Sage’s Favorite Books

Hey everyone!

Wanted to highlight some of Sage’s favorite books right now and ill probably do this every so often as I’m always getting her new books and her favorites are always changing. I can tell when a book is her favorite when I tell her to go get a book off the bookshelf and its always the same one. So, here are 3 of her favs at the moment. And at some point ill do a version of this for myself too.

I am Enough by Grace Byers: Sage loves this book and honestly I do too. There’s only about a sentence a page accompanied by beautiful illustrations by Keturah A. Bobo – that show representations of girls from all races. The author also threw some self-love affirmations in this book (I mean look at the title), that I think its a great way to start teaching your kid to love themselves.09bce39c-488d-4d5e-b8d0-4eb6063269d52. Little Pea by Amy Krouse Rosenthal: This cute little book is all about a pea that has to eat candy to grow big and strong. Sage of course likes looking at the illustrations by Jen Corace and naming all the colors of the candy.

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3. I’m not Sleepy! by Jonathan Allen: This cute funny book is all about an owl whose sleepy but won’t admit it. The whole story he’s grouchy and yells at neighbors that he isn’t tired. Sage is a night owl herself and this book is perfect for her. She won’t go to sleep at night no matter how late it is unless I lay her down and turn everything off.

That’s the end of Sage’s favorite books right now. If you don’t have these I recommend buying them for your little one. What are some books your 2 and 3 year olds love? Leave a comment or email me with your favs! I’m always looking for new books for Sage.

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Crystal of the Month Shiva Lingam

Shiva Lingam is this little spherical stone that I’ve been using lately. I have been using it for grounding mostly as the seasons at about to change. I usually sleep with the stone under my pillow and try to meditate with it at least once during the day. Shiva Lingam balances the masculine and feminine energies. Increases intuition and mindfulness ( I need help with this one). Grounding. Promotes fertility improves feelings of strength, stamina and power. Shiva Lingam also aids in boosting energy and can give you an “afternoon boost” – we all tend to fall in energy ruts after lunch so if this is something you really struggle with hold this stone in your receptive hand (opposite of YOUR writing hand which is your dominant hand). Shiva Lingam is an earth element stone and I will talk about how shiva is formed later in this post. Shiva Lingam helps restore and replenish your natural energy – if you are feeling drained from stress or the everyday things of life. Shiva Lingam also aids in helping with drowsiness if you tend to fall asleep or get sleepy while meditating hold a lingam in both hands to feel more present and energized.  Shiva Lingam is also good for improving ones sex drive naturally.

The Shiva lingam I have and the ones I’ve  seen are perfectly spherical or phallic like. This is because Shiva Lingam a sacred stone of the Indian Hindu religion only comes from one place, the Narmada River in western India. This is one of India’s most holy sites – the villagers gather these stones from the river and hand polish them so they are smooth and rounded in shape. Usually a tan color with brown, red or gray spots or stripes on the stone. Shiva Lingam is important to the devotees and is apart of their daily worship.  The stone is all about the whole. They are purposefully shaped to the symbolic shape of a phallus of the Hindu God Shiva and his union with Kali (masculine and feminine energy). Within the form is also the cosmic egg out of which all creation has emerged.

I have also seen the stone come in different sizes small, medium and large. I currently only have a small one pocket size. But I have made a conscious decision to start buying only medium-large crystals as I believe the energy is more potent in larger crystals (I’m not an expert though I think smaller crystals are great for passive healing like holding while watching TV or walking or at work and of course for sleeping with but that larger crystals are better for active usage like meditating and long term healing).

Shiva Lingam is a stone I would recommend working with if you need grounding work if you’re easily scattered mentally or if any of the things mentioned above are things you personally want to work on or need help with. Shiva Lingam is a root chakra stone aiding in creativity but is also a sacral chakra stone. I am doing this chakra healing for my personal healing every month a new chakra and working with crystals that help open and heal things associated with each chakra hence the reason why I’ve been leaning on my Shiva Lingam and why its the crystal of the month.

