Are We Doing Resolutions?

The other day I was at dinner with my mom and we were talking about New Year's resolutions. Usually I have mine all ready...and if I don't, I at least have a list of things I don't want to repeat again this year. This year, though, I guess it just wasn't on my radar. I swear to god, this whole pregnancy thing makes me so absent-minded sometimes....I am more fly by the seat of my pants these days than anything else.

Or, as I put it with my mom in regard to this year, "Let's just see what gets fucked up and then we'll try and fix it." Hey, it's an approach that is likely to work, right???

But then I did think about it a little more and my goals for this year do, in fact, extend beyond crisis management. 2013 was all about transformation of the mind for me. It was a learning year for sure, and the biggest lesson that I learned was that I needed to allow life to happen more naturally. I had to surrender to the inertia of it all and embrace uncertainty.

For this lesson I most credit my grandmother. Her passing, showed me that nothing is certain, that people can be unpredictable, and that through it all you have to maintain who you are. If you know who you are in life, then you should have the confidence to weather any storm. I found a lot of strength this year and the culmination of all of that was getting pregnant. Deciding to have a child meant that I finally had enough faith to take a leap and be connected to someone else forever....well, I guess two someones really (my child and my husband!)

So this upcoming year is about standing in those choices and embracing the messiness of life that is coming at me. It's a little scary, but it's an adventure. What is life but a grand adventure, anyway!? I want to be able to maintain the laid back outlook my pregnancy has given me.

...and also, to see what gets fucked up and to fix it.

What's your resolution? Are you doing one or are you going to fly by the seat of your pants? Either way, I wanted to wish you all out there in cyber space a Happy New Year and BIG thank you for reading my blog and following my adventures!

May 2014 be a magical year for you and yours! 

Asian Coleslaw Recipe

Several months back I came across, THIS Asian coleslaw recipe, and I made it. I fell in loooooove with this recipe and so did my husband. Before I knew it, he was asking for it all the time. I wanted to post this recipe before Christmastime, but I thought to myself that it wasn't a very "Christmasy" recipe. Well what do you know? I made this on Christmas for lunch with my dad.

Again, it was a BIG hit, and I thought, I just have to get this down. I have modified it from the original recipe to be a little easier for me and to incorporate things I have in my own pantry more often. For instance, I always seem to have powdered ginger, not fresh, so that is what I have used.

Either way, if you make this slaw, you might never make slaw another way. It's just so good. Soooooo good. I like to serve mine with hot dogs, hamburgers, or just a good sandwich. Oh, and any kind of pulled pork, but especially this Korean BBQ we get form the store. It's heavenly!

Billie's Asian Coleslaw 

You Will Need: 

1/2 head of green cabbage, sliced thin
Juice of 2 lemons
1/4 cup soy sauce 
1/4 cup olive oil 
2 teaspoons ground, dry ginger 
2 tablespoons brown sugar 
1 tablespoon sesame seed oil 
2 tablespoons rice vinegar 
1 teaspoon salt
20 grinds black pepper 
palmful of sesame seeds 
optional: a bunch of scallions, chopped. These taste amazing, but I forgot them. 


In a mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients and stir well, coating all the cabbage. 

Chill in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve. 

That was ridiculously easy, right? I know. 

Feminism Is For Everyone

For the past couple of years the articles, blogs, and general commentary on feminism seems to come in waves as one celebrity after another comes out and “declares” their feminist status. Then, the peanut gallery begins to weigh in on “how feminist” this person is, or they (worse) begin to pick apart why that just can’t be so. It all leaves me scratching my feminist head because I didn’t know that there was only one way to be a feminist....

This ain’t your mama’s feminism, I get it. The scene has morphed a lot since the days where our grandmas and moms were burning their bras. Yet, there is one thing that seems to remain pretty exclusive: this so-called feminist club that seems nearly impossible to get a stamp of approval in.

Here’s what I tend to see in the media with regards to feminism and how the collective “we” bashes on one another. (And I am sure I am leaving some out)
Enjoy cooking? Then you aren’t exactly all that liberated are you? Are you a mom? Well, we’re still at odds in many ways. Stay at home mom? Eh, more questionable still. Took your husband’s last name? Then you’ve given up your identity as a singular human woman. Republican? Traitor. Man? Enemy. And seriously, you can’t be feminist if you have a penis...we don’t include supporters.

It’s this “one size fits all” concept of feminism that just gets to me. It’s like feminism is eating itself when I hear these versions of exclusions. Women bashing women is a serious’s like when you hear a woman calling another a bitch. Well, doesn’t that just pave the way for men to do it as well?

