The Pain in the Joy

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Motherhood is is full of paradox. From the moment we learn of our child’s existence, we begin a process of constantly holding and letting go. This little person is part of our very being (spiritually, if not physically) and yet a totally separate human being. They arrive, and we let go while simultaneously embracing. They grow, and we watch in unspeakable joy, yet with each milestone reached we must let go just a bit more. Let go, and trust. The cord is cut, and we no longer share one body. They need us at every second, even to support their tiny floppy heads, and then less, and less. They wean. They crawl, then walk, and then run away from us (and yet return for comfort, again and again). We continue, being there, loving, holding, and still constantly letting go. May I just point something out here, that perhaps sometimes we’re afraid to say out loud? Amidst all of the amazing joy of all of this, it is also gut-wrenchingly painful for us as mamas. Remember, this child was literally a part of you and always will be. It is wonderful to see our little ones learning, changing, becoming the people they are destined to be. But it also feels a bit like a punch in the stomach, as we let go and practice trusting that they will be okay, and as we watch each stage pass, gone forever in favor of the new.
It is okay—even totally essential—to acknowledge this. In one of my favorite podcast episodes ever, Rob Bell spoke of The Good Grief. It deeply affected me, and has been on my mind ever since. With every new thing in our lives, something else must be coming to an end. Each time we gain something, we also lose something. This applies to parenthood, and also every other aspect of life. It is healthy for us to grieve these small things. If we refuse to acknowledge what is passing away, in fear that it will make us seem ungrateful for the wonderful new things happening, we are ignoring a part of our own hearts that needs the pain to be acknowledged. In allowing ourselves to observe and fully feel the pain even in the smallest things, we honor what was, and we allow ourselves to let it go and then fully be present and grateful in the now.
And you know what’s so incredibly beautiful about all of this? When you let yourself do this, you give yourself permission to feel everything more completely, including the present moment. In acknowledging the bittersweet heartache of my kids growing, each new stage bringing about the end of the previous one, I find myself so much more grateful for the present stages they’re in—wanting to soak in every detail and truly pay attention while it lasts.
So I’ll allow myself to feel a little sad that Eaden looks different (albeit every bit as cute) now that she has teeth, and that Isaac is looking less and less “little” lately as the last of his toddler chub disappears, and even that Seth no longer needs my help with most of his day-to-day tasks (yes, with that one I may be simultaneously grieving and cheering!)… but mostly I will hug them as often as I can, and notice the color of their eyes when I look at them, and pay as much attention as I can, as often as I can, to every detail. And I’ll take pictures (so many pictures), because every bit of it is worth remembering.

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they are my heart

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They are my heart. They fill my cup and simultaneously empty it. Motherhood is tough and messy, beautiful and vulnerable and absolutely amazing. There are moments of greatest joy and deepest ache, bliss and utter defeat often in the same day.
Today I’m sporting a bruised eye and nose from a toy thrown at my face yesterday (because I would let the 3 year old watch Netflix on my phone. yes really.)
This morning I woke before they did—a habit I’m trying hard to form—and brought my cashew milk hot chocolate back to bed for quiet time alone. Yet not really alone—this new life wiggles and kicks inside me and I feel the reality that she and I are the most connected we will ever be in our lives. That truth breaks my heart in the most wonderful way. I want to savor every minute of this.

I’ve been wanting to start writing here again for a while. I hate to make any promises, but I will say that I have the desire to do so and am going to give it a shot. I have so much I want to share, and am a perfectionist about photos to go with posts, and often I know it’s going to take so much time that I end up posting nothing at all. But really I have things to say. So I’ll just begin, and see where it goes.

Instagram has functioned as my daily blog for a while now, but it is fleeting and I crave something with a bit more depth and permanence. Yes indeed I am pregnant with our third baby—a girl! (I hadn’t shared that tidbit here so now it’s official.) We are so filled with joy. Nearly 23 weeks now, and after a very nauseous first trimester I have been fully enjoying this time, soaking it in and trying not to rush because it’s likely going to be my last pregnancy.

