Motherhood

Jacket photo via Ingrid and Isabel

Some things about new motherhood surprised me. I was not prepared for those first shell shocked weeks, for the sense of suspended time, or how fragile I felt without my big belly anchoring me to solid ground. I somehow didn’t expect the hours of sifting through the Internet, a search history revolving around sleep habits, ounces of breast milk, and—guiltily—postpartum wardrobes.

Before the baby arrived, I loved him, in that hypothetical way that you love someone you have never met but whose kicks you count diligently each day. I wasn’t prepared for the warm, wet body they placed in my arms, for that primal connection: “Oh, it’s you”.  Before the birth, I wanted to beg my husband, “Even when the baby comes, still love me first”. But as soon as I knew him, that small face and bright eyes, I knew that we are nothing more than in his service, at least for this moment.  This is an unfathomable love.

Before the birth I thought this would be easier. I thought the baby would be a lovely plus one in our solid life. Now nothing is solid and a primal love overcomes any “me” who came before. I don’t always recognize myself, and it doesn’t bother me. I’m too busy running to keep up with my little boy, three months old and demanding every ounce of me, every drop of milk, every tender hug, every smile and song I can provide. I have never been this needed, this strung out, this elated, this delicate. I’ve never been this strong, this emotional, this unsure, this instinctual. Nothing I am or have seems to hold much value in the face of this little person entrusted to our care. I cannot remember ever being this fulfilled.

But I worry all the time. I worry how we will rediscover ourselves, how we’ll find balance in this whirling new world. Where do I find time for my marriage, my creativity, my silent thoughts, when all I can think of is the next gummy smile, the next weight milestone. When just keeping this baby thriving takes every ounce of my vitality. I sit awake after a 2am feeding, scrolling mindlessly through Instagram, trying to find in the quiet apartment a trace of what was before and what should be next.

I am surprised at my capacity for single minded, fierce love. I am surprised that I can keep up. I am afraid to fall behind, to miss a vital signal in my baby’s face, to lose myself irrevocably in this holy, ecstatic calling. I am suddenly everything but also nothing at all.

Somehow I get us out of the house. Somehow I wear makeup. Somehow my voice and touch bring a sweet smile to his tiny mouth. Sometime soon I’ll figure all of this out, or I won’t , but my days right now are too full and this child too precious to give it more than a passing thought.

Back Again: Denim Dresses

If you grew up in the 90s, you remember all the denim. Jean skirts, denim overalls, jumpers and vests. It was on TV, it was in your closet, and it was on your third grade teacher. And we loved every minute of it.

And now it’s back! From throwback styles to voluminous minimalist silhouettes, denim accessorizes beautifully. Here are some modest styles that layer like a dream. Keep scrolling for ideas for accessories, too !

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A, B, C

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A, B, C

striped top, nail cuff, textured scarf

oversized watch, ditsy print scarf, saddle bag

suede boots, leather sneakers, rose gold sneakers

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One Little Word: 2017

abundance

Ali Edwards trademarked the amazing “One Little Word” idea/movement about ten years back, and it has only gained traction with scrapbookers and other creative types since then. Ali says:

In 2006 I began a tradition of choosing one word for myself each January – a word to focus on, meditate on, and reflect upon as I go about my daily life. My words have included play, peace, vitality, nurture, story, light, up, open, thrive, give, and whole. These words have each become a part of my life in one way or another. They’ve been embedded into who I am and into who I’m becoming. They’ve been what I’ve needed most (and didn’t know I needed). They’ve helped me to breathe deeper, to see clearer, to navigate challenges, and to grow.

Have you every chosen one word as a way of setting your intentions for the year ahead? In the past I have chosen a phrase to focus on, a personal sacred reminder for myself. Last year, I discovered the image below. I was wrestling with decisions about change, consumed by fear and anxiety, and I found it so freeing to be given permission to not let fear stop me. So fear came along for the ride that year.

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For the past few months, my focus has been on a new word, one that is guiding me through my everyday life, my personal goals, and my preparation for the birth of my baby in February. “Abundance” embodies everything I am aspiring to this year. Here are a few of the ideas and affirmations that this word summons for me.

