Motherhood

The long awaited day has come with out confetti or trumpets, yet the news has me feeling as though nothing in the world could be as electrifying or thrilling. Many say there is nothing that quite prepares one for the challenges and joys of motherhood, a statement that I am sure is true. While I cannot help feeling overwhelmed with this momentous news, I am also at peace about the days to come and the responsibilities that carry with them.

Our families were elated by the news of the first grandchild, niece/nephew. The joy of telling them almost outweighed the joy of discovering the news ourselves. The video documenting the big reveal can be seen on YouTube here: 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6zLilgNYGMc

As you can tell, the excitement was overwhelming. 

As I enter my second trimester, I am looking forward to less sick days and distancing my relationship with the toilet bowl (I have never made sure that sucker was more clean).

Looking back I should have seen the early signs more clearly. The German sandwiches I craved, the three jars of pickles I ate one afternoon, the six trips to the bathroom all night long… I should have known! 

I just celebrated my twenty sixth birthday, a milestone that marks the anniversary of my birth, the year my mother gave birth to me, and the year I will also give birth to my first little one. It is so interesting how quickly life changes. I must remember this fact and learn to cherish every day with my babies as though it won’t last forever.

Exciting times ahead! I hope you will follow me as I enter this new phase of life and begin the new adventure of becoming a mother.

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Oatmeal Molasses Bread and Childhood Memories

Last night I had the sudden urge to make homemade bread. Memories of waking up to the smell of bread freshly baking in the oven sparked the nostalgia in me enough to want to run out to the grocery store at eight o’clock and get the one ingredient I didn’t have, oatmeal. My mom always made wonderful breads when I was young. I still remember seeing it steaming on the counter and the way it smelled filling our home. I called mom to get her recipe for Oatmeal Molasses bread, one of the breads she made regularly. I absolutely love it freshly baked with melted butter. The warm center and crusty outside are a delicious combination. Because it was so late by the time I got finished making the bread, I set the dough to rise before bed hoping that it wouldn’t take over our kitchen by morning. Thankfully it did not. My childhood memories came flooding back as our home was filled with the smell of bread baking in the oven early this morning.

OatmealMolassesbread

As far as bread goes, this one is super easy to make if you have a Kitchen Aid, but still easy if you do not. Feel free to ask questions if the recipe is unclear.

Happy baking!

Oatmeal Molasses Bread

1 c oatmeal (Old fashioned Oats)

2 tbs butter

2 c boiling water

1 1/2 tsp salt

1/2 c molasses

1 package of yeast

1/2 c warm water

7 c all-purpose flour

Directions:

Mix the first five ingredients in a mixer fitted with a hook attachment (or just mix it by hand then knead the dough when it is all mixed together). Let stand until the mixture becomes luke warm. Meanwhile, dissolve yeast in the half cup of warm water. When the yeast has dissolved, add it to the rest of the mixture and mix well. Add the flour one cup at a time until the dough starts to become a ball and sticks to the hook. Let the machine do the work of kneading the dough. Let the mixer run for about ten minutes. If you don’t have a mixer then this is where you would dump it out on a work space and knead the dough by hand.

Place the dough in a greased bowl and then flip the dough over once so that both sides are greased slightly. Cover the bowl with a towel and set in a warm dry place for several hours (this is where I let it sit overnight). The dough should double in height.

Next shape the dough into two loaves and set each loaf in a greased and floured bread pan. Cover the pans and set aside for a half hour.

Bake both loaves at 325 degrees for 1 hour. Tap the bottom of the bread to make sure the outside is crusty. Turn the loaves out of the pan onto a cutting board or counter space to cool. When you can’t take it any longer cut into the warm deliciousness and enjoy!

Better Luck Next Month!?

Image

Ok. I just have to rant for a bit. As a “foodie” I am always looking for great recipes to inspire me. The February issue of Bon Appetit magazine has left much to be desired. The publication which usually has me hopping off the sofa and running to the kitchen to check my cabinets for ingredients to create masterfully inspired culinary creations was a disappointment this month. As I panned through the pages scanning the recipes for something to catch my eye and entice me into food land, I became more turned off by the sight of the food than lustful at the idea of partaking. Perhaps Bon Appetit has a new editor? Almost always BA presents beautifully colorful page spreds full of images of wonderfully tantalizing recipes, but February’s issue presented cold, tasteless, unappetizing, run-of-the-mill recipes that most people, including myself would not find exciting in the least. Really? Braised chicken in vinegar where one must pull the chicken from the bone? Or buttered spinach with vinegar? Since when does anyone like vinegar as a main ingredient in food? Yuck. Like I said, I love the magazine! I look forward to being inspired by the many wonderful articles on food that most often catch my eye. This month they missed the mark. Looking forward to the March issue to renew my faith in BA’s editorial staff, chefs, and writers. Carry on 🙂

Tea Time!

My New Year’s Resolution for 2013 is drink more tea and less coffee. I have been drinking way too much coffee. Three cups a day is sending my body into a caffeine frenzy and turning my teeth yellow. From what I have read, tea is much better for you, especially herbal tea. I find that drinking a cup of caffeinated tea in the morning and herbal teas throughout the day makes it much easier to function off of coffee. Cheers to the Brits for inventing tea time! I am going to go put a pot on right now and maybe enjoy a cookie or two!

