Apple of my Eye, Watermelon of my Heart

Remember when I told you about the Watermelon Moments Silvia and I were having?  Remember how I promised that I was going to dress her up as a watermelon for Halloween and that I’d share pictures?  Well, forgive me for being so tardy in the picture sharing but better late than never!!

While I’m not a huge Halloween fan (going door to door collecting candy isn’t really my thing) I was so excited to stuff Silvi into her pink pants and tee and that adorable watermelon tunic and hat! And, I got to do it 4 times!!

The first time was for the Children’s Museum Haunted House VIP preview party.  The place was packed and even though we never made it through the haunted house Silvia had a blast.  What did she like best?  Carrying the bean bags back and forth between the corn hole end zones, of course.  I’ve never understood that game but Silvi took too it right away!  Those poor big kids, though, they had to keep hitting the pause button as Silvia highjacked their game!  Look at the determined look on her face!!

The next time was for the 1-year birthday party our friends Matt and Sheri threw for their son.  It was a Halloween-themed party complete with a bounce house, a dj, catered kids foods and plenty of kids (and adults) in costume.   Ryan and I wore street clothes but not Silvia.  She threw on a smile while I threw on her pink chucks and full get-up again!  What did she like best here?  Well, the mac n cheese was a hit and she loved watching the kids in the bounce house but she had a heyday going down Luke’s little backyard slide!

Third time’s a charm and on Halloween night Silvia sure charmed us all.  We threw her and her best friend Caroline (dressed as a strawberry) in a wagon together and wheeled them down to the neighborhood parade.  Our little fruit basket.  Could they get any cuter?!  She loved the parade, of course.  And she loved the wagon ride with Caroline (let’s be honest, she loves ANYTHING with Caroline).  But she surprised us all by how much she loved handing out candy to the trick or treaters (she didn’t do any t or t’ing herself)!  All in all, she had an absolute blast Halloween night!  And was completely in showoff mode.

The fourth time she wore the costume was the following Friday when we dressed the kids up for play group during my women’s Bible study.  Sorry, I got tired of taking pictures by then but she, like a true performer, never tired of her costume.

I love that little watermelon!!!!

…and the costume was a little big so maybe she can wear it again next year!

Apples on the Go and on the Sit

Yesterday we embraced the Fall season in full Fall fashion and made our way, despite the hordes of people doing the same, to the apple orchard.

With the trip came three fantastic outcomes:

1 – Silvia got to spend the day with her BFF, Caroline.  They are exactly 6 hours apart in age and have learned together how to walk, make animal noises, crawl on furniture, ride bikes (I say that loosely), and make their moms and dads laugh.  I hope that they know each other all of their lives!

2 – Silvia learned a new word, “appletree,” which she has been saying almost non-stop since then, and she now has a new favorite food.  I think she at two or three yesterday at the orchard (hello, poops) and asked all day for her favorite spoon and an apple.  Silly girl.

3 – Today, Silvia and I spent the most precious 10 minutes sitting in a chair in the kitchen together, sharing an apple.  I’d eat 4 or 5 bites of skin to peel it all away and then she’d take over, her little hands holding the great big apple, biting away.  After a minutes of that, she’d hand it back to me….”mama apple!”

Doesn’t get any better.

Connect to the Divine

Last week Silvia and I took to the car for a day-trip to a beautiful, peaceful retreat center located in the heart of the midwest, just outside of Dayton, OH.  Harmony Farms is a place to put your feet up and enjoy a massage and facial, but it’s so much more.  It is also a center where respected teachers conduct healing workshops and it’s a certified biodynamic farm where they grow herbs (eventually to be used in their treatments), vegetables (used by local restaurants), and hay. Located in the woods, is a beautiful 11 circuit labyrinth, made from pavers (based on the Chartres Labyrinth in France). There are a number of gardens and walking paths to enjoy, as well as a grotto with hot tub, waterfall and a gentle stream that flows into the pond.

Here’s what Cheri, one of the two daughters of founders Barbara and Bill Brewer, says about HF.  Harmony Farm is a place of “Being”, a place to step outside the “doing” of life and connect to your own inner wisdom, connect to the Divine within. 

While I like to think that I can “connect to the Divine within” any time I need to through meditation….or maybe a really good glass of wine, sometimes it takes getting away from the business of life.  I hope that you can find a place like Harmony Farms near you.

Muffin Memories

Silvia has a new favorite food.  They’re muffins, but she calls them Oafies.  I made her a batch of banana, flax muffins a month or two ago and they were gone in a matter of days. So, just about a week ago, we got to work on another batch.

