Thursday, June 27, 2013

This blog has moved….find me at

Thank you, readers, for being my audience and sticking with me all this time! Please join the party over at, my new home. Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

My husband, the great sport

As I prepare to launch my new website (tomorrow!), I can't help but think of my husband. Alex has believed in me from day one—always supporting my dreams, pumping me up when I feel lost, playing editor when I'm stuck. He's a big part of why I'm still here, blogging (and believing). And really, I couldn't do this work without his blessing, because I simply would not be an effective writer if he didn't allow me to pull him into my TMI world.

You see, it was Alex himself who once told me that I had to be willing to be one hundred percent honest if I wanted to be a good writer. He pushed me to write from a much deeper, more compelling and relatable place inside me than I had before….and in so doing, Lola's Child was born. The beautiful thing is, Alex had to really put himself out there in order to give me that advice, because being honest as a writer means sharing some of our most intimate moments with the world, which he has graciously allowed me to do. He has given up a large chunk of his privacy (and allowed me to embarrass him at times) so that I could have this dream to believe in.

So, thank you, dear! Thank you for believing in me more than I believe in myself at times!


The new site is coming! Stay tuned….

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Stay-at-home mom stigma?

While scrolling through Pinterest recently, I came across a someecards poster sarcastically teasing stay-at-home moms. The message was that working mothers do double duty—working out of the home all day, and then performing all the same duties that take stay-at-home moms all day to accomplish, in just a couple of hours at night. Pause...And while I shouldn't care what a snarky internet poster has to say, the truth is that it sent me into a defensive rage. In an instant, I felt belittled and marginalized by the Victorian Era woman staring at me from her pink background. Yes, it was just a poster. But, it got me thinking about two issues.

Number one: Why do women like to divide themselves instead of stick together? And number two: Why does staying home to raise your babies have to carry a stigma (or does it)?


I was never great at connecting with those of my own gender growing up. In fact, not until I found myself pregnant, did I feel truly able to bond with any woman. But at that point, I felt like I was part of a sisterhood….finally. I was doing the most womanly thing possible and I suddenly found myself able (and wanting) to connect with other women. My birthing experience only furthered my love of the sisterhood, as I labored in bed with several women holding my hand, brushing my hair off my sweaty face, and massaging my feet. And then, in navigating the challenging waters of motherhood, I found my sanity in groups of mothers who allowed me to be a mess… admit my struggles….to be real, all while encouraging and supporting me. Yes, this sisterhood is pretty great, I have found.

So, why are there so many sisters still out there trying to knock other sisters down? Other mothers. This is a oft discussed topic, but for as many wisely written articles I have read, there are just as many moments that still leave me feeling baffled by this phenomenon.

Why can't it be as simple as: motherhood is difficult. Period. The end. Because, it is difficult….for us all.

We all have the right to chose our own approach to motherhood, and in so doing, take on a unique set of challenges and benefits that other options might not carry. And thank god. Because, some of us would fully lose our minds staying home, and thus need a separate (non-mama) identity to visit every day. While others would fail in the workplace because we'd be so consumed and distracted by our faraway babies. Etc. Etc. Etc. There are about as many reasons for and against staying home as there are mothers out there. So, why can't we respect each other's choices?

Furthermore, how can we speak to the experience of other mothers who are living opposite lives? How can we be so quick to invalidate one another?

And that's just it. My experience felt invalidated and misunderstood by a someecards poster that I only assume was written by a mother living an opposite life from mine. It felt so unnecessary. Where's the sisterhood in that? At the end of the day (however you may have spent that day), we are all still mothers and women. Which brings me to my second issue...


Growing up, I was always the girl who needed everything to be equal. In high school, I was told I could not join the boy's swim team, because I was a girl. But, I joined that team anyway (after much debate and insistence). I rarely saw the divide between genders. And while I often attributed my army of male friends, desire to someday become a lawyer, or belief that I could do anything I wanted to do in life to my father raising me in a very gender neutral manner, my father insists that I was born with a strong feminist edge. Either way, I saw things going a certain way when I looked to the future.