Curveballs in Life

As I reflect on my last post, I am struck by how drastically life changes when you’re not looking. One minute you have plans for the summer, plans to get back to church and work in the fall, and then you are thrown a curveball that changes everything.
This summer we were blessed to be able to purchase what has been a dream for Mark and I for some time, a cottage on the water near Cape Cod Massachusetts. Anyone who knows me understands what a thrill it is for me to have a beach home of my own to decorate. I was prepared to roll up my sleeves and go to work transforming a real fixer-upper on the water, but was taken by surprised when I fell in love with this charming cottage that didn’t need any work at all. We moved right in and immediately were able to enjoy the sunset views from our porch and watching the sun go down over the water. It was a dreamy experience waking up to the sounds of the seagulls in the canal and the smell of the ocean at low tide. The summer flew by fast and eventually we had to pack our bags and leave to head back to Denver. It’s particularly hard to say goodbye to a home on the water, there is something sad about it. Leaving the shells, the sand, the seagulls, the sun glistening off the water, the memories, the happy go-luckiness of the summer that never lasts but leaves you wishing it did.

View from our new cottage! More about this little gem later!

View from our new cottage! More about this little gem later!

Also sad and equally hard is having to say goodbye to those you love. While on our journey back west (a thirty-two hour drive), somewhere in Ohio I got the call from my mom telling me that her mother had passed away. I was saddened to hear the news, but even more emotional about the separation from my mother during this difficult time for her. I cannot imagine the grief that comes with the death of a parent. I can hardly think of the day when I will have to say good-bye to my mom who spent countless hours caring for me as I grew.
It was only a few days until the funeral. We arrived in Denver only to unpack, do some laundry and turn around to head back to New England. Flying is so much easier. We arrived in Boston exhausted from both the lack of sleep, and the emotional drain of losing grandma. Her service was special because she was such a lovely woman who touched so many lives with her joy. Her love of dancing, fake butterfly tattoos, multiple rings on one finger, and sequined clothes will always remind me of “Glamma”. Symbolic of saying goodbye to her we stood at her memorial service and released over 35 butterflies into the air. As I watched them take flight I prayed that Glamma would be watching and would be blessed by how much she was loved here on earth.

It wasn’t long after we were back in Denver that Mark was asked to take a job transfer to Los Angeles. After much prayer and discussion we decided it would be best to stay in Denver with our good friends and our church family. Another phone call and another stronger request to move to LA came and we began to prepare to say goodbye to Colorado and to head further west. Another curveball thrown our way!

Going Back Home

Dionis Beach

This week I am far away from everything. Of all the places I have visited or lived Canopache is my vacation dreamland. It is the place tied to the many memories I have as a child. Driving over the Sagamore Bridge, taking the early ferry over the open waters of Nantucket sound, and looking out at the drifts of blue and white are all memories that are deep-rooted in my heart. These are the events that fill me with anticipation as I am drawn nearer to my birth place. Two hours and forty-five minutes by ferry and approximately 30 miles out to sea from famous cape cod is the island of Nantucket, a place that is dear to my heart.

Walking off the ferry I spot my mother in her convertible jeep. She drives up to where I am standing luggage in hand. Warmth fills my heart as I hug her. I have missed her these past months. Her embrace reminds me of how blessed I am to have such a loving mother and friend. Smiling she hands me a steaming late’ smelling of rich espresso. I am grateful for the caffeine after the early voyage but even more grateful for her presence. Mom has always been sensitive to my needs. She understands when I need a word of encouragement or prayer. She always knows the right thing to say and do to make me feel loved. My earliest memories of her are ones sharing time together reading aloud, cooking, watching Andy Griffith and snuggling up on the couch. Most specifically I will never forget the feel of her soft skin on my cheek and the faint smell of onion and garlic in the palm of her hands. She is the perfect mother if ever there was one, and I am truly grateful for her more than ever.

The sun is just coming up above the dunes and shining light on the grass that sways gently in the soft island breezes. This is Nantucket. This is home to me. A place of happiness filled with short glimpses of what heaven will be like. Together we bounce along the rugged dirt road that lead us out to the further point of the island where the sun sets, sounds dissipate, and the mind quiets itself. In Madaket mom points out the home we lived in when I was born. I am filled with a sudden sadness, and loss over the property that now looks abandoned and disheveled. I have many memories of this place. Not just of this house but of the whole island. Memories of running through sand dunes, plucking rose plums, tasting their sweet juices, and feeling the salt air on my skin. These are the things that I love about this place. These are the things that flood me with the sweet treasures of  childhood and remind me of the gift that life is.

I am reminded of Miranda Lambert’s song The House That Built Me and I can’t help but think of this place. Nantucket is the house that built me. It holds my past. It  keeps me hostage by the memories and feelings held here. No matter how far I go it always draws me back for a time. Special places and people are what mold us into the people we become. Where is the house that build you? Do you go back for visits and walk among the dunes of your childhood?

Home Decorating