Monday, 30 May 2011

On needing a bullet proof vest or better communication skills

I was bashed pretty good by a few commenters on Yummy Mummy for my post I wouldn’t be a good stay at home mom. I wrote it in hopes of being published specifically on this site for May’s topic – write about being a “bad” mommy. And since I’d been thinking non-stop about going back to work in the next few weeks, I realized that I wasn’t always a hundred per cent proud of my performance as a mother every day. I wrote it in an effort to convince myself that going back to work (which is not an option but a must for me) was for the best especially since I’d been lucky enough to have a year-long maternity leave with each of my sons.

Deaglan driving Grampa's "tractor" (riding lawn mower)
I entered motherhood thinking that I should strive to be a “supermom” but the experience of the last three and a half years woke me up to the truth that it’s more important to be a good mom. I wanted to be honest about how challenging being a stay-at-home mom was for me. That despite my best intentions, there were many times I didn’t get them outside on a snowy day, I fed them food out of a box, and let them watch more TV than I was comfortable with. In response to my post one reader wrote:

I'm all for women staying in the workforce for a myriad of reasons, but this article is sad. It's not that hard to make sure your kids get to play outside 90 minutes a day or to feed them a healthy meal. Sad that she would rather outsource spending time with her kids because she's too lazy to cut up some veggies and put some outdoor clothing on.


I re-read my post to determine what I’d written to warrant such a conclusion. My limited experience in motherhood has taught me one thing that I carry with me every single day. That I have no idea what anyone else is going through and it’s not my place to judge. Before I was a parent I used to let slip (what I’m sure was beyond irritating to whoever was unfortunate enough to be listening, especially if they had small children themselves) gems like:

My children will be vegetable eaters because I will introduce them to veggies right from the beginning. If they don’t know about sugar and fat, how will they know to like it?


My kids will NEVER watch TV period.

I hereby give whoever had to listen to me back then permission to slap me.

Because obviously I'd not yet met my match – namely Deaglan W. McNamara, the KING of refusing to eat it unless it was sweet, salty or fried. I hadn’t thought that TV statement through especially since later I’d have a baby who slept for measly forty minute stretches throughout the livelong day and night which meant that for six months, the only sleep I would be getting would be an hour or two when my husband could relieve me.

Had I known that, I would have reconsidered saying something so slap-worthy.

But now that I am a little more well versed in the joys and demands of parenting, I try to keep my big mouth shut. I am certain that I know nothing about parenting the “right” way. I try only to speak about my experience.

This little heartbreaker turns one tomorrow!

And I listen to the advice my Dad tried (but couldn’t) to post on my Yummy Mummy article: Staying at home may not make you a better mom and going to work may not make you a worse mom. Loving your kids will make you a great mom. Love dad

Thanks Dad. I know you’ve never heard me utter these words to you. But I think you may be right.
Naveen with Aunt Laura (my youngest sister)

This is me pouring my heart out with Shell early. I will be posting twice a week from now on. I hope you will keep coming back! Please, if you have any suggestions (posts too long, too short, too many pictures, not gossipy enough) let me know.

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Recent photos

Many of these photos are from our long weekend (May 20-23). We spent time with both sides of our families. This is Deaglan at the beach in Camlachie just down from Shaune's parents.
Naveen and me in Shaune's parents' backyard. I rarely wear jewelry around this tiny grabby-handed monkey. My husband bought me this necklace and pendant with the kids names engraved on it for Christmas. Naveen sees nothing else when it's around my neck.
Naveen enjoying the Thomas the train cake Mimi and Papa (my folks) brought for his birthday celebration. It's clear he detests chocolate.
Shaune and Naveen in our backyard. Naveen's shirt says: I look just like Daddy. I got it a few years ago for Deaglan at H & M. They have the cutest kids clothes. These days you can have just as much fun dressing up boys as girls.
This was taken today. Shaune cooked up a fish his Dad caught a few weeks ago on his annual fishing trip up north. He baked it over an open fire on a charcoal grill. It was delightful with a side of sauteed green beans. Deaglan helped with the entire cooking process and was downright proprietary all throughout the meal asking me if I liked the fish he made.

