// archives

Parenthood

This category contains 16 posts

Don’t f*ck with me. Passing on a legacy. Preparing for pre-preschool and life.

I wrote this on 6/21/12, after I had been offered a new job, which I accepted and started in October. On this day, it became very real that I would have to send Sofie away to school/daycare at some point very soon and overwhelmed by this, I sat and cried and prayed and wrote this. I didn’t publish it because it seemed crazy to write a letter like this for a hypothetical situation. Some might accuse me of being…dramatic!

Today, I publish this piece because our Sofie starts a new toddler program on Monday!!! And, so here goes…

*****************************************************************************************************************************************************

I am preparing, in my mind, for when I send my daughter (my first born, my mothers name sake, my heart and soul, my little mirror, my perfect angel baby) to school or daycare for the first time. All the things I want to tell her come flooding through me and manifest as tears and a tight throat.

Baby girl, mommy loves you. I am always here for you. I will fight your fights with you, by your side. No matter how big or small. Did another kid take your toy? Did the teacher ask you to be quiet again (this is inevitable, you are my child, this is your legacy to be chatty and “social”…these are your gifts, not deficits or problems to be solved. We will talk more about that later.)? Did you forget your lunch or get teased for what you have for lunch? Whatever it is, I am by your side figuring it out WITH you. I am on your team.

Be brave in all you do. Have fun. Play with ALL the toys and ALL the kids. Be kind. Say thank you and please and excuse me. Take turns and share. You know how you love to give me a bite of everything you are eating. I love that about you! And your teachers might not want you to do that. Its ok. You are still the most generous child I have ever known.

These things I know you will excel at and be your true awesome self. You were born to be awesome. And I know you are going to love school and I know your classmates and teachers will love you and appreciate you too.

Stand up for yourself. This is the hardest lesson for me to prepare you for. Mommy wants to be there to protect you always from skinned knees and hurt feelings and everything else…and yet that wouldn’t be fair to you. You are capable of standing up for yourself and of protecting yourself. You are capable of so many things.

If someone hurts you or scares you or isn’t fair or makes you feel less than in any way, stand up for yourself. Use your words. Be kind and compassionate. Listen. Be direct and forth write. Speak the truth. It will set you free.

The truth will always set you free, baby.

And if you are still not being heard and respected, you tell them what my mommy told me when I was a little girl and felt powerless, you tell them, “*Don’t f*ck with me.” To anyone, at any time. And I will have your back. No questions asked. I have your back. No matter what. I trust you and if your boundaries are crossed and you say these words, I trust that you needed it and I will stand by you and fight your battle WITH you. Mommy is on your team.

(*True story, I will never forget that day or that lesson that my mom told me that I could say those words, even to the priests at my parochial school. I was shocked and forever armed.)

But mostly, I want you to know that you are allowed to feel these words, to know that you deserve to be respected, heard, that you are armed with these words and what they represent. And that you have me, by your side and at your back, equally armed with these words, because my mommy armed me with these words too. We are brave and tough and strong.

Now, make sure you eat breakfast, brush your teeth and hair, have your lunch, listen to directions, play, learn, make friends, and have fun, baby! That is what life is all about.

 

Sofie Drops a Beat

Sofie, now 12.5 months old and an official toddler, is a proven, most-superb dancer. For those of you who are dancers (and by dancers I mean those who can’t resist a good beat, whose bodies move as if on their own accord, cosmically connected to the intoxicating movement of music), you would love this kid. She’s a booty shaker.

Recently, we went to campus to pick up my husband to run an errand as a family and we arrived early and found ourselves walking around campus waiting for “daddy”. While waiting, an undergraduate student drove by in his presumable parent sponsored brand new white two door BMW with the windows rolled down blasting some dubstep. As soon as she heard the beat, Sofie stopped in her tracks, momentarily distracted from hunting for leaves to pick up and put in her mouth, to raise her hands, stick her butt out and shake her bootay side to side. Buh, buh, buh. Dropping a beat, toddler style. I could not have been prouder in that moment!

I had a feeling I would really like this kid. I had a feeling when…

  • her first cry was a pouty bottom-lipped, square chinned inhale
  • she we would raise her hands  above her head in a classic “praise Jesus” kind of way every time she wasn’t swaddled to fall asleep
  • she was an enthusiastic eater of all amazing things (think kale, spinach, beats, salmon) as early as a 6 month old
  • her first acknowledgement of our Golden Retriever was a deep and full body belly laugh that lasted most of an evening
  • as soon as she was mobile she was a fast study as a tremendously talented cat tail puller (poor kitty!)
  • she started using a defunct remote controller as a phone that she holds to her ear with her shoulder, arm raised out in front of her walking around the room, babble talking followed by bursting laughs out loud as if in the midst of a hysterical conversation with her best friend

Yes, I fall in love with her more and more every few minutes. She and I share some pretty fun, quirky traits. God clearly has a great sense of humor!

