the great pancake challenge

Drama is very important in life: You have to come on with a bang. You never want to go out with a whimper. Everything can have drama if it’s done right. Even a pancake. -Julia Child

I have to confess…I cannot make pancakes!  I know, I know, how can this be?  Well, I just never learned and now I feel thoroughly incompetent in the pancake department. Whenever I try, they always come out a mess. In my mind, I imagine pancakes hot off the griddle cooked to perfection. They are lightly golden in color with butter melting into the nooks and crannies. Perhaps blueberries or chocolate chips are nestled inside. The pancakes are stacked three high and look as fluffy as a cloud. The taste is divine with subtle sweetness and a drizzle of pure maple syrup.

Alas, these are definitely not my pancakes. My pancakes cannot hold a candle to this perfection! My griddle is too hot or too cold, or too greased or not greased enough. The pancakes are always undercooked or burned.  I never quite know when to flip them. Flipping them is an awkward movement in which I attempt to quickly toss the pancake often leading to batter disintegration. They are never rounded, golden suns but odd shapes with globs of batter. They never taste semi-sweet but like flour stuck together with water. I have tried to jazz up the pancakes with blueberries, chocolate or even bacon.  It has not helped. The perfect pancake remains as elusive as the Loch Ness Monster.

Therefore, I have decided (which David thinks is ridiculous) to try to hunt down this perfect pancake each Saturday morning. From changing recipes, to ingredients, to whatever else is necessary, this hunt will be serious!  In light of the culinary journey I am about to embark on, I am seeking any advice, tips, tricks, recipes or words of encouragement from the perfect pancakes makers that I know are out there!  Thank you.

my bestie had a baby

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On Wednesday morning, my bestie had a baby. He is a beautiful little boy who is just so sweet and snugly. I thought I would be excited, but just how amazing it is to see my friend turn into a mom, is almost indescribable.

I met Laura when I was a freshman in college. For the four years at university, she challenged me, supported me, loved me, and made me laugh. She became my sister, confidant, and truly best friend. We were never far from one another and today only live a few miles apart. So many aspects of our lives have changed since those first awkward days as freshmen, but instead of these forcing us to grow apart, they have helped us grow closer. Through first jobs, boyfriends, husbands, marriage, home-ownership, and so much more, I have always known that Laura would be right there by my side, and this has always given me strength.

When Henry was born, she was the first to come to the hospital and she visited me each day during the early weeks of motherhood. I was scared and tired and feeling completely incompetent and like my body had been run over by a semi, but she helped me through it. She made me laugh while I awkwardly tried to feed my baby and reminded me over and over again that I could “do this.” She kept me company, kept me feeling strong, and kept me sane.

On Tuesday night before her baby was born, I was able to visit Laura in the hospital. As I walked through the hallway of the labor and delivery wing, I felt lightheaded. I remembered being in this position so vividly. A slight PTSD fit descended, but once I saw Laura sitting in bed with a smile on her face, this subsided and all I could see was my brave and beautiful friend. I was so excited for her. She was about to be a mom!  Of course, I had seen her bump growing for 9 months but suddenly seeing her in the hospital it all became real. She was confident, cheerful, and in control. I could not have been more proud of her. I could see that awkward freshman friend inside the eyes of this strong mom and I felt nothing more than overwhelming love for my best friend.

I sat on pins and needles waiting to hear about the birth. Finally, on Wednesday morning, the little one arrived! Seeing Laura in the hospital the following day was so special. Yet again, I was impressed by how at ease she was. She is a natural mommy.  From holding, to feeding, to changing the little one, Laura looked like a pro.  She was unafraid to advocate for herself and little one with the nursing staff and truly was glowing! I had never seen her look more beautiful (and this is saying a lot since she is just such a beauty already!).  Watching her trouble-shoot breastfeeding has been amazing to witness. Breastfeeding can feel like anything but natural those first days and weeks. I remember feeling so lost, sore, and tired. Henry would squawk at me and I felt totally out of control of something that should be “easy.” It was the hardest thing I ever did next to pushing that little boy out. Now, Laura is there working through the early breastfeeding trials. In the times, I have seen her, she has not been frustrated or angry or upset. She continues to approach each feeding with new eyes, awareness, and determination. Her love for her baby is truly palpable.  I am incredible impressed by her.

Having a bestie who has a baby while I, myself, am a new mom is truly a gift. All I can imagine are our days together raising our little boys. There will be so many firsts over the next few days, months, and year together and I am so lucky that I will be able to share my mommyhood with my best friend who I truly love so much!

henry adam: five months

“Where is he?” David asks as we stare at the baby monitor at 2AM. Quickly, we scan the cam from side to side. “Ah, there he is, all the way up in the corner,” I sigh, relieved. Henry might not be fully mobile but he is definitely not still any more! It might take him a long time to creep across the crib but if you miss the process (because you are catatonic between feedings) his positional change seems tremendous! This nightly movement has been dubbed “creeping to the corner.” Each night, we lay the wee one down in the center of his crib on his back. It is a textbook transition. But this little guy has his own agenda these days and patiently creeps and drags his squishy body up into the corner of his crib so his face is smushed up against the rail as though he were trying to smother himself. And of course, he flops onto his belly. In this dangerous pose he slumbers sweetly and sticks his bum up for good measure! This, combined with his new talent of re-binkying himself, has helped lengthen his sleep cycle. I cannot help but laugh in the middle of the night while I watch him search for his binky in the dark. His little hand glides over the sheet searching for it, finding it, and then through a process of trial and error he is able to get the binky into his mouth correctly! Hooray!

