Long Summer

October 15, 2011

Pizza!

Filed under: Food,Gluten Free recipes — by dbmamaz @ 12:09 pm

Making excellent pizza has always been a source of pride for me.  Years ago, I tried several dough recipes before I settled on one from the Tassajara Recipe book, which used white, wheat, and rye flours.  After working at Pizza Hut, I learned to use an uncooked sauce made from paste.  And I was always creative with my toppings.  I won a pizza bake-off at college once, and my mom called my pizza ‘gourmet’ – which was a huge compliment from her.

When I went gluten and dairy free, after a few utter failures in bread making, and not finding the cheeses very satisfying, I did not expect to be making pizza again.  But then, the boys went gluten and dairy free, too.  They LOVED pizza!  So I had to try.  At first, I tried the pizza crust recipe from my trusty Gluten Free Baking Classics.  I was not really impressed.  It’s supposed to be a crisp crust, which you bake before topping – but I’ve never liked crisp crust, or pre-baking (they don’t do that at real pizzerias . . . ).  I was feeling pretty  hopeless about pizza again. 

Then Pizza Fusion opened in our town – a restaurant that offers gluten-free, dairy-free pizza!  Of course, I still couldn’t eat it, as I’m allergic to some of the staple ingredients in commercial gf breads. But the boys RAVED about how good the pizza was.  But, er . . . it was so expensive!  The boys shared a gfcf pizza and my husband and daughter shared a regular pizza, the only leftovers were 2 pieces of my youngest’s pizza . . and it was $50!  The boys were asking if we could go back every week . . . $50?  There HAD to be a way to make pizza as good as that.  Maybe even that _I_ could eat?! 

So i went back to the drawing board.  I remember that, as much as I hated the pizza dough recipe in the cookbook, I loved the foccacia recipe – so why not use that as the pizza dough?  I actually called up Pizza Fusion and asked what cheese they used – they used the same cheese I did, Vegan Gourmet!  They said maybe their melted better because their oven was so hot . . . so, my oven can go pretty hot!!  The first time I made my ‘new’ gfcf pizza, one boy liked it better (because of the toppings) and the other said it was as good as Pizza Fusion – success!!  Then I altered the dough so I can eat it – and the whole family is still happy to eat it!

So, this is how I make my gfcf pizza:

First off, you make the sauce, so the flavors have time to merge.  Very simple – take one 6 oz can of tomato paste mixed with enough water to make the texture you like – spreadable but not runny – 1 to 2 cans, depending on the brand.  Add generous amounts of italian seasonings – i use about 1 tsp basil, 1 tsp thyme, 1.5 tsp oregano, 1/2 tsp of onion powder, 1/4 tsp black pepper, and a dash of cayenne.  use garlic powder, too, if you can.  Let it sit for at least 10 minutes, then taste and add additional herbs, and some salt, to taste.  It should taste pretty strong, as it will be spread thin, but remember, the cheese is salty.

Next, prepare your toppings.  Mine are numerous:
cooked, crumbled italian sausage
fresh spinach lightly wilted in olive oil (with garlic if you can)
sliced black olives
diced tomatoes
thinly sliced red onion
sliced sweet pepper
pineapple tidbits
sliced mushrooms
halved, sliced zucchini
whatever else you and your family like!

Cheeses:  we use a combination of vegan gourmet and Daiya mozzarella (ok, and ‘real’ mozzarella for my husband and daughter).  Sometimes I also use some vegan parmesan.

When everything else is ready, its time to start the dough.   This recipe should make two 8-10 inch pizzas.  This recipe is changed only slightly from the original, mostly just by subbing in flours I’m not allergic to.  I highly recommend you get buy the book – its only $12 on amazon.

Rustic Flat Bread, which I use as pizza crust:
 * 1.5 cups bread mix
 * 1 tsp gum (xanthan or guar)
 * 1/2 tsp salt
 * 1 TB sugar
 * 2 1/4 tsp yeast
 * 1 tsp olive oil
 * 3/4 c water, 110 degrees
Mix dry ingredients in mixer bowl.  Pour in liquids.  Mix briefly, scrape bowl, and beat at high for 2 minutes.  You may allow the dough to rise and beat it down again – this seems to make the crust rise better, but is not necessary

Dump dough on to greased pans. Using non stick spray and the back of a spoon dipped (repeatedly) in water, spread the dough very thin.  Note, if you are using a pizza pan with holes, you should line it with foil. 

