Tuesday
Feb142017

February the 14th

Now that she has had three chances to make up her mind, Mila would like to declare Valentine's Day to be THE VERY BEST EVER ZOMG WEEEEEEE!

That might be the sugar talking, by the way. Somehow the kid managed to return home from daycare with a box filled with sugary treats, and that was on top of the giant cupcakes I sent with her to share with her friends. Which, you guys. This morning Mila walked into daycare carrying a tray of cupcakes bigger than her and she told everyone, "I have cupcakes for my friends" and it was the cutest thing ever.

I digress.

The point I was trying to make was that Mila came home with a giant box of candy. I initially was going to take the whole thing away from her, but then I decided to just let her go all in while I made dinner. If I did that with Alexis, she would eat two pieces, complain her belly hurt, and go back to not eating candy for weeks on end.

This is Mila we're talking about, though.

Mila tried to set a World Record for most candy consumed in under 10 minutes. She. went. all. in. I'm not sure if she remembered to breathe or not, but I do know she couldn't have shoved M&Ms into her mouth faster if her life had depended on it.

When it became clear that Mila wasn't going to self-regulate EVER, I cut her off. Whoever said it's easy to take candy from a baby was a liar, of course, so prying that sucker out of her hands very nearly cost me my life.

There was a lot of screaming and a lot of crying.

And then Mila punched me. She went from angry that I was taking her candy, to sad that I was taking her candy, to punching me.

Just.

Like.

That.

So basically I spent Valentine's Day patiently waiting for a super pissed off toddler to apologize for punching me because she wasn't allowed out of time out until she calmed down and apologized.

It took a while.

It took so long that she basically went from time out to bed. As we curled up in the chair in Mila's room, she was still doing that half-sob thing people do when they've been crying for a while. As her breathing worked its way to normal, she sighed. Then she quietly whispered, "I just wuv you, mommy."

So, yeah. Happy Valentine's Day.

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Monday
Feb132017

Important List Stuff

I am a list person. I start every day with a fresh To Do list and then my lists grow lists and everything exists somewhere on a list. There are lists for the places we need to be, lists for the things I need to buy, and lists for the things that need to happen far in the future.

If I combine the lists, sometimes they make decisions easy. Will there be destruction? Is there a chance that things might catch fire? Is chaos likely? THEN MILA NEEDS TO GO THERE.

That's how we ended up at a Monster Truck thing this past weekend. Alexis has lived that adventure before and liked it, despite being completely out of her element, but Mila had not. AND HOOBOY IS THAT HER ELEMENT.

Mila spent most of the show sitting in my lap, eyes locked on the action below. It was all very serious business, so there was no smiling or laughing, but I think that may be because she was focused on learning. She learned how to flip a truck over just by driving up a hill. She learned how to smash a truck up just the right amount so that it both sparks a fire and remains driveable. That's key, really. It's no fun setting something on fire unless you can drive around with fire. Because fire.

Mila learned a lot that evening.

And so did I.

I learned that it's really super important not to block Mila's view of fire and big trucks. Because if you do? If you happen to prevent her from being able to see what she wants to see?

A post shared by Burgh Baby (@burghbaby) on

She will destroy you with just one look.

I'm putting that at the top of my list. Never again will I anger Tiny Human quite that much.

I hope.

Sunday
Feb122017

Raisin Bread (Of Sorts) by Goob

There is this recipe that my maternal grandmother made that I just can't figure out. I last ate the most perfect cookies ever when I was younger than Alexis is now, so it exists only in a tiny corner of my mind. There's a chance that some others in the family have the key words written somewhere safe, but for reasons beyond my own comprehension, I've made up my mind to keep trying to figure it out.

It has been years since I first began the adventure. This week I tried again before concluding that I'm no closer than I was when I started.

And yet.

I continue. There is a point at which I will find the right blend of sugar and flour and milk and the right technique for combining them. In the meantime, I've considered writing about the quest, but then I peered through some emails and came across words that do it better than I ever could. They were the bread in a sandwich filled with two recipes that I'm excited to try because my quest to try all sorts of recipes passed down from immigrants really has been my favorite thing ever.

(If you've sent one of those recipes, thank you. I'm working my way through them. Each one is a delightful little gift and will show up here when the time comes. If you haven't sent one, please do.)

Here are Goob's words. They most perfectly explain why the trying is more important than the succeeding.

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# Raisin Bread, One

If you look on a map somewhat between Scranton and Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, you'll find a small town named Pittston there, hedged up against the left bank of the Susquehanna in the rolling coal hills in that corner of our Commonwealth. Zoom in, a little, and look for Church St. If you have a moment, switch to satellite view and zoom in further, so you can count the churches. This is where my Grandmother lived, and where she made her raisin bread.

We simply could not eat enough of that stuff. She made it with a rich dough, golden from the eggs and butter she worked into it, letting it rise twice and then to bake up fluffy but rich. Her raisin bread was best when it came out of the toaster, quickly spread with warmed butter from the cut glass dish on the counter, and crammed into one's mouth faster than could be considered safe. It toasted up a warm brown, crispy and delicious, hot and tender inside and swirled with fat juicy raisins. She would make three loaves, one for her and two for everyone else, and the house would always be down to one loaf in very short order.

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# Raisin Bread, II

I called my parents the other evening; they picked up the phone and put me on speaker, so they could both speak to me while they were going over papers they had spread out over their dining room table. They were looking for my Grandmother's raisin bread recipe, amongst the artifacts and ephemera she left behind for us, hoping to get some assistance in recreating that bread that all of that side of my family can remember with fondness.

"Have you got a copy of Joy," I asked them. "Joy of Cooking, maybe late sixties? There's a recipe in there for White Bread Plus, and that's as close as I ever got."

"Oh, that one," Dad said. "Does that one have an egg in it?"

"I think it's optional," I told him, "but I always put one in. I never get the raisins right, though."

"Ah, the raisins," he said. "I don't know exactly what my mom did to the raisins." There was a shuffling of paper. "We're looking for the recipe."

They haven't found the recipe yet. We talked a bit that night about raisins in bread, and what to do about them: soak them first in something: milk, maybe, or the proofing water with the yeast and the sugar. He's tried rolling them in flour, but that didn't work at all; maybe coating them in melted butter? We have a lot of things to try. We might figure it out. And even if we don't figure it out, we'll be practicing, and any time I've ever practiced something I've gotten better at it. So we'll practice, and we'll make better bread, and we will think warmly of Grandma as we smear it with warm butter from the dish on the table.

I think she'd be pleased with that.