Taking lots of walks:
Enjoying the sights on our walks:
Finding Vegan treats at Charlottes Bakery:
Two words~ Grandma’s cookies:
Watching family play with Little T:
When Big T and I met, one of the biggest things we had in common was that neither of us needed a lot to be happy. We’re thankful to have each other, our little family and our sweet babycakes, a roof over our heads, employment, good food, and enough money to enjoy the occasional family outing.
But one of the biggest things we are thankful for, is our support network of family and friends. How would we ever get by without the people we’ve crossed paths with in our daily lives and on the internet? Our network has been there to celebrate the good, cry with us through the bad, and support us in everything we do. We are so fortunate to know that if anything ever happened, we’d have places to go and people who would help us pick up the pieces. Not everyone has that, and we are grateful that we do.
So, dear friends. This Thanksgiving, we are thinking of you. Thank you for being a part of our lives. Aw, mush. We love you guys.
Just wanted to pop in and share some linkage of what we’ll be cooking for our vegan Thanksgiving. These are tried and true favorites that we’ve been making over the years. I won’t have time to post again until after Thanksgiving, so if you’re in the U.S, have a happy holiday! If you aren’t in the U.S., have a great week. ^_^
Main Course: Vegan Pumpkin Pesto Ravioli
- Roasted Brussel Sprouts by Susan at FatFreeVegan.com
- Green Bean Casserole from http://www.FatFreeVegan.com
- Garlic Roasted Mashed Potatoes from The Veggie Queen Cookbook.
- Stuffing from The Veggie Queen Cookbook.
- Pre-Made Cranberry Sauce from Whole Foods Market
- Yams from my beautiful Sister in Law (can’t wait, D!)
- Impossible Pumpkin Pie from Susan at FatFreeVegan.com
And we had a special request for the amazing chocolate chip cookies from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar.
I don’t know why this has been on my mind lately, but it’s probably because everyone has been writing on the blogosphere about what they’re thankful for. It’s probably odd that my mind wanders to our failed adoption when I think about being thankful, but that day had so many different possible endings, and I’m so thankful it ended the way it did.
Imagine our tension, as Big T and I sat in a labor room of a strange town for nine hours with the hostile extended family of a woman who’d asked us to parent her baby. The extended family wanted the mother to go through with an adoption because her current children were in and out of the foster care system. They were worn out from having to pick up the pieces that were broken from addiction. They were hostile because they hadn’t expected the mother to pick a couple of vegans, and voiced that we shouldn’t be allowed to adopt because any child we’d raise would die from a lack of protein. Things got more awkward when the family left the room and the mother began asking us for money, which we absolutely would not give. Big T and I were stuck in there, unable to leave, and had no way to communicate besides sending frantic texts to each other trying to figure out what to do. Do we figure out a way to leave? Or do we wait to make sure the baby is going to be okay? A few minutes before the baby was about to be born, the mother went into a panic because she was nervous that she did, in fact, know who the father was. She said the father was probably her ex who was in jail. She must have read the concern on our face, because she changed her tune and assured us that the guy in prison couldn’t be the father because she’d had six miscarriages from him and was certain he couldn’t get her pregnant. *sigh*
We wound up walking away from the situation, although I doubt the mother would have placed with us if we’d stayed. Her family was really unhappy with our lifestyle. It would have been better if they could have found parents they were more comfortable with or decided to parent themselves. I do wish they hadn’t been so mean to us, but it is what it is. I think the mother wound up deciding to parent and took her baby home. I still don’t know if she was trying to manipulate us the whole time in order to get money to fund her pregnancy. I’ll probably never know. I think about her a lot though, and wonder if she and her children are okay. I hope she was able to get help, find a job, move in with her grandma, ditch the boyfriend, and be a great momma to her family. I don’t know though, addiction is hard to overcome, and after seeing her family interact it didn’t seem like she would have the support she needed.
The day after that awful experience, I sat sobbing on a curb outside of Graceland, with the Heartbreak hotel sign behind me in the distance. We couldn’t get an early flight home and didn’t want to sit in the condo we’d rented with a bunch of unused baby stuff, so we went to Graceland instead. I cried the whole time and was too sad to care about what I must have looked like. While we were in Memphis, my best friend M cleared the baby stuff out of our home in California, and I gave my mother (who’d flown out to meet us) our car seat so we didn’t have to explain to everyone in the airport why it was empty. It sucked. My best friend M had a bag of tortilla chips waiting for me in the car at the airport, because she knew what I needed when I was down.
The whole thing was crazy znd I still can’t make sense of it. My point though, is that I’m so glad it all went down the way it did. If we hadn’t been contacted because of the mother, we’d still be waiting to go through with an international adoption and never would have pursued a domestic adoption. I’d go through that horrible day a million times over again if it meant we’d have Little T at the end. Parenting Little T is simply the best thing that’s ever happened to us. And for Little T, I am grateful. So grateful.
Yesterday we drove to Costa Mesa to see the Farm to Food Truck Challenge, hosted by the SoCo Certified Farmers’ Market. On the drive over, Big T, Grandma G and I had a serious talk with Little T. We said, “listen, Little T. Just because they’re going to have lots of amazing gourmet food trucks, that doesn’t mean we’re going to be able to try everything.” Little T just smiled, knowing that Momma J and Big T are defenseless against good food. Let me just say that being proven wrong by Little T tasted mighty delicious.