Spread a thin layer of sauce on the crusts, top, and bake at 500.  PIzza is done when cheese is melted and crust is lightly browned on the bottom – or when the crust is threatening to get too dark around the edges.

Note, I have been using 4 times this recipe to feed my family of 5 for 2 meals, and its almost enough . . . we’re big eaters. 

My standard flour mix is 1 cup each:
 millet flour
 corn flour
 bean flour 
 corn starch
 potato starch
 arrowroot starch. 

More recently, instead of the bean flour, I do a combination of buckwheat cereal, hemp protein powder, quinoa flakes and rice bran.  My family prefers this flavor.

Feel free to use whatever flour mix you use for bread – we can’t do rice, tapioca or sorghum, so I get creative!

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July 20, 2011

My Gluten Free Artisan Bread

Filed under: Gluten Free recipes — by dbmamaz @ 9:20 am
Tags: ,

I was never a big bread eater, but the bread I liked the best was sourdough, and even better, a multi-grain sourdough.  Of course, when I went gluten free, I assumed those days were over.  It got even worse when I realized I was allergic to tapioca flour, the go-to flour for flavorful and chewy gluten free baking.

Then a few weeks ago, the Gluten Free Goddess posted her Olive bread recipe.  I was curious, and I tried it.  It was . . .ok.  I ate it dunked in oil, and it was a reasonable accompaniment to my dinner salad.  My gf 15 yo son loved it, tho, and ate most of it.  Which was fine by me. 

So then I decided to take another look at a recipe I had found on the web over a year ago.  I can’t find the exact recipe, but this is the closest I’ve found.  I started with that basic recipe, using my sweet bread flour mix.  I let it rise overnight and by 10 am, it was fragrant and bubbly and just lovely!  But by the time I baked it, around 2 pm, it was flat.  It didn’t rise in the oven, either.  The flavor was wonderfully sour (too sour for my son), and the crust was nice, but it wasnt quite right.

I looked around the web some more, taking notes from this recipe and this one.  I played around with my flour mix.  And after a few tries, today I made a most wonderful bread!  The flavor is complex, the crust is hard and chewy, the bread is tender but not crumbly.   The only thing I might want to change is that the bottom crust seems slightly overcooked, but i cant be that picky.  I LOVE this bread – so I have to share!!

Some notes: 

  • Different flour mixes require different amounts of water.  I did best with a dough just too soft to hold in your hand, but stiffer than most muffin batters.  When the dough was too dry, it didn’t rise as well, and when it was too wet, the bread actually seemed soggy.
  • I found that beating the dough in a stand mixer for a minute or two seemed to help the rise. 
  • I don’t have a dutch oven, so I am using a covered casserole.  I rise the bread in a duplicate casserole lined with parchment.   I smooth the parchment out as best I can, but cut it long enough so that some is hanging over the edges.  I preheat the other dish, with the lid, and then gently lift the dough up by the paper edges to transfer to hot pan – but trim carefully before returning to the oven.
  • When I left the bread out overnight during the summer in Virginia, it rose too fast, and fell when baking.  Instead I left it in the fridge overnight, and then let it rise on the counter from about 8 am to 2:30 pm.  This seemed to give me the best rise.  I will try leaving it out overnight in the winter, though. 
  • You know the bread has risen enough when the dough looks puffy and spongy, and smells very yeasty.  (This dough was too wet, so your should look slightly drier)
  • I havent tried, but the original recipe said that the texture would be poor if you sliced it before it was completely cool. 

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups GF Flour Mix
  • 1 1⁄4 tsp. Guar (or xanthan) gum
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. yeast
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 cup water, or slightly more to make soft dough or stiff batter

Directions:

  • Mix all dry ingredients in a large mixer bowl.
  • Add olive oil and water to the bowl; mix well and add more water if the dough seems too stiff.   Beat a minute or two on high.
  • Line rising bowl with parchment paper, leaving some overhang. Pour/scoop in batter and smooth with the back of a spoon dipped in water.
  • Cover bowl with a light cloth or plastic wrap and let rise 12-18 hours at room temperature, until light and yeasty. Note, in summer in Virginia, I found I needed to let it rise overnight in the fridge, and then about 5 more hours on the counter.
  • Preheat the oven to 450°F with a cast iron dutch oven with lid (or a Pyrex casserole with lid) in the oven.
  • After 30 minutes, take out the hot pan. Lift dough gently by the paper, put in hot pan, and trim off edges. Put the lid on the pan, and put the entire thing in the oven.
  • After 20 minutes, remove the lid and then bake 20 minutes more.
  • Cool completely before slicing.

