they came up hopping in the spirit of the aviator

I jinxed my culinary creativity, it seems, by telling about my "two things in a bowl" good fortune. Then again, I made a couple dishes early in the week that turned out to be way too much for just two people, so we've been eating leftovers for days. Luckily, we polished off the leftovers today, which means that tomorrow I will embark on a new culinary adventure! Hurrah.

Today I used my hand mixer three times. This morning I made pancakes, then I made an adaptation of Cranberry Bliss Bars - which I let cool, frosted, and then froze to store for Thanksgiving - and tonight I'm making Pumpkin Applesauce Muffins.

Dry ingredients for Pumpkin Applesauce Muffins.

The Busy-Day Cake turned out really well, just a bit dry because I checked it, decided it needed 5 more minutes, but it turns out it didn't. I should have taken it out earlier, or just given it two more minutes instead of 5. Oh well. Yesterday, with two slices remaining, I made a quick breakfast for myself and a friend who stopped by. I warmed up some frozen berries, sliced big hunks of cake, drizzled them with maple syrup, and tossed the warm berries on top. With black coffee, our breakfast was perfect.

Busy-Day Cake with maple syrup and warm berries.

In baby news, the Bedtime is working out. Tonight he became hungry and droopy eyed at 6 instead of 7, so I just went with it and gave him a bottle in our dark bedroom. By 6.30 I was doing some dishes. I don't blame him, I'm extra tired today, too. In fact, after the rest of the muffins get done baking, I'm heading to bed.
Somehow, Finn grows cuter by the day.

That's him last night. Today he is 2 months old. He coos, smiles, and kicks a lot. He basically makes anyone who comes near him feel like they won the lottery because he is so cute and so sweet. I know I'm biased, but just ask my friends. He's a laid back baby with a developing personality. I can't wait to find out who he is.
I am also relishing his small size, because he just keeps getting bigger. One day he won't be my warm bundle of goodness and joy, tucked in next to me in the mornings. He'll be an awkward middle schooler, or a sulky teenager, or a grown man, with his own place to live and maybe his own children.
But right now he is mine, all mine. He is small, and he smells young, that's the only way to put it. His fingers are tiny, his ears are seashells, translucent and new. His lips are soft, searching. His eyes are bright and big, alert and adventurous. He's perfect, and he's all mine.

p.s. I forgot to do Wordless Wednesday again this week! Drat.
p.p.s. this batch of muffins did not turn out as well as the last time I made them. too much free-styling.


miniature disasters and minor catastrophes

I don't want to talk about how implementing the Bedtime went tonight. Suffice to say, the baby is asleep, and that is what matters. Meltdowns aside, he was asleep and I was arranging mise en place by 8pm. I decided on Busy-Day Cake, the recipe that I mentioned yesterday. Since I followed it exactly as Molly adapted and wrote it, I won't re-post the recipe.
A good way to start the night, post Bedtime Meltdown: dark ale and unsalted butter.

Mise en place.

Whisked dry ingredients.

Ready to bake.

What I would like to know is: is there any baker out there that doesn't lick the beater bars? Or at least scrape the sides of the bowl and devour the remaining batter? I love batter. I don't care about raw eggs. After all, Gaston ate dozens of raw eggs, and look how strong and dashingly handsome he turned out.
The cake is now cooling on a wire rack. It was so simple, so easy, so relaxing. Some women get pedicures to relax and feel good, I bake. It's like therapy, but cheaper and with much less talking. And more quality beer.
Next on my agenda:
find the perfect (pearfect?) recipe for the two beautiful bosc pears I have
devour the new cookbooks I borrowed from the library (A Platter of Figs, Veganomicon, How to be a Domestic Goddess)


it never changes to stop

Attempting a Bedtime, night 3.
This is Finn - he usually looks this alert (or more so) right around the newly implemented Bedtime.