I’ll be back soon ;)

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Wild + Free | Saving Sisterhood

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On Friday of last week, I hopped on a plane to Virginia Beach to spend the weekend with over 100 beautiful women who are dedicated to raising our kids with love and intention. Wild and Free is a homeschooling conference, but even more so it is a retreat aimed at fostering true sisterhood among mothers and refreshing us for the coming year teaching and raising our kids.

There was an incredible lineup of speakers who inspired and encouraged us throughout the weekend. I’ve followed many of them on Instagram for some time, so meeting these amazing ladies in person was a little bit like meeting celebrities, only much more exciting. But despite their fame in the blogging IG moms community, these were real, relatable women. This made me love them each even more. The real-life friendships I formed this weekend are ones I am so very thankful for. There was laughter and tears and late-night talks and long hugs. These girls just get it, and that can be so rare. I came away wishing so much that I’d been a little braver and started more conversations, connected with more new faces- but there is only so much time, and the ones I did meet were truly awesome. (Like this girl, Tara—this is us at the beach on the last day. She seriously rocks.)

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I wish I could share every nugget of wisdom, every takeaway. I took a lot of notes.
Joy is gratitude/giving/getting back up (Naomi), sisterhood is worth saving (Kelsey), say no to the rest so I can start saying yes to the best (Tiffany)… these thoughts only scratch the surface. It was good.

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I am already looking forward to next year. I’m making it a priority, financially and logistically, because this weekend fed a very hungry part of my soul. I came home refreshed and more ready to pour into my kids, and with new friends to stay in touch with and share encouragement with throughout the year. Of course motherhood still brings it’s daily challenges, but I feel like I’ve added a few more tools to aid in those days.

I really hope to see some of you there next year.

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Isaac {Your Birth Story}

Dear Isaac,

It was a month ago. Yet in my mind could have been just a week, or yesterday. The day a mother first sees her child is forever branded into the fibers of her brain.

Where do I start in telling this story? My labor began on Friday, March 2nd. According to our first ultrasound, that was our due date. The practice surges I’d been feeling all week started to come more frequently. (Note: Practice surges = Braxton Hicks contractions, which are painless tightenings of the uterus in preparation for labor. I felt them randomly from about halfway through both my pregnancies, and much more often near the end. Also, I call contractions “surges”- something I picked up from the birth class our midwife teaches. I find it helps me to think of them this way- surges of energy rather than contracting/tensing up. In labor and birth, the words you use and the way you think about things matters quite a lot.) By midday they were consistently 10-15 minutes apart and were getting pretty uncomfortable. This was how my first labor began, too- very gradually- and with Seth this early part lasted more than a day, so I wasn’t yet thinking “this is it”, I just knew that it would be soon. Your grandma Jackie had been saying all week that she thought you’d come on Saturday, and she tends to be right when she makes those kind of predictions. On Friday, though, I was really starting to wonder if you’d hold out that long.

Your dad worked his usual shift that day- 7am to 7pm. We talked in the afternoon and I told him what I was feeling, but gave no indication that I thought it was real labor (I wasn’t at all sure yet myself, and I didn’t want to get myself too excited since I knew it could still be days. I just wanted to be as normal as possible in every way until labor prevented me from doing so.) During our conversation, I mentioned a craving for Indian food from our favorite local restaurant, Indus, and he said “let’s do it!”. (He loves their chicken biriyani and will eat it any chance he gets.) So I brought Seth to play and have dinner at grandma and papa’s house, and then I came home to wait for your dad. In the car, I had to really put effort into focusing on the road during surges. This was when I knew for sure that they no longer qualified as practice surges- these were real. As I pulled back into our driveway, I briefly wondered if I even should have been driving, and resolved that if I was still pregnant tomorrow I wouldn’t drive myself anywhere.

By the time 7:05 came and your dad walked in the door, I’d decided to time the surges for a while. We were supposed to call Connie, our midwife, when they were 8 minutes apart or less, lasting 30-45 seconds or longer, for at least 30 minutes. They were currently ranging from 7.5 to 12 minutes apart, and lasting 20-30 seconds or so. Sometimes they were fairly uncomfortable, but having given birth before I was reluctant to yet apply the word “pain” to the situation. I knew I was in early labor, and your dad and I briefly questioned our dinner plans, but I wanted that Indian food. Besides, I figured, when would we next get a chance to go out for dinner- just the two of us?

