Category Archives: Motherhood

Staying Up

In the evening, after Edward has gone to work and we’ve finished eating dinner, I kill time until Blaise goes to bed. Sometimes we play, or clean up, or mill around outside, but I’m always counting down the minutes until he’s asleep. I feel bad saying it, but by the end of the day I am ready for him to be down for the count until morning (let’s pretend he doesn’t wake 3x a night). In those few hours before bed I waver back and forth between deciding to stay up after B sleeps or to zonk out myself. Usually the temptation to stay up in some form is irresistible and I find myself scrolling Facebook on my phone, cautiously reading a book in the dim light, washing dishes, or doing stuff on the computer.

This first year of being a mom has been horrible and wonderful. The toughest part has been having almost zero time to myself! I never realized how much I cherished doing whatever I wanted until I had to care for a tiny drunk fat man 24/7. So usually at night I am putting some pennies into the “me time” piggy bank… only to have the pig smashed in the morning when I’m exhausted as all hell because I stayed up too late. It seems like I will never learn.

A Breastfeeding Poem

A quiet moment on a quiet day

Chubby toddler in my lap

Nestling squirming pinching fidgeting fondling

My soft nipple in his mouth

He feels my breast, my neck, my ear, my teeth and again

Warm breath beating heart tickling hair suckling tongue

Swallowing sweet “milkies”

Affirming me with each moment at the breast: I love you

I love you, little one

A pinching finger invades my shirt

He wants the other one now.

One

Last week, on July 4th, my son Blaise turned one year old.

16

I wanted to write a post about his birthday because it was such a momentous occasion. One year on this planet, 365 days shared with this tiny bright soul… but there’s so much that can’t be put into words about being a parent.

6

If you’re a parent and you’re reading this, you know what I mean. Having children is such a humbling, awe-some, terrifying, heartbreaking, beautiful experience. Being Blaise’s mom has ruined my life in the best way possible.

3

Our hearts are full. And that’s all I can really say.

We had a small party with our close family and friends. It was fun, and focused on celebrating Blaise, as it should be. I made a banana cake in honor of his favorite food. Everyone loved it, and I thought I’d share the recipe here.

cake

Blaise’s 1st Birthday Cake

Makes 2 6-inch cake rounds

Based on Ina Garten’s recipe for Old-Fashioned Banana Cake

Cake Ingredients:

3 very ripe bananas, mashed

3/4 cup organic cane sugar

1/2 cup coconut sugar

1/2 cup avocado oil

2 tablespoons gelatin + 7 tablespoons water

1/2 cup thick coconut yogurt

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 cups Otto’s Cassava Flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

“Cream Cheese” Frosting Ingredients:

1 cup palm shortening, soft

1 cup powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 + 1 tbsp thick coconut yogurt

*sliced bananas, toasted large flake coconut and candied violets, for decoration

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 6-inch cake pans and set aside.

2. With a hand mixer, cream together the bananas, coconut sugar and cane sugar on low speed.

3. Mix the gelatin with the water and wait 10 seconds, then pour quickly into banana-sugar mixture and blend on low speed until combined. Add in oil, yogurt, and vanilla and combine.

4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. With the mixer running on low, slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and incorporate them until smooth.

5. Tip the batter into the two cake pans. It should be thicker than pancake batter but not too stiff. Smooth out the top with a wet spatula.

6. Bake for 50 minutes, or until it passes the toothpick test. Let the cakes cool before frosting.

**To make the frosting, beat together all the ingredients on medium speed in a small bowl. Frost immediately. If you need to make it ahead of time, make sure to take the frosting out 30 minutes before frosting the cake. Re-whip the mixture if necessary to aid in the fluffy texture.

Moon Time

I recently finished a book about the feminine connection to the lunar cycle and how it manifests in daily life. Need I say it was very interesting? Looking past some of the occult themes in the book, the author provided a vivid link between the moon, the female hormonal cycle, and the energetic transformation of our feminine selves throughout.
In a womans body which is aligned with the lunar cycle, the new moon corresponds to the first day of bleeding; this is a time of inner darkness, sadness, withdrawal anf renewal.The full moon corresponds to ovulation, and brings vitality, creativity, fertility, and sexual energy. Within this cycle, the waxing of the moon is tied to an increase in energy, and the waning of the moon – a decrease in energy. Essentially, it is completely normal and even necessary for a woman to be “on” for two weeks and “off” for another two weeks.
As I read this book I was struck (not for the first time) by our culture’s dominating masculine structure. We are expected to be “on” constantly: at home, in our relationships, on social media, at work, even in our personal health and mentality. I could enumerate countless examples of our culture’s exhausting demands on our energy… such as the postpartum period, or lack thereof. (Pardon me while I mount my soapbox here) For almost the entirety of human history, families have lived together with several generations in one home. Work, play, cooking, eating, and childrearing were all shared responsibilities. Only within the last hundred years have families separated into discrete “nuclear” units which have truly created literal and psychological isolation, destroying our sense of community, family, and mutual responsibility. It is every man (or woman) for themselves. Traditional cultures celebrated the primal human fluctuations with ritual and ceremony, always fleshed out by the strong community bonds. During her “moon time,” a woman would retreat to a moon lodge, red tent, or other sacred space to be in the company of her fellow women while she bled, rested, and allowed for the cyclical spiritual transformation to be completed.

Since I don’t have time, community, or space to do my own retreat like traditional women, I am actively becoming more cognizant of the moon phases and how I feel throughout the month. I’m still not cycling (yay ecological breastfeeding) but there are definitely hormonal changes that influence my mood, energy level, and creativity. Also, giving myself permission to be tired, quiet, home-bound and sad when my body is meant to be. One of my not-so-good qualities is having really high (read: imppssible) standards for myself, and for the past few years I’ve been anxious about my waning energy sometimes… Why am I so tired? Is it my thyroid? Am I eating something bad? It must be my thyroid… And so on. Upon examining my energy levels and the lunar phase, I have often found that, indeed, my tiredness with life frequently coincides with the new moon.

Life is so much easier when we embrace things for the way they are meant to be, isn’t it? Ourselves, the people around us, the natural cycle of life. When we fight it is when things get sticky.

I created a “moon tea” to drink when I’m feeling low on energy, nutrients, and general support. Here is the recipe:

MOON TEA

1/4 cup dried chamomile flowers

1/4 cup dried nettle leaves

1/4 cup red raspberry leaf

1 tablespoon holy basil leaf

8 cups of water

For best results, drink while relaxing and looking at, really feeling the moon. 🙂

Until next time,

Emily