Wednesday, August 1, 2012


My third child celebrated his 6th birthday this past weekend, and my 9-year-old daughter and I made this sourdough chocolate cake with buttercream frosting and decorated it like a dirt cake with candy rocks and gummy army men, worms, turtles and frogs, and clumps of wheat grass.  It was very fun to make for him. If I was disciplined, I would have eaten just the sourdough cake and felt healthy about it, but I ate the unearthly colored worms too.

Two summers ago, we were waiting for our Patched Roof house (before it was patched, and before we knew all of its needs of TLC, so it seemed like a dream house at the time) to become available.  It was a long wait, made even longer with delays out of our control.

We were living in my husband's parents house, finishing almost 2 years of a generous housesitting opportunity, and I was unable to nest as a very pregnant mom wishes to nest.  I was antsy and anxious.  The last two months of our stay in my inlaws' very beautiful home coincided with their return to their home built for their retirement.

You might be able to imagine a hormonal, 8-month pregnant woman with three kids, in the middle of summer, waiting for her rental house, and unable to nest.  You might also be able to imagine that my gracious inlaws who raised two sons were probably grateful they never raised a hormonal teen daughter since living with a pregnant 30-something daughter-in-law was bad enough. Ugh.

It wasn't that I created elaborate nurseries for my second or third children. I didn't.  They slept in a cradle next to my bed, with their sweet little clothes folded into two drawers of my nightstand table.  But I was settled in a home, and this time, I was not settled.  So nesting for baby #4 was a different experience.  I shopped online for cloth diapers, sewed wool baby pants from old sweaters, made crib sheets, and packed our belongings. 

And I learned how to bake with a sourdough starter. My neighbor Julie has a friend she calls her "old lady friend," a woman in her 80s who teaches her how to can and bake, who shared her 40-year-old starter.  When Julie asked if I wanted some starter, I excitedly said, "Yes!  I am wanting to start an online sourdough class!"

From Gnowfglins, I learned how to keep my starter going, how to build it up for bigger recipes, how to keep it in the fridge, how to make english muffins, waffles, crepes, crackers, cinnamon rolls, and chocolate cake.  Learning something new kept me busy.

My starter was kind of my baby, a literal bun in the oven, and I nested in the kitchen, not the nursery.

We got moved into the Patched Roof house five days before our due date.  Our other babies came five to seven days early.  The timing was unbearably stressful.  The house was a disaster upon our first viewing of it.  A pregnant woman should never see an uncleaned rental.  Oh my.  My husband and my inlaws cleaned and repainted.

Still, the vision of those awful carpets could not --- is not --- be erased from my memory.  It is probably some hormonal pregnancy memory irrationally imprinted in my mind, like not liking pepperjack cheese even six years after eating it when newly nauseous and five weeks pregnant.

The morning before my due date, I made sourdough cinnamon rolls and stocked up with yummy foods from Trader Joe's.  Baby #4 arrived at 10:41 pm, after a short 5-hour labor and less than two hours before his due date.  He was totally perfect and amazing, and even more loved than I could imagine.

While in the hospital, I indulged in Northwest cuisine ... marionberry and hazelnut french toast, fresh salmon with wild rice, and grass-fed Oregon hamburger with organic greens.  It was delicious.  My husband and I frequently joke, "I'm just here for the food," a movie line from the Cinderella-esque Ever After.  That was some good food, worthy of celebrating my newest little prince.

I meant to just share about the dirt cake I made this weekend, but its funny how memories fit together.  And its pretty neat how food helps settle and celebrate life.

(I linked up with Gnowfglins Simple Lives Thursday.)

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