Night 2 didn't go so well. That was last night. Around 7, I changed him, put on his pajamas, and went into our bedroom. I had the lights off and the fan going - normal sleeping environment. I tried to feed him, but he fussed and refused. I gave him a bottle instead, and he dozed off. I burped him and put him down. Not so fast, said he. He flailed about and spit out his pacifier a million times. I lied (to lay is to place, to lie is to recline) on the bed beside the bassinet and put my hand on his chest to calm him. I placed and replaced his pacifier in his mouth. Sometime around 9, he was fast asleep. I went to bed about an hour later.
So tonight - night 3. Better than night 2, so far. I decided to wait a little longer, so around 7.30 I did the routine - change diaper, put on pjs, go into dark bedroom, give bottle, burp, put baby in bassinet. By 8 I was pouring myself a glass of pinot noir and marveling at all the dirty dishes waiting for me. At 8.14 I heard some fussing, so I went in and replaced his pacifier in his mouth, and put my hand on his chest. It's now 8.30 and I'm drinking my wine.

Pretty soon we'll buy a baby monitor, so I can close the bedroom door all the way and sit in the living room and listen to music, instead of leaving the door ajar and straining to hear his tiny voice. After an hour or so, I'll know he's out, but the first hour is a bit tenuous. Is that even the correct usage of "tenuous"? I don't care.
In food news, I made way too much orzo today. It didn't look like so much in the box, so I thought, what the hey, I'll cook all of it and we'll have some leftovers. Whoa, nelly. Not only did it seem to multiply before my very eyes while boiling in the pot, it also happened to look to me like insects. Yikes. So I threw in some toasted pine nuts,diced tomatoes, sauteed chopped garlic, fresh oregano, red wine vinegar, and some spinach, and turned it into a giant meal. It could feed a family of six, and it was about $6, not including the price of the red wine vinegar and garlic (already had) and oregano (I have some growing). Hooray.
In other food news, I have a new favorite snack: yogurt with dried cranberries, pepitas, walnuts, and a drizzle of honey. Yum.

I'm about ready to bake something again, but I'm not sure what. Usually I have recipes lined up in my head, placing first the one I've been daydreaming about most. But I haven't been thinking of any baked goods recently. Completely inconsistent with my usual thought life. I suppose I just haven't been extremely inspired lately. Maybe I need to pick up an issue of Bon Appetit. Well, I could make those pumpkin applesauce muffins again. They were incredible. Or make an apple cranberry cake, but we're having apple cake at Thanksgiving, so scratch that.
Oh yes, I remember. Last night as I was trolling around on Molly's blog, I revisited February 2008, and came across this little gem. The recipe is for "Busy-Day Cake", and Molly adapted it from Edna Lewis's recipe. I love the pictures Molly took of it. The cake is so unassuming, and that's exactly what makes me so sure that it will be fabulous.
If I can tackle the dishes in the next 30 minutes, I'll set right to dirtying up my clean kitchen with the makings of Busy-Day Cake.


