Ode to family

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The first month of Leo’s life has been full of joy, love, and amazement; but also rife with challenges. There have been successes, and there have been failures. A prelude to what parenting will likely be.

Having my mother and sister here has been a wonderful gift.

My mother arrived shortly after Leo was born. She promptly began cleaning – our floors, our bathrooms, our laundry – cooking, changing diapers. She even got up with me to keep me company during late night feeding sessions. She helped get us through a broken kitchen faucet, a broken refrigerator and a new momma with a fever to 103 for three days. All within Leo’s first 2 weeks of being home. Plumbers coming in and out of our house, breastfeeding with shaking chills, and sleep deprivation were a lot easier to handle with my own mother here. And as usual, she asked for nothing in return – albeit a few Coca-Colas and chocolate. Which we were happy to buy: in bulk.Grandma

When my sister came, thankfully there were no major new house disasters, and I was no longer sick. Jax arrived with the recent knowledge and experience of being a new mom. Her help around our house and her gentle reassurance were amazing. Taking a line right out of our mother’s book, she also cooked, cleaned and helped with 3am feeding sessions.

These ladies even gifted me a massage and Aunt Jacquie babysat Leo for an hour so this new momma could relax.

Dropping them off at the airport was difficult for me. I didn’t want to see either of them leave. But I also felt a little stronger, and a little more confident than before they had arrived. They both injected new life into me. My life, and Leo’s life, is so much richer for having these two strong women in it.

Aunt Jacquie

Filling my days with…

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With maternity leave officially a week in, and no baby, I’ve been more productive than I can remember in a long time. I cannot sit still. I guess this is partially what they call “nesting?”

Things I have done in the last week:

1. Cooking and baking like a champion… So I’ve made this – very good, super easy, but extremely cheesy and rich – beware! And these – which appear in photos as if I’ve created some very fancy holiday candies – but really are the easiest thing I’ve made so far, and if you look, I seem to state that everything I’ve made recently is easy (at 39 weeks pregnant, I’m sticking to straightforward recipes lately).

Mint oreo cookie candies

And OMG – these mushrooms – which are life changing. Jake wants them all the time now. So delicious and, you guessed it, super easy as well. Now yesterday I decided I needed to try to make rice pudding – which is a relatively newfound love for me. I can’t say I had ever tried/eaten rice pudding before maybe a year or so ago, because, let’s face it, the name itself is pretty unappealing. My brain conjures up an image of porridge – some mucky, sticky stew based desert that has a starchy grain as its main ingredient. But damn, I was missing out. I love me some rice pudding now. Especially the vanilla coconut one I made!!!! Thank you Molly Wizenberg of Orangette and Delancey fame! I got the recipe straight from her very entertaining book which I finished yesterday as well. Also from Ms Wizenberg’s book is a pork shoulder percolating in the fridge – to be slow roasted later today – it bathed overnight in a sweet-hot thyme/garlic infused rub. We will see how that turns out tonight.

And lastly, these cookies – which, in all fairness, I made like 2 weeks ago right before Thanksgiving, but I had to share because if you love pumpkin and soft cookies and chocolate (who doesn’t) then you must make these. They are the SOFTEST cookies I’ve ever made. I guess due to the oil rather than butter in the recipe. I’m learning things over here!

2. Cleaning… Oh my gosh, my house is spotless. I guess it’s good to start out that way before kids come and it’ll all go to hell.

3. Online shopping… In my defense, only for Christmas presents for others. Ok, so maybe a purchase or two for me, but mostly for others!!! Amazon Prime will be the death of me. How did I ever get by without this highly enabling, highly dangerous membership?!

