Friday, May 17, 2013
Ava is proudly sporting two teeth (and they are cuter than cute). I suspect she's working on at least one or two others based on the drool and her desire to gnaw on anything she can get her hands on. In addition to the silicone teething rings and baby toothbrushes she loves, I thought I'd explore making some homemade teething biscuits.
I modified this recipe as follows:
- 1c quick cook oats, ground finely in a blender
- Generous sprinkle of cinnamon
- Small sprinkle of ginger
- 2tbsp olive oil
- 1t baking powder
- 1 pouch Ella's Kitchen Banana Puree
- 1/2 pouch Plum Organics Pumpkin & Banana Puree
The batter will be quite liquidy. I tried to form it into the shape of biscuits/crackers and baked as directed (15 min at 350). However, they were far too soft for a teething biscuit so I left them in a 200 degree oven for 90+ minutes to more fully dry them out.
So far, they are a hit! It's Ava's first adventure with a non-pureed food so I mostly let her suck on them under a very watchful eye but the combination of the banana, pumpkin, and cinnamon left the kitchen smelling lovely and the baby happy!
Sunday, May 12, 2013
Last Friday my 21 month pursuit of an MBA drew to a close when graduation finally arrived. It was joyful, surreal, bittersweet, and full of celebration.
When I began the program in August 2011, I was working as a non-profit fundraiser. I was not pregnant. Our marriage was in a bit of a rough spot when my husband was between jobs. I was working really, really hard at my job and considered myself a pretty hard-charging and very focused person. Adding graduate school into the mix seemed a bit ambitious but I was up for the challenge.
And what a challenge it was! I grew up in Ann Arbor, Michigan and had hoped to pursue my degree at the University of Michigan, where my mom also got her MBA shortly before I was born. The stars aligned and I enrolled in a once-a-month weekend program which had me flying to Michigan Thursday - Saturday or Thursday - Sunday every month plus 2 x 10 day stints in August of 2011 and August of 2012.
The first semester was brutal - working full-time + the travel + many very late night team calls + exams. But it was also rewarding, intellectually stimulating, and challenging in the most wonderful of ways.
And, in retrospect, it was easy compared to the 2nd semester when I was nauseous for the first 19 weeks of my pregnancy, barely able to stay awake during marathon 10 hour days of classes, and fighting to keep pushing ahead with what felt like every ounce of my being.
And, in retrospect, the 2nd semester was easy compared to the 3rd semester when I had a newborn baby, was not sleeping much, was recovering from a c-section, and fighting off a serious and scary case of the baby blues. This season was all about survival - passing my courses, not letting my teammates down, and keeping my sanity, albeit by just a tiny thread at times.
It was only on the 4th and final semester that life again seemed to settle down and by then, I wasn't working, Ava was on a pretty predictable schedule, and school became my outlet to the outside world, giving me something else to think about besides diapers and naps and play dates. My late night team calls became a source of relief and stimulation, as my teammates made me laugh and provided the kind of comraderie that you just don't get when you're home for most of the day with a little baby. Most importantly, being a "grad school student" allowed me to be more than "just a mom" and I took great comfort in that.
But now the journey is over. I have my degree, I met some amazing people, and I learned a lot. I am glad to be done with exams, papers, problem sets, and weekends away from my husband and daughter. But I am also scared, because now I am no longer a "working woman" nor am I a "grad school student." I am "just" a mom - a grateful, blessed, could-not-love-my-daughter-more mom - but I'm only wearing one hat right now and it feels simultaneously like too much and not enough.
I feel like I'm facing a long stretch of days which will be exactly like the one before. I don't know where the intellectual stimulation I need will come from. I don't know how I will muster the energy to stack blocks, shake rattles, and sing songs each day. Part of me feels like I no longer know who I am - like I'm a stranger in my own skin - and this is a scary, scary place to be, despite the sweet, sweet girl in my arms.
Monday, May 6, 2013
Today you are EIGHT months old. I do not know how I love you more today than I did yesterday, but I do. You are 17 lbs of pure sunshine.
Your smile now includes a toothy grin, a scrunchy nose, and your sweet dimple. When you're excited, you "clap" your hands (really more like banging them together) and kick your feet (sometimes both feet, sometimes just one foot as if you're a horse).
You have quite a serious stare. Yesterday we were eating lunch in a diner and a nice lady across the way was trying to get you to smile. You stared at her for some time before beginning to cry! You rarely cry but when you do, it breaks my heart - even though your pouty, quivering bottom lip makes me laugh. I think some wariness of strangers may be emerging but in general, a calm and friendly face - even if it's unfamiliar - makes you happy.
You're napping as I type this. You're still taking three naps (830-10am; 1130-1 or 130pm; and 330-3pm). You get up around 7am and we end the day at 7pm. You continue to be a good sleeper which is probably why I've retained most of my sanity!
