Thursday, January 24, 2013

on trusting the challenges

It's obvious. Parenting is challenging. And those challenges evolve and change. Sometimes daily, but usually hourly. It's the obvious things, like teething and lack of sleep, that you can kind of prepare for. But then there are  the other challenges. The ones that are individual to your child. These are the ones that both of you learn the most from. Like their personal fears or dislikes. Phoenix, Scott, and I have learned to navigate these things together. How he likes to be soothed when he's upset, that he gets sad if he sees us arguing, and the fact that will most likely not eat oatmeal unless I make it into a pancake for him. These are things we have learned so far.

Then there are the actions you choose as a family and the beliefs you have. I am not being vague. There are just so many decisions we, as parents, have to make for our children on a moment by moment basis. When I was pregnant, I spend hours pouring over information on pregnancy, birth, and labor. Maybe a bit about newborns. I knew what to eat and what vitamins to take. I knew I wanted to give birth at home. We decided not to vaccinate Phoenix. And I had my heart set on breastfeeding. That was pretty much it.

Obviously we knew we would love and care for him above all else. But I think most first time parents don't realize the amount of decisions you have to make every day in order to raise your precious babe. And they come so quickly. One day you're relishing in the tiny baby on your chest, and in the blink of an eye you have to decide whether or not to begin solids. Is this sippy cup going to stunt their verbal development? Is this toy educational enough without limiting his own creativity? Are the colors of this board book vibrant enough for his sensory development? Am I going to lose my mind with all these questions? Yes. The answer is yes.

Of course I appreciate statistics, reviews, and studies but above all, I believe in myself and my kid. (And Scott, of course!) There is only so much you can agonize over something before you just decide to do it (or not). And while I did all that research while pregnant, I found that I make my decisions I bit more on the fly these days. Not that I'm indifferent, I just don't have the time to stress out over every little thing. And for the most part, it works for us. And when it doesn't, we trust that there is a lesson in our mistake. That there is more than just finding the perfect high chair or choosing a preschool for P. I realize he is not even two yet but NYC is insane and you have to put your kid on a waiting list YESTERDAY if you want to even have a chance to apply. Not kidding. But that is another blog post. For now, we will enjoy learning, growing, and trusting that everything is as it should be.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

natural cold remedies for mom and baby

I had big plans last week. I had errands to run, banana bread to bake, friends to meet up with. You know, a life to live. And then I got sick. Ughhhh. I felt it coming on Monday evening. The scratchy throat...gross. So I got up and immediately started on my usual arsenal of natural remedies to try and attack this cold before it had too much time to develop. Tuesday I woke up with a definite cold. And while Wednesday it seemed to peak, by Thursday I was feeling much better and by Friday I was at about 90%. I would say that is pretty good (3 days!) considering I also had to chase a toddler around and generally continue mom life. No pity from the 15 month old this time around. But I digress. Here are my recommendations for kicking a cold without any over the counter meds. All of these are also safe for baby and for breastfeeding.

Oregano Oil - We really use this for everything. It is such an amazing anti microbial, anti bacterial, and anti fungal supplement that it can be used to treat so many ailments. I have used a few different ones but I find that this one is good quality and well priced. For adults, you can take it orally. I generally take 2-4 drops under my tongue (depending on how sick I am) a few times a day. For Phoenix, I rub it into the bottom of his feet before bed and put some cozy socks on over. It works brilliantly.Oil of Oregano

Apple cider vinger - Bragg's is the brand I have been using forever. The reason it's important to use the raw and unfiltered variety of ACV is because it has natural probiotics. Those probiotics are killed off during pasteurization. ACV is alkalizing for your body. The more alkaline you are, the stronger your immunity and healthier you are. Conversly, the more acidic your body is, the weaker your immunity. I put a shot in a glass of water and take every morning when feeling unwell.Bragg's

Kombucha or other probiotics - Just like with the ACV, kombucha has lots of beneficial probiotics. Probiotics are essential in building and maintaining a healthy gut. Having a healthy gut is important because it's where we absorb all our vitamins and nutrients (among other things) and hence, we need to keep it strong to get better. If you're not accustomed to the fermented flavor of kombucha (I love it) than you can take a good quality probiotic supplement. Phoenix takes the kids one you see in the photo above. I just mix it in his hemp milk every morning.This kit from my favorite kombucha brand looks awesome!

