What I Learned From Two Millennials
NOTE: OMG! After I wrote the rough draft of this I realized it’s like The World’s Longest Facebook Post… Aaiiieeee!
After 6 and half weeks, (but whose counting), in the frigid (-7 degrees) northern regions of the United States in a faraway land called Wisconsin… I was mighty happy to be home in my own perfect bed, in much warmer North Carolina. My second night home I slept for 13 hours straight.
I am blessed that I had the time, resources, stamina, a patient husband and employer so I could spend this block of time helping Emily (aka “Kid”) and Danny adjust to two twin babies born January 7.
I have to tell ya, two babies is a lot of babies. I had no idea how demanding this was going to be going in. It honestly takes three full time patient adults to handle them. But, oh….how wonderful they are!!
Ruthie (aka “Ruthie”) and Scarlett (aka “Scout”) are 2 months old now (mid March 2018) and I got to spend most of those first 8 weeks with them.
They are exceptionally good babies. Thank you God! They sleep pretty well and eat well. Oh, and, of course, they poop.
They are growing like little weeds and every day is a new adventure with them. Emily has had some exasperating and persistent issues with breast feeding but is determined to work through them.
If you need suggestions on what to buy a new mother, let me know, we have field tested EVERYTHING! Swaddles, cribs, rockers, diapers, pajamas, pacifiers, sound machines, black out curtains, diaper pails. The list is endless.
So, what did I pick up on this adventure? A lot! First, the non-tangible things. I can not speak for all Millennials but here are a few things I have learned from these two.
For point of reference they are both “30” wherever that falls along the millennial spectrum.
They are extremely thoughtful and deliberate. They look into and research everything. They do get most of their news from far leftist places (“PBS”… yuck), but they were curious to ask me my thoughts on things and they really listened.
They have many interests. Danny has an incredible palate for tasting the nuances of whiskey and coffee. His coffee making is Rube Goldberg-like: beans, grinding, dripping, ratios! I had three Kurig cups to his one! But I love his interest and that he can taste nuggets in a particular coffee bean!
Emily, of course, is now consumed with all things babies so she talks to friends, gets advise from doulas and lactation consultants and makes decisions slowly. She also does a weekly newsletter and works as the administrative assistant in her church.
They each have Bachelor degrees (Emily from Univ Missouri… Danny from Wheaton).
They both have graduate degrees from Covenant Theological Seminary in St Louis where they met. Danny is an ordained Presbyterian minister.
They are minimalists. They like nice things but they opt for quality over quantity.
They do not like clutter. Even though their apartment is small it feels light and airy and calm because it is not cluttered.
They are frugal. They carefully spend their money and look for deals and the best price for the best quality. They save and conserve.
They do not watch TV. In fact, there is NO TV! Not one in the whole place. I did not watch any TV for 6 weeks and still have not turned it on since I have been home. Seems it is an easy habit to break! They do watch stuff on their computers; Netflex, Amazon Prime, and we watched some of the Olympics streaming from NBC. They get ALL of their news via the internet.
They like books. Real books. They use the library and have their own library in their home.
They have good friends. Emily has had a stream of friends and awesome family on both sides come to help her.
Mallory came for a weekend and cooked 36 hours straight to fill the freezer with good food that just needs to be thawed. Sister-in-law Kristie left her three daughters (and Presby minister husband) in Asheville to come and give Danny and me a break on those middle of the night feedings. Cousin Grace gave up her Spring Break at St Louis Univ to help for a week and get to know her cousins. Mother-In-law Maureen used all her vacation time to spend those first two weeks with them. Locally friends brought snacks, lunches and dinners and gave everyone a break. Maybe it DOES take a village! LOL!
If you think Chapel Hill is “left-leaning”… you oughta see Madison WI! YIKES!! Emily & Danny are working very hard to live their faith within the culture they find themselves. It is not an easy task. But then, it never is.
So let’s move on to the tangible things!
First, HAIR PRODUCT!
This brand by Kristin Ess is only sold at Target. There is a full line of everything you could need a hair product for, so it is fun to play with. The shampoo and conditioner are great. I tested it for four weeks after my two week supply of traveling product ran out. When I came home, I threw away all my other shampoos and conditioners and other hair products. You can get most of it in the story but you can also order and have it sent to you, with free shipping! Yes, I KNOW…TARGET! But I got over it and ordered it all!
As long as we are in the shower, try THIS washcloth!
You will use less soap and your skin will feel great.
Let’s move on to the kitchen.
