five things | from the week and a recipe


1. marlo has started this amazing thing where at night after i tell her that i love her, she'll declare to me, "i love you more, mama!" swooooon.

2. watch this episode of between two ferns with zach galifianakis and brad pitt. it is so, so good. side note: when i was pregnant with marlo, i developed bizarre crushes on ellen degeneres, tom selleck, and blake griffin. hormones, man. this time, it's zach galifianakis. my hormones are twisted jokester bitches.

3. last night, i felt little baby flutters for the first time. i felt them fairly early on with marlo (around 15 weeks, i think) and i'm almost at 14 weeks now so it's not too far off. it probably helps that i'm not mistaking them for gas this time around. needless to say, it was as amazing and unbelievable as it was when i first felt little baby mo somersault inside of me.

4. i bought baby some swaddles earlier this week when aden + anais was featured on gilt and man... let me tell you something that has never been truer: even though i'm keeping the things we buy baby to an absolute minimum this round (it is amazing to me how much we thought we needed with mo that we never actually used), there is something about tiny miniature baby things and picturing a squishy, sweet-smelling newborn wrapped up like a burrito that really gives me all the feelings. you guys. we're having another baby. ANOTHER BABY. makes my heart do a little pitter patter that sounds something like mo's feet running around barefoot on the hardwood floors.

5. yesterday, i was feeling pretty crummy. pregnancy is so grand and all that noise. it was also rainy out. aaannnnd i've also entered that part of my pregnancy where my decisions surrounding what i eat are based 100% on impulse and driven by an unbelievable unseen force that scares my husband. out of nowhere, i got a craving for coconut curry and chicken soup at the same time so i walked my hangry pregnant ass to the corner bodega and whipped it up the second i walked in through the door. a few people have asked for the recipe so, here it is. enjoy
one red bell pepper, sliced thinly
half of a red onion, diced
one cup baby bella mushrooms, sliced
one can organic lite coconut milk
one-half can coconut cream (found this at TJ's)
four cups unsalted chicken stock
two cups shredded rotisserie chicken (you can substitute shrimp, too)
one bunch cilantro, divided in half
two scallions, light green and white parts chopped
one tbsp grated ginger
two tbsp red curry paste
one tsp toasted sesame oil
two cloves garlic, minced
zest and juice of two limes
one tbsp fish sauce (there is no substitution, sorry)
two tbsp canola or grapeseed oil
4 oz rice noodles
sliced jalapeño, optional

over medium heat, add the onion, garlic, mushrooms, and ginger and cook for a few minutes in the grapeseed oil. next, add 3/4ths of the red pepper, leaving the rest for garnishing the soup, and cook for a few more minutes. next, add the curry paste, sesame oil, and fish sauce. cook for one minute until the sauce mixture coats the veggies and the aroma is noticeable. it should be pretty thick. 

add both coconut milks and chicken stock. bring to a boil and add the shredded chicken and rice noodles. cook according to directions on box (about three minutes). *if you were substituting shrimp, add the shrimp when you add the noodles and they'll cook at the same time. 

once the noodles are cooked, add a handful of chopped cilantro leaves, one scallion, and the zest and juice of the limes. portion into bowls and top with red bell peppers, cilantro, and green onion. i also add thinly sliced jalapeño to the top of mine since i keep the soup more on the mild side for little mo. 

makes enough for two days of lunches for both myself and marlo.

i cry a lot these days


1. for starters, this whirlpool commercial. it kicks me in both ovaries every. single. time.
2. the national anthem. every. single. time. particularly so when it's just instrumental.
3. every. single. time marlo asks to touch or love or see "her baby." 
4. every. single. time i eat these chocolate and caramel shortbread cookies from one girl cookies. they're that good.
5. when nothing fits. which is every. single. day.
6. when i'm trying to go to the bathroom. you guys. the struggle is real.
7. every. single. time i think about living in seven hundred square feet with a three year old and an infant. 
8. when i'm tired and can't nap. which is always. 
9. when i look down and realize that i've hit the bottom of the nutella jar and i didn't pause to really savor that last spoonful. 
10. and, finally, when i sing "you are my sunshine" to marlo at the end of the day and i get to the part where it says, "my only sunshine" because i know that she is no longer my only sunshine and it makes me equal parts horribly sad and unbearably ecstatic. i'm going to miss these days of just us so much but i also know that my heart is going to expand again in unfathomable ways.  

five things | round two


the bean. 
1. three years to the day that we found out that we were pregnant with our little mo, i took a test that told me that we would be giving her a sibling. later that evening, marlo excitedly ran up to joe when he walked in the door and let him know that there was FINALLY a baby in mama's belly. "itssa baybeee in dere, dada!" (fyi. she's been asking for one for months.) 

2. we are due the week of marlo's third birthday although the due date changes by a few days each visit depending on the beans' growth. but due dates mean little anyway, amiright? (especially according to marlo.) the first week of may could end up being a very busy- and very wonderful- week for this family of mine for the rest of our lives. and that is pretty damn cool.

3. this picture was taken when i was only seven weeks along at a vineyard. (ps. a vineyard tour isn't the best place to visit when you're newly pregnant and can't drink wine. it's pouring salt into an open and swollen pregnant wound.) my abs put up no such fight this time around. they just parted like the red sea and my bump was all, "hey! it's partay time!!! let's do this!" it's now about three times as big as it was in that photo. and, yes, i get the "are you having more than one?" question a lot.  i got it from my grandmother last night when we were able to tell her in person. but, nope. it's just one in there, thankyouverymuch.

4. current cravings: yellow rice, french fries, store-bought rotisserie chicken, mushroom quesadillas, pizza from juliana's, goat cheese, eggs, b.l.t.'s on croissants with too much mayo, freshly squeezed orange juice. current aversions: cooking ground meat, coffee (i still love a latte though!), and the smells of play-doh, beer, and red wine.

