Cara Paiuk hails from Vancouver, B.C., and lives in West Hartford, CT. After leaving the rat race to become a homemaker and writer, she rejoined it as an entrepreneur and is now president of Nutty Cow Inc, a purveyor of pareve nut cheeses (nuttycow.com). Cara is in the process of figuring out how to juggle cooking for a vegan husband, caring for a toddler, nursing twins, staying healthy, running a business, and still find time for her writing career. You can join Cara's journey here and on her blog at www.carapaiuk.com.
I recently had a conversation with a friend about how to teach our children the concept of tzedakah. As parents we set expectations for our children in so many areas, from the mundane to the…profoundly existential. At the top of my list, I want to teach my children gratitude for life’s blessings, compassion for those less fortunate, and the importance of joining communities of love and support. Shaping my children’s worldview will affect how they treat others long after I am gone, including how they raise their own children, thus… >> Read More
While settling into our new house this summer, I unpacked several boxes that had been sealed for so long that the contents were long forgotten. Some contained treasures I was thrilled to find again…and others were filled with junk that made me wonder why I had schlepped them around for so many years. But two boxes in particular, smothered in “FRAGILE” stickers and falling apart from thousands of miles of travel, stood out from all the rest. They were waiting for this house, this moment, for the big… >> Read More
I have watched the stream of first-day-of-school photos flood social media these last couple of weeks, and all these beautiful, shiny children, smiling with carefully chosen too-large-to-fail…backpacks have made me look forward to my son starting school next year. To me, the defining moment of my son’s first day of school will be when I watch him get on the bus and wave goodbye until the bus turns the corner. Until a few days ago, my biggest qualm about him getting… >> Read More
My husband is vegan, we’re raising our children as vegetarians, and we even started our own vegan cheese company. But I have a confession: I am still woefully ignorant on many food-related…environmental issues. Food labels, GMOs, and the intricacies of recycling and composting intimidate me, yet I want to make educating myself and my children about these issues a priority. I want eco-consciousness ingrained in them from an early age, much like I want them to enjoy physical activities and speak a second language. I know… >> Read More
Thirteen years ago, a friend gave me a book to read saying that I would love it. And I did. A curvy, Jewish girl who had a neurotic dog and is dating a doctor? Check, check, and check. I felt an…immediate kinship with Cannie Shapiro and the woman who created her. With each subsequent book by Jennifer Weiner, I, and thousands of other women, fell deeper in love with her heroines and their creator. I sat down with Jen to discuss her fantastic new book, " All Fall Down," about a suburban mommy blogger who… >> Read More
The early milestones in my life were not happy ones, revolving around death and displacement. I also was sick for part of my early adulthood and the years blended together into a blur without any…milestones to mark the passage of time. So, when I met my husband just over four years ago, it was almost as if my life started back up again in overdrive. Our milestones have been making up for lost time I suppose. Almost four years ago I had our son and 13 months ago our… >> Read More
I walked into a baby mega-store the other day and passed the clothes section. Out of the corner of my eye I saw something that made me stop in my tracks…the tiniest onesie 3-pack on a hanger. I…couldn’t believe how small it was and checked the size: Newborn. I immediately felt a lump in my throat. My babies, my little girls, almost one year ago swam in the enormity of newborn onesies. I was momentarily stunned at the recollection of how small they had been and got ferklempt as I realized how… >> Read More
It’s hard to admit the truth. But I can no longer hide behind “pregnancy brain” or “I am still within the first year of twins.” I am absent-minded, cannot remember anything past 22…seconds ago, and incapable of talking about any non-mommy subject in depth. Motherhood has dumbed me down. Ask me how I am doing and I am likely to answer with a blank stare while I process your question. I don’t have time to exercise my body, much less my brain! And I fear it is… >> Read More
I recently wrote about my local kosher market’s announcement that it was closing after 74 years in business and how devastating the news was to so many people in our community. I regretted not…shopping there more often and wished I had a chance to do things differently. But how often do we get second chances in life? With immense pride in my community and gratitude to our leaders for coming together, we all have that second chance in the Greater Hartford area. Our beloved Crown Market has been saved, and… >> Read More
My community’s beloved Crown Market--serving the Greater Hartford community for 74 years with kosher products, butcher, deli-style prepared foods, and catering--announced this morning it was…closing its doors. The Jewish community here is reeling. Increased competition in the area is cited as the cause but the horrifying truth is I am the cause. We are all the cause. I chose to shop at the new neighborhood Wal-Mart because we wanted to save money. What I realize now, much too late,… >> Read More
I am undoubtedly overwhelmed, overextended, and stretched too thin on any given day, at any given moment. A 3-year-old son, almost 10-month-old twin daughters, a home to maintain, a small business…we are trying to grow, a new photography venture, articles to write, a cooking club, and a few other activities all make my life insanely chaotic and wonderful. Then why did I commit myself to one more thing? Because, if you notice the list above, there was nothing dedicated to being Jewish. I am committed… >> Read More
Cara and her husband Alex thought they had chosen a unique and meaningful name for their son that no other kid in class would have. Turns out, after doing some Internet searches for "Aiven…Gray," they stumbled upon another baby with the same name. They tracked down Dina (the mama), and the below you'll find the two musing on their naming coincidence. Cara's Story Around four years ago I threw out the birth control. My fiancée and I decided to leave it to chance, and while we played family… >> Read More
I woke up sounding like a frog again. Remnants from my cold on Thanksgiving, I suppose. But as I sit here in bed, sipping my coffee that my husband has brought me, with my son ensconced in my lap…playing on his iPad, my thoughts are not on this nasty scratchy throat I cannot get rid of, but rather, on how, for the first time in a long time, I feel like I have done something right in this world of parenting. That somehow, something I did, or didn’t do, was actually a good… >> Read More
This is ridiculous. I am almost 42 years old and I am having a birth control dilemma. How did THAT happen?!
