September Coffee Date - 2021 - Skillful Cook
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September Coffee Date - 2021

Hi! Hi. I've missed this. Grab your coffee or your Spindrift and let me catch you up on what's been happening lately.

Woman sitting on steps with pumpkin. Woman has ripped jeans.

Big sigh.

Hi! Hi. I've missed this.

I have been here, there, and everywhere on POY lately - in recipe mode, planning, scheduling, development, etc.

But it's been so long since I wrote one of these coffee date posts. Do I say that every time? Does it get a little longer between every time? I don't know. I don't know. I'm very tired. But I'm really glad to be here and to (finally) be giving a little update on our personal lives.

What I'm drinking - well, at this very actual moment I'm drinking the very last strawberry lemonade Spindrift that was in our office fridge. But in the coffee department, over the last few months I've become very habitual with my decaf oatmilk shaken espresso order from Starbucks. I don't even know how to describe it other than a barely sweet, espresso-based creamy iced drink, but it's delicious.

Pumpkin spice? Yes or no? I am pretty medium on it this year. Maybe this means I'm growing up or something? If you love pumpkin spice, get after it. We need all the little joys we can get!

Grab your coffee or your Spindrift - there's a lot to catch up on. ♡

Our Hard Thing

Photo in a medical office of doctor's doing surgery.

Alright, this is the big one.

Like so many others, our family is currently facing a hard thing.

A few weeks ago, through a random series of events, we learned that Solvi's heart isn't working normally.

We went for what we thought would be a reassuring appointment with cardiology where they say, “thanks for coming to get this checked out, but everything is fine!”, but instead we came out with an out-of-the-blue serious diagnosis and instructions for scheduling a minimally invasive heart surgery to implant a small metal device that would correct her heart.

This week at her pre-op, we got some more unexpected news: our surgeon estimated that, for her heart issue specifically, there may be only a 60-75% chance that this minimally invasive procedure will correct the issue. And if it does not correct the issue, she'll need to have open heart surgery.

I feel so connected to the community here, and I know so many of you who read Skillful Cook and leave comments and stop us at the bagel store to say hi - you are wonderful, deep, real people. You allow us - Bjork, me, Skillful Cook - into your lives and your kitchens and that is such a huge, incredible honor. And that is why in the work we do, I feel best when I can be a whole person, not just a recipe person. A whole person who has good times, and a whole person who has scary heart surgery times.

And, frankly, this week is scary heart surgery time.

I make breakfast, I show up at work, I talk about normal things, I put the girls to bed... but also, I am constantly aware of what is just days ahead on the calendar and the lifelong ramifications it will have one way or the other.

Thank you so much for your support, love, and especially your prayers this impending procedure and for our little girl's heart. These are some really anxious times for us.

The Soup Series

Sopa tarasca in a bowl with cilantro and cheese.

On a so much lighter note, the soup series is coming up and I've been ready for it since the day I was born.

Half of my camera roll is photos of soup like this - this showstopper is a tomato-based Mexican-style soup with some corn fritters and excessive cheese and crema toppings and let me just say, it is worth watching for.

More info about the soup series here!

The Summer Of CSA

White child's hand grabbing vegetables from CSA box.

Overall, this was really not a great summer for us.

But one of the ways this summer was FUN and HAPPY and FRESH was that we did a CSA for the first time! You pay at the beginning of the summer for a whole summer's worth of fresh, locally grown produce boxed up straight from the farm. We have a weekly pickup point that we drive to (it's a standing Bjork-Solvi date) and then we bring the box home and have just the best time unboxing it and seeing “what we got from the farm” this week.

The most unplanned, unexpected benefit has been seeing Solvi get so excited about vegetables. It's like unwrapping a giant present of vegetables every week, and she now knows most of the names of the veggies, and knows which ones she likes (the tiny tomatoes, the pea pods, the cucumbers, the green beans), and gets excited to make recipes with the produce (zucchini muffins x100). Next year we'll try to actually take her to the farm for a field trip so she can see where everything is grown.

