cooking & baby

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Finding time to cook new and exciting meals is hard with a new little one. When we get home from work, the last thing I want to do is don an apron and work up a meal (even though I  LOVE to cook!). I would much rather spend my night snuggling and playing with Henry and reconnecting with David. If I could survive on air this would be perfect, but alas, mealtime is essential and therefore something must be done! Many new moms have suggested I cook for the whole week on Sunday night. And, while this may be the step we eventually take, I am not ready to give up my Sunday for all day kitchen time either. So on a whim we purchased William Sonoma’s One Pot of the Day Cookbook. Some recipes take hours to simmer and these delicious items will have to wait until the weekend but most of the meals can be whipped up in a matter of minutes (like 30-40).  For a new family this seems much more reasonable and with everything contained in one pot this also means no real clean-up time: win-win! If I could forgo working, I would cook up one of these meals a day for a year which is how the book is organized. But, for now, since employment is key, I will have to suffice on one or two new recipes from here a week. I think that will do.

David took the first meal from the book (page 261). It was a braised chicken with tomatoes and bacon, and it was quite good. And, the left over wine from braising was an excellent finish to the long day. Nicely done, David.

henry adam: four months

The days are long but the months are short! Is it really four months already since our little man joined our clan? I cannot believe it! When I look back at pictures of newborn Henry, I am amazed that he was ever that tiny (and, yes, I know he was never really that tiny but still you know what I mean).  Here is a picture of Henry our first night and next to it is a picture of him in the same bassinet last week. Despite a little razbliuto for my itsy bitsy newborn, I love exactly where we are right now. Another mommy blogger I follow keeps saying, “This is my favorite month” when writing about her son’s growing up, and I know exactly what she means. It is amazing to witness this little one’s constant development into a little boy. He really just melts my heart and I continue to fall deeper for this one.

This month has been full of noise. Henry is all about practicing his noises and testing out his vocal chords. After a hearty long nap, he can he heard cooing, babbling, and shrieking in delight. He loves to makes sounds like, “ah,” “agoo”, “ma,” and “ha.” He is also “laughing” a bit more too. No longer thunder without lightning there is a laugh now. He especially loves to be tickled under his arms and at his sides which often leads to little squeals. His voice just melts my heart and then when he and David are on a roll of making each other laugh, I could burst. Seriously, there is no faster way to make me swoon than watching those two together. Be still my heart!

And then there is all the singing. Henry loves to listen to music and singing. While most people would be pained to listen to me croak out a show tune, Henry is my biggest fan. He can sit in his bumbo chair or bouncing seat for up to thirty minutes or so just smiling and smiling as I sing at the top of my lungs with gusto a variety of Disney songs that I seem to know by heart. Henry’s favorite songs though are “The Ants Go Marching” and “Proud Mary.”  For the ants song, he loves to bounce side to side on your knees and he likes a deep octave, think Barry White. For “Proud Mary,” he likes being held standing and he gets a little funky with the beat. We only ever make it through this part of the song

“Left a good job in the city
Workin’ for the Man every night and day
But I never lost a minute of sleepin’
Worryin’ ’bout the way things might have been

[chorus]
Big wheel keep on turnin’
Proud Mary keep on burnin’
Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’ on the river”

But Henry loves it and I cannot stop laughing whenever David busts it out. Then there are the evening dance parties at our humble abode. From Michael Jackson to Al Green to Journey, Henry loves to be held while we dance about the house. Even Mema gets in on the fun! Tonight for example we did an homage to motown before bedtime. It also helps that we are starting Henry early with pseudo instruments. He is all about the shaker eggs during these music sessions and can even hold one on his own and “shake” it a bit.

His hands never cease to amaze him these days. Everything he can grab goes straight into his mouth and he holds tightly to rattles, toys, clothes, necklaces, etc. etc. And when he falls asleep he holds his hands together over his little chest and slowly, slowly his hands come apart and in super slow motion find their way to the bed beside him. I love watching this little activity over the baby monitor. You know Henry is asleep once his hands make contact with the mattress.

