*new haven

Several weeks ago we drove down to New Haven, Connecticut to visit some good friends we met while in Montana [yes, Liz is in CT too - they were tied up that weekend]. Crazy how all of us [plus four more kids all together] ended up out here 7 years later! Travis is getting his PhD in History at Yale University [no big deal] and he took us on a little campus tour.  I thought it was absolutely beautiful, amazing and inspiring.  I left with this lump in my throat saying I need to go back to finish my Masters.  Not at Yale ;)

This was one of the graduate student study halls.  Isn't it gorgeous??  I could get a lot of serious thinking done here.

This is the Beineke rare book and manuscript ... center (something like that).  I loved it!!! The whole building and feel of the place is just fascinating, and they also had really interesting examples up of the kinds of writings they keep.  This was one of the moments that I felt an intense desire to go back to studying literature.

This was a little exhibit up in the library on the Italian invasion of Ethiopia.  It was really interesting because I had just finished Cutting for Stone which talked a lot about that.

In the history graduate study room:

We went to their church on Sunday which was really wonderful as well.  Heartfelt singing, preaching and fellowship. This painting strikes you immediately when you enter - so beautiful!  The artist [a Japanese man.. don't know his name] happened to be at the service that day and talked a little about it.

Vera and Edie just loved being doted on by these girls. This is on top of their super-high loft.  They got along really well with the little brothers too and had fun being rowdy and silly.  They are really a wonderful family that clearly puts God first and does everything with joy.  The few times we've seen them since Montana I've left feeling inspired in so many ways.  I'm sorry I didn't get more/better pictures.

Myndi is an amazing cook!  Everything delicious and creative and effortless. And amazing home-roasted espresso a couple times a day : )



some everyday moments as of late:

Edie getting up when she's supposed to be going to sleep.  Just now she has gotten up about 8 times as I've uploaded pictures to whisper, "Puppy needs to go potty," "I touched my eye," "my tummy hurts," "I need to give you a hug and a kiss" "I made a card for Puppy. Where is the card?".... !!! actually I am kind of over it at the moment.  [this picture was a nap... she had put her jammies on and came to tell me she needed these pom poms.] Make that 12 times as I've written this post.  This is sooo unlike Vera!! She didn't even get out bed in the morning until like a year ago! She did scream and cry - just from her bed : )

silliness and silly faces are definitely part of our everyday. all day.

and this kind of thing too:

mad because she couldn't get her arm through:

obsessed with the bunny.  I don't like letting Eloise out lately because Edie smothers her.

playing restaurant:

 reading Are You My Mother [with some help]:


*los 2 terribles

We have been experiencing some nap-skipping, tantrum-throwing terrible twos around here lately. I just love this picture of Edie seriously grumpy the other day, not wanting to share the rocket ship grocery cart.  

*la dieta

You probably know I love books and documentaries about food, whole food, healthy food, food politics... anything that gets me fired up against corn syrup and cheetos-like substances.  My favorite book is probably Omnivore's Dilemma - I love that it's not radical or unobtainable to follow his advice: eat food, mostly plants, not too much.  I've always tried to eat healthier, non-processed food, but I fully admit that am often lazy and will have a spoonful of peanut butter with my yerba mate instead of taking the time to make a salad.  Or I eat the rest of the girls' honey toast or mac and cheese. Or I eat not one but two raspberry bars at the bakery or go back for thirds of ice cream [hypothetical ;)].  This needs to change.

So anyway, last year at some point I watched Forks over Knives [thank you, Jenise!] and it really made me evaluate what we eat.  Seriously, if you haven't seen it, you should!  The last month or so I have made a serious effort to change our eating habits and even Ben is [almost] completely on board.  Instead of one "Meatless Monday", I am trying to make as many meals as I can revolve around vegetables and legumes, whole grains [sorry, I just don't like the idea of this paleo diet everyone's on!] and try to limit butter, cheese, extra oils, white anything, sugar... *  I do truly believe it is healthier to limit meats + dairy and also it is not as expensive.  I had the E2 cookbook out from the library last week and got a few ideas, as well as some I've found elsewhere and from my own head. I seriously need to just overhaul many of my go-to regular meals.  Here are a few winners that I am going to go back to.  If any of you friends have any vegetable heavy meal ideas, please let me know!

-this kale salad [seriously it was so good and filling! I had some carrots and hummus with it and wasn't even hungry later on]
-green curry with chicken or broiled tofu, green beans, peppers, spinach...
-chickpeas [I made them from dried beans for the first time - so much better!!] mixed with a pico de gallo type salad, cider vinegar, diced potatoes.  I got this idea from an Indian buffet we went to a few weeks ago. So fresh and delicious!
-salad as the main course. my favorites are spinach with goat cheese and steamed beets and pinenuts, spinach/kale with roasted butternut squash [thank you again, Jen], feta and walnuts.  I've served it on top of quinoa or brown rice so it's more filling and we are less tempted to eat before bed [on these nights I basically separate the salad into parts on their plates and add mac and cheese or sliced turkey or just something healthy so they fill up].
-Ina's Winter Minestrone with added kale [I guess minus the pancetta...]
-black eyed peas + rice + avocado + spinach + parsley/cilantro + salsa verde
-black bean burgers from the E2 cookbook... made these tonight for the first time - I loved it, Ben thought it was pretty good [I think he just didn't want to admit it was really good :)], Vera said she didn't like it but ate it all without prodding, Edie liked it enough to eat half.
-miso soup with bok choy, watercress, tofu [I haven't done this one yet, but will once I find this amazing miso paste that Rosie used to bring from CA...]
-lime-pozole-tortilla-like soup with or without chicken.
-black bean+sweet potato+spinach burritos

*I am not going to completely cut out these things because I enjoy food :)


*el acento

One of my favorite things here is hearing the accent. There are a lot of transplants and internationals here too, so not everyone has it.  I just love it when I hear a good, solid, I've-lived-here-my-whole-life version. Like the guy at the post office - he's got the best I've heard so far. I've loved overhearing people talk about getting out their snowblowah or the lady at the pediatrician's office saying I have reached Havad Vangahd [Harvard Vanguard].  When I talked to the school secretary on the phone the first time I couldn't tell what her name was. It sounded like O-land-a. So the next time I asked for Mrs. Orlander, thinking her last 'a' was an 'ar'... but it turned out to be Orlando :) My favorite is this girl Vera met who goes by Sarah Dilababa because there are two other Sarahs. I recently learned that her name is Della Barba. Ahhhhh I love it. I don't have a lot of people to comment on this with, so I share it here with you!  Vera's school is really interesting - I would say half of the parents speak Chinese. Also about six kids in her class are Irish... so we have Boston accents, Irish accents, Chinese... it's all very interesting.


*la lectura

I have tried several times over the last couple years to get through a chapter book with Vera.  Either things get busy and we never solidify the habit or she isn't super interested - or both.  I admit I was totally jealous of her little friends who seemed to be flying through the Little House books, Narnia, etc. Of course, jealousy and competition should not be my motivation :) Really, I just want so badly for her to have that same reading experience that I did - lost in those amazing and wonderful worlds!!  I was such a reader when I was little, literally devouring books and reading both those series multiple times.  So anyway, thankfully in January we found the book that kept all of us captivated - James and the Giant Peach! It was so fun to read together - I didn't even want to miss out if Ben were reading on a particular night.

Since then we read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory [one of my faaavorites] and are in the middle of the first Boxcar Children.  It made my heart happy to hear her exclaim last night, "I wish I was one of the boxcar kids!"  That's the kind of play I so loved as a kid - pretending to set up house in the woods, collecting berries and finding treasure :)  Anyway, I do hope that she loves to read as much as I did.  She's doing well on the road to reading on her own - she can sound out pretty well and reads the little Bob type books sent home from school, but I would say it hasn't "clicked" in a major way yet, which is just fine.



*primeras visitas!

Ben's parents were here last weekend for a short visit. SO encouraging and comforting to have family here. Seriously I feel like we've moved abroad - it's just so far away.

The girls were so incredibly excited to have them here!  They talked about it a ton beforehand, wondering when they'd arrive. We didn't send Vera to school that morning, which was good - it turned out to be a pretty big snowstorm and there was no school the next day either.  Ben spent an hour trying to get on the freeway that morning to pick them up at the airport - he ended up coming home and they took the train - toting his surfboard the whole way :)

Showing them everything in their room: 

The first day the storm was still blowing and so we decided to spend the day inside at the MFA.  It was an adventure just getting to the train station and on the train!  I don't think anyone expected as much snow as we got.

lunch in the museum cafeteria:

These are out of order, but too hard to fix.  This was our last night at an Italian place in the North End.  It was a bit of a gamble as I googled "best italian in north end" and went with one that looked like it had sincere reviews.  It was called Terra Mia - really delicious and quaint and we had a perfect little table in the window.  This plain ol' spaghetti you see here was de.li.cious. I ate a bit of it myself before bed that night :)

Saturday we walked around Cambridge and Harvard.  Ben and I went to have a beer at a tavern and Mike, Rosie and the girls went to a Peets to have a snack and read some new stories they'd bought.  How sweet is this one?

It was a beautiful crisp and clear day - here we are next to the Charles River.

Edie after taking a dive in the mud. Poor baby had it from head to toe :(

on the Harvard campus:

This was actually our first night. We still don't really know the area that well and with the snowstorm and high tides/flooding along the coastline it was hard to know where to go eat. Mike especially loves seafood, so we went to a random place mentioned in a local tourist brochure. It was such a winner!!! Basically a super fresh fish market that has restaurant space.  Everyone was more than happy with their meal :)

my crabcake sandwich:



*una cita

Ben and I were finally able to go out last weekend! It was sooo nice, I can't even tell you. We went to Abigail's in Cambridge, recommended by my dear friend in slc. It was a beautiful restaurant and the food was really delicious [I wouldn't say to die for, but really good]- Ben had a shrimp appetizer and flank steak with mushrooms and spinach.. I had a cheese plate and then chestnut and bone marrow risotto with garlicky kale, yumm. Afterwards we walked through Cambridge past MIT to Harvard where we got some ice cream before getting back on the train. A sweet student of Ben's watched the girls and apparently they were fabulous. Success!!! We have a small list going of places to try - and a few years at least to check them off :)

on the "T"

evidence still of the big snow:

that's Harvard!!! I can't wait to walk around and really see it.