Apr 30, 2015

from the kitchen table (vegan family meals)

I've been working on refreshing my diet--I say "refreshing" because it sounds a little less menacing than "overhauling"... I see an amazing Chinese doctor and naturopath who have been such a wealth of information, and have been the catalysts to this particular wave of change. It's not a bad change. Just less sugar, wheat (sob), with the addition of more healthy fats. It gets a little tricky cooking for the whole family, but we are making it work little by little. Here's our day:

Breakfast-Jasmine rice with natto seasoned with toasted sesame oil and nama shoyu//stewed pumpkin//nori seaweed

Snack-Gluten free zucchini muffin//cashew milk

Lunch-Baked falafel sandwich on sprouted bread (for Julie), home made hummus, and avocado//a large salad with more avocado and carrot ginger dressing//coconut yogurt

Snack-Vanilla chia pudding//rooibos chai tea

Dinner-Kamut pasta with roasted cauliflower, olives, and walnuts//kale salad

*Muffin and carrot ginger dressing from Choosing Raw, Hummus from Oh She Glows, Chia pudding from Living Raw Food and the rest was thrown together willy nilly. Time to get some of these recipes written down!
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Apr 28, 2015

night weaning

We stopped nursing at night a couple of months ago when I was at the end of my sleep deprivation rope. I knew that I needed to honor the warning signals that my body was sending me daily. Sleep, sleep, sleep...I would hear from some inner voice, persistent and regular as the ticking of a clock.

The transition was as gentle as we could manage, although there were scattered tears, and some brutal nights. Now she sleeps through--she of the every 1-2 hr wakings--and my exhausted body is grateful. I feel like a real person again. The little things don't break me into a million pieces like they used to.

One day, during the process, she started asking me to bring her her dolls to sleep with. Now, instead of "ne ne's" she holds her dolls close, kissing their much loved faces and stroking their cheeks. This is how she falls asleep. I'm happy with our decision to nurse when the sun rises, but it is so bittersweet--watching her claim her independence one sure step at a time. Knowing that one day I will wake up and my little girl will be grown, the quiet hours of the night we shared together only a cherished memory.

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Apr 26, 2015

self love

We were taking some family photos the other day, and my love snapped a few of me. Back when I acted for a living in Japan, this was the norm--to stand in front of the camera. I felt comfortable there, and most days I felt ok with how I looked.

I'm almost ashamed to admit how uncomfortable I am in my own skin now. It's all too easy to see the ragged c-section scar, the belly that is softer, fuller, and defies confinement from old skinny jeans, the fuller thighs. I find myself looking in the mirror with anger, and wishing away these new acquisitions.

This body of mind has co-created, carried, and birthed a child. It continues to nourish her with milk. My arms are the safest haven in the world for her. My smile brightens my husbands day, and my legs stand strong on the earth. There is so much to be grateful for. Self love is an ongoing journey, isn't it? For me, it's something I must choose every single day; sometimes every single moment, over and over and over again. To see ourselves the way the ones we love see us. To honor every inch of our souls and hearts and bodies. Truly, what a wild journey it is.

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"A Portrait of my child, once a week, every week, in 2015."

Perfecting her duck face. She is way into having her picture taken these days. A little entertainer in the making--which is such a beautiful dichotomy, because she is normally just about as reserved and shy as you can get. Perhaps mama's acting bug got passed down. Or papa's stage loving musician genes. One thing's for certain--she is a unique soul who is so very loved.

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Apr 19, 2015


"A Portrait of my child, once a week, every week, in 2015."

True happiness is the heart of a (almost) three year old. I would love to see the world through her eyes.

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the village gathering

A few weekends ago, I went to a local gathering of women. One of the founders of the magazine and movement that has inspired these gatherings is someone I met through Instagram-yes, the world of social media! She is inspiring and a truly genuine person. If you haven't heard of her lovely magazine, you can read all about it here at The Village Magazine.