flood in my head

I'm sure I'll regret all this typing tomorrow.
But really, why not? I'm alone, I'm lonely, and the words never end.
I'm missing my dad. He would know exactly what to do to prepare the soil for winter. He would love to see my son. His grandson. I am actually praying that Finn is a lot like my dad. It just so happens that the relative I am most similar to is my grandmother, so it's not impossible that Finn could be similar to his grandfather, though he'll never know him.
Lately, I've been thinking a lot about past relationships. I walk the dog at least once a day, twice a day when Scott has a long day and isn't able to take the dog for either of his two daily walks. The weather, I suppose, is what's nudged my memory to dig up old shoe boxes of failed romances and sift through them with painful detail. What I have been discovering while swimming through memories is that, as Ben Gibbard so poetically puts it "And now I'm seeing that I was the one worth leaving". With the exception of one of my pre-marriage relationships, I wasn't the perfect partner I usually remember myself as. It's easier to remember things without clarity, but instead colored by emotions like bitterness. That way there's no blame to bear. It turns out - with M., though he certainly had his faults, I was not the good girlfriend I imagined myself to be. I was too needy, I didn't give him space. I think I cheated on him. I dishonored him and disrespected him. I expected too much, wanted too much. With R. I was just wasting time. I think we claimed love, but the whole time I was just waiting for something better. Shouldn't have moved in with him. What a disaster. I did cheat on him. With E. I was just stupid and ruined a perfectly good relationship for some convoluted notion of freedom. At least I left that relationship before cheating.
In short, my entire life up to just a few years ago consisted mainly of sex, drugs, and rock and roll. Or techno, to be more precise. And that's what I cared about, and that's how I made my choices. I had no healthy model of a loving relationship to know what more I should want, or strive for. Sorry, ex-lovers.
That's why, when I met Scott, I couldn't believe what I'd landed. A man this good, who loved me - crass, sarcastic, guarded, over-sexed, overall ugly and broken. He somehow saw through all of that. My healthiest, most loving relationship.
I know he works so hard because he wants to be good for us. He wants to honor God, and honor me, and provide for his family. He wants to graduate nursing school and make salary. It's just hard, sometimes, to not feel slightly sad or bitter because he is gone so much. I feel like he's missing the first year of his son's life. I sometimes feel forgotten. I make it a point to make sure we kiss - on the lips - at least once a day. Usually, I wait up for him until he comes home from work. We tumble into bed, he's exhausted, I have things stored up to tell him, but I only tell half of them before I feel him drifting off. I kiss him, we cuddle, and shortly thereafter, it's tomorrow, and he's gone again, and I'm here. Doing the dishes. Feeding the baby. Walking the dog. Mulching the garden. Tidying the house. Baking sweets. Cooking meals. Folding the laundry. Sifting through memories. Missing my dad. Waiting for Scott to get home so we can kiss on the lips again.

and in the morning I'll be with you

I baked again.

Last night I tried out another of Dorie Greenspan's recipes - "Black and White Banana Loaf". It's basically a banana bread, with part of the batter mixed with melted bittersweet chocolate, and then marbled into the regular batter. I adapted it a little, adding some pureed pumpkin from the fridge and leaving out the rum because I didn't have any.
It turned out really well -super moist.

And I realize that we need a new bookshelf. Ours is so full it is about to fall over, seriously.
Today I did some gardening stuff. I felt so self sufficient, because I'm a woman and I was ripping dead plants out of the ground, reseeding the purple cone flowers, and spreading leaves on the flower beds, and no guy helped me. I wasn't even depending on Scott to watch the baby, I brought him and his bouncy chair outside so he could get some sun. It was unseasonably warm today, so it all worked out. Except that Rufus tried to eat a garden snake, which didn't work out at all.
Oh, and I've made some pretty delicious throw-together meals lately. I'm calling them "two things in a bowl". Yesterday I chopped and sauteed some new potatoes with curry powder. I also cooked some lima beans and kielbasa. Then I put those two things in a bowl together. Today I scrambled some eggs with onion, garlic, and bell peppers. I also reheated some wild rice in a saute pan and added tomatoes, black beans, and tons of fresh spinach. Then I put those two dishes in a bowl. I'm liking it. It's an awesome way to use leftovers, and it's not like I have to think of a balanced meal, I just turn on the stove and start emptying the refrigerator.
Basically I'm ruling on the homefront. What about behind the front, though? Well, I think I'm doing okay. Honestly I feel a little shafted because I do all the work around here, well, all the housework. Scott does all of his things - full time school and work - and I know it's not easy on him. I wish he had the insight to realize what a gift it would be to me if he would come home from school and tell me to go take a bath or something, or to go meet a friend for coffee - without the baby. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love Finn, and he's a charm to take out - he is laid back, never crying, always thrilling women with his good looks. But hey, what about me? I'm my own person, right? Or does mommy-hood dissolve my identity. Please, God, say it doesn't. I know it doesn't, but I realize that it takes maintenance to keep up my own identity separate from that of Finn's food, Finn's home, Finn's comfort. I love being all of those things to him, he's an angel of a baby. Obviously I feel torn - loving my new role, but afraid of losing sight of my own identity apart from my new role.
Also, I just miss Scott. I really appreciate and admire him for his hard work, truly. Because I don't like working - I just don't. And I don't miss working. But he works, and it's hard, and he goes to school, and he studies constantly, and he stresses out, but he makes good grades, and he keeps on trucking. I just feel like I don't see him very often.
I am looking forward to Thanksgiving. Scott will have the week off of school, and I'll finally be able to spend some time with him. He might even be able to relax a little and stop stressing about classes. I'm tired, and rambling, and need to join my baby in sleep.
I'm lonely.