Notes from the original recipe (i havent tried this): For a faster version by using 2 tsps of rapid rise yeast and let it rise 2 hours. For a double recipe, turn the heat down to 400 degrees, and bake it 30 minutes covered, and then continue baking uncovered until it’s a nice light brown color.

The flour mix the recipe came with was equal parts sorghum, cornstarch, potato starch, and tapioca starch/flour.  I’m allergic to tapioca AND sorghum.)  The original author said she had used several mixes with success.

the flour mix I use is: 

  • 1/3 cup millet flour
  • 1/3 cup corn flour
  • 1/3 cup potato starch
  • 1/3 cup arrowroot starch 
  • 1/3 c quinoa flakes
  • 1/3 cup combined rice bran, hemp protein powder, and uncooked buckwheat hot cereal

(edited to add:  really, I don’t do 1/3 cup of those last 3 items combined . . . i do 1 TB of each of those, and fill in the remainder of the 1/3 cup in more quinoa flakes .. . otherwise it’s slightly bitter)

July 2, 2011

Come as You Are

Filed under: Home School,Inspiration — by dbmamaz @ 2:07 pm

This week I saw two things which really spoke to me about homeschooling. I have not blogged much this second year of school. Some of it is due to various external issues making it harder to get around to writing. But some of it is about how things change after that first year.

The first year of homeschooling, everything is new and exciting. You are trying to pick curriculum, trying to find a style, and then you are amazed each time your child actually learns something . . . you know, without being in school! But after a while, you just get into your zone. There are fewer questions to ask, and the learning moments become less surprising.

So what did I see which was so inspirational?

First one was a post in a Homeschool group on Facebook by some one I don’t know. She said that after years of experience and networking, her standard advice to homeschoolers is this: “Look at your kids. Do what seems to make the most amount of sense at the time (easy) and if it’s not working, stop. (surprisingly hard.) It’s different for everybody, but it all works.”

The next item was a blog entry from a woman I met when she stepped on to a sudden void and became the minister of my UU church for a year.

Here is my reaction to her post: ” There is a big part of this in learning how to homeschool. I have to learn to teach AS I AM, in way which reaches my kids AS THEY ARE. What a lot of learning I had to do in the first year! Not only that, the darn buggers keep CHANGING. You know, like growing older and developing new interests? I used to complain about them no longer liking their favorite food once i got used to stocking it in the house . . .but now i have to keep changing curriculum.”

I think that, to a great extent, this year I started to really hit my stride. I started to accept that it’s ok if I work better with a schedule than without. I started to feel like I knew what my teen needed to be focussing on. I started to trust my 7 yo to know what he wanted to learn next. I learned how and when to push each of us, and when it was time to just let things slide.

I look at the kids. I accept myself and them as we are now. I do what makes sense to me. When it doesn’t work, I take a fresh look and do something different.

Really, I highly recommend it!

March 14, 2011

Pi day!

Filed under: Uncategorized — by dbmamaz @ 8:39 pm

I admit, I don’t usually make a big deal of holidays.  I don’t think I have ever incorporated a holiday in to my home school plans.  We don’t like unit studies and I’ve never even done a theme-day.  Until today.  3.14.  Pi day!  I don’t know what got in to me, but today I just had to do it up!

Of course, homeschooling involves lesson planning, and this particular lesson included some cooking as well as a trip to the library and some web searches, printing and other planning.  But Pi day was a success!

First we read the first Sir Cumference book.  Actually, Orion read it to Raven while I set up the table for the measuring project.  But Raven liked it so much, I had to read it to him again. 

Then it was time to discover Pi.   First, Orion measured various cylinders, and wrote down the circumference and diameters.  Raven looks thrilled, huh?

Orion measures can



 

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Next, Raven used the calculator to find the ratio of the circumference to the diameter.  Orion helped a bit!

 Raven uses the calculator

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Then we read the Pi page from “Math, a book you can count on,” and I asked Raven to check on his computer what todays date was – Raven got the connection! 

We had a break for martial arts and lunch, and when we came back, Orion completed the worksheet from the link above, tried calculating the circumference of one item using the diameter and Pi from his calculator, 3.14, or 3, to see what a difference the decimals make.  And finally he did this worksheet, on practical applications of Pi.

