Braydon and I kind of think of life in two dimensions: "before-K&O" and "after-K&O." Many of you who know me from "before" know about how I love(d) to cook. I used to read cookbooks like people on the beach read romance novels. I used to watch the Food Network like sports fans watch ESPN. I used to list "cooking" on questionairres that asked for my hobbies. I'd spend hours (sometimes days) researching, planning, and preparing for dinner parties. Many a weeknight Braydon and I spent drinking wine while I cooked, and savoring my multiple-course dinners by candlelight well into the night. Times have changed in our "after-K&O" life. I think of it this way: I used to be a pretty good amateur chef, now I am a fast-and-dirty cook. Big difference. Braydon took this picture of some spices on our kitchen counter. You can't tell from the photo, but they go for long stretches without ever being used. I hardly ever have use for spices anymore since 99% of the time I'm just trying to get something that all four of us will find edible onto the table in 20 minutes or less. Turns out that toddlers (well, I suppose I should really only speak for myself and I should rather say, my two toddlers) don't really like wasabi and sesame encrusted tuna with a hoisin glaze cooked rare and served over a bed of sauteed fresh spinach with garlic mashed red-potatoes. Sometimes I get really sad about it. Sort of like I get sad when we talk about the spontaneous trips to the movie theater that we used to make, or the sophisticated vacations we used to go on, or the exercise equipment in our basement that we used to use, or the Sunday mornings we'd linger for hours with coffee and the New York Times. But most of the time I'm feeling no sadness -- just the purest joy I've ever known: the experience of having the opportunity to be my boys' mother. I can honestly say, as cliche as it sounds, that for me now, my bambinos are the spice of life. I'd never go back, no matter what -- and I feel that way everyday, even when we're all eating hot dogs and beans.