The Gluten Bigot

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

#MomProblems | Love You Forever

My baby is a crazy guy like the one in
the book. This is him on the coffee
table (he's not allowed to ride it like a
surfboard but did anyways.
Have you read that book, Love You Forever by Robert Munsch? I remember reading this as a kid at story time, and I remember really liking it. I was able to fully recall the story (and song) decades later. It was one of the books that I really wanted to Bricklet to have so I ordered it for him. This post is basically about why I cry almost every time I read it. 

In fairness, this story is one of more than a slight over-attachment. The mother drives across town in the middle of the night, breaks into her son's house, and rocks him. As an adult I find that creepy, and maybe think it would be a great premise for a horror movie. But I love the sentiment of the book, and that it's really about that eternal and unbreakable love between parent and child. 

When Bricklet was a few weeks old several friends shared on Facebook the interview where he talks about how he wrote the story, and that the song was for two stillborn children him and his wife had. Holding my little squish, and knowing how scared I was before he was born that something would go wrong, and now that he was there in my arms something would go wrong, and that even though we had just met I could not imagine my world without him I became a basketcase. I was post-partum, overwhelmed with visitors, and having the feelings.

I didn't attempt to read him the story for a few months. One day, right before I went back to work, I had the brilliant idea to read him the book. I started and was weeping by page 2, and gave up at page 5. 

Now he's a big toddler, he picks out his own books, so a few weeks ago he handed me Love You Forever. I managed to keep it together until the point where he moves out. The next few readings it transitioned to somewhere between him moving out and where his mom is sick (this part still gets me).

Bricklet must hate me. Because last weekend he decided this is his favorite book. And he wants to read to him 5 consecutive times. He doesn't know why mommy is crying. The upside is, I can now read it without my eyes leaking consistently. I still hit the points where I get choked up. But I can do it without being a total weirdo.

What I never expected about this book, and about being a parent, was just how much you love that baby. Bricklet is 18 months old and 100% toddler, but he's still my baby, and he will be when he's 2, 9, a moody teenager and a grown-up man. And I hope that we grow up to have a relationship that when I'm old and sick he will want to be there for me. 

Although I promise to never break into his house. That's still creepy.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Getting It Together at Home

We've been in our most recent place for more than a year now. It has more space than our old place, so we were able to buy a dresser (yay) and we have more wall space, and I would love to get a storage bench for the entry way. 

We moved in right as I was going back to work. We tend to keep really freakin' busy, so honestly most of our place has never gotten fully sorted. It feels unfinished. We don't like knick-knacks and crap out, but I do like to make it feel like it's lived in (aside from the odd bit of clutter as the week goes on). 

There is one corner I do love though - and it happens to be the dresser area. After looking at a million or so online, I decided the one that would go best with out bed and taste was this one from West Elm. The picture is actually a photo I took when we were in Paris; I got a random groupon to have it printed on canvas (I just chose the cheapest option, there were several). Going with the Parisian theme, I've kept an old bottle of Chanel No.5 there, along with my Christian Louboutin nail varnishes (the bottles are beautiful). A candle, some fresh flowers, and the ring tray that used to be my grandmother's finish it off. It's right in eyesight when you walk in the room, and I can actually see it from my usual spot in our living room. It's just a happy space that I think came out nicely.

I'd really like to 'finish' more spaces before we move again (we never 'finished' our first place we lived in for 3 years). Any good sites you can recommend for inspiration or goods would be greatly appreciated!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Gluten Free Disney World

As avid global travelers, one thing we really didn't want to do when we started having kids was have every holiday at Disney. Bricklet gets one holiday a year targeted at him, tops, the rest needs to have things for us. That said, a couple of months ago I did attend a conference in Orlando and J and Bricklet came to meet me there and we made a long weekend of it. I was a bad blogger and didn't photograph any of my food - but did learn exactly how hyper-friendly Disney is for food allergies.

I stayed at the HIlton Buena Vista, which was really GF friendly. I ate in all restuarants and each accomodated me. They had good quick grab items (like Kind Bars) in the deli. I was so really excited as this was the first conference I've been to where they had GF meals ready upon request (sandwiches, with bread that was actually good). 

We only went to the Magic Kingdom one day since Bricklet was still quite small and we have extended family in Florida, so we only had to sort out two meals. We ended up at Tortuga Tavern for lunch (it was meh), and Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe for a late lunch (also meh). While the food was really mediocre, the service was good everywhere we went. Oh, and I may have had more than one chocolate covered banana. Those things were totally as good as I remembered!

Downtown Disney has the only place I've been to with gluten free onion rings - Raglan Road. The place is horrendous in that Disney over the top tourist trap type way, but the food is very good (and GF onion rings FTW!). I went twice. My best suggestion is, especially over a weekend ensure you reserve (and reserve far ahead, the week prior didn't do me any good, so we only managed to get tables during the week) . 