During dinner, my surges continued to be about the same frequency, but gained some intensity. The food was amazing. I had my favorite, bagara baigan- eggplant in a coconut ginger sauce- with jasmine rice and garlic naan. I kept having to stop eating and breathe during surges. I’d love to know what the restaurant staff though of the very pregnant lady who was drinking so much water and kept this strange look on her face- maybe they thought I was nuts, or were nervous that I’d have a baby in their restaurant! We picked up your brother from grandma’s house and went to bed shortly after arriving home, unsure of what the night would bring.

The basic plan was to have the birth tub set up in our bedroom and have a water birth as I did with your brother. Over the recent weeks I’d carefully gathered and double-checked all the supplies listed by our midwife, and everything was ready. The tub would be brought while I was in labor. My mom would come down from Stuart (about a 40-minute drive) and be dropped off by my dad so she could spend the first night here with us, and grandma Jackie would be here for your birth as well. Papa was going to take Seth and then bring him back soon after you were born. My photographer friend April would come to document it all.

So… we went to bed sometime around 10pm, and the surges kept coming about every 10 minutes. I couldn’t sleep through them- they were much too uncomfortable- but I tried to get as much rest as I could in between. Sometime after 2am, they just hurt too much if I continued lying down. I went downstairs and drank some water and timed them, and suddenly (I’m assuming spurred by my walking around) they were only 3-6 minutes apart and much more intense. I called Connie, and she told me to keep timing and call her again in 30 minutes. I’d planned on having fruit and cheese available for the midwives and everyone else to snack on, but I hadn’t cut them up yet. This suddenly seemed very important, as it was the final thing on my “preparation for labor” list, so I found myself (somewhat irrationally) in the kitchen cutting up apples at 2:30am, stopping to lean over the counter for each surge, which were getting more and more intense. After I’d finished that, I went upstairs and nudged your dad to wake up. I called Connie again, and she could tell from my voice that things had really picked up and said she would be on her way. I told your dad that we needed to change the sheets and put the waterproof mattress pad on, to which he replied “that means I have to get out of bed, right?”. I still kept thinking (based on my first birth experience) that I still had plenty of time. I called my mom and your dad called his, and Connie was bringing the tub I’d rented from the birth center, so there was nothing left to do but wait for everyone to arrive. Your dad supported me during surges. Soon my mom was here, and Connie showed up minutes later. While she asked questions, took my vitals, etc, your dad and grandma worked on setting up the tub. I texted April, the photographer, to tell her it was time. That was probably the last coherent thing I was able to do- after that I was in “labor land”. Soon grandma Jackie and Connie’s assistant midwife, Kristen, were the room too. Throughout all of this my labor was intensifying, but even I did not realize just how fast at that point. I used pain-coping techniques I’d learned to help me through each surge. One I found effective was “non-focused awareness” (it’s discussed in Pam England’s Birthing From Within). It is basically allowing the mind to be aware of and acknowledge each individual thing around you, with all your senses, but not hold focus on any one thing. I remember even now some of the things I named in my mind during surges in that intense stage of labor… “carpet under my knees, sheet against my cheek, air pump for the tub, Manny’s voice, Mom’s voice, a hand on my back, air conditioner running, Connie’s voice, Sigur Ros playing from my iPhone…etc. I also used aromatherapy to help me relax and ease the pain. I’d done a little research on this ahead of time and had made a blend of lavender, clary sage, and jasmine oils, which your dad used to massage my back and shoulders.

