Sunday, March 31, 2013

Feeding a Growing Baby

My sister recently graduated with her degree in dietetics, and through her, I have been learning a lot about diet and the most nourishing foods for a growing baby.  For the most part, I follow the Weston A. Price Foundation diet for babies in choosing foods for Evie.  It emphasizes traditional foods, and using locally grown and organic fruits, vegetables, and animal products (eggs, meat).  It also places an emphasis on the health benefits of full-fat foods in moderation.  I think this is especially important for babies. Babies need a lot of fat in their diets for that developing brain!  I think it's been good for our family, so far. Evie eats any and everything, from Indian food to wilted spinach to sauteed mushrooms!

Kemi got a juicer recently, and has been trying lots of different juice recipes. Recently, we offered Evie some apple-carrot juice in her sippy cup and she downed it! For those of you mamas with little ones, try it! I bet your kiddos will love it! I've even found that if I make a smoothie, I'll often put two handfuls of spinach in it and Evie loves to eat that too! I'll often feed it to her with a spoon to avoid the mess. Sneaky way to get in a vegetable!

 Evie eats egg yolks almost every morning

Apple-Carrot Juice!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Be Still My Heart!

Some of you might know Evie is not much of a cuddler. It has actually become a joke in our house, how much I long for her to cuddle me. If she rests her head on my shoulder for a split second I'm yelling to Kemi "Look! She's cuddling me!" And then it's over. It never lasts longer than a second, and really only even then does she rest her head on me if she's tired or sick.  Don't get me wrong, Evie wants me to hold her every second of every day, just not touch her. Yeah, figure that one out. Anyway, this morning, an amazing thing happened.  I heard her crying in her crib and went in to get her. She smiled so big when she saw me, basically jumped into my arms, buried her head in my chest and rested her hands on my neck. She might as well have been hugging me. She might as well have said she loved me. My heart could have burst out of my chest. And of course Kemi wasn't there to witness it, but it happened, people! It really happened. I wish time could have stood still.  It was so good for my mama heart. The best three minutes EVER. An hour later, she pushed my hand away when I tried to touch her hair and screamed when I tried to kiss her, but who cares. MY BABY HUGGED ME!

The days of Evie spending hours sleeping on my shoulder are over :(

Sunday, March 24, 2013

A Weekend in Pictures

Evie and I were on our own again this weekend, as Kemi was out of town.  Funny story....A few women whose husbands are also musicians started a Facebook group where we could all contribute about being "band widows." One of the women started a post entitled "You know your husband's in a band when..." One of the ladies commented that, on any given day, you don't know whether your husband is in the country or not.  It's so true! This past week, my mom asked me where Kemi was, and I honestly had absolutely no idea. I had talked to him an hour before, but I just didn't know where in the country he was! It can change daily, so sometimes I just lose track! Anyway, this was another one of those weekends.  Evie kept me busy...

Sharing some chocolate chip banana bread

Fine dining

One of Evie's first times wearing shoes! 

Her favorite thing right now is playing in our bed


We went in to the school so I could try to get a few things done. Evie was pretty happy to have some new toys to keep her busy!

Not much work happened with this girl climbing onto my desk. Anything with lights and buttons is her JAM right now.

Hope you all had a great weekend!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Just me and E

This weekend, Evie and I were on our own. Kemi had to go back on the road, so it was just us two ladies.  Honestly, Kemi's been home quite a bit lately, and it's been really nice. When he's traveling a lot, I forget what it's like to have two adults in the same house. It's always a welcome relief once he's, Oh yeah! THIS is how it's supposed to be! Otherwise you go two days with dried applesauce in your hair! Yes!

Needless to say, it was a little bit hairy.