We ducked into the hair salon in Walmart a few days ago. I can't stop drinking in his handsome little face.

The four of us right before Naveen got ready to open an enormous pile of gifts for the second time that weekend. Actually, he was only really interested in the bits of wrapping paper he could get his hands on. Deaglan did all the opening. And then all the playing with. We finally just gave up explaining that the new toys were for Naveen.
Sidewalk chalking. These days I'm taking every opportunity to write out Deaglan's name, hoping he'll start recognizing some of the letters. He's constantly pointing out D's on street signs and billboards.
This time Naveen didn't even wait to be served a slice of cake. Before anyone knew it was happening, he leaned down and took a bite of the cake while Gramma was holding it. Uhh, could I have a piece from the other side please?
Naveen and I have so much in common, a chip off the old block!

Happy Sunday!

Comments off.

Friday, 27 May 2011

Oprah guilt

This was absolutely the last time I’d shift uncomfortably when Shaune walked in on me watching Oprah. It was her last episode. I don’t know why I always felt a tinge of shame like he’d caught me red-handed in a nefarious act. Well, I think I know why but the real mystery was why I could never shake that feeling despite my true opinion of the show: wholesome and educational, researched and compelling. And even though I’d been known (in our house) for my over-compensatory lectures of the benefits of Oprah on our culture, I still felt a tiny bit queasy every time my husband asked what I was watching.

Yesterday I caught some news coverage about her last show where a Canadian anchor man when asked if he was a fan of Oprah’s, responded diplomatically with well, I don’t think I was a part of her demographic. Fair enough, I thought.

But something about this talk show host, philanthropist billionaire elicits bad attitudes in a lot of men I know and even some women. One girlfriend acts as if she happened to be home when Oprah was on and the only reason she watched was that there was absolutely nothing else on. Every time we discuss an interesting aspect of a particular episode, she participates using this contingency. As if to admit that had she willingly taken part in the viewing, she would have been lowering herself to a domain she would rather not be associated with.

My husband who is a modern-day Dad, an evolved spouse, and even a pioneer of the accurate division of labour in a marriage slumped his shoulders every single time I answered that I was watching Oprah. Yet on more than one occassion he watched episodes in rapt enthralment.

Honey, you know it’s true.

It’s not my intention to ask the cosmic why and shake my fists at the universe for creating men and women so different. I’m not even interested in changing my husband anymore. I gave that up some time ago – mostly. It’s this notion that I felt guilty about watching Oprah even though I loved the show. I won’t go so far as to say it was like Stockholm syndrome where the kidnapped person starts identifying with her captor. It’s something more elusive.

All I know is that for some reason the mere mention of Oprah serves to send some people straight back to the dark ages. It made my well intentioned, evolved, pioneer husband ask me Wednesday: Are you gonna have a girl party because it’s the last Oprah?

Really? Girl party?*

Oprah once said in regards to the relationship between men and women:
A man will only treat you the way you allow him to treat you.

I can’t think of one good reason my husband would suddenly talk to me like I was fourteen, giggling over Justin Bieber. In this one instance, she was wrong.

*It's a rare occassion when my husband is anything but respectful and supportive toward women.

I'm joining the ladies at the Red Dress Club in their prompt that asked we begin with the phrase this was absolutely the last time and end with she was wrong.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

My article was published at Yummy Mummy

I've been submitting some articles to online and traditional magazines. I'm thrilled to tell you that the Canadian site Yummy Mummy - founded by Erica Ehm (remember her from Much Music in the eighties and nineties?) has published my recent post I wouldn't be a good stay at home mom.
Here's a bit about Yummy Mummy:

A superwoman who fits into her size 6 jeans three weeks after giving birth (by scheduled C-section of course)? A sexy mama who shops for groceries in heels, closing deals on her cell phone while waggling finger puppets to stimulate her baby's growing cerebellum? Give me a break!

