When I picked February as the month to work on my marriage resolutions, Dan teased me that I picked February because it was the shortest month. Oh, no, I told him, I picked February because February houses Valentine’s Day. Valentine’s Day! A day for lovers! A lovey month!
Then Dan pointed out we have yet to actually celebrate Valentine’s Day in the five years we have been together. This is true. We have never actually celebrated Valentine’s Day. And, no, we did not celebrate it this year either. Poor man did not even get a card.
Anyway, for whatever reason, I chose February to be my marriage-focused month, and I am happy to conclude that I really truly found focusing on my marriage resolutions to bring about more marital bliss. Now, let’s not confuse bliss with meaning that February was completely devoid of disagreements, conflicts, or the occassional wish to give each other a good pinch and say “what the heck were you thinking?!”
No, I mean bliss in the sense of overall happy. In the sense of choosing to leave things unsaid, being kind, and fighting fair. And like January, did I manage to adhere to all my goals at all times day in and day out? No. I specifically remember one time this month when Dan and I were frantically trying to get our affairs in order (re: Dan take a shower and I hot roll my hair) before company came over and our darling Kate was having a giant meltdown screaming tantrum fit complete with alligator tears because NO PARENTS WERE AVALIABLE TO HOLD HER! I just wanted to brush my teeth and remove my rollers without Kate clawing at my legs and screaming like a hyena, so I got so irriated I yelled DAN GET DOWN HEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEERE NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOW! So much for my “no snapping” resolution.
Remembering my resolutions, I tried to recover, apologized, and calmly explained that I needed help instead of yelling and tearing around the house with half a head of hot rollers swearing up a blue streak. And all was forgiven.
Anyway, all this to say I am not trying to be a perfect wife or use the month of February to make a perfect marriage. Rather I wanted to work on specific area, i.e. no snapping, that I know I am guilty of doing and serve to make everyone unhappy.
My favorite resolution was take time to be silly. I wanted us to incorporate more fun so that every day was not like groundhog’s day. So we decided to play board games together, and we went out to eat as a family, took long walks, enjoyed each other’s company. And prove that we can still be young and fun, even married with child.
And I also learned that it is easy to show someone you love them in small yet big ways. Dan loves himself some carbs, so part of point of my bread making endeavors is to make things I know Dan appreciates. When I was out shopping, I would pick up a few little treats I know he likes – a can of Pringles or a take and bake pizza or a book off the discount rack by an author I know he enjoys.
Marriage is hard and simple, really. Hard because we are two people – not the same people – who have different thoughts and beliefs and wants and needs. And easy because all we really need to do for each other is to be kind. I cannot count on anyone else to be loving towards me, but I always know I can find a kind heart in my own home.
When I was in preschool the teachers had this rule that if one did not consume all of one’s lunch, one could not have dessert. The school provided the lunch and to my great dismay, the lunch always featured a particularly awful salad.
Salad. For preschoolers. I was four-years-old and forced to eat limp greens if I wanted a fudgesicle. Oh, how I hated those yucky salads. And more often than not, I refused to eat the salad. So I would not get any dessert and instead I sat in dispair watching my classmates taunt me with their delicious pudding snacks or jello or whatever dessert de jour was available.
I felt like an outcast at lunch as my classmates chomped on their salads, and I sat there mushing the brown lettuces around my plate. And those teachers gave me such grief about it. In front of everyone they would remark on my lack of salad eating and make sure everyone could hear that Sarah was not getting any Keebler Fudge Stripe Cookies because she is a salad eating failure.
And so began my Life as a Picky Eater. I really think that school scarred me because I did not eat a salad again until I was 20-years-old. Yes, 20. I told you I was a picky eater.
Unlike the Preschool of Doom, my parents, while encouraging, never forced me to eat stuff. And while I would gladly consume ketchup like it was going out of style, I refused to eat tomatoes. Heck no tomatoes. Gross. But I gladly used ketchup as a buffer for foods I tolerated, like chicken and beef. I dunked meat in ketchup, so I could finish my five requested bites and be done with it. I liked a pretty good assortment of vegetables – peas and carrots and potatoes and sweet potatoes and corn and cauliflower and broccoli – but I was most definitely not adventurous or willing to eat anything with too much of a harsher taste. No squash no red peppers no onions. Definitely not lettuces.
