How do other mommy bloggers do it? 

Not that I should really be calling myself a mommy blogger right now, as much as I should call this thing i set up as a blog, a diary of sporadic posts and random thoughts. 

Well, I suppose i am to keep calling this thing a blog, I should post in it, right? I’m working on a post and hope to finish before Christmas! thanks for continuing to follow our crazy lives! #chefwifelife (pictured: the chef and the other lady in his life reunited after a 13 day straight run at the restaurant as the premier caterer of the BB&T tennis tournament in Atlanta)  

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We’re still standing

Wow, it’s been a heck of a few months.  I have hated not having enough time to write, but as life will do, you blink and it’s been five months since you’ve written a word.   As my fellow chef spouses will understand, the holidays can be particularly difficult on schedules as you can pretty much count the Chef out of any and all holiday gift buying/planning/shipping/wrapping.  Thank god for Amazon Prime.  If not for this service, I truly don’t know what I would have done.

My 4-year-old ninja

My 4-year-old ninja

Fallen 2-year-old princess

Fallen 2-year-old princess

The Chef and I also celebrated our 4th Anniversary on December 22nd, Christmas, New Year’s, my son’s 4th birthday (Ninja Turtles for him) and then my daughter’s 2nd birthday(Frozen for her).  The good news, is we’re officially through all of it and heading into a week long vacation at the beach in a few days.

The Chef has had quite a bit going on at the restaurant … change of ownership, change of leadership in his restaurant group, lots of high level departures (i guess as a result of the first two things) and he’s literally worked for an entire month straight, no break, no days off … just more work.  It’s funny, when he goes through these kinds of stretches of being away from the house, I almost always begin the process feeling totally stressed about how crazy life will be, but then poof .. it’s over and it doesn’t seem like it was that bad.   Of course, my nails are a mess, I’m pretty sure I’ve got a unibrow, laundry is everywhere, and my car is overdue for an oil change, but we’re alive, healthy, happy and mostly in tact.

How do you guys handle this, as chef wives/girlfriends?  What’s the longest stretch your chef has ever gone without a day off?  If you’ve got little people, what do you do to occupy them and yourself?

End of month for a Chef’s Wife

I’ve started dreading the end of the month. In particular, October was really difficult. Not just because the end of month was Halloween! My favorite holiday, as I may have mentioned here before. But more of a “Really? Again? It’s the end of the month again???”

See, as other Chef’s wives/husbands/partners/sig others can attest, the end of the month is filled with all kinds of last-minute goals trying to be met. Inventory needs to be done, labor needs to be cut, overtime needs to be watched, the pantry/cooler needs to operate on bare bones until the 1st of the next month kicks in and big orders can be placed again without killing the numbers. All this needs to be done while fully operating a kitchen (in my chef’s case, in a huge high-volume restaurant) and keeping bellies happy across the Atlanta area.

Well, there is one belly (and spouse) that is not happy. Mine! I know this is all a necessary evil of working and managing a successful kitchen and lord knows, my husband is awesome at doing just that. But each month it sneaks up on me and I start getting the inevitable calls on the 28th, 29th, 30th … you know the call – “It’s going to be late, gotta cut labor,” “it’s going to be late, I need to do my numbers and we’ve been slammed today,” “don’t wait up, I have inventory tonight,” all calls/texts I receive most every month.

Sometimes we can plan for a reprieve (like we will this month for Thanksgiving) but it takes a lot of extra work on the part of my Chef husband and will it ever really be done to his liking/satisfaction if he’s not doing it? Usually, the answer is no.

Does anyone else find themselves dreading the end of the month as much as I do? Aren’t we on our own enough without adding this new obstacle to our day-to-day routine? Please! Share your thoughts and tricks for getting through those last days of the month in the comments.

Yours in the trenches,

Claudia

It’s the most wonderful time of the year

Nope, not Christmas.  It’s Halloween!  My absolute, hands-down, all-time, favorite holiday.  Being a mom has pushed that love/borderline obsession to a new level.  I love everything about Halloween.  It starts with the fact that October is the most beautiful, weather-wise, month of the year, my birthday is around the beginning of the month, there’s the crisp blue skies that start to appear in October (good-bye and good riddance summer haze) and finally, sweet, candy-filled, yard-decorated, costume-filled Halloween!