Brian’s Essential Winter Oatmeal Recipe

I’ve written previously about my essential smoothie recipe, which is a great heathy staple for the the warmer months. And while winter is a bit relative down here in New Orleans, I always like to start my day with a wholesome meal that sustains me throughout the morning and gets me going on the right foot.

The thought of a cold smoothie is tough to stomach this time of year, so Mia and I turn to this trusted oatmeal recipe. There are many variations on oatmeal and I encourage you to explore and find what works for you. You’ll find like my smoothie recipe that you can toss in quite a few ingredients and it won’t compromise the taste. As we love to say, this recipe will stick to your bones and keep you satisfied for much of the morning.

We prefer steel cut oats because they’re a great source of whole grains and packs more nutritional benefits than regular rolled or quick oats. If time is an issue for you, rolled oats will decrease on prep time but you’ll lose out on many of the great nutritional benefits of steel cut oats. At first you’ll be surprised by the texture, but I’ve grown to love the crunchiness.

Cook Time: 30 minutes
Yield: 2 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of steel cut oats (available in bulk aisle at local grocery)
  • 6 cups of water
  • Pinch of salt
  • Dried fruits (cranberries, raisins)
  • 4 tablespoons of wheat germ
  • 4 teaspoons of flax seed oil (I prefer unfiltered)
  • 2 teaspoons of cinnamon
  • Chopped nuts (if desired)
  • 1/4 cup of milk

Directions
Place water and oats in pot and set on medium heat for 20 minutes, occasionally stirring to prevent overflow. When there is a little liquid left in the pot, turn heat down to prevent overcooking and begin placing dry ingredients in. Stir together and add chopped nuts, sliced banana, and milk to taste.

As you can see, it’s rather simple. I encourage you to have fun with the ingredients and customize to your taste. I will often soak the steel cut oats overnight to cut down on cook time in the morning. Rolled oats will not take as long as are a nice alternative if time is an issue in the morning.

I’d love to hear your variations on this recipe and learn what some of your favorite morning staples are, so hit up the comments and let us know!

Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme

Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme

Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme

Pregnancy has been such an adventure, a process of self discovery, body image issues, fear, joy-you name it, its been a ride. One of the greatest moments has been the realization that I am not only pregnant, but being prepared to become a mother. Moving from self to other; from me to baby; from me to we and all within my own body. (Not to mention the transformation within my marriage with my best friend-that’s another post!) In this process, one of the most revealing joys, however, has been my memories of my own childhood-remembering and connecting with how I was raised and all the mothering I received.

I hear my mother’s loving and all-knowing voice in my head as I walk through this process. Things that used to eventually annoy me by matter of the shear number of times I heard her repeat her lessons, I can start to recognize as the most important life lessons that she was teaching me. My mother was and is a natural teacher. A guide, a principle in so many arenas. I didn’t recognize this as pure genius as a child, definitely not as a teenager, more so as a young adult and now, as I enter into becoming a parent…I know for a fact, she is pure genius.

The lessons from my mother are vast, ones that I don’t realize are there, that I would be hard pressed to recount if you asked me on the spot. Not until I need them. And when I need them, there they are, there she is-her voice fills me and I find myself being mothered at the exact moment I need it…that I need her. Today’s post title, “Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme” is an example of that.

When Brian or I start to feel crummy with headaches, sore throats and other accompanied cold symptoms or if its a chilly day or we are feeling worn down, before I think through remedies I hear myself sing-song these words: Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme. I scrounge through the fridge to see what ingredients we have to make a chicken soup. The perfect remedy. Whether at the grocery store or in the fridge or garden, I sing these four words as she used to in her humming tone as I gather the chicken (a carcass that I usually keep in the freezer, remnants after we have baked a chicken for dinner-”never throw out a carcass”, another one of my mother’s lessons), carrots, celery, potato, egg noodles, and lots and lots of garlic-an entire head of garlic (another one of my mother’s lessons: “load up on garlic”). And then, of coarse, Parsley, Sage Rosemary and Thyme. Perfection.

Before you know it, I am eating soup, snuggled up and feeling loved and mothered…at the exact moment I need it.

I intend to share more of my mothers lessons as I continue to connect and appreciate them. There are so many.

What are your most cherished lessons from your mother?

Drum roll, please…The results are in!

The results are in and according to our nearest and dearest family and friends 60% of you thought it would be a boy, but…

We are having A GIRL!!!

Place Your Bets! Can you predict the sex of our baby?

Surprise Envelope

Surprise Envelope

Two days and counting…we have the envelope, signed and sealed by our doctor, that has been hanging on our picture wall for the past several months that contains some very important information: the sex of our baby!

