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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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

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!

The Benefits of a Chef Husband

I was off from work today to recover from my steroid shot to the spine (thankfully I’m asleep when said shot enters my back) and was feeling a little better this morning than I expected. So, after taking the kids to daycare, the hubs and I found ourselves free from kids, work and responsibility and decided to check out the West Egg in West Midtown for breakfast. I cannot believe it took us this long to check this place out. The coffee, the food, the vibe. All awesome. We started off with a Cafe Cubano.

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Yup. Delicious. Of course I needed more caffeine so I went for a Cortado.

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Double yum. And with a heart on top. Almost too cute to drink. Almost.

We started with Fried Green Tomatoes with bacon and pimento cheese, but we are it too fast to get a picture. So dang good I found myself watching to make sure the chef didn’t eat any of “my half” of the dish. I’m a libra. I need balance and fairness and bacon.

By the time breakfast came I was pretty caffeinated and full, but I pushed through because, well this…

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An egg white omelet with (more) pimento cheese and (more) bacon. The egg whites are strictly my preference. I am by no means trying to “healthy up” bacon and cheese. I just prefer egg whites. The potatoes were delicious, I couldn’t make it to the biscuit, but I’m sure it would have been as amazing as everything else.

But here’s the best part. And this is where being married to a chef rocks. When I sat basking in my foodgasm glow, I said something along the lines “I wish I could make something that tastes that good” when the Chef chimes in with, “you know I can make that for you.” Um, duh. Sometimes I forget that he can pretty much cook anything and make it taste amazing. Sometimes I forget. I appreciate it when he reminds me without sounding like a cocky asshole. Just a gentle, “I could make that at home.” So I’m headed to the store for eggs, bacon and pimento cheese. I can already taste Sunday’s breakfast!

I have no idea what he ate. Probably some kind of Eggs Benedict, who knows. I was too busy stuffing my face.

Working for the weekend

Late night ramblings. Just got home from a Saturday night work gig at Wolf Creek Amphitheater. Tony Toni Tone was one of the acts and they were fun (it feels good, uh uh baby) but I just have to say it … I don’t miss going out on Saturday nights. The whole thing looks so exhausting now. Getting a cute outfit together, hair, makeup, drinking, being all sweaty from dancing. It all seems like way too much trouble. I’m still going to stay up a little longer. But it’s to watch scandal and eat a couple of scoops of Ben and jerry’s. I love that I won’t wake up with a hangover or regretting a late night taco hell run. Instead I’ll make pancakes (with lots of butter, of course) and watch Frozen (again) and watch my kids terrorize each other. That is now my awesome. And I’m ok with that. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’ve got the best gig in town with the best seats money can buy.

This is what I came home to tonight. Does it get better than this?

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The Chef

I got home last night with the kids and while we were winding down and catching up on the day, the hubs mentions that he somehow managed to come across my blog.  Side note:  I’m still confused about how he found it – he recently signed off of all social networking after a particularly long, grueling, “no days off for a month” kind of run at the restaurant, during which just about everyone he/we know went on summer vacation with their families. Presumably everyone went to one big party at the beach that lasted the entire length of his work schedule and we were stuck at home, being over-worked, under-rested and pasty.  So, that day he restored his phone (a little drastic a measure, but I went with it) to factory settings, refused to reinstall any social networks, but did manage to keep his work email and some miserable app that allows him to see exactly how many people are at the restaurant, how much money they’re spending and what his labor is at any given moment.

Sorry, hell of a side note … anyway, his first question about the blog?  “When are you going to write about how awesome your husband is?” It’s a fair question, the first person in the title is the chef.  And since I think he just gave me permission to use his real name, here goes my About Chef Phillip and how awesome he truly is.

Chef Phillip was not always planning to be a culinary genius.  He initally planned to teach, maybe high school, maybe college … but he loved school.  He has two degrees, in addition to his culinary degree, philosophy and history.  He is a history fanatic.  In fact, as of late, I have been forced to watch that PBS thing about the Roosevelts for hours on end, night after night.  Last night he re-watched one of the episodes with his daddy.  It was cute to see them together enjoying it some father/son time, but for me … not so much. I just checked for broken links on here and uploaded more pictures to use later.  Damn, digressing again.  Back to Phillip.

