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20130727-230907.jpg“A portrait of my child, once a week, every week in 2013”

There are so many things bouncing around in this brain of mine these days. Too many to count sometimes. The past few days my husband and I have started a discussion about a second child. From the moment this little girl was dreamed of, we thought she would be our one and only. And my horrendous pregnancy made me never want to go through that again. And when she was born, so different and special, it solidified that plan for us. And then there’s the bit where I am wanting only her to have my all of my attention, and never to have to share it with anyone else. But then my husband floors me, as he’s known to do, and asks what will happen to her when were gone. And my heart aches at the idea of her with no family. And he brings up how it might be good for her to have a sibling growing up. That having a second child isn’t about us, it’s about her. Bear in mind, he is not trying to convince me of this. We are simply trying to open the subject for discussion rather then saying no without thinking it through. How did you decide whether or not to have a second child? What was important to you in your decision?

Thoughts of her teenage years are also bouncing around in my head, reading a book for fathers about raising daughters, knowing what I was like at 16…it terrifies me. In my head I keep banking on the fact that this kid has a heart condition, so even if she wants to do drugs, be crazy and wild, she can’t. Except teenagers aren’t logical, cautious or sensible. She may not let her body slow down what her heart or head wants. I know, I have years before she’s a teenager, but I can’t help but look down that road.

And today we talked preschool, and grade school and that we need to start applying when she’s two…what??!! Thinking about this already makes my head spin.

Do all moms think this way? With thoughts bouncing about like a million little ping pong balls? I tend to over think things, but it’s just bonkers since having a kid.

This weeks photo happened one morning before work. She’s become so much more mobile, and discovering herself in the mirror was like finding a little playmate. I wonder if she knew it was her own reflection or if she thought she had made a friend. At one point she had her hands against the mirror, babbling and shaking herself almost violently at the reflection with a look of such joy that I I could not stop laughing. This kid is a wild animal, I swear.

Last weeks favorites include dirty knees, mouth drawing and playing in water(somewhere I would like to be right now).

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This is not cherry ice cream

20130723-231308.jpgI had planned to post a recipe for cherry ice cream today, however it was a total, absolute and utter failure. Sometimes I kick ass at ice cream. And sometimes I don’t. I don’t fully understand the science behind it yet, which is important when attempting to make up a recipe. So I wasted 2 beautiful pints of door county cherries, some heavenly milk and cream, fresh eggs and agave nectar. Boooooo. Ok it wasn’t that bad. I will still be eating it, but it was slightly icy, too eggy and lacking on the cherry flavor. Highly disappointing.20130723-231706.jpgSo you get cute kid instead. The weather has finally cooled off and we are back to walking to the park every morning, which she is ecstatic about. She’s all about the swings. Two of the three teeth she’s been working on have popped their way through so she is a much happier little girl, who now apparently takes 3 hour naps, and goes to bed at night without waking up immediately. She’s like a regular toddler over here. The second photo is the look I got today while lecturing her about letting me feel for her teeth. She hates when I try to stick my finger in her mouth, and I was just reminding her how a few short months ago that finger was her favorite chew toy. I have a feeling I will be seeing this look a lot over the next 20+ years.

Here’s hoping I have more success with the recipes I’m planning for this weekend, and that I bring you something delicious soon!

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20130720-223607.jpg“A portrait of my child, once a week, every week in 2013”

This girl is becoming more clingy this week and I hate to say it but it melts my heart. When she’s unsure or scared now, she practically attacks me in a monkey like fashion. Sometimes she holds on so tight I swear I could let go and she would stay attached.

She turned 10 months old this week. I almost can’t believe she’s that old already. In two months she will be a year. It seems like just yesterday she was that tiny fragile creature, yet at the same time I barely remember that girl. I keep saying it, but time passes in such a strange fashion once you become a parent. It’s painful and wonderful at the same time.

Tonight I watched her stuff her face with berries, like the little person she has become. I probably should have cut her off, I swear she ate over 20 raspberries before I realized it. She’s becoming so much more successful and efficient with eating. In a way it scares me, because I know it’s a small step closer to the end of our breastfeeding journey, which I am in no way ready for. Luckily I think she feels the same. Even though she eats food now too, she shows no signs of slowing down with nursing, something I am grateful for, for many reasons(umm hello massive weight loss due to breastfeeding, better health for us both, instant calming and bonding…need I go on?).

I’ve been slowing down with her more, partially due to a heat wave trapping us indoors, partially because I’m trying to take it all in. Spending more time cuddling in bed and playing. Closing my eyes tight and trying to commit to memory what it feels like to be in this exact moment right now. It goes so quickly and I know someday too soon it will be a fleeting memory.

This photo was my favorite this week, perfect light, moment captured.

Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

20130717-232152.jpgI am on an ice cream kick. Have been for over a year. Seriously. Once I got done throwing up constantly when I was pregnant I ate a ton of ice cream. For a while it was all I could stomach. Solid food made me cringe, but a pint of ice cream? That I could handle. I remember one night, when I hadn’t eaten anything all day and I started eating ice cream. I told my husband I felt like I could finish the pint in one sitting. He looked me in the eye and told me to do it. I think that was the first time I’ve ever eaten an entire pint in one sitting.20130717-232130.jpgI’ve made 4 quarts of ice cream in the last 2 weeks. Homemade ice cream is soooo much better then store bought. It’s so creamy and lush. The only downfall of homemade ice cream is figuring out what to do with all of the leftover egg whites. That takes some creativity.20130717-232208.jpgI ate a lot of mint chocolate chip ice cream when I was pregnant. Actually it was mint avalanche. Bright green mint ice cream with chocolate fudge and chocolate chunks. I love all things mint, and have wanted to make real mint ice cream for over 2 years now and just haven’t done it. Now I’ve made it twice in the past 2 weeks. I could not get over how amazing the flavor is when you steep mint leaves in the cream and milk. It’s intense and herby and so good. You must use quality chocolate in this recipe. The contrast between the deep dark chocolate and the crisp clean mint is amazing. Well worth the little bit of effort to make it, and a perfect reason to keep a mint plant in your home year round.

Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

Makes about 1 quart

A note on the color: If you’re looking for the garish green of store bought mint ice cream, you wont find it here. The egg yolks will lend a pale yellow color. If you want a hint of green, puree a few leaves of spinach(I promise it wont affect the taste) and add after the egg yolks

Ingredients

1 cup whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup packed mint leaves and stems
1/4 cup sugar
5 egg yolks
1/4 plus 5 tablespoons agave nectar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 ounces chocolate chunks

Directions

1. In a saucepan over medium heat bring milk, cream and mint leaves to a simmer. Remove from heat and steep mint leaves and stems for 20 minutes. Strain leaves and stems and discard. Prepare an ice bath.

2. Return milk to saucepan. Add sugar and heat until steaming over medium heat. In another bowl mix egg yolks and agave nectar with a whisk until yolks are pale. Slowly add hot milk to yolks whisking constantly. Once all milk is added to yolks return to heat and cook 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly until mixtures begins to thicken and coats the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and strain. Place in ice bath. Cool to room temperature and add vanilla. Place in a sealed container and refridgerate, at least 2 hours and up to overnight.

4. Freeze using an ice cream maker according to manufacturers instructions. Fold in chocolate. Freeze at least 4 hours.

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20130714-222622.jpg“A portrait of my child, once a week, every week in 2013”

This week ended with a bang. Literally. The baby fell off the bed. Yes, I am now that mother. Thankfully we had put our bed on the floor a while ago just in case. I think it was much more traumatic for me then her in the long run. She was fine 15 minutes later, even though I insisted on taking her to the doctor. Don’t get me wrong she screamed bloody murder for those 15 minutes, but once that was over and done with she was good. I on the other hand, will have mom guilt forever. Mom guilt is serious business.

She’s also simultaneously cutting three of her top teeth so she’s been a little cranky the past few days. And she may be possibly getting a cold again, or the teething is giving her cold like symptoms. Poor kid has had a rough week. Hopefully this week brings better days.

This weeks photo was from tonight’s dinner(which is technically the wrong week, but whatever), where she actually didn’t shovel so much food in her mouth that she gagged and barfed it all back up. Yea, that’s been happening. She’s done great with baby led weaning until suddenly she realized her favorite part about eating is fitting as much food in her mouth at once as she possibly can. I’m hoping this passes soon. By the way, I love this straw cup she’s using. It’s the first vessel she has consistently taken milk from other then my boob. She still outright refuses milk at all sometimes when I’m gone, but this has been more successful then any other cup or bottle.

This week I loved this photo, of a tiny boy in an isolette. A far too familiar scene for us, this photo hit hard.

Justice

I’m finding it harder to have faith in humanity these days. Especially tonight. Somewhere Trayvon Martin’s family is dealing with a jury in this country ruling their sons murder acceptable.

There is something wrong here. Broken. And it’s bigger then just this case and this verdict. It’s bigger then the violence happening daily on the south side of Chicago.

I don’t pretend to understand it all. Growing up in a middle class white neighborhood, where I could count the non-white kids at my school on my hands. I don’t know what it feels like to grow up any other way.

I know that I am outraged. And not just by this verdict. I’m outraged by the daily acts of blatant racism that exist in this country. Outraged that I know people who think it is acceptable in this day and age, to use racial slurs, and to think less about someone because of their ethnicity.