don't you wanna make him stay up late

I totally forgot to participate in Wordless Wednesday a few days ago. Drat.
Right now I'm trying to implement a bedtime for Finn. He usually just stays up as long as I do - we go to bed somewhere around 10.30pm, on average. But I've been thinking that since he's a baby, perhaps he should be going to sleep earlier - so tonight I fed him at 7.45pm, and put him in his bassinet, in our dark bedroom, with the fan running. I usually do that routine sometime around 10 or 10.30pm, so I thought maybe he would drift off.
Well, I laid on the bed next to the bassinet, watching him in the dark. He was wide awake! He moved his head around, very alert-like. I could barely make out that his eyes were open. I put my hand on his chest and he stilled. I brushed his face, rhythmically, with my fingertips, and he quieted. He kept relaxing, and his pacifier would drop out of his mouth, then he'd startle awake, and turn his head back and forth until I put his pacifier back in his mouth. This went on for 30 minutes, then I brought him into the bed with me and fed him again. That always puts him to sleep.
Not necessarily a deep sleep, though, because once I set him down and switched out the laundry, and then tiptoed back to the bedroom to listen at the door - he was cooing. Just talking to himself in there.
I'm currently staked out at the kitchen table, within earshot of the bedroom, and through the ajar door, I can hear him every now and then. If he starts crying or fussing I'll go comfort him, but so far it's just the occasional coo. It's really cute. I wish I could see his face, but I don't dare open that door and peer into his bassinet, because surely he'll jolt awake and start smiling, and cooing, and being fully alert.
Finn, fully alert.

Does anyone know that old Talking Heads song that goes something like - "baby, baby, please let me hold him/I wanna make him stay up all night"? I love that song. That's how I feel just a little bit - that he's so damn cute, I kind of want him to stay up so I can look at him and play with him. More than that, though, I am relishing this little bit of me time.


sweet nothing serenade

There's something I've been avoiding. Rather, I just don't think about it, so why would I write about it? It's this - the boys upstairs are leaving. Ben is going to live in a van, but will still be in town, probably using our shower or toilet or warm couch every now and then. He's got the Into the Wild bug, it seems, and he wants to travel and live out of a van, but hopefully not die from eating poisonous plants. Then there's Sean. Ah, Sean. Scott and I love Sean more than anyone else in this God-forsaken town. Sean is the single best thing about Columbia. He's just a great guy. If I said more about him, it would sound like I was writing his personal ad. He's graduating next month and leaving - moving to Colorado to live with some jackass friend of his.
Did I ever say? - Sean is the first friend we had in Columbia. He lived in the downstairs apartment in the building five feet from ours. He was the first person to be friendly, to invite us over for drinks and smoke. We played "Go Fish" at his table and he gave us a cup he'd made in ceramics. He didn't care that we were married - everyone else treated us like we had a plague, or, more accurately, they probably assumed we didn't need friends because we had one another. But not Sean, he hung out with us anyway. Two years later, we're still neighbors. In fact, he lives upstairs in this old two story brick house. It's been a community house, with Sean and Ben stopping in any old time, borrowing nutmeg, me running upstairs to steal their soy milk. Sean taught Scott most of what he knows about working on bikes. Ben was the first non family member to hold our one day old baby. Sean used to bake loaves of bread and stick one, unwrapped, into our mailbox for us to find when we came home. Ben walked our dog almost every day for a week or two after the baby was born. They have been our family while living here, and I can't believe that they are moving.
Today they got back from a weekend trip and Sean came downstairs to say hi. He brought a bottle of whiskey and a carton of egg nog, and asked to borrow my nutmeg. He mixed me a drink and gave me a hug and said to come upstairs if I wanted to. We share so much in this house - we've cooked so many meals together, and it was us Sean came to when his heart was broken. He took a nap on our couch and all but crawled into my lap to cry. We've been on hikes, camping trips, bike rides. We've had countless barbecues in our front yard together. We've shared drinks, recipes, and stories, and conversations. We've built a garden together, maintained a compost. It's like a marriage, what we have in this house - the married couple downstairs, the two bachelors upstairs, and this bond, and our friendships.
I just can't believe it's coming to an end.


