2009

January 02,2009
Professor Mom
Aliki McElreath( )

Aliki is a writer and college English teacher. She lives in North Carolina with her husband, two children (ages seven and ten), a dog, a cat, a rabbit, and too many fish.

I still vividly remember the first New Year's Eve Scott and I celebrated after L. was born. L. was six months old and sleeping horribly. We were tired all the time, and coming off of a long Christmas break visiting family back home. We were too tired to talk much with each other that night, let alone stay up until midnight to see in 2001. I remember Scott waking me up briefly at 11:56. L. was sleeping between us, his snuggly baby body warm in the sheets. Scott held up his Indiglo Timex in front of us and we quietly counted down the minutes and seconds until the new year, kissed each other once, turned over, and collapsed into sleep, happy to just be in bed.

New parenthood will do that to you.

Fast forward a few years to this past Wednesday night. Even a week ago I had every intention of staying up to see in the new year. But, as luck would have it, Christmas has left me with a chest cold again, and a cough, and that stuffed up, my-head-is-full-of-wet-cotton feeling that makes you just want to wish the world away. I rallied enough to spend Wednesday kneading Vasilopita dough with the kids:

and baking gluten-free chocolate chip cookies (the first gluten free recipe I've ever made that tasted delicious!) and blowing my nose and coughing in between all of that. We let L. stay up until 9:30 and played a few rounds of Hearts in the kitchen with him.

"I feel so yucky," I complained to L. and Scott at one point.

"You should make some bedtime tea," L. advised.

"Oh, I don't know," I said. "I'm not sure I can even be bothered to do THAT."

"Come on, Mama," L. replied. "Live a little. It's New Year's Eve!"

And so that's how I spent my New Year's Eve, sipping herbal bedtime tea, and playing cards in the kitchen. I also sniffled through some Twilight Zone episodes (why do they always do Twilight Zone marathons on New Year's Eve?) and dragged myself to bed at 11:30. At 11:56 Scott woke me but, instead of the Indiglo Timex, he held his Verizon Chocolate music phone in front of us. There was no snuggly baby lying between us, only our eight-year-old boy asleep in the next room, and our soon-to-be five-year-old girl asleep in her pink and yellow fairy room. We counted down the minutes and seconds, we kissed, and I turned over to sleep, a calm peace about me--that happy, satisfied, full feeling you get when you feel just so very lucky for all you've got.

Parenthood will do that to you.

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I promised you the lowdown on that potato pizza, and pictures of the best crust  I have ever made. First of all, if you've never had potato pizza before, make one this weekend! You won't regret it. I never in a million years thought about potatoes going on top of pizza but they do, and wonderfully. The flavors blended together and the potatoes had a creamy-crisp consistency to them that combined so well with the flaky crust. I imagine you could use a prepared refrigerated crust in a pinch, but if you do have time to make your own, as the recipe suggests, it's well worth the effort. The only thing I did differently was to sprinkle some freshly grated asiago cheese over the potatoes before I put the pizza into the oven. I was so proud of my crust I took several pictures:

And I was VERY proud of how thinly I was able to slice the potatoes without even the aid of a mandoline: