Maybe you’ve posted a picture of your sardine avocado toast on social media and gotten no traction with likes or hearts. . .or even disdainful comments from your so-called inclusive friends.
This little place on the web is a safe space for sardine-lovers and other tinned fish aficionados.
I love sardines because they are a healthy, convenient, and economical way to get omega-3s.
They are also a connection to my late grandfather who lived until age 106. Sardines were his 2-pack a week habit.
Here is my latest sardine-spiration is Pasta Con Le Sarde. You can find many recipes and variations of this Sicilian dish. Here are two.
This recipe for Pasta Con Le Sarde featured on Pasta Grannies uses fresh sardines, but of course you can use canned. Antonia, the cook, mentions the option to use tomato sauce.
The entire Pasta Grannies YouTube channel checks the box for “heart-warming” and therefore is recommended viewing for late pregnancy when you would like to be encouraging high oxytocin levels. This whole channel makes you want to cook.
Another version of Pasta Con Le Sarde is on the Food 52 website. One reader recommends using bucatini. Another says that it’s traditionally made for St. Joseph’s Day (March 19) and with breadcrumbs to represent the sawdust in St. Joseph’s workshop (Antonia of Pasta Grannies does just that). According to Pasta Grannies, fennel and sardines are at their peak at this time in the spring.
I hope you enjoy this delicious pasta dish rich in protein and omega-3 fatty acids!
When you suddenly gain the ability to know the names of all the birds in your neighborhood. . .to enliven a February walk
When a person turns a certain age, maybe 35, certain topics suddenly become inexplicably fascinating.
For instance, birds.
Years ago (before we were 35), my husband had the day off from his Army training one Saturday morning outside Ft. Huachuca, Arizona. We decided to go on a guided hike at a nature preserve. At the meeting point, the leader opened with “I know that most of you are here to see the Elegant Trogan. . .” Andrew and I (with my young baby strapped to my chest) looked at each other quizzically and then we looked around. We were the only ones without salt and pepper hair and without binoculars rigged on harnesses. We seemed to be in the company of people with a particular set of skills. . .our leader used a signaling mirror like a laser pointer to indicate trees. And a particular focus. . .turns out southern Arizona is the only place in the US to see the Elegant Trogan. Sighting this rare bird was a lifetime dream of these birders. I hoped that my baby’s squawks wouldn’t scare away this mystically-named bird. Only a few of the experienced birders did see the Elegant Trogan, but we all got a taste of serendipity that day.
Recently a young dad in my Bradley birth class introduced the other expectant parents and me to a bird identification ap called Merlin (named for a small falcon), and we were all so glad to have this extra incentive to go for a walk outdoors.
Merlin is like google translate for bird calls. It has made me aware of calls that I’ve heard for years but could not identify, and truly snaps me into the moment.
When you’re expecting a baby, walking in nature has so many benefits. It’s easier to be in the moment and let go of any worries. You can remember that nature accomplishes work without technology. Nature has rhythms that can’t control and that we must respect. Somehow this can bring perspective to a pregnancy.
The merlin ap adds extra motivation to help pregnant parents take the time to go on a walk.
Just be sure to not only download the ap but also download the “sound pack” for your region once you open the ap while you are still on wifi. When you do this you can start using it the very first time you take it for a walk!
February is a great time to learn about birds in your neighborhood or a nearby park because you can spot birds more easily before the leaves come out!
I think it’s fair to say that no matter your age, the Merlin ap and being able to know the names of the birds creating the beautiful songs makes walks more satisfying.
You probably have experience participating in or watching sports. When you take what you already know from sports and bring it to birth—another physical activity—you’re ahead of the game! You’re building on an area that you’re familiar with.
It’s important to me to demystify birth for expectant parents so that they can have a positive experience!