And I ate like that for years. I no interest in cooking or food really. I liked what I liked and that was that. I never felt a taste for anything beyond the bland. Bland was just fine with me. Chicken and rice and broccoli and apples and bananas. Nothing exotic for me, please.
As I got older, I felt embarrassed about my lack of adventurous eating. My friends would eat all sort of stuff. Chinese food, Indian food, Thai food. The idea of eating anything exotic made my stomach turn. Just like at preschool, I just could not force myself to do it even though all the other kids could – and seemingly loved – to eat new and different foods.
Occasionally I attempted to eat outside my comfort zone, but I just could not eat more than a couple bites without feeling like gagging. Something about the flavors and textures and smell just brought me back to preschool. So I stopped forcing myself and just hoped that someday I would develop a pallet for something other than the bland.
When I left home and went off to college, I felt a sudden shift in my tastes. Suddenly, my body craved other foods. I have no idea how this happened because it was not as if the U.Va. dining hall served anything spectacular. But for whatever reason, I began trying other foods. I would go out to eat with my girlfriends and get spinach and artichoke dips, something that would have absolutely replused me before. And I tried different things at ethnic restaurants. I even began eating…salads.
Yes. Salads. And then a really funny thing happened. Salad became my favorite meal. The Girl Who Refused to Eat Leafy Greens became the Salad Queen. I could not get enough. And with more tomatoes, the better. Yes, tomatoes. Tomatoes became my favorite. I could eat them like apples. And I discovered feta and gorgonzola and goat cheese. When I came home my parents were shocked at this girl who ordered salads.
I do not know if it was the peer pressure or being away from home or the fading memories of the Preschool of Doom or just growing up and finally needing different food groups. But for whatever reason, eating became less about avoiding all the foods I loathed and all about incorporating my new favorites and slowly trying new things.
While I suppose some would say my parents should have forced me to try different things, I am glad they didn’t. If they had, I think I would have been less and less inclined to move out of my food avoidance stage. Instead, I discovered different foods on my own time and according to my own tastes. And I plan to do the same with Kate. Introduce her to foods but not force her to consume things she just is not ready to accept.
Oh, and I will make sure she is not penalized for refusing to eat salad at preschool.
The first day we brought Kate home from the hospital and tried to put her to bed for the night was, in short, a disaster. She was completely asleep with her little eyes shut tight as I held her in my arms. But the minute that sweet little head hit the mattress, her eyes jolted open and she was awake. Awake and screaming.
Dan and I tried multiple times to put her down and after many failed attemps just gave up. He held her for a few hours while I slept, then I held her while he slept. We did this for a couple days but the round the clock holdings and barely a couple hours of sleep a night proved unsustainable.
So we got a cosleeper. We figured if Kate and I slept in close proximity, she could hear my breathing and smell my eau de breastmilk and we could all finally get some sleep. And the cosleeping arrangement worked out pretty good for about two weeks. Kate slept for probably an hour or two at a time before getting up to nurse but at least I could rest more solidly since I was not holding her in my arms.
I could only handle the cosleeper for about two weeks because my darling Kate snores like a freight train. Seriously, if you just listened to the noise she makes, I could fool you into thinking I had a 500 ton old man with sinus congestion sleeping in Kate’s crib. I just could not sleep with all her snoring, so after a bit we decided to go back to the crib.
At that point, Kate was about three weeks old. But much like the first night we brought her home, we could not just lay her down in the crib, say “night night” and walk out. No, putting Kate to sleep was a several hour orderal involving a very literal song and dance. I would rock her and sing to her and nurse and rock and sing and nurse and nurse and sing and rock. Sometimes I would walk around the house, spying on my neighbors and lusting after their sweet sleep while I paced the halls. Occasionally I would turn on our whole house attic fan and stand underneath it while it hummed. And when I was feeling brave, I would hold my breath and ever so gently place Kate in her crib. Maybe half the time it would work. And the other half of the time, well, I would continue my nightly walks around the house. Come to think of it, I should have really hopped on my treadmil. Then I could have walked off calories and tried to put Kate to sleep. I will file this away for the next baby.
Anyway, it went on like this for about two months. I walked a lot, watched a heck tons of trashy late night TV, and stationed myself as the local neighborhood watch as I spied on our dark street outside my living room windows. I surrendered to the fact that this lack of sleep thing was going to go on for the foreseeable future. I even kind of got into the late night TV. Good thing I did not have enough mental capacity to order stuff I see on QVC otherwise my house would be full of quesadilla makers, makeup collections, Pajama Jeans, and Nordic Tracks.
