I was putting away groceries. Was only on the first bag.
"MAMA! He is playing with POOP in the toilet!"
Thankfully it was only a wooden hotdog.
Yes, we keep the bathroom door shut usually but my older son was in there washing his hands when baby walked in. He gravitates toward the toilet like an ant to a candy dish. To him it is a waterplay table at just the right height. Ew.
What was the grossest thing you ever walked in on?
So the little guy is into everything now.
Messing with the oven, digging in the cat food bowls, throwing stuff in the toilet. Everything. I'm stuck between thinking "we NEED to get a baby gate/toilet lock/oven guard!" and "This is temporary. I've done this. Don't waste money on that junk to make your life easier for two months." I have this argument with myself several times a day.
We didn't get any of that gear with my eldest, we just braved through it and eventually he stopped messing with stuff. Somehow having two is harder though. (Gee, who knew!?)
But, but...I'm a parenting gear minimalist! Or at least I was. I don't have a fancy stroller that has trays and drink holders (for both mom & baby!) and storage baskets underneath. But I secretly want one. I don't have gates and playpens and assorted swings, bouncers and baby entertainment centers. But wouldn't that make it so much easier?! Somehow having a second child makes me want more and more "gear" because I somehow believe that having gear will make it easier. But will it?
Save the money and be patient? Buy some gear? Back and forth, back and forth.
Anyone want to weigh in? Do you have more gear with each kid? Less?
It was my birthday on Saturday!
It is a tradition that I get shoes for my birthday and these are the winners this year. Love them. They are by Spring Step. Yes, yet another "comfort shoe" brand. Hey, I have persnickety feet. Comfort + funky fashion shoes are like the ultimate quest for me so I constantly browse the "sensible, ugly, grandma walking shoe" brands in case something cool appears. Bingo!
And no, that is no skirt I'm wearing, it is a towel. I was presented with the shoes after getting out of the tub after being brought breakfast in bed after being allowed to sleep in for the first time in like...four years.
After a morning like that there is no reason to get dressed.
Apparently I'm all about food these days. Fall does that to me.
When we went on our annual pumpkin patch/raspberry picking trip a few weeks back we stopped in at Mom's Country Orchard like we always do as our last stop. We got some fruit and honey (local & pesticide free) and a caramel apple too. And a pickle. The pickle. The best pickle we have ever had. So we bought the rest in the jar and ate them on the drive home. Fought over them.
We talked to the son ("Mom" was also there, it is a true family run operation) and told him his pickles were the best ever. He makes them using cucumbers and herbs that he grows. We asked him if he ever thought about turning his pickles into a larger business, bottling them and distributing them. He simply replied, "No, because then the quality would go down." It was then that I decided I must find a way to be adopted into that family.
I talked about it the whole way home in fact. About how I want to leave the city and run an apple orchard and make pickles. I asked my husband, "Do you think if I just showed up at their door they'd let me hang out with them?" And even, "Do you think I could marry into that family somehow? You could come with." He just laughed at me and told me he could see I was having one of my "rustic lifestyle crushes" again.
But back to the pickles. The best pickles in the whole world. He gave us the recipe. Just gave it to us. How cool is that?
So I may not run an apple orchard, but I make pickles! Okay, that is totally a lie. My husband made these pickles, I merely watched with a baby on my hip. Damn they are good. The best ever.
I decided to make up my own acorn bread recipe since we were playing around with acorn processing. Acorns are ready here a bit early this year, just like the apples were.
Did you know you can eat acorns? Not many people know that anymore. It was the main plant food of the Chumash Indians once upon a time. They processed them and used them for mush, for soup or for bread daily. They may have harvested from the same trees we did, which is entirely possible since some of the oaks are over 500 years old. Gives me goosebumps.
Then you remove the shell and pick out the acorn meat. Taste it. It tastes terrible! Spit it out. Acorns have a lot of tannic acid in them that must be leached out before they are edible. Those tannins are great for natural dyes though!
We blended them in our blender and then added boiling water. After a few hours the acorn sludge sunk, leaving the icky brown tannic water on top that I sucked off with a turkey baster. And then we did it again. And again. And again. It took us two days to fully leach these. How do you know they are fully leached? Taste the mush. It was finally mildly sweet and nutty tasting.
We fully intended to dry ours in the California hot sun just like the Chumash did...but it was raining. So out came the food dehydrator. In an oven on low would work too but I just know I'd forget and burn it. After days of acorn processing I was not going to risk that.
Here is my acorn bread recipe. Since I don't really know what I'm doing, I just based it on a bunch of other normal bread recipes and I tweaked it to include the acorn flour. I was too chicken to do it 100% acorn flour since it took us so long to process it. That flour is precious! It made a nice crusty bread that is slightly sweet. Perfect for topping with honey butter.
Mix the yeast with the lukewarm water, honey and sugar and set aside. Mix all the rest of the ingredients. Combine your wet with your dry and mix and knead. Place dough into an oiled pan (we oil with coconut oil) and cover with a wet towel to rise for 45 minutes. Punch it down and let rise covered with wet towel for another 45 minutes. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes.
By the way, yes indeed, the Chumash had to process and leach their acorns this same way. Although without the blender, dehydrator and oven! Good grief it was a lot of work even with my modern appliances. I imagine dealing with the acorn processing was a fulltime task. Talk about slow food. I'm so glad we tried this!
PS - Different acorns taste very different. Some are actually very sweet after processing, but all of them need to be leached to remove the tannins. Once you learn what kind are in your area you can find out how best to process and eat them.
It rained for three lovely days before I remembered to wear my rain boots. And when I did? The rain stopped. This has happened at least four times now. I think these boots have anti-rain magic.
Our weekend included our autumn tradition that I look forward to all year. Check out last year's raspberry picking photo next to this year:
My what a difference a year makes. Can you believe that one year old in a carrier is the same little baby inside my belly just a year prior? Amazing. I'm pretty sure my oldest is wearing the same green shirt and I can see how quickly he switched from toddler to boy. I look forward to marking the season with this tradition though the years. We've been doing this before we had kids.
Added any new autumn traditions lately?
My little one turns one today. Oh how fast that year went. Fastest year yet. I only hope I enjoyed it as much as I could have. The last baby in my arms that is fully mine. Did I hold him enough when he was tiny? Did I gaze at him enough while he slept? Did I take enough photos? I wish I could go back one more time and drink it all in. I wish I would have known how truly fleeting it all was. You can never, ever see it when you are in it though. Just like I can't see it now. Well, I can at this moment but in an hour or so I will forget. I have to. It is impossible to savor every little moment and still get the laundry done. (Or should I be savoring the laundry? Probably. I'm no good at this stuff, laundry gets the auto-pilot version of me.)
Course the babyhood that is lost is replaced by a smiling, curious little guy who started to walk last week. His first wobbly steps across the room. His big toothy grin and his laughter that fills our house. The way he crawls after the cat and lays his head down on him when he catches up to him. The way he reaches for me when I walk by while someone else is holding him. Oh yes, you can bet I'm savoring all of this today.
I also can't help but think about being in labor a year ago right now. And his birth. And the seven and a half hours of pushing that it took to get him out. And all the other bumps in that road that I got past during that pregnancy and my goal of a VBAC. I still feel filled with gratitude that we had an amazing birth experience, despite so many odds stacked against us. So his birthday will always mark my little secret celebration for this. For trusting myself.
Wow. A year!
PS - My mom and my aunt are in town to celebrate this little guy so it may be quiet here for a few days.