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Mom Talk #2

Let’s talk about screen-time. This is such a huge topic but I wanted to address it cause its a problem that I have recently began to struggle with my two year old about. She always wants the phone. I know this will change once she starts school but I’m having a hard time keeping her busy now so the phone situation doesn’t come up. At the same time I am trying to brand my blog – and that requires me to be on the phone or on my laptop (like I am now typing this at 12:48pm) she sees all of this. She sees me using my phone and using the laptop and she imitates my behavior. I know I could switch my “work” hours to times she’s not awake, when she takes a nap or when she’s down for the night or get up early before her and knock out everything I think I need to do online. I hate that she sees me using technology so much I’ve tried to implement technology free days on Sunday’s but that didn’t really workout the best as sometimes I’m not with her on Sunday’s because of work. I try to do activities with her to get her away from wanting to watch peppa pig or poppy but as many of you parents know a toddlers mind is always looking for the next shiny new thing – they don’t stay concentrated on one thing for long. And as sad as it is sometimes it just keeps the peace to just give her the phone so I too can take a breather from dealing with meltdowns and demands of a two year old (no judgment here). Sometimes my selfcare is giving her the phone for 25 minutes so I can stretch or read a chapter of a book or anything.
I also know that too much screen-time can have negative effects like with anything too much of something can have repercussions. Lets look at some scientific data of how screen-time effects kids and toddlers. Scientific research – doctors say that kids younger than 18 months shouldn’t have screen- time at all I know this can be impossible with TV’s in homes, tablets and technology becoming increasingly part of our normal day to day function. But its said that since brains are developing the most in the first 2 years and children learn the most from interacting that they need to be interacting and not sitting in front of a screen. Interacting like being in nature, going to parks, being around other kids, being out in the world and learning seeing, hearing, touching things. However, there is “good” and “bad” screen-time. Good screen-time could be facetiming family members, doing games on a tablet with someone so the interaction is still there, watching educational shows. But these studies still say screen-time from 2-3 years of age should be limited to an hour a day which isn’t very long. One thing it specifically warns against is screen-time at bedtime and during meals I myself have a bad habit of eating and watching TV which I have passed on to my daughter already but there’s always time to implement changes this week I am going to make sure I myself and my daughter don’t eat our meals in front of a screen. I challenge any of you to do the same if this is an issue for you or to just be more present and aware of your kids screen-time this week.
I do feel guilty when I give my daughter the phone or sit her down in front of the TV just so I can get things done. In short its hard being a parent and having dreams, other responsibilities, and caring for yourself too. Its hard but its not impossible. I know my daughter likes to paint so I make a point to try and make it an activity we do daily or every other day, she likes doing crafts and going on walks, she’s a texture person – helping me cook or bake or measure out things. Puzzles and playdough things she can get her hands on is good for her. So, there are some activity ideas you can implement with your own kids and if anyone has any other activities they do with their kids that their kids enjoy leave a comment about it. Leave a comment with your own stories and or struggle about children screen-time. I wanna hear! As technology becomes more integrated into our lives I want to know of things we can do to stay in touch with ourselves and our children.
When Sage was a baby baby (what I call pre 2 years lol) I didn’t let her watch much TV or use the phone. To be honest before she was 2 TV didn’t hold her attention for long because she was so curious about the world and her surroundings. I wish that kids youtube had never been introduced to her. I’m not sure how it was. Its not a huge issue she’s getting older and isn’t as interested in her normal day to day surroundings. On outings she’s fine without the phone doesn’t think about it once. If I could backtrack I would. It has definitely been a struggle with her telling her no when she asks for the phone first thing in the morning. I also just want her to use her imagination and have free playtime more and not be distracted by moving things on a screen. I think technology in a way can really make someone anxious – overthink – distracted – the brain isn’t supposed to move a mile a minute there needs to be a balance – relaxation a calmness I think being on the phone for long periods of time can mess this up. I’ve noticed this even with myself. Based on what I’m watching and how much TV or how long I scroll on insta I feel drained and anxious more so than usual. I don’t allow myself time to sit and be still. And I think kids really need that time to get to know themselves and process things naturally.

