Owen gets more adorable by the day. This past Sunday, when my beloved Winnipeg Blue Bombers (... I know) were playing in the Grey Cup (Canada's version of the Super Bowl, only with fewer rockets glaring redly and bombs bursting in air), he came over with his Mom after church (hey, all the help we can get!), dressed in blue and gold, our team colours:
While he did not evince an appropriate interest in the game itself (he'll learn), it was gratifying to see him at least offer token support between naps and feeding. And pooping. Boy can poop, I tell you.
Oh, and fart. He's a championship farter. When he wakes up, the first thing he does is begin nuzzling at the chest of whoever is holding him, looking for something to eat, and immediately start farting up a storm. Erin says that makes him a rootin', tootin' cowpoke.
He's a quiet, sleepy baby, although Erin says that a few lines from my play "The Truth About Daughters" (which both girls have seen enough times to be able to recite from heart), now ring very true. Among them:
"I can hardly remember what life was like, B.C. - Before Child. I remember there was this thing called ... "sleep"."
That said, she called me yesterday all excited because Owen had slept almost through the night - six hours! Then she said, "I thought you were kidding when you told us that the first time he slept that long we'd be scared to go in and see him. I nudged Matthew and said "You go check him." He said, "I'm not going in there - YOU go check him.""
I remember that so clearly. And with Erin, her breathing was so gentle you couldn't detect any movement. So I would have to actually tickle her hand or poke her just to make sure she wasn't ... you know.
Erin also confessed something to me that will, I know, shock every mother out there. She said, "He has a rough time in the morning, when he's a bit cranky, but other than that, he's so sweet. But - I'm always with him. Always. If I go somewhere, even to another part of the house, he has to come along. So when Matthew gets home from work, I almost throw the baby at him, saying "It's your turn. Take him." I feel so guilty for doing that - I mean, Matty works long hours, too. But the second he walks in, he gets this baby thrust at him - "Here, take him, I don't want him any more."
On behalf of every mother in the world, I expressed shock and dismay at her actions and assured her that yes, she should feel guilty, because no other mother has ever done or felt THAT.
Big Doin's in the Bakery
This year, I decided for the first time to make a fruitcake for Christmas. I know that fruitcakes are an acquired taste, and that not everybody loves them (including three of the four in our house). But I do, and every year I pay premium dough (hee!) for what is a comfort food for me. And every year, I could feel my grandfather, the baker, spinning in his grave.
Since I bake my own bread, I didn't feel it was a giant leap to add "fruitcake" to my repertoire. And it isn't. You start off with the appropriate dried, candied, and chopped fruit:
[Here is where I confess a little bit of a cheat (Don't listen, Grandpa!). I was at a Christmas Craft Fair a couple of weeks ago and some women were selling pre-chopped and measured fruitcake ingredients. It seemed like a chance to take some of the drudgery out of the process without necessarily reducing it to paint-by-numbers.
I combined the colourful fruit with the less colourful but oh-so-necessary raisins and currants:
Now, that offers a chance to influence the taste of the final product in any number of directions. Many - in fact, most - recipes call for rum as the soaking agent. Kalki referred me to this recipe, which is utterly hilarious.
But some call for brandy or even whiskey. Looking through my liquor cabinet, I considered sherry, port, peach schnapps (... I know), and even Kirsch.
Well, to make a long story short (as if the ship hadn't long since sailed on that), I decided to experiment next time, and went with rum. I soaked the fruit for two days, stirring it whenever I walked past.
On Sunday afternoon, I mixed up the dough and folded in the fruit (and while I breeze over that process, let me assure you that folding five pounds of fruit into some dough is not easy. I don't own a big-ass countertop mixer (gratuitous Christmas gift hint there!), so it was all done the way my grandfather used to do it. Bull strength and plenty of grunting.
Then, I poured the mix into two lined loaf pans (it looks like very light-coloured dough - the reddish tinge to it is the raspberry jam I combined with it. In fact, the cakes came out very dark, as I had hoped):
Anyway. I WILL have a final picture of them. But by the time they came out of the oven and cooled for several hours, the camera had been put away, the football game was starting, and I was distracted.
After the game (sadly, my Bombers lost), I sliced off a piece of the still-warming fruitcake. I took a bite - with some trepidation, I can tell you.
It was incredibly delicious, a complete success.
Beginner's luck, perhaps. Or maybe slavish devotion to a recipe. Whatever. Both cakes were spectacular, and will only get better as every day I bring them out and cover them with a rum-soaked cheesecloth.
So, that was the final thing. I'm all ready for Christmas. Boy, can't wait till December gets here.