Meanwhile, Raven helped me make his favorite pie – pumpkin!  He read as much of the recipe as he could, helped me with all the measuring, told me the final mixture looked like poo, and reminded me that I’d forgotten to set the timer – good catch!

And dinner on Pi day looks kinda like this:

We have chocolate tofu pudding pie with almond crust

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We have lemon coconut gelatin pie with gfcf cookie crumb crust

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we have gfcfef crustless pumpkin pie

and just for some balance . . .

hot dogs!!

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MMMM, PIE!

January 30, 2011

A day in the life

Filed under: Home School — by dbmamaz @ 12:19 pm

I decided to document a typical thursday in our homeschool.  All times are VERY approximate.

9:15-ish dh and I come downstairs after showering. boys are in pjs playing on electronic media.  dh leaves for work.

9:30 Orion and I eat breakfast and I start checking all my electronic media

10:00 Orion takes a shower and Raven eats breakfast and I continue checking on all my electronic media

11:00 (ok, if I’m feeling really lazy or lots of my friends posted really interesting things overnight, it might be 11:30) I announce its time for school. 
Raven shakes off and sorts placemats from the dining room table, and puts them where they belong. 
Orion removes everything else from the table and I wipe it down.

11:05 (or 11:10 if Raven had a tantrum) we sing a song from our UU songbook

11:10 Orion starts french and Raven and I go upstairs. 
Raven gets dressed and we sit in his bed reading together.  Right now we are going through every book in his shelf to see if we can get rid of some.  Doesnt look like we can!

11:30  I come downstairs and Orion and I start on MCT LA – monday is poetry, tuesday is grammar practice, wed is vocab, thurs and fri are writing. 
Raven has free time to play w toys, pet cats, whatever.

12:00 Raven does Time4Learning (whatever he wants to do there) and Orion and I do math.

12:30 we walk the dog

1:00 we eat lunch.  The kids might watch an educational video during lunch.  Orion might read.  I might be on fb.

(if we are running late, which happens often, first we eat lunch and then walk the dog)

if we aren’t running late, we might do some chores or take a (no video games) break, meaning Orion and I can check fb. 

around 2:00 we go back to the dining room table and read 4 pages (2 spreads) of the Usborne history book together. 

Next, Raven does a half page of handwriting.  we are supposed to do something else after that, but havent managed yet. 
Orion reads a chapter of Story of Science, a chapter of Little History of the World, and a few pages of Asimov’s Chronology of the world.  If he didn’t read fiction during some of his free time during the day, he also reads 30 minutes of fiction.

and we’re done by 3 most days!

Of course, monday and Wednesday we have martial arts at noon, so we skip french and dog walking. Wed afternoon is left free for park day and friday afternoons might be left open for a project of some sort.

Note, when the dining room table looks like this by the end of the day, I feel like we must have accomplished something!!

Dining Room table

January 25, 2011

Chocolate Cinnamon Bread with Sugar Crust

Filed under: Uncategorized — by dbmamaz @ 9:14 pm

My baker friend Christi Wampler Macomber has given me permission to share her wonderful recipe!  I have made it gfcf , and I swear I’ve never found a baked good as addictive!  I’ve never tasted her version, but my version comes out like a cross between brownies and coffee cake.  My subs are in parenthesis.  Enjoy!

Chocolate Cinnamon Bread with Sugar Crust

1/2 cup butter, room temperature (Earth Balance)
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup all purpose flour (gfcf mix plus 3/4 tsp guar or xanthan)
2/3 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup buttermilk (soy yoghurt)
2 tbsp water
1 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cocoa powder
pinch ground cloves

  • Preheat the oven to 350F and thoroughly grease a 9×5″ loaf pan.
  • In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Beat in eggs one at a time, waiting until the previous egg has been completely incorporated before adding the next.
  • In a medium bowl, sift together all purpose flour, cocoa powder, cinnamon, salt, baking powder and baking soda.
  • In a measuring cup, whisk together buttermilk, water and vanilla extract.
  • Working in two or three additions, alternately add the flour mixture and the buttermilk mixture to the sugar mixture. Begin and end with an addition of the flour mix.
  • Pour batter into prepared loaf pan.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together topping ingredients: sugar, cinnamon, cocoa powder and ground cloves. Sprinkle evenly on top of the loaf cake.
  • Bake at 350F for about 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • Allow cake to cool in pan for 10-15 minutes, then run a knife around the edge and turn out onto a wire cooling rack.
    Cool completely before slicing.