one more time

world peace cookies, pt. 2

Let's see, where did I leave off? Oh yes, chilling. We had two logs - so after 5 hours, and after dinner - which was pizza from Gumby's because we had guests
(the guests hanging out with Finn)

and I delayed cooking until I was too hungry and then the quinoa was not enough and too old so I threw it away and made brown rice which was taking too long - I sliced and baked the first log. I followed Dorie's instructions to pull from the oven at 12 minutes, though they won't look done, and to let them cool enough to be able to appreciate the texture.

They were great. I'm not a chocolate fan, but the cookies were damn good.

Last night we had friends over who cooked in our kitchen for us - what fun! They made an incredible lentil curry over brown rice and a mixed greens salad with cranberries and walnuts and apples. While we ate dinner, I sliced and baked the second log of World Peace Cookies. Lather, Rinse, Repeat. I let them cool to nearly room temperature.
They were even better than the first log! Maybe because I sliced them thicker, or maybe because they chilled nearly 24 hours, or maybe both. The guests loved them, and I sent them home with the ones we didn't eat.


i want you back

world peace cookies, pt. 1

Today my goal was to bake World Peace Cookies, a delicious chocolate shortbread cookie. I found the recipe in "Baking: From My Home To Yours" by Dorie Greenspan. This book is my baked goods BIBLE, unfortunately I don't yet own this book - but the public library might be waiting awhile before I'm ready to turn it back in. Anyway, here's the idea - this cookie recipe was the brainchild of Pierre Herme, and for anyone who doesn't know, this guy is huge in the sweets world. Then sweet lil Dorie Greenspan put the recipe in her book, renamed by her friend who believed that if everyone ate these cookies, we could attain world peace. They're that good.
Why? you ask, well I'll tell you. Salt. That's right, good ol' sea salt. Enough to notice; just enough to really bring out the chopped bittersweet chocolate and to accentuate the buttery, sandy richness.
Can I just say - I've been aching to try these for days. So today I set out on my journey into shortbread.

Mise en place. As you can see, this includes my Irish Breakfast tea.

Finn was fussy, so I strapped on the front carrier and locked him in place. My very own baking assitant.

We thought the flour and cocoa looked especially nice together.

We sifted and combined. We mixed, blended, folded. We turned the dough out and rolled it into two longs and put them in the fridge to cool for 5 hours. They looked suspiciously like long, skinny poops. We laughed.

As per usual, as soon as I set him down, my assistant gleefully freed himself of one sock.

Then we waited for the cookies to chill. We chilled.


simple twist of fate

(inspired by Lainey's post)
I *love* pictures of other people's sinks full of dirty dishes. Really, I'm not being facetious. Just makes me remember that I'm not alone in this world, you know? That my long day that didn't have time for dishes is normal, and many people had the same kind of day.
Also - whenever I finally get the dishes done and the kitchen tidied - that's when I get the strongest urge to cook - so I end up right back where I started - with a sink full of dirty dishes.
In other news - this blog has been good for me. Today, for instance, was wonderful, but for some reason the baby became cranky right around 8pm, and cried for almost an entire hour. I tried everything - feeding him, burping him, bouncing him, walking around and showing him things (that one worked best). He cried actual tears, which is unusual for a baby of 7 weeks. That means he really worked those tears up - he really meant it! I have no idea what was wrong with him, maybe he was just cranky and needed me to hold him. Heaven knows I still have days where I long for my mother's arms or my father's chest.
I'm not sure how this post went from dirty kitchen sinks to the comfort of a parent, but that's my day today. Rather lonely, nostalgic, and void of baking. I had all these plans, all these plans, for baking today. Two recipes, to be exact. I read them both three or four times while nursing the baby. But as it turned out, I didn't have time to bake the recipes, only to read them, and to offer comfort to my crying child.

