cleaning up our act

Over the weekend I had family over for dinner and some brussel sprouts roasting in the oven. Seems like no big deal, but I burnt them. I was seriously looking forward to eating them, and so was everyone else. Like any kitchen mishap, I had some cleanup to do; the half sheet pan they were roasting on needed a good scrubbing. In using the old elbow grease, I had a revelation about our own need for taking care of ourselves and how it’s never too late to start cleaning up our act.

HebrewDawn: cleaning up our act

I neglected to get a before shot of my half sheet pan, but let’s just say it had a good layer of burnt brussel sprouts on it, along with seasoning from previous forays in the kitchen.  I had a moment of negative self-talk about how I’d let things get out of control; for how filthy my pan was and my neglect for scrubbing it all off earlier. But let’s be real, all the bacon, roasts (chicken, beef, ham), and delectable vegetables left their marks on the pan that a regular sponge or dishwasher couldn’t get off. It took me getting out the Brillo pad, scrubbing, and SCRUBBING to get that pan back to its shiny self.

As I scrubbed and scrubbed, it got me thinking about the ways in which we take care of ourselves. How at times, a messy pan can be intimidating. How when our work is so clearly cut out for us, it makes us feel nervous. The pressure of can we/can’t we sets in and it’s downright scary. Let’s face it, we all kinda want to eat a little cleaner, to live a little more active lifestyle, to donate a little more to organizations we believe in…but finding the time, the energy, the money can make us feel anxious.

When the scaries set in, the best defense is a small step forward. There are many little things we can do each day to take better care of ourselves. Instead of trying to wrangle them all at once, choose just one or two and see if you can stick to it. Park a little farther away from the office if you can. Challenge yourself to bring nutritious lunch to work for three days in a row. Set a “mental break” timer at work to give yourself a chance to refresh after a session of intense focus. When we break down our goals into smaller “bites” it can seem much more manageable. Plus we generate momentum by achieving these little milestones along the way.

HebrewDawn: cleaning up our act

Sometimes we don’t take the first step to take care of ourselves because we’re afraid of how hard it’s going to be. Sometimes we feel like that burnt brussel baking sheet; like we will never get back to our old self. But if we don’t try how will we ever make any progress? The first day is always going to be hard, but a month from now it will be easier and we will be stronger. Every day you show up, every day you try to reach your goals, you’re proving to yourself it can be done. This positive experience will snowball and it WILL become easier. Although you will have to experience it for yourself.

I want to end today by saying that we all have work to do in this self-improvement department. Deep down we all have things we want to do better, but it all starts with the first step. After all, little changes over time really make a difference.

Let’s do this!

xoxo,

C

coming out of the fog

HebrewDawn: coming out of the fog

My daughter is just about to turn nine months old, which means she will be out as long as she was in. As we hit this milestone I finally feel like I’m coming out of the proverbial new mom fog. If you’re in the midst of the fog you might know what I’m talking about. If your past it, I’m almost certain you know what I’m talking about. Whether we’re in it or past it, we all eventually come out of the fog.

As a mom, it is always an adjustment to embrace your new found identity. You had this baby that spent nine months growing inside of you, but now it is learning to live outside of you. You spent months adjusting your growing belly and now you must recalibrate and learn to provide for this little person all the time. 

Not only are you learning caregiving skills, but you also have this new identity called motherhood to embrace. You’ve gone from being your own person, and now your some little person’s whole world. If you already have older children, you’re learning how to share yourself with all the little people vying for your attention. No matter how many children you have, it’s always an adjustment to accept the new you.

When you have a baby, they’re always worried about you having postpartum depression. No one talks about this fog you’re living in. With so many things changing in your body, your life, identity, etc. you spend your days with your mind spinning. I am here to share something with you that I’ve heard from almost every mom; adjusting to this new identity as a mother is a challenge for everyone. I’ve also heard from almost every mom that we do make it out of the fog and see our world clearly once more. The way we see our life and world may be different than before, but it is now filled with lots of love and joy. 

yours in motherhood,

C

HebrewDawn: coming out of the fog

slow down…

HebrewDawn: slow down
Lately, I’ve stopped taking the highway on some of the routes near my house because I’ve come to a realization. The view is much nicer when taking the roads less traveled. This new desire to slow down didn’t happen overnight.

At least once a week for the last month I’ve noticed something new, discovered an interesting event when traveling near my house. Over the weekend a question suddenly hit me when debating taking I295 (an interstate going through part of central Virginia) or driving down Mountain Road (a road in Glen Allen where I live)…

Why are you in such a hurry? Why don’t you slow down?