Flour mix:  equal parts:

  • Soy flour
  • Coconut flour
  • Corn flour
  • Potato starch
  • Arrowroot flour
  • Quinoa flakes

January 10, 2011

first week of the rest of your life

Filed under: Home School — by dbmamaz @ 4:24 pm

Yeah, that’s a little dramatic.  How about the first week of my new schedule! Or of 2011!

I made my usual new years resolution . . . floss my teeth more often!  But there were other things I just couldn’t bring myself to say out loud.

AFter rereading 2009’s year in review, and writing 2010’s year in review, i saw more clearly how much of the stress of the last two years was about my daughter. She moved out in september, and 4 months out, it’s looking like she is settling in stably to her new home.  So i realized its time to stop living as if I’m in the middle of an ongoing crisis, and get back to business. Over the break, I put together a plan for the first few weeks of our science/history curriculum.  Just before vacation ended, I created a weekly schedule, similar to the one I used when I first started homeschooling. 

Monday was the first day of the new schedule.  And it went pretty well.  We began with a song from a UU songbook, which both boys seemed happy to participate in.  My first day of martial arts after a 2.5 week break didn’t kill me.  Raven’s fear that history would be boring was unfounded, and Orion liked all his books and his afternoon reading assignments went faster than he had expected.

 Tuesday was going well until Orion and I decided it was time to see if a cup of tea would help with his adhd symptoms – several of my friends had had great results.  Instead, he had a major flare-up of his tics.  we had to tweak the schedule and watch a video on egypt instead of doing math.

Wednesday is supposed to be park day, but my new plan is that if the weather is not good enough to go the park, we’ll do board games.  We played a game of States Bingo and a partial game of Equate, which is like Scrabble with numbers.  Very nice. 

Thursday had a late start (because the cat had turned off the alarm) and for some reason, Orion went in to crying/panic mode.  Again we had to shift the schedule around a bit, but again, we got everything done (except math). 

And then there was friday . . . the day that I slept 2 hours later than my usual wake-up time and felt like a zombie.   Finally, I felt there was something our schedule couldn’t quite fix . . . so i declared a sick day.

Overall, having a schedule did make the week go more smoothly. Even on the days that something came up, for the most part I was able to tweak the schedule, instead of giving up.  I felt like we got more done with less stress than we did before break.  Hopefully we can keep this up . . and who knows, maybe I can get back to blogging, too.  But no promises!

January 1, 2011

2010 in review

Filed under: about — by dbmamaz @ 12:14 am

Much of this year, like last, was focused on family drama and my homeschooling adventures.

My daughter started off the year with a new therapist.  Heron and I both liked her, and I think she helped lower the conflict level between us.   She referred Heron to a new med doctor, who suggested a new med.  However, after a week, it became clear that Heron did not have a cold or a flu, but a whole new bad med reaction.  By march, Heron was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, a permanent condition.  Heron had to withdraw from the community college classes, where she was doing so well, and was barely able to fulfill her obligations to earn her high school diploma. 

But don’t think Heron had cornered the drama market!  Orion was banned from having a PC on the network for the entire year, which put a big crimp in home school.  Orion’s tics came back with a vengeance this winter, as well as his anxiety. There were a few days his tics were so bad, he couldn’t hold his head still to read.  He was officially dx’d with Tourette’s by the end of the year, in addition to his previous atypical bipolar and pdd-nos.  He also managed to need stitches  . . . 20 minutes after his step-dad bought him some new woodworking chisels!  After that experience, he went back to his sewing hobby, buying himself a sewing machine with his birthday money . . .and making a LOT of sock creatures!

I had started a blog in the beginning of the year, and was very excited about it for a while, but basically stopped cold after Heron’s dx.  I failed to write about the wonderful Virginia Homeschoolers conference, or about our remarkable visit to the zoo (which involved a monkey stealing a gosling!), or about our summer road trip to Canada to see my in-laws. 

After increasing conflict with my mother and sister over where Heron should live, I put my strained relationship with them on hold.  Heron, of course, finally came up with a workable plan – her bf’s mom in CA agreed to let Heron move in there.  Heron moved out the day of her 18th birthday, September 5th.  I cried like crazy in the airport, and i miss her often, but I am very glad she is where she is. 

Over the summer we got a new dog – Charlie, an 8 yo black lab mix who had been at the rescue organization for 5 years.  As much as he loves me and Orion, he’s nervous around Raven and HATES my husband.  (Well, really, he’s afraid – of men, of balls, of stairs . . . ).  I also ALMOST joined a just-forming home school co-op, but that fell through.

