It’s so hard to believe Briony has been in my life for more than 2 months. Her arrival coincided with a huge change – working to not working, pregnant to not pregnant. Pregnancy is such a miserable experience for me, just eight months of blackness, and since then I’ve been in this crazy place that alternates between blissed out happiness and losing my mind, aka infancy and the newborn period. Of course, B is no longer a newborn. Unlike L, she’s a fabulous sleeper and sleeps 3 to 4 or even 5 hours at a stretch. My guess is that she’ll be sleeping through the night within a month or two.
Finally caught a smile on camera:
The days are filled with firsts. We imposed our own self-quarantine until recently. Basically, with both L and B, we kept them out of grocery stores and basically any indoor place with lots of people for the first couple months of their lives. We went to outdoor places like playgrounds and had one-on-one play dates, but we just avoided large congregations of people, especially toddlers. Anyway, two months are up, and we’ve been emerging from our cocoon. I took B on her first trip to the grocery store yesterday and on her first trip to the mall today. She was so amazed at the sights and sounds, she forgot to fuss, cry, and scream, as she usually does in the Ergo or stroller after any length of time. It was great! I was, however, disappointed in our mall’s Halloween showing. I guess it’s not really a retail holiday. They had trick-or-treating planned for 4 pm, but I took L and B earlier as J (new word for B since we have a conflict with the little one’s initial) and I wanted to take L around the neighborhood at a fairly early hour. You would not have known it was Halloween.
We stopped at Ma.cy’s to say high to N, our nanny. She works in the make-up area with the women who do makeovers and sell fragrances. She is kind of special, as evidenced today by the fact she was the only one in full costume, looking much like a fairy straight out of Ava.tar. (I have never seen that movie, but based on the clips and trailers, that was what I thought of.) The costume was so complete, I wasn’t sure that it was her, and L refused to greet or hug her as she completely couldn’t grasp who it was.
While I was pregnant, I really didn’t feel like doing anything. After the worst part of morning sickness, I felt up to knitting and a bit of reading but not much more. Now that I feel like myself again, there are so many little things I want to do. Just the normal parts of life I put on hold for the better part of a year – outings to the park, cooking, sewing, going to the mall, visiting some of the stunning scenery we have here in the Pacific NW. It’s obviously tough to do these things with an infant, but I am making some headway. L and I have been cooking a lot lately, and I’ve been meaning to post about our attempts.
I primarily use recipes from Smitten Kitchen and from Pioneer Woman. The former can be a bit unnecessarily complicated, so I often try to simplify her recipes. The latter can be a bit unhealthy, so I omit butter or replace with olive oil, and double and triple veggie quantities.
1.) Grapefruit cake – absolutely delicious, not too hard to make and to too unhealthy. What’s not to like? I made this one basically as written. I eat a grapefruit almost daily these days, so this recipe was right up my alley, but my husband who is not a grapefruit fan liked it as well.
2.) The image above is from making peanut butter balls. There are numerous recipes out there for making these. The chocolate covering is completely unnecessary. The result is delicious, and I suspect it’s almost impossible to screw them up no matter what recipe you choose. They are, however, unbelievably unhealthy. You might as well eat sugar by the spoonful.
3.) Carrot cake Oh my goodness – LOVE this recipe. So easy to make, so toddler friendly, so tasty, and not that unhealthy. Could it possibly be better? I think not. It’s considerably simpler than the grapefruit cake listed above. I think I will have to make another one, and soon. I made this one as written, no icing.
4.) I can’t remember what we were making in the picture above, but it must have been tasty if it included cocoa, right? So, I’ve been making my way through Pioneer Woman’s 16 minute meals. Her Shrimp Scampi is delicious and requires little modification, though if you can make it from start to finish in 16 minutes, I’ll eat my socks. It is quick and easy, but more like 30 minutes quick and easy. To be more healthy, obviously, use less butter and more olive oil. It still tastes fabulous.
We look so happy in this picture. But really, every day was a struggle at that point.
5.) Chicken and rice soup Love. This one is more work to make – probably the better part of an hour by the time you clean up – but it will easily last two nights, and since it’s got meat, starch and veggies, it’s really all you need. Maybe a bit of bread on the side.
I suggest using low sodium chicken stock instead of water and bouillon cubes. It’s just as easy, looks a bit better (omit the food coloring), and is healthier. Triple the recommended vegetable quantities. Use butter for the roux, but use olive oil to saute the veggies. The result is unbelievably tasty, not super unhealthy, and passes the toddler test.
Ah, toddler art projects. So much fun! So much mess.