And then a shocking thing happened. Kate started sleeping longer and longer and longer stretches. She was about six weeks old, and I remember the night clearly. Dan was out of town, so I feel alseep at 9 p.m., right after I put Kate down for the night. And then I slept. Until I woke up in a panic at 3:30 a.m. because Kate had yet to wake me. I flew out of bed, busted into her room to find her…asleep. I thought for sure someone stole her or she had magically disappeared to afford me such a long stretch of sleep. And she kept up the pace, sleeping from about 9 p.m. to about 5 a.m. and then to about 7 a.m. Only one wake up? And at 5 a.m.? Too late to even watch QVC!
I was pretty sure I was the luckiest girl in the world. I almost did not want to tell anyone for fear I would jinx my luck. My barely six week old was SLEEPING THROUGH THE NIGHT! This had to be some sort of miracle. And surely I would pay for this and my next kid would not sleep until turning 15 or something like that. I was sleeping, uninterrupted, for EIGHT HOURS each night. Those nights between six weeks and 12 weeks were blissful. Ah, I know longer felt like I was riding the Crazy Train from Lack of Sleep Town.
Then Kate turned three months and became less of a blob, which was cool in that she nursed slightly less and smiled and cooed and generally tried to engage more. And I naively thought perhaps she would just be this awesome baby who just kept on this lovely sleep schedule. I even talked to her about it. I told her I so appreciate her generosity, and her Dad and I will gladly buy her an iPhone in exchange just as soon as she stops spitting up all over everything.
And then everything came crashing down. Kate’s sleep reverted back to the Newborn Days of Torture. She was up every hour on the hour. She was restless. She refused to be put down. I went from eight hours of uninterrupted sleep to maybe three hours of very interrupted sleep. We hoped it was a fluke. Teething, let’s blame teething! She will go back to sleeping, I just know it!
But no, she didn’t. Kate started reverting back to waking every two to three hours. And I got up, stumbled into her room, took her back to bed with me to nurse, and carefully deposited her back in her crib so I could grab another hour of sleep before the next wake up. It went on like this for months. I felt so defeated. WHY WAS THIS HAPPENING? REMEMBER WHEN WE USED TO SLEEP AT NIGHT?
Around five months, Dan and I knew we could not go on like this. We knew she did not really need to nurse. So we tried all sorts of methods. We tried going in and patting her when she cried. We tried gently pulsating her mattress. We tried letting her cry for a certain amount of time. We tried letting her just cry. We tried rocking her for a few minutes and then putting her down. Nothing worked.
In the end, we decided that we just needed to let her fuss. When we tried to go in there and help her go back to sleep, it seemed to make her worse and she would completely freak out when we left the room. And I was so plain exhausted that I could not keep up the pace of getting up multiple times a night. So we let her cry.
The first couple nights were awful. And then it slowly got better. After a couple of days, we worked her back to only one wake up at 5 a.m. for a quick nursing session and then back to bed for another couple of hours. At just six months old, I thought this was pretty good, and I got used to it. And it was great.
Until it wasn’t.
Now Kate is almost nine months old, and we are back to waking all the time. At least every couple of hours. We tried telling her that night time is for sleeping. And I thought that she would be more tired at night given that now she is a crawling machine. Wouldn’t that wear you out, moving around on your hands and knees? It makes me feel tired just thinking about it.
And she is tired, I can tell by the crying at night. It is a tired cry. And Dan and I found ourselves back in that should we or shouldn’t we let her cry? One night last week we were both exhausted and wide awake at 1 a.m. that we considered playing a game of drunken checkers. Anything to mediate this torturous situation.
It is so hard to know what do to. Let her cry or go get her. Neither really works. When she cries, she cries. She is nothing if not persistent. And when I go get her, she wakes up every hour after that. Sort of lose lose.
But in the midst of all this lack of sleep, I found some clarity. When Dan and I put it all together, it seems that when Kate transitions and learns new skills, her sleep gets all out of whack. It is as if her brain is working so hard to process all this new information that it makes her restless at night, leading to multiple wake ups. This happened at three months when she became less of a blob and more of a baby, and again when she learned to hold her head up and roll over and sit unassisted and push back to a sit and crawl. And I get it – when I have something new going on in my life, it affects my sleep. I think about it, I dream about it, I am restless.
