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inward

Happy New Year Everyone! Welcome to 2017. I have a feeling it’s going to be pretty interesting and unpredictable year!

Everyone has been hating on 2016 for being “the worst,” and I totally sympathize. Certain aspects of it felt that way. However, there were some pretty wonderful things that happened too.

For my family, we experienced some great milestones. Rob graduated from medical school and matched into our preferred program. We made a big move to a place we are loving. Pookie turned 3, and we welcomed Roberta Jr. into our family. That’s a lot in one year for us! No wonder we feel a little exhausted (or is that just all the midnight and 4 am feedings??). 😉

For the past two years, I’ve chosen a word to guide me through the year. In 2015, my word(s) was “slow down.” I wrote it on a white board in my kitchen, where I seemed to spend most of my time. The kitchen also happened to be the place where I felt the most frantic. The words would catch my eye throughout the day as I hustled and bustled about and it helped me immensely to just pause, take a deep breath, and start again with more presence and purpose. It served me well.

My word for 2016 was “trust.” I knew it was going to be a big year. Between The Match process, away rotations, a big move, making new friends and creating a new home, plus the surprise of Roberta Jr. (we expected it to take a lot longer to get pregnant again!), I knew I would drive myself crazy with all the “what-ifs” and unknowns. I needed to have something constant to ground me. Reminding myself to “trust” did just that. I still had some really hard moments, but coming back to “trust” over “fear,” kept me going and hopeful.

This year, my word came to me about a month ago. It popped into my head, like my other words have, and it immediately struck a chord. I’ve been using it on a daily basis and I’m already seeing growth and change in myself. I’m finally ready for what this word can show me.

My word for 2017 is “inward.”

Like all humans do, I give much more attention to looking outward for answers, rather than looking within myself. I habitually get caught up looking for external things to give me re-assurance, approval, acceptance, and happiness.

In Buddhism, one of the main practices we work on is called “nangpa.” Nangpa is Tibetan for “insider,” meaning someone who seeks the truth not from the outside, but from within the nature of their own mind. This practice forms the basis of Buddhist teachings. Being an insider helps us free ourselves from fear and realize the truth of life.

As much as I have tried to go inward throughout the years and throughout my studies in Buddhism, it is really hard! However, I feel finally ready to start moving through this outward-focused habit and make a greater committment to becoming “nangpa.”

My inward focus is asking me to bring my attention to not only taking care of myself, but to be increasingly more present and available for my family and friends, as well as to reach out in my community in ways I have hoped to do for a long time. I want to really start living my values, not just talking about them.

I’m also starting to revisit my purpose for this blog – is it a public diary, a self-help guide, or a potential part-time gig that could provide income? At this point, I’m not sure and I only want to post things that I feel are valuable and useful. After almost two years of posting weekly, it feels right to slow things down for awhile in order to gain some clarity. I plan to continue posting on this blog, I will just do so less frequently and when I feel like I have something truly meaningful to say and share.

And, I’ve also got my hands full with two beautiful children and a husband in residency! So some space and grace is especially needed right now.

So there you have it. I welcome your comments and thoughts – feel free to comment below! – and I encourage you to sign-up to follow my blog via email so you know when a new post goes up.

Thank you, thank you, for reading, following, and supporting me. I am so grateful!!

May 2017 be your year to feel a bit more peace, share a bit more love, and have more fun! xoxoxo

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Happy Holidays!

Family 2016

Here’s what a family photo shoot is really like! 😀

A little note from me to you,
To wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year too.
May your holidays be filled with fun and cheer,
And may you have plenty of love, peace, and happiness this next year!

I’m not a poet, but it was fun to rhyme for you anyway!

There will be no post next week, so you’ll hear from me after the New Year. Safe travels and enjoy all the goodies, the giving and receiving, and the time with family and friends. Let’s all unplug a bit and be present with each other during these precious times we have together!

Much love and Happy Holidays! xoxoxo

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Pookie turns 3!!

pookie-3

Last week, my beautiful Pookie turned 3! We were able to have two small celebrations, which ended up being perfect for us since we just had another baby, and it also fit Pookie’s style to keep things small and intimate.

We had a family birthday party during Thanksgiving weekend when Rob’s side of the family was in town. One of Pookie’s cousins recently had her birthday as well, so we did a little joint celebration for the both of them, complete with a Frozen birthday cake. Pookie was in heaven!

family-bday

 

Then on her birthday, we had a small playdate at our cozy apartment with a few friends including snacks, brownies, and little craft boxes I compiled from the Target $1 section. I was pretty proud of myself for getting this together while having a newborn in the house. It ended up being perfect. Just enough celebration without any stress or much prep.

As all parents say, it’s hard to believe our kids are the age they are. I still remember vividly the day that Pookie was born. It’s seems like it has gone so fast, but also incredibly slow at the same time. The days are long but the years are short.

And again, as all parents say, I think my Pookie is pretty darn amazing. In honor of her birthday, here are a few things I love about this kid:

  1. She’s one of the sweetest toddlers you’ll meet. Her teachers comment about how she’s such a joy to have in their class. Sitters say that she follows directions almost all the time and is such a joy to spend time with. My mommy heartstrings are pulled!!
  2. She’s silly and fun. She makes silly faces, makes up songs, dances around and makes up games. When she’s in a good mood, her energy and smiles are contagious!
  3. She’s an observer. I call her “slow to warm” around new people and situations. She’s a kid that likes to fully assess a situation, or person, numerous times before she’s comfortable joining in. Risk-taker she is not. Calm and calculated she is. Wonder where she gets it from??? 😉
  4. She still takes naps. Serious points in this category!!