  • Abundance: I have more than enough. I am blessed with a life brimming with love, support and grace. I have a beautiful home and space to welcome others into my life. I am surrounded by things I value and lack for nothing.
  • Abundance: There is more than enough in this world for all of us. There are very few real urgencies. There are resources and time enough for everyone.
  • Abundance: My body holds so much more strength and power than I know. I have more than enough within me already for everything I want to do.
  • Abundance: We each have endless reserves of kindness within us. We can choose to express that kindness in the way we speak and how we give to our community. It is well within our power to put down bitterness and resentment and move forward lighter for it.

Have you chosen a one little word this year? Would you consider trying it?

Freebie time! Here are four downloadable digital wallpapers for you to use and share!

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Currently: December

Reading this fantastic article, “The Postpartum Shopaholic” about finding yourself (sometimes for the first time in a while) and wondering what that person should wear.

Tempted to make a set of these fleece ponchos for my three nieces. Ok, and maybe this one for me.

Can’t wait to bake my annual Chanukah cookies using this great recipe from the Spice and Spirit Cookbook.

Basic Cookie Dough
3 eggs
1 cup margarine
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
4 cups flour
2 cups icing sugar (confectioners sugar)
3 tsp. baking powder
Yields 7 to 8 dozen (if dough rolled thin, 4-6 dozen if kids are making them:)
Preheat Oven to 350 degrees.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large mixer bowl, beat eggs. Add margarine and vanilla. Add flour and baking powder and mix well.
Roll out dough on a floured board to 1/4″ thickness and cut into desired shapes. Place on cookie sheet.
Press sprinkles or colored food glitter onto cookies.
Bake 10 – 12 minutes or until slightly browned.
Remove from cookie sheet to cool.
(Recipe credits: Spice and Spirit The Complete Kosher Cookbook)

 

Imagining what it would be like to join this five day creative retreat in a French chateau.

Wondering if women-only gatherings are gaining speed. How many girl gang Whatsapp group chats are you a part of?

Watching previews of La LaLand! Are you as excited as I am?

Lounging in these.

Filling up my Fall/Winter Pinterest board with lots of great outfits for the season.

Donating to help those suffering in Syria. Reference this list of legitimate organizations. It’s a little late to be on the right side of history in this conflict, but it isn’t too late to make a difference to individuals affected.

Chanukah Gift Guide 7: For Crafty Friends

Hi, friends! We’re almost at the end of Chanukah Gift Guide 2016, but I couldn’t wrap it up without a few specialty gift guides for specific people on your list. Today we’re shopping for artsy, crafty, maker friends who love to make beautiful things with their hands. Hope you enjoy!

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  • Watercolor print supply pouch. Lately I’m loving the combination of natural linen and a fantastic cotton print. This handmade pouch will help any creative person organize the supplies they keep with them on the go, whether that’s a tiny embroidery hoop or micron pens and a Moleskine.
  • Iron Utility Scissors. A nice, weighty pair of scissors to sit on the desk, ready for whatever cutting needs present themselves.
  • Wood mini chest with ceramic drawers. Crafters and artsy people love little compartments. Perfect for needles, thread, fabric scraps, paper ephemera, buttons, or beads.
  • Le Creueset batter bowl. Maybe your artsy friend doesn’t paint or stitch- maybe they bake delicious treats for family and friends. This batter bowl with a handle and pouring spout will be useful for so many recipes, but is probably not something they would purchase for themselves. The signature Le Creueset design and glazing will give them a thrill every time they use it.
  • Daily planner notepad. Creative minds need to get their goals down on paper just like the rest of us. This planner pad offers 50 days of scaffolded goal setting, scheduling, and prioritizing for even the busiest day.
  • iLive Bluetooth speaker. This portable speaker can go wherever you go, offering great wireless sound quality at craft nights or just late nights in your own studio.
  • Cross stitch pincushion. This beautiful linen pincushion is almost too fancy to use, but who can resist its plump figure and gorgeous embroidery? Such a great gift with a little box of new pins or by itself.
  • Printable wall art. This instant download is designed to be printed at home or at your local copy shop for inexpensive and inspiring art that captures their passion.
  • Ceramic charms. Crafty types love supporting other makers, and these ceramic charms are made by hand with 18k gold accents in Birmingham, Alabama.

Chanukah Gift Guide 6: For the Guys

It can be hard to believe, but there is a perfect gift for every guy on your list. Think about what they love to do, and find a little something that will make it easier or more fun for them to do it. So often we give “aspirational” or motivational gifts, never realizing that those gifts imply that we want them to change or improve. Instead, try to find something they’ll find fascinating, engaging, or useful in the everyday reality they’re already living.