Since mobility is the theme of the month, awake-Henry is also actively scooting himself across the floor. He can now lock his arms and hold himself upright in a “crawling pose” and when on his belly he can do a fancy 360 spin. He rolls across his play mat and across the room, so turning your back on him to grab something or do something quickly is no longer an option. He is able to hold himself upright in a sitting pose for about 30 seconds and really wants to master this skill. Lying under the canopy of his play mat is frustrating for him as he would much rather sit up alongside his baby gym in an seated assist. He is our adorable, floppy gymnast as he tries out his new moves and we spot him throughout his day! This spotting includes watching him stand and hold onto various low items around the house. Henry likes to grab onto the coffee table, his bookcase, and the couches. But it will definitely be a little while before he can do this without a helping hand. Lastly, my latest favorite Henry move is the crunch out of the car seat. He clearly knows that when the buckle to his car seat is unclasped, it is time to come out. He immediately locks his arms and crunches forward with all his might in an attempt to bust out. I cannot help myself from laughing at this adorable attempt.

There have been so many firsts this month, including a whole lot of laughter. Henry finds yawning to be hilarious.  Do you want to snap a great shot of the little guy with a sweet smile? Then just start yawning at him. He literally cannot contain himself. He also laughs when he sneezes! When I sneeze, he cries but when the sneeze is self-generated he laughs and laughs and laughs.  If you nibble his belly while changing him, he bursts out laughing and cannot contain his delight as he flies about the house as an airplane in the arms of his dad! And then there is the owl puppet.  Henry loves this fury little toy. He watches it swoop and fly and dive bomb him for belly tickles. This is where we hear his heartiest laugh!

Did you know Henry eats? Well, sort of. We started noticing that when we ate in front of the little guy he started to fuss or stared at our food with his mouth agape. The signs were becoming clear. This boy was ready to start some solids. David assembled his high chair and we tried the first meal: peas. The green mush did not go over well. Henry batted our hands away and made those baby faces that all babies make with their first bite of solids. We were excited nonetheless, because at least he tried it and we would just have to introduce it again some other day. Bananas have been a recent hit!  He eats almost a sixth of a banana which is a lot for someone so small. No more batting the food away, he eagerly opens his mouth for a spoonful and even cried out for more! Watching Henry explore food is hilarious and awesome. I can already see this is going to be fun…and quite messy. I am hoping to start BLW (baby lead weaning) once he is about six months. A number of my mommy friends are doing it and they love the experience.

Lastly, every parenting article about sleep suggests establishing a sleep routine early and sticking to it. We followed this advice but it never seemed like Henry cared for it. Sometimes he would cry through a bath or fuss through a book. He seemed always to want just to nurse and sleep. Finally, this month it all clicked for him and you can tell he “gets it.” He splashes and plays in the tub and he squeals when we lay him down to put on his pajamas and halo sleep sack. As soon as we pull the books out, he gets quiet and focuses on each and every page. His favorite bedtime stories are Dear Zoo and the Going to Bed Book. It is amazing to see how he anticipates the different steps of his sleep routine. Then David kisses and cuddles him before it is time to nurse. With the lights out, the nightlight on and his tranquil turtle playing softly in the background, Henry and I rock on the glider together while he nurses. This is going to sound super sappy but sometimes in this setting with my drowsy little boy I cry a little because it is so overwhelmingly sweet and cozy. He holds my hand and looks up at me and I tell him how much I love him and how special he is to daddy and me and how we are so lucky to have him in our lives. Then prying myself away I lay him in his crib.

This month:

  • Snuggles are constant. Henry loves to snuggle. He can lay and cuddle in your arms all day. He loves to sneak into the nook of your neck and play with your hair and just be held nice and close. Gosh this is my ABSOLUTE favorite!
  • Coy smiles happen every day. He gets this light in his eyes and just cracks the sweetest smile at you even from behind his binky.
  • Mobility is growing. This kid is ready to be on the move.
  • Henry arches his back when you try to change him, because really diaper changes have been too easy these past four month, ha! And, he tries to roll and roll away from you.
  • He loves to scratch fabric in order to hear the sound it makes, he especially loves scratching the netting on the side of his pack n’ play and the arms of his glider while nursing.
  • Rolling is a skill we see practiced. You cannot lay him down without him rolling right over.
  • Art cards for babies from Wee Gallery are vastly entertaining these days.
  • Puppy pets are a must. He loves to get close to them and reach out his hand to touch their backs and heads. Who needs TV when you have four puppies to watch wrestle about the house? They entertain Henry for hours.
  • Henry tried some arts and crafts this month. During our mommy brunch, he made Christmas trees with his feet. Afterward, I tried to make turkey hands to send to our family and friends but this was a Pinterest fail.