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Friday, August 5, 2011

helping out a new mom

My college roommate and one of my very best friends, Jess (one of the two I originally started this blog for), has a 3-weeks-old beautiful little girl, Madison. I visited her when she was 3 days old, so returning a few weeks later was even more fun. My younger sister came with me and my son to spend the whole day with Jess and Madison. I told Jess ahead of time that we were coming to help, so she'd better have a list ready of things for us to do. I was SO proud of her for allowing us to help out.

We arrived at 10 a.m. and left after supper at 6 p.m. We got lots accomplished! Here's what we did:
-took a short walk after Jess instantly said, "I need to get out of here!"
-showed her how to use stroller (those things can be totally complicated if you have never used one before)
-showed her how to use breast pump - well, not technically showed her but unwrapped the package and talked about the process (again, something totally confusing and scary if you have not done it before!)
-talked about labor, forgetting parts of it, agreeing that the whole hospital process is a blur
-talked about nursing and how tough it can be, when to introduce bottles, and how tired she is
-made lunch and a homemade dinner
-looked through wedding and honeymoon albums, reminisced about how much life changes in a year
-folded all the baby clothes, took tags off of the toys and books, and organized the baby room
-did a photo shoot with baby Madison

We talked about how crazy the hormones and emotions are during post-partum. Jess told me the most hilarious, totally new mom move story! Baby Madison spit up on the bed, so Jess took the sheets to the washer. She didn't realize it until later, but she had washed the phone also, as it was wrapped up in the sheets!

My friend seemed so calm, so grown up, totally not the eighteen year olds we used to be, as I watched her rock and soothe her newborn little girl. Watching her take a picture of her sleeping daughter in the stroller for the first time, made me smile with sentiment, remembering how I did the same thing when my son came home less than two years ago. To watch a best friend experience what you have is something I can't quite put to words. It's pretty incredible to have related to her on everything else in the world before, and now to be able to share motherhood with her is so great.

I went to see my friend mostly to see the baby and support her, but also to just say, "Hey, I've been here before, in this new territory where it's confusing and tiring. I'm here now if you need me, even to just sit here and hold the baby or laugh with you about how crazy it all is or to fold some baby laundry. I'm here, as your friend." I tried to remember what people did for me when I took Owen home. That's what they did, with casseroles and muffins and teddy bears when they came to visit. I would want a friend to ask me the next time around, "What is this really like right now for you? How's it really going?" That is so important. I'm glad I could do that for Jess. She's already doing such an amazing job. I'm totally impressed.

Yum, yum
I made her some supper that was enough to fill 3 big bowls for us to eat, then have plenty of leftovers this week or to freeze. Jess wanted the recipe, so I figured others would, too. Enjoy!

Garden Minestrone Soup. Recipe from Hannaford fresh magazine July-August 2009.
Serves 8
Active time 25 minutes (and honestly it took me about 15 minutes now that I've made this a few times)
Total time 55 minutes

6 oz. elbow pasta
2 tbsp. olive oil or canola oil, divided
2 large carrots, finely diced, about 2 cups (I use baby carrots because that's what I usually have in the house)
1 small onion, finely diced (about 3/4 cup)
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
2 medium zucchini cut into 1/4 inch dice (about 4 cups)
1 32 oz. carton chicken broth
1 15 oz. can tomato and basil sauce
1 15 oz. can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed (because most cans in the store don't say this cannellini name, they are the big white beans)
1/4 tsp. salt, or to taste
1/4 tsp. black pepper, or to taste

1. Cook the pasta according to package directions. While the pasta is cooking, heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the carrots, onion, garlic, and Italian seasoning, and cook, stirring occassionally until the carrots start to soften, about 5 minutes.

2. Add the remaining oil and the zucchini, and continue to cook until the zucchini, carrots and onion are tender, 8 to 10 minutes.

3. When the pasta is done, drain and add to the vegetable mixture with the broth, tomato sauce, and beans. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

4. Bring the soup to a boil, remove from heat, and serve in individual bowls.

I always top it with grated parmesan cheese. Delicious and good for you! Definitely something that will aid in post-labor or C-section healing. I made this soup for my sister after she gave birth to her son last year. It was easy to make it all gluten free for her to eat by choosing the right pasta, chicken broth and sauce. Everything else is good to go for someone with a gluten intolerance. Last year we made this to freeze for my sister. When you freeze it, just don't add the pasta (it will suck up all the juices)ENJOY!

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