Much of parenting that I’ve learned is just doing what you feel is best, taking it day by day and trying not to feel doubts or guilt about things you have to do. So, I encourage you if you think your kids use too much technology whether 2 or 7 take it day by day and start limiting your kids usage. I also encourage you (parents) to be more present with your kids to not use your phone while they’re talking to you or while eating dinner but give your kid(s) your undivided attention. It’ll be helpful in the long run.

What are your thoughts on toddler screen-time? Do you think its a hard necessity? Are you strict or loose about how much screen-time you allow you kid(s)? How much technology do you (the parent)use and how does this affect your relationship with your kids?

More information on screen-time:

https://www.babycenter.com/screen-time-babies-toddlers

https://childmind.org/article/value-screen-time-toddlers-preschoolers/

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How I Breastfed for 2 Years and Tips

This is my breastfeeding 101 post. I have nursed my two year old Sage for 2 years. I didn’t go into breastfeeding knowing much of anything. I didn’t do any research on it or take a breastfeeding class prior to giving birth so I kind of just went with it. I wasn’t sure if I was doing it right at first but I had almost no issues besides cracked nipples in the beginning. I did have trouble getting Sage into a position that was comfortable for the both of us (since I had a c-section birth) and was given a pamphlet on the different holding positions like the “football”. We eventually got the hang of it. I say this to say you can get the hang of it too if breastfeeding your baby is what you really want to do. Yes, it requires time and effort and waking up in the middle of the night to nurse and sometimes your baby might cluster-feed for hours and you’ll get irritated and want to quit from cracked (sometimes even bleeding) nipples but its worth it for you and your baby.

There are so many resources on breastfeeding and ill link a few of my favs down below. Because I know it can get easy to get lost in the sea of information just from googling a topic as vast as this.

I still breastfeed my daughter and despite curious glances and people (family included) saying I’m crazy and giving me weird looks I think she still benefits from it. My daughter is vegetarian like I’ve stated in previous posts however she’s a picky eater and I do worry if she’s getting enough nutrients. She hardly eats any fruits, veggies, or beans which means she’s mainly eating starches like pasta and bread. Also I have noticed the change in her nursing is only about twice a day now so my supply is really low and I think soon my milk is just going to stop. Until then ill continue to breastfeed her
while I can.

Also let me just say that my experience with breastfeeding isn’t the norm. I know that a lot of women struggle with breastfeeding even if they are dedicated and want to breastfeed. Its hard doing it consistently feeling like some sort of milk machine or dealing with Post Partum Stress and nursing. Whatever your situation may be. I feel for you. Breast is defiantly not best. A fed baby is what is best. Saying things like this is so inclusive of mother’s who can’t breastfeed, don’t have the support, or who just don’t want to do it. If you do want to breastfeed your baby but can’t there are milk donors out there who would love to help mom’s in need and ill link some options below.

If you want to breastfeed though don’t let anyone talk you out of it not your doctor not your spouse not your friends. No one. If you’re determined to breastfeed your child and you’re able – DO IT.
Breastfeeding Benefits:

For your babe:

  • Bonding – this one actually benefits you both. I know some people have babies and instantly feel connected and in love. But I also know some don’t feel that connection instantly breastfeeding (if its an option for you) will help create and solidify a bond.
    There are many sources and ill link one or two that say that breastfeeding babes get sick less than formula fed babes and are less likely to die. Which very well may be true (I’m sure it is) but I’m not trying to scare anyone into breastfeeding like I said a fed baby is best and its inclusive to assume that every mother can, wants or should breastfeed. But there are plenty of health benefits for your baby if you choose to breastfeed.
  • Normal weight gain
  • Healthy digestion less constipation diarrhea or upset stomach
  • Can protect against allergies and asthma

For you:

  • If you eat right because breastfeeding burns extra calories than the body normally does you can shed those pregnancy pounds quicker if that’s what you want.
  • Breastmilk is essentially free (minus buying or renting a pump) but the cost doesn’t add up to the cost that formula is which will keep your pockets full.
  • Reduces the risk of Postpartum Stress Disorder
  • Can help protect against breast and ovarian cancers
    There are other benefits these are just the ones I highlighted.