Yummy is a state of mind.

A true Yummy Mummy struggles to find the impossible balance between the single sexpot she used to be, the woman she's become, the professional she works hard to be, the wife she aspires to be and the mother she has to be. Basically, she's confused and exhausted.

Forget CEO. THIS is the toughest job in the world. Why didn't anyone warn us? Can you relate?

Then Welcome to the Yummy Mummy Club....So, what's this club thing all about? It's a place where you can celebrate and commiserate the rollercoaster ride of modern mummydom, win great prizes, find books to stimulate your brain and read eclectic and cheeky articles written for and by other yummy mummies...because mummy needs to play too. We're unabashedly un-exclusive.

If you have...
a) kids
b) guilt
c) no time for yourself
d) all of the above
... then, you're in!I didn't realize it would be such a controversial topic - okay maybe I did a little. If you have time to head over there, make sure you read the comments. You'll notice that I've rubbed a few people the wrong way. I would love for you to leave a comment if you can. 

Thank you, as always for taking the time to read my blabbering. You have no idea how much it means to me!

Comments off.

Monday, 23 May 2011

I can only be self-less for so long

We had our neighbours and their grandkids over for a play date this week. And when Jennifer (the grandma) thanked Deaglan for letting them play on “his” swing set he responded with “My Daddy built my swing set for me.”

Now, I am nothing if not magnanimous, but I prickled at my son’s comment. Because while I’m the first to generously acknowledge all that my husband gives to our family, I had a good mind to set the child straight.

Yes, Daddy did “build” the swing set. But it was only after Mommy searched and searched kijiji ads for weeks, investigating at least 15 used play-scapes until she found just the right one. Then after a gruelling day at work, she drove her eight month pregnant self out to the country with a cranky, hungry toddler fresh from daycare to inspect it. Once she confirmed that it was in good shape, she tucked her shame into her back pocket and haggled the owners down one hundred dollars from the asking price. Knowing her work had only begun, she next created what can only be considered a small business case to present to your swing-set building hero, whose immediate reaction was to find twenty seven reasons we didn’t need it. But your mother pointed out just as many reasons (and all of them had to do with you) we did.
Then your good-for-nothing mother who, by the way, was busy building you a brother, a life-time friend, someone you will be able to rely on to always gang up on your father and me; well she worked at organizing the use of a truck big enough to carry the swing set home in pieces. And still, once the truck was borrowed, she had to gently coax your father through the entire process because it was rainy and windy which worked to further resist his efforts to have yet another child’s toy crowding his backyard.

Not that I’m bitter.

It’s bad enough that Santa takes all the credit at Christmas.

We took 244 pictures this past long weekend. It was a gloriously sunny fun-filled few days.
Although Naveen won't be one for a week still, we celebrated his big day twice.

I’m pouring my heart out with Shell.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

May 21, 2010

This time last year I spent my waking hours longing for two things: a chance to lounge in the console of our big brown recliner and obscenely thick slices of velvety chocolate cake. My mind interjected these yearnings with the worry that inevitably this mammoth child in my womb would need to burst through to life on this side. The midwife’s deft hands speculated that not only did the boy weigh in excess of nine pounds, but that I was again producing too much amniotic fluid, a condition that could prove dangerous during the birth. Walking even to the bathroom left me winded.

I was in no position to deal with the sudden death of my younger brother.

Because you need time and space for such a thing. An open calendar to meld with the couch, watch re-runs and numb your brain. It requires the freedom to stop all healthy functioning, to refuse to cope, to deny its existence. It`s not the kind of thing conducive to welcoming a new life into your family. It`s not the black goop you want flooding your psyche when life was just cornering its way to clear and juicy.