In the founders words, these gatherings are about this: "Bringing back the Village-A place to shake the tired off our face and revel in sisterhood. Where mothers can sit side by side without judgment or fear and simply be. A night to cultivate friendships outside the virtual world, put our children to bed, connect, meet new people, build on friendships we already have, and gather around a table full of good food and even better conversation." Basically what has been missing from my life!

For the first time since Julie was born, I decided to take a day for myself. This was so much harder to do than I would have ever expected. As parents and as mothers, who falls into this cycle of constant giving with little to no thought for oneself? I am so guilty of this. I get into the mindset that I must  be there for my daughter at all times--that no one can give her what she needs like I can. In reality, I have a wonderful husband who is as incredible of a father as they come. He is perfectly capable of meeting her needs, and not to mention, have an amazing time with her. As I had reached the end of my limit from a constant flow of giving without ever giving back to myself, I figured that this gathering could be just the catalyst to begin the novel idea of self kindness. So I went all out and started the day with a Thai massage. I took a solo walk. And to close out the night, I had dinner and shared inspired conversation with other mothers who were all looking to connect in a meaningful way. I love when that gap between strangers gets bridged as hearts get bared. It is such a simple equation, really--when we share who we really are, and open our hearts to one another, if only for a moment--true connection happens. Love rules the day. Authenticity equals peace within and on a larger scale. I am thankful today for opportunities to meet other loving souls, and to truly begin to love myself.

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Apr 14, 2015

little adventures-to the trails

We are blessed to live in a place where the sun shines most days, and the woes of winter (think icy roads and hours of snow shoveling) such as in places like my beloved home city of New York, are nonexistent. There are days that I lament the lack of four defined seasons, but it is more than compensated by the fact that we can run outside to have a hike and a picnic any day we please. Natural Vitamin D makes for happy kids and parents.

This past weekend we decided to go for a hike to some new trails, and to have a little picnic in the park afterwards. I'll admit that it was a little warm out on the hilltop, but the view was incredible, and there was little foot traffic. Julie got to ride snuggled up to her Dad, and he did all of the hard work, with zero complaints. Hiking while carrying a fast growing toddler is no joke. Some days I see her in the morning and I swear she has grown immensely overnight. We walked through the remnants of a field of wildflowers, and a mass grave of snails. It was the most haunting thing to see--these snails of all sizes had all climbed up these prickly plants to pass on. There were snails for as far as the eye could see.

We picnicked under the shade of the tree, stretched out and full of peace. I can't think of a nicer way to spend an afternoon. After lunch, Julie went from tree to tree, hugging them tenderly and planting kisses on each and every one. She is so connected to the trees, flowers, and animals, the breeze that ruffles her hair, the scent of spring. She told me later that the trees are her friends--that she loves them, and they her. I am so humbled that this gorgeous soul is entrusted to me.There are many days that I don't feel up to the job, that I am somehow not enough. The constancy of motherhood can wear me down, and I lose my patience. Am not as kind as I would like to be. Self judgment spirals out of control. But she always brings me back to the moment. She reminds me that this very moment is everything, for all the love in the world is contained here. Through her example, she shows me that we are worthy of love and loving. Just like her beloved trees.

This little reminder was truly the perfect ending to a beautiful weekend.

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Apr 12, 2015


"A portrait of my child, once a week, every week, in 2015.

Pointing out some magic that only she can see. And her smitten Daddy adoring every moment.

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Apr 9, 2015


This Easter we had our usual feast (brunch) at my mother-in-law's house. She is one of those people that makes entertaining look effortless. She will sit chatting with us in the living room, relaxed and smiling, pop into the kitchen for a few minutes, and voila! A gorgeous meal is served. It amazes me every time!

