Mixed Berry + Cocoa Smoothie [and growing into motherhood]

I watch my son, Josiah, hold onto the old, scratched up coffee table, gripping the edge with his tiny fingers while he shuffles over to the couch. At 10 months, he’s still wobbly, but every day I notice his legs grow sturdier and his confidence stronger.

He also falls. Often. Sometimes his face gets red with frustration when he can’t keep up with his older siblings, and tears well up when he stumbles. But he’s just learning, and stubbornness propels him onward.

I hear the slap of his hands on the hardwood floor as he makes his way to the front stairs. He’s beginning to climb steps now—a milestone I’d prefer to delay. I follow closely behind, because even though he’s gotten quite adept at going up, he hasn’t exactly mastered coming down—or at least coming down safely.

He sets his hands on the first stair and waits for me. The corners of his mouth turn up and his blue eyes squint in excitement. I tentatively “chase” him to the top. He enjoys the game and doesn’t realize I’m actually spotting him. Mama’s not about to let him take another tumble, although it seems to him like that possibility is all part of the fun of it. The threat of falling doesn’t deter him from climbing.

Somewhere along the way, I lost that fearlessness. I started to assume I should be able to walk without ever crawling, to bolt up the stairs without a misstep. In the past, I traveled across the world without the prospect of getting lost holding me back. I applied for jobs without being crippled by the idea of rejection. I jumped into new ventures headfirst simply because I found joy in possibility. But now in the daily work of mothering, I easily forget it’s not only okay to fall, but it's normal, expected, and part of the learning process.

Keep reading and get the recipe at Coffee + Crumbs!


Full post and recipe instructions can be found at Coffee + Crumbs!


Lemon-Basil Whole Wheat Coffee Cake [and finding solace in the village]

Lemon-Basil Whole Wheat Coffee Cake - Sarah J. Hauser

I sit alone in bed, pillows propped behind me and books, dishes, and pumping supplies piled on the nightstand to my left. My youngest isn’t yet a month old. I hear the doorbell ring, but I don’t move. I know it’s my sister. My husband walks upstairs to check on me and let me know she’s there, and I mumble something about getting out of bed eventually. Then again, maybe I won’t. She won’t be offended. I know she gets it, and she’ll end up making us dinner or cleaning the kitchen or folding laundry without me having to ask.

I hear a soft knock on the bedroom door as she peeks her head in. I try to hold it together and say I’m fine, and I’ll come down to visit. But that’s an empty promise. She sits on the edge of the bed and my eyes begin to water. I mutter something about how there’s nothing actually wrong. I really am okay.

“It’s nothing, but it’s everything, isn’t it?” she says.

I nod. It’s nothing major, no “real” reason to complain or be sad or not be able to get out of bed. But it’s also everything. It’s the sleeplessness, c-section incision, whining toddlers, hormones, grief over my late mom, anxiety, burden of parenting, and even the news headlines that seem a heavier weight to carry than normal. I turn her words over in my mind. Nothing, but everything. Yes.  

I don’t have to justify my tears or explain away my emotions. I stay in bed, but the tightness in my heart releases, and I finally exhale.  

Keep reading and get the recipe at Coffee + Crumbs!

Lemon-Basil Whole Wheat Coffee Cake - Sarah J. Hauser
Lemon-Basil Whole Wheat Coffee Cake - Sarah J. Hauser
Lemon-Basil Whole Wheat Coffee Cake - Sarah J. Hauser
Lemon-Basil Whole Wheat Coffee Cake - Sarah J. Hauser

Full post and recipe instructions can be found at Coffee + Crumbs!


Sheet Pan Balsamic Pork Chops with Roasted Veggies [and the messy practice of eating together]

Sheet Pan Balsamic Pork Chops with Roasted Veggies - Sarah J. Hauser

I handed my two-year-old twins their plastic plates—the purple ones with the three sections so no food touches another kind of food. To my son, mixing items would be on par with the zombie apocalypse. It’s also convenient they’re the same color. No fighting over who gets blue and who gets green. Everyone gets purple.

At least we sidestepped that crisis today.

Still, they complained about the tiny pieces of cucumber I tried to sneak in. During the witching hour frenzy, I overcooked the burgers, and sad patties of meat were poked, prodded, and eventually ignored.They only ate a few pieces of potatoes. Potatoes are a plant, though, right? I count that as a dinnertime win.

My husband and I eventually sat down with our own plates, and before we could take a bite, the kids announced they were done. They squirmed in their chairs at the table for a few more minutes, although not by choice. I was determined to get everyone in their seats together at least long enough for us to say a quick mealtime prayer—a goal I used to think was realistic.

My daughter kept taking my husband’s fork and threw a tantrum when she couldn’t have it. Missing her nap earlier this afternoon only made her strong will stronger. She and my husband left the table. My six-month-old grabbed his bowl of puréed sweet potatoes while I wasn’t looking and slathered himself in them. I divvied out more food for my toddler son, the baby started screaming because he was still hungry, and I tried to hold back my own tears.

Keep reading and get the recipe at Coffee + Crumbs!

Sheet Pan Balsamic Pork Chops with Roasted Veggies - Sarah J. Hauser
Sheet Pan Balsamic Pork Chops with Roasted Veggies - Sarah J. Hauser
Sheet Pan Balsamic Pork Chops with Roasted Veggies - Sarah J. Hauser

Full post and recipe instructions can be found at Coffee + Crumbs!


Almond, Coconut + Date Bites [and showing up empty-handed]

Almond, Coconut + Date Bites [and showing up empty-handed]

Almost every week, I show up at a friend’s house with a car seat slung over my elbow and two toddlers in tow. We let ourselves in the back mudroom door, and I try to remember to take my kids’ shoes off—although more often than not, I never bothered to put shoes on their feet in the first place. My twins make their way into the kitchen and I set the car seat in the corner, praying the baby stays asleep a little longer.

My son climbs behind the armchair in the playroom to retrieve the box of trains, and my daughter heads to the white, child-sized table to color. There are four of us that get together nearly every week, twelve kids between us all. A handful of the kids are at school during the day, so only having eight or nine kids around feels almost calm.

We attempt to catch up on life or discuss the book we’re reading together, but of course those discussions are interrupted by refereeing playtime or the crash of crayons being dumped. We can barely speak a full sentence without a baby crying or someone needing a diaper change. (More than once, I’ve changed a diaper only to realize on my drive home I left the dirty one on my friend’s living floor. I’ve considered not saying anything out of embarrassment, but I opt to send a quick text message apologizing and sheepishly asking her to toss the abandoned diaper.)

Once the chaos and noise level come to a head, we gather the tiny humans together for a snack. Maybe that’ll keep them busy enough for us to talk just a few more minutes. We divvy out veggie straws and raisins, crackers and fruit. It’s not uncommon for me to end up staying through lunchtime, in which case out comes the turkey, cheese, and bread.

But I never bring the snacks.

Keep reading and get the recipe at Coffee + Crumbs!

Almond, Coconut + Date Bites [and showing up empty-handed]
Almond, Coconut + Date Bites [and showing up empty-handed]
Almond, Coconut + Date Bites [and showing up empty-handed]
Almond, Coconut + Date Bites [and showing up empty-handed]
Almond, Coconut + Date Bites [and showing up empty-handed]

Full post and recipe instructions can be found at Coffee + Crumbs!