If I stop to think about it for too long, it makes me sad that you won’t understand my love for you until you have a baby of your own. But until then, I want to make sure I keep a few notes of the times I loved you so much it almost hurt. Today was one of those days. I was watching a video of a man finding out he was going to become a grandpa and it reminded me of when we told your grandmas and grandpas that you would be joining us soon. There were tears and laughter and now I know that moment probably meant much more to them than it did to us, though I didn’t know it at the time. They knew that you were about to change our hearts completely. You have changed my heart completely. I live fuller and love deeper because of you, and not just in my own small world… I’m capable of feeling so much now for people I will never even meet. Thank you for making me better in that way.
By the time this posts, I will have already had a pumpkin pantry bar for breakfast. (With some coffee that isn’t Starbucks because I have to break that habit.)
Pantry bars are my version of granola bars, a recipe I adapted from granola bar bites à la Witty in the City that I first pinned, I don’t know, 2 years ago?
So why do I call them pantry bars? Well, I discovered something magic: So long as you keep the ratio of oats:banana:usually applesauce (we’ll get to this in a moment) the same, you can pretty much get away with anything else you have in your pantry. In this case, I substituted canned pumpkin for applesauce because I don’t care how over pumpkin all of you are, I’m not.
So, let’s get this pumpkin party started:
- 2 ripe bananas
- 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- Dash of salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 2/3 cup brown sugar
- 4 cups rolled oats
- 1 cup chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup crushed nuts*
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1/2 cup dried coconut
Step 1: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Step 2: Peel your bananas, pop them in a mixer with your canned pumpkin, and start a-mixin’. Don’t have a mixer? I suppose you can mash them in a mixing bowl, but I’m just going to keep it real: I am literally in love with my Kitchenaid. Some people, before they have children, have pets; and they love them like children. I had a Kitchenaid. Like Charlie, she also has a family name: Gladys. Let me introduce you…
I still love you, Gladys.
Step 3: Add your spices, salt, vanilla extract, maple syrup, and brown sugar. Mix until well combined, brown sugar has dissolved.
Step 4: Add the oats, combine, then add the rest of your ingredients. *For chopped nuts, the recipe usually calls for slivered almonds. However, I only had a 1/4 cup so I used another 1/4 cup of chopped pecans to complete the 1/2 cup. This was especially appropriate for pumpkin, keeping the flavor seasonal.
Step 5: Prepare a muffin tin with baking spray. Witty in the City suggests a mini muffin tin, but that’s just silliness. 1. I eat these for breakfast and a mini muffin just would not suffice. 2. There are chocolate chips involved which necessitates the largest portion size I can reasonably get away with.
Step 6: Using a medium cookie scoop, scoop the mixture into a greased muffin tin circle. Press the mixture firmly into the bottom of the circle like so:
Step 7: Bake for ~20 minutes until the edges are browned, let sit for 5 minutes, finish cooling on a rack. (Repeat! I get a little more than 2 dozen.)
Another reason I love this recipe: Sounds strange, but they’re actually best cold. Witty in the City says the same thing. Once they’re cooled, I pop them all into a gallon size freezer bag and just grab one for breakfast on the go.
Now, go raid your pantry and get your pumpkin on.
I knew that you would teach me things, but I guess I thought I’d have an opportunity to teach you a couple first.
So long as I can recall, I have suffered from the same fatal flaw. With little understanding or appreciation for God’s will, I held tight to what I thought was right. How I should look, how clean my house should be, and most dangerously, how others might perceive me.
I have always known that I needed to learn to “bloom where I was planted” and to embrace my life right now with all of its blessings. But instead I found myself doing what we all do… Worrying about how to reach the next goal, pushing myself to cross once more task off my list.
You, Charlie, have taught me how to show myself grace.
In things big and small, whether it’s working toward our next home or getting one more load of laundry done at the end of a long day, I have learned how to smile in my current circumstances because I know all too well now how fast the time goes.
And it’s all because of you. Watching your littlest days pass so quickly, I have been given the gift of perspective. I now know that no matter what we have or don’t have, what we’ve done or still have yet to do, today is so short.
Most days, just after dinner, I have two choices: I can start getting ready for tomorrow, or I can spend another hour with you.
Every time, I choose you… And I know I will forever be grateful that I did.
These are the days I’m going to want to remember. You woke up at 9 a.m. ready to play with a smile on your face. We sat next to each other on the couch and you talked to me about the news, I watched you learn and discover in your exersaucer while I had my morning coffee. We spread out your toys and laid down on your playmat. I helped you reach your favorites and tickled your back. You laughed and I smiled. Then, just a short hour later, you started getting tired eyes. I scooped you up and carried you upstairs while you twisted to see everything around you. I changed your diaper, put you into something warm, and fed you a bottle while we rocked in the dark on this cloudy day. When the bottle was finished, your eyes were closed, and I thought about how perfect your little face is. When I laid you down, you didn’t even move or make a noise. You were already asleep, safe and sound.
I LOVE being your mom.
If nothing else, these kinds of situational comedies that seem to happen to me on the daily might just keep my blog alive…
So this morning, I drop Charlie off at his grandma’s per usual. I give him his kiss goodbye and exit through the garage. As I get out of the garage and walk toward my Jeep, I hear a noise. I literally jumped up because it definitely sounded like wildlife.
At first I decided to disregard, then, it happened again and it sounded closer. Panic set in. I started to think about what might be making this noise, decided it must be a goose, and prepared to meet my match on the driver’s side of my Jeep.
As I’m about to turn that corner, AGAIN, just to my right… Was my back windshield wiper, scraping across the dry window, sounding exactly like an angry goose.
Remember how sweet it is when everyone else in the house is napping, you can have a cup of tea with the windows open, and fall is blowing in.