The Cultured Seed

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An Aunty’s Perspective on the Growing Family November 24, 2010

Filed under: Cultivator's Corner — theculturedseed @ 3:44 am
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Highlight of my sick day…

A Facebook Post By: Aunty Tanya Bernard

November 18th, 2010

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New nephew came into the world yesterday, November 17th at 4:02am.

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Exhibit A: Edan Nathaniel Aguiar. 8 lbs, 13 oz by all natural birth (my sister is a rider for taking no drugs).

Edan Nathanial Aguiar

In order to help my sis and brother-in-law, Grandma and Abue (Great Grandma) and I have been holdin’ it down on the big sister Arya front.

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Exhibit B: Arya Elena Aguiar, born November 7th, 2008, posing with her bumble bee lunch box on her first day of school.

Arya & Bee Ready for School

For the last two nights while her mommy was in the hospital with baby Edan, Arya slept with me…which leads me to the fever that has so rudely planted itself in my tired and weary body. Not only has Aunty Tee Tee had to endure coughs in her face throughout the last couple of nights, but she has also been subjected to feet in the side of her legs, stomach, chest, neck and face; all causing her to get little sleep, which compromised her system such that those germs from the coughs from that tiny mouth were able to penetrate her system and ultimately have a sick party. This morning at 7:34am when Arya awoke from her very comfortable perpendicular sleeping position in my bed, I realized that it was official, I was sick. The first thing that went through my mind was “oh dammit, lets get this kid outta here as fast as possible so that I don’t re-contaminate her,” causing her to be quarantined in her own home in the hopes of keeping the newborn from illness. But before Aunty Tee Tee could fully get out of bed and feed and clothe the tiny germ monster, Arya looked over the bed and saw the group of pillows that Max and she laid on the ground so that if, by chance, Arya rolled off of the low bed (which she didn’t, since her tiny feet found the most comfortable warming spot in the crevice between my neck and my chin), she wouldn’t hurt herself.

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Exhibit C: Bunch of pillows taken from around the house and placed on the floor to save Arya should she fall off the bed during her crazy night of kicks and punches.

Pillows

Upon seeing the pillows Arya exclaims, ‘pillows, there are pillows!’ And Aunty Tee Tee says, ‘yeah, there are a lot of pillows huh?’ After which Arya states, with the most sincere and serene tone ever, ‘they’re beautiful.’

Aunty Tee Tee’s heart melts, she smiles, and thinks its all worth it to help out the fam, and spend a little time with her niece.

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I love LA! August 20, 2010

Filed under: Travel — theculturedseed @ 12:11 am
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There are many cities that I love to visit depending on my mood, but when I think of permanently extending my stay I realize, I couldn’t trade them for LA! There is nothing like flying back in to LAX, seeing the twinkling lights stretch for miles and miles, it looks like the city is made up of fireflies of fairies! Then you step on to the jet bridge and the smell of fuel and smog fills your nose and you think “ahhh, I am home.” Ok, that is enough of my ode to LA, let’s get real. Some people love LA and some people hate it, we are all entitled to pick-our-choose. Yet, when you stop and think about it there are very few places where you will find the diversity that LA offers, culturally, artistically and geographically.

First off, the weather, need I say more? Second, from LA you have easy access to the rest of California, which offers an array of free fun and natural beauty in its mountains, deserts and beaches. Third, this is tinsel town! There are always shows, concerts and exclusive events to attend whether you are on the A-list, B-list or no list at all. Even if you just concentrate on the activity in your local neighborhood, when you really look, there are a thousand and one things to do in any given week.

So, why does it sometimes feel like we are so limited in our options here? Do you ever find yourself twiddling your thumbs when downtime miraculously appears? Or just stuck routinely programmed into your days without room to experience all of the things that are available to us in this great city? I have often felt that way myself. Some days it feels as if my only options are to watch a movie or cook dinner. I tend to go to the same places and see the same people – sometimes with barely enough time to even do that! But why? And how? When I know there is much more fun to be had.

Then I think back to my times in other great cities where people move and interact in different ways. For instance, my good friends in London have an amazing post-work culture. On a weekly basis, it is a common occurrence to meet your mates at the pub for a drink after the day is done. The same can be said for New York, where cocktails and great food abound. “Mi amici” in Italy totally prioritize family and schedule in a weekly visit at Mama’s house. Let’s not even talk about Madrid, that is a city that has it all figured out when it comes to sleep! Just the Spanish concept of siesta alone is genius – why don’t we have those? They party all night, work half the day, sleep and then get up and do it all again (kids or no kids, everyone joins in mind you!) My work life would be so much better if I had a daily siesta, wouldn’t yours?

