Jane’s Space

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It has been a rough couple weeks friends, and I am so happy to post something refreshing and fun. As our battle for Jane’s health continues, I long for a serene getaway and I have learned to take solace in the smallest of things. An unexpected latte, a moment alone, a talk with a friend, a cool summer night, her first high five (yes!!), how she said “Charlie” out of nowhere for the first time the other morning (no, I don’t know a “Charlie” and I’m not sure who he is but I’d like to know why my daughter knows his name), her first pony tail, and the small details of our home.

With so many things out of our control, it’s nice to have a space that is entirely up to our say. A place to rock her, make her feel comfortable, in routine, peaceful and happy. While it is far from finished, I want to share a little bit of our sweet “Jane space” with you.

I am far from a Pinterest mom, but I do my best ;-) I wish so hard I could handle grey walls with matching neutral upholstery and meaningless Ikea furniture, but I just can’t. I thrive on messy, eclectic and personal. And don’t forget, inexpensive! Everything below shows my attempts at just that. Get ready for an overload of sentiment and meaning and cutesie things!

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1. Jane’s crib was a hand-me-down from my nieces. Pottery Barn FREEBIE for the win!

2. The banner above Jane’s crib was made for my baby shower and it lives on :)

3. The frame below the banner was found at a garage sale by my mom. I framed one of our very favorite verses for this season of our lives in it and hung a peacock feather that someone gave us from our wedding. I’m so personal and sentimental right now!

4. The rocking chair was my great grandpas. ( I know, you can’t even handle me right now). The faux fur throw is Ikea $9.99! And the white pillow was specifically picked out by my mom if we had a girl. Spoiler alert, we did :) Rich and I picked out a mustache pillow for if it was a boy. The mustache pillow lives on in our living room.

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How bout that thumb tack huh!?

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This pillow is the pillow of a princess. Also great lumbar support.

The window wall of Jane’s room is my second favorite view. With the windows open during the day you can smell gardenia’s blowing in from the plant right outside her window (A gardenia bush, one of my mom’s favorite scents. Jane is named after her, “Jane Margaret”). Too much precious, I know. It’s also another wall with more space for me to show off my sentimental values :)

20140815-224455.jpg1. This is a picture I made for Jane the day we found out we were having a little lady. Her name was a secret but anyone who saw the initial pre-birth took their guesses :) The snow white tin was mine (or maybe my sister’s? Well it’s mine now!) growing up. The bird was in my parent’s house and actually used as decor in my friend’s wedding. I’m unstoppable!!

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1. Both the air plant and stitched “J” are gifts from my dear friend who lives on the E.Coast. She hasn’t met Jane yet but they are both tiny and fierce and have overcome a lot and continue to do so. Christina, this is my tribute to you. <3


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The bedtime corner. A fru fru lamp. Another “pre-girl” purchase (meaning you keep the receipt in case it’s a dude baby). And our little reminder that Jane means “God has been gracious”.

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I used to not like this wall with Jane’s changing table/ dresser as much as the others but now I do. It was the “catch all” station. But after hanging these ADORABLE garage sale little girl pictures it added just the thing for me to take pride in this space. I’ve asked for it’s forgiveness and promised to never abuse it again. Jane has thick wavy hair. My husband loves dogs. It was meant to be.

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Hidden high above the world is this little detail. A koala given to Jane by a small friend, who happens to be the daughter of fellow Eco Chic Diaries blogger, Julie Hamilton. She’s a quirky one and little does she know I actually am in love with this little guy.

 

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My advice for your space? Keep it fun. Don’t decorate like a grown up. Make it meaningful, don’t play by rules. Love your space.

And now for the gag reel:

 

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That’s real life people!!

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A Blog Tour

I’m so honored to be invited to ” A Tour Through Blogland ” by Sarah of “Little Bus on the Prairie” (She lives on an actual bus… with CHILDREN. Champion award). A weekly snippet of bloggers all around CA and beyond who live life simply, beautifully, and realistically! I’m fairy new to blogging so it’s quite validating that someone finds your life stories worthy to be read, let alone explored! Thank you Sarah for inviting me on the journey, and to all new readers, welcome to Hil’s Kitchen!

