Monday, December 31, 2012

Christmas Eve at Home

Pleased as punch about ski passes from Santa

Baby bottles! For Truman or for Mama?

Becoming a pro at unwrapping gifts

We didn't forget you


A new costume from Aunt Jenny and Aunt Megan

Homemade robot shirt from Truman's Aunties

New books!

Delivering Chritmas goodies to our dear neighbor

17ish Weeks Pregnant

The best part of pregnancy this time around is how little there is to do.  While I do want to prepare physically and mentally for the birth itself, there is simply less to do/think about with #2.

As I look back on the planning/anxiety during my pregnancy with Truman, I have to laugh at myself.  Did I really insist on interviewing pediatricians when I was seven months pregnant?  I can still remember our current doctor’s reaction when I asked her to explain her philosophy on vaccines.  (Uh, vaccinate your child you dumbass.)
And the birthing classes, with the birth videos that had me curled up in the corner of the room with my hands covering my eyes.  And the hours of internet research on car seat safety.  And the dutiful collection of baby gear.  I am thankful Jason and I experienced this rite of passage together, and I am thankful this time around is much more simple.

The to-do list is really quite simple.

·         Exercise and eat healthy

·         Put the crib together

·         Figure out the cloth diaper plan

·         Agree on a name

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Getting crazy

What is new at the Shutt house:
- We are working on a simple Christmas. Less running around, more sitting by the fire.  Less presents, more time together.  Less work, more play.

- I have updated my hopes and intentions for 2013.  I could not come up with 13 goals so I went with my top seven. Click here.

- Chillin' with Truman, our favorite roommate.  His favorite game is to imagine we are babies and/or baby animals.  Typically this involves hiding from beavers who want to bite us (?), building a cave/den/tunnel, and crying for our mommies.  Other favorite activities include legos, flying like batman/spiderman, painting (but not paper, anything but paper), and jumping on furniture.

- Talking about baby names, delighting in baby kicks, planning for birth, and thinking about how I will fit a crib in Truman's room.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Recipe for the best sandwich in the world

Rye bread (it has to be rye)
Cream cheese (veggie cream cheese works too)
Radishes, sliced thin (they make the sandwich, don't skip them)
Red pepper, sliced thin
Cheese (cheddar or pepper jack)

That's it. This is the best sandwich in the world.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Things I will never do as a parent

This is a list of things I said—Pre-Truman—that I would never do as a parent. 

       ·         I will never let my child eat in the car

·         I will never change a diaper in a public place

·         I won’t let my child play on the floor of a restaurant

·         No weapons!

·         On commuter ferries, I won’t let my child run and scream

·         I will never open up a snack food in the grocery store to pacify my child and then hand the clerk an empty wrapper
This list makes me laugh and humbles me because clearly I had no idea what I was talking about. Things change when you have a squirming, crying little one in your life.

Monday, December 3, 2012

A look back at 2012

Below is the list of my hopes and intentions for 2012, and quick recap of what actually happened.  

1. Start a running routine again. Take some long weekend runs. Run from one end of the Island to the other.

I think I ran once. And I had to stop to pee. The experience did inspire me to do waaay more kegals. In fact, I am doing them right now. I did start walking more. I just feel sluggish and out of shape, so I am trying to fit in yoga and walking Franco as much as possible, even when I don’t feel like it.

 2. Go see live music with Truman.
Just writing this down helped us make an effort to see live music.  We went to Caspar Babypants a couple of times, music in the park, square dancing with friends at Seabold Community Center, and few other things here and there.  He is not the first one on the dance floor, but he is fascinated with instruments and music.

3. Write a dozen letters. To my godparents, my Irish family, and the old people in my life who don’t use the interwebs.

Total fail.  About once a month I would tell myself to buy some nice cards/paper.  Never did.

4. Advance my latest business idea: the Earthquake preparedness kits for B. Islanders (watch out Red Cross, this kit includes organic food and a spare Ipad battery).

This was somewhat of a joke, but I do feel more prepared in our own life than I did one year ago.  We have lots of water and lots of flashlights stocked up.

 5. Walk the Dungeness Spit

We did it! We didn’t make it too far because the toddlers ruled the day, but it was truly beautiful and a gift to see this part of Washington.