There were several enormous life events that occurred during my formative years that led to some drastic changes in my way of life (i.e. leaving behind my male friendships, discovering and embracing my much softer, artistic side, etc), but for the sake of brevity, I will skip to the part where I became a mother…a stay-at-home mother.

I certainly wasn't one of those girls who always dreamt of having children and staying home to raise them, but when the time came, that was the decision that felt natural. And I felt so good about that decision, because it was right for me, and my family. But, as psyched as I was about my new role, I was surprised to find that I was judged at times, misunderstood often, and invalidated by my own kind (other mothers).

So, I wonder, at what point did we hurl past a more accepting reality for women? Why must we work outside the home to assert our woman power? Why must we renounce our roles as mothers to be seen as strong, intelligent, impressive women? Why does mothering the children we carried and birthed have to be a stand against feminism? Are our only choices the 1950's or super feminism?


Perhaps a great portion of these debates is internal. Perhaps the trivial internet poster I saw doesn't speak to a general consensus on stay-at-home moms living easy, less important lives. But, I know I can't be the only mother out there struggling with her identity. Becoming a mother saddles every woman with a new set of challenges to work through. We must find a way to be this while being that, make sacrifices that we sometimes second guess, and make decisions in a sea of unsolicited opinions. So, wouldn't it be nice if we could at least have another sister's back? I think so.

Monday, June 24, 2013

She's got my whole world….in her hands

The other day, Emerson discovered my purse. It's been sitting on a chair, right under her nose, for thirteen months, and she has never paid it any attention before. Yet now, she was impatiently struggling with the zipper, desperate to see what lived inside it. And, as I watched, I found myself just as curious about its contents. You see, I haven't used that purse (or any purse at all) since I became a mother. I carried one with me for a short while in the beginning until, little by little, all the items that were necessary to my life migrated into Emerson's diaper bag, which is always with me. The rest of the once-important items were left behind in that purse, on that chair.

As Emerson dug through my abandoned purse, my old life jumped out and sprawled itself across the kitchen floor, telling a story I had temporarily forgotten. There were various beauty accessories for the woman who used to not only wear makeup daily, but would also freshen up throughout the day. There was the small pocket flashlight that I used to carry when I lived in an urban high rise so I could find my keys when I dropped them on the ground in the dark parking garage. There was a chunk of amethyst from the days when I was so consumed with my spiritual yoga and meditation practices that I carried various stones with me to benefit from their "energy." (Yes, really). There was the foot balm I used to rub on my achilles tendons to heal and prevent friction from my high heels. There was the morning sickness pops from when I was pregnant. And the soap leaves I used to bring with me when I went camping. And at last, my business card case filled with cards that read: Lola Rain Photography.

Emerson was most taken by the business cards. She tried and tried to open the case until finally it snapped in half. As I watched her manhandle my former life, I couldn't help but see the meaning in the moment. I was all hers now, and that life of mine felt so far away. At first, I felt a bit of sadness and longing as Emerson began to eat one of my business cards. But, the feeling was quickly replaced with a knowing confidence in the choices I've made. I felt the calling of a life to come, a new combination of the old and the current and some other things I've yet to realize.

It's as if Emerson was trying to tell me it was okay to unpack the past….that I wouldn't lose anything by cleaning out that purse. She began to carry my business cards with her everywhere she went, leaving a trail behind her. I'm still finding those cards all over the house. But, I smile while picking them up. Because, those cards remind me of what I accomplished before, what talent and determination live inside me, what is still very much a part of me, but is gracefully waiting for me to return to it when this job called motherhood allows the space.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Moving and….moving

There are two moves going on in my life right now, both of which I've kept under wraps for months. The first is a virtual move. Yes, I will (finally) be moving this blog over to its very own domain….onto a website I've been diligently building for a while now: I'm really excited about this! After a few years of blogging on Blogger, my direction finally feels clear(ish) so it's time to take myself seriously. will be the same blog, just at a new site/address. I will make an announcement when it goes live.