Home school started with a bang – we signed up for a home school martial arts class for the whole family. I find the class incredibly exhausting, to the point where we sometimes have no school for the next day or two after a class, but all of us have earned our yellow belt, and both boys are doing really well.  I feel that, at my age, it’s really important to get in to shape.

Home schooling has not felt as smooth this year.  I scheduled a few field trips with some of my home school friends, and then found out that my best home-school buddy will be leaving the state as soon as he can sell his house.  I’ve been spending more time on Orion’s academic, and struggling hard with math – but making some progress.  But meanwhile, I feel like I”ve been neglecting Raven (and he agrees with me). 

So, I’m hoping the new year finds me able to really create a better home school routine for myself and the boys.  and hopefully my husband will find another job, one that doesn’t give him nightmares like this one does!

June 25, 2010

Life grows

Filed under: Picture heavy — by dbmamaz @ 12:21 pm
Tags: ,

Looking around my yard, I was reminded of how life grows, even when there seems to be no reason to grow, even when the odds seem stacked against it.  Somehow I find this inspiring.

I planted daisy seeds one year, but nothing came up.  2 years later I noticed a plant which I didn’t recognize as a weed, so I let it grow.  3 years later its really flourishing!  (be patient)

These morning glories reseeded themselves from the ones I planted last year.  I love free flowers!   They don’t love the 100 degree heat, tho.  (good things can come without cost)

I planted two of these lovely Echinacea plants, and they’ve taken over my garden!   (sometimes a small effort can grow in to something even more beautiful)

My husband tried to remove this Crepe Myrtle by cutting it to the ground.  Does it look dead to you?  Brilliant!  (can’t stop this bush so easily)

This tree was removed by a professional, the stump ground down.  And its grown back to a 7 foot hight this year.   The gladiola was silent for the six years I’ve lived here, but blooms now that the large tree has been gone for two years.

Life continues, no matter what obstacles come up or how impossible the circumstances may seem.  And it’s still beautiful.

May 9, 2010

Today, I am mother

Filed under: family — by dbmamaz @ 10:49 am

This is my mother’s day post.

I actually wrote this about 6 years ago.  I got such great feedback, I even tried to get it published – but no, it’s still all mine.  I hope you like it

———————————————————————

Today, I am mother.

Today, I wake early, bundling myself and the baby.  I make sure my son remembers his backpack, and push my daughter to hurry out the door, and then drive my husband to the commuter lot, because he forgot his glasses at work yesterday.  

Today, I nurse the fussy baby to sleep in the sling while checking my email. 

Today I struggle to squeeze shower, breakfast, lunch, and dishes in between the brief naps and moments of content play.

Today I spend hours nursing, comforting, babbling, playing with rattles and changing diapers.

Today I run to the store . . . is it shoes he’s outgrown?  Sweaters she’s lost?  My honey is out of shampoo?  Or just the eternal need to feed the fridge and the pantry?

Today I make cookies with the baby and get chocolate on the sling.

Today I bathe the baby and change his outfit several times, but wear my spit-stained sweater as a badge of motherhood.

Today I whip up a quick, delicious, nutritious meal.  I hold the baby and eat one-handed while listening to the stories their teachers told them today, or their friends, or their books.  I have them dressed for Tae Kwan Do and  I meet my husband at the door with his bag packed, making sure he greets the baby before he leaves again.

Today, while my family is working hard towards their next belts, I lay in bed, exhausted, with a crying, sleepless babe in my arms.  I put him back in the sling and pace my room, eyeing the unfolded laundry on the bed and listening to the  lullaby cd, a gift from my Canadian sister-in-law.  I dont understand a word, but mothering a baby to sleep is the same in every language.

Today, after 20 minutes of pacing, I finally lay a sleeping baby down, still wrapped in the sling.  Eventually I will find a chance to wash it.

Today, I am mother.  Some day I will again be loving wife and sexy partner.  Some day I will be valued employee and helpful coworker.  Some day I will be singing my favorite song in the car at the top of my lungs, feeling full of myself in my favorite outfit.

But today, I am mother.  Today my love for my family permeates every little task and makes it meaningful.  Today will live on in the hearts of my children, and some day I will wash the sling again for my grandchildren.  Today I am tired and overwhelmed and underpaid but well loved.  Today, and for the rest of my days, I am mother.

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