I got pregnant with my son almost four years ago by batting my eyelashes at my fiancé.…Fertile myrtle, right? Not so much. Secondary infertility set in, and after there were hormones injected into my rump, more dildo-cams than I care to recall, and a two-year stretch of nothing but miscarriages, I got knocked up again. With twins. I will always wonder if the twins came naturally or from the fertility drug… >> Read More
Almost every morning my heart is broken. OK, five days a week to be exact. For almost all of last year and so far this year too, dropping my 3-year-old son off at school is a tragic affair,…unequaled in torment and misery--until the next day. It reminds me of Prometheus' punishment for stealing fire from Zeus, but why I deserve this public flailing I'm not so sure. The sweet little girl who also had a tough time parting from her mama now runs off to play with her friends. The other boy… >> Read More
In honor of World Breastfeeding Week, I am inspired to publicly declare that I breastfeed and support other mothers who nurse their children.
My twin girls were born just over 12 weeks ago. They…arrived five weeks early and were so small and fragile that I had to learn how to hold a baby all over again. As preemies, they were automatically placed in the NICU and carried no body fat that would have regulated their temperature., Therefore, until my milk started to flow, I agreed to supplement my… >> Read More
I have realized in the last few weeks that one of the biggest challenges of having twins is feeding them. They seem to eat all the time, around the clock, especially during a growth spurt when…wearing a bra seems useless. I am fortunate that I didn't have any challenges nursing my son three years ago and I am not having any serious issues with my girls now. My girls latched within an hour of their births and my milk came in on the third day (in spite of my C-section… >> Read More
Almost two years ago, I wrote about my disdain for writing thank you cards, and I still have an issue with the premise that thank you cards should be required or expected. Are we not supposed to give…a gift, do a favor, or extend a kindness without an expectation of receiving something in return? Do we need the thank you card construct to make us feel good? Rewarded? Acknowledged? To this day I resent my family for forcing me to write engagement, wedding, and baby shower thank you cards. I especially resent… >> Read More
Well, here I am, in the home stretch of what seems like a two-year journey. The twins will be arriving soon.
I'm so large and awkward I feel like a freak of nature. My lungs are being crushed and…several times a day I cannot catch my breath. If my husband or son gets too close I feel claustrophobic and can't breathe. I have so little space left inside of me that I need to compensate by making more space around me. I wake up in the middle of the night gasping for air,… >> Read More
I am really starting to freak out. The logistics of having twins, a toddler, a house too small for all of us, and a home business to run is consuming me.
You see, we have no family around to help.…The community here is wonderful, but they cannot possibly be here eight hours a day for several weeks as I heal from a probable C-section, attempt to nurse two newborns, and take care of my son who will be 2 1/2 years old. I won't be able to lift much for six to eight weeks… >> Read More
This past week I celebrated my third wedding anniversary. Since I was sick and confined to bed, I had time to think about these last few years, how I got to where I am today, and how unlikely a…journey it has been... Remember when you were little and you dreamed your life would be a fairy tale? I forgot about those dreams until a few years ago. It was Memorial Day weekend in 2009 and after a dry spell with dating, I was on a roll. Great date on Friday night! Great date… >> Read More
Last week, Cara shared with us that due to sheer will and obsessive fertility tracking, she was able to get pregnant. This week she shares the rest of her triumphant story.
I felt cautiously…optimistic when those faint pink lines appeared. I continued to POAS (pee on a stick) several times a day. I knew from my past experiences that a faint pink line could fade away after two or three days so I watched and waited tentatively to see if the lines would fade or get darker. My… >> Read More
I have some OCD tendencies. I try to embrace them and not drive my husband crazy, but I enjoy only moderate success on that front.
My OCD tendencies extend to stockpiling (please God don't let me…end up on Hoarders in 20 years), organizing stuff, and fertility tracking. Unbeknownst to me when I started tracking my fertility (and trying desperately to have a second child), there is a whole community of people who obsess over every detail of their cycles too! We have a whole online support group with fertility tracking… >> Read More
I took my son to his first day of "school" today. Actually, it was half of a half-day, more of a parent-teacher meet n' greet and let-the-kids-touch-everything to get everyone familiar sort of deal.…I didn't feel worried at all about sending Aiven to school because he adapts well to new situations and I know he needs to spend time around other kids. Besides, my husband and I work from home and I fear our son is getting sick of us. About a week ago, we started getting inundated… >> Read More