Ch-ch-ch-changes! Turn and face the strange...
Some things have certainly changed around here now that we have three little ones. I am enjoying most moments watching the three of them interact and in some ways it has been tons of fun so far. But there is also the sleeplessness, the constant noise, never-ending cleaning, and the generally exhausting business that is keeping up after three kids in different stages of development. Here are just a few observations of how life has changed or rather evolved since we've added Lucy:
1. Emma's favorite books are no longer Apples up on Top, Little Pookie, Madeline, or Olivia. Now, her favorite book is Breastfeeding 101: Tips & Tricks. I came home with a whole bunch of freebies from the hospital and was about to throw that little book away when Emma claimed it because she saw that it was filled with pictures of babies.
2. Taking all three kids to the grocery store is a bit interesting. We put Lucy's car seat into the body of the cart, strap Emma into the seat on the cart, and Matthew stands on the shelf beneath the cart and holds on tight for a ride. There is barely any space for groceries.
3. Speaking of taking the kids places, because there are now three different sets of car seats for the three kids, buckling them all up to go anywhere is like preparing to blast out of the atmosphere. Click, click, clickety-click! So many buckles and straps to readjust, align, and secure! Add in a wriggly toddler (EMMA) who does not want to be in her seat and you have a super challenging arm workout as well.
4. Cereal has been a lifesaver. Before the baby, we almost never stocked cereal in the house and ate mainly oatmeal or eggs for breakfast. Now, it's fantastic because Matthew can pour cereal for both himself and Emma when I am tied up nursing the baby. Bring on the Lucky Charms!
5. The older two kids now play exclusively with baby toys. Who cares about blocks, trains, trucks, dolls, and dinosaur figurines when you have rattles, plush animals, and light-up sun that sings to you as you lie beneath it on a cushy play mat? Emma even goes so far as to recite on a regular basis: "Waaah! I a baby!" Not annoying at all.
6. Nighttime stories are now accompanied with the melodious soundtrack of hungry baby screams.
7. I've learned that Emma knows way more lullabies then I thought. I found here singing "Beautiful Boy" by John Lennon to Baby Lucy the other day, only she changed the lyric to "beautiful girl". I was impressed - I had no idea she knew that song! Now, I'm trying to teach her Lucy's theme song: "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds". Matthew still insists on making up his own lullabies. I can say with certainty that he does not have a talent for composition. His songs make both me and Lucy cry. Not really a change, but rather a fun observation.
8. Before we had Lucy, people around town would often smile at us as we were out and about and comment: "What an adorably perfect family - one boy and one girl!" Now that I am toting around three kids, I see people staring at me with a look of shock and hear comments like this:
- "Woah! Got yourself an army!"
- "Your hands are certainly full!!"
- "Do you want to have like a million kids?"
- "Time to break out the birth control!" I wish I was kidding about that one. How insulting.
- "Are these all yours?"
A dear friend of mine posted this quote on her facebook page recently and it really is a wonderful thing for me to keep in mind whenever I become stressed or overwhelmed in my role as a mother to these crazy awesome kids:
"You'll never be this loved again. So on those days when you are feeling stressed out, touched out, and depleted, just remember that you will never be this loved again. One day you will long for their affection. So choose a soft voice, gentle hands, choose love." -AK
Beautiful words. How very true they are!
Switching gears a bit, let's talk food! Until we adjust to all the changes around here, meals have been fairly simple and straightforward. For example, we have grilled dogs and brats twice this week and served it with fruit and a simple salad. I'm sure I'll get back to experimenting soon, but for now I am just trying to enjoy baby Lucy while she is still so tiny.
Below is a fantastic recipe for fish tacos that Paul and I made a couple days before we had Lucy. Now, I have never had an authentic Baja-style fish taco, but I loved all the different components that this recipe included. Some heat and tang from the pickled onions, crunch from the slaw, and a creamy white sauce that complemented the flavor of the warm beer-battered fish. I could not resist adding some chopped mango to the mix and I do think it added a little bit of a sweet, fresh element that helped round everything out. The best fish tacos we've had, hands down! We'll make them again soon - perhaps once we're a bit more settled.
Beer Battered Fish Tacos with Mango, Pickled Onions and Creamy Lime White Sauce
barely adapted from America's Test Kitchen
For the Pickled Onions:
1 small red onion, halved and sliced thin
2 jalapeño chiles, stemmed and sliced into thin rings
1 cup white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
For the Slaw:
3 cups shredded green cabbage
1/4 cup pickling liquid from pickled onions
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
For the White Sauce:
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons milk
For the Fish:
2 pounds skinless whitefish fillets, such as cod, haddock, or halibut, cut crosswise into 4 by 1-inch strips (I used cod)
Salt and pepper
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup beer (light bodied lagers work best)
1 quart peanut or vegetable oil
1-2 ripe mangoes, diced small
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
8-10 small flour tortillas (taco size), warmed
To make the pickled onions, combine onion and jalapeños in medium bowl. Bring vinegar, lime juice, sugar and salt to boil in small saucepan. Pour vinegar mixture over onion mixture and let sit for at least 30 minutes. (Pickled onions can be made and refrigerated up to 2 days in advance.)
For the cabbage, toss all ingredients together in a bowl. Set aside.
To make the white sauce, whisk all ingredients together in a bowl. (Sauce can be made and refrigerated up to 2 days in advance.
To make the fish, adjust the oven rack to the middle position and heat oven to 200 degrees. Set wire rack inside rimmed baking sheet. Pat fish dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Whisk flour, cornstarch, baking powder and 1 teaspoon salt together in large bowl. Add beer and whisk until smooth. Transfer fish to batter and toss until evenly coated.
Add oil to large Dutch oven until it measures about 3/4 inch deep and heat over medium-high heat to 350 degrees. Working with 5-6 pieces at a time, remove fish from batter, allowing excess to drip back into bowl, and add to hot oil, briefly dragging fish along surface of oil to prevent sticking. Adjust burner, if necessary, to maintain oil temperature between 325 and 350 degrees. Fry fish, stirring gently to prevent pieces from sticking together, until golden brown and crispy, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer fish to prepared wire rack and place in oven to keep warm. Return oil to 350 degrees and repeat with remaining fish.
Divide the fish evenly among tortillas. Top with pickled onions, cabbage, white sauce, mangoes and cilantro.
This recipe serves approximately 6 people.