I recently read a Wall Street Journal article about penalty shootouts that drew parallels from penalty shootouts to other high stakes life events. A lot of what was discussed also pertains to birth. Author Ben Cohen highlights the research of Mr. Geir Jordet, a psychologist who is an expert in World Cup penalty shootouts in the article:
A Psychologist Spent Five Years Studying World Cup Penalty Shootouts
The article states:
"Players who hurried through penalties missed more than players who took enough time to
compose themselves, according to his research. His recommendation: Slow down. Taking deep breaths and trusting in routine is a good way to exert agency, which is important, since players who feel like they’re in control outperform those crippled by the unpredictability of chance. But this kind of mental work must begin long before a World Cup, said Dr. Jordet, who suggests practicing every detail of the process down to placing the ball on the penalty mark. 'You want to have an almost machine-like, robotic approach,' he said."
There are many ways to feel in control during your pregnancy, while in labor, and at other times in our life. Even though many elements of birth are unpredictable and uncontrollable, it pays to have a long list of small ways to be in control.
The most important way for expectant parents to feel in control has to do with mindset. Keep in mind that at a certain point in labor, our brain has a hormonal tendency to “go rogue” and any thoughts that our rational brain knows to be helpful tend to be lost. This is why it’s not only important to cultivate our own mindset, but also to make sure that the people who are around us at our birth are also supportive of our wishes and to understand the needs of a laboring woman on a deep level.
Another way for expectant parents to feel in control has to do with the way that other people will talk to us and with us when we are in labor. It’s worthwhile to be choosy when deciding where to give birth, who will attend (in terms of the professionals), and which loved ones will accompany us and how they will prepare. When moms are in labor, we don’t always have the wherewithal to participate in a conversation. Others will be deciding how to speak to us, so it’s important to know that we can know what to expect from those who will be at our birth.
It takes being intentional to get to a place of feeling in control, along with some planning, and consulting people.
Taking the time to practice, especially with your partner, will help you to be satisfied with your birth and to give you the best possible chance of having the sort of outcome you are hoping for!
Another surprising point highlighted in this article. "The most counterintuitive of his findings may be that penalty shootouts reward teamwork. . .There is an emotional contagion in which the mere reactions of players can shape the events on the field—for good and bad."
The same is true in birth and in other high stakes events. When someone is calm in a situation that others find stressful, it’s much easier to be calm, even if it doesn’t come naturally. Getting comfortable with the various ways that labor typically unfolds helps moms and dads bring a sense of calm and control with them to their birth.
If you’ve already given birth, you may have learned things at your birth that help you in your everyday life, or in unique challenges. Another topic for another day!
If you want to learn more about bringing your best game face to your baby’s birthday, please reach out to me!
When you remember that you do own that Fleetwood Mac album. . .and when you realize that you do have the inner resources to get through your hard time.
One day I was at a birth and the family played Fleetwood Mac’s Rumors. There is nothing like Lindsey Buckingham’s guitar in Never Going Back to add energy, calm, and inspiration all at once.
Sometimes though on an ordinary Thursday, you need a song with enough buoyancy to keep you afloat. (in my case, a day with a teenager pushing up against college application deadlines).
I stood in the pre-dawn silence, pre-coffee, craving the drive and conversation in the bassline in Over my Head. . .in its full album context, without ads.
I waited for the water to boil, knowing that though I owned several Fleetwood Mac albums. But an ap interface redesign stood between music that I purchased in the 90s and my speakers.
One day I had started to let the phone do the thinking for me—so that I could slice melon and get six people fed. I started hearing ads. I lost access to information about the music. An algorithm, instead of an artist, decided what song should come next. I nearly forgot that I owned hundreds of albums that I loved and can rely on for inspiration.
But today, I took the time to click around and find an album that I owned since the 90s. Before the coffee was brewed, Christine McVie’s voice, and the brain-tingling guitar harmonics were giving me motivation to start another day.
I have more to share about how to get in touch with assets and strengths that we already possess.
This is an invitation to take a step toward being more intentional, during pregnancy, as you’re raising or growing your family, or as you’re becoming a grandparent.
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It's me, Julia. I'm here to think, reflect, and inspire on topics related to birth and family transitions.