Gah, I am in love with my maternity leave! Every morning, around 7:15, I am woken up by JR and Max very loudly demanding breakfast or that I hold them. They roll around in our bed, driving Matt insane (as he wants to keep sleeping). Many times, I am nursing Ellie so I lay in bed feeding her while Matt makes the boys oatmeal. Eventually, we make our way out of bed. We slowly get ready for the day. I wash my face, brush my teeth, put in contacts. There is no rush. We have no deadlines.
Eloise and I spend our mornings checking emails, listening to podcasts, drinking coffee, watching the boys play. Our afternoons are spent grocery shopping, taking short walks, running errands. And of course, lots and lots of nursing, burping, changing diapers, cleaning off spit up.
Some days are more stressful than others. Taking care of a newborn and two toddlers is not always easy. Max and JR are still learning the nuances of sharing. Maxwell still nurses at night (but he would love to nurse all day). But without having work on my plate and knowing that my workless days will come to an end, the toddler tantrums are easier to stomach. After all, I get to spend my days with my children. These little people I created with the person I love the most. These little people who love me so much. These little people who have so assignments or deadlines for me to accomplish anything.
And each afternoon, instead of fretting on whether I have had a productive morning full of billable hours, I get to start planning what home cooked meal I’ll be making my family that night. Gone are the days of planning a meal around the fact that I get home from work at 7:00 p.m. No recipe is off limits. If our pantry is missing an ingredient, I can go to the grocery store. If the recipe takes several hours, that’s ok. I can start cooking early.
The slow, mostly relaxing days bring me so much comfort.
Minnesotans express love with warm casseroles we call hot dishes. So this meal reminds me of family. It is full of hearty veggies and cheese that remind you of a dinner you ate sitting at your grandmother’s kitchen table with your siblings. Or a meal you’d share with friends in the church basement at a pot luck.
Typically hot dishes call for canned soups, which are full of salt and aren’t that healthy. But this hot dish subs the typical cream of mushroom condensed soup for Greek yogurt, eggs, and milk. Honestly, you can’t taste the difference but your waist line will. All over, this is a great hot dish.