4. Christmas decorating… The moment we told my parents we were house hunting last year, long before we even closed or moved in to our humble abode that I love so much, they had already started packing up all of my old things which were still taking up space in their basement. This included many things I had long since forgotten about (high school yearbooks, random souvenirs I bought abroad in college, old CDs), but also, it included the set of Christmas ornaments my grandmother has been giving me every year since I was born. I’ve amassed quite a collection in my 33 years. Along with the ornaments came a nativity set that I have vivid memories of incessantly re-arrainging in our old house in Bath, New York. I was (ok; am) a bit obsessive about organizing/arranging things. My parents used to have to punish me for changing my room around because they would come home to find my bed on the opposite wall; and I was an 80lbs, 12 year old girl. “You’ll give yourself a hernia,” they said. What a weirdo I was. So I was also obsessive about this nativity set. My brother (or sister, let’s face it, who knows) would move 1 of the pieces and the moment I noticed, I would have to move everything around again. So now that I’m the co-boss in this house, I can put anything wherever I like.

Christmas tree

 5. Labor inducing walks around the neighborhood… No further description necessary. Except that, it hasn’t worked yet. But I’ve gotten to capture some beautiful unfiltered/unedited sky colors on my iPhone. Labor inducing walks around the neighborhood

Ok, so I think it’s time for this baby to make an appearance before a) I gain 20lbs from all this food I’m making, b) I spend all of my money on more and more christmas presents, and c) my house becomes a gaudy christmas fiasco mess.

Dear baby F:

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37weeksWith 3 weeks to go (ideally, please don’t be too late…or too early…) there are a mix of emotions. There is excitement, fear, love, nervousness, anxiety, happiness.

This pregnancy has been pretty chill, my sweet pea. You kick, and roll around, and hiccup. A lot. But otherwise, you haven’t made me sick at all. I somehow got so very lucky to have none of the terrible morning sickness or pains that plagues women during pregnancy. Thankfully (and maybe because you know how important food is to me), I also had no food aversions. At all! In fact, I – and therefore, you – have eaten the same things as I did pre-pregnancy. The exact, same things. Just in slightly smaller amounts – which, was one of the perks of pregnancy that I did not expect. Because you literally take up all of my belly, there is not as much room in there for food. You are amazing baby! It’s like a secret pregnancy diet no one told me about.  So while I won’t have any fun cravings to tell you about, you can rest assured that you have been exposed to some amazing, fantastic food in utero that you will get to enjoy in a few years. Just wait until you taste what the world has to offer!

Another pregnancy perk unbeknownst to me before April of this year, is that people become so much more warm, loving, giving and helpful. Baby F, the bump you have created has caused quite a stir; strangers open doors, they offer to bring in my trash cans from the road, they let me in front of them in line at the grocery store on an insanely busy Sunday evening, they smile, they offer me their chairs. I have found the answer to world peace: give every woman a baby bump. It makes people so wonderful! At work, I’ve had patients stop mid-sentence when telling me about their excruciating pain, when they notice you in my belly, and they smile. You make so many people happy already, it is incredible.

Seeing your face in profile today, and your heart beating, and your little feet squished next to my left ovary today on our last ultrasound has made me burst with happiness. I don’t know if it’s this magic 37 week mark, the fact that you are full term now, the hormones, or if it’s the cooler, holiday season air that I love, but today, I just became so much more excited to meet you. Please emerge healthy, with good apgar scores and hopefully, with very little drama. I’m counting on you. I’ll do my part too.

See you soon little one.

mom&dad

Filling my days with…

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Reading… The Dinner – psychological thriller – yes please! I was reading The Emperor of All Maladies – but needed a break with something lighthearted and fun. I’ll go back to Maladies eventually; it’s an interesting look at the history of cancer. But sometimes you just need some mindless fiction. Also starting to peruse Bringing Up Bebe and trying to understand if the French really do know how to do it. I want this kiddo to be a little adult – eating what we eat, behaving in public. Apparently, French kids do this already… Can’t say I knew that before, because let’s face it, you (I) don’t really pay attention to how people raise their kids before you have them yourself. I was never super interested in others parenting styles. At the least, Bebe seems to be an easy, funny, entertaining read so far. Much better than the dry “what to expect” and “your baby’s first year” type of books that are still sitting on our counter.  Do we really need to read these?! I feel like we will figure it out… Probably famous last words.

