my random thoughts?

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Holy crap this was a long time ago.  We went to our friends’ house for a super bowl party and I brought a lactose free spinach artichoke crab dip.  One of the people who hosted the party is also lactose intolerant, like myself, so he was stoked.

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I looked up a bunch of recipes but then ended up kinda doing my own thing…I used Green Valley organic lactose free sour cream, goat chèvre, mayo, frozen kale, canned crab, canned artichokes, garlic infused olive oil, parsley and lemons (from the garden) and I don’t remember what else…but it was delish.

And since our friends are super freakin’ awesome they made sure the meal was allergy friendly for P (their daughter has peanut/tree nut allergies too).  We drubbed on tacos with the works and P took down more tortillas with avo than I did!  Sometimes it’s very obvious from whom he inherited his appetite.  ;)

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BBQ chicken in the crockpot (breasts plus sauce plus time equals zero effort) paired with a brussels sprout Caesar salad.  This was an easy one because the hands on cooking time is pretty much negligible.  I massaged the raw shredded brussels with dressing in advance so they would break down, much the way I would with a kale salad.  And the chicken shredded in 2 minutes because that’s what the crock pot does to it.  Magic.

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Oh, and there was quinoa too.

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And home-made ice cream for dessert.

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I chopped a bunch of candy bars and then stirred them into the same coconut base I always use (canned coconut milk and sugar) and boom, ice cream bliss.

It only lasted us three days!

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This meal was nom nom paleo’s asian almond chicken salad and it was stellar.

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I tweaked it because I couldn’t get my hands on kohlrabi or jicama, so I just used apples instead.  Gave a good crunch and some sweetness, so I think it was a nice touch.  I doubled the dressing after I made it though because I could tell it wasn’t going to be enough at all.  I want mega dressed salads, thankyouverymuch.

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Mmmmm…highly recommend.

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Next up was this spicy pork and mustard green soup from last year’s Bon Appetit.

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I made it last year when I was doing the “cook the cover” challenge and it remains one of the best BA recipes ever.  In my opinion.  Kyle’s too.  So so good.

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It’s kinda a shock I have pics of this dinner at all because it was made in very bizarre conditions.

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See what happened there?

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My poor sick boy, who hadn’t napped for longer than 30 minutes all day, fell asleep in my arms while I was stirring ground pork.  He was so miserable he refused to part with me for even a second so I thought maybe I could prepare dinner while holding him…but no.

In the end I turned off the stove and sat on the couch to soak up the snuggles (while praying I didn’t poison us all later with half cooked ground pork).  His mama nap didn’t last long and when he woke up he wasn’t much better off (still sick and miserable).  He had no interest in eating dinner, but I convinced him to have some coconut milk and then we just skipped straight to his bedtime routine.  A steamy bath and sleep did him good and the next day he was still sick but remarkably improved.

Moving on.

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Not gorgeous by any stretch of the imagination, but these were super yummy fried crab cakes.   This is what happens when you buy bulk cans of crab meat, I guess.

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The recipe is another from nom nom paleo (Krabby Patties), which I prepped the night before (as in the night P fell asleep in my arms as I was cooking) because I feared the next day would be a repeat.  So I chopped and mixed everything on the late night to ensure I wouldn’t have a repeat situation the next day.  And that made the cooking process so so simple.

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I fried them while feeding P and purposefully gave more to Kyle because I had a baby shower to attend that night (with LOTS of yummy food).

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I don’t recall which night it was, but we also ordered sushi instead of sticking to the menu because I was exhausted and just didn’t have the energy.  I think it was a Monday night because I usually get home later on those days because P and I go to a parent co-op nursery school together which ends at 4:30.  Of course we stay and chat for way too long after though (all his friends/my friends are in the same class).  So yeah, sushi for the win.

There were skipped meals, as you can see, which I intended to push to the next week but then a bunch of things came up.

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We had to re-book a hospital tour (because it was originally supposed to occur on the day that P was super sick) and the time of the tour was smack in the middle of dinner.  And since the hospital is not in Davis, it made sense to eat out that night.

And then my parents decided to visit (they’ve been on vacation) so they treated us to Thai take out.

And then my sister came to visit and I winged it because I was feeling lazy.

But aside from that, there were a few planned meals that we actually did end up eating…

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“Al fresco” style but indoors because it’s still not summer.  I already shared this in the weekend post.

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Burrito bowls are always a good choice.

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Especially because P likes (and tolerates) all the same components.  Multiply the beans on his tray by 5 and you will have a better picture of what he really ate.

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And then there was this kale and quinoa salad with citrus dressing.

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FYI this is what retired chem goggles are best used for (eye protection while chopping onions).  I texted this photo to a girlfriend because I had mentioned it was what I did in a recent conversation we had.  She told me the blog world needed to know about this so here’s the evidence.  You can thank me when your eyes are tear free from now on.  :)

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Citrus is something we have in spades at the moment so I was happy to get some of them juiced for this dressing.

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Fantastic recipe.  P ate the sautéed onions too (before I added the almonds, obviously).

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Kept it simple the next day (pulled chicken from the freezer) to cook and shred and add to (another) brussels Caesar salad.  What can I say?  I like salads.  And Caesar salads.  And Brussels sprouts.

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Here’s the Thai take out scene from the night my parents were in town (which we also made into a semi-informal birthday party).

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Before we got the Thai stuff out, P ate his own dinner…then we sang happy birthday and he blew out his 2 candle and ate a birthday cupcake.

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I had a trial run making allergy free cupcakes and it was a success so as long as it works with a full batch I’ll share the recipe later.

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He very much liked them.