The second move is a literal one. Next week I will be packing up my little family and heading off to a beautiful town just outside of Boston, where we will be living for the summer. We will still be living at home part-time every week, but it's going to be a big change nonetheless. I've sort of pushed this reality out of my mind ever since I found out it was happening (my husband took a summer position at the country's premier summer enrichment program…..way to go, Alex!). But, I can't ignore it any longer, because it's happening in just a few short days. 

I've worried about the affect this move will have on Emerson, the challenge of packing/moving/commuting every week, and living in a much smaller space without many of the comforts we are so used to. But, it is also exciting! This is our first legitimate adventure as a family, something Alex and I have missed these past two years spent gestating and raising a child. So, I have to say that the eternal adventurer/wanderer in me is pretty pumped to be moving to a new place, completely sight unseen. And, I may just not want to ever come home after rejoining the world of suburbia…..a major city minutes away….shopping and restaurants within walking distance….free food prepared for me every day….pristine, architecturally magnificent buildings surrounding me…..a pool and gym across the yard. I mean. It's peaceful and beautiful living atop this tiny mountain in the middle of nowhere, but I'm forever pulled by the green grass on the other side of wherever I am. Sigh.

So, there you have it, folks! Big changes next week! I will still be here blogging throughout. I can't wait to see what this summer will bring to my blog (and my life)!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Husband's Perspective: Dinner for One and a Half

The following post was written by Alex, my dear husband. Thanks, Alex!

As head chef in my household, I am required to vacillate between the role of Macgyver and head of a psychiatric ward. This combination leads to a certain schizophrenia behind the oven that I will try to explain here. 

To help illustrate, imagine the following sequence: put water in the baby food maker, save Emerson from near electrocution from computer cord, open baby oatmeal only to realize the measuring spoon is in the dishwasher, swipe Emerson's mouth to recover bits of colored cardboard from the cereal box she stole out of the recycling bin, eyeball the measurements on the baby oatmeal and put in baby food maker, snatch Emerson as she grabs a handful of plaster off of the injured kitchen wall, (curse lightly under breath), wash pot for big people oatmeal, open cupboard five times at the eager instruction (points and says, "that") of Emerson, turn light on and off with similar instruction, pull steaming hot jar out of baby food maker while burning hand, put water in big people oatmeal pan, unload a few dishes from dishwasher, offer Emerson a bite of baby oats that she refuses pointing to a tube of lanolin instead, offer lanolin to Emerson, offer oatmeal again this time successfully, snatch lid off big people pot as water boils over, get canister of big people oats only to realize it's empty, feed Emerson a bite, run to pantry for more oats, open with scissors, feed Emerson another bite, spoon big people oats into violently boiling pot, offer Emerson another bite that she swats away with tube of lanolin spraying the counter with chunks of oatmeal...This is the easiest meal of the day. Lunch and dinner are far more challenging….

My culinary schizophrenia is a result of the two ladies I love more than anything in the world, the profiles of which I will explore below. I will leave you to guess who is who.

Patient A

Is apparently allergic to wheat, corn, walnuts, pecans, soy, and occasionally, pea pesto. Refuses dairy, chocolate, caffeine, red meat, pork, shell fish, anything overcooked or undercooked, mixed accidentally with another food group or tainted by improper food preparation. We’re just getting warmed up here…. Doesn’t enjoy Brussels sprouts, cabbage, fiddle heads or anything at all exotic, collards or any bitter greens aside from Kale, won’t accept rhubarb, root vegetables, radishes, water chestnuts (just forget about it), apricots, blackberries, currants, cherries, dates, figs, honeydew melon, nectarines, pears, or tangerines. Occasionally, she will accept clementines, blueberries, and strawberries, but only if in season. Greens must be doused with salt, pepper and garlic to be consumed, and pasta must be slathered with no less than half a cup of legitimate (legitimate) olive oil. All, repeat ALL dishes must be served separately, and all condiments must be served on the side. Everything must be organic, especially the dirty dozen, though “clean fifteen” still vaguely suspected. The kicker: gets tired of routine meals quickly.... Needs frequent variety. 