Blame it on the traffic and dramatic distances we have to drive to do anything in this town, blame it on the city culture, or lack of time. Bottom line is I’m not buying it. If they can do it, so can we and we have got options here people. As I adjust to family life and scheduling for me plus 2 (soon to be 3!) I realize that you prioritize what is important to you and room can be made for those things that really tickle your fancy. Routine is cool and necessary, especially when coordinating the schedule of a family, but I am ready to spice up my weeks a little bit. I do a whole lot – don’t get me wrong – but is it really what I would prefer to be doing? Am I making the best of what this city has to offer? Are you?

Take our Poll “LA – Love it or Hate it?” and leave a comment to tell us why.

 

What’s in a Name? June 10, 2010

Filed under: Cultivator's Corner — theculturedseed @ 6:18 am
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So it’s official – “Tiny Turbo” is a boy. I knew it and so did Arya. When we found out numero deuce was on the way we asked Arya, “Is it a boy or a girl?” She replied “a booooy”. We thought maybe she just said that because boy was the first thing we said, so we would ask her periodically and switch it up, boy-girl-girl boy, but the answer was always the same “a booooy,” which was said with this smug little grin like “I know something you don’t know and I’m going to tell you!” Funny little intuitive baby.

Can you see that little arrow? Supposedly his business. Hmmmm...

After some bad positioning kept Tiny Turbo’s business hidden at my routinely scheduled 16-week check up, Eric and I were even more determined to find out. So we booked the 3D/4D ultrasound at a private clinic called Prenatal Peek, in Torrance. We hadn’t done this with Arya because I was too freaked out by how crazy the babies look in high definition, but this little sucker was going to cooperate and we were going to know for sure. We had just started the ultrasound and not two minutes in did the technician say – there is his business, can you see it? That is all Eric had to hear. He was like “Cool, that’s all I needed to know, we can go now!” It had been like two minutes and I was still stretched out on the recliner as he tried to bolt out the door. Dang! Ok, he has a peepee, but could a mama see the baby’s arms and legs and tummy for a second? Can I just say that creating life is truly a miracle and the use of technology to experience it through every phase is even more incredible. My mom joined us for this experience and we were just in awe at his feisty little legs and Bernard pot belly (genetics are something else). Arya looks just like an Aguiar-Fontenot, but I am calling dibs on this one. Step off Eric – Turbo is mine!

Look at that Bernard pot belly!

So it’s a boy – check! Next task – the name. Arya Elena was named 15 minutes after we found out we were expecting. The names just came to us and boom-bam, it was done. This little guy was a different story. Eric’s Aunt Cathy (she was actually the one that named him Eric Allen) came to pay us a visit last October to let us know that we would soon be having a son and the names that came to her were Allen, Aaron and Aidan. This was exactly 6 months before I even got pregnant. Funny enough, if Arya had been a boy she would have been named Aidan so we both took a double take on that one.  When I found out that I was in fact pregnant, Aunt Cathy called again to say that some other names had come to her, one of which was Ethan, which we both liked. In meditation I kept having visualizations of a little egg with glowing embers like it was on fire (and Aidan means little fire – whoah trippy), but there was something about Ethan too… hmmm. Well, between Aidan and Ethan we couldn’t really choose, so the investigation began.

I really do believe that special consideration should be put into choosing a name, because it will evoke a particular spirit in a child. I also think that if you tune in and listen the baby will tell you what it needs to be called. Several cultures do spiritual investigation before the baby arrives to decipher what names he/she needs to carry in order to live out their life purpose, or even to protect them or balance out certain traits that they will live into. Being of the spiritual, but not necessarily religious persuasion, we chose to honor the birth of our daughter by going back to our shared roots and, thus, held an Afro Caribbean Naming Ceremony. We will do the same for Deuce. We can tell you what his “street” name will be in the mean time. Taking Aunt Cathy’s input into consideration, Eric actually ended up choosing the first name with my spin on the middle name (yeah, I went and did it on the middle name fiends!). His legal name will be Edan Nathanial Aguiar, chosen for it’s meaning and numerological significance. His extended name is still under spiritual investigation and will be fully released during the naming ceremony upon his birth. I can’t wait to see what we have in store with this little guy!

