farewell, sir.

Last night, Barack Hussein Obama II told the people of this great country that serving as our president has been the greatest honor of his lifetime and I truly believe him.

But I can't help but feel that the real honor actually belongs to us.

It has been an honor to watch this family for the last eight years as they stood beside one another while standing behind ALL of us. Because of this man and his exemplary level of leadership, a new precedent in politics was forged for our country-- one deeply rooted in the plight of integrity, of inclusivity, and of human decency. One does not have to be in favor of his particular brand of politics to acknowledge and respect the humanity that this man lives, breathes, and so deeply believes is worth fighting for. 

This morning, a friend who will, too, mourn the end of Obama's tenure, sent me Dan Rather's response to the farewell address and I wanted to post it in its' entirety. 

 

He was a man, take him for all in all,
I shall not look upon his like again.
- Hamlet
Whatever you think of the presidency of Barack Obama, and I know there are many who think of him as one of our greatest presidents and others with a distinctly differing opinion, I think we can all safely say he was unlike any man who has ever occupied the office of President of the United States. And I cannot imagine anyone quite like him in the future.
Tonight we saw a man of dignity, chastened by the reality of Washington and speaking in the shadows of a presidential election that leaves his legacy deeply threatened and seems to still be spiraling into uncharted territory. This was not the young Senator who bounded upon the world stage with unbridled optimism in a belief we could easily overcome all that divides us. This was a man humbled by experience, but still summoning a deep faith in the basic strength of our democratic traditions. He spoke of the accomplishments of which he was most proud, but he then shifted into a remarkable stretch where he highlighted all the challenges ahead. He almost sounded like a candidate for office, undoubtedly frustrated by the forces he felt were arrayed against him.
He spoke deeply about race, the undercurrent that coursed beneath his presidency as it has through all of American history. He spoke sympathetically of white Americans who feel worried and marginalized, but he then turned forcibly to a sense of all the racial progress left to be done and an inclusive outreach to immigrants. It was one America, perhaps without some of the naivete of his famed speech at the 2004 Democratic Convention. It seems to me that this will be his message going forward, combatting what he called the "great sorting" of self-isolation according to cultural, region, religious, and ethnic lines.
One of his biggest applause line was that "science and reason matter." He spoke passionately about his worry for a nation that increasingly assigns the notions of "facts" to partisan battle. And his section on climate change, the shamefully ignored issue of the last election, was particularly strong. It was a section that resonated with me personally, a belief that science and reason must be the path forward for our nation to thrive and prosper. It echoed a quote I just saw from Thomas Jefferson: "In a republican nation whose citizens are to be led by reason and persuasion and not by force, the art of reasoning becomes of first importance."
It is tempting to see a Farewell Address as, well, a farewell. But I got the sense watching President Obama tonight that this will not be the last we will see of him commanding a public stage. His youth, the state of the nation and the world, his unique background and qualifications will likely make him a presence in our national discourse for a long time to come.
When President George Washington issued his Farewell Address, setting the precedent echoed tonight, he almost literally rode off into the sunset. And for most of American history former presidents largely retired from an actively political public life. There have been many notable exceptions - John Quincy Adams and Teddy Roosevelt - just to name a few. But new technologies for communication and the seemingly sudden shift in the direction of our charted course as a nation will make the destiny of this former president likely different from all that have preceded him.
It is striking to see this man, who rode into the White House under the banner of Hope, age under the burdens of the office in the years since. As we mark this moment, where we confront a seeming crisis of conscience in our democratic experiment, it's important to remember the dire storm clouds of global financial doom that greeted President Obama eight years ago.
How will history judge this man and his tenure is a question none of us can fully answer. It depends not only what has happened but on what has yet to occur. And I suspect President Obama will have a hand, a strong hand, in shaping this destiny.

five things | the first week of 2017

All in all, the first week of 2017 was a fairly good one. Here are the weeks' highlights:

thefadelsistahs

1. Edie shit on the bathroom floor last night immediately after telling us she needed to go "poo poo." Might be time to start testing the waters of potty training because if I wanted to clean up shit off of bathroom floors, I'd have insisted on a puppy instead of another baby which is to say that it isn't something I care to do very often. 

2. NC is expected to get 3-6 inches of snow tonight. I've made no secret that I FUCKING HATE SNOW. I mean, it's just frozen rain so forgive me for not being able to care. Especially when that frozen water manages to shut down the city I live in, sending people into apocalyptic maniacs who think they need to buy every loaf of bread and gallon of whole milk in the state. Meanwhile, the whole wine aisle is left untouched and I'm just standing there wondering how bread and milk are going to help them survive 48 hours of being cooped up inside with two toddlers. Their misstep is just an added bonus to my arsenal of winter survival tactics so whatever, people. WHATEVER. 