Chest rub or eucalyptus oil - I usually burn eucalyptus oil at home when one of us is under the weather. It decongests the chest and cleans the air. I also rub it all over P's little chest before bed as well as my own. He nuzzles his little face into me at night so that way he breathes it off my skin too.Chest Rub

Eliminate dairy - Not forever, but dairy (mostly cow) is mucous forming. If you are stuffed up, you may want to hold off for a few days and let your body clear out the mucous. Dairy also causes a lot of inflammation for most people so even if you are not stuffy, you want to make it as easy as possible for your body to fight the cold (which is why you're meant to rest) and cutting out difficult to digest foods does just that. 

Citrus! - I like to include a lot of citrus this time of year for all the extra vitamin C. When I am feeling run dow I do include about 2000 mg of a vitamin c supplement but some delicious oranges and clementines never hurt anyone. Also, along with what I said about mucous, citrus breaks down mucous so even if you are taking a supplement, consider some fresh citrus for this reason.

Super garlic, tahini, ginger dressing - I made this the day after I started feeling sick (Tuesday) and ate it for almost every meal all week. I also gave some to P and forced Scott to eat it as well. He didn't mind. It's delicious. I do a variation of this dressing all the time. You basically start with as much garlic as you can handle. In this case I took about 3 whole raw cloves. You can put it in the food processor with some raw ginger root (again, as much as you can take. I used about an inch.) and one or two spoonfuls of raw tahini. Raw is important again as sesame has a lot of great nutritional benefits. Among them, tahini has a lot of magnesium which is essential in maintaining respiratory health. Zinc is also in tahini, which has been proven to shorten the length of colds. At this point, you pour in some good extra virgin olive oil and then thin out the paste to your liking. When thinner, it's a great salad dressing. A thicker paste works great on crackers and sandwiches. You can also stir it into soups, beans, hummus, or add to marinades. You basically want to get as much of this in your body as possible. Garlic kills everything. Ginger works wonders for colds and sore throats. 

Elderberry or Sambucus - The tea I drank (pictured above) has elderflower in it but Sambucus has elderberry in it as well. If you're not familiar with Sambucus, it has black elderberry, which has been used for centuries in Europe as a cold remedy. I noticed that it works right away at lessening our symptoms. Obviously we have the kids version. Scott and I take double doses twice a day. Sambucus for Kids/Cold Care Tea

Ginger, lemon, honey tea - I do sip on that cold care tea all day as well as give it to P in a sippy. Either in tea or on it's own, ginger, lemon, and honey tea is great for soothing sore throats and clearing up congestion.

Bikram yoga or just sweat! - On Thursday I was starting to feel better but I just needed to knock the last bits of the cold out of me. I bundled my sick self up and went to a Bikram class. It was just what I needed! If you've never done Bikram style yoga before, it's not as fast paced as the more popular Vinyasa or power yoga. And although it definitely get's your heart rate up and your blood flowing. that pace is slow enough that it's managable when sick. At least for me. Also, the room is about 1000 degrees so it helps you sweat out toxins. In fact, that's the whole point of the practice. I digress. That's another post. The point is, just sweating all the sick out made me feel amazing. By the next day I was feeling a million times better. 

These are most of the item that are our first line of defense. While I do think there is a definitely a time and place for drugs, we practice a lot of holistic medicine in our home as well as treat with herbs. I hope you don't get sick this season, but if you do, you may find that these may help you. Along with as much rest as you can get. (Not much for me!)

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

mom's group v.2

One of my most favorite blog ladies and mama's, Bekah, is featured today on mom's group. I couldn't be happier. I adore Bekah's blog, My Little Loves, and she is a daily source of inspiration from her honest and vulnerable posts, to her boho fashion posts. She reminds me to live simply, be present, and that less really is more. She has a beautiful family, complete with two adorable daughter and lights up her little corner of the internet with light and love. 

