Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The End of an Era

Dear Delilah,

We spent a couple of days this weekend up north at the lake house with your grandparents, aunts and uncles, and cousin from my side of the family. Our trips to the lake house are always relaxing and fun, and seeing you get more comfortable with the lake, the dock, the boats, and the general surroundings is a sign of your growing independence.

Yesterday morning, your Aunt Janelle and I went kayaking out on the lake together, taking in the beautiful morning, admiring some of the other lake front properties, and just chatting. At one point your Aunt said "Just think, before you know it, Delilah will be old enough to kayak on this lake with you!" I smiled at the thought; then she quickly followed with, "But I suppose by the time she can handle a kayak by herself, she'll be too old to want to hang out with mom."

Miss Independent
Too true, and an aspect of this whole growing up thing that I haven't let myself think much about yet. Right now, watching you grow more and more independent, and learning who you are as your own person, is a joyful adventure. It's an adventure I get to share with you and observe closely. I get to feel my heart swell with pride when you learn something new all on your own, or attempt a feat that has always frightened you. One day, that independence will grow too big for my observation, too big for me to share so completely. You'll want to learn and explore on your own, try new things without supervision, and by the time you can kayak by yourself, you'll probably be bringing a friend along for the weekends at the lake house to join you on the water.

All of this is still a long way off, but just bringing its inevitability into my awareness is enough to inspire me to be more present in each moment, to more fully celebrate and appreciate each milestone I get to share with you or see firsthand.

Last night, shortly after you'd fallen asleep, you awoke again, crying out in what sounded like fear, perhaps from a bad dream. Your father went in to comfort you, and after he left, you started crying again. Tired after our weekend and wanting nothing more than to curl up in front of the TV with your daddy and turn my brain off, I begrudgingly made my way to your bedroom to take a turn at comforting and hopefully soothing you back to sleep.

As I laid down next to you and started gently rubbing your back and stroking your hair, I thought again of your Aunt's words about you being too big to want to hang around with your mother. It occurred to me that along with increasing independence will come more complex challenges to overcome, more painful emotions, and more exposure to all that is ugly in this world. I couldn't hold back my tears as I thought about how precious this time is, when your greatest troubles are bad dreams, and when those troubles can easily be soothed by my presence and loving touch. There will come a time, all too soon, when I cannot make everything all better with a hand on your back or my fingers in your hair.

So I laid there longer than I had planned to, drinking in the beauty of your innocence in the dim light of your night light, and relishing this brief time of my motherly omnipotence. Right on cue, your little brother or sister, nestled in my womb, gave me a good solid kick, reminding me of an era that will come to end much sooner than that of you needing your mama. The days of your era as my only child are numbered, and this time for you and I will soon come to end. This time with you has been so special to me. You made me a mother. You, the daughter that I always dreamed of having, have taught me so much about myself, about what is important to me, and about what is important for the future of our world. As excited as I am for us to become a family of four, I know that a part of me will always miss your first years, when it was just you, me, and your daddy, loving each other and growing into the family we've become, just the three of us.



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Monday, September 3, 2012

Meatless Monday: Apple & Carrot Muffins

It always feels like I'm cheating when I post a baking recipe for Meatless Monday, but since the Lentil Loaf recipe I was hoping to share this week needs some perfecting, I present to you these already perfectly perfect Apple & Carrot Pulp Muffins! I recently acquired a juicer, and to be honest, I was just as excited about finding delicious ways to use the pulp left over from the juicing process as I was to drink the juice itself. I came up with this recipe by combining suggestions from a few different recipes for carrot pulp muffins. If you don't juice, you can make these muffins using shredded apple and carrot. This recipe makes 2 dozen dense, moist muffins and takes about 45 minutes from start to ready-to-eat cooled muffins.

By the way, Apple-Carrot Juice is delicious!
What You'll Need:

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup ground flax seeds
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 3 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/8 cups brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups coconut (or other, but I recommend coconut) oil-softened
  • 3/8 cup water
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 6 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3 cups apple/carrot pulp (or equal amount shredded apple/carrot)

What You'll Do:
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease (or use cooking spray) 2 Muffin tins.
  • Mix flour, flax, salt, cinnamon, and baking soda.
  • In a separate (large) bowl, mix sugar, oil, water, and vanilla extract, then add eggs and mix thoroughly. Gently stir in pulp.
  • Add dry ingredients in 2-3 additions, mixing well after each addition.
  • Spoon into greased muffin pans and bake for 20 minutes. Muffins are done when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. 
  • Allow to cool on wire racks for about 10 minutes.
  • Enjoy! (I recommend a glass of Apple-Carrot juice as an accompaniment!)

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