ORIGINS

Harris Family

 

 

2.5 years ago I married my best friend and was a simple living, semi bored house wife who worked from home and volunteered at our church, and enjoyed a more natural way of life. I have always had a love for food (I get it from my parents) and happened to marry one of the most selective eaters of all time ( he’s gotten better, and I’ve learned how to put it nicely ;) We are also frugal, tight budget, normal people so I liked making the most out of what we had when it came to meals, and always had a knack for writing, thus Hil’s Kitchen was birthed.

Fast forward 2 years later, we became youth pastors, we bought a house and had a little baby girl named Jane (We like to do things all at once). Jane almost died on day 3 of her life and spent 28 days in the ICU for a condition called hyperinsulinism (which she no longer has! ) . The after effects still follow us everyday as Jane is now 7 months old and (for now) experiences frequent petite mal seizures. Our days are filled with hard prayers, neurology visits, and as you can imagine, budgeting for cheap meals is  no longer the topic at the forefront of my mind, but rather my precious little 13 lb. tinker bell fighter of a baby girl, Jane Margaret :) She and my new journey of mommyhood are now what you’ll mostly find on Hil’s Kitchen.

 

How Does Your Writing/ Creative Process Work? 

Oh dear, I am a hot mess when it comes to organizing thoughts!  That’s why I love my “note” app on my Iphone. If I ever get an idea I am quick to jot it down in there as life is too busy to assume I will remember anything! I also am horrible at self discipline so finding fellow bloggers (like Sarah), or a community of people that requires me to write is absolutely perfect. I need the pressure. Without the pressure I will eat nachos and lay by the pool all day. Or practice “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” on the piano in the middle of August. (You think I’m joking). I am currently doing a summer series for a local business in our area called Eco Chic. Check out some of the amazing diaries! Things like that push me into structure and this little wild flower needs that.

 

My Muse’s 

My main inspirations are obviously my husband and my daughter. Though I never want to label us as a family with “needs”, I obviously have a little bit of experience that I’m sure other mom’s with sick babies want to hear about. It can feel really lonely so I’m happy to provide some light :) I used to think that I needed to come up with some fabulous photos like the blogging queen herself, The Pioneer Woman, or travel to Italy to be a legit blogger. But most of my musings come from every day experiences. Jane is only 7 months old but she is hilarious. And motherhood, it is super humbling. Like the other day, I forgot Jane at Cost Co. It was on Fathers Day. She’s alive and okay so lets be honest, that’s hilarious. I couldn’t help but immediately think, “That one’s going on the blog”. Or sometimes we have super sweet mother daughter moments, and instead of keeping it to myself, it’s my civic duty as a blogger to share it with ya’ll. It’s humbling and takes boldness, and the audacity to think that people actually CARE, but if there’s anything I’m learning through my sharing and our journey with Jane it’s that people want REAL. So I try to document that as much as I can, even if it’s not pretty.

 

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JaneHilBed

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What am I currently working on? 

Currently, I’m trying to work on a post for Eco Chic Diaries. What has been hard with Jane and her current bout with seizures is it’s hard to process what lessons are just for me, and what lessons I need to share with the world. Some things should be kept sacred, but some things may actually save a person’s sanity. So right now, I’m trying to sort through those thoughts before I post :)

 

Why blog? 

People need your story!  Whether it’s how to eat organic, being single at 35, how to train for a marathon, or living in a bus to save money, someone out there needs to hear it. I know I love finding stories that speak to my hurting heart. I’ve already connected with one specific mama through Instagram, Katie Ewing of Praying for Paisley. It’s seeing stories like her’s that help keep us inspired as a family, and help remind us that we’re not alone and we can keep fighting and keep dancing :) . I think that is what blogging really comes down to, and why it’s so popular… people want to know they’re not alone. Whenever I feel insecure or like no one cares to read what I write, I try to remind myself of that. So when in doubt, just do it! You never know who needs to hear what you have to say, no matter how happy or sad it may be.

 

Our next stop… 

Faye

I’m so excited to introduce you to the next stop on our Tour Through Blogland , From Faye! Some of you who don’t know me probably already know who she is, and to that I would like to say, why yes, I do know her personally ;-) She’s one of my inspirations, she’s hilarious and all about green living and knows how to keep house work interesting, which is a gift. Check her out and your welcome in advance for forever changing your life and introducing you to your new obsession. :-)

28 Days of Jane: Everybody Has a Story

Before Jane, I was a judger. A hardcore judger. If you gave your baby formula. Judged. If you couldn’t kick postpartum weight. Judged. If you gave your kid sugar too early in life. Judged. It’s a wonder I had any friends at all!!

