Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
...To my Bean,
Sunday is your second birthday. It’s trite, of course, to say that these past two years have flown by quickly, that you’re growing up so fast. To say that it feels like just a heartbeat ago that I lay down in bed with you still nestled in my belly, breathing with my lungs.
The night before you were born I felt you try to turn. You got your little body transverse, which must not have been an easy feat in that crowded little womb. After a minute you settled back into position (little did I know your feet were pointing down). I like to think that you knew that your birth was approaching, and that you tried your best to get into the right position.
Labor was like white noise, like static, isolating you and I. The doctors around us, talking to each other, talking to me, but they were miles away. It was just you and me, sweet girl.
Later in our room, as I nursed you for the very first time, daddy played a CD for us, Iron and Wine. When I listen to that album now, joy still balls up hard in my throat.
I still have an image of you, in our first days home, napping with your daddy on his bare chest. He’s asleep, you’re swaddled but you’ve slipped your thumb into your mouth, and my entire world is there resting in cotton sheets and new pillows, grey filtered sunlight and the smell of too much sleep.
Every night before I go to bed, I sneak into your room alone. I pet your damp curls and stroke your cheek. I slip a finger into your palm and you close your fingers around mine. I stay just a minute and tell you that I love you. Sometimes you sigh and my heartbeat responds, a perfect harmonic.
Last night after dinner we settled down for story time on the couch. This is my favorite time of every single day. You snuggle into my lap, thumb in your mouth, rest your head on my shoulder. It’s one of the few times each day when I still get to hold you. I kiss the back of your sweet little neck, or bury my face in your soft fine hair.
When we read stories now, you often show your little stuffed animals or dolls the pictures. “Look Froggy,” you say, pushing your frog’s face into the page. Sometimes you “read” the books to us. I love to see how much you know and understand, to see you discern patterns in the prose. You love rhythm and music, and are lulled by the cadence of my voice as it rushes over the words.
You’re singing, always singing. Songs I don’t even know. You make up your own words to songs sometimes, telling us what you see or wish to do. You ask us to sing to you too, and sometimes ask “Mama and Dada and Bean sing all together?”
You’re growing quickly, my sweet, precocious, mercurial little girl. But no matter how much you grow, how strong and independent you become, you and I will always be connected. You will always be mine.
Happy birthday, sweet baby. Happy birthday.
Friday, April 3, 2009
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Dr. Isis tempts us with her Herb Coated Filet and Basil-Feta Pasta Salad. A easy weeknight treat, especially if you make the pasta salad the night before, and/or marinate the filet in the herb paste overnight.
Efficiency guru EcoGeoFemme takes us on a magical one-dish journey with her Asparagus Quiche, a.k.a Egg Pie. A true weeknight special, this dish has your veggies, your protein, and your butter food groups all in one convenient dish! Using a store bought crust, or by doing it as a frittata instead of a quiche, this recipe only takes about 15 minutes of active work. Throw in a salad and you've got yourself a well-rounded meal!
EthidiumBromide has a classic weeknight cleaning-out-the-fridge suggestion, Shepherd's Pie. Chock-full of veggies, but with minimum chopping requirements, this is another well-rounded dish that comes together with minimal counter time. (Also, her picture looks straight out of a magazine!)
ScienceGirl posted two great weeknight meal suggestions, including an awesome looking schnitzel. I'm drooling just thinking about it, and I know it's something Bean would LOVE. Throw in some steamed veggies and you're good to go!
Scientia Matris also serves up two loaded-with-veggies toddler-friendly recipes, Fried Rice and a yummy looking Chicken and Sweet Corn Soup. Both easily fulfill the nutritious, delicious, and quick and easy requirements.
Your favorite snarky postdoc, Candid Engineer, shares her weeknight standby Shut Up and Eat Pasta. She clearly knows the way to my little Bean's heart, who loves both eggs and pasta. Put 'em together? That's a happy Bean. This recipe scores points for being easily adaptable to whatever veggies you have in the fridge... throw in some asparagus, some cherry tomatoes, heck even some peas, and you've got yourself a nice well-rounded dish.
ScientistMother shares her weeknight standby recipe, Broccoli Chicken Casserole. This dish can be assembled in about 20 minutes (probably even the night before) and certainly looks like it makes yummy leftovers.
As for myself, I shared my Everything But the Kitchen Sink Pasta recipe, and now my favorite Jamaican-Spiced Chicken Thighs recipe.
Female Engineering Professor also recommended the Cook's Illustrated 30-Minute Meals Cookbook. Based on my experience with Cook's Illustrated (i.e. that their recipes never fail), I'm going to have to pick this one up myself. I'll let you know how I like it.
Thanks to everyone who participated! I'll be trying these recipes out in the coming weeks! I'm always happy to add new recipes to my stockpile of favorites!
And in the future, I think I'll post more easy weeknight meals. It sounds like something we could all use for inspiration!