But I couldn`t stop. The baby needed to be born. A toddler had to be overcompensated for the journey ahead of him, where he`d no longer be the centre of his world. The nursery was in desperate want of clearing; it had become a storage space in the past year. And I was supposed to be savouring these last few days as mother to one, a role I`d finally wrapped myself around.

So instead of eating cake, I mulled over the details of his death. Instead of building forts I crafted a eulogy. I traded fantasies of who this new baby would resemble with efforts to recollect our final conversations, sifting through them for hints of trouble.

And I wrote about it. I risked people thinking I lacked the dignity to keep some things private. That only a narcissistic blabbing fool would announce to the world her brother was dead only minutes after it happened; post the funeral details as her facebook status. Only a crazy attention seeking harpy would write every single feeling this loss conjured up.

But it was the only outlet I could think to deal with the enormity of the abyss that had cratered itself into the centre of my life.

The only tonic that would soothe my fevered grief.

And on Saturday when a year will have passed since that life-changing day, I still wonder if I would be further ahead if I`d had the luxury to slothfully mourn him. I wonder if I`d have more answers, feel the loss a little less or unclench my fists a smidge had circumstances allowed me to stop.

And cry.

The picture above is Matthew holdingDeaglan at two months. The picture below is a week before his passing at his best friend's mother's wedding. He's holding that friend's newborn baby.

This is my post for the prompt Sloth over at the Red Dress Club.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Confessions of a breastfeeder - the sequel

I’ve stopped offering my breast to Naveen during the day; limited it to early morns and evenings. My baby will be one at the end of this month, heralding the close of this maternity leave.

A younger, childless friend of mine said the thought of breastfeeding a baby gave her the heebie jeebies. I got where she was coming from. It’s not something you can appreciate by imagining. It definitely falls under the understood by doing category. And even then, it’s certainly not the same for everyone. I tried to express my experience of it to her. But my words fell short. I had adverbs aplenty but was inept at stringing the thoughts together articulately enough to explain just what a wonder nursing has been for me.

Not everyone has been so lucky. I’ve known a handful of women who’ve found it difficult, painful, and even unnatural. And many who couldn’t produce enough to sustain their babies. As with so many facets of motherhood, we all experience it in unique ways and you won’t hear me preaching.

But oh indulge me. Let me tell you how it’s been over here. Let me gush. Let me get downright sentimental.

There’s nothing like the intimacy of it. I have loved a man. I have loved a dog. But loving a child has undone me. And nourishing that tiny body via my own? Well it has unravelled my carefully constructed ego. Forced me to see outside of myself. I understood again what a miracle life is, what a purpose mothering could be.

Also, it has been convenient and free.

And that it could very well be why Deaglan and Naveen took so long to sleep through the night didn’t faze me one bit. The fact that La Senza* sent me on my way empty handed did not discourage me either. I knew I’d lose the bulk once I stopped nursing. I knew I could hold off having that second or third glass of wine till the kids were eating all solids.

It doesn’t make me Mother of the Year; I’m not waiting for a pat on the back. I’m waxing nostalgic. I’m looking into my future and peeking over my shoulder. I’m inhaling the baby scent of it all because I know it will be gone in an instant. And I’m wondering if I will remember the best parts. Not the exhaustion. Not the desperate need for five minutes to myself.

But the soft intimacy with a tiny being.

The knowing of each other on a heavenly scale.

The warm sound of suckling in the dark.

The ecstasy.
*La Senza told me I'd need to go to a specialty bra shop to find something in my size.

I'm pouring my heart out with Shell.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Erin and Wes' wedding

An auspicious occassion did not fail.

The weather, the church and the golf club cooperated to make yesterday a beautiful success for my friends' wedding.

The church was ornate and spectacular with gorgeous stained glass windows and rich dark mahogany everywhere. Incidentally, Shaune's folks were married here almost 40 years ago!

