It’s Their Big Adventure

It had been a long morning at home, full of dark clouds and April showers. Then, miraculously, the sun made a guest appearance. As soon as the kids were finished napping I knew we better make a run for it while we could. I threw a Costco-sized bag of Goldfish crackers and a beach towel in a reusable tote, put a hat on my unshowered head, and rallied the kids up from their nap,” Let’s get out!”

“Moooom, where are we going?” my daughter asked as I buckled her little brother in his carseat and handed each little set of hands a cup of Goldfish.

“It’s a surprise,” I said, backing out of the driveway, “You’ll love it!” I reassured her. You see, the truth was we were headed to Edmonds beach, right by the ferry and train tracks, and there was limited parking. I honestly didn’t know how busy it might be or if we’d even find a spot. I had a back up plan in mind and knew of park nearby, but I knew if I told my daughter we were going to the beach, I’d have to commit no matter what. Even if that meant parking blocks away. I wasn’t sure I was prepared to do that.

“Mooom, just tell me.” she kept pestering as we waited at the world’s longest red light.

“If you guess it, I’ll tell you.” I glanced back at her with a wink as the light changed green. “There’s no way she’ll guess it right?” I thought to myself.

Grandma’s house?”

“Nope.”

“Nana’s house?”

“No.”

“JoJo’s house?”

“No.” We are golden, no way she’ll get it if she just keeps guessing family member’s houses.

“The beach?”

Shit.

“You got it!” I replied. “I have to tell you though, it might be busy and there might not be parking. We’ll just have to see when we get there.” Please let there be a spot.

We drove over the train track crossing and into the parking lot near the beach, but it didn’t look good.The shining sun meant that it was totally full and no one would be be leaving anytime soon. Decision time.

“Uh oh, looks like the parking lot is full.” I explained as I looped around towards the exit.

“Does that mean we can’t go to the beach?!” my daughter cried.

“No, I think we’ll be able to go, it depends if I find some street parking within a few blocks here.”

“It depends on if you find street parking?” she repeated.

“Yes, that’s what I said. Give me a minute here. Let me concentrate.”

“If we don’t find parking, then we can’t go to the beach?” she tried to confirm.

“Hadley, hold on a minute.” I said firmly, pulling into a street spot. It was a couple blocks away, but definitely doable. I knew I hadn’t packed the stroller for my son, but I was determined at this point.

“Alright, we’re here!” I sang grabbing the tote. “You’ll have to hold my hand as we walk,”  I instructed both of them. “We have a little way to go, but not far.”

We started our walk to the beach, or I should say, our snail’s pace stroll, as my one-and-half-year-old son was mesmerized by all of the world. His mouth gaping open at the birds that flew above, rocks on the ground, leaves that moved in breeze, airplanes flying over head and people walking by. Hadley looked up ahead anticipating what we’d walk by next. We were hand-in-hand, walking to the beach. I felt a wave of warmth rush through me as I realized the fun of this outing had begun for my kids already. I was frazzled trying to hurry them along to try and get down to the beach before they complained about being tired or thirsty or hungry and we’d have to bag the whole thing and call it a day. But as I felt both of my hands clasping their little fingers, as they jumped, skipped and strolled along the sidewalk, I felt how happy they were and we hadn’t even got to our destination yet. Hadley said hello to everyone that we passed by.  Young, old, walking a dog or drinking coffee, it didn’t matter to her, she offered her greetings to EVERYONE.

Not that I am biased in any way, but I have seen how people’s faces light up with delight at the sight of my girl shouting, “HI!” and giving them an abrupt wave. Now her little brother, John, repeats everything she does, so these strangers are getting a double dose of cuteness.

As we walked along the sidewalk, passing some of the homes and shops in downtown Edmonds, my kids said hi to everyone that passed.

“Hi!” Hadley yelled.

“Hi.” John chirped in response. Smiles erupted on my kids’ faces, the passing stranger’s face, and mine as well.

Finally, we made it to the beach. And it truly was a glorious sun-filled afternoon there in the sand. The ferryboats dodged in and out as the train zoomed passed and people walked by.  But the most beautiful sight was the smiles on the faces of my children. The adventure for them had begun the minute we left the house, stepped out of the car, and just started spending the time together.