6. Workplace goal: Be an awesome manager. Do more, talk less.

I am not sure if I was awesome, but I have changed my attitude.  I realize that managing people is such an important part of my own professional development and that it is not just about counseling other people, but also about removing roadblocks so people can do their best work.  I think I was scared to really try to be a good manager, because I thought I would fail or that people might not like some of the hard decisions I had to make, but somewhere in 2012 I got over that.

7. Refuse to use single-use plastic bags.

I continue to be really committed to this.  I think it is the very least we can do, especially in light of all the bad environmental news this year about the health of the oceans, air, and soil.  Jason – without any pestering – is slowly getting on board too. (P.S. Our town banned single use plastic bags this year, so it makes it a lot easier to remember your reusable bags when you get charged for paper bags.)

8. Reserve Mondays for Truman.

Again, just writing this down made it happen.  Lots of time on the floor.  Less time cleaning the floor. Lots of time being present in the moment and asking, “what do you want to do?” and less time running stupid errands.

9. Over-deliver on my promises and commitments to others. (And stop making so many damn promises!)

I have become much more aware of making too many social plans.  I know in the moment, I desperately want to connect with friends and loved ones, but when the calendar rolls out, and I am totally booked, I am miserable and filled with guilt (for leaving Tru).  This year I said no more often and I tried to be honest with myself.  Can I really go out to dinner with a friend on a weeknight?  No, but I could fit in a long walk after bedtime.  Do I really want to party hop on Saturday night? No, but we could choose one social gathering and be fully present.

10. Spend less time comparing myself to others and more time comparing myself to my previous self.

Ha ha!  Always a challenge.  

11. Finally make the trip to Stehekin, Washington (

I intentionally gave up this hope in exchange for our two week trip to Chelan and Bridgeport.  We unexpectedly bought a canoe and Stehekin was not the ideal location for the canoe.  We had an amazing time, and we might do the exact same trip again this summer.  Stehekin is still on my list. . . one day. . .

12. Give up dairy for a month. Just to try it and see how I feel.

Thought about it.  Then bought a huge block of Tilamook cheese and made nachos for lunch.  With a glass of milk.  And ice cream for dessert.  Arg.  This much dairy is not natural for humans – I know.  Bad habit that I will save for another year. J

 Coming soon: 13 in 13!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Meal Planning

On a good week, I go to the grocery store on Sunday/Monday and do the food prep on Monday.  It can be challenging to stick to this schedule – front loading most of the work – but it is always worth it.  

Truman has become pickier in his old age and I am trying to find the balance between making things he enjoys, and not turning our weekly meal plan into a macaroni-hot dog fest. 

(As a side note: We do not worry if Truman skips dinner. He eats a lot during the day and we know that toddlers are less apt to eat big meals at night. (It is a cultural phenomenon to eat a big meal at the end of the day – not a biological one.)  There are no food battles at our house. (Lots of other battles, but we never coerce Truman to eat).
I typically try to plan four or five dinners and a couple of breakfast items (muffin mix that I freeze, granola, or prepping the dry ingredients for pancakes)

Here is our meal plan for this week (a short week):

-          Chard and sweet potato enchiladas with homemade tortillas. I found this recipe here: I make half the tortillas and freeze the other half for a future meal. I have long rolled out my own tortillas, but Jason bought me a tortilla press for my birthday that I will be using for the first time. This is a family favorite recipe and it makes great leftovers.

-          Gado Gado. This is a bed of spinach covered in rice and tons of diced vegetables, tofu, and hard boiled eggs. The entire thing is covered in peanut dressing. It is from the Moosewood Cookbook. 

-          Swedish meatballs and egg noodles. Not the healthiest meal, but will be loved by the boys.  Also makes a good meal to send with Truman to preschool. The recipe is here:

-          Also on our grocery list: Thanksgiving fixins, quiche, cheesy kale chips, and the usual fruit, coffee, milk, and yogurt.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Exploring at Fish Park

Looking handsome

A new salmon sculpture at Fish Park in Poulsbo

"Follow me mommy!"

