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?

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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.

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 …