This time she helped!  She banged around the measuring spoons and stacked the muffin cups while I mashed and mixed.  Into the batter went flax seed, oats, apple sauce, vanilla, cinnamon, flour and other good, healthy stuff.  For flour, I used a gluten free baking mix because I don’t like to rely too heavily on wheat and I think it’s good variety.

The result was a hit!

She couldn’t stop stuffing the things in her mouth!  I made about a half-dozen of “adult-sized” muffins and then 24 mini, Silvia-sized muffins.

If you’re looking for the recipe, it’s one that I found in a book called Great Expectations: Best Food for Your Baby & Toddler.  They have a lot of fantastic recipes in there for baby and toddler friendly foods.  Many that, like the muffins, make Silvia a happy, happy girl!

Watermelon Moments

Watermelon Moment (noun)  \ˈwȯ-tər-me-lən mō-mənt\

A brief period of time that is uncharacteristically delightful

Silvia digging in!

About a week ago, I found Silvia and I in what I will from here until eternity call a “watermelon moment.”  I had just finished chopping another big watermelon (we go through them weekly here) and had a bowl of the ripe, juicy fruit sitting out.  I popped Silvia up onto the counter so I could put her shoes on (I know, up on the counter is not a smart safety move with a wiggly toddler….just don’t tell her dad, Mister Safety) and she made herself right at home with that bowl of watermelon.

No sooner would she grab one big chunk than she’d take a bite and set it aside and dig in for another.  This went on for minutes amidst much “mmmmmm”ing and exclamations of “numm, numm!”  So at home was she with that big bowl of watermelon, it was as if the whole world was a bowl of melon just for her.  What could I do but grab my iPhone and snap a few pictures?!

A watermelon face-stuffer.....just like her mama!

Some day she’ll be too big to plop up on the counter top.  And some day even sooner, much to our dismay, watermelon will be out of season and we won’t be able to enjoy our favorite food on a daily basis.

Did I mention, by the way, just how much watermelon we eat around here?!  I had to stop myself from eating a whole one, by myself, every day while I was pregnant…. better that than milk shakes, I figure.  And Silvia would come close to that if I would let her.  Soooooo, I’ve decided it’s only fitting that she dress up as a big, ripe watermelon for halloween.  Just ordered the costume.  Stay tuned for those photos!

An Unfortunate Result of all of this Sitting

Back when my life was glamorous and I would jet-set from my home in Indy to NYC or LA and everywhere in between, I enjoyed a certain perk that comes with all of that traveling: the high-rollin’, frequent flyer, shiny medallion status.

Today, as a result of my year of sitting, I learned that I’ve lost my hard-earned status on my favorite airline. Gone are the days of complimentary upgrades to first class, red carpet service, priority boarding, and winning smiles from the gate agents. For now, I am just like all of the other travelers. I’ll board when they call for us, and I’ll shove myself into whatever seat I was given when the ticket was purchased.

But, there are upsides! At least we don’t carry the road weary look of the platinum status flyers who spend more time in 1A and sipping weak cocktails in airport lounges than they care to admit. No, when we fly it’s a less-than-every-other-day thing, much less, and we do so with style, grace, and maybe even a little bit of patience. We do, right?!

And, of course, there’s an even bigger, greater, more rewarding upside. The less time spent in 1A, means more time at home. For me that means more watermelon moments, and stroller rides, and hours at a time practicing our animal sounds as we flip through the pages of “Brown Bear Brown Bear”.

When it comes to that medallion status, you can keep it. My badge of honor says Mom on it and it’s shinier and way more gratifying than a complimentary glass of wine upon boarding.

Sit out the sick

This week I sat through my first sick kid.
Silvia came down with a fever of 102 Monday evening that persisted through most of the night. By morning it was gone only to rear it’s ugly head once more on Tuesday and again today, on Wednesday.
I took all necessary courses of action: cuddling, singing softly, lots of liquids, chicken noodle soup, blueberries and watermelon (her favorite foods), doctor consultation, finally a little ibuprofen to dull the ache in her head, and more cuddling, books and soft singing.
Last night was a rough one for me as I rocked my sick baby for the first time, aware that she wasn’t feeling like her normal, fantastic self. And this afternoon was more of the same as she fought sleep, opting instead to snuggle on my lap.
In the end, though, I know that it’s just a temporary thing and she’ll be fine. And it has made me once again so grateful that I’m the one at home with her, putting a cool cloth to her forehead, getting her more water, and singing “Baby Mine” for the 15th time in a day. It’s times like these that I love my job: to sit and be mom.

