Snowboard Strength and Reflection

Me Boarding at Okemo Mountain

Me Boarding at Okemo Mountain Yesterday was a very very long day. Not bad, but long.

I took a few days off for the first time in a long time and we spent the weekend with friends at Okemo Mountain in Vermont. It was the first time my girls were on skis and I was uncharacteristically nervous that it would be a disaster. I spent unconscionable hours prepping, buying snow gear, talking to them about ski school, venting to friends and my SoulCycle riders. Snow, cold, wet, wind, a 5 hour ride in the car, heavy equipment, thick layers of clothing, lots of factors that could have made it absolutely miserable instead of the proverbial slopeside fun. Too much was riding on this first trip and the usual laid back, calm mama that I am turned into a bit of a neurotic mess. Skiing/Snowboarding is just too important! It's part of the fabric from which I am made. It has shaped who I am. It brings me (and has always) unadulterated happiness. Talk about chakra opening;)

I grew up taking regular family ski trips and have the fondest, most visceral, memories of those times. I so badly want my kids to have similar experiences, vacations that keep us fit as a family, challenging and adventurous times together. I've been preaching about the importance of starting early for years...this was the time to call my own bluff.

I've been skiing since I was 3 and switched to a board when I was 13. I love almost nothing more than the fresh mountain air, cruising down the slopes, feeling the wind, speed, freedom. It is part of who I am. I crave it. I'm pretty sure I NEED it.

For a handful of years, we skipped the ski trips for warmer climes. Through pregnancies and infant years it all seemed like too much work, arguably too dangerous. We are now though back in a groove. Finally feeling family life (not babyhood) and exploring more . This one was an amazing adventure.

Richie and Avital Skiing Together

Turns out both my kids LOVED ski school. They went with their respective best friends and were such damn big girls about it! Avital, my 6yr old, even spent a morning skiing with Richie. She loved it and I love that she loved it. She was brave and strong and I'm a seriously proud mama. Bar's teacher said she was pretty badass about it all too. No crying, totally got up on her skis, skated a bit, AND I spied her walking in to ski school from their first run and she even has a swagger to her walk. It was so freakin awesome to see.

Bar's Snowy Swagger

The first morning we went out on the slopes took a bit to get everyone settled. Rentals, ski school check in, lift tickets, all that jazz. So us adults took a bit of time to get up on the mountain. Once up, the first run of the season over (always a bit wobbly), we were cruising. It's such a special thing to share with Richie. That feeling of freedom, adventure, open air, nature and the world at your fingertips (well, mitten tips).

A calm and invigoration come over me, at the same time, an excitement and nothing else is like it. Happiness.

But here's the thing, at 33 years old, I felt stronger on my board than ever! My body was capable of so much more, so much earlier in my ride than in the past. I'm pretty sure I'm in the best shape of my life and the prospect of getting stronger and better is exciting. What more can I do, without fear, full of possibility!

I was carving and cruising faster than I ever have on my second run and it felt amazing!! So here's to strength, in your body, as a family, building healthy strong bodies to let us explore this gorgeous world more confidently! Cheers you guys.

Us and Francesca on the lift

Life. Is. Good.

The world is your oyster.

What To Expect Article

Hey you guys, I know I owe you all more posts.  I've been taking my time with it...  Seems tough to post on anything other than Jonny right now.

That said, life has been going on.  I have tons of recipes to share with you guys, anecdotes, lessons learned through my journeys in the school system realm.

I've also been doing some writing around the blogosphere!  This was published today.  So check me out over at What To Expect.



Making My Babies Food: a First Step to Great Nutrition

(Avital's first bites) My journey towards veganism and a healthy, sustainable, and holistic lifestyle has been a long and twisty one. The more I learn and live, the deeper I fall in love with living life cleanly for myself and my family. It may sound silly simple, but what it all boils down to for me is that it feels good to feel good! The cleaner I eat, the more I work out, the deeper I sleep, each of my experiences feels a bit more fulfilling, and even a bit more spiritual.

And while my children are not yet old enough to understand the depth of those decisions or feelings, I’m doing my best to start them off in a place where they can only experience that fullness of life, never having the opportunity to be dulled down by processed foods, excess sugars, and chemical preservatives. I want my children to be able to taste the gorgeous sweetness of strawberries instead of deciding that they’re inferior to the gummy versions they come across in candy stores. I want them to stretch their legs and twist their bodies on a regular basis to know what it feels like to have the strength and flexibility to play hard and long. I want them to be free of any additives or sugars that will keep them antsy and up at night. I want them to sleep deeply (and long;)) so that their tiny bodies get the opportunity to heal and repair themselves each night for the coming day.

The most significant way I can affect these outcomes is by making sure the foods my children eat on a daily basis are whole, rounded, and fresh. So from day one I knew that I wanted to make as much of their food as possible. It’s a serious challenge. Although as they get older it becomes more complicated, when they were babies it took little more than diligence, a creativity, and a couple of hours each week.

So many of my friends have come to me for baby food recipes over the years. It’s so easy to get caught in the plain Jane smashed peas and pureed carrots routine. I was always curious about why people wanted to give their babies bland foods. I wanted to expose my children to new flavors and spices, to get them used to eating foods from around the world, and to allow them to experience the healing effects of botanicals, spices, and veggies.