Patient B

Known allergies to dairy and coconut. Will only eat with best friend, a singing dog, serenading her and 1-2 other toys to play with while eating. Refuses bib. Occasionally will only eat if allowed to feed herself, thereby sullying chair, table, eating apparatus, and everything else in missile range. If patient sees, smells, or suspects the presence of buttered toast, will refuse to eat anything but said toast. Likes peas but only if they aren’t mashed, likes blueberries but only if dried. Caution: will eat any packaging included, accidentally or otherwise. Will eat healthy portions of dirt, dried leaves, flowers, or bits of plastic, rock, and last week’s meals left on the floor (note irony). Distracted easily, entrees soon turn into toys of mass destruction. Use extreme caution. Kickers: Eats frequently and at odd hours. Will poop herself without warning mid-meal.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

My top 5 diet tips: healthy body, fit frame

Healthy eating is a lifestyle for me, not a "diet." And this lifestyle choice does more than keep my body trim. My diet choices (and yours) are invariably related to energy levels, sleep, mood, cognitive ability, productivity, quality of life and most importantly, the general health of my insides.

So, what does healthy eating look like for me? Here's my diet boiled down into five general tips: 

1. Eat food in its natural form (or as close to it as possible)- We've all heard this one. Focus your diet on whole foods (think lots of fresh fruits and veggies, whole grains, and lean protein), cutting out processed food and empty calories. Yes, eating whole foods requires more time and effort, but it is a habit that can be formed like any other and so worth the adjustment. My meals are freshly prepared (or leftovers of freshly prepared foods) with an occasional minimally processed snack (e.g. Lara Bars or Nut crackers with hummus).

2. Eat in/take out/carry snacks- This is a continuation of #1, really. I stick to my whole foods diet by eating meals at home, taking meals with me (for work, travel, outings), and always carrying snacks in my bag to avoid over-hungry-I-need-food-and-will-eat-anything situations from occurring. I rarely leave the house without a bottle of water, a Lara Bar, a bag of nuts, or piece of fruit.

3. Splurge mindfully- Because, we all need treats once in a while. I am no exception! But, you're not going to find run-of-the-mill dessert items in my house. During the summer months, you will often find a container of Coconut Bliss "ice Cream" (dairy-free and made with agave syrup instead of sugar) that I like to eat covered in fresh strawberries and/or blueberries. And during the winter months, you will often find me baking gluten-free oatmeal raisin cookies made with unbleached flours and dairy-free coconut spread.

4. Avoid dairy- I know, I know. Most people want nothing to do with avoiding dairy. I admit, it is ridiculously delicious. But, I can tell you that there is a 10-15 pound difference in my body weight when I include dairy as a regular part of my diet versus not. What's more, humans do not need dairy. It is the breast milk of another animal species, and we were not built to consume it. There are plenty of ways to get all the vitamins and minerals (calcium included) that you need without it. That said, there are also plenty of ways to make your food delicious without dairy. Some of my favorite non-dairy finds include: Earth Balance Coconut Spread, Bliss Coconut products, and Daiya Mozzarella shredded cheese.

5. Eat healthy fats- I discussed this briefly here. Healthy fats not only benefit the health of your body enormously, but they also help fill you up and stave off cravings for less healthy foods. Craving a hamburger with fries? Try a salad topped with avocado and olive oil (find the recipe for my Big Salad, chock full of healthy fats, here). Good examples of healthy fats include: avocado, nuts and nut butters, olive oil, and fish.

Happy eating, folks!