Have you done a CSA? Heard of it? This was only our first year but I would highly recommend looking into it if you love vegetables, have little kids who might enjoy the process, or want to buy more locally grown produce!

On Parenting

Happy baby with tongue out holding her feet.

While there are so many joys about being a parent to two littles (exhibit A in the photo above! omg!!), I wouldn't say this is a season of thriving for us, that's for sure. 😂

In this chapter of my life, most days feel like a blur of toddler baby work home baby toddler repeat.

Most nights, after the girls FINALLY go to sleep and the kitchen finally gets cleaned up and I settle in for my 30 minutes of free time, the general mood in the house is this:

Woman with head against kitchen cabinet looking at phone.

(Thanks, Bjork, for always capturing me at my best!)

It's hard to explain how much I love and struggle with this season all at the same time, but I know I don't really need to explain it because a lot of you just understand.

I'm just drinking deep from the experiences and joys of having a three year old and an almost one year old. Every single day I'm laughing at their antics and nibbling their cheeks and loving their little selves so much it hurts. Lena gave me a floppy wave on the way out the door this morning, and Solvi kissed me three times and insisted that I bring her toy dustpan to work so I could “give dad a reminder to clean up at the office.” I mean, this is it. This is the good stuff. I just want time to stand still so they can be this squishy forever.

And at the same time, I'm feeling stretched very, very thin. I'm tired. I'm struggling to find the right work-life balance (always). And I'm looking forward to a day - maybe? someday? - when I can get a full night of sleep.

Woman and kids at an apple orchard.

(A pause to talk about sleep which seems to be always a thing! Yes, we did do sleep training for Solvi and she has always been a great sleeper until this summer. We are full blown toddler sleep struggle bus these days. And we did sleep training for Lena as well - we even worked with a sleep consultant, lol - and she just has never quite gotten it, maybe due to reflux issues or maybe just because BABIES ARE BABIES. I don't know. She's slept through the night maybe 10 times in her whole life. If you're looking for a good way to be humbled and aged at the same time, might I recommend kids!)

Bjork and I always come back to this mantra or idea that this season is definitely hard, but it's simple hard. There's no lack of love. There's cuteness and goodness and pure joy everywhere... it just comes with a price tag of never having a clean house, always feeling behind, and all-around total exhaustion.

Anyone out there feeling this? Maybe you stepped away for a second coffee?

We Now Own A Double Jogger

Two girls in a double stroller on a walk.

And it is life changing.

We have built up a fleet of several strollers in the last few years:

  • Uppababy
  • BOB Jogger (single)
  • And most recently, a Thule jogger (double)

And I have to tell you - if I could only pick one of all these three, it would be the new Thule double jogger. It's super smooth, light, and comfortable for both of them. We are LOVING it.

I found this one on Facebook Marketplace, and even with a little bit of wear and tear on it, it is just such a dream. It's the only way I can stand a chance at exercising right now because I can make it into a whole activity for the girls. And by exercises I mean a 20 minute walk/run maybe twice per week! Starting small!

And Then There's Bjork

Man holding a beer and smiling.

Bjork is, even in a sleep deprived state, just generally funny, clever, and kind. Why are some people just good?

Here is a photo of him drinking an NA beer on a date with me because he stopped drinking alcohol and eating sugar? I don't know. We now have boxes of keto cereal in our pantry and carrot juice and Diet 7UP in our fridge. I obviously don't support this but he can't be stopped.

I think he is just as tired as I am because he is Lena's Night Parent and is often the one to get up with her in the middle of the night (she doesn't usually nurse at night, just wakes for a paci or a snuggle or who really knows why). I take Solvi's wake ups, he takes Lena's wake ups, and in the midst of all that is crazy and hard right now, I am so thankful for such a true partner.