All this to say, we are not sleeping much over here. But hopefully before long, Kate will be back on track. Until she learns to pull herself up, and then you can find Dan and I in our basement playing drunken checkers in between Kate wake ups.
I went to the dentist yesterday. Alone. It was like a vacation.
Kate stayed home with her dad, and I went to the dentist all by my lonesome. I actually looked forward to going. Those people could have told me I had some sort of tooth thing and needed to come back again for some sort of other procedure, and I would have gleefully danced around the office and eagerly penned in another solo outing.
When I was pregnant and thought about what it would be like to be a stay-at-home mom, I thought my hours would be blissfully filled with tending to Kate, playing with Kate, nursing Kate. Of course, I knew I would also be performing loads of laundry and changing stinky diapers and other assorted chores with varying degrees of yuckiness. But I did not know just how little time I would actually have and just how little ability I would have to do just about anything.
All babies are different. And my Kate is no exception. So while some other babies might happily entertain themselves for hours on end (if you own one of those types of babies you really hit the jackpot), but most babies are pretty much incapable of playing around with toys on their own while mom unloads the dishwasher or checks her email. Kate is just that sort of baby. For the longest time, I simply could not put her down. If I put her down, she cried. And I do not mean crying crying. I mean wailing. NO PUTTING DOWN. NOT EVEN TO GO TO THE BATHROOM.
It was as if she was saying I needed to perform my bodily functions on my own time because while Kate is up it is Kate Time and Kate does not like being put down. When she learned to sit on her own, I thought, finally, yes, I could sit her down with some toys around her and get some things done. No. She could maybe tolerate that sort of situation for maybe five minutes. More like maybe a minute while I sprinted to the bathroom. Oh, I tried engaging her, getting down on the floor with her to play, showing her various toys. No and no. I tried putting her in her exersaucer so she could move herself around a bit and play. But oh, no. You know what she wanted me to do? Hold her while she played with the toys mounted around the exersaucer. Umm, didn’t she know that defeated the whole point of the exersaucer?!
I tried everything. I tried new toys. I tried switching out her old toys. I tried reading her books. I tried singing her songs. I tried getting down on the floor and showing her toys. I tried just talking to her. I tried to entertain this kid until I was blue in the face and ran out of every form of baby entertainment I could think of.
No, she just wanted to be held. I was certain there had to be something wrong with our toys. But after trying out different things, I decided there had to be something wrong with me. What is it about my mothering that fails to encourage Kate to play on her own? This mothering thing had to be easier. I was dying over here trying to keep Kate pleased.
So I just gave in. I held her all day long. Either in my arms or in her Bjorn. And when I could not hold her, I had to listen to her shrieking as I quickly finished up my chores requiring two hands.
I felt frustrated and depressed. If the only thing you can do all day is hold your baby lest she cries, well, there is not a whole lot that you can do. I felt chained to whatever chair I was sitting in. The only thing that seemed to entertain Kate were either walks in her stroller or trips to the store. So I would bundle us up and walk walk walk walk with no particular destination in mind. Or I would creep my way through the store, trying to elongate my stay.
So you can imagine why I saw the dentist as a time to relax. No one wanted me to entertain them. I could just lie back quietly and do nothing.
And while I had the time to think, I thought about how much harder it is to stay home. I am thinking it would probably be easier to go to work. But that is not what I wanted. And it is still not what I want for Kate. I know I am the best person to care for Kate. And I also know there is nothing wrong with me or me as a mother. Kate is just Kate.
Being at home is a challenge. I feel like when I tell people I stay home with Kate, they think about the blissful scenario. But staying at home is not like that. Staying at home is work. Just a different sort of work. But no less work that a job one gets paid to do. So I suppose I should give myself credit for my job, my mom job. Not everyone can find the patience and persistence and intestinal fortitude to do what I do day in and day out. Instead of downplaying being at home, I want to accept what I do for my family as truly wonderful. Especially because I manage to keep it together barely using two hands.
Bread making is a good exercise in learning that Things Don’t Aways Work Out. I had high hopes for this focaccia. The idea of focaccia seems intimidating. I could not even spell focaccia until I needed to look up the word for this post. But we were having friends over for dinner, and I thought a homemade focaccia would pair nicely with this Giada de Laurentiis Italian chicken and pasta dish we like to make for company dinners.
The idea of bread making is romantic. I feel all colonial woman like and my house smells like a bakery. We love carbs here in our house, so bread is always welcome. Like I wrote in my last bread post, I am trying out different recipes for the fun of it. To get back into baking, something I love to do.
