Tuesday, December 24, 2013


Merry Christmas Eve. 
Here I sit, snug in our home on Christmas  Eve, curled up on our tiny couch, with my sweet sleepy girl, & snoozing kitten. 
We are cooking Christmas Eve dinner at home this year. 
Goose just came out of the oven, 
potatoes are boiling, Christmas music is playing, presents are wrapped, tree is lit. 
The house is reasonably clean, we did nothing today but be at home & be a family & walk the dog in the woods. 
It's our first Christmas with our wonderful Iris. It's the first time I've ever eaten a goose. It's the first time we've ever just spent Christmas at home. It's so lovely to be here, & not on the road driving, or just finished driving, or about to drive. 
I'm just so grateful for this small sleeping girl. This is the best moment, Iris here in my arms by the Christmas tree on a crisp dark December night in Massachusetts.
These are the things that I try to hold on my heart & remember always. 
Merry Christmas, everyone! 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Night thoughts.

I'm currently lying in bed between my snoring husband & our not quite sleeping but drowsy nursing baby. Our determinedly sleep resisting baby. 
I feel like I've spent the last four hours trying to get Iris to sleep. 
Look how sleepy she is. 
I think I have. I have had almost no me time today. One of those days where Owen came home from work & Iris immediately began needing me & only me & so the evening went. 
I struggle in my heart at these times, because she's so wonderful & just when I'm getting the most annoyed at being stuck lying next to her in bed endlessly nursing, she's just so sweet & it's amazing really that she wants & needs me like this. 
It's wonderful, it's the most amazing thing I've ever done. Still sometimes I struggle with the patience to resist my desire to just go into the kitchen & drink some wine & listen to music & cook dinner the way I used to. 
Sigh. It was again one of those nights. Still trying out the early bedtime, so it was  just a long cycle of nurse for an hour, sleep for 20 minutes, wake up & scream, repeat. I wish her dad could console her, but he really can't. 
We had an excellent day until evening. Fun boob group, successful downtown trip to buy stamps at the post office, & duck pants & striped overalls for Iris at the Salvation Army,  & an overpriced hot chocolate at Greenfield Coffee for me. And a nice walk with the hound at home after. It was in the high 40s today, not bad for Western Mass in December. We got out of the house, we accomplished things, we hung out with cool mamas.
But I had high productivity hopes for the evening that sure didn't pan out. 
The positives: I took a lovely shower during Iris' first short nap. I started to cook dinner during her second. 
During the nursing her to sleep stretches I've been rereading "The Time Traveler's Wife", which is one of my very favorite books & why Iris was almost named Clare ( don't tell). 
I find it's difficult for me to read when I'm also tending to Iris, but I can reread my favorite books, they are like old friends. So rereading Time Traveler's Wife for the hundredth time is nice. 
I did make dinner, I made a turkey & Brussel sprouts curry from the endless pile of Thanksgiving leftovers, served over wild rice blend made with turkey stock & sour cream & sriracha.
Owen just ate leftover pizza from last nights' creative use of Thanksgiving leftovers,
but despite the baby related time constraints, I actually felt like cooking. I needed to. 
(Isn't this still a food blog?)
So by reading & cooking I got to feel like myself a tiny bit, I guess that's the moral of this story? 
And my sweet girl is now asleep & my husband is snoring loudly in my ear. 
Now Owen is talking in his sleep about beer prices. Iris seems totally out, except most likely not if I leave the bed. I am of course totally wide awake.
Hello world. 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

What the hell do I do all day, anyway?