We've been able to go on a few dates over the summer which usually feels like an entire vacation packed into 4 hours. It's usually enough time for us to talk about work and kids, get into a little fight, recover from a little fight, and enjoy dinner, dessert, and a walk. It's great. God bless date night.

Thank you so much for checking in. Thanks for your thoughts and prayers for Solvi. Thank you for sharing this space with us in ways that are real and genuine.

Sending all the love in the world through my computer screen to you! May you find a moment of peace in whatever good or hard things you're facing today. ♡ xo

Filed Under: Life

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  1. Skillful Cook Logo

    Oh wow. I have tears in my eyes reading this because you so perfectly put into words the exact joys and struggles I’m feeling parenting two littles. Thank you for your words which are making me feel less alone. Praying right now for Solvi.

  2. Skillful Cook Logo

    Thank you for being you, POY! Your authenticity and gentle spirit brings much needed goodness to our world.

  3. Skillful Cook Logo

    I’m so sorry to hear about Solvi’s diagnosis and I’m sending you all the positive vibes and well wishes as she undergoes surgery and you wait for results.
    I’m in the same season of life as you – this post really resonates with me and makes me realize I am not alone…. And neither are you.

  4. Skillful Cook Logo

    I feel so deeply for you and your sweet girl. My daughter had a liver transplant at 9 months old and although different situations I know how scary that world can feel. Praying for you all and thank you for sharing all the recipes and life that you do. ♥️

  5. Skillful Cook Logo

    Thanks for sharing your life with us 🙂 We need more real and authentic voices. Wishing you and your special family all the strength and courage to face this difficult time. Our daughter had a cancer diagnosis 2 years ago- and I can relate to a lot of your struggle and uncertainty. One day, hour, moment and at time- was the best advice I clung to.

    I also love that you recognized the ‘date night fight/resolution’ bit! So true isn’t it!

    Thanks for everything POY- I love all your series and am looking forward to all the delicious soups!

  6. Skillful Cook Logo

    Think of you and your family every time I make a POY recipe (which is often!). Thanks for the update. Praying all good news for sweet Solvi this week, keeping your family in my prayers.

  7. Skillful Cook Logo

    Praying for you and your family. My kids are grown but I do remember those sleepless nights. I can remember thinking how on earth did people get their kids to sleep through the night. Time passes so quickly and they will eventually sleep through the night. Thank you for sharing and know that you are covered in prayer facing the journey ahead.

  8. Skillful Cook Logo

    Oh friend. My heart sank to the floor when you shared the news about sweet Solvi. I am praying for her and you and Bjork and Lena. I get the anxiousness. I would be there as well. Praying for the BEST scenario for her and her precious precious heart.
    I am with you in ALL the other things, down to the phone scrolling zombie at night and my husband deciding now to drink NA beers. What is life. We are getting up with our 3 littles too continually throughout the night and it’s like how can I still be functioning with such little sleep. I’m with you in dirty houses and warm coffees and toddler baby work baby toddler life. I know you have good support, but also I’d be beyond happy to drop off food/coffee/treats this week! So much love and support for you and your fam.

  9. Skillful Cook Logo

    I will keep Solvi in my prayers. I know wholeheartedly that she will be okay.
    I wish you strength, patience and peace.

  10. Skillful Cook Logo

    Mama of three over here (6, 4, 2yo) and I see you. Love your description of “simple hard.” It’s exhausting AND fulfilling AND soul draining AND amazing. Parenthood is weird like that. Your date night description made me laugh out loud (enough time to fight and make up from said fight!) so thank you for that! My middle child went through a scary medical season two years ago, and I know those feelings you describe well. It’s so hard. Praying for you all through this time, especially your sweet girl ❤️

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      I’ll be praying for Solvi!! And for you two as well – this must be so stressful.
      I’ve been in your crazy season of life – it’s so hard, but so so worth it. Look for any chances to say “no” to extras, or for any short cuts you can take to keep your sanity 🙂

  11. Skillful Cook Logo

    Thank you for sharing yourself and your sweet family with us- so many virtual hugs and light to you this tough week and season.

