"Hi, I'm Isabella. What's your name?" I hear that and turn around to look. My baby girl has a new person completely in her personal space. We are not an outgoing family, so I knew my little one was uncomfortable. Isabella, the space invader, said "Here I'm giving you this." She handed my baby girl a pink feather. My little girl wasn't comfortable with their encounter, but she really loved the pink feather. Isabella's mom quickly tried to remove her, but Isabella ran back to give my daughter a hug and told her it was great to meet her. Then, as quickly as she entered our lives, she was gone. I started thinking about the people like her who had passed through my life, and I thought about the pink feather. We meet so many people and at times the situations are uncomfortable. That may be due to personality or other differences. I know that I need to take the time to look for the pink feather given to me by people standing in line at the store, sitting beside me on an airplane, or waiting on me at a restaurant. It isn't always shoved in your face like it was with Isabella and my daughter. I also need to stock myself with pink feathers for people I meet. What gift might I leave or do I miss the opportunity?Our society is full of people who feel overlooked or misunderstood in some way. Kind words and an open heart can go a long way in improving the life of another, even with just a 30 second interaction. That person beside you is not rich or poor, male or female, gay or straight, or a person of color or not. They are a person who may need a pink feather, or they may have one to give you.
So the Proper Southern Baby Girl woke up this morning, and I went in her room to greet her. The dog jumped on top of her and licked her all over the face, as she tried to speak. She seemed a little upset. Then she said, "Mommy, I had a dream." I was prepared for a bad dream that involved dragons or clowns. She said, "Mommy, I dreamed about biscuits." Okay, then. She said, "Mommy, will you make me a biscuit?" If you have followed this blog for very long, you know that I do not make biscuits. I bake the frozen or canned variety. When I have attempted to make biscuits from scratch, I end up with something less than edible. Good for home defense, yes. Good with some fried bologna, not so much. For some reason, this morning I responded with "sure baby, I'll make you a biscuit." I threw some self-rising flour in a bowl and added some butter-flavored Crisco (heaven knows why I own that), milk and apple cider vinegar. Was there randomness involved? Yes, absolutely. But, I will say that they were edible. They were a bit crumbly, based on the look of my floor, but they were definitely edible. What did I learn this morning? Sometimes it is okay to just throw a bunch of stuff together and see how it turns out. It may not be the best lesson, especially if you build cars, but use it as you will.
My daughter has a new favorite bedtime read. For My Southern Child: A Book of Wishes by Caroline Hardy is sweet and soothing. I, of course, was attracted to the Southern flavor. The book would be perfect to add to a baby shower gift this year. Trust me, moms and dads are always looking for a different book to read. My Proper Southern baby girl loves books and loves to find one book for you to read at least a thousand times. We did this with Sheep in a Jeep, Curious George, Beauty and the Beast, and now FROZEN. At least she knows what a fjord is. Anyway, I highly recommend For My Southern Child: A Book of Wishes. It is available on Amazon and has a Kindle version.
I once mentioned to my husband that we always enjoyed making snow cream on the rare occasions that we saw snow in Alabama. I thought that certainly, being from Buffalo, he would know of snow cream. He gave me the same look as when I tell him we are having turnip greens for dinner. Yes, he thinks I have lost my mind at times.
Let's see, our discussion went something like this:
"We have quite a bit of snow. Maybe we should make some snow cream."
"I don't know what that is." (His response to most everything I say)
"You scoop up a bunch of snow and bring it in and mix it with milk, sugar, and vanilla."
"That sounds disgusting." (Same response to turnip greens for dinner)
"You grew up in multiple feet of snow. How could not have made snow cream? You could have boxed up the snow cream and sent it to us when we were little. You obviously have no concern for the snow-deprived children of the world. I don't know how you live with yourself. Make your own dinner...and then make me some."
I can't believe that people grew up without making snow cream. Now, we did stretch the "snow" at times and did end up ingesting dirt and a few gravels. Funny things happen when you are loosely supervised. It does make me feel good to know that Mayfield Dairy produces a snow cream ice cream flavor. Apparently, it is something only Southerners can appreciate, especially in our house.
After a trip to Mercier Orchards a couple of weeks ago, I decided to try to make a couple of types of apple pie. What I have determined is that I have become quite the inadvertent caramel creator. I am so good at it that my husband has to go get a crown replaced tomorrow. If only I had been trying to make caramel...and destroy dental work. I will say that the Iron Skillet Apple Pie was excellent. The bottom was total caramel. I don't know if that is correct. I have never had one of these before, so I have no idea. I just know that it adheres to fake teeth really well. Then I attempted fried apple pies. I have been burned on this one many times before. The last time, I had perfected the filling and failed at the pie crust. This time, I made some sort of caramel in the filling, but the pie crust was very close to what I wanted. I am working to perfect these so that I may put together a little booklet of the successful pie recipes. Cross your fingers that I have something soon, and maybe I will actually try to make a caramel pie.