A friend of Emily’s, Holly, sent us this recipe via text message. We made it several times and I have made it twice since being home. BobLee loves it! BobLee loves anything served in a bowl with a big spoon.
It is as easy as you want to make it. It is light and works on the darkest, cold winter day and those suddenly cool days in the spring. It is the perfect thing to bring a sick friend or new mom!
Holly’s Chicken and Lemon Stew
-Chop up lots of carrots, onion, celery. (Or The Trinity as Emily’s friend Mallory calls it) (BTW, in a hurry, you can buy all of this already chopped at Whole Foods and Harris Teeter) (You can also add other veggies: mushrooms, sweet potatoes)
-Sauté veggies in a little olive oil in a Dutch over until softened.
-Remove all the meat (even the dark meat!) from a store bought rotissier chicken. Cut in smaller chunks. (don’t spend a lot of time shredding and cutting. It shreds itself as it cooks.)
-Pour some chicken broth over the veggies in pot and add all the spices you want. Salt, pepper, rosemary, tarragon. Really, anything you like the taste of.
-Cook the veggies in the spices and broth until they are nice and soft while you get all the chicken off the bones.
-Add the chicken to the pot.
-Add more broth and simmer for a little bit until everything is warm and flavorful. You can simmer for 20 mins or an hour. Whatever fits your schedule. Add more broth any time but not too much.
-Cook the frozen rice you get at Traders Joe’s. Any type is fine. It cooks in microwave in 3 mins. (I hate cooking rice any other way!)
-Serve the soup over the rice
–DO NOT LEAVE OFF THIS NEXT STEP!!
-Juice 3-4 lemons and pour juice into soup right before serving or squeeze a lemon over the top in your serving bowl. Don’t cook or stir in the lemon, just pour the juice on right before serving.
-The lemon made me nervous the first few times I made this so I just used a little. But, trust me, more is better.
It is easy, low calorie, filling, flavorful and satisfying.
NOTE: If you want an Insta-Pot recipe for turning the chicken bones into broth, let me know. I do not Insta-Pot but Emily does.
Serve on THESE dishes.
(In white) https://www.crateandbarrel.com/dinnerware-collections/mercer-dinnerware/
So much prettier in person than at the site.
When Emily selected her dishes for the wedding registry, I paid no attention. She researched many different options. These are the best dishes I have ever seen. I am tempted to donate all my current dishes and buy a set. They LOOK hand made but they can get banged into the dishwasher, shoved into the microwave, slammed on top of each other and I have never seen even a chip. Meanwhile they are elegant and perfectly shaped for whatever you need. The low bowl is perfect for the above recipe. If you do manage to break one, they are not all that expensive to replace. They would be perfection in a beach house.
Make the soup while LISTENING to THIS!
I heard Danny listening to Bill Evans over his phone. I love jazz and Bill Evans is my favorite, I must have 10 of his albums on my phone. Who knew this Millennial liked the old jazz too?
Emily and Danny are into VINYL! Yes, they have real hard vinyl albums, that come in album covers with photos and lyrics and stories about making the music. You know, like when we were kids! And a record player! So I bought them a Bill Evans album and we played it every day!
This is dear Ruthie, or as I call her, Peach. She is the sweetest little cuddler and about a week behind her sister in most things. We still think she may be a red head.
This is Scarlett. She is a chill baby. And the first to smile! An early adaptor!
My Millennials!!! I love them much…. despite their poor news choices!
Here are some good books I have read lately. Nothing heavy here…just some interesting and some funny stories.
After dealing with the news for hours every day, I need a break! Remember I listen via Audible and all of these are wonderfully narrated.
–The Tuscan Child by Rhys Bowen
-My Not So Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella
-The Address by Fiona Davis
-The Woman in the Window by AJ Finn
-Fun series: Shelby Nichols Adventures by Colleen Helm. Start with “Carrots”
If you would like to join Emily’s weekly email newsletter, here is a link.
Emily and her friend Mallory, who lives in South Carolina, discuss all things happening culturally; lots of cooking, books, music and heads up on new trends and products. I warn you, their politics is head slapping but I am hoping they can leave that out in the future!
You can also follow them on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/gardenvariety_newsletter/
Speaking of Instagram, here are two new and favorite followings that I got from Emily:
Cheap Old Houses: https://www.instagram.com/cheapoldhouses/
They show houses all over the country that are for sale. Go to the link in their description and you can look at photos of the old houses for sale. It is fascinating and sad.
–Accidentally Wes Anderson https://www.instagram.com/accidentallywesanderson/
If you love symmetry, as I do, you will love this.
THE END (until next time!)