Wednesday, December 30, 2009

1 year ago right now

We were flying high on adrenaline and excitement. In just a few moments your first visitor, Auntie Kira, would come to see you. We were making phone calls to our family and friends to share the big news. The baby is here!! It's a boy!!

The details of that day will forever be etched in my mind:

A 12:30 am wake up call when my water broke...

Telling Daddy at 2 am that I didn't care what we have packed, we have to get in the car RIGHT NOW..

Yelling at Maia on my way out the door (surprisingly, this would be the only yelling I'd do during your birth)...

Gripping the door handle every 3 minutes for the entire 50 minute ride chanting "Oh God, Oh God, Oh God"...

Walking into Labor and Delivery and hunching over as I walked up to the desk, just in time for another contraction....

The nurse telling me to go ahead and try to poop, it might make me feel better....

Walking out of the bathroom with tears in my eyes and looking at the head nurse to tell her, I don't think this is poop....

Hopping up on the table for her to examine me and her first words "Guess what? You're having this baby, and you're having it SOON"...

The look of terror on the resident's face as he stood in the back of the room, not yet scrubbed in, this must have been his first birth....

Laughing with the nurses between each contraction, hoping the doc would please just show up so we could do this thing....

Being told that you had hair....

The moment Doc walked in the door and said "You guys don't mess around, looks like you're getting that tax deduction after all!"....

The cheers from the nurses and your Daddy when it was time to push....

Our head nurse announcing: "You have a.....KEATON!!"

It is surreal to me that you are one whole year old today. Having you in our lives has made this past year simply amazing. You have taught us so much about ourselves and we have been in awe watching you grow and learn new things. You are an awesome little boy and we love you so much.

Happy 1st Birthday, Keaton Bruske!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Dear Keaton: 11 Months

Dear Keaton,

Two weeks ago you turned 11 months old. Do you know what that means Buddy? In less than a month you are going to be one. One year old. I am having a hard time wrapping my mind around that. I mean you are definitely more a toddler these days than a baby, but still, one whole year old?

This month has been your month of diaper change protest. I might have told you in the past that you liked to put a fight during diaper changes, but nothing could have prepared us for the challenge it would be in November. The screaming, the kicking, the turning, the insisting that you had to sit up in the middle of each and every change; it made the task a two-man job. Daddy usually got the role of entertainer while I got the dirty job. There was more than once when I was battling you alone that I gave up and let you crawl around nakie for awhile. As you cruised around your room going from toy to toy, I sat down and laid my head against the changer, trying to regain my energy before going for round two. Thankfully, like most things, this seems to have been a stage. Though I wouldn’t say all of your diaper changes these days are smooth sailing, on a whole they are going much better then last month.

I told you about your music time with Busha last month. The two of you continue to have this time every afternoon. You sit together in the kitchen, you on Busha’s lap, and once the music starts you both “play the piano;” strumming your fingertips on the counter. A couple of weeks ago we were at church and it was towards the end of the service and you were starting to get squirmy but suddenly the organ started playing and you instantly sat up straight and still, raised your arms and started “playing the piano.” Daddy and I looked at each other and our hearts melted right then and there. About a week after that I was feeding you breakfast and we were listening to Christmas music when a song with heavy piano accompaniment came on the radio and again you raised your arms to start playing. I, however, mistook it for your wild arm flailing that is always combined with an ahh, ahh, ahh. I started ahhing at you and you furrowed your brow and gave me a stern look and if you could talk I know you would have said: Quiet please, I’m playing the piano over here.

My favorite memory from this month happened after I had to go down to Milwaukee for work. I got home so late that night and you and Daddy had to leave so early the next morning that we basically went 24 hours without seeing each other. When I came home the next day from work you and Daddy were playing in the living room. As soon as I shut the door I could hear the little pitter patter of your hands and knees hitting the tile in the entryway. You finally rounded the corner, heading for the kitchen, and as you did you looked up and saw it was me. You let out a squeal of delight and you couldn’t get your body moving fast enough to get to me. I hope you are always that excited to see me. I know I will always be that excited to see you.

Well Stink, it’s be a fun month and we’re looking forward to celebrating your first birthday in just a few short weeks.

Love you so much,

P.S. Yes, that is the best picture we got of you during your monthly photo shoot. Sitting still is something of the past.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Soul in the Season: Winter 09/10

I have the day off of work today; a vacation day that was meant to be spent in Chicago. Due to an unfortunate turn of events, my trip was canceled and instead we will be heading to the Appleton area in a couple of hours to attend the funeral (or, actually, the celebration of life) of the mother of a friend.

Instead of a day full of rest, relaxation, and regrouping, I've spent the day digging bark out of the baby's mouth, cleaning up the 3rd spilled bowl of dog water this week, and cleaning thrown yogurt, milk, and apple juice off the floor. Don't get me wrong, I love my son with all my heart, but it has been over 11 months since I've had more than a couple of hours to myself. This is was supposed to be my day. Now, the day hasn't been all bad, there has also been lots of dancing to Christmas music, watching the first snowfall through the patio doors, and plenty of Eskimo kisses. But still. My day.

