staycation: a review

My husband and I had a great staycation in the city of Boston for Memorial Day weekend. My in-laws came down to visit with the kids & dog and we took the train in on Friday afternoon. We didn’t plan much (a couple meals, a race & yoga, and a Red Sox game), which really made it relaxing — hello, daily afternoon naps.

My phone was on DONOTDISTURB the duration of our trip. I texted only a few times with friends while my husband was running his race or getting ready for bed (and when my cousin got engaged!). Taking the train instead of driving relieved some stress and let us start our trip off with ease; though, admittedly, it was not easy carting around our suitcases, so we took a taxi home.

I kept a partial log of the restaurants and the foods we tried. In my mind, I’d write restaurant reviews but in reality, I’ll just give a quick one-liner with recommendations.

We stayed at StayPineapple. It was a cute boutique hotel between the South End and Back Bay areas. We could walk everywhere, which was the best for us. The room was small and definitely wouldn’t be for everyone but we liked it.

Friday, we tried Myers & Chang for dinner. The sweet & sour brussels sprouts were my favorite. We also ordered the wild boar dan dan noodles — I’d not had dan dan noodles since my time in Wuhan and was excited to try them; the verdict: Very spicy but delicious; I’d have preferred less meat in mine. We walked to Flour near our hotel after dinner and I got a brown butter rice krispy treat — my life has been forever changed.

Saturday, I introduced my husband to hot yoga. He was a real trooper — I could tell he was struggling but he made it through! Afterwards, we tried Tatte — their haloumi & sunny-side egg sandwich with tomato is basically all I ever need for breakfast for the rest of of my life. We had breakfast in the Public Garden and then walked to the Seaport to get his bib for the Run to Remember. Afterwards, we stopped at Taiyaki NYC to try the ice cream; their cones are more like soft waffles with red bean. We split the beach, please and it was a nice, light treat.

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We then ventured to Bartaco for lunch. Admittedly, I LOVE Bartaco — I tweeted them until they put a restaurant in Boston, so we try to visit when we are on that side of town. I had the grapefruit-mint agua fresca (non alcoholic) and it was so light; I want to make this at home. My husband and I spit a few duck, shrimp, chorizo, and falafel tacos, their chopped salad (my favorite), and their salsa & guac trio. It was all delicious. We’d walked nearly eight miles by the time we reached our hotel; took naps; and then got ready and headed out to dinner. We chose MoonBar for wine and some snacks (raw oysters, smoked swordfish dip with crackers, halibut crudo, and the most amazing grilled squid salad I’ve ever had). We knew we’d need something a little more substantial later, so we returned to Tatte and got sandwiches: My husband got the Turkey BLAT  and a sandwich cookies while I opted for the mozzarella sandwich and a slice of their orange cake. Delicious.

There’s a recipe book of mine that has a smoked fish dip and I’ve been curious about it. I can’t wait to make this at home now. The dip we had was really good, so I am tabling the recipe I have for a beach-date night.

On Sunday, my husband ran a half marathon and I went to yoga. We got back to the room and got ready for brunch: Brownstone was up. It was okay; I’d probably choose a different place next time, as there weren’t many vegetarian options and I was feeling very meated-out at that point. Their pancakes were good. After brunch, we took naps and then got ready for dinner in the North End. My husband snagged a reservation at Nico.  We went to Nico on our second date and it’s one of our favorite restaurants in the city. We went all out — drinks; the beet salad with whipped ricotta, honey & roasted pine nuts; their burrata salad with prosciutto, tomatoes & artichokes (a recipe I recreate at home OFTEN), and then my favorite dinner — their rigatoni with artichokes & sausage. I didn’t really eat the sausage and in retrospect should have asked for it without. My husband had their chicken parm and liked it too.

On Monday, we had plans for the 4PM Red Sox game. We ordered delivery for breakfast from Trident. My husband had the breakfast burrito and I made my own eggs benedict with tomatoes and spinach. We hadn’t been to Trident in a while and their food was just as good as we’d remembered. We had some snacks at the game (nachos) and then stopped at CAVA on the way back for some grain and greens bowls.

We ended our trip on Tuesday with more rice krispy treats from Flour, breakfast at the Friendly Toast (we both built our own omelettes — mine had asparagus, broccoli, tomatoes, and goat cheese — YUM!) and sushi at Red Lantern for dinner.

It was a great trip and a time to just walk around and enjoy the city and each other. We walked A LOT. At the most, I logged 8.2 miles (Saturday) and at the least, 2.9 miles (Friday). We didn’t take the train or a taxi anywhere after we got there and before we came home. It was nice to be unplugged, too. I need to put my phone on DO NOT DISTURB and forget about it more often. Overall, a great time. I look forward to our next one!

 

 

staycation

My husband and I booked a hotel in the city and are heading in after work today. We have dinner reservations tonight, a half-marathon (for him) and lots of yoga (for me, though he’s going to come to a class or two as well), brunch, and a baseball game planned.

I. Cannot. Wait.

Our last overnight trip together was a weekend away in December 2018; we stayed at a hotel in Pittsburgh last summer over vacation but went down with the kids and then met them the next day for a baseball game, so it’s not the same level of kid-freeness.

Anyway, I won’t be planning any meals this week but am looking forward to recapping the restaurants and getting back to swing of things next week!

 

mother’s day

For years, Mother’s Day left me in a strange place. I was a step-mother being celebrated for my contributions to my family but yearned for a child of my own at the same time. It was difficult to be appreciative and not show outward aching at the same time. When 3 came home, that all changed of course…

This weekend, we celebrated Mother’s Day and it was all lovely. Yesterday, I was showered with love and hand-made gifts from 11 & 13. They each made me mugs that were thoughtfully painted and they were both proud to tell me that I could use these mugs for my tea. I can’t wait!