Classic question of the stay-at-home mom: what do you do all day? Six months in & I'm still not sure. Let's see. 
Today, Tuesday, December 6, 2013, a fairly typical stay at home day with my almost six month old girl. 
(Some days we get out & about, but at least a couple days a week we have no car & we stay home. Today was one of those days). 
6am-7am: wake up & nurse, go back to sleep. 
7am: repeat step one, dad leaves around 7:30. 
8am-9am: Iris actually sleeps, while I lay in bed next to her & wish I could go back to sleep, since she's sleeping, which is so very rare lately. But I can't, of course. 
9am: Iris wakes up. She nurses. We hang out snugging in bed for a while (one of my favorite times of the day-she's always in an awesome mood when she first wakes up). 
9:30am-10am: we get up.  Diaper change. I put Iris in her bassinet in the kitchen & I tend to the fire in the wood stove & make coffee & clean up the kitchen & do the previous night's dishes. I also really enjoy this part of the morning. 
10am-11am: we sit down with my coffee & Iris sits on my lap & has a snack. I look at Facebook. I read her some books. 

11am-11:30am: Iris starts to get cranky. We attempt to both get dressed. 
11:30am-12pm: Iris continues to be very cranky, & I attempt to nurse her to sleep. She briefly sleeps next to me. I get to read for a few minutes. 
12-12:30pm: Iris wakes up. We feed the dog & cat & chickens & take the dog outside for a short walk up the hill. 
12:30-1pm: we come back inside, & Iris nurses some more. We attempt tummy time, but Iris just rolls over immediately so I give up. 
1-1:30pm: Iris goes back in the bassinet in the kitchen & I tend to the wood stove again & clean some more & make myself a cheese & mayo & sriracha sandwich. 

1:30-2pm: I try to get Iris to hang out in her crib so I can do laundry. There is plenty of fussing, but I get the laundry into the machine somehow. I also manage to throw the chickens some bread leftover from Thanksgiving & do some random tidying up. 
2-3:30pm: we take the dog for a walk in the woods. It's lovely. It's a gorgeous day. 

3:30-4pm: we return the dog to the house, & go check the mail. Then we watch the chickens for a while, & take some pictures on my iPhone in the yard. 

4-4:30pm: we sit on the couch & nurse & listen to NPR.
4:30-5pm: I attempt to deal with the laundry some more. 
5-5:30pm: Iris by some miracle sits in her chair car thing & I address some holiday cards. 

5:30-6pm: dad comes home, because he is awesome he starts a pizza crust for dinner while I hold Iris & let her watch him. 
6-6:30pm: we hang our with dad. 
6:30-7pm: I feed the animals their dinner. Then I give Iris a bath, put on her jammies, & read her a book (the Olivia Christmas book). I nurse her to sleep.
7-7:30pm: Iris sleeps! I continue to work on holiday cards.

7:30-8pm: Iris wakes up. I go back to nursing her to sleep. Dad makes a pizza.
And now we come to the present. I am writing this while attempting to nurse Iris 
back to sleep. Fingers crossed that this works & dad & I can actually eat that pizza. 
Maybe as some big excitement we will watch some tv on the internet & I'll get to take a shower. 
Others mamas reading this-what do your days look like? This is all so crazy to me, sometimes, our days together. How do I get so little done? How does the time pass so quickly & so slowly at the same time? Does anyone know? 

Friday, November 22, 2013

Lost Garden Post.