After finishing college with a double major, he set off to teach.  High School.  That still sounds crazy to me.  Then he decided he wanted to be a chef, so he went to culinary school at the Art Institute of Atlanta.  Graduated top in his class and went to work for Buckhead Life.  He worked at the famed Buckhead Diner and did stages (basically, chef internships) in various upscale restaurants before heading to NYC.  He did several more stages in NYC at some of the best restaurants in the city before landing at Gramercy Tavern, under Tom Collichio.  Yup, the Top Chef guy.  No, he’s not going to be a contestant on the show.  I think that would be weird.  Anyhoo, worked his tail off, cut off a thumb (literally) and landed an exec position at 71 Clinton.  By all accounts, he was a rock star Chef in one of the best places to be a Chef in the world during one of the most exciting times for fine dining.  I will always regret that we didn’t meet sooner and that I didn’t live through this time with him.   It sounds like it was a blast from the stories he tells.

Thankfully, he came back to Atlanta, landed with his current restaurant group, became Sous at a fantastic restaurant in Buckhead, moved to another fantastic restaurant in Buckhead where he was eventually named Executive Chef again, and has remained in that role in every restaurant he has worked with since.  He is awesome.  The man is talented and fast and I am so proud of him every day.

This is him on a rare day off.

Daddy and his babies

Daddy and his babies

If you have the opportunity to eat this man’s food.  Do not hesitate.  Do it.  It’s amazing.  And he uses real butter.  Always.

Just let me introduce myself

Ok, it’s a working title for now. I’m not 100% about the title, but I do hope the idea is coming across. I have wanted to start a blog, a real one that I can actually keep up with writing, for a few years now. I have “started” a good few times, created, chosen a layout, drafted a few posts and then left to die in cyberspace. Thankfully, I don’t believe (and WP insights tell me) no one has viewed, commented or shared any of them. So we’ll call this my first real foray into writing this thing.

A few things about me. I am married to a chef. We met 7 years ago while both of us were going through a “party like a rock star” phase in our lives. We had both been married and divorced before the age of 35. Neither of us had any intention of settling down again but after a year or so of the wild life, we started to realize that we did, in fact, want more. We moved in together, enjoyed late dinners, sleeping in, Sunday cocktails and brunch with friends, and even the occasional vacation.

me and my friend michelle during the summer of awesome (2009)

me and my friend michelle during the summer of awesome (2009)

Then we had the talk. The “have you thought about kids?” talk. I mean, of course. I was raised by Cuban and Peruvian catholic parents. That’s practically a given. In fact, by all accounts, I should still be married and seeing my children off to high school and college by now. But aside from what I was told I should do, I always enjoyed children, playing mommy to my little brothers and other people’s kids. I always assumed I would have my own one day, but after an ugly divorce and a rough few years, I thought maybe I was just supposed to be an awesome aunt.

Jagger in the belly

Jagger in the belly

Fast forward to 2010 that all changed, when my then boyfriend (now husband) and I moved to Grant Park. After a month in our cute little bungalow, I got pregnant. At the ripe old age of 38! I was thrilled, scared, excited and most of all SHOCKED! I mean, I knew it COULD happen, I did take sex ed in school and all. But we’d been rolling around without contraception for 2 1/2 years and had hoped it might happen, but after two years thought it just wasn’t in the cards for us.

Happiest I think I’ve ever been.

The troublesome trio en route to Puerto Rico for a last hurrah before baby.

We brought home our son in early 2011 and couldn’t have been happier. Then I got the bright idea that our little boy needed a sibling and I needed one more go around as a prego (which, to me, is one of the best feelings I have had the pleasure of experiencing). Bam! One month of trying and here I was, prego again with baby number two. The doodle was born in February of 2013 and we were very quickly a family of four, in a tiny bungalow (that we were thankfully renting, so we could move easily) and a husband who had just accepted an Executive Chef position in a new/larger/much more demanding restaurant.

First love of life

The first love of our lives

 

 

 

doodlebug as she is known today has completed us in a way that we didn't even know we needed

doodlebug as she is known today has completed us in a way that we didn’t even know we needed

And here, boys and girls, is where our story begins …

 

About the butter situation

Just so everyone is clear about this butter issue.  It is an important enough player in our lives to be part of the title.  We love butter.  On pancakes, on toast, on potatoes, in our mac and cheese, in the pan with some cuban bread and a cafe con leche, that is heaven.   I think I spend more time writing the word butter on my grocery lists than any other word in our vocabulary.  I have a Chef husband who believes in butter.   On everything.   He is very adamant about the use of real fully fatted butter in cooking, because it tastes freakin’ amazing.  I can’t say much more about it … other than I love it and I probably go through about 6-8 sticks per week.  Yup, a stick of butter every day.  Don’t judge.  There’s four of us.

this is what heaven looks like

this is what heaven looks like