From their website:
A farmers’ market inspired cooking competition. Top gourmet food truck chefs will compete against each other to create the best dish using locally grown farm fresh ingredients.
If you’re a foodie, you have to go to this event. I’d suggest getting there a little before the challenge starts so you have time to browse the food trucks and purchase some tasty treats while you wait for the chefs to cook their meals for the competition. When we first arrived, we were happy to see that Seabirds was there. They’re a vegan gourmet food truck that made an appearance on the Food Network in season 2 of The Great Food Truck Race.
I asked what they recommended, and they said we had to try their macaroni and cheese. Um, yeah. It was the best mac and cheese I’ve ever had. In my life.
We also tried out their Tempeh Tacos and Beer Battered Avocado Tacos, because we couldn’t just try one! Big T said it was like his tongue was riding a flavor train, all the way to yumsville.
We were too full to eat anything else after that…Okay, okay, so we found room for three of Seabird’s cupcakes.
Our non veg fellow foodie friends had a freshly made waffle with ice cream from the Waffles de Liege food cart.
While we waited for the competition to start, Little T listened to the music from The Tyler Steel Co. We purchased two of their CD’s (they let us choose the price of their CD’s because they’re awesome like Radiohead) and we listened to their CD for the rest of the day. Little T was especially mesmerized by the drummer.
Little T also had a handmade strawberry lemonade pop.
For the competition, they gave the food truck chefs a list of ingredients they had to use. Once they got the list, they lined up, had to shop for the food at the Farmer’s Market, and then had 60 minutes to prepare their dish.
It was fun to watch the Chefs run around the market and quickly pick out the food they needed for their dishes.
While the chefs cooked, Little T said he had something he needed to do. Next thing we knew, we found him hanging out with all the cheerleaders. He kept trying to run off with their pom poms.
He also tried out some new shades:
It was awesome when the competition began. We loved seeing all of the entries as they were presented to the judges.
Little T clapped along as they announced the winners!
-Lobster doughnut with leek and apple
-Seared Scallop with lemon almond butter and brussel leaf salad
-Santa Barbara Black Cod with a beet-pomegranate slaw
Second Place: Seabirds Food Truck
Once the competition was over, we decided we needed some more food (hah). So we drove to The Camp and ate at Native Foods.
Little T shook his head at us and said we were ridiculous, while the rest of us patted our full bellies. Mmmmm, what a tasty day it was.
*Update* Thanks to everyone who entered this giveaway. The winner via a random number generator from Random.Org is Beveanne McKinley! Beveanne, I’ll contact you through your Facebook link and get the cookbook shipped right away.
When Jill gave me the opportunity to photograph the cover of her delicious cookbook, “The New Fast Food: The Veggie Queen Pressure Cooks Whole Food Meals” it took me all of two seconds to say yes. Being the photographer gave me the chance to try many of the recipes, and if you enjoy pressure cooking, this book is a must have.
For a chance to win a copy of “The New Fast Food” that’s been autographed by Jill Nussinow, please leave a comment in the entry below. For an extra entry, you can like my White Rabbit Photo Boutique Facebook page and leave another comment. The lucky winner will be picked from a random number generator and announced next Friday on a new blog post.
P.S. I promise I have a few fun Little T entries coming up next week. :p
I have a confession to make, I haven’t been to a SoCal beach since Little T was born. I know, right? That’s unheard of for a SoCal momma! Thus, when I was asked which beaches were the best in SoCal, I had to reach out to my fellow facebook parents. They more than delivered, and suggested several family friendly beaches that have the perfect family environment.
The most popular recommendation on my facebook page has been Mother’s Beach, located in Long Beach, CA. This was suggested because it’s a peaceful and quiet beach that’s geared towards families and children, with a playground and other attractions nearby.
Another popular suggestion was Bolsa Chica in Huntington Beach, CA. My friend Scott said it’s a “state beach, so it’s well patrolled, with fire pits, not too crowded, and good visibility. There is a parking fee, but many beaches have them.”
My friend Eric suggested Baby’s Beach in Dana Point. He said, “it’s next to a neat marina, a playground, the Ocean Institute, and has a kids swim area with a boundary marker for the little ones.”
Of course, if you aren’t so much into the sand and you just want a nice beach like place to walk around, there’s always the Balboa Fun Zone at Newport Beach.
I’ll update as I get more suggestions, thanks facebook peeps!
But I’ve been at a loss for words. Sadly, the bride of the pirate wedding I photographed contacted me a few days after their wedding to let me know her father had unexpectedly passed away. She was grateful he’d made it to her wedding, and asked if I could quickly send the images of her with her father for the memorial service. I photographed her father’s memorial service last week. Although I was glad to see them all again, I wished the circumstances had been different. I was touched that they asked me to photograph the service. As I’ve gotten to know them, I’ve learned more and more about how loving and special their family truly is, They had one of the most beautiful and creative weddings I’ve ever seen. The details they add to every event show their care and their love for each other. You could see in all of the photos of their wedding day, how happy and proud their father felt. Please keep them in your thoughts as they get through this difficult time.