3. I'm starting a round of Whole30 on Monday and I can feel your eye rolls from here. I am absolutely NOT doing this to lose weight. I don't believe in diets or counting calories and never have. However, my body is struggling with the post-holiday sugar and booze fest I put it through and my skin has been an absolute wreck for about six months or so. I am also dealing with post-IUD removal hormonal rage that has me feeling rather manic and sluggish. My hope is that by giving my body a reset and cutting out so many those inflammation-causing foods, I will be able to kick the lethargy and figure out what exactly I'm not tolerating. What am I going to miss most? Cream in my coffee, wine, avocado toast, and lentils. Not necessarily in that order. 

4. I finally posted some food recipes-- a carrot + red lentil soup and a homemade chicken bone broth-- under the FODDER tab at the top of the page. Food is my love language and cooking for the people I love brings me an immense amount of pleasure. I've got a Thai lettuce wrap recipe to post today or tomorrow and I'm working on compiling a list of my weekly pantry and fridge staples that help me make spur of the moment meals for me and the fam. It's not always easy to take photos of food when two hangry tiny tyrants are yelling at you but I'll do my best to post what I can as consistently as I possibly can. But, in the meantime, if there is anything in particular that you'd like for me to post here in more detail that I've ever documented on the gram, don't hesitate to ask for it! 

5. I just discovered GoodReads and find it utterly addicting. I now have a list of forty-and-counting books in my 2017 To Be Read list. Do you have any good book recommendations that I must read? I'm an equal opportunist when it comes to preferred genres so don't hesitate to send me your suggestions! 

Christine's books

The Girl on the Train
Sweetbitter
Magical Thinking: True Stories
Possible Side Effects
Dry
Running with Scissors
Love Warrior: A Memoir
You'll Grow Out of It


Christine Fadel's favorite books »

the lessons of 2016

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2016 felt like one long giant kick in the balls but, hey, I made it! WE MADE IT! It an effort to remain grateful for even the most gratuitous moments the last year graced me and my family with, I am putting forth as much effort I can muster to appreciate the lessons it taught me. So, without further ado, here is what I learned while doubled over in the fetal position...

  1. Change is almost always good but it is not always easy to embrace or adjust to. 
  2. No one is immune to experiencing the many ebbs and flows of life. All in due time. 
  3. Some years, there will be more ebbing than flowing and that shit will be hard but just know that life has a way of balancing itself out.  
  4. Some days, the kids being fed, warm, and alive is enough. Any self-imposed goals of a day free of tantrums or an adequate consumption of leafy green food will have to fuck themselves back into a Pepperidge Farm non-organic goldfish box where they belong. 
  5. Being tired turns me into an asshole, my kids into tyrants, and my husband into a very scared, emotionally abused man.
  6. Even mommy throws tantrums and even your kids wake up in bad moods for no other reason than wanting to piss you off. Tomorrow is a new day to try harder to not be an asshole. 
  7. Empathy involves listening without speaking, holding space for someones' pain without negating it, and reminding them that they are not alone in their struggle. Life is isolating enough-- hard enough-- without making someone feel terrible for simply being human.  
  8. A great number of people are addicted to outrage. Coincidentally, a great number of people are assholes. 
  9. Anyone who makes you feel like you have to prove your worth is the one guilty of proving that they aren't worthy. I should not and will not justify the degree to which I've only proven I'm human because it makes you feel better about your own lack of humanity. 
  10. Never say never because swallowing those words taste a whole lot more like vinegar than they do honey. Especially when those words begin with "When I'm a parent, I'll never do...." 

 

a look back at 2016 + intentions for the new year

Commissioned painting of our family done by my incredibly talented and dear friend, Emily. You can see the colorful version of the painting here.

Commissioned painting of our family done by my incredibly talented and dear friend, Emily. You can see the colorful version of the painting here.

Do you, like me, roll your eyes the moment someone declares the upcoming year to be THE year they embrace a new, better, healthier version of themselves? I mean, it's well-intentioned, of course. It's just that that kind of declaration is bound to set you up for failure. Living under the impression that all one needs is the turn of a calendar page to miraculously possess the discipline to do whatever it is you're convinced you need to do differently from years past seems kind of ridiculous. Does January 1st demand something different from us than... say... June 13th?

 

I digress.

 

I will admit that I do appreciate any opportunity to reflect. I also find it a healthy dose of perspective to process where I've stood, where I'm currently standing, and where I'd like to be. As I look back on 2016, I have ultimately decided that 2016 mostly felt like a battle of extremes where the majority of my energy was devoted to adjusting and assisting the girls' adjustment from our move from NY back to NC. It was a foggy, messy, blur of a process, of which I'm not all-together confident is actually over. When I wasn't explaining to Marlo why "I was the worst person in the world for moving her away from her best friends and favorite playground" (yes, that was an actual reoccurring conversation), I was merely trying to survive a level of physical exhaustion I've yet to previously experience thanks to Edie's malfunctioning ear canals.

 

Coincidentally, 2016 was also the year that made me question if I was had any fucking clue whatsoever what I am doing as a parent. By mid-September, I came to the annoyingly obvious conclusion that I remain as moderately ill-equipped to be any of the things that are expected of me as a mom as I was before I actually birthed a human. How enlightening!

