January 2015 Archive

Words of Wisdom~Wednesday
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When Natural feels more like Practice…

When I was pregnant, many people asked me if I was going to breastfeed. I always let the word, “yes” roll right off my tongue, and felt totally at ease with it. I had no idea otherwise. I didn’t research as you know and didn’t read books about it either. I didn’t even chat with other girls much about it. And if I did have those conversations, they seemed pretty uneventful. So when it came time for baby E to get here, I didn’t sweat the whole breastfeeding business.

Well that was blissful-thinking and very short lived. Because the moment the nurse came in to hand me my sweet boy to feed, I immediately felt the pressure (and I’m sure started sweating then, literally!) To my surpirse, it didn’t feel natural like I thought it would nor was it easy.

I was in a state of panic for much of the time during my hospital stay. He had trouble “latching on” and at the time, I had no idea what that meant. I just knew staring down at my screaming and hungry baby, that I needed to get the hang of it sooner than later.

The nurses would come in and wake me up from a twenty minute-slumber (the “no sleeping” thing began) rolling Emerson in crying. They would hand me him and say, “Are you good?” and turn around to leave. After a few times, I finally caved in, “No! I need some help, please stay a minute!” (so frantically, kind of funny looking back)

They were all very nice and tried to be as helpful as they could. But the more nervous I got, the the more difficult the whole process became. Even after knowing that this would negatively affect my breastfeeding, I still just couldn’t relax and was constantly worried that he wasn’t getting enough to eat. It also felt a bit embarrassing in front of our visitors because I was so awkward at it.

When we came home, it didn’t get much easier. My milk was not flowing in abundance like I naturally thought it would. I am sure it had a lot to do with how stressed I was during that time. (adjusting to it all) And the more anxious I was, the less milk came in. I remember many times, holding pumps up to the bubbies for forty-five minutes and getting only 2-3 ounces of milk at a time. It would make me want to scream! That may have been the time I threw the boppy pillow at my hubby.

I did my best for the next five months, supplementing with formula when I had to and even eating the breastfeeding cookies (those exist) that my husband so kindly made for me. (Any excuse to eat cookies was enough reason for me to try it) I felt disappointed with myself and in some way felt like I had failed. I truthfully expected this experience to be second nature and more than that, I expected to enjoy it.

We did survive it as a family and I was so thankful for the support I got from my dear friends and family cheering me on. There were certainly many nights I did cry and envisioned throwing my breast pumps in a bonfire! (no joke) But with that also came many nights that I looked down at my little angel and felt so proud that he depended on me. I made sure that no matter what, he was content and happy.

I realized through it all that breastfeeding is  a very personal choice that you have to make for yourself and your little one. There are many opinions out there that will make you feel as though breastfeeding your baby is the only option you have. But if you are so frustrated that you’re unhappy, worried all the time and getting the mommy blues, I think its time to take a step back and consider your other options. They do exist.

If you are planning on doing it, I urge you to read up on it first so you are prepared to handle whatever problems that might occur. There are several support groups that can help, mommy breastfeeding blogs, lactation consultants, and dare I say it, there’s formula too.

If all else fails, just believe that you know what’s best for yourself and your baby. You do the best you can and then when that’s not enough, do what’s best for you. Because you’re the one that has to be calm, collected and together first in order to take care of your little one. This precious time goes by so quickly; you want to be present and cherish the moments you have with them.

I have such admiration for women who commit to breastfeeding for as long as they can. (It most definitely is a commitment) They are warriors. It takes dedication, determination and perseverance to overcome the hurdles they might endure. To the same respect, so are the women who tried their best with it and for whatever reasons, were not successful or it simply wasn’t for them.

The whole mommyhood process from pregnancy to the aftermath that follows, earns itself the right to decide without judgment, pressure or feelings of guilt, whether breastfeeding is the right choice for you or not. I know I’m not the only mommy who struggled with it but my hope is for more women to be aware that if they are struggling, it is very natural. Sometimes more natural than breastfeeding!

And whatever you decide to do or not do, you are deciding thoughtfully and with the most unconditional love. That’s why you’re the momma!

Sending lots of strength,

Kelly

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photo by Darling Juliet Photography

You were my first baby

In memory of my sweet Olive…

If you’ve ever had a pet you loved, you’ll feel my pain today. My sweet Olive after living what I hope was a very fulfilling life, passed away early this morning. I adopted Oliver from the Humane Society when I was 19 years old. He was behind the desk and one of those lost souls that I knew many people had overlooked. He wasn’t the cutest, was missing hair and had major anxiety issues from being abandoned and mistreated by previous owners. But I had to have him. He became part of my family and friends that day and went on to create a life of adventures and funny stories that we will all remember forever.

