pancake day

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three cheers for pancakes! as a lead in to the lenten season, we like to celebrate shrove tuesday the old fashioned way…with pancakes. you might think that sounds strange but it is actually a thing. the tuesday before ash wednesday is also known as pancake day or pancake tuesday. yes to that.

the tradition of “mardi gras” or “fat tuesday” is that before people abstain from consuming rich and fatty and robust foods for a season of simplicity and fasting and quiet and prayer, they would indulge in a night of feasting. pancakes are associated with this day because they were a way to use up rich foods such as eggs, milk, and sugar before lent begins.

around these parts, we love traditions and we love some liturgy and old-school church calendar practices. while we believe that there is freedom through Christ and we live by grace, it is also nice to plan little reminders for ourselves that connect us to tradition. it keeps us grounded and it helps us to refocus. life can be so busy and full and distracting at times – even if they are worthy distractions and fruitful activities. observing this lenten season is such a meaningful way for us to slow down and simplify. we don’t believe in wild binging and then extreme and pious fasting. it doesn’t make sense to abuse our Christian freedom and get wild or gluttonous to then forgo one specific indulgence for 40 days. of what benefit is it to indulge the flesh and engage in sinful practices just so we can repent the next day and show off our ability to abstain? the lenten practice is about examination, repentance, and gratitude. a season of evaluation. removing the clutter and din to pay particular attention to the things above. to make adjustments to our Christian life. to find a renewed sense of our identity in Christ. to rely on His grace alone for provision. this is such a beautiful season and our family is enjoying it together as we look forward to Holy Week.

but, back to pancakes. while we don’t observe shrove tuesday by stuffing our faces and drinking ourselves silly but we do love pancakes. and so, we like to eat a hearty pile of them for dinner as our feast of celebration.

this time, i concocted a recipe that would cover our sweet tooth and feel decadent without giving our bellies that sick and full feeling. they were gluten-free and guilt-free and flavor-full. a major hit. in fact, we might add them to the saturday morning routine. and by the way, elinor was so thrilled that we got to have “cakes” for dinner.

here’s the (rough) recipe for ya:

ingredients

1 cup buckwheat flour

1 cup coconut flour

2 tablespoons coconut sugar

2 teaspoons of baking powder

2 teaspoons of baking soda

1 tsp celtic salt

2 1/2 cups of pastured, cultured buttermilk (shaken)

3-4 eggs (i started with 2 eggs and then added 2 more to thicken and give me the right batter consistency)

1 tablespoon vanilla extract (or bourbon if you are feeling saucy)

butter for the skillet and to top

maple syrup

method

in a medium mixing bowl, mix together the flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. in a liquid measuring cup, measure out the buttermilk. beat in the eggs and vanilla. all at once, add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until just combined. do not over mix, the batter should have some small lumps. let the batter rest and fluff up for about 15-20 minutes and preheat the skillet accordingly. when ready, brush the skillet with butter and spoon out the pancakes using a 1/4 cup. cook for 3-4 minutes until the pancake is firm enough to be flipped. flip the cakes and continue to cook until the cakes rise and are no longer liquidy and squishy to the touch, and until golden brown. keep the pancakes warm in a 250 degree oven while the rest of the batter is cooked. to serve, top with butter and warm maple syrup. ENJOY!

 

mini fashionista

i mean, do i really even need to type any words for this post? those itty-bitty bits of fashion do a whole lot of talking. how cute are those items?

because it is essentially springtime around these parts, i decided that it was time to freshen up miss elinor’s wardrobe. we bought her some fun items for the fall and since she has really grown since last summer, i was thinking that most of her old shirts wouldn’t exactly fit her this year. we stocked up on some warm weather items almost 18 months ago and those pieces have worked for quite a few seasons. we got our money’s worth, for sure. i figured that it was time for some new stuff. plus, elinor is becoming quite the little lady and was ready to take things up a notch. enter, crewcuts.

j.crew had their 50% off final sale (and 25% off new items) a few days ago and i jumped! elinor and i sat down at the computer and selected tons and tons of items. then, we did some shopping cart editing (i don’t know that ben would condone spending over a grand on two-year-old clothes…) and settled on a splendid collection of mix-and-match items for spring/summer. plenty of shorts and skirts and sassy shirts. would you look at those shirts? how stylish and chic are they? if i weren’t working with a growing bump, i would have up-sized and snagged some matchy-matchy goodies for me…

i can’t wait for her clothes to arrive! and what fun for elinor to open the box and find all her new threads. she gets so excited when we receive boxes. and the last thing we received was filled with items for ridley so this will be fun for her to get some outfits that are all for her. it also gave us a nice excuse to clean out her closet and drawers to make room for new things. a little premature spring cleaning with my happy helper. we folded and organized and tried on clothes. we talked about putting away old things and getting excited for new things (a VERY common theme around our home, these days). we made a big mess and then sorted and created “keep” and “give away/store” piles. and by the way…it was kind of sad adding another set of clothes to elinor’s storage bin. i am keeping everything for now but there is a pretty good chance that we won’t use them again. that’s kind of intense. how about we move on…

shoes. let us talk about shoes.

i was totally smart and planned out my seasonal stock-up of freshly picked moccasins to line up with their 25% off, one-day sale! YES. so, elinor’s feetsies are officially all set for the next season too. perfect little moccs to coordinate with her wardrobe.

oh my gosh. amazingness. i have had my eye on all three of those colors in the past few months so i was *blissed out* when i learned they were included in the sale. and speaking of mama and me matchy-matchy-ness…i really really wish that i could size-up in these moccs and rock some along with elinor. those neon green ones? i meeeeeeean…

but since that was a no-go, i snagged some new birks to console me and support my soles. and they are pretty rad. my feet will be comfy and fashiony this summer…two very important things, especially in those final weeks of pregnancy. yes, yes, yes! crunchy granola chic.

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weekend hodgepodge

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first things first. how adorable is elinor? would you look at that face and all that sweetness? goodness gracious i love her a bunch. those eyebrow expressions and kissy faces and gleeful smiles. i tell ya, this is a really fun age. challenging and intense and exhausting at times but so much fun. i love having a bonafide little person in our home. she brings such life to the place.

so, the weekend. it was a fabulous mix of all things food and friends and fun and projects and productivity and church and family time. we kicked things off on friday night by meeting some friends for dinner at zinburger.

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BURGERS. oh my, i don’t know what it is about pregnancy that turns me into a burger beast but my love of patties and cheese that i experienced with elinor is back in full force with ridley. and i think it is even more intense this time because it took me all the way from my plant-loving-quasi-vegetarian ways back into meathood with a vengeance. this restaurant is home to one of my very favorite veggie burgers but it could not sway my (the baby’s) need for meat. a bunless kobe burger with truffle aoili it was. bunless because you know, with limited midsection space these days, one needs to make smart choices. priorities people. and for me, fries are a priority. save room for two baskets.

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we enjoyed dinner and then strolled for a bit in downtown gilbert. it was such a nice night and we wanted to make those moments linger as long as possible. the rest of the evening was spent playing with elinor and tickling and giggling and twirling and other such nonsense. then, ben and i got some much needed alone time to gab and enjoy each other’s company. he is kind of my favorite person to spend an evening with, after all.

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ben and i got up early on saturday (since we are officially those people now…the ones who get up extra early on the weekend for pleasure) so we could have some time to enjoy our chicory coffee fix before diving into our workout. and, you guys! we did it! we completed our 60 day Insanity Max:30 challenge! wahoo for us. pats on the back and feelings of accomplishment and high fives. truly, i really enjoy working out with my man. it is such a great thing for accountability and to keep my booty in gear (especially on those sleepy, dark thursday mornings when 5am comes way too soon). ben is planning to jump back into the 60 days as a second rotation but adding in the “abs challenge” component this time. since i am currently lacking in the abs area and increasing in the ball of baby-ness, i am planning to join him for round two but add in some yoga instead of ab work. let me tell ya, the body needs all the stretching it can get.

here’s to keeping those “sympathy baby weight pounds” at bay for him and to getting me in fine form for the final stretch of pregnancy and the big event – birth.

okay, onto a few fun and pretty things.

after workouts were completed and breakfasts were eaten and errands were run, our little crew camped out upstairs for the afternoon to work on elinor’s big girl room. i ironed drapes and moved some furniture around a bit and did some space planning. ben installed curtain rods (thank you, hubby. i know how much you *love* that job. and by the way, we did a super fun DIY industrial rod design and install that i might be sharing on the blog. i am a huge fan of how it turned out.) and got the drapes situated while elinor and i got the rest of the room rearranged. (well, elinor “helped” by making a mess of her drawers since she told me that “mama is making a mess” so she was going to make a mess too. helpful. but then, i told her we needed to put away and clean up and she went around grabbing items and shouting, “keeeeeeen uuuuup!” over and over and over. she also heard ben and i doing “curtain hanging math” and decided to help with that as well. she counted and counted and rambled number after number. again, helpful. i am surprised that ben didn’t get a crazy headache from the hubbub.)

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the semi-finished product is quite delightful. and elinor is quite pleased. new drapes up. new lighting. fresh or freshly moved decorative bits. we moved her nightstand in and we moved her antique settee in as well. that amazing pink number! we snatched it from ben’s folks when they were moving and decided to give it a new home in miss elinor’s room. that baby will be receiving a nice coat of paint and some new upholstery in the coming months. it will be the dreamiest little book nook you ever did see. i am thinking about an antique bronze finish with vintage dove grey velvet. very parisian chic. and very old world meets hurcule poirot. smashing and dashing.