But then came Jane. Jane taught me that everybody has a story.

See before Jane was born I had a great story. Simple really. My husband and I dated for 2 years. Married on the 2 year mark. Got pregnant and had Jane on the next 2 year mark. We had good jobs. We had just bought a house. I had an easy pregnancy. We went on vacations. Young wild and free. Easy. That was my story.

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After Jane, I had a different story. I had messy unkept hair. I never wore make up. I wore the same navy blue zip up hoodie everyday in the hospital with maternity leggings. It was suspected that my baby had galactosemia, a disorder in which she could not absorb my breast milk. So my baby was fed soy formula (a HUGE no no if you had asked me prior, and a huge no no amongst the “natural” minded people I hung around) through a feeding tube.

With such exposure to diseases that lie dormant in a hospital environment and no first line defense of my skin to skin contact, or breast milk, vaccinations seemed almost like a no brainer where before we were “on the fence”. My sciatic nerve was pinched in giving birth to Jane and made walking postpartum almost unbearable. So I hobbled everywhere and it took me double the time to do “normal” things during our 4 week hospital stay. I ate nothing for 1.5 weeks out of nervous shock, then ate EVERYTHING for the next 1.5 weeks out of… aftershock?

My how my story had changed.

We would go to places like Whole Foods (ya know, where all the cool soccer moms shop? Oops, I just judged again…), and a little hip coffee shop full of entitled college students (Whooooaaa, judging again!) that became our oasis. It was in these public places that I could feel the eyes. The questions. The judgement.

“Wow that girl should do her hair”

“Well that girl’s not a threat in those grungy clothes”

“Why is that girl limping?”

“Oh, she must be like 5 months pregnant” (All you postpartum mommies feel me on that one)

It was then that I realized that they didn’t know my story! They didn’t know that I had JUST had a baby. That she was currently getting hooked up to IV’s in ICU. That we hadn’t been home in 3 weeks. That I had only used a public/community shower since I had given birth. That my husband and I weren’t just 2 college kids on a date, we were celebrating our 2 year wedding anniversary in a way we never expected right after being told that I could no longer breastfeed my baby.

I just wanted to scream, “Don’t you judge me! I have a story!”

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Or more recently, today at Big Lots I did a REALLY bad job of pulling into a parking spot . I guess I cut off a lady walking in the street because she not only gave me a really dirty look but started talking to another guy in the parking lot about me. Then as she drove away she pointed her finger at me and her lips were moving really fast and her face looked really mean and based off her countenance I’m guessing she was thinking things like,

“Irresponsible”

“Selfish”

“Rude”

And probably lots and lots of expletives :)

What she DIDN’T know was that I hadn’t slept in 2 days. Jane is teething or growing or manifesting demons. Not really sure which one. Maybe they’re all the same? She didn’t know that I was a sleep deprived woman thinking about money, groceries and the evening’s dinner plan, trying to squeeze in an errand between work phone calls and while my mom watched my cranky child. And while she may have been right about my horrible parking decision, she was most likely not seeing that I actually had a story.

And everybody does. The trendy hipster at the coffee shop. The nurses who do or do not administer your child’s vaccines. The mom who doesn’t breast feed. The one who can’t lose weight after baby. The one who loses “too much” weight after baby. They all have a story.

Instead of seeing a person at face value I began to try to my very hardest (we are only human afterall) to see passed the “obvious”. That woman looks really happy on Instagram but is she actually really lonely right now? That mom acts so protective over her children but did something traumatic happen to her as a child? That woman sure does post a lot of selfies! Is she reaching out for compliments she never receives? That single girl does whatever she wants, what a life! Is she really longing to settle down and for a family of her own right now?

I guess my point to all of this is, be kind mama.

Be kind to the woman handing her kid a bag of cheetos for a snack, be kind to the one who breastfeeds till 2 yrs old. Be kind to the full time working mama who can’t wear her baby all day long and the one who doesn’t let her baby go. Be kind to the one who cosleeps and doesn’t cosleep. To the telemarketer and the door salesman. To the one who vaccinates and to the one that doesn’t. To the one who is back at the gym and the one who can’t get out of bed. To the angry checkout clerks, or hasty baristas. To the mommy who wants to work. To the one who doesn’t , and to the one who has to.

