My Convertible Life

Wednesday, January 30, 2013


The pictures in the International Association of Professional Birth Photographers Image of the Year Competition were disturbing, but not for the reason you might think.

Yes, you can see naked lady parts and babies covered in blood and goop -- but vaginas and body fluids are all part of childbirth, so that wasn't what bothered me. It was seeing all the mothers and fathers working as active partners in labor and delivery.

The couple kissing in the tub and cradling their fresh newborn. The sheer joy and relief and amazement in the mother's face as she holds her baby before anyone else does. The still messy baby burrowing into his mother's chest. The father looking on in awe at the power of the life arriving in front of his eyes.

I didn't get any of those moments.

I know I'm supposed to be grateful that my children were born healthy and beautiful, that we had great medical care, that everything turned out fine. But I'm still sad sometimes about having two c-sections.

And then I saw the photo that stopped me in my tracks. It was so unexpected that I had to turn to my husband. "I need to ask you a really strange question: is that a stomach? Because I don't think it could be a vagina."

It's photo #73. I'll give you a minute to go look, although my squeamish friends might want to glance quickly.

Turns out it's the view that I never saw when I was flat on the operating table -- the cesarean incision pushed apart as the doctor's hands pull and tug and wrestle a baby out into the world. My husband recognized it because (despite instructions to keep his seat next to my head) he had peeked over the screen when we were in the operating room.

Seeing that moment captured on my screen was mesmerizing. A little terrifying to look at, and yet incredible to see that my body could do that. Even when I was flat on my back, staring at the ceiling and numb from the ribs down, I wasn't passive. My body allowed a doctor to pull a baby -- my baby -- into the world to breathe. And then that same body somehow unbelievably healed itself over time (okay, a lot of time) to do it all over again.
I think I'll still get that twinge when I see a Hollywood birth moment that seems so magical and natural. But at least for now, I'm going to hold photo #73 in my head and remember how my husband and I worked together in the birth of our beauties.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Best Hashtag You've Ever Seen

Have you had a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day?

Too many meetings bringing you down? Kid chaos wearing you out? Messy house ruining your view?

You could try a glass of wine to take the edge off. Or maybe go for a run to burn off some stress. Or even just scoop a loved one into a big hug to make you feel okay again.

But sometimes you need a faster, simpler pick-me-up to turn that frown upside down.

And here's where I'm going to change your world in three easy steps:

  1. Get your phone or tablet.
  2. Go to Instagram.
  3. Search for #vivioftheday. 
Here's one sample of the gorgeousness there for you:
Those cheeks, those lashes, those pouty lips, and (did I mention) those CHEEKS! How can you NOT smile when you see that face?! I'm seriously considering making myself a set of cereal bowls with these photos just so I can start my day off right (you might prefer a coffee mug set, but I don't drink coffee).

Now for those of you not paying close attention, I should clarify that this is not my child. This round loveliness belongs to my sweet beach friend, who kindly agreed to hashtag photos of her daughter Vivi so that I could find them quickly when I needed a smile. I mean, my own kids are cute, but they're all long and lean now -- it's just not the same.

So there you have it. Wherever you are, whatever the time of day or night, a smile awaits you at #vivioftheday.

You're welcome.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Recipe: Sweet Potato Apple Soup

Being a convertible girl, I'm also very much a warm weather girl. I love sun dresses, sandals, gin & tonics and all the other loveliness that comes with spring and summer.

But there are a few things that make fall and winter worthwhile. Stylish boots, sweater dresses, 7& 7... and soup. One of my wise friends actually refuses to say the word "fall," instead calling it "the season of soup." It does sound much more appealing.

Thanks to combined recipes from another friend and a magazine, I made a delicious (and easy and healthy) soup last week that you definitely want to try out -- what I love most about it is that it's a smooth, creamy soup without any dairy in it.

My version is the first recipe below, with a variation from my friend (including her notes) below that -- or you can go to Real Simple online and use theirs.

Sweet Potato Apple Soup


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into pieces
  • 1 acorn squash, peeled, seeded and cut into pieces (it had been in my pantry for far too long and needed to be used)
  • 1 apple (I used Granny Smith but others would work just fine), peeled and chopped
  • 2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • generous pinch ground nutmeg


  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 6 to 8 minutes.
  2. Add the sweet potatoes, acorn squash, apple, broth, nutmeg, and 1½ cups water to the saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, covered, until the potatoes are tender, 12 to 15 minutes.
  3. Use a handheld immersion blender to puree until smooth. (If you don't have an immersion blender, you really should buy one. Or, working in batches, you can transfer the mixture to a blender and puree, adding more water if necessary to reach the desired consistency.)

Golden Winter Soup


  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 5 cups 1/2 in. cubed peeled butternut squash (about 1 1/2 lbs.)
  • 1 russet potato peeled and cubed
  • 1 granny smith apple peeled and cut
  • 1 tsp kosher salt (optional -- when I add it I don't add as much broth or it can get too salty)
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 2 medium leeks sliced
  • 4 cups vegetable or chicken broth (low-sodium might be a good option if you do the salt)
  • 1 cups half-and-half


  1. Melt butter in large Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add squash, potato, salt, and pepper to pan; sauté 3 min. 
  2. Add leek; sauté 1 min. 
  3. Stir in broth; bring to a boil. 
  4. Reduce heat, and simmer 20 min. or until potato is tender stirring occasionally. 
  5. Blend to a smooth consistency.I use my immersion blender to get a smooth consistency. You can also put half of it in the blender and then pour into bowl and then pour rest into the blender. After it is blended, you stir in the half-and-half.