Feminism has changed because people have changed. We’ve evolved and our concept of feminism has to have morphed as well. In fact, I argue that feminism has so deeply permeated our psyches as 20 and 30-somethings which has caused it to become a more well-rounded concept. This means that feminists can be moms (yes, even stay at home ones), or take their husbands last names, or be lesbians, or get abortions (or not), and perhaps even be Republicans.

Can I put this simply? Feminism is for everyone.

Yes, there are concepts that are clearly not feminist, but the feminists themselves don’t have to conform to a box where they aren’t free to stay at home, or change their names or be CEOs, or whatever. The whole point of the movement was equality and a just world that treats us the we have to be able to have choices and probability (and common sense) would dictate that we aren’t all going to choose the same things.

So when Beyonce or whoever is next comes out and declares they are a feminist, perhaps don’t try so hard to punch holes in their argument. Just add it to the list of diversified versions of feminism that we are logging these days. It’s a good thing. We can be different and yet united....what a feminist concept!

I Don't Plan on Being The Perfect Parent

It seems to me that first-time parents are a little obsessed with doing things right. I should know because my husband and I are about to become first timers and they try to market a lot books, theories and other junk that we don't need to us. Some of it I enjoy for its novelty; others, make me want to throw up in my mouth a little bit.

If there is one thing that I have learned so far in the four (almost five) months of being pregnant it's that you can't really prepare for whatever happens once your child is here. Parenthood, in this respect, represents the biggest leap of faith I have ever taken in my life. I'm doing the trust fall, and I hope I'm there to catch me on the other side. Now, I could get wrapped up in what will my child eat, where will more money, time, and more of "me" in general come from, but instead I have decided to focus solely on what I can control, which is basically getting the nursery ready.

I am not really planning on a birth plan (though my doula will tell me from time to time that I veering dangerously into birth plan territory) and I am not making much of parenting plan, either. My big plan for parenting? My husband and I are going to be ourselves. You know what that means? We don't plan on being perfect parents. It's a trap, anyway, in case you haven't surmised that on your own.

Parents who think they can do it all right are some of the most annoying people that you can ever hope to meet, and I don't want to be those people. I want to be a real person doing this life thing authentically and as far as I am concerned that means I am going to mess up. I am gonna keep my little fingers crossed we don't screw up too bad, but I am pretty sure that somewhere along the way I will:

Let my kid eat fast food
Drop the f-bomb multiple times in front of my kid (who knows, maybe in the same sentence)
Demonstrate some terrible behavior that I will quickly tell them not to tell daddy about
Piss my kid off over something they can't have, several times over
Fight with my husband only to realize kid has seen the whole thing
Pretend I didn't see them eat that thing off the ground

And many, many more things I can't even imagine....

Any mother I have ever spoken to has their own horror stories about the things they did that make them less than perfect parents. The funny thing is, most of them know that they occasionally screw up, make bad decisions or just plain don't care (exhaustion has a funny way of doing that, they tell me.) It's just that we are all running around trying so hard to "be the best" that we are too stubborn to admit we don't actually want to be perfect--we just want to be ourselves.

In the final analysis, I blame society for putting these ridiculous guilt trips on parents about what we should or shouldn't be doing and when. For whatever reason, American mothers seem to hold in more guilt than Catholics, and I just wanted to say: I'm not playing the guilt game. I'm gonna screw up as a parent, but I'm not going to punish myself over and over again or (worse) tell myself that any of these things make me a bad parent. I am going to be a parent who is present and attentive. I'm going to be funny, down to earth, and not riddled with guilt for the times when I am not living up to the standard of the day.

So whether you are an expectant mom, like me, or already a mom, I suggest you give yourself a break and not try and be perfect. And I don't just mean right this second--I mean all the time. Perfect is dull. Authenticity dictates that we have to be vulnerable enough to screw up, and you know what? Most of the time, it's a great learning lesson for children to see their parents be normal humans. I know that my parents have made mistakes and seeing them deal with it has helped me in my life up to now.

Be human. Be vulnerable. Do not attempt perfection--you'll be disappointed every time. 

Gift Givers & Receivers

I was doing my guided meditation with Deepak Chopra yesterday, and it was very timely to our Christmas holiday: it was about learning to receive the gifts that life gives you. Many of us are all too familiar with the phrase "tis better to give than receive." Likewise, we are also familiar with giving and giving and giving until we are depleted.