It is not okay. And I want more for my child.

I am supposed to be posting my weekly portrait right now, but I simply couldn’t do it. Writing things about my beautiful girl, who will grow up in this royally fucked up world.

I’m finding it difficult to put together the words to express my anger tonight. My child sleeps safely tucked next to me, while our world has said it does not care about the senseless death of another.

Would things be different if Trayvon Martin had been white and George Zimmerman black? Sadly I know the answer to that question.

Something needs to change. But what? And how? How do we change the ignorant nasty minds of racist fools?

Somewhere tonight, parents are mourning their child all over again. I hope somehow, some day, they find some semblance of closure. That they find peace. My heart aches for them tonight.

Pimm’s Strawberry Popsicles

20130709-091031.jpgI have been after the cocktail popsicle since last summer. Last summer when I was pregnant. Last summer when I couldn’t have a cocktail popsicle. Last summer when it was the hottest summer in my entire lifetime and I was huge and sweaty and achy. And I soooo needed a cocktail. This summer I got my cocktail popsicle. And I plan to fill my summer with a lot more of them.20130709-090204.jpgWhat’s not to love? Frozen booze on a stick. Come on. I got inspired by these popsicles. And also remembered how much I love Pimm’s. Then there were loads of fresh ripe delicious looking strawberries in my fridge after the farmers market on Saturday. Naturally these things needed to meet.20130709-090219.jpgI ate 3 of these that night. Just like that. Luckily the baby was soooo tired from her first baseball game that she slept for a long time. These babies were strong. Ok so maybe my tolerence is pretty low these days, but they’ve got some serious kick. If you want to lessen the kick go ahead and use all Pimm’s and skip the bourbon. But seriously the bourbon makes them majorly delicious. I could probably eat like 6 of these if I wasn’t worried about getting my breastfeeding baby drunk. These are a great reason to go buy popsicle molds. Or get your parents to dig out the mid 90’s tupperware molds they have hidden away in their kitchen. and promptly fill them with a boozy popsicle.

Pimm’s Strawberry Popsicles

Makes 10-12 large popsicles, my molds were smaller so it made 16-18

Ingredients

1 cup Pimm’s No. 1
1/4 cup bourbon
1 can flat San Pellegrino grapefruit soda
1/2 cup mint simple syru(recipe follows)
juice of 1 lime
1/2 cup pureed strawberries

Directions

1. Mix Pimm’s, bourbon, soda, mint syrup and lime. Set aside. In a blender or food processor puree enough strawberries to yield a half cup of puree(will vary based on the size of your berries). Mix puree into Pimm’s mixture. Pour into popsicle molds, leaving about 1/4 inch from the top of mold. Freeze for 2 hours until firm enough to insert stick. Freeze for another 4 hours.

Mint Simple Syrup

Ingredients

1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup loosely packed mint leaves

Directions

1. Heat water, sugar and mint over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and steep for 20 minutes. Strain through mesh sieve to remove mint leaves.

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20130707-000439.jpg“A portrait of my child, once a week, every week in 2013”

I’ve been absent this week. Absent from this space, absent from the kitchen. I’ve been tired. Worn out. It’s starting to heat up here again, and I’m remembering how irritable it makes me. And how it cuts out my daily walks with my child. Which in turn makes her irritable. I kept wondering this week why I was so tired, why I had no energy. As I sit here typing this at midnight I realize why. What the hell am I doing up right now? Why am I not sleeping? I’m turning back into the night person I’ve always been, but now I have a baby. A baby who is 100% a morning person.

Sometimes I look at her and wonder aloud, where did you come from? Like I don’t know or something. She is so like me, and so like her father, and so NOT. At a baseball game in a crowd of people tonight, she came alive. Smiling at strangers, getting excited by the noise and the crowd. Her father and I would sooner crawl under a rock then be in a huge crowd, but not her. My morning loving, crowd pleasing girl. Seeing her develop her own personality is something that never ceases to blow me away. She began clapping this week, and even gave out her first kisses.

I’ve noticed I’m taking less photos of her these days, so this week I tried to take more. Most end up being iPhone snaps, but I pulled out the camera more. Don’t misunderstand, I’m constantly photographing this child. But I’ve slowed the pace a bit. This weeks photo came post nap, she’s been sleeping in just a diaper most days. Although at night, once she’s completely out I sneak some pjs on as she cools off. She was so proud of herself for getting a hold of my phone, that I let her have it for a minute while I snapped away. And then promptly removed it before she could completely destroy it with slobber.

This week I love this portrait, finding it very familiar. Something about this photograph reminded me of my days spent in northern Wisconsin as a child. And something about the light in this image reminded me of the old photographs found rummaging through my parents old photo albums.