Lulu woke up earlier than normal. Six AM. Not particularly painful…unless you’ve been at a birth the night before. Why oh why does she only wake up at six AM when all of us are exhausted? But that’s one lesson you learn when you’re raising a toddler…reasonable behavior is few and far between. But what we lack in reasonability, we gain in joy and laughter. Her early morning wake up was peppered with calls for ma and milk, vibrating toddler lips, and laughter. Quite possibly the best noises I could wake up to.
And because I’m married to a man who loves me and Lucy so well…he whisked her away and let me sleep two more hours while they played in the early morning light.
Life is changing in small ways at our house. I’m gone at births more…and Lucy is starting to show signs of independence. She started a montessori program this week…and much to my surprise…she took to it immediately. She didn’t shed a tear when we dropped her off on Monday morning. When I came back to pick up her a few hours later, she greeted me with a loud, “Hi!” and the proceeded to hug and kiss all of her new friends.
I couldn’t have been prouder. I know that some moms struggle with sending their children to school. I’ve seen quite a few, “she didn’t cry but I did!” posts on facebook and instagram. And I totally expected to by “that mom.” But when we dropped her off, and I saw her settle in her environment, and then reach out to the other little ones in the room, it made my heart feel so full.
And now I have two mornings a week in which I can bake apples or write or read or sleep after a long birth. And that, my friends, feels HEAVENLY.
Baked Apples with Pecans and Maple Syrup
3-4 large baking apples
4 tablespoons butter, cold and cut into small pieces
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup crushed shortbread cookies
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1-2 cups orange juice or apple cider
Using a sharp paring knife cut out the cores of each apple, leaving the bottom 1/2 inch of the apples intact. Use a small metal spoon to scoop out the seeds. Cut the holes so that they are an inch or so wide. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
In a small bowl, combine the pecans, cinnamon, and shortbread cookies. Gradually work the cold and cut butter into the mixture until it begins to resemble coarse crumbs. Stir in maple syrup.
Place apples in a baking pan or a cast iron skillet. Generously fill each apple with pecan-cookie mixture. Pour 1/2 to 1 cup of juice in bottom of pan/skillet. Bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until apples are just tender. You may add additional juice to bottom of pan if needed. Be careful to not overbake. Baked Apples may be served warm or at room temperature.