The stories never end. Never.
As I sit back and ponder our married life six years in, there are quite a few observations.
One is we have three kids. While I’d never change that, I also never envisioned having children by now. But that is our reality and one that I am incredibly thankful for. I guess it shows that acts of God, that his plan is greater than ours.
And so I cling to that trust as we battle our future and the uncharted territory of parenthood.
It’s also the reason we love food, and good food at that. It is the only thing predictable in our life. Food.
Speaking of unpredictable proud parent moments. We had one tonight, with our furry child, also known as Boomer. Sometimes we have too much faith that things are going to go better than we actually know they will. And while it wasn’t an epic fail, it was darn near chaotic and we were once again “those people”. The people everyone just stare at in amazement of the disorder. Most likely the family people are glad to see head home.
So the story.
We have enrolled Boomer in puppy preschool #proudparentmoment. The school is all about teaching positive reinforcement. You know, talk nice to them even when they aren’t listening…yeah I’m still working on that and really trying to understand it all. So we thought it would be a good idea to involve the e-n-t-i-r-e family with us at dog school. That equates to one very energized, off-the-wall, golden retrieve puppy, a 10 month old, 2-year-old and our lovely and thankfully pretty mature 4-year-old.
So we arrive 10 minutes late, which is no surprise and you know I’m a soccer mom now. So we show up right as all of the other puppies were working on sitting and focusing. Of course all attention is diverted as our large family burst through the door, me being pulled by the dog on the leash, my husband carrying two children and the treats and our four-year old running to keep up. Needless to say you can now picture that as we burst through the door, we ruin the concentration of the other 10 puppies there and madness happens.
I apologize, as usual (my first words have officially changed from, “hi” to “I’m sorry…I’m so sorry”) as we quickly find our spot. My husband is still clinging to our two wiggly children as our 10 month old wants to get in the action, of course and our 2-year-old is being shy and already wanting to leave. My oldest is now clinging to my leg as I am trying to wrestle Boomer into position.
I must not have been using the ‘right’ language as I was quickly reminded by one of the trainers to use positive reinforcement.
If she only knew that was as positive as it was getting in that moment.
I didn’t seem to get anywhere with controlling what seemed to be a big furry beast and so I quickly traded positions with the hubs as he tried to lead ->cough<- train our pup to lose lease walk. I can see the frustration welling in his face as there was nothing loose about the leash. So being the good wife, I just bust into laughter.
This pretty much sums up our life.
It could have been one of those epiphanies where you choose to laugh rather than cry.
And so I laugh as I continue to watch my husband struggle with our puppy, who frankly has no interest in his treats which makes training quite difficult.
I mean the dog loves to eat and so I’m just chalking it up to the fact that he is getting plenty of food scraps from the #unrulyemployees at home that he has no desire for food in class. He just wants to be friends with everyone, like yesterday. So class continues as I am now holding the two younger girls. I’m still wrestling the youngest who would most definitely eat the treats Boomer is spitting out, trying to get my two-year old to stand on the ground and hearing pleas to go to the bathroom from my four-year old.
All the while I am admiring how our children look. My littlest had smeared avocado on her bald head from earlier in the day, which had now crusted all over her hair and on her neck. One sock was on and one was off, probably no where to be found. My two-year olds hair is falling almost completely out of her ponytail and the humidity has it stringing everywhere. Snot is running out of her nose as she is swimming in her older sister’s sweatshirt. My oldest has her own fashion sense, shorts on top of sweatpants with a t-shirt on top of a sweatshirt. To each their own, so please no harsh judgements.
Class continues and it looks the same. One thing after another between the pup and the girls. The hubs and I switching to see who the dog will listen to better. We finally release the girls outside to the play area for the dogs as both of us start to focus on this mad animal. We manage to get him to do a few of his appropriate behaviors, enough to just barely miss getting kicked out of class.
Finally, class is over. We try to stay positive and know that he is just a puppy. We obviously have A LOT of homework that is yet to be done.
I’m sure we’ll get to that in between everything else.
As we headed home, chaos resuming in the car which is an entire story in itself. Between spilled watermelon, said puppy, a 10-month old who is trying to feed herself, said puppy who is trying to clean her up in the process, three tired little girls, a lot of whining, laughing, crying, talking and more whining and one very stressed dad. I just sit back because for once he let me drive and he dealt with the choas. I have realized that while our life is crazy, it is messy, it is less than perfect and it challenges us daily, it is still beautiful and we are blessed.
And so while I can’t control most of my life, what I can is the value I place on food. Did I mention, we love food? This is our saving grace and this Orange Balsamic & Bacon Asparagus Salad is just what this tired momma ordered. Nothing beats a 20 minute meal that is savory, sweet, tangy and filling. From the salty bacon to the sweet oranges and crispy almonds all atop a mix of sautéed asparagus and mixed field greens drizzled (or doused) in an orange balsamic glaze it is just the kick my day needed.
In fact it’s crazy good and something than can be easily separated for the children in your life. Mom and Dad ate this beauty and the kids had bacon, asparagus, almonds and clementines for supper. They don’t judge, they just eat. Developing new recipes is my calm in the storm, a ray of sunshine to my day and the burst of energy I need when all else fails. Although our crazy life continues, the stories never end, one thing I do know is that I need my health and all the energy I can get to survive this life.
That is why I value health, that is why we eat well and place an emphasis on real food. To give us life, energizing life. When it is done so deliciously, such as this orange glazed salad you won’t even be tempted by another way of life. This my friends is vegetables done right.
- 6 cups leafy greens
- ½ lb bacon
- 1 bunch asparagus
- 1 Tbsp butter
- 4 clementines
- parmesan cheese
- slivered almonds
- ⅓ cup orange juice
- ⅓ cup balsamic
- 1-2 tsp maple syrup
- Bake Bacon and set aside.
- In a small saucepan add orange juice, balsamic vinegar and maple syrup. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer. Let simmer until it begins to thicken and remove from heat.
- Meanwhile, prepare asparagus by trimming 2 inches of the end and discarding and cutting the rest into 2-3 inch pieces.
- In a medium skillet, heat 1 Tbsp butter over medium Once hot, add the asparagus and saute until just tender.
- Place chopped field greens on plates, top with cooked asparagus, crumbled bacon, and peeled clementines. Drizzle salads with the balsamic glaze and finish with sliced almonds and parmesan cheese (optional).