Their story may not be yours, but they have one. Everybody does. Even the soccer moms at Whole Foods and the cranky ladies found in Big Lots parking lots :)

 

 

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28 Days of Jane: And We Danced

This summer I am thrilled to be writing for a fantastic team of  REAL women, sisters, daughters and mommies at Eco Chic Diaries!

Stay tuned every week through the summer for what I’ll be posting here and there for the Eco Chic team! 

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28 Days of Jane: And We Danced

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I have watched You’ve Got Mail over 475 times. You can not beat 1990’s/early 2000’s Meg Ryan. Can. Not. Beat.

I love the line in You’ve Got Mail where Kathleen Kelly talks to big business owner Joe Fox about how her and her mother used to “twirl”.

“What is that you’re doing in that picture” he asks.

“Twirling. My mother and I used to twirl”.

Love. It.

You see, Kathleen inherited the bookstore she operates from her mother and her mother has since passed. Her mom must have built a pretty successful business in order to pass a healthy retail store along. That would mean long hours, meetings and agendas. But what does her daughter remember most about her? Twirling.

This month I had the opportunity to speak at our church’s Mothers Day Service. Code for: Watch out! Your kid is not going to sleep and everything is going to fall apart as you prepare! And that’s mostly what happened :)

Jane was absolutely crazy, she slept maybe 2 hrs in 5 days ;-) I had my actual job to do, groceries to buy, house to clean, and still prepare something encouraging to say for all the nice church people. All the while my daughter had the nerve to NEED me, and was actually being quite cranky and somewhat of a bully. Did you know you can be bullied by a 4 month old? You can.

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In that moment I realized I had 2 choices: I could remain a stress case and get bitter at my messy house and crying daughter, OR, I could dance.

Hard decision, easy choice :)

I put on a new song we love from the album “You Make Me Brave”, entitled “We Danced”, I picked up my baby girl, and we danced around the living room. I think we did the waltz. Not really sure. Either way, I pressed her little cheek next to mine, sang her the words I knew, started praying for her future husband who would someday sweep her around a dance floor, and my baby and I had a little moment.

I still had a lot of things to do. I was barely prepared for the message I had to speak at our 3 Sunday services, I had no dinner planned, I still had laundry and vacuuming and dusting and and…

But I decided that while I hope Jane would someday recall me as a strong, brave, successful woman who loved her God and was dedicated to her work, I would LOVE, if when asked about me, she would say,

“She danced”.

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PB&J Affair (Steel Cut Oat Cups)

“So what are your cravings?”

Is it a requirement for everyone to ask this question to a pregnant woman every day? I feel as if people are either vicariously hoping to live through my bizarre food concoctions or perhaps they are just waiting to feel better about themselves. “Well, atleast I don’t eat meatball sandwiches at 12am like THAT pregnant woman” (which I don’t by the way). Who knows. But really, I get asked this alot.

My first response would be, “Um, FOOD. And lots of it!” Except not all at once cause I feel like my stomach will explode. But definitely not longer than 2 hrs apart because then I just feel like I’m gonna die.

But this month in particular I can answer, without a shadow of a doubt, that I am craving… PB&J. In all forms. In all ways.

The other night it actually came down to this:

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A grilled cheese PB&J.

“Ew! Only a pregnant woman would eat that!”

To that I say “Wrong.” or “Fine. More for me”.

Do not knock this until you try it. It’s the most precious blend of warm, crunchy, sweet, salty, savory, and buttery.

I’m unstoppable. It led me to further discoveries of PB&J delights.

I had originally planned on talking about chicken for my next post. But the rain started falling here and I came across this GREAT recipe for warm, delicious, hearty, healthy Personalized Baked Steel Cut Oat Cups from Sugar Free Mom and I love.. I love… I love them.. (P&P for you fans). I had made her Personalized Baked Oatmeal Cups before and Rich and I both loved them and they contain NO sugar and only real ingredients and even some fruit! ( This is a win for me and trying to feed my picky-ish husband).

The best part is these steel cut oat cups give me the quick snack I need to stay feeling full and they absolutely DELICIOUS with a PB&J filling. Like ABSOLUTELY. She lays out the recipe beautifully at Sugar Free Mom, so make sure to click the link. The only changes I made were:

- Almond Milk instead of cows and – A flax seed egg instead of a chicken’s (1 tbsp flax seed, 3 tbsp water, let sit till like a gel, add)         – No Stevia, and not as much honey as suggested.