We weighed the options of finding out verses waiting and settled on a solution that fits our style and values as a family. Brian and I knew we didn’t want to find out at the hospital during the anatomy scan and we also wanted to spend a little time planning and preparing, given what a tough transition this has been these past several months moving away from Denver to New Orleans. And we thought Christmas would be a perfect time to mark such an important and pivotal stage in our lives as a married couple and in our new role as soon to be parents.

So, we thought it would be fun to take a poll to see what you all think: are we having a girl or a boy? Place your bets in the poll below:

BONUS! Help us come up with names for our precious little one. Place any suggestions you have in the comments below!

Baby’s First Movements & Dad’s First Connection

Guest Post from my gorgeous, brilliant husband, Brian J. Elizardi

*************************************************************

Lately at home I’ll be sitting on the couch, laying in bed, or doing some otherwise normal activity and hear a “Oooh!” from my wife.

When these first started, my reaction was to freak out and either call 911 or go warm up the car to head to the hospital. After we developed a code for distinguishing between the seemingly normal grunts and groans of her pregnancy versus an all freak out situation, I was able to relax and take in this unique occasion to see and feel our baby growing.

These events are now accompanied by a quick grab of my hand by my wife so that I can feel what’s she’s feeling. The first few occasions when I felt the baby moving with my hand placed on her belly were breathtaking and amazing. Every day I get to witness her growing more beautiful as the baby marches towards full term, but to feel and almost interact with the baby is something to behold.

Despite all the outward signs that this is really happening and we indeed starting our family, it can be tough to identify with what Mia is going through and experience the same intense and surreal experience she goes through minute by minute. These small movements serve to connect me with a process that is literally foreign to my body and mind. Since we haven’t discovered the sex of the baby it also gives me something to focus my mind’s eye on and visualize. It’s a powerful activity that has me excited for what’s to come.

Update
After writing this early this morning I went in to say hi to sleeping mom-to-be and baby. Right after I placed my hand on her belly I felt a kick, or what I pretended was a high-five from the baby. Loving this special stage in our lives.

Baby belly…the first and second trimesters

So, here I am in all my pregnant glory. As you can see, we skipped a few weeks of photos and I changed my mind about bare belly vs. clothed belly a few times, angle, and background, but in the end I think these capture the gist of a healthfully growing baby belly (and body…ahem!)

One more trimester to go!

Week 9

Week 9

Week 10

Week 10

Week 11

Week 11

Week 12

Week 12

Week 16

Week 16

Week 17

Week 17

Week 18

Week 18

Week 19

Week 19

Week 20

Week 20

Week 21

Week 21

Week 22

Week 22

Week 23

Week 23

Week 25

Week 25

Week 26

Week 26

Brian’s Essential Pregnancy Smoothie Recipe

Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper”

Starting the morning off on the right foot is important for anyone, including moms to be. For our family this means a high protein breakfast featuring lots of fresh fruits and whole grains. One essential staple of our mornings is a fruit smoothie. This recipe is adapted from a few that I’ve read and is one that we’ve been doing on and off for years. As always, please consult your healthcare practitioner before adding anything new to your diet.

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons whey protein powder (we use the Whole Foods 365 Everyday Whey Protein; make sure to avoid ones with artificial sweeteners)
  • 1 teaspoon of organic psyllium husk powder (high in fiber)
  • 1 teaspoon of wheat germ
  • 2 teaspoons of flax seed oil (I prefer unfiltered and organic)
  • 1 cup of yogurt
  • 2 fish oil pills (cut and empty oil into blender)
  • 3 cups of fresh frozen fruit (this is where you can have fun; I regularly keep peaches, blueberries, bananas, mangos, blackberries, and strawberries on hand)
  • 1 cup of juice

Directions
Place dry ingredients in blender first so they blend more smoothly. Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend on high for 30 seconds. Pour into 16 oz. glasses and enjoy!

A Few Last Recommendations

  • Make sure mix your fruits to keep it fresh. Having the same smoothie every day gets kind of boring after a while. Some of my favorite combinations are mango, strawberry, and banana; peach and banana; and blueberry, raspberry, and blackberry.
  • You can vary the recipe all sorts of ways. Sometimes I’ll substitute apple juice for orange juice. Pineapple juice can also add some great flavor.
  • If you’re looking to save on calories you can omit the yogurt since they whey gives you the same dairy creaminess.
  • Milk can be substituted for orange juice if you’re looking to get extra dairy into your diet.
  • Ice can be added to increase the thickness of the blend or can help if your fruits aren’t frozen.

I can feel the baby!

The first time I felt the baby move was at work (at around 17 weeks) I was in a meeting and I kept feeling some kind of bubbly sensation in my belly. I was totally distracted by this.  Bubbles then nothing, then more bubbles. Over and over. After several minutes, I realized it was my baby. I could feel my baby. I wanted to laugh and cry. What an amazing sensation…an indescribable connection.