*Wellness Wednesday disclosure: I am not a nutritionist, doctor, or personal trainer. These posts are not meant to replace professional help in any of these areas. Be sure to consult an expert before making drastic changes in your health or fitness routine.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


Sometimes I feel like I'm living a secret life, which is ironic given I write a tell-all blog. But, I don't talk about that in my real life. I don't explain to people that I spend most of my free moments writing, brainstorming, researching, or learning how to build a website. I don't tell anyone how passionate I am about this blog….how alive and fulfilled I feel every time I hit publish….the big dreams I have inside me. I don't admit that I have a plan, a path that I am already walking, a life I have envisioned that I completely believe will come to me. 

I'm just a stay-at-home mom, right? There are plenty of people who may think so, but I'm not. Not in my mind. Yet, I don't step in defensively when the subject comes up.

Because, my dreams are too important and in pursuing them, I am at times, too fragile. I guess I've been protecting those dreams by keeping quiet in real life and then pretending like what I'm doing is not a big deal in my online life. But, the truth is, this is a big deal (to me). This blog is my passion, my therapy, my sustenance….the beginnings of a career. I started this blog not knowing where it would take me, but believing very deeply that if I just kept writing I would be led. 

But, here's the thing. While I am very good at taking risks and walking unconventional paths, I am not very good at being an amateur. I set such high standards for myself that I become frustrated and give up too quickly. Yes, I am an expert in the field of self-defeating practices—I believe I am capable of doing something, but I expect it to happen overnight. I feel so uncomfortable and embarrassed by the growing pains phase that I try to somehow sidestep it. And even after racking up a pile of achievements, promotions, and/or compliments, I doubt myself and BOLT. Over and over, I have done this in my life. 

Yet, I have continued to write this blog. This is the one thing I haven't given up on…and that has to mean something. That simple realization hit me last night and renewed my faith in this path. Because, that is what this blog is: a testament to my faith in this path I am being led down. And by continuing to write through my many identity crisis', periods of self-doubt, and the periodic urge to give up and forget the whole thing, I have learned not only how to overcome those obstacles, but how to overcome myself.

So, while the world may still see me as a stay-at-home mom, I know the truth. I know that I was back to writing several hours every day only four days after giving birth. I know that through all of my sleep-deprivation and the overwhelming responsibility of raising a baby with little to no help the past year, I have still managed to keep this thing going. I know that I feel more successful now, writing a blog in my sweatpants while my baby sleeps on me, than I did when I commuted on trains and ferries with a business card in the pocket of my Armani blazer. It's like I read in the very book that inspired me to start living the life I am living now (This time I dance!): "Success is as much a singular affair as falling in love. That's why you can't tell by looking at how well someone's done exactly how well he or she has done. Only the soul knows. Only the soul glows."

I may not have reached "professional" writer status yet. But, my soul glows.

Monday, June 17, 2013

A year of fathering

Someone once told me that in deciding whether or not a man was "the one," I should ask myself this question: if we had children and some tragedy subsequently took me out of this world, would I want this man to be the one charged with loving and raising those children? At the time, I sort of understood what this wise woman was trying to say, but not really. Not until I had a child of my own. Not until the part of my brain was turned on that is used only for compiling lists of horrible, violent, depressing, tragic, or life scarring events that could possibly happen to my child (or to me, thus affecting my child).

Fortunately, I married a man that passed the "what if I die" test. Sure, if I weren't around, my child's clothes might not match, she might always walk around with her last meal still plastered across her cheeks, and there may be a few more bumps and scrapes due to all the wild fun going on without motherly supervision. But, the important things would definitely be there. Sometimes, I even imagine a life without me in it just to calm the irrational fears that attack my mind at random. And in that life, I see a little girl holding hands with her dad at the zoo, an unending array of tight hugs and wet kisses, bedtime stories and all-night snuggles, a girl being cheered on at soccer games, music recitals, and graduations, long, honest talks over coffee. I see a dad who does things his way (without me there to micromanage….wink), but always honors what he knows the mother of his children believed in and wanted for her babes.

