I remember the moment when my husband first told me that he was going to accept the Milwaukee job offer. I was sitting in my office on Notre Dame’s campus eager for the weekend to begin and even more eager to know our next step. I remember thinking that Milwaukee would be a great place for us to start the next chapter of our lives. I had heard many a times from my older sister, the Marquette alum, about all the fun bars in Milwaukee. About the city’s young vibe. About the lake and the parks. About the breweries and the Brewers. About Bartollota, Calatrava, St. Rita, and all the amazing experiences we would have in the city of festivals. Milwaukee sounded like an adventure (or at the very least, some place better than South Bend) and I was more than ready to for the ride.
But then, before even arriving in Milwaukee, our circumstance changed. I knew I would not be experiencing the “fun bars.” Although I was still excited for the “young vibe” I knew I’d be looking for another young group as well. The lake and the parks still sounded great, but I knew my time outside that summer would be somewhat limited or at least restricted. And as for all those festivals, well, we’d need one more ticket for those. Three months prior to our big move north, I found out I was pregnant and in a moment, I realized our adventure would be an entirely different one; it would be bigger, scarier, noisier, and much more important. It would be the biggest adventure of our lives.
And so to Milwaukee we went – pregnant wife and all. At first, there were no bars, only baby classes. And by June, six months after our big move, our family of two turned into a family of three.
Yesterday was Lyla’s six month check up and I am still in shock that she is already that old. My little girl is growing up so fast. To me, it still seems like yesterday that I was sitting in South Bend, shocked to think that I was going to be a Mom; that very soon, I would have a baby, and my life would change. It wasn’t even that long ago that my little girl was a mere 6 lbs – a teeny, tiny little thing, incapable of so much, and so entirely vulnerable. Now (with her official six-month stats in) she is a 17 lbs-2oz ball of giggles, and rolls, and shrieks. She is a happy, healthy baby – the ultimate blessing, and the best part of our adventure.
I love – absolutely love – that the baby food I make for her is contributing to that happiness, and that health. Although I have not posted all of them, we have been plowing through the vegetables. So far, Lyla has been a good little eater, and has yet to turn her nose up at a single veggie (apparently, she has both her Dad’s appetite, and indiscriminate taste). I’ve made her zucchini, sweet peas, sweet potatoes, and, more recently, butternut squash (below) which she loved:
Then, we gave her carrots – another hit:
She’s been doing so well, that her pediatrician finally said “it’s time to move on to fruits.” She’s grown accustomed to her vegetables and has learned to love them to the point that adding in fruits is not a concern. Originally we did not want to give her fruits until she had tried as many vegetables as possible for fear that once she tasted the sweet stuff, she would say no to her veggies. But this girl does not discriminate against anything, so move on we did.
Today she experienced her first fruit and I wish I had my camera to capture the first bite. The look on her face at that moment was priceless. It was pure shock from her new discovery. And from there, just like all of her other foods, she devoured the whole bowl.
The process was as simple and true to form as possible – the only ingredient were the pears themselves. I cored and quartered them before placing them in the steaming basket.
Steamed them for roughly 10 minutes and then let them cool before removing the skins (letting them cool is key! If you try to remove the skins before then it becomes a much more difficult task.)
And finally pureed, divided, froze and stored them as usual.
I even tasted this batch before freezing and it was delicious. I felt very compelled to make myself a pear smoothie.
And so here we are; past the cereal only stage, past the cereal/veggie stage, into the cereal/veggie/fruit stage. And as Lyla moves on to the bigger and the better, and we continue to add to her ever-growing menu, we too are moving on. By the end of this month we will no longer be residents of Milwaukee, but, instead, residents of Pittsburgh. It was a very big decision that included many long discussions and even a few tears (a result of mixed emotions and a fear of the unknown), but at the end it was the right decision, and a very exciting one. Still, Milwaukee will always hold a special place in my heart – for it is the city that brought me Lyla. It was her first home and the home to so many of her firsts. I am sad to say goodbye, especially to our new friends and all of Lyla’s play-pals. I know I will very much miss our walks on the lake, CSM’s play group, and most especially all of our play-dates. But opportunity calls (albeit, in a Yinzer-ish twang) and as the pediatrician said, it’s time to move on. Another big adventure awaits.
To all of our Milwaukee friends, I cannot thank you enough for your friendship and support. We will miss you dearly and always think fondly of our time here with you in the city of festivals.
And to Pittsburgh, watch out. The Bear is coming.