We have been really blessed by friends and family after Elliott’s birth. New parenthood is a time of intense emotions, of love and sleep deprivation. We are pretty good as a culture at providing for the physical needs of a new baby by showering them with clothes and cribs, but the needs of new parents are often overlooked. I wanted to share some of the gifts that have been most helpful for us in hopes that they can be blessings passed along to someone else.
- MEAL TRAIN: We haven’t made a single meal all month. Our friend Karen organized a meal train from my bridal shower list. Each of the ladies signed up for a night to make our family a meal after Elliott arrived, then every other night for the month someone has brought us something delicious to eat. It has been AMAZING to not have to worry about what is for dinner or making frequent trips to the grocery store.
- MOM CARE SUPPLIES: Some of the best gifts came from other new Mom’s. They gave me things I didn’t even know that I needed. Things for lactation like Mothers Milk Tea and Lactation Cookies. Personal care items for post birth like New Mama Spray and Nipple Balm.
- HEALTHY SNACKS: There is very little time to fix anything to eat with a newborn, so grab and go items are essential. My favorites have been yogurt, fruit, granola bars, cheese sticks, trail mix, and hummus. A care package of these for a new mom would be VERY appreciated.
- NETFLIX: A netflix subscription has been great since new moms spend a lot of time breast feeding on the couch.
- CHORES: Doing a load of laundry or the dishes for a new Mom is an invaluable gift. Or you could purchase a gift card for a housecleaning service if you do not live in the area.
- NO THANK YOUS: Take the pressure off new Mom’s by assuring that your gift requires no thank you note, or that you understand that the thoughtful e-mail you sent requires no speedy reply.
We saw Granny’s work on a recent trip to Asheville, NC. I wanted to share it since it made me so happy.
I’ve been reading a lot about the Danish idea of Hygge. It’s a word that roughly translated means “cozy” but encompasses untranslatable feelings of warmth, comfort, and companionship. Hygge is one of the reasons that despite having long cold winters Danes are still ranked among the happiest people on earth. I am not a big fan of winter, after the lights of the holidays go out I usually get a long bout of seasonal affective disorder. Here are some of my hygge inspired coping mechanisms I plan on employing.
- LIGHT: Lots of aromatherapy candles spread throughout the house in energizing scents.
- BLANKETS: big cozy ones in big piles
- COMFORT FOOD: Bowls of Soup, cups of tea, oatmeal, roast chicken
- FRIENDS: I think my winter needs more laughter. A couple weeks ago we went to a neighbors house, I brought cookies and tea. We sat in front of their wood stove and chatted for hours. It definitely brightened my dreary day.
- COZY SHOWS: Thank the Lord that we will have Downton Abbey to look forward to January 4th. (Let me know if you have any other recommendations!)
- WARM CLOTHES: The Danes also say, “there’s no bad weather, just bad clothing”. I think that bundling up and getting whatever sunshine I can would be enormously helpful for my well being.
Do you have any Winter coping strategies?
I was looking over my goals for 2014 and laughing. This year has been an eventful one, but not because I accomplished even half of the things on my list. I have been reminded over and over that as much as I want to plan, sometimes we are called to give in and be along for the ride.
Here is a snapshot of our roller coaster.
It has been amazing to watch these events unfold and see how we have been provided for. We are so thankful that we had an emergency fund in place and very few expenses when Jason got laid off. It made that initial “oh shit” feeling momentary. It also pushed us outside of our comfort zones to go and get some really interesting freelance gigs that we would have been really intimidated by other wise.
And hooray for Baby Harmon!
Other notable highlights
I was walking into the grocery store yesterday when I caught the glance of an African woman in a beautiful orange wax print dress. I told her that I loved her dress. She smiled, waved her hand to point at my printed pants, tried to find the right words and said I love you.
Urban living can be taxing especially in the Summer. It’s hot and smelly, and crime rates go up. I dream of having a Philly version of a Dacha. Dacha’s are country houses outside the cities of Russia where people escape to during the warmer months. They are traditionally pretty rustic with no plumbing or electricity and on less than .15 acres of land. But they are places where the working class are able to escape to the country, to grow their own food, and enjoy nature.
Who’s with me? Plot of land just off the regional rail line?
I had been thinking about getting a new sewing machine. I was making leather baby booties for a craft show and my target special sewing machine was not cutting it. So I started looking on craigslist for possible options, industrial machines were $600+ and I couldn’t justify that investment. I thought that I would pray about it and wait. This would be a good time to mention that I have a weird theory on provisions that you can read here.
So I waited, and then a few weeks later we went on and adventure to Baltimore and I met a nice lady who had been making leather bags. She was showing me her set up when Jason pointed to the machine she was using. It was the exact same kind that we had sitting on our mantle for decoration. It was a machine that Jason had purchased for his Mom as a Christmas gift years before and we inherited it back when Jason’s Mom passed away. It turns out that it is a highly sought after sewing machine because it is so strong. I was so excited that we ALREADY HAD THE MACHINE I NEEDED!
There was a problem though, the machine was locked and not in usable condition. I took it to a sewing machine repair shop in Philly and they said that they could not fix it. I was starting to think that it wasn’t meant to be so I was perusing craigslist for similar machines. I found one that was beautiful, and when I inquired about it I was really disappointed to find out that it had been sold. I noticed the craigslist seller had a couple beautiful machines for sale so I asked where he had his machines serviced in hopes that I could find someone who could fix our sewing machine. It turns out that the seller was a retired sewing machine repair man and said he would take a look at our machine. I drove it to his house and he said no problem, fixed it for a deeply discounted rate and he found me an old antique solid walnut table that was designed for our exact machine. All of it made me so happy! I am so pleased that I will be able to use this machine that has sentimental value to my family to create new heirlooms. What a blessing!
I have so many stories like this! My new bike has it’s own weird story, as does this white shirt. They are provisions!
I had such a nice weekend and wanted to share some of my favorite things with you.
- Biking everywhere! I got a new road bike on craigslist and traveling the city this way has been a whole new world. Different parts of the city feel way more accessible.
- I finally got the chance to visit the bulk vintage warehouse in Kensington. The place is HUGE with boxes and boxes of presorted vintage clothing on the cheap.
- I had a the best bagel with cream cheese and home made strawberry and thyme jam from the Soup Kitchen.
- Jason and I biked to Chinatown to check out this restaurant called Tasty Place. It’s in the corner of an underground grocery store. I like it because it’s so hidden and it feels like a secret. I’m also mildly obsessed with salt baked chicken wings with chili sauce. So good!