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  • Framed “Pinnacle” Photograph. Printed on high-quality watercolor paper and framed in black wood, this stunning art photo is great inspiration for someone with a little-known obsession with photography and travel.
  • Leather toiletry dopp kit. This leather dopp bag was handcrafted in Barcelona using traditional techniques. That means it will keep up with all his adventures and only improve with the years, keeping all the necessities close at hand.
  • Tile Mate Bluetooth tag. Attach a Tile to anything you don’t want to misplace and easily track it by sound or map through the app. Full details on all its functions here!
  • Unconventional Flying Objects: A Former NASA Scientist Explains How UFOs Really Work. Forget whether UFOs are real, how do they fly?! In this book, scientist Paul Hill “makes technological sense… of the unconventional object, ” making UFOs not only possible, but achievable.
  • Smooth Grip Ballpoint. Comfortable to hold and easy on the eyes, the Levenger Smooth Grip Ballpoint has a quiet class all its own. Replace all his finicky plastic pens with one weighty writing instrument that writes and feels just as good as it looks.
  • Skagen blue stainless steel watch. There is something so cool about this watch. Maybe it’s the blue ion-plated stainless steel from top to bottom. Or maybe it’s the minimalistic face and the slinky mesh band. Whatever the reason, it looks as sharp with a sweater and jeans as a suit and tie.
  • Foodie Dice: Seasonal Dinners. This set of laser-engraved birch dice helps you change up your dinner stand-byes with exciting and creative new combinations. Use the results as a cue for recipe hunting, or improvise with the ingredients all on your own! Pair this present with a great bottle of wine and you have the perfect date night.
  • Cookie Brittle. Because sometimes, you want someone else to do the baking. This Lucite box of white-chocolate-coated cookie brittle will be the perfect thing for that easy and faraway friend who loves to snack.

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Chanukah Gift Guide 5: Judaica

Sometimes you want to give a meaningful piece of great Judaica, but the right gift can be so hard to find, especially if you love a more modern aesthetic. Here are a few ideas to get you started!

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  • Kirby kiddush cups. A little something different for passing kiddush wine around the table, these glasses feel heavy and smooth in the hand. The unique design makes every Shabbat a celebration, and their distinctive silhouette will look beautiful on a shelf or tray all week long.
  • Square Eshet Chayil tray. Designed by David Fisher, a Jerusalem graphic artist, this tray features a gorgeous laser cut design on the back of thick, durable glass. Eshet Chayil, the praises sung each Friday night as tribute to the women of the home, is reinterpreted in this modern floral motif that comes in deep turquoise, wine, and green.
  • Set of 6 letterpress Chanukah cards. Not the usual Chanukah card! This textured letterpress set is cut to look like a tear-off ticket to the Festival of Lights. Click through to see the gorgeous typographical detail. Package this with an organza bag of chocolate gelt and a dreidel or two, and you are good to go.
  • The Jewish Holiday Journal. Finally, a great way to keep track of favorite holiday memories, recipes, and reflections! Write a few lines each year and watch your family story grow. The book is divided into sections with simple prompts for recording travel, special moments, noteworthy events, and even holiday menus.
  • Hammered stainless steel Tzedakah box. Why are stylish Tzedakah boxes so hard to find? This stainless steel charity box has a contemporary feel and thoughtful details.
  • Israel’s Sky and Sea home blessing. This stained glass home blessing is a beautiful gift for families or even young professionals just settling in to their first home. Shades of blue and turquoise are pieced together to make a present that will be such a pleasure to open.
  • Kate Spade seder plate. I have never seen a Kate Spade design that I didn’t like, so  this seder plate just had to be included. Porcelain cups with shiny gold lettering pop on the simple white tray. A great gift for weddings, too.
  • Floral glass mezuzah. It’s so easy to buy all plastic mezuzah covers and never update them to something a little more special. This handmade aquamarine mezuzah case glows with color. I am also partial to this one from the same artist.
  • Five-light modern crystal candelabra. In general, candelabras are made of heavy silver in traditional designs, leaving those of us who love clean lines to find our own individual candlesticks for ushering in Shabbat. This piece brings the classic candelabra back to life in sparkling crystal with a modern feel.