I lived a charmed life for one day. My hair dresser pinned and curled my mane into an elegant up-do while Heather at the Mac counter applied some trickery to transform my face for the day.  

It didn't hurt that Erin chose a lovely chartreuse dress. She gifted us each with Swarovski chrystal earrings and a matching bracelet. And the fresh flower bouquets were delightfully fragrant and light to carry.

Thankfully the rain held off until after we were safely eating and drinking in the shelter of the reception hall. Erin was more breathtaking than usual, and her handsome husband made a dashing groom.

She was a vision in this white gown. And when she peeked her foot out, we were surprised with a pair of jewel encrusted Nine-West pumps the same colour as our dresses! Alas, I would have asked Shaune to take pictures of every detail, had I not been busy. And her necklace, also Swarovski, was nothing short of stunning.

The groom remained star-struck, in awe of his bride throughout the day. Handsome and sweet, he spent a good portion of the day hugging guests and expressing his gratitude.

We the bridesmaids giggled and groaned (high heels - enough said) our way through the day posing for pictures, enjoying a little champagne here and there, and scheming up new ways to bring the newly married couple together for a kiss.
The ceremony was mercifully short - my toes were numb by that point. If only pretty shoes were always comfortable.

Shaune the lonely date of a bridesmaid, small talked his way into new friendships until the early evening, while I giggled, groaned, posed, sipped and schemed. I also breathed a huge sigh of relief once my duties as MC came to an end!
A rare occassion for us to be out without the boys. Gramma was at home with them allowing me to relax and enjoy the day!

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

I've tried plucking but it was a disaster

My aesthetician is a wizard with thread. I told you about her a few years ago. Her fingers work even while she’s busy talking on Skype to her relatives in Punjab India. I should know; just this morning she was discussing the weather with her brother and niece, while shaping my eyebrows.

I didn’t mind mostly.
I’m almost always happy with her work.

I mean there was that few months last year when her cousin from back home had to take over because she had hurt her back. A few of those times I wasn’t as happy with the shape of things. But I didn’t want to give my business to someone else. How could I? She needed my money more than ever is what I figured.

And even though her cousin lacked the bedside manner (chair-side?) Suk has, I still couldn’t bring myself to find another salon. Even though a few of those times, the Cousin called me prior to my appointment and asked me to pick her up a French Vanilla Cappuccino from Tim Hortons. She was busy and hadn’t had a chance to grab a coffee yet.

I have a hard time leaving people.

One time I broke it off with a hairdresser after several bad haircuts and had to stop going to that mall altogether for a full year. I felt as if I’d betrayed her. It was depressing to avoid the mall because it’s a great place to browse during lunch hour at work. Yet I didn’t want her to see my great new hair. She would have known straight away it wasn’t her work. One time I ran into her on the street and without even being provoked, slumping my shoulders, I blurted out that I’d been sick and work was hard and a very close family member had just graduated hair school and we as a family were now getting our hair done by her as a show of support.

I think she was saw right through my lies but was kind enough to let it go.

Who knows, maybe Suk will move back to India someday. And I can find someone new. Does this happen to you?

I'm pouring my heart out with Shell.

Monday, 9 May 2011

End of maternity leave - reflections

We passed two young girls this afternoon, as I pulled the boys in the wagon.

"Your baby dropped something!" Offered the younger one. I looked back at the path we'd travelled and saw the orange bubble-making wand I'd handed Naveen to distract him twenty minutes earlier.

I don't know how long it will last but these two sit really nicely while I pull them around the neighbourhood. And now I've jinxed it.

"Thanks!" I said, picking it up. Then shaking my head I laughed while shrugging my shoulders and exclaimed "Babies!"

"They're adorable but they can be pains in the butt." agreed the older girl, who looked to be the wise old age of ten.