  12. Skillful Cook Logo

    I would read any book you ever write, Lindsay! Not that you need anything else on your plate. Your voice is just so real and like a girlfriend we haven’t met even as your blog and business has completely exploded and become so profesh. Glad to see this posted – Sending love and good sleep vibes your way!

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      My sentiments exactly! I always think to myself when reading Lindsay’s post, “gosh, she would write the best books.”

      Reading anything that comes from Lindsay feels like such a treat.

      I’m sorry for what she and the family are going through right now with precious little Solvi.

  13. Skillful Cook Logo

    It’s so, so hard when they’re that young. Every little thing is harder because you’re so exhausted, and then there’s a big thing and you feel like you just can’t get through it. But somehow you do. And you find things to laugh at, and you take cute picture.

    And then they get a bit older and (I PROMISE) they start to need you just a little bit less. They still love you, but they’re playing in their room and it’s relatively quiet and you can just breathe. They’ll start sleeping, they’ll potty train. It will get easier.

  14. Skillful Cook Logo

    This all just resonated SO MUCH. So much hard, so much good and just so much all the time. Thinking of you all!

  15. Skillful Cook Logo

    First and most importantly – praying fervently for Solvi and your family.

    Secondly – thank you for acknowledging and normalizing fights on date night. Seriously – it’s just helpful to know it’s normal!!!

  16. Skillful Cook Logo

    Oof. I’m so sorry you guys are going through this. Solvi has a huge community rooting for her!

    Also, this paragraph? This is exactly. it. I’m printing this and putting in my home office. I’m making T-shirts. I’m tattooing it to my body:
    “simple hard. There’s no lack of love. There’s cuteness and goodness and pure joy everywhere… it just comes with a price tag of never having a clean house, always feeling behind, and all-around total exhaustion.”

    Thank you for sharing your life with us <3

  17. Skillful Cook Logo

    I see you. Your experience is uniquely your own, but many of us can empathize. Sometimes sharing the hard parts of our lives means we spread the heaviness of all those emotions out among friends, and for just a little while, they can shoulder the weight with you. Thank you for allowing us to do that for you. We’ll all be here, waiting for the next highs and lows. You’re doing the best that you can and it is amazing.

  18. Skillful Cook Logo

    Lindsay! Thinking of you, Solvi, Bjork, Lena and the whole fam. What a challenging season you’re in, and yet you still show up and loop us all in. Keeping you all in my thoughts through this trying time!

  19. Skillful Cook Logo

    Your family is so loved. Sending all our prayers for a successful surgery. May God give you strength.

  20. Skillful Cook Logo

    It’s been a HARD few months! I am thinking of you and your family and sending you all BIG LOVE and healing vibes. Thank you for ALL that you do. You are in my thoughts. xo

  21. Skillful Cook Logo

    Thank you so much for sharing!! Praying for you all and sending so much love your way!! I have followed you for so many years and I feel like I know you without ever having met you!! Be strong my friend… I am sure there are many praying for your family…may God be with each one of you and especially with the doctors and nurses this week as they help Solvi!!!

  22. Skillful Cook Logo

    Ohmygoodness I relate to so much of this stage of life with small kids. The date night with the fight! haha soooo relatable.

    My 3yo was a dream sleeper until he returned 3 and started waking up in the MOTN again and whyyyy did no one tell me that would start happening as soon as my 9mo twins finally started STTN! This stage is exhausting.

    Praying for Solvi and her surgery that she would be in the 60%.

  23. Skillful Cook Logo

    Thinking of you during this time. This community cares about you all so much, so thank you for sharing the heavy and light stuff. Thank you for all the wonderful recipes you make too!