Here are a few recipes for baby foods packed with flavor, protein, antioxidants, and so much other good stuff:

Green Lentils with Carrots and Onions

• In a heavy-bottomed pot sauté 1 chopped onion and 2 carrots in 2 tablespoons of coconut oil.

• Once the vegetables are soft, add the cinnamon and turmeric and cook together for about a minute.

• Add 4 cups of water and 1 cup of green lentils.

• Bring it to a boil and then down to a simmer.

• Cook uncovered for 30-45 minutes, or until the lentils are starting to disintegrate.

• Blend with an immersion blender to the desired consistency. If you have the time, you can let it cook for a couple hours. As it cooks, the lentils will break down into a dahl consistency which I find perfect for baby food.

Carrot Hummus

• In a pot bring the following to a boil: o 1 can of garbanzo beans (always use organic beans in bpa free cans. I like Eden brand), 2 carrots, 1 teaspoon sea salt, enough water to cover.

• Once the carrots are a bit soft (10-15 minutes) drain and set aside to cool

• Once cool, place all of the ingredients into a blender or food processor and blend with enough olive oil to move the contents through the blade.

• Blend to desired consistency.

Green Mashed Everything

• Steam together sweet green peas, edamame, broccoli, asparagus for 2-4 minutes until soft, but still bright.

• Stop the cooking in an ice bath and strain.

• Place all the veggies in a blender with enough olive oil to move the veggies through the blade and add sea salt to taste.

Music Monday: Stevie Wonder wonderfulness

Today is my baby girl's very first birthday!  All the things I want to say don't fit on this page, so I thought I'd let Stevie say a few things about how I feel about the most delicious baby in the whole wide world:

Happy Friday!

Love Life and Lollipops- Sky and Sammy Sandwiching Avital

Sorry about the hiatus everyone.  Yom Kippur got in the way.  With all the back and forth, temple, family dinners, I didn't have a second to write.  Sorry!

It's been a long week, so I'm superglad it's Friday!  This weekend we're hanging with my favorite little kiddies Skylar and Sammy (and their folks).  And Skylar is sleeping over!  I'm ecstatic!  I've been asking to have her forever, but with a pregnancy and a baby and whatnot, her mama's been hesitant to let me snatch her.  She is the all time cutest little lady.  We were neighbors before I had my own little ladies and she used to come over after preschool everyday and get in bed with me and watch Finding Nemo and eat snacks and cuddle and she's seriously the reason I wanted my own little ladies!  Her sister is pretty damn cute too;)

So I'm planning on doing some girly shopping, taking her out to dinner, popcorn and movies in bed, the whole nine!  Avi's terribly psyched too.

What are your plans this weekend?  Any special guests?  Cutie kiddos you're hangin with??

Film Review: Won't Back Down

Love Life and Lollipops- Me and Aunt Bonnie right before the screening

I was invited by Circle of Moms and Fox Studios to be one of forty mom bloggers to see a private screening of Won't Back Down Thursday night. It was such an honor to be picked and so, first, thank you both for including me!! And for letting me drag my aunt, Bonnie, with me!

As for the movie: it was so soooooo good! And it couldn't have come at a better time for me.

As some of you know, I'm in the process of selling my apartment in order to move specifically because of the school district we're currently zoned for. I'm so very lucky to have the opportunity to move to a better district and provide my kids with a good public school education, but I have to say, even with all the means we have, navigating the fjords of the public and charter school options in Brooklyn has been trying and a bit disheartening. The system is complex and overly complicated and not entirely geared toward equal opportunity for all children. Lotteries and zones and classes and pronciples and tenure and overcrowding and gifted & talented programs all blur the lines...

So, what I'm saying, is that this movie struck a chord. I laughed, I cried, it resonated!

Furthermore, Viola Davis and Holly Hunter were fabulous (as was the entire cast to be honest). But I have to say: I love LOVE Maggie Gyllenhaal. She was oh so amazing in this role. She made me want to be a better mom, a better person, a bigger advocate for all that my world needs. Her character was warm and strong and sexy and sassy and she smooshed her daughter the way I smoosh mine and she yelled and screamed and I loved every second of it.

Here's the trailer:

It was seriously so good. Please go see it! And let it inspire you to change your world. It certainly did for me:)

[Love Life and Lollipops aims to provide unbiased editorials. However, I wish to disclose that from time to time I may receive free products or other compensation from companies for blogger reviews.}

Round Two: The Second Child

Love Life and Lollipops- Baby Bar

I've been thinking a lot recently about how different it is with the second kid than it was with the first. Since Avital has been home between camp and school, I've been doing my best to spend extra special alone time with her since I feel like she hasn't gotten enough since Baby Bar was born.

And since I've been spending so much more time with Avi, I haven't gotten much alone time with the baby.  I'm pretty sure part of being a mom of more than one involves living with some consistent amount of guilt;)

That said, in all my circular thinking about what the right thing to do it, where the right place to be is, how to be the best mom (at the same time as being a sane human being), I realized that all this time I had been feeling badly about how Avi got so much special alone time with me as a baby that Bar is getting shafted on.  Totally silly!  Here's why: while the first gets your undivided attention, the second gets all your experience.