Besides, taking the interstate rather than other routes isn’t always faster. Sometimes traffic is backed up and could have been avoided by staying off the highway. But most of all, if I did not to drive down the local roads I would zoom past what’s happening in my community.

If I’m always in such a hurry, I forgo the opportunity to see the improvements that make where I live better. I miss out on the events that matter to the community in which live, and the chance to be a part of them.

So now I ask you, why don’t you slow down? Why are you in such a hurry? What are you rushing past and missing in the world around you?

Our desire to hurry isn’t always in the car. It’s in our desire to be “connected” to our digital world. Our need to monitor the updates, our mindless scrolling. Sometimes we forget that when we are “online” we are out of touch with what’s happening now. our faces are looking down, we fail to see what’s happening around us.

Why are you in such a hurry? Why don’t you slow down?

Let’s take a deep breath, and enjoy where we are and instead of always focusing on where we’re going. Let’s relinquish the need to be in control of everything. Let’s commit to allowing space to savor the good around us. Let’s stop rushing through life and start slowing down.

xoxo,

C

HebrewDawn: slow down

to the perfect parents

HebrewDawn: to the perfect parents

Dear Perfect Parent,

I have a few things I’d like to share with you today. I want to commend your efforts at being the perfect parent, because it’s not somethings we all aspire to be in life. You believe in the depths of your being that you are doing everything exactly right, and that you have a thing or two you can teach the rest of us.

You are decidedly the best example about breastfeeding or formula feeding, when to start your child on solid food, when to send your child to preschool and kinergarten. Oh! Let’s not forget about extra activities like soccer, dance, music lessons, and swimming. You most assuredly make time for your child to do it all. God forbid a parent choose themselves over their child wants.

Do you sense my sarcasm yet? I hope so, and I hope you’ll join me in doing the following…

No more shaming.

No more blaming.

No more judging.

START supporting others.

Let’s get our views of perfection straight and get them in check. They are ruining amazing mom/dad friend opportunities. Let’s not assume that someone is shaming, blaming, or judging us. Instead, let us assume that the perfect parents are all of us and that we all want to support one another.

Let’s do this parenting thing y’all!

C

done is enough

How often do you fret over going the extra mile on the project that’s been assigned to you at work? How many times have you worried about finding the perfect vendor to complete an update or correction to something in your home? How often have you said no to a volunteer opportunity because you didn’t think you were knowledgeable enough? Have you ever considered that done is enough?

Over the years I’ve learned to let go on having that work email typed out and articulated “just” right. Once I learned to let go, I’ve been the editor for coworkers stressing about sending out the “perfect” email. More times than not, the final product is not all that different from the orignal version that was being fretted over for not being quite right.

Over the years my husband and I have spent hours looking into every possible lawn care company that could solve all of our problems. We’ve reached out to neighbors to find out what works for them and their yard. We’ve then worried if it’s worth the month, if there are too many chemicals, and what if we made the wrong decision. We spent so much time researching and worrying that it delayed having a beautiful yard we can enjoy.

Over the years I’ve recruited countless volunteers who doubted their ability to serve. They though that they couldn’t be a Girl Scout leader because they were never a Girl Scout, but they turned out to be the most dedicated to learning EVERYTHING about the program, it’s history, and how to lead their girls. These leaders were more than capable and simply needed to say yes and get through their orientation. 

I’m not convinced that the driving factor in all of this is perfectionism. I am inclined to believe that it’s our own fear of judgement from others that we aren’t completing the job to perfection, choosing the best vendor for the job, or being the best person for a volunteer position. If we can let go of this fear of criticism or ridicule, we might we see that we did the best we could, we did find the right person for the job, and that we are a good fit for the opportunity.

Perhaps, if we can accept that done is enough, we will learn…

  • that anything we complete is done exceptionally well
  • we cannot spend all of our time researching, because we are missing out on other things in our life 
  • that we are capable and called to serve for ne volunteer opportunities

Don’t be afraid to say yes and know that done is enough.
HebrewDawn: done is enough

mommy brain is real

Whether you have kids or not, I’m certain you have heard about Mommy Brain. My dearest Erica (aka happedancing) always wondered if it was real, and then a few of her close friends had children. One of the first things she said to me was, “DUDE, mommy brain is real!” Of course I responded, “oh yes, mommy brain is definitely real! Thanks to it, I feel half-stupid all the time.”