And the beautiful thing is, Emerson has that life I've imagined. She has that dad. Yes, I managed to marry the right man—for me, and our child(ren). He will listen and understand, he will be humble and apologize when necessary, he will give of himself generously and with unrestrained love, and he will do his very best to support and guide his children toward the life they were meant to live. And, I get to be here to give myself to her too, and that's just the best, most wonderful thing in the world.

So, "Happy Father's Day" doesn't even scratch the surface of what I wanted to say to my husband yesterday. 


Friday, June 14, 2013

This is our life

Me: I'm simultaneously craving a cup of coffee and a cocktail.

Husband: Oh, uppers and downers.

Me: What does that mean?

Husband: It means you're a parent.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Thirteen months of Emerson

I guess I'm not quite ready to give up these monthly updates. It just seems that Emerson is changing more rapidly than ever before. I can't keep up. So, I need a place to slow it down a little...

The past month has probably been the most exciting month yet. Certainly not the easiest….in fact, it's been one of the toughest. But, the most exciting. We suddenly have this little person living with us—a walking, talking person full of character. After months of only being able to take a few steps, and then walking part-time, crawling part-time, Emerson finally gave up crawling all together.

The day I noticed Emerson was no longer taking breaks from walking by crawling was huge. In an instant, with a pair of new shoes placed on her feet for the first time, she was off and running. And part of me knows, she'll never return. Not to the place and time when she was in my arms all day. Not to this sacred year (and nine months in utero) that she needed me to carry her. That moment woke me up to the reality that she is her own separate being. As obvious as that may seem, it's not always so obvious to a mother. It can be difficult to distinguish the line that separates you and your babe when you share a body, or a breast, or a bed with them. But, there comes a day when it's impossible to ignore. And it's as thrilling as it is sad to realize. For I get to be an observer, watching my child blossom and create her own Universe. But, I will always want just one more sip of this unparalleled closeness.

But, back to the thrilling parts. Our little full-time walker is so amazingly joyful. I thought she was a happy baby when she learned to crawl, but O.M.G. I've never seen such excitement as I have when I set my baby toddler down in a field of grass. Or anyplace outdoors, really. She squeals and screams and toddles every which way until her feet are good and dirty. In fact, the bottom of her feet tell so many stories these days. Full of dirt, grass stuck in between toes=best day of her life.

There is much more than just walking going on around here, though. There is so much communication, and declarations of personality and independence (see her new form of personal expression here). There are new words daily, gestures and hand signals, and an array of facial expressions. Speaking of facial expressions, Emerson has learned how to scowl and it's not only intense, but frightening. Can you see the sideways scowl?

Emerson has also developed a handy diversion tactic for times when she is caught doing something she is not supposed to. When she gets the "Emerson, what are you doing?" look from one of us, she immediately starts waving at us and saying, "hi, hi, hi!" over and over. As if to distract us with her enthusiastic welcome and cuteness. God help us.

Mostly, we are in awe of the person we created. The more Em develops, the more we are allowed the privilege of getting to know exactly who she is. And who she is is so beautiful that my heart can barely process it.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Emerson gets dressed

One of my favorite things about small children is the day they develop an interest in dressing themselves. It's one of our earliest forms of expression, and oh, so precious—sometimes hilarious, sometimes shocking, but always interesting! I never thought Emerson would develop a love of clothing or her own signature style until she was a bit older, but she has been into the clothes for a few months now. And she has recently begun walking around the house in my clothes. She comes up with a way to "wear" each article and then stops every few minutes to adjust the way she's wearing it. Her creations are so creative! And tell me you don't agree that she is flat out posing in each "look!" She seems to think she's on the runway without even knowing what one is….

Pajama pants as a shawl...

Or a scarf and bonnet duo...

Camisole necklace...

Camisole wig or headscarf...

I also like to accessorize with mommy's sunglasses...

 I can't wait to see what kind of getups she wants to wear to school someday...