A Year of Growth

DJ and I took a walk with Bryce today, and we had a chance to talk and reflect on the last year.  In some respects, it feels like it has been about five years, but in other ways it has really flown!  Bryce of course had many, many milestones.  Last year, he was still a chubby little baby, and now he looks more and more like a little boy every day.  DJ and I both had some major personal and interpersonal growth.  We had to relearn how to be a couple in the midst of navigating parenthood, as well as figuring out our individual new identities and roles.  Ten years ago, DJ and I were waking up late from an amazing Cinderella-like New Year’s Eve at the Kennedy Center.  I had JUST discovered Orff Schulwerk,  I was still scarred from teaching middle school, I was so in love with DJ and we were less than two months away from getting engaged.  I definitely feel much older and wiser at the close of this year, but life is so, so good, and I wouldn’t change it for anything.

Some major events and memories for me this past year:

I successfully nursed Bryce until he self-weaned at 13 months.

I presented two sessions at the Denver AOSA conference.

I was invited to teach a summer Orff Level 1 course at Winthrop University.

I had a miscarriage.

I joined a playgroup.

I quit a playgroup.

I reached out to a random mom I met at Wegman’s, and we are becoming really good friends!

I met all my neighbors while out walking with Bryce.

I discovered FlyLady.net, decluttered my life, and reclaimed my sanity.

I made it out to Mobtown Ballroom a handful of times, but discovered that I don’t miss dancing as much as I thought I would.

I learned how to grill pizza.

I maintained my health and my weight, in spite of having a baby (and in spite of learning to grill pizza.)

I found my first gray hair.

I got my 25 year waterski club trophy at Woodloch.

Running finally felt good again.

I still really love my husband, not quite the same way as I did at the Kennedy Center on New Year’s Eve ten years ago, but with less flash and more depth.

Some Bryce memories I don’t want to forget:

Nursing him; the hardest and most rewarding thing I’ve done.  I was sad when he weaned without me really realizing it, but I got some closure when he signed “Milk” while watching me put my bottles and pumping equipment away.  There were three sad little bags of pumped milk in the freezer.  I defrosted them, and he drank them all up, signing “milk” the whole time.

Bryce’s signing taking off after his first birthday.

Bryce singing “Uh Oh” along with Pink’s “Just Give Me A Reason” and totally getting down to “Blurred Lines,” “Lucky Strike,” and “Light ‘Em Up.”  He would say “Yay!” every time he heard a song he likes on the radio.

Taking his first few steps at the Lilly Reunion.

The gigantic poop explosion on the way home from the Lilly reunion (maybe I’d rather forget that….)

Bryce saying “Grandma!” every time he saw my cell phone.

Bryce saying “Hi!” to everyone we see at the grocery store and out walking.

Many, many miles logged on his pushtrike.

Bryce saying “Ball! Ball!” while picking up big green walnuts at the playground.

Meeting my neighbor, Maureen, and her grandson Owen at the tot lot.

Bryce saying “Uh Oh” and alerting us whenever we forgot to latch a cabinet lock.

One snacktime, I was singing “Bryce likes to eat grapes grapes grapes” to the tune of Wheels on the Bus, and he totally on his own inserted “Bar bar bar!” because I was eating a granola bar.

When he first learned how to give kisses.

He is such a sweet, friendly, playful little guy, and I am really treasuring this time with him.  I can’t wait to see what 2014 brings!

 

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Perfect Fall Pizza

Oh.  My.  God.  I just made the best pizza EVER.   I wasn’t planning on writing about this recipe, but as the husband and I devoured the pie while porno-moaning about how delicious it was, I had the presence of mind to snap a picture before it was completely gone.

Grilled Pizza with Butternut Parmesan Sauce, Caramelized Red Onion, Bacon, and Mozzarella.

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I’m not a huge fan of bacon.  You can keep your greasy strips of salty fat, I don’t care if pop culture has deified it.  BUT, in certain circumstances, I do agree that bacon can be effectively used  as a condiment.  This is one of those circumstances.

The flavor profile of this pizza is just incredible.  You have the crispy salty bacon, the mild creamy mozzarella, the sweetness of the squash and red onions, and the smokey flavor from the grilled crust.  PLUS it took less than 15 minutes to make.  Definitely a perfect Friday dinner.

Ever since I decided that Friday was pizza night, I’ve been scouring Pinterest looking for some interesting combinations to try.  This was adapted from a Smitten Kitchen recipe (flavor combo) and a SkinnyTaste recipe (the sauce.)  PLEASE do this on the grill!  Grilling pizza is the secret to never ordering takeout again.  When you’ve tried it, every other pizza in the world will suddenly become substandard.   We actually bought our propane grill for the sole purpose of grilling pizza after trying it at a friend’s dinner party.  Your life will never be the same, I promise!  A helpful post on how to grill pizza can be found here if you are new to the technique.

Grilled Pizza with Parmesan Butternut Parmesan Sauce, Carmelized Red Onion, Bacon, and Mozzarella.

Ingredients:

Sauce:

1 12oz package of frozen butternut squash puree

2 tsp minced garlic

1/4 cup parmesan cheese

Salt and pepper to taste

Toppings:

1/2 red onion, chopped

olive oil

1/4 tsp salt

4 strips bacon, cooked and chopped.

10 mini balls of Fresh mozzarella, cut in half

Crust: 

1 ball of fresh pizza dough, enough for a 14” pizza (I used Trader Joe’s plain dough)

Olive oil for brushing

Directions:

Defrost squash in microwave, stir in garlic, parmesan, salt and pepper.  If your squash came in cubes instead of pureed, give it a whirl in the blender or mash it with a fork.

Meanwhile, sautee onion in olive oil over medium heat until soft.  Sprinkle the onion with salt right when you put it in the pan to help it soften.

While you’ve got your onion and squash going, start to heat up the grill.  Then, roll out your pizza dough, brush with olive oil, and place oil side down on the hot grill.  Close the lid and wait about 5 minutes (perfect time to finish up prepping the toppings!)  When the edges are done and it’s starting to look a little cooked on the top, flip the crust over.  Immediately spread with butternut sauce, top with onion, bacon, and fresh mozzarella.  Close the lid for about 2 minutes, then remove from grill.

Enjoy!