Text of an unfinished post from July 28th of this year:
 "Red Russian Kale, Collards, Rainbow Chard, Lacinto Kale, Totsoi, Leeks, Shallots, Zucchini, Habanero, JalapeƱo, & Cubanelle Peppers, Red Russian Garlic, Purple Hardneck Garlic, Assorted Heirloom Tomato Varieties, including Paul Robeson, Pink Brandywine, Green Zebra, Sungold, Black Cherry, Cherokee Purple, in the vegetable garden now. Planting basil & Napa Cabbage & Romanesco Broccoli today.
Rosemary, Lavender, Parsley, Sage, Thyme, Tarragon, in the herb garden.
Narstirscums, Zinnias, Purple Coneflower, Snapdragons in the flower garden.
I like to recite that list in my head, it's a poem."
Iris was just over a month old. I was still thinking that I might go back to work at the end of August. 
That all seems like a very long time ago. 
The garden was totally half assed this year. Back in May & early June when I was very pregnant (Iris was born June 14th), we bought some veggie starts at the Greenfield Farmers coop & somehow got them in the ground. So what that we usually grow our own veggie starts inside in the winter & buying them felt like cheating? So what that although I was on maternity leave for three weeks during prime gardening season before Iris was actually born, I managed to accomplish nothing more than planting small flower & herb gardens near the house, since the weed jungle in the field were the vegetable garden is was too overwhelming. 
One thing I wish I could tell my pregnant self is that getting stuff done when pregnant is way easier than getting stuff done with an infant. 
The morning I woke up in early labor I woke up very early, & was very inspired to garden. Of course it poured rain all that day. 
But I lay in bed in the early dawn that Thursday morning & planned out all the plants I was going to buy on that Saturday's farmers market & how I was going to garden all weekend, so what if I was 41 weeks pregnant. 
Of course I woke up that Saturday in the hospital next to a one day old baby girl. 
I guess that garden inspiration was my form of nesting. 
The garden on November 14, 2013, Iris' five month birthday, around 10:30am. 
The garden on November 21, 2013, one week later, around 4:15pm, as the sun was starting to set. 
We still have Red Russian Kale, Lacinato Kale, Rainbow Chard, Collards, Leeks, & Totsoi going strong here on November 22nd.
I am proud to say that even at almost Thanksgiving in Western Massachusetts, 
I could go outside & gather the elements to make a meal from the chickens & the garden. 
It's a quite dreary damp day here today, it's around 11am & I am lying in bed next to Iris who is enjoying her late morning nap. This nap sometimes either never happens or lasts five minutes, so I am savoring the fact that it has already lasted  fifteen. 
As I typed that I glanced over & her eyes were open. 
Ah babies. 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

OMG A Food Post, Finally. A Wednesday Night Dinner.

Blah blah blah this used to be a food blog & then I got pregnant & the food stopped, etc. 
I'm tried to remedy that. So here's what we ate tonight. 
Wild rice, sausages, Brussels sprouts, duck stock, shallots, dried Thai chilis from the garden the year before last. 
This is a pretty typical weeknight dinner for us, chipotle chicken sausages that Owen brought home from Fosters, some Brussels sprouts that needed to be used up, duck stock we made & froze when we had a duck last week. 
Some shallots, garlic, white wine, & butter aka the perfect way to cook almost anything. 
Wild rice & brown rice blend because I always get on a wild rice kick on the fall. 
All ingredients into one cast iron skillet. 
Bam. Dinner. 
Eaten in a bowl in bed because I either have to eat with Iris on my lap or laying down in bed next to me. 
Despite the fact that writing about food used to be my favorite thing I'm feeling strangely ambivalent about writing this. Last night I stopped writing to simply mess around on the internet & watch True Blood, & now with Iris napping on my lap I keep picking up my book or gazing out the window or going back to Facebook. 
That's what DustyRose is up to right now. Good old fashioned cat in a patch of sun. 
I don't know why this post is being difficult to write. This day makes no sense. Iris & I got up at 7:30 & it's now almost 2, & yet we just got dressed & still haven't taken the dog for a walk. It's starting to get less sunny & we should really head outside. I sort of feel like I've entered into the mama void today, the haze of the cycle of nursing & diapers & tummy time & books & playing & walking around in circles attempting to entertain the fussy child. If we have a plan we can get out of the house with relatively few problems, but on these days that we are home alone & Owen has the car, sometimes absolutely nothing happens & we have trouble even going for a walk before dark. It doesn't help that when I finally pulled myself together Iris just now fell asleep, on my lap, because I decided to nurse her one more time before going on a walk. When will I ever learn? 
So here we are, Iris napping while I fail to write a post about sausages, & fail to eat lunch today because I keep not planning well when Iris does let me put her down.
Ah well. I've kept a good fire going in the wood stove. We both are dressed. I brushed my teeth. I dashed out to feed the chickens & gather three eggs, two brown, one green. I started a load of laundry. I wrote this. 
And last nights sausages were pretty excellent. 
Ah she woke up. Let's try this walk business again. My goal is to keep it up with the food posts. Thanksgiving is next week, one of my favorite holidays because it is all about a big awesome meal, maybe I'll get inspired. 

