Sunday, May 30

Yoghurt / Apple Sauce muffins - my own

1 cup yoghurt
1 cup apple sauce (natural)
2 eggs
2 tbsp. milk (give or take)
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
1/2 to 3/4 cup sugar to taste (turbinado or raw is best)
2 cups flour
2 cups oatmeal (not "quick")
1 cup wheat germ
2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp salt (or to taste)

*the following to taste or preference
chopped apples

Mix all dry ingredients and then add softened/lightly melted butter to dry mix. Mix wet ingredients separately and then slowly add to dry ingredients. Grease muffin pans thoroughly with butter and fill to half. Bake in 400` oven for 8-10 minutes or until sides are brown. Remove from muffin tins as soon as possible. Cool.

Friday, May 21

Reflections after one year of Greta

You know how it is when you're dating, engaged or newly married, and you're going through what some people call the "honeymoon stage" - where your feelings about your loved one are so intense and so numerous that the most you can say about him/her is just that you "love" him/her so much? Well, I am still going through that with Greta. It's been just a year since her birth. And I'm still not reasonable about my feelings for her. Perhaps that is part of the magic of mothering. So I'm dedicating this post to her. Caveat. It will be everything emotional, sappy, and sentimental that can usually only be expressed in one big, Greta-hug.

So what is she like? Simply put, she's a little Josh. Personality-wise, she is a calm, but affectionate child. She loves to play and interact with other children and adults. However, she also amuses herself, as she is doing right now, in her little play area. She is such a happy baby! That is one of my favorite things about her. No matter where we are, or what we are doing, at least one stranger comes up to us and raves over her smiles. Whenever she and I are having a bad at home, I take her out. We'll go to a coffee shop, the co-op, the grocery store... anywhere we can find other people. It cheers her up to no end to be around other people. Going to resturants with her is one of our favorite activities. To begin with, Josh and I love eating out. Yeah, it's expensive, and yes, it probably isn't the most healthy, but it is our way of spending time together, enjoying a good meal, and not worrying about the dishes. Since Greta has learned to eat solids and sit up, she loves to join us. We ask for a booth seat, then one of us sits on the outside of the booth, while she stands or sits next to us. She can move around and look at people while Josh and I enjoy watching her.

Since having Greta, my theory of being "pro-life" has boiled down to this: if you want to convince people that children are indeed the blessing we believe them to be, then raise them to be the kind of people you would like to be around, and take them out in public! Too often, people have negative associations with regards to children - they are messy, loud, obnoxious, sick, dirty, etc. Well, you can't always help the occasional flare-up, but on the whole, you know your children and you know how they interact with people. I think that the reason most people don't want to have children or postpone having them indefinitely is because they share these all too common assumptions about children. How do you change minds and hearts? By the simplest and most effective means - example. Show folks that kids can indeed sit still in church (ok, we don't have that down yet), don't have to throw temper-tantrums in the store, allow their parents to eat in peace at a resturant. I'm not saying that there won't be an off-day, but generally you can count on more good than bad days.

So now that we're expecting Number 2, I'm worried. Worried because Greta is such a good kid, who I really couldn't improve upon. Worried that since every kid is different, that this next kid can only go downhill because I can't conceive of a nicer baby than Greta. I know it's silly, but who ever said that pregnancy improved one's rationality? Well, at the very least, Baby Number 2 will have a very good big sister to look after him/her.

Final thoughts? A year ago, I had no idea what to expect, but that didn't stop me from thinking about parenting. I would say that overall, having a child is more enjoyable than you could ever imagine. The love you feel for that growing child - who just gets more loveable and interesting as time passes - helps to smooth the harder parts of parenting. Yes, it's hard to wake up at night to nurse, I dislike poopy diapers as much as ever and pawn them off on my kind husband at every available instance, coughs and colds still leave me in a panic of uncertainty, and it is always a sacrifice to not do everything you want to do when you want to do it. But the part that you really can't imagine until you have your baby is how much love you can give. That love is what makes all the difficulties, sacrifices, and inconveniences less onerous, if not an actual joy.

Thank you, my Greta darling, for being a part of our lives and for bringing so much joy and happiness with you. Your daddy and I love you!

Monday, May 17

Here we go again!

Prior to this second pregnancy, I was so curious as to what it would be like to be both pregnant and caring for a toddler. I suppose part of it is because I felt I couldn't handle one more thing when I was pregnant with Greta - after all, working all day and going to grad school two nights a weeks was something of a hassle. But back then, it was constantly on my mind, "how do people do this with other kids around?"

Well, I'm happy to say that it's much better this time. Oh, so much better! For one, I don't have to get dressed up and go to work every day. Don't get me wrong, I had a great job, a caring boss, pleasant coworkers, and all. But going to work is going to work... you have to get dressed, look good, act normally... traits in my mind that are rather opposed to the very nature of pregnancy. If I want to be in pj's and not wash my face all day, I really want it. And it is torturous to be sitting around in professional, uncomfortable, albeit cute clothes for 10 hours. I will never forget how, everyday at 5:20 pm when we returned home, I would waddle off to the bedroom, take off all those miserable dress clothes and put on the baggiest, most unappealing pajamas I had. Of course, an hour later, I'd have to get dressed all over again to go to night class, but it was worth it.

But the best part of not working during pregnancy is that I can have my miserable days all by myself and not have to put a smiling face over it all. C'mon, every expectant mom is going to have shitty, hormonal days when we are doing a favor to humanity in staying away from people. The problem with a regular work schedule is that you can't. Those were the absolute worse days. But now... ahhh... the underrated freedom to bitch in the privacy of your own home! The funny part is that, this time around, those days are much fewer and further in between. I suspect this is because I'm not seeing people as often and when I'm pregnant, I have so little patience for human foibles... which even in the best of coworkers, is something of an on-going issue.

End of story, I am so happy to not be working right now. I love being at home, having the leisure to enjoy my little Greta grow up, having a daily routine, eating at normal times, waiting for Josh to come home, and watching that belly grow. Yeah, and playing good music all day long.