a thousand dollars in new york

Well, yesterday I was working on this masterpiece of a post - about how the internet is replacing grandmothers - but then the website messed up and erased the entire post. I didn't have the heart (read: time) to rewrite it, so I did not.
The core of the post was going to be about my successful bread baking adventure. I found a simple recipe and gave it a try. Eureka! It worked. So now I have joined the ranks of bread bakers everywhere.

Next task - successfully learn to purl so that one day I can knit socks.

Here's how the bread turned out.

That's the local honey I used in the bread. The bread was great warm out of the oven, but even better after it had cooled - toasted, with butter and a slick of honey (maple syrup for Scott).
I am so excited that I actually made bread. I'd like to create a starter for Sourdough next. Or just play with this easy recipe some more, maybe adding raisins and cinnamon, etc. Really, the bread baking world is my oyster.

In baby news - Finn has started cooing. It sounds like "gooo" or "ahh-ooo". He'll coo, then I'll laugh and praise him and say "What else can you say?" and he'll move his limbs all around, and open his mouth and smile, and then out comes one of the cutest noises in the world - his little voice. It's like we're conversing! It's really a thrill.


when your mind's made up

I baked!
Truly, an achievement. We won't talk about what kind of weird throw-together dinner I had, we'll just move right on to the baking part. I borrowed (let's face it - I'm not giving it back) an egg from my neighbor, and I made some oatmeal cookies. But not any oatmeal cookies. These are THE best oatmeal cookies. I found this recipe who knows where, and then I've adapted it more and more until it's exactly how I like it. This time, instead of adding raisins, I threw in chopped cranberries and pecans, for that November taste.

I put on the front pack baby carrier, put Finn in, and took him along for the ride. I talked to him to keep him from fussing, and I explained everything from the dip and sweep method of measuring flour, to the art of soft butter - soft, but not oily. He was rather unmoved. My dog, however, was riveted. He watched my every movement, praying for a sleight of hand that might send some morsel to the floor. He is my sous chef, ever attentive and helpful.
Enough of my banter, here's the recipe.

November Oatmeal Cookies
(makes about 20 cookies)

1/2 c unsalted butter, soft
1/4 c granulated sugar
1/2 c brown sugar, packed
1 egg
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 c all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/2 c rolled oats
1/3 c chopped pecans
1/3 c chopped cranberries
Preheat oven to 375. Grease two baking sheets, or line them with a silicone mat or parchment paper.
In a medium bowl mix the butter and sugars until combined. Beat in the egg. Beat in the vanilla.
In a separate bowl combine all remaining ingredients, besides the pecans and cranberries. Whisk together, then add to the wet mixture and combine.
Fold in pecans and cranberries.
(you can either chill in the refrigerator for an hour or not - I chose not to today, I'm not sure if I can tell a difference)
Drop by rounded Tbs.
Bake 8-10 minutes.
*This recipe is halved b/c I didn't want a million cookies. If you do, feel free to un-halve it. Rather, double it.

Baking with baby!

autumn's child

"all my mistakes have become masterpieces"

Today I sorted baby clothes and put away the too-smalls. Finn's growing so quickly - he's only a month and a half old, but he's already wearing some of the 3-6mo. clothes. Truth be told, though, the sizes vary so much from brand to brand that there's no telling what size he really is. Small, in one sense. Large, in another. He's about 12lbs, big for a baby so young. What can I say - my breast milk is amazing.
It is a little sad to put away the tiny clothes, but I'm going to keep them for the next boy.
The temperature has dropped, and I'm afraid it won't be going back up anytime soon. Just two days ago it was 74, but today it's 37.