For me, during this pregnancy, being comfortable with receiving is something I had to do really quickly. From hand-me-down clothing for maternity wear and kids' clothing to bassinets and advice and even services, I have been receiving a lot of unexpected gifts from friends and family. It was a little overwhelming at first, and I thought, "oh my goodness, how will I ever be able to repay this kindness?!" I wasn't yet comfortable with the notion of just being on the receiving end.

In my meditation, Chopra talked about giving and receiving being two sides of the same cosmic coin. It is a cycle. For many people, the holidays can be a tough time filled with emotion for many reasons, both happy and sad. It can make either giving or receiving an arduous process, so this was the perfect way to be reminded to take in the joy of either giving or receiving.

I loved this reminder I got yesterday and I wanted to have the opportunity to share it with all of you because sometimes we all need a little nudge. If you are receiving, be thankful. Don't shut people out from giving, and don't think that they expect anything in return because most people who are giving are doing so with a grateful heart. I have never once given a gift in the hope that I will receive one back (at least, not as an adult, anyway!) When I give, it because I am happy and I want to share that with someone else.

In the same vein, if you are giving a gift, you probably are already receiving something in return, and that's joy. Don't give out of obligation at the holidays, or any time, because it defies self care. Give because you feel like giving and because it enriches your life and allows you to share that richness with others.

The holidays for me are a feeling--a season--and they are about community and family and love. When we are comfortable receiving from those who love us, it makes the giving so much more joyful. I hope you and your family (whether relatives or friends) have a wonderful holiday season filled with love. 

A Pregnancy Wine Issue....

I always fancied myself to be the type of pregnant woman who would enjoy a glass of wine or beer. In fact, I believe that a little booze now and then can, in theory, be a healthy thing in pregnancy. But, despite my attitude toward drinking and pregnancy, I have not had a single drop of alcohol this entire pregnancy. I just can't.

The problem is that what if, god forbid, something went wrong and it happened to fall on a week that I drank. I don't want to blame myself, and so I have found abstaining from alcohol has been the way to go for me. That, and I really don't drink that much when I'm not pregnant, and I haven't felt the urge to drink, minus the occasional craving for a dry chardonnay, but really I wanted to have the chardonnay while out to lunch, outside on a sunny day. Since it's winter, this craving could not be satisfied.

However, I was really, really hankering for some venison bourignon (I make a version of Julia Child's beef bourignon recipe with venison that just warms my toes!) and it called for wine. God love me, I might not want to drink the damn wine, but neither do I want to waste the damn wine. So, for this reason, which in so many ways seems illogical, I didn't want to buy a full a bottle of wine.

When my sister-in-law was here for the holidays, she purchased a bottle of wine and drank all but two cups and left it for me. I thought to myself, "problem solved!" and I was all ready to make my recipe. Then I came home one day from canning, and the bottle had mysteriously disappeared. My husband said he didn't throw it out....and my father-in-law had been over to feed my chickens that day. I'm not saying he drank it. I'm just saying that these things all happened on the same day: father-in-law over for feeding chickens, disappeared bottle of wine, husband didn't throw it out.

Either way, once again I was in the position of having to buy wine to execute this recipe. My solution was to buy the mini-wine four pack. Now, I don't know about the rest of you, but to me this seems like the perfect solution. I can use exactly what I need and put the rest of the mini bottles in my bar for my guests! This way, when someone not pregnant comes over, I can still offer them something to drink and the wine won't be wasted.

At $6.99 a four pack, this seems a totally awesome solution to me. What about the rest of you? Do you have an cooking booze (pregnancy) conundrums that had you stumped? How did you solve it? 

I'm Not Recruiting Anyone!

I remember when I got engaged and I was on the verge of marriage...I knew very much then it was like “joining a club.” A married club, if you will. Even if you aren’t married, you know that this club exists because it’s likely that one or more of your married friends at one time or another has said something along the lines of, “Well, it’s different when you are married.”

Try and get them to describe the difference and it’s’s just different. It’s as though everything and nothing has all changed at once. There is also this phenomenon that married people are always trying to recruit others to get married too, and it starts right at the wedding with the bouquet and garter tosses.

This, to me, is strange. My husband and I didn’t do either a garter or bouquet toss...and we don’t try to recruit. I am always happy for people when they get engaged, but seriously, I don’t go around recommending marriage as an institution. It’s not that I don’t like being married--I love it, I think it’s great. It’s also a hell of a lot of work, a huge commitment and a serious dance when it comes to compromise. Even though I knew these things going into the marriage, I could have NEVER anticipated just how hard it would be at times.