Helpful Tips to Keep Up Milk Supply:

  1. Don’t supplement with formula unless you absolutely have to – even then try to find a place where they are giving breastmilk from another mother away. Breastfeeding is all about supply and demand so the more you nurse the more milk your body will produce.
  2. Eat Oats: whole oats not those instant Quaker oats. Whole oats are great for helping you keep up your milk supply.
  3. Drink Plenty of Water: if you don’t like water switch it up by adding fruit but staying properly hydrated while nursing is both good for you and your baby.
  4. If you have the money and are struggling but want to breastfeed and don’t have support. Hire a professional. A lactation will coach you through breastfeeding till both you and your baby are comfortable and will give you tips, advice and the support you need to continue.
  5. Don’t Stress: stress will have your body in a tense mode which will lead to not having a good milk supply. I know this is easier said than done especially right after having a baby and all the demands that come with new parenthood. But stress will mess with the flow of your milk coming out through the nipple. When the body is tense everything is tense so the let down of milk that’s needed can’t happen as freely.
  6. Eat Whole Foods like fruits and veggies. You burn more calories than average during the day when you breastfeed. Eating healthy foods filled with nutrients and not empty calories will keep you satisfied and healthy so your body can produce adequate milk.
  7. Lactation Cookies! These saved my life when my supply got a little wonky from work and school. I got mine from Babies R US but you can also order them offline or make your own their are recipes online and ill link one below
    Pumping:
    If you have to return to work or school or just need a few hours away for your own sanity, then pumping will become your best friend. Now with pumping get a pump that best suits you there are double pumps, single pumps, hands free pumps you name it. Invest in one I know they’re costly. Some hospitals will let you rent one or you can see if your insurance covers some of the cost. With pumping you need a established schedule because a pump is different than breastfeeding the first couple of times can be difficult and you might not get a lot of milk. Keep at it everyday at the same time. Then you can freeze your milk for whenever your away from your baby.

Links:

Mother’s Milk Tea: which I have tried and it worked well:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B0009F3POY/ref=mp_s_a_1_1_a_it?ie=UTF8&qid=1526183885&sr=8-1&keywords=mothers+milks+tea&dpPl=1&dpID=51r0C9y71QL&ref=plSrch

Vegan Lactation Cookie Recipe:
https://www.tasteslovely.com/dairy-free-lactation-cookies/

Milk Makers Lemon Lactation Cookies: these are the cookies I used in the beginning and during rough patches:
https://www.amazon.com/Milkmakers-Lactation-Cookies-Bag-Lemon/dp/B00L5LHPEM

These are Milk Makers Lactation Bars which I never tried but thought a bar would be cool so mother’s could eat it with breakfast in the morning: https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B0792PD9H9/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1526182953&sr=8-1-spons&pi=AC_SX236_SY340_QL65&keywords=lactation+cookies&psc=1

Milk Makers also has a lactation tea if you want to stay in one brand. I just searched on amazon.com for these links and in no way am sponsored by either of these companies. I just shared what worked for me.
Also try fenugreek the herb too if you hit rough patches established supply and none of these other options work for you.

More Info on health Benefits and other Benefits of Breastfeeding:
http://www.oregon.gov/oha/ph/HealthyPeopleFamilies/Babies/Breastfeeding/Pages/benefits.aspx

Milk Bank to Donate Milk:
https://www.hmbana.org/

Where you can donate and receive milk:
https://milkbankne.org/receive/

Also there are many support Facebook groups.