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The take out is from KetMoRee, which I had never tried before (Kyle had) and we got a mix of meat and veg dishes and some were pretty dang spicy!

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Not too greasy and decent portion sizes, so I think we would order from there again.

I’m going to be winging it for the rest of the week because we are at the hospital for the tour tonight, and then we have Kyle’s parents in town for the weekend (and it’s my big boy’s party).  Happy almost Valentine’s Day for the people who care about that business.  XXX

Oh and I’ll be back later to share more about the dairy trial (that failed) too.  Needless to say, patty cakes has not outgrown at least one of his allergies (the mildest one as per his 9 month old blood tests).  So yeah.  Sad face.

Warm and wet weekend

What a weird but awesome weekend we had.  Weird in that the weather was semi schizophrenic, Saturday was crazy warm and then Sunday was nothing but a torrential downpour.

Fortunately I managed to give Kyle a hair cut on Saturday (we do them outside for easier cleanup) but his half marathon was on Sunday in the MOST miserable conditions ever.  P and I went to cheer him on and had a hard time tracking him because his waterlogged phone broke and he couldn’t communicate at all.  We saw him around mile 9 and then again at the finish, but oof, was it wet out.

But backing up to Friday…

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My little dude caught a cold earlier in the week and we were finally on the descent by Friday…which was great except it was raining all day.  All he wanted to do was splash in puddles, but I didn’t think that was a great idea with a barely better cough and stuffed up nose, so we wound up at the library.  Change of scenery and toys while indoors = win!

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The highlight of the day (week? month?) was the baby shower my friends threw for me (and a fellow mom friend due the day after I am).

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It was SO MUCH FUN.  I stayed out til 1230 and had a complete blast.  And just look at all the diapers!!  Score!  My friends are the cutest.

The next morning I woke up feeling hung over (I had a sip of champagne but obviously nothing more than that).  Guess my age is catching up to me because that lack of sleep was haunting me all day long.

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Pancakes for me and the wee one.  (Kyle had strata that I made for him for the week)

As the daylight came out, the actually sun did it’s thing and it got warm!  By the afternoon we were able to go outside and “splash in puddles”.

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Despite the blue steel, he’s a big fan of his boots.  :)  The splashing was a great distraction while I cut Kyle’s hair.  Eventually I convinced him to part with the water and come inside for a very late lunch.  He wasn’t that hungry, so it took a decade.  But by 3 pm we hit the road to pop in on a local pre-school’s open house.  [I’m not actually looking to send P to preschool yet but the event was free and awesome so why not go?!]

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All our friends brought their kiddos too so it was basically a big party.  With lots of activities for kiddos.  And a huge play yard.  And since it was warm and sunny out, it was the perfect weekend afternoon.

Sadly, we had a Costco trip on the agenda, so yeah…in the end we pried ourselves away for that.

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It took as long as expected.  Which was annoyingly long.  Which meant cooking dinner was not in the cards.  “Al fresco” picnic indoors!!

Grapes, crackers (GF for me, wheat for him), smoked salmon, gouda cheeses (goat for me, cow for him), and unpictured baby carrots.  And salami (left over from my baby shower) for him too.  Which was snacky and perfect since we ate so late.  And left room for dessert (fudge and dairy free cupcakes from my baby shower).  Mmmmm…

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The next morning was dark and stormy.  I think the rain started the second the race did…and it was B-A-D!  So so bad.

I worked out before Kyle left that morning and then fed P breakfast while he ran the first half of the race.  Based on his timing we aimed to meet him where the route passed a park near our house…which was cute for P.  He was sooo excited to see dada running.  I drove back home after that to get extra clothes and a towel for him and then set off to meet him at the next place it made sense with the route.  Sadly we missed him two more times after that.  His phone was broken and the tracker on the website wasn’t being mobile friendly so I basically drove around Davis in the rain for the next 30 minutes.  I kept asking P if he saw dada and where he thought he was, to which he hilariously replied “hiding in the bushes?”  This kid is too much.

Turns out Kyle’s phone was ruined by the rain so he borrowed a friend’s at the finish line so we could find each other.  After that we met up with friends for brunch at Crepeville.  The restaurant is inches from the finish line so it was packed.  Rather than wait a decade for a table, we ordered food to go and went to our friend’s house (a block away) instead.  It was actually perfect because then the kids could run around and play while we all ate.  Far better than trying to keep them entertained in their highchairs for a prolonged amount of time.

I ordered the same thing I always order – the Midtown Benedict.  It comes with tomato and avocado and poached eggs on an english muffin.  In the words of my son “ohsoyummy”.  No pics because I was inhaling it (having waited SO late to eat breakfast).

The rest of the day was lazy, just as it should be.  Gross weather and early half marathons demand it.  The below times a million.  All day long.  Every day.  Books books books.  Thanks goodness for the library.  He “helps read” them by reciting parts – sometimes after just one read through, which blows my mind.

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I went on a solo grocery shopping trip to TJs which felt luxuriously easy.  I used to loooooove going to the grocery store and then I had a kid and it turned into a chore.  Don’t get me wrong, my toddler is actually super well behaved and tolerates the activity fine, but it’s definitely not as fun as it once was.  I dread going every weekend and after it’s done it feels like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders.  Anyway, this trip was actually no quicker than our group trips but that was by choice.  I felt like I had all the time in the world, so I took advantage and strolled aisles leisurely, scoped out new products, examined labels, and generally enjoyed the foodie part of shopping like I used to.

Nothing more to report here though.  Dinner happened and dessert is going to soon.  With a side of Downton Abbey of course.  I love weekends.