Frozen Peas

Homemade fried rice is a favorite in my household. One night I threw sausage in a pan and added 90 second micro rice, egg and frozen peas with tons of butter. It was a hit! My husband loves it and my kids eat it too, which is amazing. It included vegetables from a bag, which again, is amazing.  Cooking one thing that your entire family will eat including a picky toddler and preschooler, that you can call a meal, is AH-mazing.

(Disclaimer: This is not a food blog. I’m sure food will be discussed as it is a staple in our household. An occasional recipe or tip may be shared, but this is not a source of meal planning or inspiration food wise. You might want to look elsewhere for that. I am simply doing the best I can with what I have and what I have in my freezer is frozen peas. Wine. I also have wine).

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“I’m hungry!” My 3-year-old daughter shouts. Sweat drips down my spine and tickles my back as I pull my head out from the open freezer door to see her pink cheeks and droopy eyes staring up at me. It was a sweltering summer day in the Pacific Northwest. I know, I know, I sound like a wimp. But when it’s 90+ degrees, you aren’t used to that kind of heat, and you have no air conditioning, it can feel pretty dang hot.

“I know you are hungry Had.” I respond, less than sympathetic. I glance over at my 11 month-old in his high chair who is shoving his frozen teether and chubby little fingers into his slobbery mouth. Ugh teething. I gaze absent-mindedly into the freezer. “What to do for dinner?” I sigh to myself. Suddenly my eyes lock upon a bag of frozen peas. I had read about frozen peas as a soothing food for teething. Plus, it’s cold, and…a vegetable! “How about some frozen peas!?” I suggest cheerily.

“Sure!” Hadley agrees. I open the bag and dump some into a bowl. She jumps up onto a kitchen chair and smiles as I hand her the bowl. I drop a few on John’s tray.

“Ball.” he says.

“Yes, John. They are shaped like a ball, but these aren’t balls. They are peas, frozen peas.” The minutes that follow are quiet. I can finally wrap my head around what to start for dinner as my kids happily munch on their frozen peas. Frozen peas!

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Summer play dates with my teacher friends are the best. Our kids are all around the same age. We as moms and educators have so much in common to discuss. Plus, we share the sheer joy that is summer vacation.

We were wrapping up another successful play date at my house. As we said our goodbyes, Hadley of course pipes up, “I’m hungry!”

“You want some frozen peas?” I suggest, “our friends are just about to leave and then I can work on lunch, but right now we are talking and saying goodbye.”

I whip out the peas and pour some in a bowl. My friend’s two little girls curiously walk over to peek inside Hadley’s bowl. “You want one?” I question. “Is it okay?” I ask glancing up at their mom.

“Frozen peas?” She questioned. “Sure.”

One pea after another her daughters shoved into their mouths. “They love them!” My friend exclaims. “I can’t believe they like frozen peas just plain like that.”

A couple of hours later my friend texted me, The girls wanted more frozen peas when we got home. I didn’t have any plain peas but I had a frozen veggie mix with peas and carrots that I gave them. They love it. Thanks for the tip.

Mixed frozen veggies? Brilliant.

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Frozen peas represent much more than an uncooked, really cold, hard, and slightly gross  tasting vegetable. To me, they show the grace that needs to come with being a mom. The grace we need give ourselves and the grace we need give each other. Sometimes, it is really, really hard being a mom and sometimes, you just need a quick snack or meal that everyone at the table will actually enjoy. Frozen peas have always worked for me as a healthy snack and distraction. Plus, they make a great addition to our family’s favorite meal: fried rice.

I was happy to share the frozen pea snack idea with a friend. I love that she took it and ran with it. Not only that, she added to it. Not just frozen peas but carrots as well. This is such a small thing, a simple thing, and almost silly, a frozen vegetable. But it shows the need for relationship, friendship and community with other moms. To share ideas and experiences that we can together expand on or improve upon. It makes the journey of motherhood so much sweeter when you can share it with other moms.

So moms,  you are not alone. You are amazing. You are rockin’ it every single day. This blog is for you. My wine glass at dinnertime will be cheering to you. I hope these words and stories on this blog inspire, encourage, and humor you in times of need or in times of contentment. Trust me, frozen peas. Try it.