I was more than ready for the warm water of birth tub, but it didn’t have any water yet. Connie suggested I get into the shower while waiting for the tub, and I figured any warm water would be great. While Kristen was starting to run the water, I had another surge and leaned on the bathroom counter for support. During that one, I began to feel a little “pushy”. It seemed the shower- and the birth tub- were out, but I don’t think anyone knew that yet but me, and I wasn’t able to communicate it. They tried to get the tub-filling efforts sped up, and we went to the bed to check my progress. Connie had asked me if I wanted her to this, as she doesn’t check routinely as doctors do, and I decided that I’d like to have a better idea of how soon you would be here. As I laid down, anther surge started and I rolled onto my side, and then my water broke. Then, I really had to push. My body was pushing for me- at this point in labor, there is no choice in the matter. The mind is a silent(ish) observer as the body takes over and does what it was designed to do. I was leaning over a stack of pillows, on my knees in bed. My mom was near my head, and your daddy was next to me. I could feel their love and support, but in my immediate conscience it was just you and me. In my mind, I spoke to you in between surges and pushing, something like “we’re doing this together, baby. we can do it. we’re going to meet face-to-face so soon…” Suddenly I heard Connie say the word “crowning” (and I felt that she was very right), and with the next push or your head was born. Another push (or a few? I’m not sure), and you were out. Crying- a healthy, clear and strong voice. Your daddy caught you behind me and passed you to me, and they helped me turn and sit down. I looked at you- stared at you. Soon you were nursing vigorously, and I couldn’t take my eyes off you. You had long fingers, I noticed. You were perfect, and I somehow felt I knew you already, that you were familiar to me in a very deep way. During my pregnancy I had I dream in which I clearly saw your face, and I think you look exactly as you did in that dream.

Later I looked saw Connie’s notes, and learned that I’d pushed for only 5 minutes. My active labor was 3.5 hours long. You were born at 5:52am on March 3rd- Saturday, just as your grandma said you would be. You weighed exactly 8 and 1/2 pounds, and were 21.5 inches long.

Your brother slept through much of this, and when the commotion did wake him, he watched Thomas the Train downstairs. He wasn’t worried, as I’d feared he might be. Your Papa was coming to pick him up, but you were born before he could get here. It ended up being so perfect, that you and your brother could meet so soon after you arrived. You must have just been ready to join us in our world, my love- you came before my mind had much chance to process what was happening, before a single drop of water was put into the birth tub, and also before April could get here with her camera. So there are no photos or videos of your birth. She did arrive about an hour afterwards though, and captured some of that first morning of us as a family of four- all snuggled in our bed. I’ll treasure the memory and pictures of that morning forever- so full of love and joy.

Welcome, my sweet Isaac. Your name means “he who laughs”, and already the joy you’ve brought us is beyond words.

Love forever,

Mama

all photos above, © April Milner of Coconut Circle Photography

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Kids, work, time & priorities

Our Isaac will be three weeks old tomorrow- my how that time has flown. It has been such a blur, such a change from our previous routine. I have found myself wondering if life will ever feel normal again- if I will ever manage to find a routine now that there are two little people to care for. For now, our days are centered around the most basic needs for food and sleep and lots of cuddling, and as any mom who has breastfed knows, nursing a newborn is basically a full-time job. Of course, it feels much different when there is also a three-year-old who wants grapes and a sandwich and to go to the park and a drink of water and help going potty… etc, etc. So the days really feel full and exhausting, but also full of so much love and joy.

We have spent much more time at home and indoors than usual, and I am itching to get out more but between the baby being so little still and me needing to not overdo it, we are proceeding slowly with that. I’m trying to simply enjoy the downtime and let myself just be in it rather than getting too antsy. These days have done so much to remind me how very precious my little family is. I feel so very blessed that it’s rather overwhelming. I think that at times I have forgotten just how important the job of mothering really is. Our society doesn’t acknowledge that very often, and in fact tends to look down on those moms who choose family over career. It has taken a few weeks of maternity leave for me to realize how influenced I’ve been by those views. As a mom who works from home, I have been far too distracted by work at times when my family should have come first. It’s pretty much always a time management issue- rather than saving work for designated times (when my husband is home, or after Seth goes to bed), I have often allowed it to distract me from being present during the day for my son. I think I have been subconsciously aiming to feel that I’d accomplished something tangible during the day- to feel like “more” than just a stay-at-home-mom. I hate that I’ve fallen into that mindset. I hate that my three-year-old knows and uses the phrase “I’m too busy.”

