I’ve had this draft sitting in my account for the last three months. No kidding. Time goes so fast and yet so slowly these days. Kaya is five months old. It’s still a whirlwind of emotions, this motherhood journey, but I also start to see the leaves settling at the edges where the wind is less strong. There’s a little more room to breathe (not write – that’s still a daydream), and life starts to take on a kind of rhythm again.
The last few months I’ve been mostly…
I am part of a great book club, a small group of friends who spend more time laughing and telling stories over good food than actually talking about the books we read. But I look forward to it every month.
This autumn my favourite of our picks was Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese. I actually already had it sitting on my shelf but for some reason the blurb and cover never captivated me enough to move it to the top of the pile. Once I started though, I found it hard to put down. (Which is problematic when you reading time is mostly in blocks of ten minutes while you breastfeed). It’s a superbly written book, with a handful of imperfect characters that you completely fall for. Definitely recommended.
We also read The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. It wasn’t the a-ha eye opening book I’d expected it to be, considering it’s sold so many millions, but I did like the fact that it was the story of a journey, or pilgrimage. There were parts of that journey that reflected where I feel I am now on my own path, and that was interesting to notice and reflect on.
I’m also reading my way – slowly, ha! – through Slow Church by Chris Smith and John Pattison. It’s provided some interesting thoughts and ideas for me to ponder. Our church is in the midst of a big transition right now, moving this month from one Sunday service to two. It’s a good time to let myself be challenged on what church should look like.
I’ve been listening to a lot of podcasts, particularly On Being, Serial (thank you Leigh!), and the BBC Radio Wales’ All Things Considered. Kaya and I take lots of walks together at the moment, which makes for great podcast moments. My favourite has been Krista Tippett’s interview with Nadia Bolz Weber for the On Being podcast. I’ve listened to it multiple times now because it’s just that good. There are so many wise moments in the conversation, but also laugh-out-loud moments too.
I have been expanding my “happy” playlist since asking for everyone’s best happy tunes last month on my facebook page. Music is such a powerful mood-impactor and sometimes I just need a song that is guaranteed to lift my spirits, especially after a night of little sleep!
The kitchen is my happy place and cooking my favourite spiritual discipline. So it’s always a relief to find the time to cook again in the evenings. We’re trying to be intentional about eating healthily again after a couple of months of multiple take-aways and convenience food. That means more soup at lunch time, and me taking the time to plan out a few meals each week so that we don’t get to 6:30pm and get tempted by the easy option of a walk to the nearby Indian restaurant. I’ve tried –
- Chicken, Sweet Potato and Lentil Curry
- Banana Teabread, with walnuts and cranberries from a BBC Good Food cake book (can’t find it on their website but I can email it to you if you leave a comment!)
- Cider-Dijon Pork Chops with Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Apples
- Moroccan turkey meatballs
- Spiced Eggplant Salad (I used feta instead of mozzarella)
- Chicken Burgers with Cheddar and Coriander – similar to this recipe.
(Follow my Feast board on Pinterest – it’s the one I most regularly pin to and I do actually only pin recipes I think I have a fighting chance of making…!)
I watched my first ever episodes of Dr Who a few months ago. It was enjoyable enough but clearly I’m not hooked yet, because I got distracted, first by Derek, then by Mr Selfridge, now Elementary (the Sherlock-themed show set in NYC). All three shows I’ve loved, although they are so different – British quirky comedy set in a nursing home, Period drama set in London, and Crime drama set in New York.
Derek is perhaps the most surprising one to me. Rasmus found it and told me to watch it and I really really really like it. I might have to write more about it soon because it’s deceptively deep and perceptive…
We took our first family holiday in September to Burgundy. We stayed in the beautiful French town of Beaune, a place packed full of wine caves and tourists a couple of decades older than us. We really enjoyed it. We stayed in this lovely apartment in the centre of the town, and spent our days wandering the streets and driving through the vineyards – the holiday theme seemed to become “stunning places I can breastfeed”. Kaya was an absolute star, charming all the waiters and elderly tourists! We even managed to make it out for dinner three out of four nights which is a total win with a two month old.
Then last month, having figured out the paperwork for Kaya’s Danish passport, we did a mega trip to Oxford, Paris and Denmark, introducing our ever-awesome daughter to planes, trains, buses, metros and ferries in the process, and meeting a huge tribe of relatives, some of whom had even travelled down from Scotland especially for the baby viewing. It was exhausting and special and super fun.
…getting out and about more. As Kaya’s rhythms have become slightly more predictable, I’ve got braver at planning more coffees with friends and walks in town and country. Multiple people have recommended that I make it my aim to get out at least once a day and this has become a top priority to prevent me getting cabin fever!
…having visitors. A new baby is a big attraction apparently! My parents came to visit for a second time. Our friends Richard and Jackie who we know from our Brussels days, passed through Luxembourg on their latest Europe trip. My best friends from Uni, Hannah and Ellie, came to stay with Hannah’s wee girl. My cousin Pete passed through town with his friend Margie on their mini European roadtrip. Rasmus’ sister and her family visited us in Luxembourg for the first time. And fellow shelovely Bethany Olsen came to visit while on a work trip to Frankfurt!
…the door bouncer a friend leant to us. It’s Kaya’s favourite thing in the whole wide world. She just lights up as soon as you strap her in that thing. Endless entertainment for her and her parents!
…the Pray As You Go website, run by the Jesuits in the UK. At a moment in my life when just getting myself and my daughter washed, fed and dressed each morning is a huge endeavour, these bite size meditations give me a moment to stop and think and pray. I often listen while I’m feeding Kaya in the morning, and it helps frame my day in a positive way.
…giving away stuff. We cleared out our storage a few weeks back and there was a small pile leftover of the kind of things that are too good to through away but too utterly random to really know what to do with. So I posted them all on yourshop.lu and people have been calling by to come pick them up. Our rubbish is someone else’s treasure! And it feels so good to have less clutter around.
I’m linking up with Leigh again (finally!) for her What I’m Into post…