 

Whoa Baby… Here Comes Round Two May 20, 2010

Filed under: Cultivator's Corner — theculturedseed @ 2:47 pm
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A few weeks ago I started feeling a bit, well, not myself. I was irritable, exhausted, and all I wanted to eat was bread and meat. This was promptly followed by a perpetual seasickness (but I was no where near water). It took me a minute to figure it out. I thought I might be vitamin deficient or something from all of the enriched white bread I had been eating of late. But then it hit me – maybe, just maybe, I’ve been down this road before? Ah yes, this is not an iron deficiency– I’m pregnant! I just hit week 14 and can officially say it, baby numero DEUCE is on its way.

Truth is, I have not been down this road before. With Arya I was not a day sick. I was a little sleepy, very hungry and way moody, but all of this turning green and having to keep crackers stashed in my purse at all times is new to me! Plus, I was super active with Arya, going salsa dancing 2-3 times a week with my girls and doing yoga daily. Now all of my physically weariness over the last few weeks makes total sense. Not to mention that with Arya I was working 10 hours a week and this time around I have a full time job, two side gigs and a toddler to chase! Whole different ball game my friends.

So I wonder what it is going to be? We don’t know the sex yet but yes, we will be finding out (I am a planner) and it will likely be

Woohoo! Look at my back! You can't see me!

in the next couple of weeks when I have my next ultrasound, so stay tuned. I can tell you that baby deuce is a total ninja master though, already nick named Tiny Turbo. I have been feeling him/her kick since week 10! Which is crazy early. I didn’t feel Arya until week 13. I say it’s a boy because 1) I’m just feeling boy energy, 2) bread and meat (hello!), and for 3) only a boy would act like a baby tornado in my belly. Seriously, it took the nurse 10 minutes to get the babes measurements during my first visit because Tiny Tubo was like “hey, look at me, no don’t look at me, now you see me, now you don’t, look at my butt, check out my back, watch how I flip over!” Que loco.

What do you think baby deuce will be? Cast your vote below…

 

You are What You Eat April 20, 2010

Filed under: Food — theculturedseed @ 12:18 pm
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When I put in my baby order, my request was for a sleeper, non-cryer, eater. The first two didn’t come with the Infant package,

I do it myself mommy

but we are now three for three with that order. Arya always knew the good stuff when it came to eating. She never messed with formula or a bottle for that matter. This was not always fun for me when it came to leaving her with others, but at least I knew my babe was getting the good stuff. Stage two, jarred can food, was like “yeah right mommy”. Arya wanted what was on my plate, so I would mash it up (spices and all) and give it to her. Garlic, onions, curry – bring it on! Now, Arya eats pretty much everything and definitely eats well. [Please don’t think, however, that you are going to get her to eat something she is not feeling at that given moment. She will battle to the death and you can ask my Aunty Giselle about that one! Lol.]

Before we even get to wake up kisses and songs, she bolts up and belts out the order of the day, which usually includes “oatmeal” “yogurt” “crackers” “pawberries”. Arya has priorities you see. It is a good thing that I like to cook because my baby loves to eat a home cooked meal. When we get home from our day we routinely make dinner together. Arya demands that I pick her up so that she can watch as I stir and sprinkle. I talk her through it and she repeats all the words, shoving in an “eat mommy” “eat” every few. I respond in kind with a “wait” “cooking”. When it comes time to throw down, my baby knows just what to do. I feel very fortunate for this because in my babysitting past life I have known kids that won’t eat, or won’t eat anything that is good for them. Children can not exist on pasta and cheese alone, but most parents are at a complete loss of what to do when their kid just refuses to eat their vegetables so they just cave. Don’t get me wrong, it’s easy to do this as a first time parent because we are already so paranoid about our kids getting enough, god forbid we force them to eat some squash and they refuse – they might starve!!!

Who says babies don't like Raw food

It gets that dramatic sometimes, but it doesn’t have to. It really is about exposure. The more your kid is exposed to different foods the more apt they are to learn to love some of them. They might not dig them all and some of this might actually be an early sign of allergy; the body has an amazing way of saying “this doesn’t work for me”, so watch close to see if our kid has any physical reactions or if they are just being a pill. It doesn’t hurt to have a helping hand on the food front as well, namely your kid’s day care or school. It is important to make sure that they share similar food values since they will be feeding your child twice a day. Otherwise, your kid will be having McDonald’s every Friday during chef’s day off (some schools do this – the horror). It’s one thing to make your own choices about junk food, it is another to have it routinely programmed into your kids eating schedule.