Maybe the biggest SIT of all

Today Silvia and I officially finished nursing.  I’ll start off by saying that I know there are some, particularly in the most natural circles, who will say I should have gone another year.  But I had my reasons for stopping now as apposed to later.  And, regardless, there is always someone who will tell you you shoulda, coulda,….and you have to feel good about what you’ve successfully done.  I feel great about having breastfed Silvia for over a year.  She was exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months of her life, at which point I introduced organic cereals, fruits, vegetables and eventually other foods.  And over the course of the next 6 months the breast milk she was still getting became less and less important as she started to get nutrients from many other foods.   And this morning, as I watched her nibble on her whole grain toast spread with organic cream cheese and pomegranite jelly, and sip on her grass fed cow’s milk, I know she’s well on her way to eating a varied, balanced, healthy diet.

But this isn’t about the food that she’s eating, it’s about how the greatest SIT of all happens when you start nursing.

A 3 day old, and frequent nurser, Silvia

Nursing seriously might be the hardest part (think back to the pain, the cracked and bleeding nips, the latching issues, the constant worry that he/she isn’t getting enough) of new motherhood.  Of course, it is also the greatest joy, greatest bond, and one of the most rewarding parts of being a new mom.  [Those joys and the bond can obviously be replaced by others when nursing isn’t possible….I’m passing no judgement here.]

But, because this is about the SIT, afterall, here it is: nursing is the cause of the greatest slowdown of all.  When a baby is little, even up to 6 or 8 months, you can lay themdown on a blanket or bouncy seat and get stuff done!  As long as her belly is full and her diaper is empty, a tiny baby will happily sleep or sit her way through loads of laundry, showers, dishes, phone calls, emails, and even a few minutes of shut-eye.  But when it’s time to nurse, all of that must come to a stop.  Sure, you could still find a way to talk on the phone, check emails, and do a number of other chores, and at first I fell victim to the multi-tasking gods who said I could still get stuff done while my new baby suckled her day’s nourishments from my breast.  Until one day I realized that these were precious minutes.  I didn’t want to waste them, distracted by checking emails on my iphone, googling the endless stream of questions filling my brain, or anything else.  I wanted to fully engage in and experience the wonder of this new life growing and changing before my very eyes.  So, before long, I started to simply sit while I nursed.  Not talk, not watch, not surf, just sit.  And in the beginning that meant upwards of 10 hours a day!  As the months goes on, the hours spent sitting and nursing decrease but the preciousness of it grows greater.  As I nursed Silvia over the past month or two I would stare down at her 1 year old face, so grateful for the gift we had experienced and the bond created as a result.  And I found myself grateful, too, for the ability to slowdown that I learned as a result.  I think that for the rest of her life and mine I will be able to witness more fully the moments in life because I learned to slow down and simply sit.

SIT HAPPENS while she experiences air, land and sea

Air – It takes a lot of air coming in to produce the constant string of “words” she spouts out! All day long we narrate what is going on around, “Can you see the leaves?”, “Look at the flowers!”, “More peas?”, “Let’s read it again.”  And so on and so forth.  So it’s no surprise that she has started to narrate too….telling us about her toes, her belly button, her water, her hat, and more.  You might not be able to understand her, but I promise you that I can. It’s one of the greatest gifts given to a Mom…the ability to understand the words when no one else can.

Quick snack before the pool

Land – She mastered the art of standing this week; letting go and feeling her toes yoga-planted firmly into the ground.  Her little legs working hard to hold up the weight of her unbalanced body.  A few steps were taken but I wouldn’t call her a walker yet.

Sea – Ok, so it was more like a pool and this wasn’t her first week in there but it was her first time going all the way under.  It was an accident but we survived.  As she reached for a pool toy her little floatie tipped on over and over she went.  It was less than a second and up I swooped her, she gave a quick cough and was back in the action.  How resilient they are!

How this SIT first happened

Last Wednesday was the one year anniversary of my sitting.  Why?  Silvia turned 1.

For 365 days I’ve sat while Silvia nursed, while she read books, while she learned to eat solids, while she poured imaginary tea in my cup, while she bathed and while she nursed some more.  All the while, I sat.  I didn’t attend meetings in fancy board rooms.  I didn’t recite scripts in front of TV cameras.  I didn’t even meet friends or colleagues for coffee or lunch.  I sat, in my PJs, my yoga pants (whether I made it to yoga that day or not), my cotton dresses and stretchy skirts, my jeans and turtle neck sweaters, and, on occasion, in real grown up clothes as I anticipated a few hours away once she was finally tucked in for the night.

For 525,000 minutes, I sat.   In the process of sitting, though, my mind woke up and my heart took a walk down a road I never imagined existed.

Now I’m starting year two of all of this sitting.  Won’t it be interesting to see what unfolds this time?!