 

But I kept on keeping on, trying like hell to figure how to be the mom my girls needed me to be. And, though the process was painstakingly difficult and often punishingly futile, admitting to myself that I have approximately zilch figured out gave me the boost to keep pushing onward and upward. In my mind, if the job wasn't done, neither was I. 

 

I fucked up a lot in 2016, too.

 

I lost my temper over the most embarrassingly ridiculous things. I let the unimportant details of the everyday get the best of me. I wasn't always grateful. I threw tantrums and behaved like a brat. I let the poor behavior of others affect my emotional well being when they weren't even worth an ounce of my energy to begin with. I went against my better judgement which bit me in the ass EVERY SINGLE TIME. I didn't always give it all I've got to give because either a) I was too tired or b) I simply didn't want to. I wasn't always kind to myself nor did I give myself the amount of I grace I pass out to everyone else like candy. 

 

And, when you know better and choose to not do better, there are no worthy justifications or excuses. You just have to own the fucking up. 

 

Looking forward into the year ahead, I will make no grand declarations or bold statements about about what I hope 2017 to hold for me or my family. I only want to continue being the best possible version of myself/wife/mother/friend/daughter I can be because my people and I deserve that.

 

That means following my gut instincts instead of ignoring them, standing my ground when pressed to back down, giving my kids more space to be themselves and not allowing them to be shamed for being human, embracing the messiness of the everyday because the message lies somewhere deep within that mess, blocking out the noise of what others may think, accepting the crazy but not engaging it, giving myself permission to rest without the guilt trip, taking up verbal/physical/emotional space without apology, holding myself as accountable as I hold others, writing as often as I feel I have something to say, treating my body and mind as though I love myself because I do, and remaining grateful to wake up every morning and have the opportunity of living and loving the amazing, abundant, complicated, beautiful, messy life I am so, so fucking lucky to lead beside the three other souls in that picture.

 

Trying harder to be our best, even when the effort feels impossible or the outcome proves pointless, counts for something because continued effort in the face of obstacles fucking matters. That level of tenacity should be worn as a badge of honor because it sure as shit isn't easy. At the very least, the degree to which we put forth effort should be enough to detract from our endless list of shortcomings.... Right?!

 

Happy 2017, y'all. I hope it's a beautiful one.

christine x

a parting gift | DIY all-natural body scrubs

As a party parting gift, I whipped together two different variations of an all-natural foot scrub for my mama friends. Though they may look all kinds of clever and crafty, it would be misleading of me to not divulge that they're incredibly easy to make or to allow any fanfare over my non-existent pinterest-y capabilities. 

In case you want to make some for yourself (they also make thoughtful stocking stuffers and hostess gifts!), here's the recipe along with a bonus organic coffee + brown sugar body scrub that I made due to a spare ten minutes and an abundance of leftover mason jars.

Foot + Body Scrub

(makes about eight 4 oz jars)

The Scrub Base:

2 cups mineral sea salt

2 cups Pacific sea salt

8 oz  fractioned coconut oil

 

Peppermint Foot + Body Scrub

10 drops peppermint essential oil

10 drops melaleuca essential oil (tea tree)

10 drops eucalyptus essential oil

 

Citrus Hand + Body Scrub

10 drops grapefruit essential oil

12 drops wild orange essential oil

8 drops lemon essential oil

Mix salts and oil together in a large nonporous bowl (plastic or glass is best) and add in the essential oil combination of your choice. It should have a wet sand-like consistency without an abundant excess of oil like you often see when you buy a pre-packaged scrub from the store. Ration into jars. 

*You need to wash your bowl with soap and water after making peppermint-based scrub. Peppermint oil tends to mask any other scent you may want to be using. Also, be sure to not touch your eyes after handling the peppermint oil. It's just as bad, if not worse, than a jalapeño. 

**Other great oil combinations would be lavender + ylang ylang + roman chamomile and rose + geranium

 

 

Sugar Body Scrub

(makes about 4-4 oz mason jars)

1 cup organic dark brown sugar

1 cup organic coffee

2 tbsp raw Manuka honey

4 oz organic sweet almond oil (jojoba oil would work just as well) 

*a coarse to medium ground coffee works best in this scrub.

 

 

**a note on presentation**

Any jar that has a tight fitting lid will work well for this. I bought two of these 12-packs and they worked particularly well. They also happen to be especially cute for gift giving and rather cost effective.

I also bought these cute mini burlap sacks to use in lieu of traditional gift bags and attached craft paper gift tags listing the scrub details. I added one of these ridiculously adorable tiny wooden scoops into each of the bags that I scored on Amazon as an extra little touch because I, personally, can't stand having to use my hand to scoop out scrub; it always gets under my fingernails and irks me to no end. Which is clearly ridiculous seeing as how I obviously have to... you know... use my hands to actually massage the scrub onto my body.