That, my friends, is why I say that you must be madly, deeply in love with your partner before marriage. Because if that love isn’t there, when the going gets tough, god help you. And if you think I’m just trying to be a downer or whatever, just ask one of your divorced friends (yeah, we’re at that age now)--they will be all to happy to confirm for you what I am saying.

Now why I am bringing this all up? Well, folks, it’s called pregnancy. You see one of my best friend’s boyfriends (who, by the way was totally kidding) joked with me saying, “Great, thanks a lot, now my girlfriend wants a baby.” I laughed because it was hilarious, but it also got me thinking: I haven’t even had this kid yet, but I know already that I feel the same way about parenthood that I do about marriage. I’m not recruiting anyone!

I have had friends who have wanted me to join this parenting club for years. And then I have friends with kids who have said consistently not to do it unless I’m totally ready (if I choose to do it at all.) That ladder group is where I’m a-falling.

Just being pregnant has shed some serious light on the whole marital communication thing....there is a ton of stuff you have to talk about. Where is the baby going to sleep? How do we feel about co-sleeping? Where are we financially? Who’s responsible for what once the baby gets here? Is being a stay at home parent ‘work’? Not to mention you have to agree on a name! And this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Luckily for us, after ten years of togetherness which includes three plus years of marriage, we’re (knock on wood) starting to get this communication thing down. Still, as committed as we are to having a little family, we see this murky grey road ahead and we know that it’ll be filled with a lot of uncertainty. We know it’ll be worth it, and we know we can’t imagine the tests it’ll throw us, but we’re going to be as prepared as we can be as we go forward.

Even still, we’re not recruiting anyone.

So guys, if you find your girlfriends with a case of baby belly envy, send them my way. I will give them all the glorious details of being pregnant, and I will squeal with them in delight about nursery plans, etc. And then I will caution them amply, and scare the ever-loving shit out of them and send them back to you and your quiet, peaceful, non-hormonal home where they can bliss out on the fact that there is no pitter-patter of little feet on the least not yet.

Things We'd Like To Tell Our Friends Without Kids

I’m pregnant now, and that’s a huge change in my life. For 28 years (10 of which I have spent with my husband) I have been child free, kicking back, doing what I want and pretty carefree. Sure, a lot has changed over the years, but nothing quite of this magnitude. I understand that this is a change for some of my friends, too.

And I also know a lot of other people are pregnant right now. I wanted to put this together....nice and neat and in list form and all, so that we can pass it around so that our friends without kids will know what we want to say, but sometimes have the trouble finding the courage to just come out with. Mmm’kay.

We still want to be invited places
Might we decline a little more than usual? It’s possible; it depends on what type of pregnancy (read: day) we are having. But it’s nice to be thought of and included, even if we can’t make it. Also, money might be a little tighter than it was a few months ago (we’re planning for a baby here!) so if you think we are declining because we can’t afford it, invite us to do something we don’t have to pay for. Pretty please....

No matter how anti-baby we were before, we ARE excited about our child
Someone casually joked with me when I said that I would prefer a crying infant to morning sickness saying, “Yea, talk to me a few months!” Granted, this was a person without children, (who has never experienced morning sickness, obviously) but to review: I am pregnant by choice and because I WANT a child. I get it, I’m not the biggest kid-lover on planet earth. However, I am pretty gosh darn excited about MY kid--crying or not. People change, get over it.

We are sober, emotional, and scared 
I don’t know about the second time mommies out there, but it’s my first time on the merry-go-round of childbearing and it’s a scary ride! As if the hormones weren’t enough (hello, I just watched a Cheerios commercial and was BAWLING), we’re also sober. So-ber. Most of the time we don’t mind any of these things, but you know what helps? Someone asking us what is going on those crazy heads of ours. Lend an ear, dear friend, we may be in need!

Yes, we have changed, but still.... 
Yes, it’s true, something immediately seems to shift when a woman knows she’s pregnant, and I am sure that our friends are picking up on this. We are trying not to only talk about nurseries and growing bellies and co-sleeping--we swear! We still want to make dirty sex jokes, and listen to your gossip, too, though and the fact that we are friends, well, that hasn’t changed. So if we are annoying you with all our mom-to-be baby fever, just tell us, we are friends, after all.

We will re-emerge, we promise 
This baby will be born and yes, that will change a lot of, you know, we’ll be able to drink again! It’s sort of like when you get a new boyfriend and then you guys get totally serious and move in together and then we don’t see you for about a year. After that year you re-emerge, and we will too. Be patient, we promise we’ll return the favor someday.