A boy is a blessing.-some magnet.
With two (kids), you just love more. -my mother.
I feel like someone poured cough syrup over my life. -me.
Okay. So the first two are true, but the third one FEELS true. Which is worse?
No one tells you any of this as you walk out the door with your second child. It's all smoke and mirrors, do they have your billing address, and smiles as they say congratulations. All the while their subtext is screaming "you won't believe how much laundry there is with two."
At least for me, that 'cough syrup' feeling is the same feeling that I had when Sara told me she was pregnant with our first. There was doubt - We did it?, pure joy - We did it!, and then the weight of the world pressing down on my shoulders - We did it?!? Read: What were we thinking?!?
So bringing this second boy home two months ago, I was starting to feel that weight of the world again. It creeps in as I'm applying for his health insurance, adding in his daycare costs come September, and trying to still find the time to look this kiddo in the eyes and say I love you, more than you will ever know.
Where does this time I speak of go?
Like sands through the hour glass... -my Nana's Soap.
I never thought I'd look forward to the times when it's just me. A cup of coffee. On the toilet. For more than two minutes. It goes something like, "Hi me." "Hi myself," comes the reply just before I fight back a yawn.
Now, if I'm feeling this way (Mr. Can't sleep alone if the Mrs. is away) then I know that my wife must need double, possibly even cubed the amount of alone time that I desire. She is a breast-feeding, diaper changing, burp-cloth/onesie washing, going back to work, mother of two boys machine, whose time alone is much less than mine.
I keep daydreaming of taking off work early, stealing our second son, and sending her to get a pedicure, which would cost $. Hello weight of the world, nice to see you again.
The clouds parted and ray of bliss shone through last week. Did I take off work? Me? Nope. She found reruns of the West Wing on TV at some ungodly hour. Her mood has changed. She is like a new woman. Still quite sleep deprived, but new... kinda like CarMax Mom, I guess?
Anyway, WEST WING!?! I know, right? Who knew Dule Hill could be so catalystastic? Buuud! You have saved me time off from work and $25 a month in nail care! (She never spends that, but the possibility still looms out there in the murky distance.)
When my wife has her own washer and dryer, and can get a pedicure once a month, she will have officially "arrived." Who knew life could be this good?
All of this kiddo talk stems from our best friends having their second child around 5pm today. I am overwhelmed with joy, I'm planning their welcome home meal.
Grilled Cheese Night with Beer.
There are a couple of ways to accomplish this*.
You don't need a Panini Press, but you should get one. A) Do it for America. B) If you do your prep right, it eliminates your need to be in the kitchen. C) It provides "a great conversation piece." -Martha Stewart
So I'm going with more of a guidance counselor recipe here. Techniques, tips, and tricks... I'll be more of your personal Mr. T, s'il vous plait.
Grab about a loaf per 3 people. A baguette will serve about 4. The more varied your bread selection, the wider array of sandwiches you'll be able to create. You can also serve the beer in Amsterdam sized beer glasses.
I'm always a big fan of "cutting" the grilled cheese using a lighter (less expensive) cheese like a sliced muenster or havarti with a more prominent cheese. So you can do a brie sandwich but go half light muenster/half brie. You get the flavor of the brie but not the overwhelming richness of it as you plow through two or five panini. Trader Joe's or Whole Foods are both great one stop shops for a grilled cheese night. I love going to Monte Carlo Deli in Burbank for mine, but hey, not everyone can walk to a local Italian Deli.
Shut it you NYC people yous.
I don't oil my press nor do I add butter to the bread. If you grab decent artisan bread, the cheese should melt through the occasional air pocket and provide the necessary "love" to crisp that bread right up.
A must have on my grilled cheese night is mozzarella on rosemary bread. Friends will walk out the door if I don't have this on hand. This is a lazy man's version of a recipe I found once that had you use ciabatta bread, fresh mozzarella,way too much olive oil, and then skewer that sandwich with a rosemary sprig and grill it. Great on the grill for a first course, but not possible indoors. Way too smoky.
If you love TJ's like yours truly, then grab the rosemary demi-baguette and the marinated braided mozzarella. Slice the baguette in half length-wise and then trim an 1/8" or so off of the bottom, and slice the top so that you are roughly even in size with the bottom. Hand the trimmed pieces to your toddlers or dogs for staying out of the kitchen. Break up the braided mozzarella, sneaking a bit for yourself, and spread it out evenly between your two slices. Grill over medium low heat flipping it over after 5 minutes or so (cream may rise, but grease drops like dead weight.) Cut into mini sandwiches and serve with a nice crisp beer, Moretti would do well here. No, not the rossa.
Speaking of TJ's, during the winter time they do a dried fruit nut loaf that is killer with brie and pears. I breakdown and eat a little wheat when this bread is available. A smoked porter or oatmeal stout goes really well with that one. Maybe two.
Spreads are also a great way to vary your grilled cheese night without going crazy on 12 different types of cheese. A simple basil pesto aoli and sun-dried tomato pesto aoli can brighten up your panini and stretch your lighter cheese. In other words, buy a jar of mayo and some other jarred tapenades, pestos, and goodies, to spread onto your sandwiches.
Don't forget a cold cut bar for your grilled cheese night. A Fra'Mani Soprasetta, Spicy Capicola or Coppa, Black Pepper Salami (Genovese), or even just grilled chicken breast. I shy away from Proscuitto because the only thing that should be "stringy" after you bite into a grilled cheese is the cheese, not some unchewable ribbon of fat or piece of sinew.
Don't get me wrong, wrap up grilled asparagus in it with some mascarpone cheese and aged balsamic, and you might just be getting engaged, if not married a few months down the line.
That's all for now, there is another new baby in my life.
What weight of the world?
*Yes, drink all the beer, get sleepy, and then go to bed is a possibility, good on ya, mate! You'll also need to add a couple Advil and a divorce lawyer in the morning to this recipe if you go that route.