Friday, November 15, 2013

Art & Motherhood (& Sandwiches).

Yeah, so today I was reading Alison Bechdel's "Are You My Mother?" while I was eating my fried egg & Brussels sprout sandwich for lunch (take "today" loosely because I am am currently post bath nursing Iris & can't imagine that I will actually finish this tonight). Anyway.
Set the scene. Iris is napping. I'm at the kitchen table by the window & the poetry books. 
Nice November light today. Bare trees, pale sunlight. 
Sandwich. Fried eggs, two of them, sliced bread, cheddar cheese, last night's leftover battered deep fried Brussels sprouts...there they are.
(See, this is still a food blog!). Lots of mayo & sriracha. I've got a cup of cold coffee from the morning. 
I'm reading. I'm eating fast, because who knows when the tiny human will wake up. 
And I'm reading Alison Bechdel, & she's referencing Adrienne Rich on motherhood, & I'm seated right there by all of Adrienne Rich's books, & I wonder, can you really be an artist & a mother? And do either on properly, the way you really want to? Can I? 
I always believe that you could, but actually being a mother, I don't know. I can't even write this post. 
I personally am so self centered when I make art, & I think I really need to be in that place where I put art first to do it well. 
And now I put Iris first, & can barely complete a thought. 
I feel like having Iris is the most important thing I've ever done & I would rather do this than have my opportunity to be self centered & make art back, but still. Do I want the same thing for her? Or do I want her to be famous & fabulous & everything she could ever possibly want?
Does anyone know?  
I don't know why I had such a moment there. Maybe I should just focus on sandwiches. It was a great sandwich. The eggs were freshly gathered from our chickens & I fried them in butter in a cast iron skillet & melted the cheese on top in the pan. 
And ha, Iris is sleeping on my lap now, so maybe I'll just post this as is. 
Happy Friday night, world, here at the homestead we are having spicy duck soup & homemade biscuits for dinner. 
And listening to Britney Spears. And still contemplating the meaning of motherhood. 

Ode to Naps.

I learned how to nap while I was pregnant. I've never been a napper as an adult, but last year I learned to love it. 
The whole nine months I was pregnant I gave myself permission to accomplish nothing, nothing except doing a good job growing that baby that is. 
In the first trimester, I'd come home from work & just get into bed & read & doze off & daydream about the baby & what she would be like. 
I read so much last winter. Some of my favorite memories of pregnancy are the days I stayed home from work because of snow or a cold or something & just read by the fire & drank hot chocolate & enjoyed feeling the baby move inside the whole day. 
I've never allowed myself to slow down like that before, & it's been a lesson that's certainly been helpful, being home alone with an infant these past months. 
I remember towards the end of the pregnancy really making an effort to savor those pregnant naps, getting into the sanctuary of my bed & feeling Iris inside there with me. Falling asleep feeling Iris move inside me was some of the best sleep I've ever had. 
And now to the present, napping with my five month old. I've learned over these five months that I have been Iris' mama to read her moods a bit better, so although I don't always get this right, on the good days I lie her down on our bed with me & curl up next to her & nurse her to sleep. Those moments together on our bed where she's quietly nursing & holding tight onto my hand with her tiny hand are when I feel like I've done everything right. I try to be really present in those moments, because it's something I feel like I always need to remember. 
Sometimes I take a nap with her. Sometimes I try to accomplish something. I try not to worry if I don't accomplish anything. Sometimes I do this, while she sleeps sweetly beside me. 
This is an amazing day as this is her second real nap. During the first one I ate a fried egg & Brussels sprout sandwich, by myself, at the table, & read a book. I really enjoyed the moment of solitude, but I was happy to see my girl when she woke up. 
There's a lot of things I could be doing, but for right now I'm just going to enjoy the company.
She just opened her eyes real wide, sighed contentedly, & went back to sleep. And then two minutes later, eyes back open, & tears. And then nursed back to sleep. I'm glad that I chose to stay here with her & was here when she woke up. 
Sometimes I feel like I spend my whole life in this bed, but life could definitely be worse.