Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Baby Girl

I have yet to share about my little one. She is my beautiful daughter, now past her 6 month birthday; the time has gone by so fast that I am truly bewildered. Ushering in half a year was a fanfare at our household, as she cut her first tooth, said "dada", and ate her first solid food (chocolate pudding) on this day of note. (Btw, never feed your baby chocolate pudding at bedtime, even when it's a special occasion. You may be nodding your head, "of course, I'd never do that," so then you're one up on me. Baby was up for hours after this pudding incident, and I only gave her one bite.)

Living in a home that has limited moving about space has its disadvantages. For instance, brushing my teeth in our itty-bitty bathroom at the same time as my husband is a choreographed dance full of elbows and near bruises, ending in a polite "excuse me" for the 111th time. Or tripping over the open dishwasher has me sadly limping about with sore shins. And the dog...underfoot doesn't even begin to describe her clinginess. But for all the rough points, I love the fact that when I gave birth at home close to 6 months ago, it was in a setting where close quarters was a blessing. We were all in this together...we couldn't help it. Every labor pain rocked the floorboards. I gave birth in a birthing tub, described by some as a huge Whirlpool with heating qualities and ample room. Michael caught her as she entered the world, and after she was passed on to my arms, she gripped my necklace like a gymnast on the high bars. I have never felt more alive than immediately after I birthed my baby. A swirling cocktail of hormones and heightened happiness had me soaring and singing. I sensed a commonality with many birthing mothers of bringing new life to fruition to be the sweetest and best I have ever thus done.

Papa and Baby...notice open mouth
Her voice can bring me to tears, laughter, or a smile. Her smile reminds me of innocent rest. Her cry grabs my heart as I respond with equal fervor. Her touch draws me to her closer still, a whisper of fingers as she searches for me as she sleeps so she knows she's not alone. She is my precious daughter, a bundle of wiggles and softness. Recently, she spoke the name all daddies long to hear--"dada"--and Michael melted into a pool of Proud Papa. (Might I add that her first word was "mama" at 4.5 months. For the record.) When I was pregnant with her, I prayed to God to know how to pray for her (she's His child first, after all.) He spoke to pray peace over her as well as for her to be passionate and expressive. She is most assuredly brimming full of all three! Conversations will be a daily trumpeting call in this family. She's in good company. My mother reminded me a few days ago of my "Word Lists." Apparently, I love words with such an intensity that I created lists of my favorite ones. Words like "whimsical" and "dazzling" are just too good to use just anytime. I think my daughter will create words lists, too. Maybe it'll even be a mother/daughter Friday night adventure. You know I'm kidding.

Today, we played a game of chase with the dog and read a book. We raked leaves together as she took in the air and slept in the back carrier. She jumped in her Johnny Jump-up (what a super investment!) while I made chili for dinner, chewed on her bead toy (the one that is in every doctor's office), and went to the fabric store with a friend and me. "Camel" was a hit today, like every day. My cheeks erupt in a smile now as I remember her on Quackles, a sunshine-yellow rolling duck that is large enough to sit and wheel around on. He has made it through one generation (mine) and is now on round two. A bit maimed but none the worse, Quackles has provided Baby with great entertainment and a new workout for Mama. Daddy Time was sprinkled throughout the day as he kissed and tickled and danced with Baby. She and Daddy took a nap while I washed dishes, caught up on e-mail, bills, and phone calls, and sipped on tea. I also nursed her aplenty, changed her diapers, and dressed her (twice.) And people ask me what I do all day long at home with her. What don't I do?

Baby on Beloved Quackles!
(Notice her "puppy toes"--puppy slippers we always put on her toes to keep them from getting caught up in the little plastic tires)

Had to mention that I make up songs for her about anything, like how getting in the car seat is so much fun, or the tiered musical trio I have for nursing time. Sometimes, she tries to sing after me. Have you ever heard a baby trying to sing? She is precious.