Good thing I have a baby to wear, to keep me warm when I walk the dog. Finn and I create so much heat pressed together that after the walk I have sweat rolling down my back. And is generally fast asleep, basking in the mommy sauna.
There's so much intimacy between Finn and me. I didn't know about the mother-child intimacy. He derives food from my body, and finds comfort at the breast, smiling and napping, looking up at me. I trim his fingernails with my teeth, carefully running my tongue over each tiny finger to find the offending scratchy nail. I kiss the folds in the depths of his neck. We nap together, my large body encircling his small body, the familiar warmth just enough to keep him asleep an extra hour. It's beautiful, and savory. It's delicious.
I'm going to give knitting another try. I pulled out last winter's unfinished scarf last night and knitted a few rows. I resisted the nearly overwhelming urge to completely unravel the scarf and start over. Then again, yesterday was that sort of day - the emotional meltdown sort. Knowing better than to give in to the destructive voice. I kept knitting from where I left off in January. I'm going to pursue this hobby - I want to make socks! And sometimes I just see the most beautiful, the softest yarn, and I want it for mine. I should learn to use my sewing machine while I'm at it. Then I could really be the perfect wife.
So it's true - my clothes don't fit. I can't yet slip on one pair of pre-pregnancy jeans. I'm still wearing maternity jeans. Don't get me wrong - I'm not fat. I know that I'm lucky with my body size, even post-pregnancy. But we all know that no matter what size we are, if that size goes up a couple notches, however temporary it may be, it doesn't feel good. It feels like failure, and shame, and heartbreaking sadness. At least, that's how it feels for me. And then I cry, because I'll never, ever, look like I did when I didn't know how good I looked. Even if I get back to 112 pounds, my hips will stay wider, my thighs larger, my waist thicker, my breasts - we won't talk about what will happen to them. I know this doesn't ultimately matter - the body is simply a vehicle for the soul, but at the same time, it's a temple for the soul.
This is true - no matter how big my thighs are because of motherhood, my heart's size has increased so much more.


are you writing from the heart

I sure never thought I would care about politics, much less get emotional, but it has happened. Barack Obama's acceptance speech was so moving, and I just wish I could have been part of the crowd at Grant Park that night. Such energy! McCain's speech was "very gracious" as Andrea from Superhero Designs noted. I am excited for what the future holds - and to see what Obama will do with this country. I also feel excited for Finn, that my boy can grow up in a country that still has hope, and a country that has mustered the power for change. 

In other news, the gals from my prenatal yoga class met up on Sunday. Rebecca opened her home to us (since we are all fairly inept at nursing in public - well, at least I am) and we met to talk and share our babies. 

Have you ever seen so many babies in one room? Finn was the youngest at 6 weeks, but certainly not the smallest. He weighs around 12 pounds now! The oldest baby was 3 months, so they were all tiny and cute. 
It was refreshing and normalizing to talk to the other yoga mamas. We talked about bleeding and breast feeding, we talked about how hard labor was, the surprisingly long and painful recovery, and whether or not we want to have more kids. One woman said she wouldn't mind going through labor again, but she didn't want to be pregnant again! I feel the exact opposite. I loved pregnancy - I felt fulfilled as a woman, as dorky as that sounds, it was truly how I felt. I loved the awe my belly generated - a bit vain, I know - but I never felt so beautiful in my entire life. I was allowed, and encouraged, to gain weight. My husband cheered when I put on the pounds. It was an emotional roller coaster, sure, but I was blessed with an extremely healthy pregnancy, so I didn't mind feeling crazy. 
Labor, though it was a great natural labor that wasn't too long, was still difficult. The good part about labor is that I was entirely in the moment the whole time. Contractions don't give another option. I was there, 100%, in my body, in the moment. It was incredible, and overwhelming. I thought I would crawl out of my skin. I thought my pubic bone would break. I could not believe a human head was descending down my birth canal. 
The minute he was out and screaming, though, was the most beautiful moment of my life thus far. I didn't care that I was gushing blood, or completely naked and sweaty, I felt radiant and overjoyed. I birthed my baby. Here he was, finally in my arms. What a rush. 