Seriously- screw society’s messed-up priorities. Americans are notoriously overworked, overstressed, and place far too little importance on family. There is no virtue in being too busy to enjoy life or to give your best to those you love. I really believe that there is no job more important than that of motherhood. The way we interact with our children in the first several years of their lives- the things we say and teach and the experiences we give them, will shape the rest of their lives and influence who they grow up to be. Stepping away from work for a while and taking time to really see my kids (wow- I now have “kids”- plural…), and to evaluate my own heart and attitudes, has shown me that my days have not often been a true reflection of my heart’s priorities. I’m not saying that my business isn’t important or that I need to pay less attention to it. Running my business from home is what allows me to be at home with my kids. I just need to be careful about when I pay attention to it, learn to be as efficient as possible during that time, and acknowledge that being a mom is a job too, and the more important one.
I love this quote from author Anna Quindlen, which comes up over and over in my Pinterest feed:

A disclaimer: it is absolutely not my intention to alienate anyone here. There is far too much judgement among mothers, and as far as I’m concerned, a good mom is one who makes the best choices for her family. Moms who work outside the home, or who are 100% full-time moms, or who work at home as I do… are all doing what is best for their families. None are less than the others; none are wrong. Just as is it awful that society looks down on those who choose full-time motherhood, it is just as awful for anyone to judge a mom who chooses to- or has no choice but to- go to work.
What I’m talking about here is that the time we spend on actively mothering needs to be focused on our kiddos, fully present with them. For me, that time is the majority of most of my days, but for others it may be each evening and weekend. What is important is that our kids get all of us in that time.

I’m making it a goal to place more separation between my roles as business owner and mom, to be more present for my kids, less distracted when I’m with them. Because they are only little for a while. It goes by way too fast, and later they will not need me so intensely (and at times may not even want me around at all). This time is just too precious to miss.

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Pregnancy Must-Haves

{from a maternity session I shot early this year}

I am now six months into my second pregnancy. My first was pretty easy- I had very little nausea, minimal aches or pains until the very end, and in general felt pretty good most of the time. This pregnancy has been pretty much the opposite of that. I was sick every day for the first 15 weeks, and have had headaches at least a few days each week. Midway through I began to experience a lot of back pain, and in general my body has gone through much of the typical list of pregnancy discomforts.

I write all that not to whine and complain- it could totally be so much worse, and will be worth it a million times over. I’m sharing because in the midst of all that, I’ve found some things that have helped make me so much more comfortable and able to enjoy being pregnant, and I want to share those with other mamas.

Here are some of my pregnancy essentials:

~Mommy’s Bliss Morning Sickness Comfort – my midwife gave me several sample pack of these capsules, and they seemed to really help the nausea.

~Preggie Pop Drops – helped calm my stomach a bit too. i really liked the lavender ones.

~Miso soup – also for morning sickness. this helped so much! i made it with swiss chard or kale in place of or in addition to the kombu.

~Teechino – to help cut down my caffeine intake without withdrawl symptoms, I mixed this with my coffee grounds starting with a 1:3 ratio and working the actual coffee down to about 1/2 a small mug’s worth each day.

~Hair ties – to loop through button hole and around button of non-maternity jeans. this allowed me to wear them about twice as long as i would have.

~Bella Band – Another great item for wearing regular jeans longer. now i use it to hold up some of my maternity jeans that don’t like to stay up well.

~Belly butter – I like something with shea or cocoa butter. The key is keeping your belly super moisturized. I did this every day in my first pregnancy, and since I didn’t get any stretch marks then, I’m doing it again. Some people say if you’re going to get them, no amount of lotion will change that, but even so, keeping your skin moisturized will help prevent itching as your skin stretches.

~A journal – for me, navigating the emotional roller coaster of these nine months (and way beyond) requires frequent writing. I also keep a journal for each of my boys, where I write letters to them- I started both early in pregnancy.

~Water bottle – I love my stainless steel Kleen Kanteen to avoid the chemicals in plastics. I try to remember to have it with me whenever I’m not at home. Drinking more water than feels completely normal is really really important to feeling well and being well during pregnancy.