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CBD Oil Benefits and why I use it

About a month ago I started to take CBD oil I don’t take it regularly (cause half the time I forget I even have it) but wanted to talk about my experience with it and its benefits. I first became interested in CBD oil when I was looking for an alternative way to ease my anxiety that wasn’t just smoking weed because the last couple times I’ve smoked it has only added to my anxiety (kind of like a bad trip) and I would be really paranoid and overthinking. BUT I’ve also had experiences with weed that were chill. I have only had bad experiences with weed since I had my daughter. I’m a natural worrier I worry about everything but being a mom amplified that and weed for some reason just makes it worse. This led me to do research on CBD oil and its benefits solely pertaining to anxiety. I’ve seen a lot of people on Instagram rave about its benefits and I know they’re a ton of brands and ways to take CBD oil.
I’m not diagnosed with anxiety by a doctor only because I hate going to doctors I can’t even remember the last time I’ve gone to one. However, I know when I feel “normal” and when I don’t feel like myself overthinking, worrying, stressed, crying over outfits and how I appear to others. I have social anxiety from being bullied, having low self esteem (not so much now) and I just have a general fear of people sometimes this isn’t crippling (even though it has been and can be at times) I work a job in retail however if I didn’t have to I definitely wouldn’t. Having Sage has given me the strength to do many things I would rather not do for the sake of her well being. I’ve always kind of relied on alcohol to ease my stress ( I don’t deal well with stress) and then for awhile I smoked cigarettes both which were terrible on my health. And as I am beginning to let go and release problems I may be having more I have stopped smoking cigarettes and drinking to ease my problems. I rely on staying mindful and trying to meditate with crystals when I can but as a single mom with a job and in school with a two year old running around its not always the easiest to stop in a stressful moment and get Zen (lets be honest). So, like I said I began looking for alternatives and CBD oil seemed to be the most popular one and I was also interested in herbal smoking blends (which I have tried and will also do a blog post on).
First off CBD oil is not weed oil. It is not weed in an oil form. Yes, CBD is taken from the marijuana plant but it is extracted from a different part of the plant than THC is. I was going to order online from a brand but one day I was in little 5 points in Atlanta and saw that a shop near my favorite crystal store was selling CBD oil and I just bought it on a whim. Lets talk a couple facts: CBD oil is expensive so if you’re like me and wanting to try it out I would say try to buy locally and purchase a small bottle if its and option. CBD oil is not like THC it doesn’t alter your mind and is not psychoactive. CBD oil is extracted from the marijuana plant and then mixed with a carrier oil like hemp seed oil.

Benefits:

  • Reduces Anxiety: this is scientifically proven effect of CBD oil. It reduces social anxiety in patients and it can even be suggested as a use for OCD and post traumatic stress disorder.
  • Relieves Nausea (in low doses in high doses it can increase nausea)
  • Relieves Pain related to arthritis.
  • May Reduce Acne
  • May help alleviate Cancer symptoms
  • May Improve Heart Health
  • May Alleviate Diabetes symptoms

But like with everything there are also side effects which include:

  • Can cause Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Changes in appetite
  • Dry mouth

I didn’t experience any of these.
I’ve only tried one kind of CBD oil but would like to try more brands. My experience with CBD oil is yes I think it does reduce my anxiety. The lady I bought it from told me she takes it for pain and that it helps relieve her pain. She was helpful in helping me choose the amount of CBD oil (the potency) because I hadn’t tried it before. I bought this tiny bottle for $20 so again very expensive in my opinion. She also instructed me to put 5-7 drops under my tongue let it sit for 30 seconds to activate then swallow. I can’t really describe the feeling of CBD oil because its not like weed it doesn’t just hit you. Its like my mind would be racing then 5 minutes later I would feel a sense of calm and my mind would feel empty and clear. Also helps me to stop obsessing over how I come off to others in social situations. I would recommend taking CBD oil to others if they have similar problems.

If you take CBD oil what is the brand you use and how has your experience been? Have you tried CBD oil chocolate or sprays?

