February 10, 2013

Weekend baking

Now that I'm home full-time, I've been spending a little more time in the kitchen baking.  This weekend, I made Triple Chocolate Nutella cookies.  I am truly picky about my chocolate.  I don't like it too bitter or too sweet.  And I appreciate a smooth aftertaste.  I was hesitant to try these since they call for Hershey's Cocoa, an ingredient that I don't usually enjoy.  However, the addition of Nutella gave these cookies a delicious flavor.  YUMMY!!!

This recipe was included in our meal plan subscription as a special Valentine's treat.  Here's the recipe:

Triple Chocolate Nutella Cookies

1¼ c flour

⅔ c cocoa powder

1 t baking powder

½ t baking soda

½ t salt

½ c butter, 1 stick, softened

½ c granulated sugar

½ c dark brown sugar

⅓ c chocolate hazelnut spread, such as Nutella

1½ t vanilla extract

⅓ c milk

½ c milk and/or white chocolate chips

Whisk together flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda & salt. Combine butter & both sugars; beat with an electric mixer on med until creamy. Add chocolate hazelnut spread & vanilla; mix until combined. Add  ½ of flour mixture, then milk, & remaining flour mixture, stirring well  between additions. Stir in chocolate chips.  Refrigerate dough  at least 20 min. Preheat oven to 325°F. Using a tablespoon measure, scoop dough onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake 8-10 min. Cool on baking sheets 2 minutes; transfer to wire racks and cool completely

February 8, 2013

You are loved

Things I want my son to know and to never doubt:

1) You are loved and lovable.

2) You are worthy of love.

3) Pain will come.  I will sit beside you, if you let me, as you walk through it (desperately wanting to take it from you).

4) If you're ever missing a dancing partner--I'm your girl!

5) No matter where I am - that's where you belong.

6) I'm your perfectly imperfect Mama.  And I'm so blessed to have you as my son.

February 7, 2013

The move to Iowa

We moved to Ames, Iowa on August 5, 2012.  I was 37 weeks pregnant--full term.  It's interesting moving across the country to a state and town you've never visited when fully pregnant.  I drove for about 45 minutes of that trek across the States.  I switched back to the passenger's seat at the Jack Daniel's Distillery exit in Lynchburg, TN.  I could have used a stiff drink right about then.  As a red-headed Sagittarius  I love a good adventure, but as an A-type personality, I prefer an adventure that I can control.  A move to Iowa was out of my control.  Selling our beautiful home in Tallahassee was out of my control.  Our new rental home in Iowa was out of my control.  When my beautiful little boy would decide to leave his snug home resting atop my squashed bladder and enter this world was out of my control.  I let my dear husband, Erik, know it too.

I don't think I saw more than sky and cornfields on our drive.  My seat was reclined as far as it would go.  Griffin made his presence known by alternating baby feet and baby butt in my ribs.  NPR played on the radio, but not much else.  For many hours, the radio was off. We were lost in thought.

We discussed  selling our home versus renting it.  We had two offers on the table, but one offer was falling through due to financing.  The second offer was for $11,000 less.  As we drove closer to Iowa, the distance between our new life in Iowa and our Tallahassee life swelled.  Renting out our home had seemed like a good idea four states back.  Crossing into the 5th state, renting just felt like too much.  But give up our home for $28,500 less than what we paid for it 3 years previous?  That felt like too much too.

That Tallahassee home was our 1st marital home.  We purchased it just a few weeks before saying "I do".  We hung curtains in that home--and had our first big, silly fight when Erik dropped a hammer on our shiny hardwood floors.  (You don't even use a hammer to hang curtains.)

We bought a dining room table for that home.  We could never find a way to make a table fit in our DC apartment.  We could have put it in our over-sized bathroom, but who wants to eat dinner next to the toilet?

We painted our bedroom a Quiet Moments blue.  The name of the color sounded romantic to me.  I had painted the back of the built-ins a deep turquoise blue--just like Young House Love did in their new home.  I loved the way it looked and the way different colors popped from the wall.

During the blazing heat of July 2011, we built a paver patio with our own two hands.  We transplanted the grass.  We dug up hundreds of pounds of clay.  We wheeled bucket after bucket of gravel and sand up the hill into the back yard.  We carried stone after stone.  We both lost 10 pounds of sweat that week, but we built a patio.  Erik accepted his college job on that patio.

We created life in that home.  I took pregnancy test, and it turned positive in that home.  I sent Erik on a scavenger hunt around that home to find the grand prize--a scarf for our hound, Cooper, announcing that he was going to be a big brother and Erik a father.  Our baby's heartbeat was first heard in that home.  Erik felt our baby kick for the first time in that home.

Hours were spent in that garden tub in the master bath.  Television was watched in that garden tub.  Tears were shed in that garden tub.  Aching muscles were soothed in that garden tub.  Love was shared in that garden tub.  Our baby boy loved to kick, kick, kick in that garden tub.  During the final months of pregnancy, I didn't want to leave that garden tub.  I wanted to give birth in that garden tub.

When we crossed into Iowa, I cried all over again.  There was nothing but miles and miles of CORN.  I don't even like to eat corn.  Erik often argues that it's a vegetable, but I argue that it's a starchy, nasty carbohydrate.  We stopped at a Walmart in the midst of nowhere so that I could pee...again.  In the bathroom, I cried again.

Eventually, we made it to Ames, Iowa.  It was too late to see the town, but I remember stepping out the car--my beat up '99 Chevrolet Lumina that had taken me from Nashville to Birmingham to New Orleans to Philadelphia to DC to Tallahassee and now to Iowa.  The moon was big and bright.  The final traces of daylight were drifting away.  The humidity was gloriously low.  There wasn't a single mosquito in sight.  After I did an awkward pregnant move to get out of the car, I took a moment to breathe.  Inhale.  Exhale.  Inhale.  Exhale.  The temperature was slightly cooler than Tallahassee, making it easier to breathe.  I looked around. This was it.  We had arrived.

We had arrived  .  .  . at a Best Western.

February 6, 2013

Cherish every moment

As I sit hear drinking a cup of Constant Comment tea and eating some Dove chocolate, my handsome little boy, Griffin, is playing on the floor. He's 5 months old and absolutely adorable. He loves to babble, squeal, razz, giggle, and smile. He's in such a happy baby phase right now, and I hope it never ends. I wish nothing but happiness for him and for us as a family.

 As Griffin was breastfeeding just a few moments ago, he kept looking at me with those big blue eyes. Every minute or two, he would stop nursing, look up at me, smile, and giggle. If I giggled back, he'd giggle harder. This repeated until he was finished eating. I do my absolute best to cherish each and every one of these precious moments. They slip by all too quickly. Each Monday (as he was born on Monday, August 27th), I get a little sad. It means that another week of his life has passed. I wish that I could keep him little forever--even though he'll ALWAYS be my baby boy.

 Erik and I took Griffin and Cooper for a walk this evening. It was Griffin's first time riding sitting up in his umbrella stroller. On previous walks, Griffin rode in his infant seat attached to the Bob jogging stroller. I had to snap a picture of him in his bunting.

My little snow angel.