It’s unreal how an animal can have such an affect on your life. He has been there through it all and really was my little buddy and partner in crime. As I held him in my arms in his final moments, I remembered that he truly was my first baby. He gave me my first experience of caring for another life other than my own. I thought after losing my dad, that this goodbye wouldn’t be nearly as difficult. But it really is and I feel as though it’s an end to an era. One where maybe we lived a little more naively, and hadn’t realized yet that this life we live will be filled with as much loss as the happiness that fills it.

So to this end, I pay a tribute to one of the most lovable babies in this world, who loved me with every little bone he had. Thanks for making my life so warm with you in it. You will be missed and never forgotten. Hope you are running around with my dad and more so, I hope this Rainbow Bridge really does exist, so I can meet you both there.

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“Cooking should be entered into with abandon or not at all”

Since I was a little girl, I knew the aromas of a deliciously home-cooked meal. Both my parents and grandparents who we spent a great deal of time with, cooked on a daily basis. Food and drink was not a necessity as much as it was a total pleasure in our home, or as my mom would say joie de vivre (joy of life).

Coming from a Lebanese and Canadian background, I was very lucky to have a versatile palette (not always lucky for my bottom) and enjoyed flavors from around the world, so to speak. You name it and my parents would make it; from my mom’s homemade chicken wings with a secret sauce to my dad’s Mediterranean dishes that could be the talk of the town. (And SO much yuminess in between)

We had countless dinner parties that I can remember where the drinks were flowing and supper came in courses. In fact, having friends and family come together over what seemed like a royal feast was perhaps more normal to me than our little family of three sitting at the kitchen dinner table.

So now having a little bit of background of how my love affair started with food, you must be thinking, “This girl must be quite a chef!” Well those who know me already know the answer. (I hear crickets) Because to one of my biggest regrets, I must admit that I am NOWHERE close to it.

In fact, I have to be even more honest and tell you when I first thought about this blog, I wanted Food to be a major topic. But then I realized that although I absolutely adore a savory home-cooked meal or one made at restaurant, I myself really can’t cook them! And what would I post then, pictures of me just eating food LOL? The real question is how could someone who grew up around the crème de la crème of cooking, not love to cook??? (or be more natural at it)

I really don’t have the answer for you but I can tell you as one of my New Year’s Resolutions, and for many other reasons, (being a mommy/wife and my dad always wanted me to), I really want to change it.

I know that there are easier ways to have a nice meal ready like picking up a Publix rotisserie chicken for example. (do that often) But I really would like to dare I say, impress people with my cooking skills! (Especially the hubby)

Now don’t get me wrong there isn’t anything wrong with having easier ways to have dinner ready in my book. And I’m totally understanding of everyone’s very busy life with kids,  no kids, working, school etc. But for my family, and myself I would really like to make a habit of cooking often, tackling new and exciting dishes and doing more entertaining for friends. Most of my girlfriends love to cook and are really fantastic at it. And I know because although I haven’t mastered the art of cooking, I certainly have of tasting!

I swear since I’ve become a mom with a job, house and dogs (plural), I have a newly found respect and admiration for our moms, their moms, and the generations of women before them! They cooked every night for their children (yes, not just one!) and husband, cleaned the house, and had their hair done and lipstick on!

They are the true superheroes of our lifetime. My gosh, it’s a good day if my hair is brushed and I came out of the house wearing a blouse without baby spit-up on it now a days! Extra good day if I am wearing lipstick!

So I am asking anyone who’s kind enough to read this, to please share your thoughts on how to make myself more motivated to make this change. 2015 is indeed my year of changing and growing into a more improved version of myself. Therefore I think it’s only necessary to be fearless of anything new and put one foot in front of the other. Baby steps

Below I posted a few of my “food pins” from Pinterest. And I’d love to hear from you who do enjoy cooking and I’m sure are fabulous at it too. Send me recipes, I would love it! (And Jonathan would be so grateful) Please help me choose one of these amazing-looking dishes to try this week. I think a good start is maybe trying one new dish from my Pinterest pins every week. (all 463 of them) What do you think?

And please tell me I am not the only person who pins that much food to their boards. Most people probably pin these to actually attempt them. Not me, I just like to look at them, LOL, and store them in my happy Pinterest land, where my life appears to be perfect! Isn’t that the true purpose of Pinterest? :)

Keep Dreaming,

Kelly

P.S:I’ll keep you posted with how this turns out! (The fire department should be on standby)

Sweet Potato Cauliflower Soup

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Garlic Rosemary Pork Tenderloin

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Black Bean and Butternut Squash Enchilada Casserole

 

Bacon and Brussel Sprout Salad

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Pan-Seared Chicken with Balsamic Cream Sauce, Mushrooms and Onions

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photos via Pinterest

Words of Wisdom ~Wednesday
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I’ve fallen in love…with my husband

I’ve always believed that relationships are a continuous work in progress, no matter how long you’ve been together. Through all the years Jonathan and I have been a couple, I’ve certainly learned that when you love someone, you have to love all of them. Now I didn’t say you have to always like them.