I don't know about you, but when I entertain, it is an ordeal (for me, but also for James.) I wake up and am immediately stressed out about all there is to do, so I turn into some sort of drill sergeant, and run through a long list of what needs to be done, as he rubs the sleep from his eyes. There is full blown panic before the guests arrive, and as they settle in with drinks and conversation, I am in the kitchen muttering to myself about all that is going wrong with the food.

Luckily, I only had to partake in the festivities this past Sunday, so all was very well. Julie's grandparents had prepared an epic egg hunt for her, with eggs filled with puffs (her favorite), balloons, little stuffed bunnies, and a little basket filled with a dress and new sandals, and some more stuffed friends. She was in paradise. It's always such a joy to watch her as she delights in an experience, new or old. The excitement that children have for holidays and other special occasions is priceless. I wish I could see the world as she does--to her, the world is full of endless wonder. It was truly a great day, full of magic and family and wonderful food. The best part about it was seeing the love that Julie is surrounded by. She is one lucky kid.

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Apr 7, 2015

from the kitchen table-Easter

Pre-festivities snack-Peanut butter and apple muffin, almond milk

Brunch-Tofu Quiche, fruit salad, lavender and lemon scones

Snack-Strawberries, rice crackers, vanilla cashew milk

Dinner-Grilled asparagus and carrots, green salad, scalloped potatoes, lentil soup over cous cous

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Apr 5, 2015


"A portrait of my child, once a week, every week, in 2015."

Waiting for Dad to bring her french fries. 

Apr 4, 2015

little adventures-to the farm

A friend of mine recently invited me to an epic day at the farm. I had been wanting to visit this place for a while, as I had heard only rave reviews of it thus far. It it a gorgeous, sprawling, working farm, where you can pick your own produce, bottle feed baby goats, take a tractor ride, and your kid can run wild through fields, sandboxes, and climb on and off wooden trucks and trains to their hearts content. For my vehicle and animal obsessed girl, this is as close to paradise as you can get.


I have to say that it was paradise for mama, as well. We ate a picnic lunch, attempting to corral our kids long enough to eat a few bites, before we set them free to play.  It has been a while since I've been able to enjoy just being with friends, talking, laughing, without my little one needing me. She was clearly having the time of her life. We pulled the kids around in a wagon, stopping to pick handfuls of green beans and fresh cauliflower, perfect avocados and tiny, tart strawberries. All around me I could see nothing but green fields and trees and rolling hills. My dream of living in the country with my own little vegetable garden, surrounded by trees and meadows was sparked back alive. There is something about nature that resets the frazzled rhythm born of city living. At the end of this beautiful day, Julie and I fell into bed, tired but with full to bursting hearts.

(all photos taken on the iPhone)

Apr 2, 2015

a sunday ritual

I've recently started re-reading "The Little House on the Prairie" series, and I am amazed at how much Laura Ingalls Wilder remembered the little details--how they churned the butter or made maple syrup or built a house with their bare hands. It's such a window into another era. Although we have vastly different lives from the life they lived, and there are certainly aspects of their rules that can't apply to our current way of living, I really appreciate how grateful this family was. The children received simple gifts come Christmas time--a cake with white sugar or a new tin cup were things to celebrate. They took nothing for granted. Children were also expected to be an active, participating part of the family. There's a part in one of the books when Laura recalls which activities fell on the different days of the week. It's lovely that they had such an ingrained sense of rhythm.

We have our own days of the week up on the fridge, and I can't say I stick to it with anything resembling regularity yet, with the exception of Sunday. Sunday is pancake day. It is a day that flows at a mellow pace. It is a day of cuddling with the cats, and leisurely walks. It is family day, when we gather with aunts and uncles and grandparents to share dinner and conversation. I love that Julie has this day to look forward to--that it is already so much a part of her little being. "I'm going to eat pancakes!" she squeals as soon as we say our Good Mornings.We put on our matching aprons and mix and pour and eagerly await our stack of piping hot pancakes. We set the table nicely, and sing a little song of gratitude. We appreciate our food and each other. Sundays are something to love.

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