Still turned out AMAZING. I just heated 2 in the microwave and was SO satisfied.

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Here’s to preggo cravings around the world!

Baby Moon & Monterey Eating Adventures

Once upon a time, aka 4 months ago, I thought I could be pregnant, work full time, run a food blog, keep up with laundry and also make time to work out. That was really cute of me. I’m so glad there is nothing but grace in the blog world (right!?), so I’m back and let’s all act like 4 month intervals are TOTALLY acceptable to maintaining a “successful” blog :-)

BABY MOON

Rich

People have made a point to let Rich and I know that once baby comes we won’t be doing a lot of things: Sleeping, going to movies, thinking straight, going on dates. Sounds like a real blast! I know their intentions are good and this is all not entirely true, but well, some of it very well may be so we decided to soak in some last days together in Monterey, CA. before the holidays hit and little baby love angel arrives. (No, her name is not Love Angel).

We enjoyed 2 nights in Monterey, eating our way through the day and at one point taking a 2 hr siesta on a beach in Carmel. ROUGH! I loved sharing my NY eating adventures with you all so decided to share what the food scene looks like in Monterey (For two soon-to-be parents on a budget on a mini vacation.)

WILD PLUM – ORGANIC CAFE & BISTRO, Monterey CA

Wild Plum

Yum. This one came suggested by a friend. And it was just about as organic/fresh/hippie as you could hope for. Rich was THRILLED. ;-)

What you see is my veggie sandwich on HOUSE MADE FOCCACIA, and  FRESH TOMATO SOUP. No really. Our waiter used words like “The tomatoes were picked yesterday” and “We roasted them this morning”. It was as about as garden to table as you could want.

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PARKER LUSSEAU- PASTRIES & CAFE, Monterey CA

Parker Sign

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Long had we waited to try this great little spot! Delicious espresso (rich, creamy, mocha. DECAF, obviously) and pastries. Sweet, personable owner. Didn’t get to try their sweet little cakes or mini macarons but everything is baked right around the corner about a mile away and delivered fresh daily. It was worth the wait and a definite gem just a skip away from a major coffee chain. So if you are in the area and see elusive coffee chain, know that 5 yards behind you and around the corner is THIS place! So good we went twice.

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LA BICYCLETTE – FRENCH EATERY, Carmel CA

I’d be embarrassing everyone involved if I posted my dimly lit Iphone pictures of our meal here. Bottom line is it’s a cute, atmospheric french eatery in Carmel that has budget friendly brick oven pizzas available, or not so budget friendly french cuisine. A fun find not far from Monterey.

ALIOTTIS VICTORIAN CORNER RESTAURANT, Pacific Grove CA

Charming and classic diner style breakfast in an old Victorian blocks from the ocean in Pacific Grove. One word: Raspberry pancakes. Oh, and hashbrowns… Delightful, quality, locally sourced goodness.

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1833 , Monterey CA

Yes, its as yummy as it’s name is cool. We had been here before and actually returned and left even MORE satisfied than the last time. Again, dimly lit and I was not about to make a ninny of myself taking amateur flash shots with my Nikon. Bing Crosby is practically seeping through the walls and I want Bing to think I’m as cool as possible.

Just think cheddar bacon biscuits with maple chile butter, gnocchi with braised lamb, steak with creamy carrot butter sauce, bourbon pudding and sugar cookies.

The building is an old adobe with low ceilings and rooms restored to accommodate outdoor patio with fire pits, indoor bar, community bathroom sink (in a cool hygienic way) and dining room. A great romantic spot.

I did happen to land a sweet pic of this hottie : check out that cushioned chair!

1833

LOU LOUS GRIDDLE IN THE MIDDLE – Monterey, Ca

They boast about having “Good food and crazy waitresses”, which should tell you everything. Except I want my money back because our waitress did not seem too crazy…

Lou Lous

How random is this place!? We literally walked down the warf until like the land of Narnia it just appeared. The inside consists of only a bar to sit at (from what I could tell) and the outdoor seating you see. Super low key, good diner breakfast with the smell of fried calamari (for breakfast!) or maybe just the smell of REALLY fresh actual fish from the ocean wafting in. In every way a beach diner on the pier. A great last stop for our trip.