Since having kids I have moments of feeling functionally crazy or off my rocker. Frequently my husband questions the half done projects, things left on the tables/counter, and tasks left undone around the house. I attribute all of this to mommy brain. But none of these compare to the Chicken Incident.

I was just a couple months postpartum from having our second when I invited my friend Steph and her daughter over for dinner. I warned her it wouldn’t be anything super fancy as we were running errands that day. We both agreed that time spent together was of greater importance than a fancy meal together.

The incident…

That afternoon I took a trip to Costco with the girls, to keep the oldest entertained (she LOVES their samples). I also went to get some needed groceries, and I picked up a rotisserie chicken. I almost always get a rotisserie chicken if it’s anywhere close to dinner, because I know I’ll get at least two meals out of it. Work smarter not harder right?

HebrewDawn: mommy brain is real

Once we got home I put the chicken in the oven to keep it warm until dinner time. Next I put on a pot of brown rice to cook, because I figured I might as well make the sides healthy if I was bailing out of cooking the main dish. Right about that time Stephanie arrived. The weather was so gorgeous we decided we had to go enjoy some time at the playground with our girls. After awhile we came back to the house thinking the rice would be almost done so we could get a vegetable made to go along with our easy but healthy dinner.

In the midst of doing this I remember that I needed to warm up the chicken since it had been a little while since we got home and turned the oven on (mind you our oven defaults to 350 degrees). I started preparing some broccoli to sautée on the stove, turned on the stove to get the cast iron skillet hot, and then I noticed something about the rice cooker. The remaining cook time on the rice was 75 minutes and we need to feed the girls in about 20 Minutes as it was close to meltdown time for two hungry three year olds.

Suddenly something smelt a little burny (I don’t think that’s really a word, but I’m going with it). Then I remembered that I had put the chicken in there earlier to keep it warm. The chicken now had it’s plastic container melted all around it. *face palm*

HebrewDawn: mommy brain is real

Mommy brain struck again and I had ruined dinner. I waited too long to start the brown rice, and most importantly the chicken was inedible with melted plastic all around it. This was moment that I could have chosen to cry, but all I could do was laugh and give thanks that I had a good friend with me.

HebrewDawn: mommy brain is real

We turned off dinner, loaded the kids in the car and went to Chick-fil-A. I may have had hopes of providing a healthy dinner of chicken, brown rice, and broccoli for dinner, but fed was definitely best that night. Not to mention the two almost hungry three year olds were tickled to have dinner together at one of their favorite places. I guess mommy brain isn’t always so bad for everyone?

there is good in this world

I think it’s safe to say that there is a LOT going on in this world that is breaking our hearts, making us angry, and causing us to wonder  what in tarnation is our state/country/world coming to. Despite all the hate and indefensible things going on around us, I want to remind you that there still is an an abundance of good. 


Have you seen or utilized A Little Free Library? Our neighborhood Girl Scout troop added one next to our playground, and it has brought an abundance of joy to so many already. Almost every time my oldest goes to the playground she picks out a book to take back and checks a new one out. Frequently on my drive home from work I see members of our community, both young AND old, “checking out” a book from the library. If you do not have one in your area, I highly recommended working with your community to add one.

In the midst of the flooding caused by hurricane Harvey, a midwife packed her bags and traveled by inflatable swan to get to her laboring patient. Waist high water would not stop her from being present for a mother ready to meet her newest bundle of joy. 

This weekend we had the privilege of driving to Morganton, North Carolina to celebrate the wedding of our friend. On the way home we had the distinct pleasure of stopping in Raleigh to visit with my best friend Erica. Did you hear about the two long lost best friends reunited by their daughters being college roommates? Reading this made me ever so thankful for our time together yesterday. I most certainly couldn’t (nor do I want to) imagine my life without her, let alone 16 years of being separated.

Did you hear about Logic’s performance at the VMAs? His song, 1-800-273-8255, is named after the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and was written during his own battle with wanting to commit suicide. His performance led to a 50% increase in hotline calls. His own struggle is helping so many others, and it comes at a fitting time as this Sunday, September 10th is National Suicide Awareness Day.

As you go about your day and begin this week, I hope you remember that there is good in this world regardless of what may happen to try and convince you otherwise.

Sick Baby 

HebrewDawn: Motherhood Monday - Sick Baby
I had high hopes of getting a new post up today, but I’ve spent the weekend taking care of a sick baby since Friday. Luckily I had the day off as we had plans as a family to go down to Matthews, Virginia to spend the day with friends. Rather than spending the day in, on, or beside the water I spent Friday worrying about a pitiful baby who had a fever. 