Your name, children's names, and ages: Bekah, Ocean (3) and Luna (1)
1. How has being a mother inspired you? Oh man, being a mother has changed me in every way. I am inspired everyday to be kinder and more patient than I was the day before.
2. What is the greatest challenge of having a child? The above? Having to model what I am teaching. You can't teach someone patience if you aren't being patient. I struggle so much with that.
3. Is motherhood how you imagined it would be when you were pregnant? In some ways, yes and others no. Mostly, with Ocean. Her being my first and all. Ocean was a much, much more difficult baby than Luna, but being my first I always wondered if it were me. Was I doing something terribly wrong? Ocean never wanted to be cuddled, she was never really a baby. She wanted independence from a young age and that was very difficult for me to grapple with as a first time mom. 
4. How has your marriage been affected since becoming a parent? Since we have been parents almost from the moment we moved in together it can be hard to separate the experiences. Our marriage has survived a lot, kids do put more stress there but at the end of the day we are each others retreat. The one thing I miss is spontaneous trips together. I miss sleeping in and long nights spent together. Our life still has a lot of spontaneity and fun, but it is definitely something I miss on a daily basis.
5. How tidy is your home? (Come on! We all want to know!) In the middle. I try to keep it as minimalist as possible. I get rid of stuff constantly and we rarely go shopping. When we do I am very selective about what we will and won't buy. If you don't have much its hard for a house to get too overwhelmingly messy. I also try and keep chores done (tidying immediately after meals, laundry put away immediately, etc) and it helps a bunch. My girls room stays messy and so does my living room, it seems at least.
*BONUS* One line of your best advice for anyone expecting/new parents: Comparison is the thief of joy. Just enjoy every moment and don't compare it to what you expected or what it seems like others experiences are.
 Thanks so much Bekah! xo

Monday, January 14, 2013

this is the place

(Future soccer star)

I wrote several posts in the last few weeks. Long ones. About our holidays. A reflection on 2012. Blah, blah, blah. I didn't post any of them. Why? They felt forced. There have been a lot of other things going on behind the scenes and writing felt like a nuisance instead of therapeutic. Not good, not bad, just a lot of things that need to get checked off my list. Also: molars. Ugh. Can I get a hug from all of you who have children with teeth? Also, can we all have a shot together? One for every night I've been up multiple times in the last month. Ha!

So, that's where we are at. Trying to make good on the intentions I set for this fresh new year. Shooting for the starts. All of it. 

Scott is eating vegan for the month. Cleansing after the ridiculous amount of delicious, decadent meals and alcohol we consumed over the past few weeks. I am not eating vegan but I am basically eating the same meals that I am making him with some eggs added in or some cheese crumbled on top. I also made chicken soup for Phoenix and I the other day. Why am I not eating vegan with him? Honestly, it's a little more difficult for me over the winter. According to Ayurveda, the colder months should consist of warming grounding foods like roasted root vegetables as well as heartier meat dishes. Warming foods. Not that vegan foods can't be warming or grounding. They absolutely can. I just find that when I am feeling low on energy and cold, I feel better eating soups made with animal protein and eggs. Anyway, that's what we are eating. In the warmer months, I could survive on raw fruit and salads day after day. 

Speaking of eating, as little P is in the  midst of teething (poor guy) he has little interest in eating. He is a really good eater and enjoys a variety of foods so it is frustrating to make him meals and see him push them aside and whine. So I made him muffins. Baby muffins. I will post the recipe this week. They are full of fruits, veggies, and protein and have no sugar. They are soft and baby sized. He loves them and they don't mess with his tender mouth. Sounds good, huh? I am currently on my 6th mini muffin with sunflower butter. If I don't eat them all tonight, I will take a photo in the morning and post the recipe.

This is all very nonsensical, I know. Stay with me. I am getting back to regular writing. I just had to get back on the saddle, as they say. I will be posting more Mom's Club. I have had some amazing submissions, if you want to participate, email me. Also, I cut my hair. Done. Finally. And life is better. So much better. Ummm I guess I will try to take a photo this week. That is all for now. Must go take photos of hair and muffins. xo

Sunday, January 13, 2013

1/52 & 2/52

(Obviously excited to be out with mom)

(He's looking more and more like a little boy every day.)

"A portrait of my child, once a week, every week, in 2013."

Most of you read Jodi's blog right? If not, you should. She is such a talented mama and has a beautiful family whom she photographs and shares on her space each week. I was so inspired by her beautiful photos all year long that I decided to join her this year in posting a portrait of Phoenix every week. My intention is to be held accountable of taking a great photo each week and to hopefully improve my photography. Here is the first one and the second one too, since I'm late. Womp womp.