Our intention was to drag our Christmas tree into the street with us for this year’s holiday card photo, but the nap time window was closing and we sacrificed creativity for a Lucille smile. Totally worth it. :)
For whatever reason I’ve had a slow mental/emotional start to 2015. Where I wish I was jumping into work and projects with the renewed motivation at a fresh start, I’m dragging my feet. I have a feeling, though, that what I need is a “ripping of the band aid,” as they say, and all will (likely, hopefully) be well. :) And that’s exactly what’s happening today.
How’s the new year been for you?
Okay, I admit this recipe can feel tedious. Lots of prep and steps, especially if you’re making homemade seasoning, sauce, and sour cream. It’s not one you’d make in a pinch, but it’s sooo tasty! So I now approach it in two parts- I do all the chopping and prep the day before (or morning of), and store the ingredients in the fridge until I’m ready to assemble. This makes the whole experience much more manageable and enjoyable. :)
Large package of corn tortillas
1t olive oil
1 medium red onion, chopped
2 red peppers, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 large handfuls of spinach, chopped
1 14.5oz can diced tomatoes, drained
3 medium tomatoes, sliced thin (optional)
2-3T taco seasoning mix or homemade taco seasoning
14oz package of firm tofu
2 shallots, finely chopped
Juice from 1 medium lime or 2T lime juice
2 heaping tablespoons nutritional yeast
salt/pepper to taste
Begin assembly of the casserole:
Lucille is blissfully ignorant of American ideals, culturally imposed expectations, and personal successes and losses. I can honestly say she’s never once asked me about my GPA, my degrees, or my considerable income. ;) But more than any other (almost) two-year-old I’ve ever spent time with, she pays attention, and she sees people- in the purest and most simplified way that is actually quite beautiful. I sometimes think she’s intuitively aware of goodness and generosity of spirit.
So of course she loves her Papa- sensing these very things (along with all his warmth, compassion, playfulness, and tenderness). I’m pretty sure she’s also learning there are few men in this world quite like him. And she most assuredly identifies it in my own response to my dad, who is one of the greatest men I’ve ever know and probably ever will.
It’s funny- looking at these photos taken 4 months ago… I hadn’t gradated yet, summer break was still on the horizon, lots of time off before starting my internship at a private practice (next week!)… But life was kind of standing still that week with the Pelz family. A few of our members were experiencing deep losses, and as it goes with our family, we felt the weight of the loss with them- differently, but profoundly.
I think the nature of living so far away makes Nate and me that much more intentional when we are together. We recognize the time is precious, and feel the need to make it count. This was no exception-every conversation, meal, hug, smile- felt significant and valuable, and maybe even more so…
Most mornings I peak into Lucille’s room, find her chatting with Paloma and Teddy, and scoop her up out of her crib for the usual diaper change and clothes assembly. But some mornings… we skip the clothes assembly, stay in PJ’s, and crawl into the biggest bed in the apartment for the usual playing, snuggling, and book reading for the morning. That is until our stomach’s get the better of us. ;)
Luce and I spent some time in Valparaiso with the Von Tobel fam back in July and minus a few minor health mishaps, it was perfect. I wish we could have stayed longer, and as we boarded the plane back to LAX (a direct flight, thank the Lord) I was already working out a plan to visit again. Is it too much to ask to live next door to both my sisters?
So there’s no doubt about it, she loves her cousin Finley. And someday I’m going to love showing both of them just how much, since by the time they’re teenagers we’ll have a wealth of evidence (see here).
It was “low”/rainy season while we were on St. Kitts but when doing some research I found reports stating that for various reasons related to geography, it was seldom in the direct line of hurricanes. We were willing to chance some rain, especially since accommodation rates were amazing. It did rain but it never lasted long- storm clouds would roll out as fast as they came and several times left behind a rainbow display- we loved it. :)
Low season also meant that our already secluded beach was empty, save for a few local kite surfers. I can’t tell you how many times we called it “our beach” and “our pier.” ;) I mean, really. It was… So we jumped waves and snorkeled and explored nearly the whole island – even ate at a local spot using IOU’s (we discovered it when walking the beach and none of us had our wallets). But arguably my most favorite part (besides sleeping in) was the people we met – locals who were passionate about their home and full of great recommendations for where to go, what to see, eat, experience- off the beaten path. I left feeling really connected to the place, and with an even greater appreciation for its beauty. I have to say, an all-inclusive is incredible, but renting a house afforded us the opportunity to connect to the culture and I wouldn’t have had it any other way. :)