You love bath time, stacking wooden toys on pegs, crinkling the pages of a magazine or the newspaper, chewing on your spoon, listening to music, riding on your daddy's shoulders, gym class (especially the parachute), being held in a standing position and playing with toys on the coffee table, and looking out the window. We now have a baby jogger and based on a trial run, I think it's going to be a big hit.
You love puppets (Buzzy the Bee and Becky the Butterfly from gym class) and tags (on clothing or toys) and necklaces and watches and anything you can study and gradually manipulate. You continue to love peek-a-boo, sometimes hiding only one eye with your arm. You sleep with your hands behind your head as if you're looking up at the stars. Sometimes we sneak in to watch you sleep and listen to your sweet breathing. It is overwhelming to watch you lay so peacefully.
You're eating well - this month we introduced eggs and yogurt, neither of which you were too sure about at first but now seem okay. We're gradually moving towards 3 meals a day but consistently doing oatmeal + fruit around 8am and 2 veggies around 6pm.
We started swim class last weekend and you were content to be in the water. We're also in a baby gym class on Mondays and two music classes later in the week. Watching the other, bigger kids seems to be your favorite part!
You're making progress on sitting up, although at your 8m check up the doctor was a bit concerned about your instability to sent us to see a baby physical therapist. We saw her for the first time today and she gave us some good tips. She thinks your back/shoulder muscles are very tight and somehow inhibiting the engagement of your core muscles. Your daddy is committed to helping you sit up straighter and with more confidence - it's a good project for you two to share!
Ava, you make my heart sing. My love for you is deep, raw, and sometimes overwhelming. I cannot believe I have the privilege of being your mother, of seeing you first and last thing each day, and of sharing in your exploration of the world around you. Thank you for the gift you've given us.
I love you,
Friday, April 26, 2013
Today I purged my closet of black pants. I certainly did not need 15 pairs of dress pants when I was working and I most certainly do not need them now that I'm not.
Usually I find cleaning out my closer to be cathartic. Look at those empty hangers! Look at that empty space! I usually feel about 10 pounds lighter after filling a bag for the local Goodwill and as I commit, yet again, to live a simpler, less cluttered life.
But today I felt sad. For so many years, black pants, heels, and pearls formed the backbone of my work wardrobe. From Wall Street to Midtown, from apartment to apartment, from London to Michigan to New York, and from job to job, the black pants came with me. And they were so much more than pants. They were grown-up, dry-clean-only clothes. They were crisp, with their sharp creases and clean hems. They were sophisticated and savvy and take-charge pants. They meant I had places to go and things to do and people to see.
At this moment, however, it's another kind of black pants that are dominating my wardrobe and they are neither crisp nor sophisticated but perfectly suited for the yoga I never do. Because, in reality, I have fewer places to go and fewer things to do and fewer people to see* - and sometimes that's okay with me and other times, like today, it feels like I've purged an important part of my self and that's not okay with me.
So much of the journey into motherhood is more challenging than I expected. I thought the diapers and the lack of sleep and the crying would be hard - but in reality, it is my own transition out of one season and into another that is the greatest challenge.
I already miss those pants.
I already miss those pants.
*I do, however, have one very important person to see - and, in the end, I do know that she's better than all the black pants in the world.
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
The blog I mentioned sets up an interesting comparison between the world's perspective on having it all versus the Christian perspective on having it all. I believe the feeling that we need to have it all - to chase after everything, to be perfect, to be as good as our neighbor, to hoard the good things in our lives - can be incredibly detrimental. In fact, I'm carrying that weight now, and asking for Grace to internalize the perspectives outlined below.
More food for thought!
The Apostle Paul, Romans 8:31-32
If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?
The Apostle Peter, 2 Peter 1:3-4
His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature.
C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory
It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition wheninfinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.
King David, Psalm 16:11
You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
The Sons of Korah, Psalm 84:11
For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly.
The Apostle Paul, Philippians 4:12-13
I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
Jesus Christ of Nazareth, Luke 12:29-34
And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them. Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you. Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves withmoneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
As a follow up to the list I shared yesterday, the blog I mentioned sets up an interesting contract between the "worldly" thoughts on having it all versus the Christian
The Apostle Paul, Letter to the Ephesians
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places … In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will.
Jonathan Edwards, Spiritual Appetites Need No Bounds
There is no such thing as any inordinateness in holy affections; there is no such thing as excess in longings after the discoveries of the beauty of Christ Jesus, greater degrees of holiness, or the enjoyment of communion with God. Men may be as covetous as they please (if I may so speak) after spiritual riches, as eager as they please to heap up treasure in heaven, as ambitious as they please of spiritual and eternal honor and glory, and as voluptuous as they please with respect to spiritual pleasure.