T-Rex was the funnest place we went. Bricklet loved the animatronic dinosaurs - and it aligned with our goal of making him obsessed with dinosaurs (because they're awesome). We managed to get a day before late lunch reservation. The queue that you wait in when you have a reservation was quite shocking... but Downtown Disney + weekend = it is what it is. 

Out of Downtown Disney and the hotel we went to Ruth's Chris for steak (filet was great), Sea Dog Brewing (yum, burgers). 

My only disappointment was Erin McKenna's (Babycakes) was listed as still being in Downtown Disney, but it had closed / moved. 

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Mommy Guilt Got Me

Last week I started a new job. After more than 3 years with my last company I had really outgrown the role I was in, and was itching to get back to a small company / start up environment. And I'm so happy I made the change because that quick pivot has made me excited to go to work everyday and is giving me adequate challenges and professional growth to make it worth my while.

Last week Bricklet's daycare also happened to have an impromptu parents event on Friday morning (at 10am no less). Everytime they have  parent event, all the parents go - and it's not atypical for both parents to go. 

For  the few they've had I've made a point of going for at least part of it to make sure Warren wasn't the only one without a parent. But last week I had my sparkly new job, and obviously want to start off on the best foot - so I asked my husband to cover. He hadn't even considered it. 

I made arrangement to go. Not ideal, but my new boss is cool and willing to accommodate. The plan was to work from home, drop by his 'school' then go into the office. Unfortunately I'm a dumbass and used to having several spare laptop chargers  - but didn't have one for my work laptop yet. So it died when I was working in the evening. Arrgh... into the office for me.

I asked my husband if he could drop in. He pointed out that Bricklet is in fact 18 months old and won't get if we are there are not, and didn't see the point of rescheduling his (super hectic) day even if it was possible to go. 

Of course I felt bad all day. Poor Bricklet, was he the only one whose parents didn't show? Is he old enough for that to make him sad? 

When they sent out the daily report for the 'classroom' they thanked the MOTHERS who came in. Note: mothers. No men decided to mess up their morning meetings. But the mamas did.


This combine with my (very involved and attentive) husband's lack of consideration in attending and the fact it was only women really called out to me what a gender trap these feelings are. My husband did not feel bad. I honestly still feel kinda bad about not going. But my husband has a job and he's trying to accomplish a lot of goals this quarter, just like I'm going to be trying to accomplish a lot. Neither of us is trying to coast, we're both climbing - so why should I juggle work for storytime when he (or any man) wouldn't? 

While I want to be there for all of Bricklet's things, I know this is the first of many I will miss. And there will be things that are legitimately important to him that I miss. I need to focus on keeping time in my pocket for those events, and not feeling bad about the ones inbetween.

Monday, August 31, 2015

The Clocktower

If you are in New York, or will be visiting New York, please do yourself a favor. Drop everything you are doing and immediately book yourself a table at the Clocktower ASAP.  I've had my eye on this place since it opened in May. New York restaurateur + Michelin star chef and amazing reviews.

My husband and I recently went when a table happened to open at a reasonable time on a night we had the babysitter booked. The space itself is amazing. I didn't take any photos, but do a quick search you'll see this place is beautiful. My favorite was the billard room and bar area. Anyways, let's get to the food porn... (note, scrolling required)

Adult beverages started the night off - it was date night afterall. Of course I can't remember the name of my drink, but it had maple syrup and was really good (and effective). My husband and the Coldfashioned was I had a sip of and also really liked.

They had fresh gluten free bread for us. And whipped butter. And it was so good that even my gluten-loving husband wanted a second round. My only disappointment was the server offered a third one which never materialized.

I started with the spring leaf salad. The portion size was just right for a starter and it was very refreshing. Anytime there is artichoke in my salad I'm going to be happy though, in fairness.

For my main, I had something I very rarely have. In fact, I don't call off the top of my head when I had this any place but Asia de Cuba - I had the duck. It was ridiculously good. It was kinda perfection. Even the turnips were so good. I would go back just to have the duck.

This was where the night go really good - the only off the shelf gluten free option was sorbet. I wanted something real. The server checked with the kitchen for options, and they offered to make me the strawberries and cream omitting the olive oil cake to make it GF. I was sold. And I was so happy they did it, because lovely dessert. It wouldn't bring me back as a standalone, but it was a lovely ending to the meal.

All in all the food was impeccable and I will certainly be going back. The only two things I did not like: service was slow and deteriorated throughout the night - while this made it a genuinely British dining experience, it was really annoying when it took more than 30 minutes after dessert and drinks were done to get the bill. Also, only two toilet stalls in the whole place. The restaurant only seats 90, but 2 stalls. I waited 5 minutes when I needed the loo at the end, and it wasn't even busy at that point (read slow service) so it was quite annoying.

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