And like I said, bread making just goes to show that sometimes stuff outside your control can mess up your plan. I accidently left the dough in the fridge three hours longer than I was supposed to and the weather this weekend was abnormally warm for February. So my poor dough did not rise quite as it should. I was tempted to just toss out that failure to rise dough and run to Safeway to purchase a perfectly premade focaccia. But in the spirit of imperfection, I decided to just go with it and baked that dough. I figured, our dinner companions were excellent friends, so they would not hold it against me if I served less than perfect focaccia.
So I baked it. And it turned out…okay. Dan claims he likes it. And it seemd our guests did, too. To me, it was a little too chewy and not enough airy. Probably because I left it in the fridge too long plus the warm air temperature. But it was fine. And edible. And you know, probably just as good if not better than left-out-all-day bread from the grocery.
Babies are so sneaky. Just when you have them where you want them, they go on and change up the status quo.
Kate is a master sitter. When she first learned to sit on her own, it was marvelous. I could sit her on the floor, surround her with some toys, and go to the bathroom on my own knowing she could not go anywhere. That wonderful stage lasted about five minutes.
Now she can scoot and crawl and log roll her way anywhere she wants to go. And now my house is a total DANGER ZONE. These silly babies gravitate towards danger like magnets. “Oh, is that an outlet I see? Hmm…I wonder what my mom will do if I mess with these cords and eat these plugs? No, that appears unexceptable to her. Darn mommy took those away! Now I am crying! It is fun to eat cords! Even more fun to wrap them around my neck! Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!”
My day consists of preventing her from eating cords or pulling drawers open or knocking tables over. And yesterday I caught her with the dog’s bone in her mouth. Oh well, could be worse. She could have licked the cart at WalMart. Or licked someone at WalMart. That would be worse.
I talked to my mom on the phone last night, telling her about Kate’s latest escapades in Home Destruction. I told her I was either going to bolt all my furniture to the floor or get rid of all my stuff and just lay down mats all over my house, you know, like those blue mats in high school wrestling rooms. Just think of how easy it would be to clean those things. I could just hose them down. Very High School Gym Chic.
My mom always laughs at me when I tell her these stories. She said when I was a little older than Kate, I smashed my face against a window and busted my lip. But look, here I am, a full blown adult capable of maintaining a household and paying taxes, so no harm, no foul.
I could wax on about how baby proofing is some sort of metaphor for how I long to protect her against every little thing but so much of life is out of my control. And blah blah blah. But really, like everything else, it is a stage and a phase and it is really as simple as that. Plus, I get a kick out of watching her get into stuff because she likes to make sure I am watching as she mischievously dismantles my tupperware cabinet.
Watching her explore is fun. The Home Destruction part, not so much. But mostly it is amusing to watch her get into things because it shows she is developing normally and on schedule and doing things just as she should. For that I am grateful.
Sometimes I wear earplugs in the house during the day. My darling Kate hates to be put down, but sometimes Momma has stuff to do. So to drown out the noise of our dog barking and Kate screaming, I put in earplugs for a little while so I can do the dishes and put the laundry away. I can still hear the noise, but it is nicely muffled. This is crucial because the sound of barking and crying makes my brain rattle around in my head.
I love the color yellow. Oh yellow, how I love thee. Everytime I am at a store, I gravitate towards yellow. Yellow t-shirts, yellow cartigans, yellow shoes, yellow bags, yellow…lemons. I love yellow. For a long time I could not admit to myself I was a lover of the color yellow. It seemed everyone hated yellow. “Ugh, yellow,” my friends would say. And I was all, “oh yeah, yellow…gross…” Well, you know what? I love yellow. I have always been hesitant to pick a favorite color, but I am really just fooling myself. I am a fool for yellow.
And I also love my Ugg boots – and my Costco knock-off Ugg boots. As a SAHM, I do not have time to mess around with shoes requiring too much effort. You know, like shoes with laces. So enter the Ugg/fake Ugg boots. They slip on and off super quick. And they keep my feet oh so toasty. Which is key because I am often coatless because, well, too much effort. But at least my feet are warm.
When I was little, I thought the line in the song “My Country ‘Tis of Thee” that goes “of thee I sing” was “of thee icing.” Like icing on a cake. Or something. I had no idea. I thought, maybe it is some sort of creative way to talk about bodies of water throughout the country – like the water was “icing” over the…continent? I am embarrassed to admit that I thought it was “icing” until seventh grade.
I hardly ever get dressed. Right now I am sitting in my pajamas and bathrobe. And I usually wear pajamas all day. Every day. If I am going to the store, I will probably swap out my pajama bottoms for yoga pants. But only because it is cold out now. Oh, and of course I will don my Ugg/fake Ugg boots. I occasionally actually get dressed for playgroup or the grocery. I do not want to scare my fellow mommy friends with my bedraggled hair, tired-looking unmake-uped face, and worn out yoga pants. But mostly I wear my pajamas.
A few months ago I ran across TED talks, and the range of topics and speakers appealed to my strong analytical side. I would find a speaker than interested me and listen to the talk while I edited photos or processed paper work or whatever. And the talks were interesting and all but none of them really hit home.
Until I ran across this talk by Brene Brown and the power of vulnerabilty.
Vulnerable. Who wants to be vulnerable?
Brene went on in her talk to discuss this idea of worthiness and living wholeheartedly. She said so many people believe they are not good enough, suffer from feelings of shame, think that if they shared personal bits and pieces of themselves then no one would like them. So we hide things away, never ask for help, all the while feeling desperate for those deep personal connections.
And I found myself nodding. And saying, “yes, I think that. I am afraid that saying how I really feel will change people’s perception of me. I struggle with feeling like I am good enough and worthy.”
She went on to talk about her research and these people who live wholeheartedly. These wholehearted folks feel a deep sense of love and belonging and freely put themselves out there. And are able to sit with feelings of discomfort in being vulnerable. They have what Brene calls courage – the ability to tell the story of who you are with your whole heart.
This idea of vulernability and wholehearted living struck a chord with me. It is not as if I purposely set out to live a fake life. Rather, I think unconsciously I hold back the whole me.
I want to live more wholeheartedly, put myself out there. But it feels…uncomfortable.
What will people think? Will they not like me anymore if I admit to being imperfect?
It is exhausting to think like this. And Brene pointed out that this constant feeling of shame really sucks the joy and fun out of life. Instead of feeling pressure to be perfect, dare to be imperfect. And more importantly, I have come to realize that I am still worthy even as an imperfect person.
Patience is not one of my virtues. I am really more into the idea of instant gratification. If I want to learn a new skill, I want to bypass any beginner steps and move straight into a master class. If I want to procure something, I want it procured as soon as possible. So I find it strange that as much as I find it hard to tolerating the idea of waiting, I love to bake.
Baking cannot be rushed. Unlike cooking where you can be all wild and crazy and add a dash of something here and a pinch of something there, you just cannot really do that when you bake. Baking is an exact art. And as an exacting person, this thrills me. Dan is the chef in our household, able to experiment with dishes here and there. And I am the baker, measuring ingredients precisely.
I often forget how much I like baking because my dear Miss Kate does not give me much time to brush my teeth much less read and follow a recipe. But since turning eight months, she is finding other stimuli almost as interesting as her momma, giving me a little more time to take on projects.
So I have been getting back into baking and recently took on the challenge of making homemade bread. Bread seems so simple. Just flour, water, yeast, salt. But you have to be careful not to overwork it. And most of all you have to have patience. The dough must sit and sit and sit some more. And rise and rise again. And sit. And then bake. But the results are oh, so satisfying.
I checked out this book from my local library because I liked this idea of fuss-free bread. I made the first recipe in the book – Easy White Bread Loaves – and I added fresh Rosemary for fun. The directions were easy enough to follow. I even sort of messed up in some places but the bread still came out fine. The recipe wanted me to divide the dough into two equal loaves and bake them in two loaf pans. I only had one loaf pan, so I put some dough in the loaf pan and some dough on an old cookie sheet.
I fussed about the bread during the second rise because it felt a little sticky. And I did a terrible job attempting to incorporate more flour. I just kept trying to mix in more flour but my fingers were so coated in dough that it looked like I stuck my hand in cement. So, rememeber the cardinal baking rule of Do Not Overwork, I quit trying to force in too much more flour and just plopped half of that dough into the loaf pan and half on a cookie sheet.
The whole bread making process took about two days. But it was worth the wait. The bread turned out nicely, not too doughy, not too dry. I definitely should have added more Rosemary as fresh herbs are a lot less punget than dried. But overall, a success.
So now I am ready to move on to another type. Any recommendations?