"Isn't that the truth," I shot back and took up the wagon's handle again.
We exchanged the goopy mixture of mud and dried leaves that was in the sandbox for some clean stuff today. Also, Naveen's hat is Rocawear as in Jay-Z. We like to keep things gangsta around here.

"Mommy, can I have a popsicle?" asked Deaglan as we began to move.

"Yup, when we get back to our house." It didn't end there but I won't bore you with the five minute preschooler-to-Mom chat that had me answering questions such as Are we back home yet? and Why can't I have a popsicle right now? and After I have a popsicle will it be night time? and Why is that dog poop on the sidewalk?
Lately Deaglan's nurturing side is in glorious plain sight. He regularly carries around a doll or stuffed animal and tends to it the way I do to Naveen.

And when we did finally get back to the house, I handed Deaglan a purple popsicle as promised and set Naveen on the grass to play. After fishing at least a quarter cup of sand out of his mouth, I took the camera out and shot these pictures.

It won't be long now. These free and easy Monday afternoons with my boys will be a thing of the past.
Sadly, his nurturing side rarely extends to his brother. As soon as Naveen reached for the popsicle, Deaglan snatched it back.

In less than a month I'll be back to work. And I know I'll be wishing that my two pains in the butt were right beside me.

I'm joining in on the prompt Sand over at The Red Dress Club.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Don't get me anything for Mother's Day

Sunday will be my fourth mother’s day. It still hasn’t quite hit me that two people will always call me Mom. And because I began my life in Bangladesh, I can’t help but know what a miracle it is that I am a mother at all. In countries like Bangladesh, women rarely have medical care during labour. Both of my boys came to us through caesarean section. I had polyhydramnios (too much amniotic fluid) both times which put me at high risk near the end of my pregnancies. Each time my doctor and midwife thought it best to safely remove the baby instead of waiting for labour to bring him out. I would have most surely lost both babies or lost my own life had I been birthing in Bangladesh.

I tell my mom stories here all the time. Being Deaglan’s and Naveen’s mother has been the single most defining role of my life. A friend once said – it is the hardest job you will ever love. And she was right.

Some days I find myself struggling. I know I’m not being a “good mom.” I don’t feel like playing with them. We don’t get outside. I’m irritated because they are not cooperating. I let them watch too much TV. I feed them easy meals that might not fit into the Canada Food Guide. And I yearn for a little time to myself.

But my moments of self-pity don’t last too long. Bangladesh is always only a thought away. I know truly how blessed I am. I told Shaune the other day to forego getting me anything. I'm always buying something for myself anyway! I asked him to sit down with Deaglan to help him with a home-made card. I still have the two bunches of flowers I received for my birthday thanks to Shaune and my friends Jennifer and Mario.

I saw this video and asked Shaune if he’d be okay if we just donated the cost of flowers and a card to mothers who don’t have it as good as I do. Even $5.00 can make a difference.

Five bucks.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

And speaking of nude peep-toed pumps

The Easter Bunny brought Buzz and Woody.

I love our camera. I love blogging. But I have not been working on a back-up plan. I have not completed even one photo album of the kids. Not one! And I have not backed up my blog. Have I learned nothing? One of my resolutions (I know it's May) is to do a blog book or two. What if (I'm knocking on wood) Blogger went out of business?

I wore these out on Saturday night to Erin's bachelorette. Fun.

I love blogging. I know I already said it but I think it warrants saying again. Sometimes when I feel anxious about it, I read one of Catherine Connors' posts. She empowers me to keep going, keep telling my motherly stories, my womanly stories. If you haven't been reading her blog, you should. And while I'm at it check these blogs out too. I have been reading Jim's stuff for a few years now. Sometimes I laugh out loud (fine I'll use that acronym LOL) at his stories. He's an ex-lawyer turned stay-at-home Dad. And I just found Ameena last week. If you're looking for sentimental, sweet stories, don't go to her site. She's hilarious. And sarcastic.
Shaune's garlic shoots peeking out.

