Learning to cook … one kid at a time

How #2 is different November 28, 2010

Filed under: Pregnancy — gastromami @ 5:28 pm

I now pee when I sneeze.

Or laugh.


… Part 2 November 27, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — gastromami @ 8:50 pm

Once I was feeling “semi” up to par, it was time to clean, pack and get our house on the market!

My wonderful mother-in-law was able to take the time to come help out for a week and without her help, it would have looked like an impossible task!

We got the house on the market (it still is, in fact!  Know anyone looking in Cooper-Young?), packed up the house in 2 PODS, said “Adios!” to Abuela, and Ren and I left for Erie with just one week until the election!

… and here we bypass discussion of November 2, 2010 …

After a few whirlwind days in Erie, the three of us left my poor little VW in Erie, along with anything else that wouldn’t fit in the Trailblazer, piled into the truck and headed to our new home (hotel) in Philadelphia on Thursday, November 4th!  Reny woke up on the 5th and headed to his first day at Alma de Cuba!  In one week he went from a (maybe) 40-person/night restaurant to serving up 400 covers a night!

I have to say, he is once again the Reny I met – he is so happy with his new job, the energy of the city, and his large and bustling staff – it is just so great to see!

For the past 4 weeks we have been staying at a (much larger than our new apartment!) hotel, exploring the city, and looking forward to settling in to our new home!


We will be in “Old City” Philadelphia, full of galleries, shops, and restaurants.  We are very close to a great community-owned park which has a garden, playgrounds, and space for summer movies/concerts/gatherings.  We are just a few blocks East of Constitution Hall/The Liberty Bell etc. and 3 blocks West of Penn’s Landing!  What we will be lacking in space and yard, we will be gaining with the city at our front door!  (Although, we will ALWAYS have room for visitors!)

I know that I’ve been absent from this blog, but with tracking down a new OB, birthing center, pediatrician, car tags, police permits for moving, hats/gloves/winter coats/boots, etc. etc. etc. life has just gotten away!

However, I did realize that I could cook some pretty fabulous meals with basically no spices (by shopping in the never, ever visited frozen food section), 3 pans, and the worse knives I’ve ever used (as evidenced by the new scars on my fingers!)

So here’s to a whole new city to explore, new friends to meet, and a new life to create!  (in addition to the one making “popcorn” in my belly right now!)



Why I’ve been gone … Part 1 November 24, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — gastromami @ 6:55 pm

I’ve been gone.

Well actually we left.

Memphis, that is.


First, I had the plague.  A 10-day fever, followed by 2 weeks of recovery that left my pregnant body withering away to nothing besides a melon-sized ball in my belly.  I got the fever exactly 3 hours after dropping Reny off at the airport – perfect timing huh?

If you know us well, you know that we have been looking for move for about a year and a half.  We made the decision when we were pregnant with Ren to buy a house in Memphis and stay for at least 3 more years.  Well, due to some work-related business, 3 years began to seem like a really, really long time.  Reny wasn’t happy, and his work environment was doing little to simulate his mind and creativity, so the job search began again around the same time Ren was born.  The well of jobs is dry out there folks, especially in the world of fine-dining.  After (seemingly) endless phone call interviews and “we just can’t move anyone right now”s, Reny saw a listing for Parc in Philadelphia – a Stephen Starr restaurant.  He sent his resume off and the next day up popped a listing for another Starr restaurant – Alma de Cuba.  The star(r)s seemed to be aligning and it wasn’t more than a day that he got a call about the job(s).  After some initial talk, Reny decided that Alma de Cuba sounded like the best fit and a date was set for a tasting in Philadelphia.  I wasn’t getting my hopes up, but a Cuban restaurant?  In PA?  I was crossing my fingers.  I thought that those 3 days were going to be rough – but reall, I had no clue at the time just how tough they were going to be.

Like I said, roughly 3 hours after dropping Reny off, I thought, “Man, I don’t feel good.”

15 minutes later, I thought, “I think I have a fever.”

An hour later I looked at my throat in the mirror and lo and behold, a colony of white sores.

30 minutes later, I was laying in bed sobbing.

This was on a Sunday.

On Monday no doctor could see me.

On Tuesday I went to the doctor:

I must have looked like total death because they made us wear masks.

The child was fine – yay for breastmilk!!!

They took a million tests – negative for strep and the quick mono test.

My glands were so swollen you could see them popping out of my neck in Frankenstein-like bulbs and my throat looked like cottage cheese – yum, huh?

They took some blood and then gave me a prescription for some antibiotics.

I asked, why do I need these?  It’s not strep, right?

Well they are “just in case.”

“Just in case what?”

“It is strep”

“But it’s not, you just told me that”

“Well it might be, try the meds”

So I was sent on my merry way with no idea what I had, an useless prescription, and 3 more long days ahead of me until Reny returned on Thursday.

Tuesday went from bad to worse.  I’m not proud of what I am about to tell you, but I feel that all mothers should know that all of us, ALL OF US, have bad mommy days and this one took the cake.

We went home, Ren still in his pj’s, me in mine, and I turned on the TV.

Ren had never watched TV in his life, except maybe as background in a restaurant or friend’s house, but it is, was, never on in our house while he was awake.  I was desperate so I turned on Sesame Street.  30 seconds of interest, and then it was quickly gone.  What did he want?  “Leche leche leche”  That kid wanted to nurse all day long!  I don’t know if it was how pathetic I looked, if he just wanted to cuddle and cheer me up, but with my fever reaching anywhere between 101˚-103˚ I in no way wanted to be touched, much less feel like my toddler was leaching on me for hours on end.  I was beginning to lose it so I did what any sane (or extremely ill) mother would do:

I took my child into his room, locked the door behind us, climbed into his crib, and sobbed.

Yes, I climbed into his crib.

Why, you ask?

Because he couldn’t touch me and I could lay down and I knew his room was a safe zone for him to play in.

Tuesday was rough.

Wednesday I called my angel-friend Greta who came and saved me:

She did my 2-day old sink full of dishes,

Played with Ren,

Made me tea,

And gave me a foot rub.

Life was looking better and I made it until Reny came on Thursday – oh, and during this time, he was offered the job at Alma de Cuba in Philadelphia!  (though it would be awhile until I could properly get excited)

Oh, and the meds never worked.

What happened next was a 3-week whirlwind of packing, cleaning, putting the house on the market and trying to recover all at once.  And oh yea, it was just weeks before the election and I had to get up to Erie to help with the last GOTV effort!


… to be continued …