 We (sorta) blow kisses

 We put eggs in our hair

 We take walks with our baby


 Walked to the park with Sophia with a LOT of toys in the stroller

 Played peek-a-boo

 No weekend is complete without throwing food on the floor

Mean Mug

Friday, March 15, 2013

I Take it Back

I take back what I said about not being angry. I'm a little angry.  What I have found difficult since Celeste went to Heaven is reconciling within myself what I know as a Christian, and what I feel in my humanity.  Today, in my humanity, I feel some crappy things. I want answers. I want to know why, my body, what I am meant to do as a woman, didn't do what it was supposed to do.  And in looking for answers (remember, in my human-ness?) I go to Google. I know I shouldn't. I know it's a slippery slope, but down the rabbit hole I go. I want to know everything about "preterm labor." "Incompetent cervix." "22 week birth." I want to read everything. I have to know. And what I read makes me angry. The risks for preterm labor: Mothers who smoke during pregancy. No. Lack of access to prenatal healthcare.  Well, that wasn't me. Advanced maternal age. Nope. And I get angry. Because there isn't a clear reason. And then I'm angry at my anger. Angry at my human-ness. Angry at my lack of understanding and lack of faith and lack of trust in these darkest of moments.  I just miss her. I miss her. I miss her so much.  But, through it all, through all the supremely sucky feelings, I'm thankful that God loves me enough to break me down this way and show me how little I am.  What my Heavenly Father knows about me and my heart is there is a stubborn child in there. And that stubbornness doesn't allow me to change or grow in Him unless I am broken down, stripped away, and smushed like clay. Only then can He work in me and form me, building me into something that looks a little less like the stubborn child, and a little more like Him.  What a lent.  So it's for this reason that I'm thankful for the opportunity to face off with my humanity.  It is one of the many reminders I've had since Celeste went to Heaven of my own simpleness. So I will praise Him in all things, even praising Him for the parts of me, the feelings I am embarrassed by, that show me my meekness and His greatness.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts.

The Juggling Act

Have any of you been following the hot online debate regarding working moms? The main dialogue has been in between Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, and Anne-Marie Slaughter, formerly the Director of Policy Planning for the state department.  As a working mom, the topic of the work/life balance is always of interest to me.  I'm always looking for a smarter/better/more efficient way to keep all the balls in the air!  If you haven't been up on the debates, you can catch up here and here.  Boy, are there some strong feelings on both sides of the fence!  A lot of bloggers have recently written about the work/life balance, and I thought I'd throw in my two cents.  I originally wrote a bit on the topic here.

I have been educating children with autism for the past ten years.  Long before marriage or children.  In 2009, I opened St. Dominic Savio Academy, a non-profit day school for children with autism.  Kemi and I got engaged the summer before the school opened (talk about a busy year!), so I knew going into it that I would be married, and God willing, be a mother.  I have always felt that marriage and family were my primary vocations and callings. And yet, I also feel deeply called to the work that I do with children, and find it very fulfilling. It was my intent in opening SDSA to first and foremost, create for the community a center for education that would respect the dignity of children with autism.  It was also my intent to create an atmosphere for our staff that would be uplifting, affirming, and challenging.  It is the opinion of Anne-Marie Slaughter that a woman cannot "have it all" unless she is self-employed, makes her own schedule, or comes from a privileged background.  Well, I don't come from a wealthy family by any means, but I think that, for our situation, the only way we can really make it work is because I have the great blessing to be my own boss. With leading a school, I don't have complete flexibility in my schedule, but I am so thankful to have a career in which I can make solutions as my family grows and changes, rather than being met with resistance from an employer.

One thing I took from reading Joanna's recent blog post was all the sacrifices working moms make. Can we really have it all? I don't know. Maybe not. There's only so many hours in the day.  Sacrifices have to be made. After Evie goes to bed at 7:30, for example, most nights involve me hitting my laptop with a glass of wine and working for the next few hours.  I also wake up every morning to a 5:30 alarm. I'd rather get in an extra hour of work in the early morning while Kemi and Evie are still sleeping, than miss an hour in the evening when I could be home with them.  And is it hard to get text invitations from stay-at-home mom friends to meet at the mall play area on a weekday while I'm at work? Yes, it's hard. I recently had a two week (yes, two week) depressive stint after being invited to a mommy and me baby music class. I mean, honestly. What? Evangeline is eleven months old! What's the difference if we shake, rattle, and roll to Off the Wall in the living room? But, I convinced myself that there WAS a difference, and Evie was going to be worse off for missing baby music class.  But, when I get down to it, I know my reasons for choosing this path, and I know I'm a better mom for it. It's what's best for me and my family, even when it's hard. I think all of us moms could stand to offer a little more understanding to one another. Every mom I know, working, stay-at-home, or somewhere in between, is juggling a lot.  We really need to support each other.  Being a mama is tough enough on it's own!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

One month...