Also, I am feeling the Spring.
A little.

I'm looking forward to spending lots of time outside. Deaglan's energy level needs the open space. We start soccer next week. I can't wait till I don't have to wrestle two kids for forty minutes just to get them ready to go out.

There's been a lot of "take that off before you get into this house" going on around here.

I'm pouring my random blogger heart out with Shell today.

Monday, 2 May 2011

The graduate and his pizza recipe

I know I’ve told you that Shaune went back to school this year. I’ve likely expressed aptly that his passion lays in all things culinary. He studied at Humber College in his early twenties and then was lucky enough to work alongside some talented chefs. He gets jazzed about making things like dough and fresh tomato sauce.
For no reason.
For fun I mean.
Listen, unless there are people coming over with the sole purpose of eating and by fluke I’ve promised them food, I don’t see the point in cooking. Making something just because?


Shaune has cooked in fancy and simple kitchens; he’s managed some of those, keeping within pre-set budgets while creating wonderful food. He served tables and tended bar. He managed some of those bars too, getting jiggy with their wine lists and tightening up their menus. He ran a steak and seafood house for a few years and really learned the ways of the industry from the top down. In all that time, I’ve watched him work harder than anyone I’ve ever met with a quiet diligence that never fails to impress me.

After Toronto he moved back to Sarnia and that’s when we met. We worked at the same restaurant – he was in the kitchen, I was behind the bar. We were friends for quite some time before taking the situation to the next level. He won my heart through my stomach. To this day, our idea of a lovely evening includes eating something delightful that he happily toiled over. So when he learned about a new program Ontario teacher’s colleges were offering to people in the trades he applied. The province recognized the need for teachers specializing in trades and technologies to support those kids not planning to go to university. Here’s a link to program’s site if you’re interested.

I can’t imagine anyone more suited to teaching his passion. I have no doubt he will inspire more than a few kids.

He finished his last day of school on Friday. His parents, the kids and I bought him a stand mixer. There was champagne and a singing card. It’s a big deal, when a grown man takes a leap like this. Shows his kids that change is always possible. And that night he sat quietly and told me there was a possibility he would miss school. And I understood.

He acted just the way I would if you'd bought me a new pair of nude peep-toed pumps.

Today I asked him to share one of his recipes on this site for all of my friends. He has made this pizza twice in the last week. It’s life changing.

The Dough

½ cup of warm water (100 – 110 F)
2 tsp active dry yeast
1 tsp sugar
4-4 ½ cups white bread flour
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1 ¼ warm water (same temp as above)

• Combine ingredients (1/2 cup of water, yeast, and sugar) and let stand until frothy (about 15 minutes)
• In a mixing bowl (or stand mixing bowl) add 4 cups bread flour and salt
• When yeast mixture is frothy, add to flour mixture, olive oil and 1¼ warm water
• Mix until combined (if dough is still really sticky, add the remaining flour a bit at a time up to 1/2 cup) and knead for 10 minutes until smooth and elastic. If using stand mixer, use dough hook attachment on low to medium, mix until smooth and elastic and the dough comes away from bowl easily
• Form into a ball and rub with olive oil. Place in a bowl covered with plastic wrap and store in a warm place until doubled in volume
• Punch down dough and cut into four equal parts, then form those into balls
• Roll out and place each on a baking sheet sprinkled with corn meal
• Top with sauce, cheese and favourite toppings (this week he made one topped with fried onions, garlic fried mushrooms and chicken)
• Place a pizza stone in oven and preheat to 415 F
• Bake pizza on baking sheet until it can be moved around using tongs
• Slide the pizza onto the stone to crisp up the bottom and brown the top
• Slide back onto the baking sheet, then remove from oven. Let sit for five minutes before slicing

That Deaglan couldn't get enough of this pizza, this alone made it a winner for me. We'll get those vegetables into him by any means possible.