It may be the theater geek in me that loves the theatrics of it all, or the chance to become someone else for a day.  Maybe back in my 20s I suffered a little bit from the “chance to dress like a “prostitute” in public for a day” thing, but whatever my age, the decade or the company, I’ve always FREAKIN’ loved Halloween.

I can remember coming up with costumes when I was a kid, before places like Party City, Halloween Emporium, and the million other costumers were easily accessible.  I made myself a hobo (not sure that would fly today), a clown, a lumberjack, one year my mom let me dress myself as Sandy from Grease, but the sexed up one from the end of the movie, her wooden heeled shoes, off the shoulder top, red lips and all.  I believe I was 12.  Ahhh the 80s.   I’ve been a witch, a french maid, a kitten (the sexy kind — again 20s) and an actual cat (like with my costume from the Cats review we did in high school), lycra body suit and all.  I love playing dress up.  And I do believe I am on my way to passing this love (illness) onto my kids.

Since J was 9 months old, he’s had 2-3 costumes for each of his 3 years. I know.  It’s kind of ridiculous.  B is on her way to the same costume closet, well if you count all the princess dresses, she may have surpassed his inventory.  They simply must have a costume to just wear around the house whenever they feel like it, one for the daycare’s Fall Festival and Costume Parade and of course, one for the big night!  We may add another dress-up opportunity or two in there, Grant Park Parade, Ogre-tober at the Botanical Gardens, shopping at Target on Saturday night.  The add-on dress-up possibilities are endless.  So, this, my last shopping weekend before Halloween, I will be shopping for a few last minute items for the house, and if that fog machine is still in stock at Target, I will take it as a sign that I really am supposed to have it.

Happy Halloween to all!

Sometimes, you just have to dress as Iron Man to get through your Target shopping experience

Sometimes, you just have to dress as Iron Man to get through your Target shopping experience

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Queen Elsa aka the Doodle performing her ice magic on unsuspecting Target shoppers

Sunday Fun Day!

I love Sundays!  For a lot of reasons, it’s my favorite day of the week. I don’t have errands to run, my grocery shopping is usually done and most important of all … the Chef is OFF from work.  Not 100% off, I mean there will be texts, emails, his fancy phone app going off with labor percentages, food sales, liquor sales, blah blah blah, but he is home with us all day long.  In addition to the Chef being off from work today, we are taking the kids at 11 a.m. to a little something you may have heard of called, Frozen on Ice.  I am perhaps more excited about this than a rational adult should be, but I’m not that rational and I don’t like to consider myself that much of an adult.  So, I’m trying to figure out how i can get away with wearing an Elsa tiara with my daughter and how to get my husband to dress up like Kristoff with our son (he likes the ice guy, not that mean Prince).

I’m not that great at keeping surprises to myself, but I’ve done it!  I’ve gone two whole weeks with not one word about this day uttered and not one bean spilled.  I should probably get an award today for this alone.  I’ve got just 3 1/2 hours left to keep my mouth shut. So, I’m off to get the kids ready, hair done, costumes on and out the door in time for all the excitement.  For our family, these little outings can’t happen all the time, but when they can and do, we go all in.  I’ll post some pics later of all their loot, and their faces, the look on their sweet little faces.

Doodlebug in her Elsa nightgown, with her Elsa knit cap and her Elsa doll, probably watching ... well, Elsa.

Doodlebug in her Elsa nightgown, with her Elsa knit cap and her Elsa doll, probably watching … well, Elsa.

My baby boy at a Frozen birthday party.  He was a little upset that there were no Kristoff hats.

My baby boy at a Frozen birthday party. He was a little upset that there were no Kristoff hats.

Oh no! Another birthday!

On the eve of 42, I want to take a moment to take stock of where I am as an individual. Outside of being a wife and mother, I’m taking a moment to take pride in my own accomplishments, how far I’ve come and how much further I need to go towards being the true ME I’ve always wanted to be. Youth is lost on the young? No shit! I’ve spent so much of my life being a people-pleaser that I don’t truly believe that I even remotely had an idea about what made me happy. Some days, I still don’t.

