today would have been your 89th birthday. I miss you so much, nanny…
today would have been your 89th birthday. I miss you so much, nanny…
How big is Henry? SO Big! Just as this becomes a favorite game, we tick another month off in this year of firsts. Happy 8 month birthday, little man!! Yet again, I am in awe of how much this little guy has grown and changed these four short weeks. The happiest moments are the ones in which the three of us are together playing, singing, and laughing. This parenting business is really fun. Yes, there are tough moments (especially when we were tackling two colds back to back), but 99.9% of the time, it has been nothing but pure joy being this little man’s momma.
Six snowstorms in one month meant a lot of days snowed in together. I could not have imagined a more fun way to spend the winter than hibernating with my two guys. With each added inch to the ever growing heap, we were granted days away from work to snuggle and play together. It felt like an extended mat leave and I was so thankful. At the same time, the snow storms hit every Monday and Tuesday which meant that the two days Henry was set to attend daycare never happened! Mother Nature must have known how sad and worried I was about this daycare transition that she softened the blow with pillows of snow. Instead of starting on January 16, Henry started his two days on February 16! That first day was so hard. Covered in food and tears, H’s first day was less than ideal as he processed his new environment away from home. He was so distraught at pick-up that first day it broke my heart. But with each successive visit, he has become more comfortable and the latest pick-up he was even on the ground playing with his buddy, Wyatt, and a make-believe salt and pepper shaker set. It was a bumpy start but these two days at daycare are starting to finally look pleasant.
In January, we reached out to a local photographer, Ann Lyle, to take 6 month photos of Henry. Unfortunately, we quickly realized that the price point was a little out of our range. Then two weeks later, Ann contacted us to say she was in need of a six month old baby boy model to update her website. If we agreed to let her use Henry’s photos, then she would give us a mini session. Immediately agreeing, we headed to her studio one snowy morning. Her space was awesome. The props, clothes, and setting were perfect to capture some sweet photos of the little man. Ann was great to work with and so patient with our shy guy. She captured such excellent images that we decided to book a one year session with smash cake for July (stay tuned for maximum cuteness coming your way!).
What has the little guy been up to this month? Oh, a whole lot. Henry had his first night with a babysitter so that we could go out to dinner with our neighbors. After meeting Abby when she first arrived to the house at 5:45PM, he spent the rest of the night asleep, so that was successful, no? Henry is also crawling for real now. This means that you turn around for a second and H criss-crosses a room and moves across the floor at ludicrous speed. It is amazing and awesome and incredibly intimidating. If he moves this fast on his hands and knees, what will it be like when he is up on two feet? He even dangles little toys from his mouth in order to carry them around the house with him. His favorite to do this with is his little turtle. Bath time is also a blast these days. Instead of reclining in his little tub, he sits upright and just splashes and plays. Standing up and plopping down to make waves, he laughs and laughs. His little playful personality is busting out these days and he has the mischievous grin to prove it. Whenever he makes “that face,” David and I turn to each other and say, “oh we are in for it!” With his little grin and tongue sticking out, Henry makes a beeline for his bookcase in order to drop his books one by one onto the carpet or knock over any block tower, or push his little cart and elephant around. Add to this waving and clapping and we have had a pretty fun month with our little “hell raiser.”
With a second tooth coming through the surface the sky is the limit on this little man’s appetite. This month he has tried more and more food items and eaten them all with gusto. From peanut butter to meatloaf, our little foodie has enjoyed them all. And when we go out he is now big enough to sit in a high chair so meal sharing has become easy. He is so cute sitting at the dinner table chomping on his cuisine. I just love how much he loves to eat and I hope he continues to enjoy this part of the day. Some new foods for Henry included: peanut butter, italian food, brazilian food, chinese food, and puffs. You cannot eat in front of Henry without giving him his share and his little pincer grip gets more and more adept.
This month Henry is really into:
This has been one long and cold winter. Mother Nature broke records here when she dropped temperatures below freezing for multiple days. When the weather outside is this frightful, I only want to eat cozy, comfort food. This time we turned to our roots for inspiration. Growing up in an Italian family meant enjoying lots of pasta and sauce for dinner. As a result, tomato sauce is my ultimate comfort. It reminds me of home and family and good meals shared. When it was time to meal plan for this week, I knew I would cook up something from my saucy past to confront these winter blues. Usher in…Lasagna.