My mother, who’s Jonathan’s number one fan, has always told me, “You can’t change someone, who they are, they are. Just like you.” She was so right. There might be qualities about your darling that sometimes drives you batty. And I’m sure that these differences can sometimes build up enough to make you uneasy as to the direction your love is heading.

I think coming to the realization that you’re in this together is the first step to letting go of some of those differences that can so easily pull you apart. I thought I had seen it all with Jonathan, the good, the bad and the ugly, until I saw him with Emerson. I remember the day I told him I was pregnant, “Ok so I have to tell you something…little change in plans here.” And I remember that after a few minutes, when the color came back to his face, how transformed I knew he was from that day on.

It could have been, “I am out of here, I didn’t sign up for this”, but instead it was, “Ok we can do this, it’s gonna be good, really good.” Well it was. It was everything. Emerson brought us closer, not  because we became a party of three, and everything turned into rainbows and sunshine. But because it was a true test of our committment and how we would handle this complete shift in gears.

I never imagined after what sometimes felt like a century, that I could fall in love with him all over again. Of course seeing what a naturally good daddy he was meant everything to me. But that’s not just it; it was his willingness to adapt, to try, to give effort and to simply be on my team.

That doesn’t happen without some hiccups obviously. I remember the night I threw my boppy pillow across the room at him. (That’s a breastfeeding pillow; I don’t assume people know that because I had no clue before baby) Not sure what my plan was in that moment, clearly not to cause bodily harm.

That’s one of the many reasons I admire Jonathan. He knows I can be a walking cyclone and I can easily let my emotions take over, not always in a good way. (I try to count to ten before I speak, not always the case.) But he accepts me with my crazy, and still makes an effort to always move forward. I hope it’s because he knows I love him to the moon and back. And what he says or does, or doesn’t do, affects me.

You are going to argue, fight, even yell, and that’s OK. Because you make up, you talk through it, and then you grow closer from it. It becomes one more battle you conquered together versus letting it break you down. You know when you’ve listened to someone say, “Oh we never fight, it’s so weird.” Yes it is weird! (haha) No I am kidding, maybe you don’t and that’s truly great. But for some of us, more passionate lovers (nicer word to describe it), it just isn’t so simple.

I think the real issue is when someone is unable to just try to make it work, or won’t evolve with you, for the sheer reason that you’re it for them. That’s something that I think most people cannot swallow. Nobody wants to be given up on.

I am not saying having a child fixed everything or that it should be a part of everyone’s life, because as you know, everyone’s story is different. And I certainly will never assume that what makes our love stronger will do the same for yours. Whether you’re married or not, with someone or just starting to date, I more than anything, wanted to share with you a renewed sense of hope. Hope that no matter what happens between you two, there’s always room to fall in love again with each other. But you have to make the space together.

So with that, I offer you a few thoughtful tips that I hope to remember myself, when skies get grey…

  1. No matter how angry you get, remember there isn’t a competition of who gets the last word. Saying something that you can’t take back doesn’t mean you’ve won, it means Game Over.
  2. Find the time to do something together that you both enjoy, even if it’s only every now and then. You will feel connected again.
  3. Laugh together. I can’t stress how important this is for so many reasons. Even in the middle of an argument, Jonathan will say or do something that makes me laugh, and I forget what made me flip in the first place.
  4. I mentioned counting, start with ten seconds, extend if needed, before you approach a tense conversation. My girlfriends will love this one because they know I often say to myself, “why didn’t I think that one through first, that didn’t go down the way I wanted.” Sometimes it’s just about the delivery.
  5. Don’t be afraid to admit when you’re wrong, or you’ve crossed a line. Being a bit humble will not kill you, I promise. (And I’ve learned, trust me)
  6. Say or do something more often to show you appreciate them. The other day I texted Jonathan from upstairs, “ Thanks for your help tonight, I love you, goodnight.” He ran up the stairs and said, “Were you being sarcastic, are you upset at something?” I guess I don’t do this one enough! LOL
  7. Lastly, remember don’t either of you give up. Of course if you’re in an unhealthy situation, I would never want you to take this one to heart. And if that’s the case, you have to absolutely do what’s best for your mind, body and soul. I think the worth you give yourself and to the one you love will determine what’s worth fighting for.

Wishing you an open heart and lots of love to fill it,

Kelly

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photo by Darling Juliet Photography