Today, as I have before and will again, I whispered a few truths I hope she always remembers. As she fought sleep, I gently responded with "I love you, and I delight in you." What a gift to be a mama.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Teeccino & Me

If you ever visit my home, I will offer you an array of beverages (depending on what we have on hand.) From Brita Pitcher-filtered water to iced tea, or the Coke Zero my parents-in-law left in the fridge from their last stay with us, I will hurriedly name these all--but I will be disappointed and almost impervious if I have to stop there. I will extend the invitation for you to consume one of the various teas and coffees in our collection. But then...I will also give you the opportunity to choose teeccino. Once the word leaves my lips, I will lean forward (undoubtedly invading your personal space) as I anticipate you agreeing that teeccino would be the best for you today. Even if you choose another, I will still secretly hope you want teeccino later. Yes, it is that good.

Ah...teeccino. A declivity into teeccino brings me face-to-face with a smooth molasses color, nutty and fruity on all accounts as I swish it around so my taste buds can soak in a long, warm bath. What a satisfying beverage. Thinking about the drink causes a stint of horripilation, making me thankful that when I woke up, I began the day well by turning on the "coffee" pot and brewing some teeccino. I think it will be ready in about 2 minutes. Then, I'll scoot upstairs to greet the early morning light once more as I pour my Pier 1 ceramic mug full of my favorite hot beverage.

It's ready! The first tiny sip is all I've had, since the temperature is still frighteningly high. My hands were momentarily cupped around the sides of my mug to bring some blood flow back into my fingers as I sit in this old basement. Alas, I had to release my grip in order to type. Almond milk completes my morning cup...just a little to calm down the warmth and provide a creamy swirl, like an ice cream cone of rich chocolate with a tad of vanilla to lighten the wealth.

(This isn't teeccino, but it is pretty good latte art, don't you think?)

I didn't grow the teeccino beans in my backyard. And they aren't even beans. The ingredients in teeccino are as diverse as there are different types of vegetarians. Starting off with roasted carob and barley, adding some chicory root, then enjoying the fruitful addition of sweet dates, nutty almonds, and crunchy figs is the base of teeccino. By finishing it off with amaretto flavoring, then combining it with the process of a drip coffee maker or French press, into a container of choice deliciously flows my preferred coffee substitute blend, Almond Amaretto Teeccino! Even before that happens, the drink has to come from somewhere. That somewhere is the Mediterranean. The area obviously has many quality goods to offer the world: a sparkling sea surrounded by a creative mixture of stone and earth, sumptuous food choices, people of various backgrounds and creeds. Teeccino's fine ingredients originated in the Mediterranean and the process used to brew the grounds is akin to the area. Absolutely incredible. Good for my soul and for my body. And yours, too.

Here's how: the lack of caffeine is undoubtedly high on my list, at least in comparison to why it's a good substitute for coffee (and at times, tea, too), because of my experiences in college of a painful addiction to coffee which drew me close to a sugary caffeinated pit. I think it is very similar to coffee in taste. Although Michael says he likes teeccino, he doesn't believe it tastes like coffee. However, I have a responsibility to mention that he is a full-out coffee snob. (He even describes himself as so.) Naturally full of non-stimulating ingredients, teeccino actually has energy-related nutrients. Just like Cheerios professes, teeccino is healthy for the heart in its inclusion of potassium and soluble fiber. Inulin in chicory root moves along things in the digestive end (pun intended) and creates an easier time for things to be absorbed that should be. And another amazing benefit is that it will not simply help bring bodily balance but will restore alkalinity, thus making you a much happier person.

I have included a link to the website at the bottom of this post so you can do more research (and online ordering!) if you are inclined. There is much more that I didn't discuss that you could find interesting, including the Top Reasons to be Caffeine-Free and the Caffeine Addiction Quiz (below the main link.) Did you know there are recipes that include teeccino? That is a new one for me. Be sure to check out the teeccino merch before you become overly distracted.

Sip on, my friend.