1.5lb ground beef
box of lasagna noodles
2 jars of your favorite tomato sauce (We use Rao’s Arrabiatta)
1 onion diced
4 garlic cloves diced
1 package of shredded mozzarella cheese
1 package of part skim ricotta
salt, pepper, red pepper flakes
In a large pot, bring water to boil and cook lasagna noodles according to instructions. In another large pot, saute the onions and garlic in a tablespoon of olive oil for 3-5 minutes or until soft, fragrant, and translucent. Add the ground beef and cook thoroughly. Season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes to taste. Add ricotta cheese and 1.5 of the sauces and stir in. Let simmer while you wait for the lasagna noodles to assemble the lasagna. Once the noodles are cooked, drain and run cool water over them so they do not stick to one another. In a casserole dish, spread a thin layer of tomato sauce, overlap the noodles to cover the bottom of the dish, spoon meat sauce over this, top with mozzarella cheese. Add a second layer of noodles, meat sauce, and mozzarella cheese. Add the last layer of noodles, spoon the tomato sauce over the top and cover with mozzarella cheese. Bake in the oven at 350 for 15-20 minutes or until everything i bubbling and cooked through. Turn on the broiler and bake the cheese until it begins to brown on the edges.
Cheese, Sauce, and Pizza Dough, that’s it. The Italian in me loves to indulge in these three staples. Carbo-loading through all of these winter storms is entirely too easy. When I want to be cozy, I want to wrap myself in a calzone and wake up in Spring. David though is not so much of this mindset. His comfort foods include cheese but would also include something more substantial of the protein variety (good for you, David!). Nevertheless, our marriage is a partnership and therefore we work tirelessly to provide meals that delight both of our palettes. What will we do once we also need to take into consideration Henry’s food interests? Until then, here is a yummy, easy calzone recipe that we are enjoying right now coupled with our favorite kale salad.
1lb pizza dough
1 package of baby spinach
1 container part skim ricotta
3 garlic cloves diced
1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese
1/2 tablespoon of red wine vinegar
1 14oz can diced tomato
Divide the dough into 4 pieces, flour, and roll out. In a large pan saute the garlic in olive oil, add spinach and wilt. In a bowl mix together ricotta, cooked spinach, and 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese. Mix well. Spoon mixture on to the four rolled out pieces of dough and fold over sealing the edge with a fork. Bake at 475 for 15-20 minutes or until dough is golden brown. In sauce pan, combine the rest of the Parmesan cheese, pear, vinegar, diced tomato, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer and use as a delicious dip.
We have had 1,000 snow days here in Boston. This is not an exaggeration…well maybe a little. Boston and the surrounding area has just been hit hard by Mother Nature this winter season. One winter blockbuster storm after another pummels the area and leaves us all cozied up in our homes and covered in a white blanket of snow (this blanket is now VERY thick). Most Bostonians are at the end of their patience with Winter 2015 and begging for the Spring thaw to begin. And when it comes to how the winter has impacted my life at work, I am in this camp. It is hard lesson planning for classes that do not meet, reworking curriculum over and over again to fit into the ever shortening schedules, and reaching out to students remotely. This dilemma is just par for the winter course though and we are tackling it as best we can up here in New England. At the same time though, I am loving these snow days.
They feel like an extension of my much too short maternity leave. Henry was born in July which meant that my maternity leave was also my scheduled summer break from school. I had a terribly short 8 weeks home with my newborn and 8 weeks to heal and get myself back in order to face full days at work. It was SO hard. I cried every day and felt aches and pains but had to just deal because that was all I got with a summer baby. These snow days have given me more time to love and cuddle my son full time and I have to selfishly thank Mother Nature for this. It has been an incredible blessing in my home to be able to squeeze in more time with my family, more cuddles with Henry, and more bonding overall. Gosh the bonding alone has filled me with so much revitalized energy. I feel like I really understand Henry’s routine and needs and not just what he is like in the evenings and on weekends when I try to read signs and cues. Being a working mom or a SAHM comes with a multitude of pros and cons. Parents on both sides of this issue could fill pages upon pages with their joys and their challenges. But, right now with these extra 6 days home with my son and husband I feel completely renewed, relaxed, and happy. All year has felt like a sprint from one class to the next to lesson planning to grading to trying to fit in quality time with family and friends to never having any time for myself. I wish I had been able to have a longer maternity leave but I am thankful to have gotten these snow days.