It's been one month now since we lost our baby girl.  I can't thank you all enough for your comments and prayers. It has really helped me in this process to know I'm not the first mom to feel this way, and to be reassured of so many prayers going up for our family.

The hospital we delivered Celeste in offers an infant loss support group for parents once a month, so Kemi and I decided to go and try it out last week.  There were about 20 other people there. A few couples, some women alone, and three high school aged girls that had each lost a child.  My first thought when I walked in the room was "there's too many of us." The one thing that has struck me in my grieving process has been the unfair number of double standards. On one hand, it is a great comfort to know other mothers who have suffered the same loss you have. On the other hand, you want to believe that such a tragedy is so rare, there's just no probable way it could happen to you again. Likewise, sometimes it is difficult for me to retell Celeste's story again and again, to be asked questions, to have people say over and over that they're praying for you. A part of you misses normalcy. And yet, I don't want anyone to forget her or stop asking about us and her. She is real and she matters and I want her story to stay alive.

But back to the support group.  The night was focused on the topic of anger.  As we sat down and the moderator told us she wanted to talk about anger, the couples around us nodded, some even smiled a bit in acknowledgement. As we began, almost as an afterthought, she asked if anyone present had not yet experienced feelings of anger. Kemi and I were the only two.  The other couples around us laughed as they promised "you will!"  It was a little disconcerting. While I know there's nothing wrong with feelings of anger, it's just not something I've experienced yet, and don't know that I will. I think God has really blessed me in giving me an extra helping of grace lately. And while that's true, I still have lots of difficult moments. Times where I wonder if Celeste will forgive me for not going to the hospital sooner.  Thoughts that maybe I could have saved her if I had.  Worries about how my grief will affect Evie as she grows up.  I know in the moments my mind goes to these thoughts that it is my pride, it is a lack of faith in thinking I could have changed things. I don't dwell, because I know I have to be gentle with myself right now, but I do often feel like I'm battling my "human side" against my "faithful side." The thoughts slip in, like thinking I could have saved Celeste if I had done something differently, but as quickly as they slip in and I hear them, I realize the pride and the lack of faith that they betray. If God had wanted Celeste to survive, she would have. It doesn't mean I understand it, or it's easy for me to accept, but I know God's plans for me, Kemi, and Evie are good, and he loves us. In fact, in my hardest times, it comforts me to realize that the way my heart aches for Celeste is the way my heavenly father's heart aches for me. He wants me the way I want Celeste.  He wants us. He wants us with Him like I want my baby girl in my arms.  Pray for us, sweet Celeste. Your mama misses you everyday.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Getting Back To It

I thought it would be nice to get back to a regular post by sharing some of the things I've been liking around the interwebs.  Also, here's some fun pictures of Evie being Evie. We did a little photo shoot at the park near our house, and it was pretty fun! Those little shorts she's wearing just kill me.

This has been my go-to dessert lately. And they don't make me toooo guilty!
I would love to paint our bedroom dresser to look like this one!
I think I'll get this little cutie for our little cutie's FIRST Easter basket
I just ordered these new spectacles and am loving them.
Waiting for this skirt to go on sale. I think I'd wear it all summer long.
This little toy is ridiculously overpriced, but I can't help thinking it's so cute for Evie.
Had this on the stove for 24 hours this week as part of our new diet.
I actually wished I lived somewhere rainy when I saw these beauties.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

What Evie's Been Up To

A few pictures of the happenings of Evangeline. Because she's quite a happenin' little almost-one-year-old.

 Talking on her banana phone. She now picks up anything, holds it to her ear, and says "haba?" 

 Chilling with her bottle

Playing hard. We call this her laboratory. She is like a little DJ with this music table.

I think my favorite thing about this age is seeing her personality shine through. The way she throws both arms in the air and shakes her round little belly whenever she hears a song she likes. The way she hides her face in the couch in anticipation, waiting for Kemi or I to growl and scoop her up, "eating" her tummy.  How she says "bye" and "hi" to everyone she meets. The way she stops, turns around and claps every time she hears applause on TV.  Being her parents has brought more joy to our lives than we could have ever imagined.