Building a beaver dam

Working hard

Friday, November 9, 2012

Words and stories

Truman has become very interested in listening to stories. I am impressed with how quietly he sits, looking off into space, imagining the characters in his mind.  I often tell him classics like Three Little Pigs and Goldilocks, but recently he has been asking for adventure stories that I make up on the fly.  Here is how it usually goes: (T in blue, M in purple, J in green)

Tell me a song about two boys.

Do you mean a story about two boys?

The one where they went on the mountain.

Once upon a time, there were two boys who went on an adventure on Mt. Rainier.

Quinn and Truman?

Yes, Quinn and Truman.

And Rowan?

Once upon a time, there were three boys who went on an adventure on Mt. Rainier.  First they packed their bags.  They brought a first aid kit, a compass, warm socks, peanut butter sandwiches, cheese and crackers, and apples.

And candy?

And candy.

And they hiked up the snowy trail and they saw mountain goats and eagles. It was a bluebird sky and the top of the mountain was all the way in the clouds.  Soon they came to a lake and they decided to fish for rainbow trout.

They got out their fishing rods. . .

Truman had two fishing rods.

Well why does he need two?

And Rowan and Quinn had two fishing rods too.

Well that doesn't surprise me, but I still don't know why they need two rods.  I bet their mommies think that is a bit much.

[Long sigh from across the room].

Pretty soon they catch some big fish and the sun starts to set.  They hike back down the mountain and head home to their mommies.  They had a great adventure on Mt. Rainier.

The end.

. . . . . . .

Now do the song about two boys who go on a boat. . . .

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Wednesday, October 31, 2012


Cabin weekened

We spent a weekend at a cabin near Snoqualmie Pass and it was heavenly to be together as a family and relax. No house chores. No errands. No social calendar. Just us and lots of good food.

Truman was disappointed to learn that he could not bring his “ski boards” because there was not enough snow. He is at a stage where he will talk about something repeatedly and he spent much of the drive telling us about his ski boards and asking us about our ski boards. He was appalled to learn that I don’t have ski boards (I don’t ski often enough, so I just rent). He kept saying, “Mama doesn’t have ski boards, but I have ski boards.”

We spent most of our time relaxing in the heated pool. We also went to an OktoberFest dinner and ate bratwurst and listened to a Bavarian band. Truman watched his first Teton Gravity Research film (Jason’s favorite brand of ski movies). He kept saying, “Holy Cow” through the entire movie.

We bought the cabin owners a very nice bottle of whiskey to say thank you (and please let us borrow your cabin again).

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A long weekend at home = lots of projects

Making pumpkin cookies and eating way too much candy corn.

Claiming his "fort" territory

"No timeout. I will listen to you mommy."


Finger puppets (while watching Caspar Babypants Googly Eyes video:

Running out of things to paint. Found random stuff in the art cabinet


Monday, October 22, 2012

Star charts

I blame Jason for his posture.

I kept hearing other parents and even our pediatrician talk about star charts. I was like riiiiight. Put a sticker on a piece of paper and suddenly your child will start doing chores and stop feeding the dog boogers? I don't think so.

Clearly I don't understand toddler psychology.

I threw up a star chart (don't judge, its not my finest work).

Guess who LOVES to get a star? Guess who stands in front of his chart and admires how great he is?

Totally works. For now.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Turning 34

In my younger years, it was a big deal to celebrate my birthday with big parties and lots of friends. Mardstock anyone?  A barn party with a live band?

But the older I get, the more I want to hunker down. Eat cupcakes with Truman and fall asleep on the couch.

In a strange turn of events, Jason is in Seattle for most of the weekend painting my colleague’s mother’s condo. With our car. Which means I am in a small house, with a toddler, and no escape hatch to the playground.

So I went to the craft store and the grocery store and stocked up. I am wearing my Al’s Tarantula Ranch t-shirt. And if you know about that shirt, you can also imagine the sweatpants and big blue glasses I am wearing.

We are going to carve pumpkins and pop popcorn and eat chips for dinner. We are going to eat eggs bennies for breakfast (or maybe lunch) and make a chocolate cake from scratch. And I might just stand in my kitchen eating fancy dips and crackers and I might just let Truman watch a Halloween movie.

