Monday, November 23, 2009

Thirty four

It took 34 years, but I think I'm officially an adult now. Dave's parents stayed with us on Friday night and there was an early birthday cake involved. But I forgot to make a wish as I blew out the candles. Last year, I wished for a healthy baby. The year before that, I wished for a pregnancy. I now have everything I've ever wanted, so no more wishing is necessary.

My birthday has been just another day to me for quite a few years now. I don't say that in a sad way. Ninety five percent of the time, the weather outside is either rain or snow, which helps to explain the pensive way the day gets spent. I tend to just go about my business as usual and often spend it quietly reflecting on the last year. Kind of like my own private VH1 year end wrap up if you will. This year, I cannot wait to get home and enjoy the rainy day cuddling with a certain pants peeing little boy while we wait for daddy to return. He defines the last year of my life perfectly.

This morning as I got ready for work, I could hear North stirring in his crib. His latest habit upon waking is to pull himself up by the wooden bars and chatter away until you come in to rescue him from his crib prison. As I was quickly pulling my hair into a ponytail, I could hear his chatter over the monitor and I swear I heard a "Awuwuuhappybirthdaymamaawuwua" thrown in there. That kid melts me into a puddle. Thanks baby for showing me the joy I brought with me when I was born into the world many moons ago.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Focaccia Bread

With the cooler weather upon us...okay...I've got to be honest, I went for a walk yesterday in shorts and a tank top. Little North was strapped to me and actually fell asleep in his carrier as we walked. His legs still kicked with every step I took. I guess babies sleep walk too. I cupped my upper arm around his head, slowed my pace and savored every detail of his sweet slumber.

I had to share that moment. But that's not why I started writing this post. I wanted to share a yummy recipe for focaccia bread to help transition into you into cooler temperature foods. I've already made a few batches of soup and this bread fits so perfectly with it. I tried three different recipes, each of which turned out tasting like pretzel, cracker and finally, bread. Funny thing is that we enjoyed all of them with our soup, even the batch that was more like hardtack. But what follows is the recipe for the bread version. Enjoy!

Focaccia Bread

1 (1/4 ounce) packet active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (105-115 degrees)
1 tsp. white sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup wheat flour (or you can just use all white flour)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried basil
dash crushed red pepper
1 dash black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup mozzarella cheese

Mix the yeast, sugar and water in a small bowl. Allow to sit for 10 minutes until bubbles begin to form. In large mixer bowl, stir together flour, salt, garlic powder, thyme, basil, crushed red pepper and black pepper. Add the yeast mixture and vegetable oil to the dry ingredients and combine on low speed. When dough has pulled away from the sides and is sticky to the touch, plop it onto a floured surface and knead only until smooth and elastic. Oil a glass mixing bowl, put the dough in the bowl and coat the dough with the oil by turning it in the bowl. Cover with a damp cloth and allow it to rise in a warm place for 30 minutes. Preheat over to 425 degrees. Punch down the dough in the bowl and dump it onto a greased standard baking sheet. Pat dough until it covers the entire baking sheet. Brush the top with olive oil and sprinkle with parmesan and mozzarella cheese. Bake for 10-13 minutes until the cheese browns.

Friday, November 6, 2009

7 Months

Dear North,

You are officially seven months old and still our happy giggling little baby. My favorite time of day is when I open the front door at lunch time and hope for you to be awake. Often I find you bouncing happily in the doorway of the office while daddy works. Or you might be rolling around the office trying to make your way to one of the pets or kissing your reflection in the metal diaper pail. 

You also love to play a game with your dad where he pretends to chase you as you bounce/run away from him. We could listen to your little squeals and giggles all day long.

Your personality has somewhat taken a turn towards stubbornness, which might be explained by the fact that you are an Aries. Sometimes, you are kind of a baby and throw a fit when you don't get your own way. Curiosity draws you to the very objects you are not supposed to have and then when I retrieve said deadly object from your tiny paw, you freak out. I'm not sure of the best way to deal with this new behavior. I mean, I want to teach you early on that you can't always get what you want. But then I remember that you're only 7 months old and logic does not work on you. So normally, I opt to distract you out of your distress by making farting sounds with my mouth or whistling. 

Earlier today, your father managed to stave off a tantrum by putting a magazine a few feet in front of you. You are infatuated with paper.  You have started hybrid crawling, which is part rolling, a little bit of leg dragging and actual crawling used in combination to hilariously and awkwardly get you where you want to go. This new development is amazing to watch as you huff and puff and focus all of your energy on the task of moving. You are one determined little guy already. You are going to be more of a handful as each new day dawns.

Two bottom teeth have sprouted up in the last month, which has made uninterrupted sleep a distant memory. That's not really a new development though. Pain does not seem to be your thing and we can tell the days when your teeth are hurting because you become one sad little puppy. When you feel yucky, you like to keep us in sight as much as possible. The only thing that seems to help is cuddling. And whiskey.

Now that you have some teeth, I've been transitioning you away from purees and towards chunky mushed up food. The process is both comical and painful. Occasionally, you make a sort of choking noise, much like a cat coughing up a hairball when the new texture first hits your tongue. The choking noise is often preceded by a face that cringes as if to say, "why are you feeding me toe jam?" Needless to say, tears have been shed during the dinner hour. Again, this is a new area of parenting where I'm winging it. I'm afraid to give you a bad association with a food by making you finish it and yet, I refuse to waste food either. The thing is North, you cannot live on sweet potatoes, carrots and squash your whole life. I worry about you turning orange if I allowed such habits to form. You don't want to become an oompa loompa do you? I'm not a rascist or anything but in the real world, people just use oompa loompas for their proximity to chocolate rivers. I just don't want to see you degraded by some candy factory recluse and forced to dance while singing rhyming fables. You deserve a better life than that my son. So please start eating green foods for mama okay?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Halloween Recap

This year we made up for the last year's lackluster Halloween with multiple celebrations and costumery.  For starters, there was a certain little monkey we found hanging out in the pumpkin patch we keep on our deck.  

On Friday night, I met up with some friends for the annual Zombie Lurch in downtown Durham. This pic is minus the blood because I had to drive and didn't want to stickify my vehicle, but Jake seemed to like it.  A lot.

Then there was Halloween proper.  We helped some friends hand out candy at their house because they get a ton of trick or treaters.  My friend lured the kids towards the house with her Shakespearean / Nazi-esque accent, while I occasionally let out a scary cackle.  Most of the kids graciously accepted our sideshow with good humor.  But fortunately, a few of the kids thought our act was a bit tired and perhaps lame.  So if we deemed them of appropriate age and guilty of the crime of either greed or rudeness, the scarecrow previously leaning against a tire in the driveway came to life and chased them screaming down  the road. Best. Halloween. Ever.

Note to future self:  cut up a sheet next year and North can be a mummy.  Most frugal and creative costume of the night!