~Chiropractic care – I can’t say enough good things about my chiropractor. Without her, I might be bedridden right now. Growing a human really moves things around, and getting adjusted regularly helps keep the spine, hips, and pelvis aligned. It’s important after giving birth, too. I switched about a month ago to a chiropractor who has specific expertise in maternity care. I also trust her with my babies, as I really believe it’s never to early to start taking care of your spine.

~Supportive, comfy walking shoes – being active in pregnancy is so important, and comfortable shoes are a must. My old ones were not so great, so early in my pregnancy I bought some Asics. Love them.

~Yoga mat and prenatal DVD/class/book – I like this DVD, as going to class is tough on our budget (not to mention difficult to get into my schedule). EVen doing a few basic poses and some breathing for a few minutes out of the day has such a positive effect on my energy, comfort, and sense of calm. It helps to much to stay limber and flexible, and strengthen muscles that you’ll use in labor.

~Digestive enzymes – for any trouble with digestion. The difference after I started taking this daily was incredible. I get Whole Food’s store brand “Wholezyme”, which is a blend of different types of enzyme.

~Yoga pants, jersey skirts, comfy bras (I went ahead and bought a couple nursing bras since the ones left from the first time are totally shot), maternity jeans… basically, things with lots of stretch. A lot of what I wear on a daily basis isn’t even “maternity”. Comfort is paramount though, and it’s possible to have it and still look cute.

~Pregnancy tea – one that includes red raspberry leaf. Sitting down with a cup of herbal tea is a great way to relax, and getting a blend for pregnancy can have some great health benefits. I like the ones made my Yogi and Traditional Medicinals, and the trimester-specific loose leaf ones from Worts and Cunning Apothecary on Etsy.

~Pillows. Lots of pillows. My current setup is one in front of me, tucked under my belly a little, and one under my top knee. Otherwise I seriously can’t fall asleep.

~Dried fruit – I have craved sweets a lot, and while dried fruit is still sugary and not as good for you as fresh, I figure it is better than candy, and having a little bit of it helps the craving a lot.

~Snacks – having healthy ones around all the time keeps blood sugar steady.

Maybe I’ll have some more to add near the end, as the third trimester always beings new challenges. But for now, that’s what I’ve got.

What are your pregnancy must-haves?

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Reading up on parenting

Building on my thoughts from last night… we are reaching a point with Seth where there is definite testing going on and a need for boundaries and discipline. And so we’re faced for the first time with what our methods will be and how we feel about what by some might be considered “normal” methods of disciplining children. I have always believed in trusting my instincts when it comes to parenting, and in this case that has led me to into the world of “positive parenting” and “positive discipline”. And what a world it is- I feel like I could read about it forever, as there is just so much information out there.

Basically, positive parenting is all about love, respect, and empathy. You build a strong and trusting relationship with your child, affirming who he is and how he feels, and causing him to want to do what is right, rather than only doing so out of fear of punishment. It prepares children to be self-disciplined, happy, and well-balanced as they grow up.

The more I read, the more I feel that the theories behind this model are so in sync with my intuition, and so right for my son. A friend shared a wonderful link with me recently, Aha! Parenting, and I have been soaking up a lot of the articles there.
I am also reading The Discipline Book by William and Martha Sears (the Sears have consistently written some of favorite parenting books, from pregnancy and birth to baby care and nutrition. Love them.) Aha! Parenting also has a great list of book recommendations that I plan to pull from next.
I know that not every parent feels the need to read all about how to do this, but that is always how I’ve learned everything. If something was interesting to me as a kid, I went and spent a few hours at the library. For me, reading about parenting solidifies and informs what my instincts are already telling me, and brings a method to it. It aids my confidence.

What are your favorite parenting resources? I’d love some new links and book titles to take a look at as we navigate these toddler and preschool years.

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I was just thinking…

Do you ever feel like you just have so much on your mind, so very many random thoughts, that you just wouldn’t know where to start? How to verbalize everything…? it is impossible. My writer’s block is due to overthinking. I start a sentence, a paragraph, and then scratch it out. No words encapsulate how I really think and feel lately. So… silence. Some thoughts are to complex for words, and some are far too simple.
I find myself envisioning this completely still and serene place where my mind is organized and calm, and I observe each thought and idea from beginning to end, unhurried. That place looks like a sunbathed field, and feels comforting like a soft blanket.