I was planning on posting some pictures this afternoon while the baby napped, but instead I thought my soul might need a little reminder of all the good things to come in the next few months. The things I'd like to do this winter.....
  • Go snowshoeing.
  • Take Keaton to see Santa.
  • Pull Keaton around in a sled, in the snow.
  • Spend an afternoon (or at least a few hours) reading a book in front of the fire.
  • Make chicken or turkey noodle soup from scratch.
  • Bake Christmas cookies.
  • Start/continue some traditions for St. Nicks Day, St. Lucia Day, and Valentine's Day.
  • Drink hot chocolate with marshmallows on top.

What is on your Soul in the Season list for this winter?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

In the Kitchen

As we enter the month of December my mind is quickly switching gears. The leaves are gone, the pumpkins are rotting (and need to be thrown away!), and the burnt orange and brown decorations are slowing being converted to reds and greens to make way for Christmas. I love autumn, I'll miss autumn, but I'm also looking forward to this new season: to a blanket of white, warm hot chocolate, evenings by the fire.

I started this Soul in the Season list at a time that I felt myself loosing sight of the little things that make life so meaningful. After publishing it here I printed it out and hung it on the fridge. I had no idea at that time just how important it would become. This little list has been my lifeline the past three months. Each time I felt myself getting overwhelmed with work or keeping the house clean I'd come back to it and it would remind me that laundry can be done another day, we have an apple orchard to visit or pumpkin chocolate chip muffins to bake.

I'm happy to report that we did all but one item on the list. We did not make it out on our running trail to take pictures during fall colors. The weather this October was a bit uncooperative and when we were home it was too darn wet and cold, and when the weather was nice, we were out of town. So, next year. Next year.

A number of items on my list for this season involved baking or cooking and rather than posting these individually I thought I'd do one big "in the kitchen" post. Here are the things I've been making this season.

Apple Crisp

I actually lost track as to how many apple crisps we made this year. I believe it was 5 or 6. One day while Collin was home with Keaton he made two or three himself and put them in our freezer so we'll be able to enjoy it this winter, when fresh apples are a thing of the past.

When I make apple crisp I use this recipe. I started using this in the fall of 2002, when I made my first crisp in my apartment in Waukesha. I still love this recipe.

When Collin makes apple crisp he uses the recipe from the Betty Crocker Cookbook: Bridal Edition.

Both recipes are delish.

Why yes, that is a piece that has already been eaten, just minutes after being removed from the oven :)

Apple Sauce

I've never made homemade apple sauce before but after making it this summer for Keaton I had to ask myself why not?? Homemade apple sauce tastes SO MUCH better than store bought. SO MUCH better.

I looked up some recipes online, some called for sugar, some called for cinnamon, some called for boiling the apples, some for steaming. In the end I steamed the apples, peeled off the skin and then put them in the blender, just like I did over the summer for Keaton's puree. I used a Bakers Mix selection from Lapacek's Orchard and because these apples were so fresh and so tasty, we decided not to add any cinnamon or sugar.

We pulled our last container out of the freezer last week and I think we're all going to be a little sad when it is gone. Note to self, buy more apples next year!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

I got this recipe from Swistle (it's the 2nd recipe in the post and for pumpkin chocolate chip you use 1 cup canned pumpkin, I have never tried the banana variation). When I made my first batch this year my mom was up visiting and when I told her what I was making she scrunched her nose up at me, ewwww, pumpkin? But, after I made her try them on Saturday morning, she was requesting a copy of the recipe before she went home.

I think I made three or four batches of these this fall; one of which, I brought to work. Am I the only person who worries about bringing things into work and having no one try/like it? Thankfully, the worry was for naught, those suckers were gone within the first couple of hours.

Keaton loved these muffins so much that if he saw you eating one he would instantly drop his nuk and insist on an "uppie" to get a bite.

Fall Soup: Salsa Pumpkin Soup

My list simply said a "fall soup". I've always wanted to try something with pumpkin or squash but every recipe I ran past Collin was instantly vetoed. Most suggestions when something like this:

Me: How does xyz soup sound?
Collin: Disgusting

I ran my dilemma past Kim while we were at the apple orchard and she instantly had a solution. Salsa Pumpkin Soup. After looking through the ingredients Collin agreed to try it. And guest what? It was mighty tasty and he approved. I look forward to making this soup again next fall.

Fresh Bread from the Bread Machine: Whole Wheat

To complete my list, this past weekend I dusted off the bread machine and took 'er for a spin. When I got done I had the exact thought I figured I'd have, why don't I do this more often?

I switched up my old trusty stand-by recipe because it called for honey, and Keaton isn't supposed to have honey, and tried the recipe on the back of Bob's Red Mill Whole Wheat Flour because it used molasses instead.

The result is a nice dense textured, intense flavored, wheat bread. Keaton has been gobbling this stuff right up, so I think it's safe to say we'll be making many more batches.

So, that concludes my Soul in the Season list for this fall. I've already started working on my winter list and hope to share it with you here soon.