Today is Halloween. We have photographed our proper southern baby girl every 15 seconds since birth. I already have photos of her in 3 different costumes just this week. Once as Elsa, of course, and once as a cowgirl and finally as Belle (the greatest and most literate princess who wants to grow up to be an engineer like her daddy . Not sure how you tell it at your house, but that's how it goes here). This got me thinking about all those photos of me in my Halloween costumes. You know, that time I was a Stormtrooper. That time I was Darth Vader. That time I was....oh yes, there are no photos of me in any of my geeky Halloween costume. I do have one photo of me on Halloween in overalls and a cowboy hat. I am not certain that was so much a costume as a questionable fashion choice. As I reflect, I am fairly glad that my entire childhood wasn't documented in photographs.
Many, many years ago, my sister and I were staying with my grandmother. Usually, our meals with her consisted of hot dogs and Moon Pies chased by Yoo Hoo. On this particular day, she served saltines topped with mayonnaise. I remember being skeptical. I also remember being hungry, which explains why I even dared try mayonnaise. I am not a mayo on my sandwich girl. I am a "this sandwich has a disgusting goop on it" girl. That's what makes it so funny that I remember the saltine with mayo tasting so good. It was such a clear memory that I had to try it again. I told my husband, and he was skeptical as well. We gave it a try. Saltines with mayo are dangerously addictive. If you are going to try it, I warn you and will not be responsible for any weight gain or health conditions. I am also going to label this a Southern snack, simply because it seems like something only we would do.
View my newest addition to the Pilgrimages page.
We have been in the middle of blackberry winter over the past few days. My husband had not heard the term before now. Being from Buffalo, his seasons are Winter (I'm buried to the top of my ear muffs in snow), Spring (why is that squirrel in a life vest in the yard?), Summer (why do I own a bathing suit?), and Fall (do you smell snow?). We have had fairly nice weather since February. I have to remind myself of that in August. Boy, August is brutal. Have someone you need to punish? Try sending them New Orleans in the middle of August. The humidity combined with the smell around Bourbon Street will rehabilitate them. We like to say that we are accustomed to the humidity. As Southerners, we try to act like being in any Southern state in the summer makes sense. Let's face it, just like our family and friends in Buffalo, we know the extremes don't make a lot of sense to suffer through. In the midst of it all, we all want to move. Then, Southerners remember that their SEC football team will not be on television up north, and Northerners remember that they will have very few people willing to discuss hockey. I do enjoy the cooler weather that we usually see in May, as the blackberries blosom. My jackets and jeans are still within reach, and it prepares me for the heat that usually hits us around Memorial Day. Around then, I just look forward to our visit to Buffalo and to packing a sweatshirt in hopes of being chilly while watching fireworks.
1. I didn't know my showers would come with news updates and commercials - Yes, the shower door flies open and my little one says " I spilled the yogurt." Ten seconds later, "I cleaned up the yogurt." Twenty seconds later, "Do you want a kitty towel to dry off with?" Finally, "Do you want to build a snowman?"
2. I didn't realize I would become a connoisseur of chicken nuggets.
3. I didn't know how many rocks, pine cones, and sticks we would collect. We may start a museum.
4. I didn't know that daily decisions would be made based on princess stories and movies.
5. I didn't know I would have a child who would ask to take ballet lessons. I was always more of a football kind of girl.
6. I didn't know that white socks and white underwear are completely unacceptable. Give us some bright pinks and purples and some cartoon folks on all that...on our shirts too.
7. I didn't know that anyone could listen to a book being read a thousand times in a row.
8. I didn't realize how much fairy wings add to an outfit.
9. I did realize that my husband would have tea parties and dance with his baby when she asked. I didn't realize how much it would melt my heart.
10. We've just celebrated Mother's Day, and I was so excited to get little handprints. That is one of the things I didn't know about motherhood. Whether they are made at preschool and with the help of her Daddy, my baby girl's handprints are the best gift. I remember seeing her footprints from the hospital. When I wasn't staring at her, I would stare at the footprints. You see, the biggest thing I didn't know about motherhood was whether or not I would be a momma. We went through miscarriage and multiple IUI and IVF treatments. I have been meaning to ask Dr. Nancy Snyderman about the existence of PTSD following years of fertility battles. I think it is a thing. We know that we are blessed to have come out of it all with a precious daughter. We aren't the only people to struggle with fertility in the world. We aren't even the only people in our family. I won't give you any advice, and I can't provide words that will comfort if you are in the midst of this. We can only offer prayers for those seeking to have children and going through difficulties.