5. there is nothing more comforting to me than when marlo climbs onto my lap and lays her head on my belly and rubs and loves "her baby." she's fully aware of what's going on and her enthusiasm surrounding her brother or sister gives me this newfound excitement which i'm desperately clinging onto. it's that abundance of unassuming excitement that keeps the anxiety surrounding what raising two kids actually entails at a minimum. also, i now know how dogs feel when their favorite person in the world spends a few minutes scratching that special spot behind their ear. my favorite person is marlo and i'm very much like a labrador when i'm pregnant. give me all the belly rubs!

five things | from life lately with one marlo mclean


just marlo being marlo at a music festival in carrboro, nc.
photos taken by our sweet friend, katie. 
1. this morning, mo woke up a little earlier than i was comfortable with. i scooped her up out of her bed and brought her into bed with me for a quality cuddle sesh. but, instead, the second we hit the mattress we both rolled over to our respective sides to promptly fall back asleep. i'm not sure how many moments passed but all of a sudden i was startled awake by a heavier-than-expected arm being thrown around my neck and a toddlers' morning breath at my ear whispering to me, "i luh you, mama." and that, my friends, will go down as the best way to be awoken by your toddler quite possibly ever.

2. and thank god for moments like that because they balance out the past week that we spent in chapel hill. let's just say that the week proved two very important things: for starters, two is proving to be one hell of a ride. secondly, we have discovered that our child does not tolerate a change in routine very well. and by not very well i actually mean not at all. marlo established her status as a devoted creature of habit with great flourish and unimaginable toddler drama. a go-with-the-flow, laid back, easy going child she simply is not. 

3. potty training is happening soon. my mom- god bless her- somehow managed to potty train me in one day. ONE. DAY. she will readily admit to you that it ranks as one of the worst days of her life but it worked. so. i'm following her lead and reading this book and going to attempt this with modini in the next few weeks.  i imagine i'll maintain similar sentiments about the upcoming no good very bad day but if it works, i'll be no worse for wear. and hells-to-the-yeah about no more diapers. did you know that a child will use around 4,000 diapers before he or she is toilet-trained? that's just insanity. 

4. joe bought marlo her first unc basketball jersey while we were walking along franklin street one afternoon. (ps. she's in a 5t. she's 2.) and, like the well-mannered parents we pretend to be, instead of teaching mo to say thank you to people who compliment her on it- which, obviously, numbered many- we taught her to say go heels! while she pumps her fist in the air. in the tarheel state that's actually better than thank you. unless, of course, you prefer to wear that other shade of blue in which case joe has taught her another hand gesture to impart on unsuspecting innocents. 

5. marlo has always been an adventurous eater. over the past couple of weeks, we've seen the picky fickleness showcase itself through her eating habits. currently, she craves pickles, banana peppers, and pickled jalapeños. the only problem with this current idiosyncrasy is that she only wants to eat those three things and if i force her to eat... say... oatmeal... there better damn well be some pickled somethings to top off her oats. it's truly disgusting. but whatever. pick your battles is my current guiding motto of this particular parental-toddler phase.

the 52 project | 37 & 38


37: you're pretty serious for the most part. but sometimes- a lot of times, actually- you have these moments that remind me just how much of a child you really are and you make me laugh like nothing else ever can. i hope you're always this much of an entertainer.
38: along with your childish endeavors, i've also been capturing little pieces of you that give me a glimpse of who you will be in the future. i see expressions that i swear you'll make when you're sixteen, thirty, and even fifty. like your lack of enthusiasm for a little girl who is yelling at you while you're on your beloved tire swing. or how unimpressed you are with me when someone makes a joke that you find to be less than funny. while these moments scare me because they showcase how much of your own person you already are, they also remind me that you'll always be my marlo, my baby. they promise me that even when you become a grown adult, you'll always be the same person i've known better than i know anyone.

the things i forgot


i forgot just how much pleasure i get out of grocery shopping and rummaging through the farmer's market. i forgot just how inspiring it is to be able to take my time as i peruse the produce as i decide on the nights' supper instead of hustling through the store as quickly as possible with an organized list in hand, destined to forget five different main ingredients.

i forgot what taking a long walk outside by myself felt like without pushing a stroller or hearing a toddler cry because she dropped her apple one hundred yards back and i failed to notice until the tears and tantrum began.

i forgot what it was like to be able to run errands, clean my house, write a post, catch up on emails, prep a few lunch items for the week, watch the news and even exercise all on my own time without a toddler under my feet.

i forgot what it felt like to sip an iced coffee on a random tuesday and actually take the time to taste it. it tastes like bitter, velvety heaven, in case you were wondering.

and while i feel like i should really be taking a nap or a shower instead of doing all of the things that i'm in the process of doing or have done in the few hours since i dropped marlo off at her first day of play school, i'm finding that completing these "chores" are bringing me an unexpected level of satisfaction.

maybe it's the change in seasons that is encroaching on me and my family. maybe it's the simple fact that marlo's newfound independence makes me a very proud mama, like joe and i have done something incredibly right over the last two and a half years. hell, it could simple be because i've finally got some consistent alone time for three mornings every week.

i'm not quite sure.

then again, i'm not quite sure that i need to be sure of why as much as i need to just be sure of what is.

because whatever the reasons may be, i'm feeling so, so very good and it's been a really long time since i've been able to say that.

the 52 project | 35 & 36


"a picture of my daughter, once a week, every week, in 2014."
35: messy hair. a cheeky smirk. just marlo being marlo.

36: very often you will say to me, "mama. ima make a un-ny 'ace." and this is usually what i get.

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