Instead of feeling old and boring, it feels like a dream weekend. I am not sure if that is sad or if that is the pleasure of getting older – being free to do what you want, even when what you want is nothing.

Welcome 34.  

Monday, September 24, 2012

Rookie parenting mistakes

Rookie parenting mistakes
All made by me, in the last week
10. Did the bedtime routine slightly different (God forbid)
9. Asked my toddler to hurry (God forbid)
8. Allowed my toddler to bring a bouncy ball into church during the homily (Holy sh*t)
7. Ate something my toddler had discarded ("Miiiiiiiiiiiiiine")
6. Left the Goodwill bag in plain site (baby toys are now sprawled throughout house)
5. Threatened a timeout in the middle of the night (lost cause)
4. Recycled my toddler's artwork, which he discovered and then demanded I clean up and rehang (woops)
3. Put healthy food on my toddler's plate besides white carbs and fruit (God forbid)
2. Brought my toddler to a meeting at work (did it. not proud of it. most stressful 60 minutes in my career.)
1. Bribed him to get in the car, that one time, using chocolate chips (Hard to go anywhere when I run out of chocolate chips).

Testing the water quality

Making art with nature

Saturday, September 22, 2012

A disorganized week

Truman picking out digger books at the library
Some weeks, our family is organized. The meals are planned. The schedule is clear.

But not this week. This week was all about frozen food, scrambling at the last minute, and letting the house go to total sh*t. In fact, there is a half deflated air mattress in our den that has been there for seven days. We forgot to pull the garbage to the curb. Jason has no clean boxers. Truman can't find his baby doll.

And for some reason, it feels great.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Who has two thumbs and can climb like a champ?

This guy!
This guy has also been heard saying the following:
Me: Truman, do you want me to sing you a song? Tru: I want a BIG song! A big big big song! (we still haven't found a song that is big enough for his liking)
Me: If you don't wake mommy up for the whole night, I will give you a special prize. Tru: Go to an even bigger playground? (way to aim high little buddy)
Me: Does grandma give you time-outs? Tru: [bewildered look] NO!
Truman: I caught a BIG salmon. A big big salmon. And I put it on the grill.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Letter to Truman, 2.5 years old

Dear Truman,

You are a gift.  At 2.5 years old, you are kind, gentle, enthusiastic, and a good friend.  You love other kids and you always jump in with the big kids.  You love being with your cousins, especially Andrew.  Your best friend in the whole world is your Grandma.  Grandma would doing anything for you.  You are just learning to enjoy the water and you can cast a fishing rod 18 feet.  You always point out "motorcycle ladies" to me.  You are nuts about diggers, horses, boats, bunnies, birds, and doing big jumps.

This week, for the first time, you said to me, "Why?"  And suddenly there is this non stop beautiful chatter in the house.  You also started to say, "I love you."  Mostly to your Daddy.  Often with no prompting, just because you burst with love for your Daddy.

We love watching you grow!

Love, Mama

Monday, September 3, 2012

My college roomies

A little older. A little wiser. Still getting into trouble together and making each other laugh. I love my college roomies and I am so glad we make a point to be in each other's lives.

Monday, August 27, 2012

House tour

Our formal dining room, our kitchen, our craft room, our desk, our entryway. :)

The most coveted spot in the house, the window seat.

My tiny, hallway kitchen that still manages to turn out some seriously good food. We love keeping things simple and not having a lot of kitchen gadgets and extra stuff.

Truman's kitchen, recently moved so he could be closer to me while I cook.

DIY: Homemade spices. Easiest craft project ever.

Our favorite outdoor spot, perfect for finding frogs and salamanders in the pond.
I have been meaning to post some indoor photos so I could always remember the way our house looked when Truman was a toddler. Our house is small by American standards - 1300 square feet - but we really love living in a small place. We do not collect a lot of stuff and we think hard before we buy stuff. We also end up being in the same room a lot, the only escape is into the cedar trees - no man cave, craft room, or bonus room in this little spot.

Truman's vegetable garden

Carrots, onions, cilantro, and basil


First and only peas

I grew them myself!
This is Truman's first garden. He planted all the seeds himself and has been very diligent with watering. He was quite proud when I showed him he had a few peas on the vine that were ready to eat this evening.