With Avi I was totally clueless.  And though I read (almost) everything under the sun, there's only so much you can read in books and incorporate.  You need the experience and mother gene combined to know what your kid needs at any point in time.  Before that, it's all a guessing game.

So...though Baby Bar may get less mommy and me time, less undivided attention, less her-centric activity, she gets essential oils in her bath because I've learned that not only do they smell yummy, but they heal her skin and energy.  She gets baby massage to calm her nerves because I've learned that sometimes that's all that works.  She gets baby yoga when she has gas stuck in her little belly.  She gets a calm mommy because I've learned to slow down and pay careful attention instead of getting frenetic.  She gets routine, consistency, independence in a way I never allowed Avi to explore, make a mess, feed the dog.

She gets all the good mommying without any of the worry.  And for that, I believe her to be willful and strong and sweet and cuddly.  She's confident (arguably overly), comfortable, curious.

She tests my boundaries and melts my heart.  She is nothing like Avital, but just as fantastic.  I can't imagine life without her or who I would be if it weren't for her.

For all the lessons I've taught her, she's taught me 100 more.

(btw, she took her first 6 steps two sets of three;))

Homemade Reusable, Recyclable Baggies by my fabulous friend Maren Briggs

Love Life and Lollipops- Reusable, Recycled Baggies

For a long time I boycotted using plastic baggies (I also avoid like the plague tin foil and plastic wrap for various reasons I'm sure you can guess).  But more and more these days I find need for plastic bags: for wet bathing suits and messy snacks and the such.

I have to admit, though I really hate to, plastic bags make life easy in certain situations.  But I've successfully found replacements like my baggu bags for groceries and snack traps for after school fruit type snacks at the playground.

Luckily, my friend Maren Briggs is beyond crafty and supertalented.  She made me some amazing reusable baggies from recycled fabric scraps.  She sews amazing kids clothes for her etsy site with vintage fabrics and with the scraps from that she makes baggies.  How amazing?!?  And totally earth friendly and eco-conscious, I love it!

My bag is filled with her baggies compartmentalizing my life.  It's brilliant!

Baby Herbs and Oils

Love Life and Lollipops- Kessner Girls Bath Time

Last week I posted a bit on how much I love using herbs and essential oils in my bath time routine to ease whatever ailments I'm dealing with at that moment in time (physical and/or emotional;)).

Now I'm gonna go ahead and say this: it's even better to use them for kids!  Seriously.  My kids totally fizzle out with the right essential oil combo in their bath or spritzed over their heads in the car when necessary.

Though this is for an entirely different post, I'll say for now that I avoid pharmaceuticals and OTC's in my house as much as possible.  Tylenol and Advil don't grace my medicine cabinets, lavender and calendula do.  And neither of my kids has ever taken an anti-biotic (nor have Richie or I in years and years).

I believe strongly that you can cure most aches, ailments, and colds with the right combination of food and herbs.

Here are some of the big hitters in my house:

  • for calming and inducing sleepy time: lavender, hops, chamomile, sandalwood or any combination of those
  • for happy play time: orange, tangerine
  • for dry skin or any skin issues: 10-20 drops or so of calendula and a few of tea tree oil
  • for an oncoming cold or any suspicion of virus, fungus, bacterial stuff: thieves or medieval oils
  • for stuffy or runny nose: eucalyptus


Just Ask...

Love Life and Lollipops- Avi going crazy at a restaurant

So, basically I lost it a bit this weekend....  I don't like to admit it, but sometimes I just fall apart and there's screaming and pouting and it's just not good.

Long story short: I have a tendency to martyr myself.  Apparently I think that if no one offers to help me, I need to do it all myself without asking for help, and on top of that I shouldn't feel bad about feeling overwhelmed cause I live such a fabulous cushy life, nothing should ever feel bad.

Ok there it is, I guess I'm a little screwed up.

That said, I like when things are done properly (however that may be interpreted) and (especially with my kids) I want to be the one to do it.  That said, an extra hand is usually the determining factor whether I walk away pulling my hair out or smiling that I did good.

Jump to this past weekend.  Avi was acting out (yes all weekend) Bar was overtired (both girls were up multiple times each night, I was pooped, feisty, snappy with Richie, and it was a big disaster.

After a chat with my friend's mom (who I love dearly and always has such reasonable resonating advice), I was reminded that I need to learn to ask for help!  There's nothing wrong with getting help (especially with the girls) and it doesn't make me any less of a good mom, and even though Richie is an uberfabulous father, if I need a little more, I should just ask.  Cause walking into a room of people and throwing a tantrum (ok it wasn't exactly a tantrum, but it was as close as I get), is a bad way to deal with stress!

So from now on, I'm going to solicit more help when I need it.  Cause martyring myself is only seen by me.  And I don't need to impress myself;)

What do you do when your kids are driving you up the wall?  Do you yell?  Scream?  Suffer in silence?  Have any better suggestions?  I'm all ears!