11/52

1152I finally got a good night of sleep. And oh how I needed it. Only sleeping for 1 to 2 hour chunks of time is not good for your body or your soul. Thankfully, after Ryan and I went on a lovely date in Denver, we came home to a sweet grandma and a very tired baby. After nursing, Lucy fell right asleep…and stayed asleep for FIVE HOURS. I woke up, with banana bread beside me, and looked at the clock. “Five hours,” I exclaimed, “thank God!”

For the past several weeks, Lucy will wake during the night and then panic when she can’t find us (even though we’re sleeping right beside her). It’s evident she’s realized that she belongs to us and we belong to her.

So yes, separation anxiety has been at an all-time high. She gets upset when I leave the room, let alone leave the house. The tears and screams have been hard, but I’m so grateful that I have a baby who wants to be close to her mama.

LuMomBecause I can’t tell you how much I love the quiet moments we share together. The way she crawls up beside me to nuzzle her head close to my chest. Or how she blows on my bare stomach only to erupt in that near perfect baby laughter

We are finding new ways to show love to each other, and it’s glorious.

I don’t know if I have ever felt like this for another human being. I love Ryan so much and I know he loves me the same, but there is something different about having a child. The love I have for Lucy is intense and scary and beautiful and all–consuming. It is teaching me so much about faith and trust. I don’t know how I will ever let her go… even though I know every parent must. The lesson will be a hard but important one. Thankfully, I have years to go. And so, in the meantime, we will enjoy snuggling together, dancing together, eating together, sleeping together, and the list goes on and on.

And thank you again for your continued support and love. I have received some of the sweetest messages over the past few weeks. We are so thankful for each one of you.

Family

Brown Sugar Cookies

Brown Sugar Cookies | Anecdotes and Apple Cores

We’ve had a sleepless week. Lucy has been teething, which means we’ve been nursing almost constantly through the night. At one point, my eyes red and my shirt covered in milk, I said to Ryan, “this is worse than having a newborn.” But then I woke up the next morning and took my words back.

Because yes, those first few weeks of infancy were exhausting. And yes, these recent few weeks of teething have been draining. But really, when I think about it, I realize I’m so blessed to have this baby who wants and needs me. So if I had to wake up in the middle night and turn to Ryan again, I think I’d say, “this is just as special as when we first brought her home.” And I’d mean it.

Brown Sugar Cookies | Anecdotes and Apple Cores

And you know what else happens when you operate on little sleep? You make cookies. This is the third batch of cookies I’ve made this week, but the only new recipe I tried. The verdict? Chewy and soft and so very good. These make a sleepless night all the sweeter. Yes, I’m one of those nursing moms who keeps snacks by her bed.

These brown sugar cookies come together quickly and then require at least a good hours chill in the refrigerator. The result is a cookie that reminds me of Christmas, of my mother, and of all the other good things in the world. Make them. I think you’ll love them as much as we do.

Brown Sugar Cookies | Anecdotes and Apple CoresBrown Sugar Cookies

2 cups all purpose flour

2 teaspoons cornstarch

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

12 TBSP butter, melted

1 1/4 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 egg

Stir together the flour, baking soda, cornstarch, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk the melted butter and brown sugar together until no brown sugar lumps remain. Whisk in the egg. Finally, stir in the vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix together with a large wooden spoon. The dough will be soft, yet thick. Cover the dough and chill for 1 hour, or up to 3 days.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and allow to slightly soften at room temperature. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside.

Form cookies into balls (about 2 tablespoons of dough per cookie) Bake for 8-9 minutes, or until cookies look just slightly underdone. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the baking sheet for ten minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Cookies stay soft and fresh for 7 whole days at room temperature. Cookies may be frozen up to 3 months.

10/52

10_52A portrait of my daughter, every week, each week of 2014. Lucy and I took a hike today. After a night of little sleep (she woke up every two hours to nurse), I needed the cool breeze and sunshine to invigorate my afternoon…and they did. We walked and talked and shared an apple as we let our eyes settle on the majesty of our neighborhood. Living within walking distance of the Garden of the Gods makes you appreciate the beauty of our world on a daily basis.

10_52_2Lu explores our house more and more each day. From kitchen utensils to living room coasters to the scale in our bathroom, she manages to get her hands on most everything. Baby-proofing has become a necessity in the last few weeks. We finally bought and installed a baby gate to keep her from climbing down the stairs to visit her dad (who works in the basement).

This week has been a good one. We’ve laughed and giggled and she’s even saying, “ma-ma” now. Thank you for sending us such sweet words of encouragement. I treasure every one!

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Blueberry Coconut Granola

GranolaI had every intention to make soft pretzels this weekend. Ryan and I have been frequenting a local German bakery on an almost daily basis. Soft pretzels are our new favorite way to unwind. But making soft pretzels is a lot of work, and when Sunday’s temperatures started to climb towards seventy degrees, I knew we had to celebrate Daylight Savings Time outside.

CroissantBakeryWe drove to Denver where we picked up croissants and country wheat bread from the very best bakery in Colorado (I promise, Lucy had more fun that it might look in the picture above). Then, with Lucy close to my chest, we walked around Baker and visited several good friends. The day ended almost as perfectly as it could have: an outdoor dinner with my sister and niece and nephews. We arrived home way later than Lucy’s bedtime, and I’m just now (at 10:00pm) writing this blog post.

FeastAnd so instead of beautifully twisted pretzels, I’m sharing a simpler recipe (but one that’s just as satisfying). This blueberry coconut granola is one of my favorite morning meals or afternoon snacks. Sweetened with maple syrup and studded with roasted coconut and sunflower seeds, this granola is an indulgence you can feel good about.

Granola2

Blueberry Coconut Granola

3 cups old fashioned oats

1/2 cup almonds

1/2 cup dried unsweetened coconut

1/2 cup sunflower seeds

1/2 cup coconut oil (melted)

1/2 cup maple syrup

1/2 cup dried blueberries

Mix dry ingredients in large bowl; mix the melted coconut oil and maple syrup in another. Combine. Divide and spread on 2 large baking sheets. Bake at 300 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 minutes, or until browned to your liking, stirring once or twice.

9/52

Lu_9.1

Okay. This whole, “one portrait of your daughter each week, every week, of 2014″? I’m not very good at it. Because really, how can I choose just one? As Lucy grows, I’m seeing new, surprising sides of her each day. I delight in the simple pleasure she finds in our seemingly mundane daily activities. Her laughter and smiles remind me of all that is right and good.

Lu_9.2And how she explores now. Crawling, grasping, examining. My mother was right, “there is nothing like seeing the world anew through the eyes of your child.”

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As many of you know, I’ve had a rough few weeks. Anxiety with a tinge of depression and a heavy dose of grief. But as I drove to class tonight, I was flooded with an overwhelming sense of love. I arrived on campus with mascara running down my cheeks. My spirit of fear and mourning was broken on that drive. I felt the love of a father, the love of a mother, the love of my creator. I can’t explain exactly what happened, but I feel a sense of freedom and peace tonight. A sense of freedom and peace that I’ve sorely missed.

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Thank you for following and loving me on this journey. In good times and bad. As I watch my daughter grow this week, I’m reminded of how blessed I am in this journey. Yes, we’ve seen our share of sadness, but also what illuminating and wondrous joy!

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