Aside from all of these little-person growth triumphs, October has been a very busy month as we introduce him to Fall treats and savor the beautiful crisp weather. So far Henry has been pumpkin picking at Volante Farms, attended Wee Reads at the Sudbury Library, gone to a Halloween celebration, met new friends (like Erin and Bill), spent time with baby friends, attended a costume party, baby shower, and a few  tiny tot swim classes.  These swim classes have been SO fun. Each Sunday at 11:15AM we meet up with some friends in Sudbury and do the open swim time for littles. Henry is not sure how he feels about swimming. The first time in the water he was as stiff as a board as we helped him glide through the water. The second time, he was grumpy for the first ten minutes then we got some laughs and smiles out of him. One thing is for certain after each swim session, the little man crashes for an epic nap!

Ah, and that gets us to his sleep schedule these days. Finally we have hit our stride again when it comes to sleep. Henry takes a morning nap around 8AM for about an hour, then an afternoon nap for about two hours, and an early evening nap around 4PM for another hour. Then it is bedtime at 6:30, late night snack at 10PM and even later night snack at 2AM and then up for the day at 6AM. While this isn’t exactly sleeping through the night the schedule works for him and me and I love snuggling his little sweet self in the middle of the night while we rock together on the glider. Luckily once he finishes his nursing he goes straight to sleep. He is wearing 6 months clothes now. And as always, I am just so lucky to be this little one’s mom. I love him so much and miss him all day long when I am off at work.

This month Henry is

  • Starting to sleep on his side
  • Loving his Zutano Booties
  • Mad about his Jumper
  • “Talking” up a storm
  • Starting to laugh and squeal when you tickle him
  • Mesmerized by singing
  • Loves dance parties
  • Dresses up for Halloween
  • Looks at pictures of his family in a little photo album we made for him
  • Rolls around like a professional
  • Nibbles on everything
  • Enjoys sucking on apples
  • Loves to hold his hands and to hold your hands
  • Swims (sort of)
  • Shakes his musical instruments
  • Plays with puzzles
  • Loves looking at himself in the mirror

cuba band #happeningnow

I would be lying if I said balancing work and life as a new mom was a breeze. Most days I crawl into bed and feel like I just finished round 10 of a prize fight! Friends keep telling me that I don’t need to give 100% to all aspects of my life, and I get that. But it is so hard not to, so inevitably I am tired by the end of the day…truly exhausted to my core. Yet, since Henry has found his new sleep pattern, I have been able to sustain this momentum (for now). If I had five of me, I would dedicate each of them to the following: Wife & Bestie to David Melissa, Work Melissa, Mom Melissa, Life Stuff Melissa, and House Chores Melissa. I feel bad for house chores Melissa because this area of life has really fallen behind lately (sorry!). So yes, everyday is a little bit of a push and pull to get all things done for everyone. But then every so often, there is a treat that makes all the racing around worth it!

Today my class gets to do an interdisciplinary exchange with the school’s Jazz Band that is preparing to go to Cuba. The Cuba Band has been working hard to prepare their repertoire and learn their instruments before their departure over Spring Break to Havana. Simultaneously, my class has been working hard to learn all about the Cuban Revolution and Cuban History. This morning these two worlds will collide for two hours.  My students will present their understanding of the history of Cuba from Batista to Raul Castro and the band will present the history of their instruments and play some of their Cuban music for us. We will all do some activities around beats and syncopation and enjoy the fruits of individual labors during this shared event. When I started the school year, it was a goal of mine to seek out an interdisciplinary opportunity for my students. I thought it would be an exciting opportunity for them to take hold of their learning and truly see its connection across disciplines. Of course, I felt a bit overwhelmed by just the regular daily needs of my courses and my life, but I am SO glad that this opportunity presented itself. It will be great watching my students take full ownership over their knowledge on this topic and, in exchange, have an opportunity to let their hair down and enjoy some fabulous jazz music (and maybe even some dancing)!