She’s had a great three years and now she’ll enter into a new chapter, not only as a 3-year-old with new abilities and responsibilities, but also with being a big sister and learning to be a good friend to her playmates.

As part of her growing up, I’ve decided to start doing a “birthday box” each year that is part fun and part development – focused on her developing as a member of our household and society, as well as spiritually. This year, I got her a book about different religions, her own Ganesha statue, coupons for dates with me and Rob, and also a list of her new responsibilities. It will be a little while before I’m able to really implement these responsibilities (I’m just a bit busy and tired these days!), but it’s something to work toward.

bday-box

So here’s to another great year with my beautiful, kind, caring, fun, and super sharp girl. I love her to the moon and back, and am so proud of her!!

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Recipe: One Pot Beef Stroganoff

beef-stroganoff-full
Hey guys. Let me tell ya – newborn land is tough! We’re figuring it out of course, and it’s actually going really good, we are just having to adjust our expectations of what can be accomplished right now. When your priority is getting enough sleep to function, other “to-dos” quickly become not-essential. Who needs clean clothes and clean dishes anyway? You’d be surprised with how little you need to get by when necessary!
For today’s post, I needed to keep things easy, so I’m sharing a recipe that has become a staple in our house. With the holidays upon us, full of friend and family gatherings, this recipe is a go-to. It’s a comfort-food hit, feeds a lot of people, and is easy on the budget.
I found this recipe on Pinterest a few months back while looking for quick meals that were relatively healthy and had some vegetables in it. Since then, I’ve made this dish probably five or six times. I’m putting the regular recipe below, with my modifications in parenthesis.
Give it a try and let me know what you think! I hope you find it as tasty as we do! 🙂
ONE POT BEEF STROGANOFF
INGREDIENTS
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 16 oz cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • Salt & pepper to taste (I salt each layer, liberally)
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 to 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 lb. of lean ground beef
  • 2 teaspoons paprika + more if needed (I omit this since I can’t have it, but instead I add Herbs de Provence or Italian Spices)
  • 4 cups beef stock
  • 8 oz. egg noodles
  • (Fresh Spinach – I like more veggies, so I add a lot of fresh spinach right at the end of cooking)
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • Parsley for garnish (I rarely add this)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Using a large pot or large sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Add in the onions and garlic. Cook until the onions are translucent.
  2. Add the ground beef and cook until all browned. Stir in the paprika (or other herbs). Add in beef stock and egg noodles. Stir together and cover with lid. Let simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes. Lower the heat, add in the sour cream and mix until incorporated. Taste and season with more kosher salt and pepper if desired.
  3. Garnish with parsley, serve and enjoy!

 

Photo and Recipe courtesy of HipFoodieMom.

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One for all the moms out there

mom-and-daughter

The more of these “mom” experiences I have, the more I am in complete awe of other moms. I remember after I gave birth to my first daughter, Pookie, I saw women in a new light, with a whole new level of respect. I started to notice how many moms I passed by each day and was totally amazed that they had gone through what I had just gone through. Regardless of how a birth experience plays out, it takes a strength, a grace, and a beauty like nothing else to bring a child into this world.

And in those early weeks of new motherhood, I felt so incredibly honored and joyous to have joined this sacred circle of women. I felt like I had passed an initiation – and I was filled with a hope like I had never experienced. If all these women not only carried new life in their bodies and birthed them into the world, but did the hard work of caring for them and raising them, there is much more beauty in this world than I had ever realized.

My first year of motherhood had its ups and downs, complete with a mourning stage where I had to come to terms with the new “me” and had to start letting go of who I was before becoming a mother. This article sums up this rite of passage nicely. It actually took me until the Spring of this year to fully release the grasping of my old self and embrace who I am now.

And during the last three years, I’ve marveled again and again at the things that moms, as well as dads, live through with their children. All the celebrations and challenges and how we continue to rise the next day, again and again, to be there for our children and bring our best.

I’ve now passed through another initiation – I am the mom of two. Roberta Jr. is 2.5 weeks old and we are discovering how this new life as a family of four will work. I’m learning how to balance nursing her every 2 hours while also tending to the needs of a toddler and trying to meet my own needs.

I’ve heard that the second child is much more relaxed because they have to be. Their needs are not tended to right away like they were with the first. I see this possibility already, as I find moments where Roberta is left to cry for several minutes while I finish helping Pookie with something. I tell her I hear her and that I’ll be over to help her as soon as I can. Sometimes she’ll stop crying and wait patiently and other times, it sounds like she’s being tortured. And it works the other way as well. Pookie is having to be more independent and do more things herself because she doesn’t want to wait for me to be available to help her.

We are finding a groove and I’m learning to be a lot more relaxed with how everything goes down. Things will get done in their own time and few things need immediate action or attention. I’m focusing on communicating to my girls, as well as to myself, that I’m aware of what needs to be addressed, and I’m going to address it when I can. Patience is something we’ll get to work on a lot in the coming months! 😀

Moment by moment and day by day, we are creating our new normal. Here’s to another new adventure!

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