Support vs. Advice

I'm feeling thankful for more daylight, family walks, sweet baby dozing on my shoulder, and easy times. We've had a frustrating couple of days but we're in touch with amazing support people and tomorrow is looking hopeful. 

Side thought: as a new mama I'm learning there is a fine line btwn *support* versus *advice*. When did I get so sensitive? I don't have any more grains of salt to handle the next bit of "advice" for fear of potential judgment or comparison. 

There's that F-word again. I thought that letting go was the antidote to all fear, allowing oneself to be open without inhibition to welcome all possibilities, both bad and good. But this feels like it's a matter of protection, of a fragile vulnerability of my soul. I want to protect what is mine to own: from my birth story, to my family values to my son as a human being, this is my story to experience and own. It is not up for discussion, let alone judgment or comparison. So perhaps the true antidote to this kind of fear, instead of letting go, is holding on. Owning and being proud of what is mine and who I am. (I'll save the "who am I" reflection for another post).

If you have thoughts about that, I am currently accepting encouraging love. :) 

And Then There Were Three

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We welcomed our son Ryo into the world with some tears and a lot of "Oh my god!"s. Our room was windowless and dimly lit so I had no idea it was 2:45pm in the afternoon. We had the rest of the day to soak it all in.

Full birth story to come sometime, but here are the points I want to write about:

  • Chronological order of events.
  • Things I'm proud of, like laboring for 34 hours for the goal of a natural delivery. Achievement unlocked.
  • Things I'm not proud of, like how I couldn't totally relax and how loud I was. Animalistic is an appropriate descriptor!
  • Jason. Of course I have to gush about Jason.
  • Mantras that worked for me. 
  • Attempt to describe what contractions and pushing feels like. (Spoiler Alert: INSANE.)
  • What I wish I had known, and would I do it again.

He's 11 days young today, and we've learned so much about each other already. Every day we work together as a family to make breastfeeding and sleeping and soothing better, and I think it's working. Jason and I have high spirits and are pretty much gushing over how everything he does is cute cute cute. He'll never be this tiny again and it makes me want to stare at him just a bit longer...

My Happy Place

I like to go on vacation for any reason at all: to run away from the everyday mundane; to create new memories; to reconnect and be present; to adventure and explore; to eat. Whatever the impetus and however the trip went, I look forward to coming back home just as much. Laying in my familiar bed with the familiar smells, and closing my eyes and being able to instantly travel back and experience it all over again: it's all part of my vacation experience. Time traveling makes the world seem all the more closer together and...connected. 

Last night I finally went through camera photos from our Maui trip from 2012 and my body and mind immediately went to a relaxed, post-coital, food-coma-like zen zone. I know we all claim to have seen the best sunsets in the world at one point in our lives, but just take a moment to let your mind melt into the painted ocean below. You'll see.

What's your happy place?  If it's vacation-able, I'd love to add it to my list.

Project-ing

It's a wet week over here in the fine state of California, finally, and the weekend is like looking much of the same. Being inside during my first week of maternity leave has gotten me in the mood to start one project and finish another project. Clearly not as good as starting and finishing the same project but whatever. My immediate intention is to "do" despite the results.

Painting Projects   With J's help I've been researching and practicing oil paint techniques—who knew painting could be so technical??— and I plan to revisit a big landscape painting-from-a-photo I started over a year ago. Had to dig pretty far back on my Instagram for these images—as you can see I have a base layer down (right) but am ready for details to get closer to the original photograph (left):

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Small Shop Projects Or does anyone remember my Thoughtless Friends? I starting making little figurines during a particularly hermetic period at the end of 2012 and even intended to sell them online in Spring 2013. That didn't happen. Since them I've sculpted over 20 of these lil' creatures and I'd like to actually finish painting the gold accents and whip up an e-commerce page on this blog, a nice feature of Squarespace. Should be easy peasy! (I can faintly hear the smug laughter of my future self but I'm choosing to ignore it.)

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Culinary Projects I've also been stocking up on food to freeze for us parents for when baby arrives and demands for all of our time and energy. I've never actually cooked a meal with the intent to freeze it, so not tasting the results fresh out of the oven or pot was kind of lacking. However, I'm feeling accomplished and it was the perfect way to keep busy on my first week off.

The thing I like most about cooking is that finishing what you started is kind of the point. Sure, it's a project that involves significant planning (figure out what I have already, shop the ingredients, time it right for serving) but if I plan it right, I end up feeling proudly resourceful and Superwomanish. Then there's the novelty and challenge that comes with new recipes and techniques. And, finally, if it tastes great? Wins all around.

Here's what I made and stored this week:

  • White rice (for unagi-don, bulgogi and chicken curry)
  • Steamed broccoli and green beans
  • Japanese chicken curry
  • Rigatoni 'n' cheese w leeks and butternut squash
  • Strawberry pop tarts
  • Lasagna bolognese

It's not easy to find freezable dishes. Any suggestions? What little projects do you work on in your down time? I'm all ears.