John Piper, Don’t Waste Your Life
The really wonderful moments of joy in this world are not the moments of self-satisfaction, but self-forgetfulness. Standing on the edge of the Grand Canyon and contemplating your own greatness is pathological. At such moments we are made for a magnificent joy that comes from outside ourselves.
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Just stumbled onto a blog which has a great list of various perspectives on having it "all". I think the last quote, which speaks to a fear of "losing it all" is closest to where my heart is right now. Sure, I want to have it all - the job, the kids, the financial stability, the healthy lifestyle, and on and on - but I'm pretty sure that want comes from a place of fear, not a place of desire.
Food for thought!
Food for thought!
Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook:
Instead of pondering the question, “Can we have it all?,” we should be asking the more practical question, “Can we do it all?” And again, the answer is no. Each of us makes choices constantly between work and family, exercising and relaxing, making time for others and taking time for ourselves.
Sharon Poczter, Cornell Professor of Economics:
The antiquated rhetoric of “having it all” disregards the basis of every economic relationship: the idea of trade-offs. All of us are dealing with the constrained optimization that is life, attempting to maximize our utility based on parameters like career, kids, relationships, etc., doing our best to allocate the resource of time. Due to the scarcity of this resource, therefore, none of us can “have it all,” and those who claim to are most likely lying.
Gloria Steinem, journalist, feminist, activist:
You can’t do it all. No one can have two full-time jobs, have perfect children and cook three meals and be multi-orgasmic ‘til dawn … Superwoman is the adversary of the women’s movement.
Oprah, American media mogul:
You can have it all, but you can’t have it all at the same time.
Madeleine Albright, former U.S. Secretary of State:
I do think women can have it all, just not all at the same time.
Anne-Marie Slaughter, Princeton Professor of Politics and International Affairs:
I still strongly believe that women can “have it all” (and that men can too). I believe that we can “have it all at the same time.” But not today, not with the way America’s economy and society are currently structured.
Erin Callan, former CFO of Lehman:
I now believe that I could have made it to a similar place with at least some better version of a personal life. Not without sacrifice — I don’t think I could have “had it all” — but with somewhat more harmony.
David Brooks, journalist and political commentator:
The very definition of conservatism is: You can’t have it all. No matter who you are, you can’t have it all. The universe is specifically structured to prevent this. Still, this feels like an intra-female debate.
Debora Spar, President of Barnard College:
There are millions of women (and men) who live lives of consequence every day. They are teaching vocational classes to at-risk teenagers; starting small businesses in rural areas; bringing hot meals to the neighbor next door. They are not famous, most of them. They are not perfect. They do not do, or have, it all.But they are building lives that matter, honing skills and nurturing talents that touch the lives of others. Which is in the end, perhaps, the best we all can do.
Ellen Bravo, Director of Family Values @ Work:
[Most] women are not thinking about “having it all,” they’re worried about losing it all—their jobs, their children’s health, their families’ financial stability—because of the regular conflicts that arise between being a good employee and a responsible parent.
Monday, April 22, 2013
Dove's recent - and now viral - "Real Beauty Sketches" stopped me in my tracks. If you haven't seen it, check it out. In a nutshell, it shows the tremendous difference between how we see ourselves and how others see us.
I am a new mom to a beautiful baby girl who, at this point in her life, knows only what we show her, say to her, or model for her. Our influence over her life is tremendous, at this point and likely for years to come.
I so want my daughter to know that she is Beautiful. Treasured. Valued. Adored. Powerful. Celebrated.
But the reality is she will likely be told anything but, in a world of Photo Shop, unrealistic images and videos of sex, one fad diet after the next, skinny jeans, and anti-aging products. If I am wrestling with these things in my own life - and I am - how can I expect anything else for her?
I want to lose another five pounds. My skin breaks out from time to time. My eye brows and lip seem to be forever in need of waxing. My linea negra and c-section scar are reminders of what my body did to bring her into this world. My bum is saggy and fat seems to be accumulating under my armpits, of all places. And I'd be lying if I said I wouldn't love for these things to "fix" themselves.
But wow. My daughter who lights up my soul and makes my heart sing. She is too precious, too valuable, and too treasured to pick up one ounce of my own negativity. I will not let her hear or see or witness the narrative that runs through my head. And if I would tell her - and I will, no matter what - that she's beautiful, strong, courageous, amazing - why would I tell myself anything less?
She does not deserve to hear or think otherwise. And frankly? Neither do I. She is enough. I am enough. We are enough.
- New York, New York, United States
- Marriage. Work. School. Life. Oomph. It's a journey! We married in 2007, I started working on my MBA in August 2011, I work for a non-profit in New York City, and - together with my husband - I'm trying to figure it all out! Lots of questions, not so many answers, so we move forward with - and in - faith. Read along to share the journey.
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