Feeling… This baby kick! What a crazy, surreal feeling. And seriously, how does something the size of an eggplant have that much strength?! To imagine it only getting bigger and stronger inside my belly is exciting and ominous at the same time. It always seems to want to move around when I want to close my eyes. Also feeling slightly more energetic. While I’ve managed to avoid the nausea, vomiting, and other GI ailments of pregnancy, the fatigue has intermittently hit me hard. It was mostly in the first trimester, but this past week was tough as well. How do pregnant women with children already at home do it?! I could not get off my couch and out of my bed last week…

Watching… The off beat, darkish new tv show You’re The Worst on FX. Have you seen it? It’s hilarious in a very wrong way. Also anxiously awaiting the return of Homeland – not until October – ahhhhhh.

Eating… Everything. Except alcohol and sushi and deli meat. Yes, still drinking (limited) caffeine and eating soft (pasteurized) cheese, and poached eggs. Did a bit of research with the help of some obgyn friends – turns out, there’s not a ton of data/medical literature backing all of these things up that you aren’t supposed to eat. So I’m doing everything in moderation. Otherwise, I haven’t had any weird cravings, and I seem to just eat the same way I was eating pre-preggers. I was really hoping I’d have a strange food fetish. Nope. I still want cheese, milk, pizza and chocolate gelato. Yeah, I’m super healthy… Although I have been forcing myself to eat more fruit – almost 1 serving daily! Massive improvement for me.

Celebrating…And Studying… 1 full year of being post-residency work. Can’t believe I’ve been an attending physician for over 365 days. I’m a little less terrified driving to work everyday, and feel a ton more secure in my practice. But there are still difficult days. And hopefully in a little more than a month, I’ll be fully board certified. One. More. Test. (It never ends)! Oral boards late September, then (as long as I pass) I’m done test-taking for 10 years!

Reminiscing… About our fun trip to Nashville a few months ago. I was going through old photos on my camera and came across these. I can’t believe I haven’t posted photos since before April! We explored the little shops of Leipers Fork. Went to the eclectic hangout that is Pinewood Social ~ a bar, restaurant and bowling alley – with amazing non-alcoholic drinks!!! Went for a hike – Nashville is beautiful! And of course, played with our doggies – they became best buds.  We also ate like royalty, had the best ramen of my life, and went on a brewery tour (obviously). Missing our Nashville friends terribly.

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Day 100!

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Wow, it’s been 100 days since I’ve started my instagram 100 days journey.

A few things have happened since the start of my project.

1. I’ve realized confirmed that there is always one moment in each and every day that you can stop and enjoy. It can be as small as the look my dog gives me when I come home after a long day; the fresh peach I eat for a snack, the way the sunlight comes through the window and lights up the room; or the sight of my husband. Over the last 100 days, I have had (and will always have) some terrible ones, but finding the light in the madness is so important and uplifting. In this world where many live with very little, and where I have been blessed with plenty, it really is the moments each day that fill my heart with happiness.

2. I’ve managed to post a photo to instagram every day – no misses! There was a close call as I was posting at 11:30 PM one night recently and instagram would not load… but I got it to post just in time. It was a fun challenge to find an interesting, different moment each day, and have this goal of 100 to work towards. And while I really enjoyed finding and sharing (and capturing and editing) that moment every day, I’m not going to continue to post as much. I will, however, make sure to find my happy moment (or moments) on my own, every day. It’s become sort of a habit anyway.

3. We have purchased, and moved into, our first home! What started in February of this year as a full fledged house hunting mission ended with the perfect home for us. There were some ups and downs along the way. Three rejected offers, countless miles in our cars and fighting our way through packed open houses was a much tougher journey than we anticipated. There were definitely some fun moments, but house hunting (and purchasing) is a long, confusing, stressful process. I’m glad we’re done. This is the third (and hopefully last for a while) time that Jake and I have moved together. He does most of the packing; I do most of the unpacking. It works out perfect. 🙂 We love our home and Bear loves the backyard. It’s been about 2 weeks here and we are almost all settled in. Photos to come.

4. And in maybe the biggest news… Jake and I have decided to share our world with someone else. And while Bear has been our baby for almost 3 years, we decided we needed a human baby to tend to as well. So arriving mid-December 2014 will be baby Feldman! We are so excited to show this little one the world.

ETA 12/14