I know it's autumn, and every thing's dying and changing, but at the same time, every thing feels new. 


what we have known

I've been trolling cyberspace a lot lately . . . checking out blogs - bloghopping, I suppose. And what I've decided is that I love blogs - I love reading blogs, and seeing pictures, and feeling inspired, challenged, and most of all - not isolated. 
It can be pretty lonely here sometimes. Between my husband's work and his classes, his time at home is limited, and is usually spent studying. So that leaves me with a baby and a dog, and an otherwise empty house.
 Some of my friends stop by now and then, and I take two walks a day, so that helps. Actually, the walks are my main link to sanity right now. I wear Finn, put Rufus on his leash, and we all tramp outside to soak up the last of fall. The leaves, they were fiery last week, are now fading and falling, and the walk around the residential area is just beautiful. Especially where the leaves are covering the road. 
Other than the walks, and the occasional grocery store trip, I don't get out much. I seem to be pretty productive around the house, though. I keep up with the dishes, I tidy the house, and most of all I breastfeed, breastfeed, breastfeed. It's wonderful. And wild. It's mind warping to try to truly comprehend how much my life has changed with Finn's birth. I'm still the same person, sure, but at the same time I'm completely different. Everything is different. 
I think I'm just feeling some seasonal nostalgia - it always happens to me in the fall. Nostalgia for who I was, the friends and family I miss, but also excitement for the future, to watch Finn grow up, to grow old with Scott. It's most important, however, to enjoy the present. It's fleeting, and precious, and it's all we truly ever have. 


right as rain

Wonder of all wonders - I actually had time to bake today! 
For some reason Finn decided to be sleepy this evening, so after perusing two over-sized cookbooks while drooling all over myself, I chose a recipe and went for it. Not like the old days of baking, that's for sure. I did not have the radio on loudly, nor did I just whip it up and throw it in the oven. Step by step - I mixed dry ingredients, and then breast fed the baby. Then I burped him until he fell asleep. Then I preheated the oven. Mixed wet ingredients, and the baby woke up. So I walked around with him, changed his diaper, and eventually he dozed off again. By this time the oven is preheated and I am sweating because the kitchen and living room are entirely too hot. Finally, I join the wet and dry ingredients toget
her and fold in the raisins. Hallelujah, the end is in sight. I pour the batter into greased muffin tins and then, and only then, I throw them into the oven. 
The whole process took two hours, at least, and I fed the baby twice by the end of it, including cooling time for the muffins. Then I ate two muffins. Hah. My reward. 
I made the muffins because tomorrow I'm meeting with the gals from my prenatal yoga class, and I wanted to bring something for us to eat. We're all getting together and bringing our babies - it should be interesting. I think the oldest baby will be around 3 months, and mine will be the youngest at 6 weeks. We'll probably all do some trying-to-be-discreet-but-flashing-the-world breast feeding and talk about our total lack of sleep and impending insanity, our well-intentioned husbands, and how cute the babies are. 

If I were as good as Molly (Orangette), or Kim (The Yummy Mummy), I would type up the recipe from the muffins and take some amazing photos of them to show you. But I'm not that good. The muffins were amazing, and the recipe is one I adapted from Nina Simonds' "Pumpkin-Applesauce Muffins" from her book "Spices of Life". They turned out delicious, which is why I had to eat two. 

Oh, and Halloween was yesterday. Surprise! I think I only realized what day it was today, and that's when I realized that I really AM locked away in Mommy-land right now. The first Halloween in I don't know when that I haven't participated in, but it doesn't matter. Instead, I got to actually spend some time with my busy and stressed husband, which was the best treat I could have received. 
In lieu of a recipe for and photo of the muffins, here's a photo of Finn in his bear jacket.