Watering with Grandma

We got super lucky with this. Arya goes to the most wonderful Montessori in our neighborhood called Sage Garden. One of her teachers, Miss Iman, is a Le Cordon Bleu trained chef, so she makes the kids home cooked meals which are mostly vegetarian. They even have a little organic garden in the back that the kids tend to and use to learn about growing their own food. My mom also has a mega organic garden in her yard too, which replaces our trips to the farmers market when her crops are in season (free food!!!). Between my kitchen and the one at Sage Garden, Arya has been exposed to pretty much every vegetable and is learning to make good food choices daily through hands-on and real-time tummy experiences. What is it that they say – you are what you eat? Please people… we can’t let one more kid turn into a macaroni.

 

The Cultured Seed Picnic: Thanks for hanging out! April 6, 2010

Filed under: Travel — theculturedseed @ 3:29 am
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My last few posts have been kind of serious, so we will keep it light for this week and just give thanks!

Aguiar Fam Easter 2010

Thank you to all of the families (and friends) who came out for our first Cultured Seed Family Picnic and photo shoot. The kiddies had a blast and we took some really cute pix. What a perfect way to spend a Saturday afternoon! There’s nothing better for family fun than catching some rays while enjoying good snacks and good company.

My girl Keisha even rolled through with an amazing buttery goodness cake. If you are not yet her fan on Facebook, check out Couture Cakes by Keisha. She makes some crazy shaped but delicious cakes, ours was a baby lamb (ahhh).

Yummy Cake

Easter Sunday was an action packed day with both sides of the fam. We even had a nice ride (earthquake!) which I almost missed because I was mid tear-down at brunch.  Had it not been for the chandeliers starting to sway nothing was going to come between me and my omelet supreme. Good thing Eric had his priorities in tact and remembered to grab the baby on the way out the door.

I hope all the rest of you Easter celebrators aren’t suffering from an overdose of deviled eggs or chocolate bunnies too. All I know is my detox starts now. In next week’s blog post we talk food. Good food. My favorite subject (Arya’s too).

 

When Gods Collide March 30, 2010

Filed under: Culture — theculturedseed @ 1:44 am
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When I think back to my childhood experience with religion I have a smattering of vague memories, but probably not what you would expect to recall when you think of spirituality and praising the divine. My most vivid physical memory is that of kneeling and standing and kneeling and standing. My mother was raised Catholic and if you haven’t been to Catholic church they do their fair share of this during Mass. My fathers side of the family was raised Christian and I had Aunt’s and Uncle’s that frequented church, so we sometimes tagged along with our cousin’s, mostly looking forward to the Rite Aid ice cream we would get afterwards rather than the sermon. I share this not to belittle religiosity, but to simply make the point that as a child I never really felt connected to one religion or another and frankly understood very little about connecting with the Source, God, Jesus, Higher Power, Jehova, Universe, Allah whatever you want to call her/him/it. All I have to say is thank goodness for spiritual evolution.

Now as a parent, I have had to review my own personal experience and make choices about how I will choose to introduce my kid to religion or spirituality. For some parents this choice is very simple – you were born into it, or through investigation you become clear on what you believe and you impart these beliefs onto your children. Some spiritual centers even have specific programs to help you along your way. I know mine is now offering Inspired Parenting playgroups where you can get support and build relationships with other parents of same spiritual mind. But sometimes there are curve balls that make it, well… not so straightforward. What about those couples with mixed faith marriages? I have several friends that have married outside of their faith, which presents another level of conversation. Two of my best friends are respectively a Jew married to a Gentile and a Buddhist married to a Muslim, with grandparents that want to celebrate Christmas regardless. It sounds messy, but mostly it works. I think because they have committed to being tolerant despite their religious differences.

Both of my parents have been open to exploring religion and spirituality from many angles and my siblings and I have been privy to this since childhood. This even trickled into their style as disciplinarians. My Dad, being a former Yogi and Black Belt in Karate, used to make us sit in Lotus as punishment as young kids. Do you have any idea the torture it is to make a 6 year old sit still for more than 5 minutes! Far worse than a beating. Sorry, I digress. In doing their own investigations, they have openly shared with us their realizations around the universal truths and a need to respect others choices for their own beliefs regardless of what we choose for ourselves. This is just one way to go about it, but can you imagine if it was a common practice around the globe to respect others religious practices? How many centuries of bloodshed could have been (and could be!) avoided? Oy vey.

This week we celebrate Passover and Easter and sometimes it is easy to get caught up in the commercialism of holidays. If you celebrate either with your kids of course make it fun, but also take the opportunity to look past the Matzo and Egg Hunts and share with your children the history behind the holiday and how this heritage has helped to shape their current reality. If your feeling a bit courageous, you can even take it a step further and teach them a little about what happens on the other side of the fence. It will only make for more open minds and greater respect for the choices that you make as a family with regards to your own beliefs. Shalom and God Bless.