Their mom took them to Michael’s to get a craft for me, which is appreciated. She has not always been so accepting and approving. Last night, when she came to pick 11 & 13 up, she texted my husband to let him know she got to the house and to have him wish me a Happy Mother’s Day. 11 & 13 left with handmade cards from an in-town printing press, flowers, and chocolate-covered strawberries in hand.

Before that, though, we went to Davio’s and had an Italian dinner (and a glass of Moscato for me). It was a delicious meal and our server complimented all three kiddos on their behavior (and their appetites).

I also was taught a new dance this weekend. I honestly wonder what the neighbors think, as there are frequent dance parties that take place in our sitting room and kitchen space. The newest dance I learned is where I catch an imaginary ball and then look like I’m tying a bow with my fists. It appears there are dramatized facial expressions as well.

All-in-all, a great weekend that led up to today. For Mother’s Day, my husband and 3 took me to brunch at one of my favorite places, Eastern Standard and surprised me with tickets to the Red Sox game! The weather in Boston was less than fantastic today, but after a Mother’s Day winter hat purchase, I was comfortable enough to make it through the game. Fortunately, my husband got us seats under the grand stand, so we stayed dry the duration of the game.

After a stunning Sox victory, we drove home, admiring the city and recapping our day. Then, we ordered pizza and cheesecake, because is there really any other way to celebrate Mother’s Day?

 

infertility, pt2

The funny thing about unexplained infertility is that everyone is so optimistic something positive will happen and then when it doesn’t, there’s not a single answer to any of the million questions you have. I deal well with logic and statistics, so basically getting a shoulder shrug as an explanation doesn’t really much work for me. More tests were ordered and a uterine scratch, which was an non-sedated procedure that was one of the more physically painful experiences of my life.

The best part of the scratch was when the RE performing the outpatient procedure said, “Well, you want to have a baby and childbirth is more painful than this.” It was true, I did want to have a baby; I never wanted this procedure. Comparing these two things and using such casual, condescending language, I assure you, is not something anyone dealing with years of fertility struggles wants to hear. My husband was there for the procedure; he took over responding to all questions at that point and told her I just needed to focus on my breathing.

I don’t remember much after that — just a lot of discomfort. We had to wait a month for results of the biopsy from the scratch and for proper healing before we could do our next round. As you likely gleaned from from the previous post, the scratch didn’t make much of a difference aside from the mental, emotional, and physical tolls.

Alas, the struggle with unexplained infertility continues, despite the perfect little addition to our family.

infertility, pt 1

I used to work full-time as a classroom teacher and then I worked in international education where I developed curriculum and teacher training for a program that brought American K-12 education to China. I traveled extensively for this position, both to our private partner schools stateside and to various cities and communities across China. I loved the work I did and really thrived in this position.

Then, we decided we were going to try to get pregnant and it didn’t happen quite as planned. After a year with no luck, my doctor put me on Clomid, which basically turned me into a raging psychopath. (My husband can vouch for this.) I had such an out of body experience with this drug, that after the first round, I asked to never use it again. I was persuaded to give it another try the following month and when that didn’t work, I promptly made an appointment with a local reproductive endocrinologist (RE).

Both my testing and my husband’s came back with glowing review — we were perfect and primed to easily get pregnant, except for that part where we’d been trying for 18 months and not a single positive pregnancy test in sight. I had apps, we tried trips to relax — nothing worked. After months of working with our new RE, we had a long conversation about IUI and IVF.

IUI was given an 11% chance of working and IVF for us was given significantly higher numbers (38%), so we went that route. My husband watched videos on how to give shots and I made early morning appointments with my clinic for all kinds of invasive testing. I also joined a support group with a local therapist; there, I met A who was on the same cycle as me at the same clinic. We’d see each other at each early morning appointment, which was equal parts comforting and uncomfortable.

After many shots, it was time for retrieval — all of my emotions came to a head there. The anesthesiologist hooked the IV to me and I went ballistic. My husband had already been taken downstairs to leave a sample, and this poor woman whom I’d just met, was faced  with a hysterical woman. Every single emotion from the shots, the Clomid, the failed attempts came pouring out of me and there was simply no stopping it.

Eventually, I passed out and they extracted six healthy eggs; all six fertilized; we implanted one; and froze four. Two weeks later, we found out that our IVF didn’t take and I’d have the pleasure of fully miscarrying on our family vacation to Disney World.

Once we returned, we did a round of Whole30 and then waited another month to discuss next steps with our RE who suggested that I should take a step back from so much work travel, so I quit my job and focused on working part-time doing some consulting and teaching at a local community college.

We took a trip to celebrate my newfound freedom but it was hardly worth celebrating. We did a frozen round of IVF and ended with the same fate as our first cycle. It was devastating: During this round, I’d visited my best friend who also had the pleasure of giving me shots, just further humiliating me and my poorly-functioning body. (She was great, as was my husband through it all but it just was something I’d wanted to keep so private which is tough to do when you’re too chicken to give yourself shots.)

After another Whole30 blitz and the healing of my bruise belly and backside, I’d mentioned to my husband that I didn’t think I could go through another cycle. It had broken me more than I’d ever realized possible: I felt like I was in a constant haze and was one comment or look from exploding.

I’ve never seen such a look of relief on someone’s face when I uttered those words to him that night. So, we decided that we’d take a break from it all and then figure out what we’d do after talking to our RE at the next round of follow-up appointments and tests…