More information on CBD oil and its benefits:

https://www.webmd.com/pain-management/news/20180507/cbd-oil-all-the-rage-but-is-it-safe-effective#1

https://wellnessmama.com/343810/cbd-oil/

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Sage’s Birth Story

Sage’s birth story is something I always wanted to write about mainly because of all the things that happened that I didn’t want to happen. But let’s backtrack a little bit. I got pregnant at 23 I was still in college which was already not the most ideal environment to be pregnant especially with my body changing, hormones, and being “young” and pregnant and the first one of my friends all at once. Let’s just say pregnancy was extremely isolating for me living on a college campus when so much of my existence before was about how I looked and what the next move was. I was not in the mental space to have a kid. Or the financial or the emotional. I was a mess.  I was a lonely mess.

Okay, so that added to the lack of knowledge around pregnancy and what I was going through – the lack of being to connect to and with mothers my age already led to me not feeling the most confident or sure of myself.

Many times at the hospital I was nervous I was scared. I cried more than once at an appointment. The one that sticks out the most though is when I had to get seen because Sage wasn’t turning the closer I got to my due date and it was decided that I would get a C-section. Prior to this I had cried at an appointment because the ultrasound technician had stated pretty bluntly that there might be something wrong with my baby because their was a white spot on her heart. More tests no clear conclusions. At the time I 1. didn’t realize I should’ve asked for a more apathetic nurse and that 2. I should’ve gotten another opinion about having a C-section. But at 23 with limited funds and no health insurance (pregnancy Medicaid came through) I didn’t have many options. But I won’t say my whole experience sucked. Even though the first 3 months I had horrible nausea couldn’t keep anything down – I wasn’t a vegetarian or vegan at this time but I would eat meat and immediately throw up. I remember the only thing I could keep down was packaged ramen (which is pretty damn unhealthy).

I was also put in some pretty uncomfortable situations like squatting at my baby daddy’s sisters boyfriends (yeah) apartment cause there was an empty room and we had nowhere to go as we saved money to get our own apartment. I pushed through. But I think a lot of times I did cause I wasn’t thinking about what was going on I had completely disassociated from what I was going through – I should’ve taken my ass home to my parents house and pregnancy probably would’ve ran a lot smoother I should’ve taken the semester off school and thought about what I really wanted in life and what I wanted to do. But instead I ignored and did what I thought I should do which was basically grow up over night and struggle. Cause when a woman gets pregnant and her life isn’t mapped out to a T it is always seen as a the biggest mistake in her life on TV. And being on a college campus I of course felt and saw all of this when people looked at my stomach and then looked at me then quickly looked away. I wasn’t relatable to the people I knew anymore so I stopped hanging out and I isolated myself more than I already felt.

But like I said it wasn’t all bad. I had an 8 am printmaking class and I would stop at Starbucks on campus everyday and it got to the point where the baristas knew me and would give me my sandwich and juice for free (probably cause of my protruding belly). And if I was late to class my professors never said anything to me cause its like everyone knew I was doing my best.

Having a surgery to give birth freaked me out. I blamed my body for not remembering what it was made to do. I was angry I was upset I was disappointed in myself. Honestly, I was fucking scared. Signing papers to give birth. Laying on a surgery table to give birth. Being cut open and having a catheter stuck up me. I don’t remember much from the actual birth as I was under heavy meds. I remember shaking when they pulled her out and looking at my boyfriend and saying I was cold. I remember the doctor who was their for backup or support or both coming over reassuring my boyfriend everything was okay and laying a blanket over me. I also remembering this feelin of something pulling as they pulled Sage out  – much like when a tooth is pulled and you kinda feel it somewhere deep.

That’s all I remember really except the pain the next day. The soreness. Not being able to walk to the bathroom or wash myself in the shower without help. In the hospital I didn’t instantly feel connected to Sage cause good ole disassociation had been with me for months – but I cared. I stayed up at night just looking at her I didn’t get any sleep. I watched the sun rise every morning. I was so jacked up I got a cold sore. But Sage was beautiful she was angelic (cause lets face it every mother wonders if her baby will be ugly) and she was so chill she didn’t have crazy newborn fits or cry a lot probably cause I cuddled her all day and barley let her be in that plastic bassinet thing. She slept a lot.