the final element will be to move the crib out and her big girl bed in. the sheets and velvet quilt are shipping as i type and i will be ordering safety rails (a.k.a. bedtime prison bars) to go along with the bed. i want elinor to get adjusted to the new look and feel of her new space and buy us some time to talk up her new bed before the move. at the end of march / beginning of april, we will make the move. i am excited for her. i know that she is ready for it. and i know that it will be a big change for all of us…but, you gotta do it sometime, right? it might as well be now. that should give her (and us) a couple of months to get used to things before adding a newborn to the mix. adventures in parenting! and we sure do love it.

bébé numéro deux | 23 weeks

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progress & countdown: 23 weeks down & 119 days to go! p.s. um, that’s like a few weeks shy of counting in double instead of triple digits. and four weeks from THIRD TRIMESTER. woah.

baby size: weighs as much as a mango. 

food & drink: trying to get in plenty of veg and fruit these days. the occasional morning shake. some sunny-side-up eggs. yogurt with granola. and of course, kombucha. and way more meat. i feel pretty darn good after a nice pasture-finished beef fix. it is a little weird after almost two years of a primarily plant-based life, but we are embracing this season. i and listening to my body and going with it. i’m sure it won’t last for more than a couple of months but, when in rome…eat all the burgers. and surprise of surprises! elinor loves some steak. we shared a bit with her the other night at dinner and she gobbled it up and asked for more. i tell ya, she keeps us guessing.

bump stuff: it is seriously growing every week. i know, duh, rachel. that’s what happens during pregnancy… but, i can *feel it* growing now. each morning, i wake to a bigger and heavier bump and it still surprises me sometimes. i will abruptly sit up from my slumber and there is a full-on bump squishing into my midsection. i don’t know if i will ever get used to it. so bizarre. and the coming weeks will become more and more awkward. but i know that once that bump is gone, i will miss it. crazy pregnancy. 

highs: elinor asking (unprompted) to give baby brother kisses and then squeezing my belly because she wants to give ridley a hug.

lows: feeling a general sense of heaviness. not my favorite. but, no real complaints. i know my body is doing cool things. growing a baby and doubling my blood supply and all that jazz.

new developments: baby has a well-developed sense of movement now and can feel when i move around. yes to dance parties. he is more than 11 inches long and weighs over a pound now, so movement is obvious and more intense. can we just camp out on that for a moment…one pound. belly already seems waaaaaay heavier and we still have at least 6 pounds to go. yikes. blood vessels in baby’s lungs are developing to prepare for breathing and his hearing is becoming more keen. in fact, baby’s cochlea – the inner ear mechanism that houses all components of hearing – is fully formed. so, he can hear what mama hears (just not at the same level).

meaningful moments & hormones & feelings: this week, we started transitioning elinor to her big girl room and it was so much fun. she “helped” us to move some furniture around and hang drapes and redecorate. we still have some refinishing and reupholstering to do and a few more bits to rehang and move around but it is a great start. elinor is adjusting to a fresh space and in the next month or so, the bed moves in to replace the crib. changes and changes. we are taking it slowly and making a celebratory milestone event out of each one so that elinor feels like she has some things that are just for her to enjoy before new things being thrust upon her at once…because that new baby is here now. i am loving these special moments with just her. and we are trying to enjoy these precious times as our family of three. i know that another little one will compound our joy and love, but i also know that it will bring change for all of us and i want to be mindful of that.

superficial stuff: i have said it before, just feeling bigger these days. like a crazy explosion and puffing took place in the last ten days. the pelvis is moving around and the belly is bigger and there is no denying it now…

looking forward to: another appointment next week. always fun to hear baby’s heartbeat and talk about all things pregnancy and such.

dear little prince

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dear little prince,

i think we need to address the kicking. you are intense. and i am somewhat scared of you…i can only imagine your antics once you are on the outside. sheesh. i don’t think that i am doing anything to agitate or anger you, you just mean business in there. your flips make my belly drop and tighten and morph into the strangest shapes. and you love to use the bottom of my uterus as a trampoline. launching up and landing before doing it again and again. my, you really know how to make a mama queasy.

your nursery is a bit of a mess at the moment. it has become a bit of a staging space as we transition your sister to her “big girl room”. it is making my nesting drive angry right now to see odds and ends all over but i know we will work wonders in the next month or so to transform it into a perfect little space for a little man. i am thinking about finding a spot to display your papa’s childhood golf club set too. it is in this great plaid bag and would be so cool for you. i don’t know what kind of activities you will be into as you grow and learn, but i’m sure you will do all kinds of fun stuff. but while we are on the subject…golf would be a pretty great hobby. just saying.

we can’t wait to meet you, ridley. it is so close to march now which seems wild. it means you will be here in a few short months. i don’t feel nervous, but there is so much anticipation. we pray for you every day. we feel your kicks and watch as you send ripples through my belly. and you have sent ripples through our life too. such a small person has already had such an impact. we are moving furniture. we are buying new things. we are making plans. we are reading more and praying more and talking more. the dialogue has changed. and our home has been energized with hope and excitement for what’s to come. we pray that God will continue to use your life to make big waves. to influence environments and expand hearts and increase joy.

all our love,

mama + papa + elinor