Once upon a time, I wanted to be a star. A broadway star, that is. I was certain (at the age of 19) that it was going to happen. That I would show up in NYC with my “three bucks, two bags, one me” and immediately they would just know they had to have me in every show. I would be in demand. I would be a character actress, with an alto voice and a lot of spunk. I wouldn’t be the ingenue soprano … I would be the Elphaba (Wicked Witch, Wicked, come on people) of Broadway, before there was an Elphaba and everyone still knew her as Maureen. I would be the Daphne Rubin-Vega with my sailor-like vocabulary and flamboyant personality, it was going to happen. I moved to New York with my dear childhood friend, A. She was determined too, but as I would learn later, her determination far exceeded any idea of what I thought determination was in 1995. Now SHE followed her dreams and truly never gave up. In fact, for my 42nd birthday I will spend my evening at a screening for her first feature-length film, in which she stars and co-wrote. Yup. She was determined. Still is. Love that woman.  (Here’s a shameless plug for my girl.)

But for me, I’ve always gone with the flow of things, in life, love, friendship, work. Anytime I made a change, it always kind of landed in my lap. Moving to Georgia, joining the staff of AIDS Walk Atlanta and then deciding to travel the country as a fundraising diva, settling down, marrying the guy I dated for 7 years, so isn’t that what you’re supposed to do, coming to work in my current job in communications, with frankly, no education in this field, and even while getting a divorce.  I was coasting. Through every aspect of my life!

But when I met the Chef, I fought. I fought for his attention (yes, I was like a kid with a crush). I was IN LOVE (well maybe just a little bit of lust) at first sight. He was playing the guitar at a friend’s house (the Eagles, I believe), had dirty blonde hair, and was just off work, so still in Chef clothes. He was tall, blonde, skinny and handsome as hell.  I was done for.  I mean, look at him.  He was/is HOT.

The Chef and me before we were "married with children"

The Chef and me before we were “married with children”

That was 7 years ago. And probably the last time I truly FOUGHT for something I believed in.  After two kids, a bunch of career highs for him and even a few for me, we’re kind of in that time of monotony.  Day in, day out.  Same thing.  Eat. Sleep. Work. Frozen. Shuffle Kids. Frozen. Bath Time.  Potty Time. Frozen.  Eat. Sleep. Work.   With a schedule like my Chef’s, it’s hard to do much more than that.  Once in a while there is a quick escape … quick visit to family up North, quick drive to family home at the beach, but overall … we’re in the cycle, which I hear ends in about 15 years, when the last one goes off to college, or Broadway, or to boot camp or (Yikes) culinary school.

I don’t know where their dreams will take them, or even what they will be, but I hope they’ll fight.  Or that I’ve raised them to fight.  I’ll fight alongside them.  Hell, I may even throw the first punch once in a while.   I hope that between now and that time, I will fight for myself too.  I will challenge myself.   I will find one new thing that will challenge me (physically/emotionally/intellectually? I’m not sure yet).  I will take on a new challenge, even if it’s really really really hard.  Until then, it’s back to pick up/drop off/bath time/potty training and Elsa.  Oh Elsa.  Let it go!

Chef/Wife Blog Shout Out to … the awesome Jennifer at Emulsified Family

I love this blog, it’s actually what really inspired me to move forward with getting mine up and running. This post really hits home for me and I am so thankful that Jennifer, over at Emulsified Family is sharing her life with all of us.

Here’s a quick excerpt from one of my favorite posts:

Chef’s work constantly!

Just stating the obvious here, right?

However, if we’re being totally honest here, they do actually come home and sleep and rest at some point.

The problem is, this time they are home to sleep and rest is usually when we are at work.

Boo!!

WORKING THE OPPOSITE SCHEDULE AS YOUR CHEF/HUSBAND OR CHEF/BOYFRIEND STINKS!!!

There is really nothing positive to say about it. (Except maybe . . .

Check out Jennifer’s blog and the rest of this post here:
http://emulsifiedfamily.simpleseasonallocal.com/tips-for-talking-to-a-chefs-wife/

If you like her post as much as I do, give her a follow. You’ll be glad you did. I know I am!