And when we left the hospital it felt like a little bubble had been burst. It was like okay now go do everything on your own – go cook, go take care of your newborn and yourself and be in a constant state of happiness doing it. And oh make sure you look presentable too cause everyone loves a hot mom. I didn’t know what to feel. And I wish that society wasn’t so backwards about motherhood and was more about community (even though I was stubborn and didn’t want anyone to bond with Sage cause I felt insecure about being a mother and pushed away all outside help from other women) and how its needed and crucial to getting through the first year and keeping your sanity and not just going through the motions and patting yourself on the back cause hey at least your getting shit done and killing this motherhood thing.

I didn’t know how to be a mom or even me or 24 anymore. I mean I don’t suck at being a mom. I know Sage loves me. I sacrifice everyday for her and I think about the future more than I should cause I want to be able to give her things she needs and wants but I wish there was like I don’t know a crash course to all the FEELINGS of motherhood and how as a woman you have to change. There’s a lot of change. There are even more deaths I feel like in womanhood when you become a mother with all the expectations that come with it. I mean there’s already so many expectations of being a woman and add motherhood to that and its like you gotta be on your shit 24/7 and its just not realistic. And don’t get me started on the guilt. It took me months to go out without Sage or hang out with friends and then even more months to go out and not feel guilty for being out. There also seems to be this big separation between women who have kids and woman who don’t. It’s like you somehow have gone down a path of no return or something like their are two separate clubs. I don’t get it.

I know this probably wasn’t the typical birth story but that’s cause motherhood isn’t seen through rose colored glasses over here its the best thing I’ve ever done it has pushed me and pulled me and made me step out of my comfort and therefore grow and get off my ass and go for the things I want. It has humbled me. And for that I will forever be grateful Sage chose me and continues to do so everyday (I mean not like she has a choice lol the real test is when your kids are older and still love you).

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What I ate in Cuba for a week as a Vegan

I went to Cuba the first week of August for a week for my friends birthday 3 of us went including myself. It was my first international trip since I was a baby so it was special for me. I had so many life changing experiences that I feel completely rejuvenated and inspired about life and everything. So, Havana was actually a pretty okay place to be as a vegan there were options at most restaurants we went to even if it was just french fries. The french fries were actually really good with oil, salt, and lots of garlic seasoning. Plus the abundance of minty lime mojitos made up for the lack of options at some places (literally had toast for breakfast one morning with peach marmalade even though it was good I wasn’t satisfied). I loved the plantain chips (which even though we had them twice I forgot to take a photo both times) with this tangy mustard and this sweet but also tangy ketchup seriously the condiments there are just so good I could make a whole post raving about them. Of course we (my friend who’s birthday it was is also vegan) ate a few meals that were just arroz blanco and frijoles negros but even this in Cuba was bomb. Like the best black beans I’ve ever eaten. I really don’t know how they do it. It was super filling too – really rich with onions and peppers cooked into them.
I’ve had guava jam before but it didn’t compare to the fresh guava juice from a hotel (that I cant remember  the name of) it was really refreshing and I would have liked to just try fresh guava fruit too but even though we saw a couple fruit carts we didn’t get any fruit off them. Last but not least I had this one meal at Al Carbon actually on the same street of the Air BnB we stayed in that was just amazing and so simple. Grilled vegetable kabobs and they were seasoned to perfection with tostones with garlic it was amazing. And they give you this combination of like crusty rustic bread, bread sticks, and a flat bread before your meal with three sauces one was this salsa and another was this creamy bean sauce and a white sauce that we didn’t try (it wasn’t vegan) and the sauces were so good like 5 star meal hands down. There was also a place a street over called  5 Esquinas Trattoria that we went to the first night we were in Cuba and got veggie pizzas without cheese (I know not very Cuban also forgot to take pics of this pizza and another veggie pizza we got at Hotel Silvia) but this place actually happened to have a buffet breakfast that we continued to go to all week because it was $4.50 a person and included unlimited juice and coffee. Actually, most of the meals we ate were fairly cheap actually all of them were except Al Carbon was $53 for the two of us. But Habana 61 where we had rice, beans, and plantains was $27 I think for the 3 of us so everything’s fairly priced food wise. Mojitos were also really cheap like the first mojito I had was $3 the most I paid for one was $6 and that’s unheard of in the States. Like I would move to Cuba just for cheap mojitos. Anyway, enjoy these phots as much as I enjoyed the food!