Anyway, sometimes you just have to start, with a single thought, right? So here we go.

One of my faults is that I am ridiculously self-conscious. I really admire people who do not care one bit what others think. I want to be that way. I feel silly sometimes that at almost 24 years old I still worry about things like that, that I’m still unsure of myself and at times feel I hardly know myself at all. I guess I used to assume that I would have these things figured out by now. But really, just like so many other things, it is a journey and a process. {For me anyway. Some people just seem to have that strength and confidence. Bless them; they are special and inspiring.}

While I may not ever “arrive”, I have such an intense desire to raise kids that are confident and strong. I don’t want then to be swayed by the opinions of others. I want them to know who they are and what they love and own it. I want to shield them from the kind of fear and baggage that attached themselves to me.
And I feel like I don’t know how most of the time. How do you protect your children from the emotional crap that most people in the world seem to be bogged down with? How do you help them to be free and happy, creative and caring, passionate, confident, curious, and all of those things we all want for our kids? In short, how do we not mess them up? Because doesn’t it seem like everyone is somehow messed up? and that usually it can be traced back to childhood? I’ve always been kind of afraid, because I never had time to read all the parenting books I wanted to and have always felt like I’m winging it a little. (Okay sometimes a lot.) I’m not one of those “professional moms” and I don’t “have it all together”.

I’m just taking it a day at a time. I’m doing the very best I am able to. And I look at my son, and he is astoundingly smart and sweet and happy. He is confident, in the way that only a two year old can be, and he’s curious and imaginative and certainly passionate.
He already is— and I didn’t do that. But I will certainly do absolutely everything I can to make sure that it is not taken away from him, and that it grows.

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An Ode to the Mamas

You are superwoman.

Trust me I know it doesn’t always feel that way.

But listen…

You are a warrior without even trying.

You accomplish in one day what some people can’t get done in a week.

You incubated and birthed a human. {If not in your body, then certainly in your heart.}

^That alone attests to your awesome power.

You switch effortlessly between a plethora of contrasting roles.

businesswoman, home manager, accountant, master scheduler, cook and personal shopper…

and in the next minute- nurse, teacher, kisser of booboos and changer of diapers, comforter if all hurts

and let’s not forget, you are also wife, soulful wanderer, full of dreams and prayers- a woman.

You are amazing.

You are breathtakingly beautiful.

You are strong

and the essence of grace and courage.

You do early mornings and late nights.

Your uniform ranges from heels and drop-em-dead dress

to jeans and yoga pants

and you look stunning and at-home in both.

Every day you shape the future of our world

and love in a pure and unconditional way

that is beyond normal human capacity.

You are truly incredible.

{Don’t forget it.}

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A Glimpse.

I’m woken early. Too early, considering I stayed up late working the night before. Begrudgingly I stumble out of bed as Seth begs for cartoon and a banana. I will my mind and body to awaken. I take care of my son and start my coffee, doing a few stretches as it brews, trying to bring some energy into muscles that would rather still be in bed.

By the time I’ve finished half my cup, the caffeine has begun to have its effect on my mind. The gears are turning now, and I jot down ideas as they come– for business, photography, writing, my to-do list and grocery list, and other random ideas. The thoughts are uncategorized in my mind and just want to be expressed. They push like people rushing to get out the small entry of a building- they’re limited only by how fast my hand can write. I’ll come back to this later, but for now I finish the last sip of coffee and move on.

After Seth and are fed and dressed, we head outside to dig and plant and water, until the Florida sun drives us indoors once again.
I love nurturing seedlings, planning the space, watching life come from tiny seeds, and most of all sharing it with my son. I pinch a basil leaf and hold it for him to smell, and he enthusiastically says “mmmm!” and laughs. His amazement at every new thing is precious and contagious. I can’t help but marvel at the smallest things and be thankful.

Life is truly beautiful.

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