Sunday, May 22, 2011

365 days of porter

I may say this every year for the rest of my life, but this was the fastest year ever. I worry that I failed to capture all the moments and milestones photographically, and I fear that Porter did not receive all the attention that his older brothers both enjoyed at the same age. In fact, when I look back over last summer I am surprised to realize that Porter was alive at that time. Isn't that terrible? I was so caught up in Will's issues that I think both Andrew and Porter were shifted a bit to the side. They can discuss it in-depth one day from the comfort of the therapist's couch; be it known that I did my unmedicated best.

Now for the details only his mother will care about.

At a year, you had four-going-on-six teeth. Two top front and bottom, and the two canines growing in. You were 19 lbs 9 oz, 10th % for weight and 75% for height. (This despite my obsession with calories and access to milk. I just have small kids!).

You began walking at 11 months, one week. You first walked in your bedroom, to Andrew. We do have that on tape.

You clap, kiss, hug and wave, spontaneously and on command. You say "dada" and "Bah!" (for bye). You point every time you see something interesting (in your world this usually consists of dogs, cats, birds or the bunny family that shares our yard) and exclaim either "dah! or "cah!" (exclusive to cats, whereas everything else is a Dah!).

You love to dance, and do so whenever any music plays, when someone sings, or if you speak or rhyme in a certain way. You've got rhythm. You are the only child in the household who can play the recorder without damaging our eardrums, too. I am very proud of our little rendition of Mary Had A Little Lamb. You provide the wind and I provide the fingers, and together we can play most anything.

You love to climb. It is pretty horrible. You have been "death climbing" (Andrew's term) on the steps since well before me moved into our new house in March. You have moved on to climbing up ladders and even on top of our 24 inch backless counter stool. I looked over in the kitchen and there you were, standing straight up on that slippery smooth stool, ready for a concussion.

Why no, he is not yet sleeping through the night, thanks for asking. But he is down to one nap a day. He is usually a great little table companion, feeding himself from the food dumped on his tray. He prefers to use a fork of his own. He likes black beans, blueberries, melons, noodles, cheese (shredded or stick) and peas. He will eat meat that is shredded. He prefers sippy cups with built-in straws (which is what I use exclusively with Will). Porter loves to blow bubbles with his milk and then dump a bunch out through the pin hole on the lid. I know he will do this, but I let him have the cups anyway. A combination of maternal exhaustion and my eternally springing hope that this time will be different.

Porter, you just love to be tenderly rubbed. If someone strokes your face or neck, you will immediately freeze to soak up the sensation.

Your favorite things to do are play catch (though in your version you hand-deliver the ball to me), bite the ends off of your brother's nerf darts, and direct toy cars around in the floor. You love to go outside and crawl around. You insist on getting rides on Will's scooter and have tried to insist on riding Andrew's bike but I draw my line at physical impossibility.

You love ice-cream and it seemed only right (and delicious and easy) for your birthday cake to be a BR ice cream cake.

You also love the tub and will go wild in it every single night. If I were prone to worrying about anything besides kidnapping, I would worry that you would injure yourself with your stunts. You once tried to climb up the far corner, fell and became completely submerged. Before I could do anything, you flipped over under the water and pushed yourself to the surface. You didn't even cry. If I mention the tub or bath, you will immediately begin miming splashing and then will begin chirping away. I cannot characterize the sounds you make as really anything other than chirps.

Having witnessed countless wrestling matches btwn his brothers and dad, Porter is ever-ready for a fight. When the mood strikes him, he will lumber over to one of his brothers and launch and attack. He even does it with a little baby roar.

Since Will won't be reading this post, it is safe to admit here that Porter has a preference for his oldest brother. Port, you just love Andrew and always wants to play with him.

Port-Pie, in a year that was otherwise the most difficult and stressful of my life (and I am counting high school in that), you were a ray of sunshine. A ray that would not stop shining, right in my sleepless eyes even at 3 am, but a ray none the less. I love you and I know I am so blessed to get to be your mom. I make a lot of mistakes, but I think you might be tough enough to survive anyway.

Love always,


Friday, May 13, 2011

my new (quick, easy, delish) pizza pie

not my pizza. but in case you needed a visual.
Friday Night Movie Nights usually means ordering Dominos, but tonight I made the best homemade pizza I have ever had. I have terrible luck with homemade pizza crust. It is usually tasteless and not a great texture. And it usually involves hours of rising. I found a recipe that looked like it would fit my time constraints, kept my expectations low and made a few easy modifications. Here is the original recipe with my modifications parenthetically:

1 package active dry yeast or 2-ish teaspoons
1 teaspoon white sugar (I put 2 1/2 tsp sugar)
1 cup warm water (not hot)
2 1/2 cups flour (I added 1 tsp gluten and mixed well. I think this was the biggest improvement to the recipe)
2 tablespoons olive oil (I added an extra T olive oil)
1 teaspoon salt
optional - herbs, fresh or dried, olives etc (didn't have any, but I did shake some oregano on the cheese before baking)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C).
In a medium bowl, dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
If adding any dried or fresh herbs etc add to the oil to ensure a good dispersion through the crust.
Stir in flour, salt and oil to yeast mix. Stir until combined. Let rest for 5 minutes.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and pat or roll into a round.
Transfer crust to a lightly greased pizza pan or oven tray dusted with cornmeal or flour.
Spread with desired toppings and bake in preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown.
**I sometimes make with half plain flour and half wholemeal.
**Dough can be left (post mixing) for half an hour to ensure a thinner crust (I cut and pasted this line from the original page, but I don't understand why leaving it post-mixing would yield a thinner crust. I did not let it rise at all (beyond the 5 min in the bowl) and it was a nice fluffy crust with a crisp bottom.)

I also discovered that we had no sauce, so I modified a homemade pasta sauce. Here is the original link:
To that I added a small can of tomato paste, discovered that made it bitter so then added a tsp or two of sugar, some parm shake cheese and a bit of dried Italian herbs until it tasted right. I cooked the sauce for like 15 minutes on a fast little boil.

Covered everything in mozz and cheddar (and added the onions from the pasta sauce). I baked it on a pizza stone, which is an absolute must if you want to enjoy homemade pizza.

Will informed me that the smell of the pizza made him sick, and Andrew rejected it after a bite, but I maintain that this is good pizza. Brigham admitted that he was sad when he saw the remains on the stone, believing himself to be in for a night of soggy cardboard tastelessness but changed his tune. During my interrogation of him re the pizza, he said that it was the best homemade pizza he has had and if it were served at a restaurant people would like it. Admittedly, Brigham is no gourmand (his primary goal in eating is "to get full"), but I liked it, and at the end of the day, that is all that matters.