Thursday, September 3, 2009

Hadley Bakes...and a Photo Shoot With Mommy

I'm so eager for fall, I can hardly stand it. Football games. Hot cider. The colors of the changing leaves. Cool nights. And my very, very favorite: the smell. I don't know how to describe it, but every year I've lived north of the Mason-Dixon Line, I've smelled fall. It's like the first wafts from a burning fireplace mixed with the scent of mulling spices and the cleanliness of crisp, cool air. It makes me slow down and breathe deeply. Ahhh...

So to get fall jump-started (it's still in the 80s here during the day), Hadley and I decided to bake some banana bread on Tuesday. Well, I decided and Hadley drooled in agreement. I moved her bouncy seat into the kitchen, plopped her into it, and proceeded to narrate my every move. It was like having my very own Food Network show (and we all know that having Hadley as my audience is about as close as I'll ever get to that). "First, Hadley, we peel the very mushy bananas," I said. "See? They're gooey and soft, just how we like them." She watched intently for a good 10 minutes, but I could tell she wanted to be closer to the action. When she voiced her discontent--read: fussed--I stopped my show, grabbed the Baby Bjorn, and stuck her in it. 

Not surprisingly, it is markedly more difficult baking while wearing a baby. Hadley loved it, though. She was mesmerized by the mixer. She watched intently while I measured the flour. She grabbed for everything and seemed especially into the orange baking soda box. I put her down before I put the bread into the oven, but she helped with everything else. She was very proud, I could tell.

One day, she will associate the yummy smell of banana bread with HOME. I always do. I use the same recipe my mom used while we were growing up, and I still think of her when I smell the bread baking. It just feels...cozy. And safe. And autumnal. 

I can't wait until the air cools, and we can hear the leaves rustling on the ground outside. Then I will snuggle Hadley...(see us practicing?)...

...and snuggle...

...and smile... this very good, simple life we lead. Banana bread and baby snuggles and fall on its way. What more could I ask for? Not a thing.

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