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Bread and dips from Al Carbon

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Vegetable Kabobs from Al Carbon

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Al Carbon décor. It was a really beautiful restaurant

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Buffest Breakfast: papaya, watermelon, grilled veggies, jam pastry, mango, pineapple

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Habana 61 black beans, rice and plantains

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Mojito with all the fresh mint

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Fresh guava juice

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Cuban Coffee

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The mustard I still can’t get over I even tried to find it on amazon with no such luck.

I loved Cuba so much that we’re already planning a trip to go back next year and I would love to also start traveling more with Sage – she’s been to Chicago a couple times and to Alabama a couple times. But that’s it. I really want to go to New York next year, New Mexico, and back to Seattle.

September Playlist

Hey everyone!

Can’t believe its already a new month feels like the closer we get to fall the faster summer is moving along. This is one of my favorite playlists I’ve put together (I feel like this about most of them though so not saying much). I just love listening to new music and sometimes the oddest songs go really well together on shuffle. There are a few mellower songs on this playlist but probably because I’ve been feeling a little more emotional and intune with my emotions than usual (guess I have the Pisces full moon to thank for that) but I’m also feeling really grounded with this Virgo energy, so yeah. I always feel like transitioning into fall is weird its like getting off a really nice high (summer) but I’m ready for fall because I feel like I always grow so much during the fall and winter months as its a period of looking in more than out like summer is.

Anyway, I’m rambling. This is a good playlist listen to it. Tell me what you all think and as always suggest songs for me to listen to for the next playlist.

September Playlist

Mom Talk #1

Hey everyone,
I’ve really wanted to start a dialogue of sorts here on my blog and on Instagram where mother’s can discuss certain topics that we all may go through or think through. The first one has to do with my recent vacation girls trip to Cuba. I know there’s a lot of stigma around mother’s having their own lives outside of their children. More often than not mother’s can be looked at as “bad moms” or as selfish in pursuing their own endeavors. Society can be hard on mother’s while also not trying to understand the many mental and emotional battles mother’s go through. Yes, I am a mother but I am also woman and girl. And those other titles have just as many responsibilities to self as mother has to my daughter. When a girl has her period she has her first lesson in what it means to not be in control of what the outside world thinks of her – her body and how she should feel. Well, who knew that this would only get more extreme when a woman becomes a mother.
It is way more acceptable for men to have a life outside of the home. Go out for drinks after work, go on business trips etc. But when a mother does these things its “how do you cope with being away from your children?” or its the judgment “oh, I could never leave my kids for that long”. I know having discussions about these issues isn’t going to make everyone agree or even everyone see these situations differently but I think its time the conversations about these things became more and more common.
I myself had these same judgements and questions come up when I decided to go on this trip to Cuba for a week for my friends birthday. Many family members asked me why I couldn’t shorten the trip. Or they made comments about do you think your daughter will be okay. This of course made me doubt if I should be going on the trip at all. And it did make me worry about my daughters well being even though she was going to be with her father and grandmother for the week. It is always I feel a struggle an inner one an emotional and mental one for me to ask others to take care of or watch Sage if I’m doing something that is personal for me and not time away for work. But I know this struggle is more so a society stigma that I have picked up on. Is a mother a bad mother for having a social life? Is a mother a bad mother for prioritizing a social life? Or time to herself? Is self-care extended to moms?
These are all questions I want to discuss and start a dialogue around. Leave comments or stories here. Leave tips or advice. Or talk about your own struggles with this topic. I want to continue this discussion on my Instagram as well. @motherandspirit_

 

I look forward to interacting with you all on this topic!

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