Luckily our pediatrician wasn’t worried and gave me a few care instructions:

  • Keep my sweet baby resting, nursing,and eating  as much as we could. 
  • Alternate doses of Tylenol and Motrin to get the fever down. 
  • Call if anything changed in how frequently she was eating, wetting her diapers, or if the fever wasn’t down by Monday. 

We followed instructions and it all seems to have worked. Thank you for understanding the lack of a more substantial post. See you back later this week. 

The long silence

HebrewDawn: the long silence
For the last year I’ve mostly been silent here on HebrewDawn, stopped posting my queued up Real Mom posts, and basically neglected you all. All I can say is I’m sorry, but I’m ready to open up about why. 

In May 2016 I found out I was pregnant with our second, my oldest was getting close to turning three and blooming into being her own little person, and I suddenly had doubts about what or how much to share about my family. I’ve always been cautious about sharing their names, but details about their life and personality worry me too. What if someone uses info on my site or social media for the wrong reasons? What if I’m telling things my children will later wish I kept private? This internal wrestiling has gone on forever and then one of my favorite podcasts (Young House Love Has a Podcast) talked about this EXACT topic. Suddenly I didn’t feel alone, felt a little justified in my trepidation, and felt like I could back on the old blogging saddle. 

I can honestly say that I have missed you all. I’ve heard from some of you during my writing silence asking what’s going on, and for that I am thankful. I hope you know that I have never taken you my followersfor granted  have been saving things to share with you throughout my silence. Please hang in there as I come back to finding my writing rhythm, but I promise to not be so silent anymore! I have no plans to keep my family (particularly my kids) off the blog, but I do plan on changing how much you see of them on here and on social media. What all this will look like is still to be determined. Be back Monday with a new post from yours truly and Wednesday with a wellness post from Erica!

HebrewDawn: the long silence

The end of pregnancy questions

HebrewDawn: The end of pregnancy questions

First off, I want to say sorry this isn’t a more uplifting post, but I’m going to be honest about current and recent sentiments. I have been very quiet on HebrewDawn for much of my pregnancy, and I’m not completely certain as to why. Perhaps I just wanted to process my thoughts on this pregnancy and becoming a mom to two on my own before writing them. Moving forward I do plan to open up and share more about how life and motherhood is going with the transition  from one girl to two, including all the ups and downs.

On to current feelings….

A little over a year ago I wrote this post for a few of my friends who were near or drawing near to their due dates, and here I find myself in their shoes.  I’m days from my due date, and I’ve only hit my “over it” moment last week. Luckily, this was not as early as with my first, AND  frankly I’m quite proud that I made it to 38 weeks and 2 days before hitting that point this time.

HebrewDawn: the end of pregnancy questions
Now that I’m at the “over it” point of my pregnancy, the well meaning questions from every friend, family member, co-worker, and stranger off the street is driving me CRAZY. So here are my favorite questions, and how I wish I could respond:

How are you feeling? Tired of being pregnant and uncomfortable from the necessary body changes for labor to begin. Other than that I’m great, because this discomfort means I get to meet my baby soon!

How much longer do you have? No way of knowing as due dates are just an estimate! I’m “due” in a few days, but babies arrive anywhere between 39.5 and 41.5 weeks. Also, there are no plans to induce me unless we’re creeping up on 42 weeks. God, please don’t let that happen!

Do you know what you’re going to have? A human baby. At our 20 week ultrasound they said it’s a girl, and I’m praying it’s right. It would be really awkward to dress a baby boy in a little sister outfit.

You’re not going to go into labor right here are you? I could, but it doesn’t really matter. Labor takes quiet a bit of time to progress before a baby comes out. Last I checked babies don’t just fall out.

Are you still working? Yes, because there’s always work for me to get done. Oh, and there’s no reason to waste my maternity leave before the baby arrives.

Is the baby here yet? Not yet, and hopefully my little one will be here VERY soon. Just remember that as excited as you are for this baby to arrive, my husband, daughter, and I are the most excited and we are anxiously waiting for labor to start.

Will you tell me when the baby arrives? Yes! BUT those that need to know first (people present in the delivery room or taking care of my daughter, my boss) will be notified when I go into labor. Everyone else will find out after the baby is born, most likely via social media.

What are you doing while you wait?
I’m going to try and smile nicely to anyone asking one of these well meaning questions.

BUT I cannot promise that I won’t respond in a snarky fashion to the questions, that I won’t ignore phone calls, and that I’ll respond to every text message sent to me.

I do promise that I am going to relax as best I can and enjoy these final moments of being a family of three.