Friday, November 25, 2011

This Moment

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.  Inspired by SouleMama.
If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

Thursday, November 24, 2011


Everyday is a day of gratitude, as far as I'm concerned.  There are so many things to be grateful for my heart is overflowing with love and abundance just thinking about it.

I am grateful for my family, friends and critters.
Each and every one: past and present, near and far, here and gone.
I am grateful for my two children that mean the universe to me and humble me every day.
I am grateful for a husband that takes care of us, sacrifices, accepts me for who I am and have grown to be, and has been by my side through thick and thin for almost twelve years.
I am grateful for the strong women in my life that raised me to be who I am and taught me more than I will ever know, my Mom, Nana and Grandmother.  
I am grateful for the bond of unconditional love between us all.
I am grateful for every person that has ever crossed my path.  
Each one is a teacher that has brought a lesson about myself and the world to my heart; whether I wanted to learn it or not.  Sometimes the lessons we don't want or think we need are the ones we need the most.
I am grateful for Zen practice that makes me aware of the flame dancing upon my head.
I am grateful for Maezen, who has given me the gift of love, attention, teaching and practice.
Although I am not formally her student, she is my teacher in so many ways.
I am grateful for Momma Zen, written by Maezen.  
It has opened my heart and eyes and helps me to trust myself and be more patient than I ever imagined.
I am grateful for the Zen teachers and students I have met in Austin, although I have not sat with them in so long.
I am grateful for the times when I notice my frustration and anger and am able to sit with it.
I am grateful for the times when I express my frustration and anger then have the courage to say "I'm sorry", sooner rather than later.  And mean it wholeheartedly. 
I am also grateful for fear, for it teaches me how to go beyond and be fearless.
I am grateful for strength.
I am grateful for every experienced in my life.  The stuff that makes me happy and even the stuff that pisses me off.
I am grateful for the roof over my head, car that gets me where I'm going and things that make my life easier, prettier and nicer.   
I am also grateful for the things I don't have that also makes my life less complicated.
I am grateful for health and wellness. 
I am grateful for healthy food that I am able to nourish my family with. 
I am grateful for sunshine and rain.
I am grateful for Austin, Texas and every person that makes this a beautiful and friendly city.
I am grateful for the love and abundance that surrounds me in so many forms and ways.
I am grateful that each moment is new and a chance to start again.
I am grateful for my life.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Joy Pockets

Bodhi's first big hike at a nearby state park.

Park visits with Mama friends and kiddos.

Mama's birthday!

Flowers delivered cute little boys and Daddy.
A pineapple upside down cake delivered right on time by Dad.
Dinner planned for Sunday.
A birthday call from Mom, right at 9:59 a.m.
Butterfly Kisses.
New jeans from Mom and a beautiful collage.  
I haven't bought new (non-maternity) jeans in two years!

Super comfy new Pumas for Z.
Birthday dinner cooked by mom.
Delicious enchiladas similar to my Nana's and a perfect carrot cake.

Love, love, love, gratitude, and more love.

joy pockets

 Joy Pockets.
Thank you, Holistic Mama.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Hold My Tongue

We had fun at the park, as usual.  I met a friend and we sat with our babies as Z ran around in the cool November weather making friends and horsing around.

We observed all the kids' and parents' interactions and discussed all sorts of stuff.  People fascinate me.  I absolutely adore seeing the relationships parents have with their kids.  One topic was how awesome and neat it is that each and every family, mother and child is different.  To each his own!

I cross each bridge as I come to it and I have no method or formula.  Every interaction is different.  I'm not right.  I'm not wrong.  I have no answers.  I have no advice.  I have experiences to share.  We all do.

Eventually, my friend left and I cuddled Bodhi and watched Z play.

Then it got weird.

Two Mamas had already corralled their kids, about the same age as Z, from Z and his two rough and older silly friends, a brother and sister.  More than once.  A few other kids joined in and out of the silliness.  Mainly chasing, a little pushing and standing their ground.  No one had been hurt.  No one was upset.  They were being kids.

Sometimes Z seems to be rougher than other kids but sometimes it's the other way around.  I say let the kids work it out unless someone is seriously upset or hurt.  If I see Z being clearly and unnecessarily rough, especially to smaller kids, I'll say something to him.  I try and intuit if he needs me to step in.  He's very tough and independent and it takes a lot for him to run to Mama.  He's learning boundaries and who wants to be rough and who doesn't.

The Mamas kept looking at me and other parents disapprovingly.  They didn't seem to trust their kids to play alone and watched everything like a hawk.

Z played a lot with the brother and sister.  They played chase, were being silly and roughhousing but no one was hurt.  I let it be.  So did the other parents.

They ran off to the side and started throwing mulch while chasing each other and laughing.  No one else was in the way or upset.  Z looked at me and I shook my head side to side with a "watch it" look.  No one got it in the face or eyes.  No one cried.  Again, I let it be.

The other kids joined in.  The ones that aren't allowed to be rough or figure it out on their own.   They were intrigued and wanted in on the action!  The Mamas freaked out and went to get their kids away from the scene of the crime.

More distressed looks.  I felt lost about what to do, but no other parents were concerned.  The two upset Mamas were the only ones, well, upset.  Let it be.

Eventually, all the kids headed back to the playground and went up to the kids that weren't allowed to play rough.  Z and the other kids were highly energized and I saw one Mom get up.  The other kids ran off.   I got up and began to walk to Z, holding Bodhi to my chest.  She was clearly very upset and said something to Z.  I didn't hear it.

Z started to push one of the kids and went to throw mulch.    It all happened so fast.  Wrong kid, Z!

"GET AWAY FROM THOSE KIDS!  Don't play with those kids!!" she said to her son.

I said, "I'm sorry.  Z please don't be rough.  He doesn't want to play like that."

She huffed, "My kid isn't throwing mulch or being rough."

I replied, "I understand.  He's learning.  He's three."

Her face was red and she was breathless and angry.  "You think I don't know what it's like to have a three year old!!!!  He's three!!  And he's three!!!  I know what it's like to have a three year old!!"

"I'm sorry."  I walked away.

The heat had risen up into my throat.  That wasn't what I wanted to say.  There were so many things I wanted to say.  I wanted to tell her she was being a bitch and I think kids should be allowed to figure out the world.  And a few other choice things.  I held my tongue and composure. 

My kids depend on me to be the calm in the storm.  I try.  I try hard.  Actually, I think Yoda has it right, "Do or do not.  There is no try."

I sat down and looked around.  Other Mamas and Daddies were smiling at me like "Wow, that just happened?  Sorry it was you."   I glanced over at her to see if she had calmed down.  Both Mamas were shooting daggers at me and the parents of the brother and sister through their eyes.  She was furious.  To her, we were clearly wrong.  They were right.  Our kids were bad.  Their kids were good.

It was just plain weird.  The line had been crossed.  I decided it was time to go.  And let it go.

Ever had an experience like that?
What do you think of roughhousing or letting kids work it out?
Where do you draw the line?

This Moment

Mama's birthday cake
Two special moments because it's a birthday week!

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.  Inspired by SouleMama.
If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Wash Your Bowl

This is my life.  This is your life.  This is life.  That is all.

A monk said to Joshu, "I have just entered this monastery. Please teach me."
"Have you eaten your rice porridge?" asked Joshu.
"Yes, I have," replied the monk.
"Then you had better wash your bowl," said Joshu.
With this the monk gained insight.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

This Moment

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.  Inspired by SouleMama.
If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Heavy Hearts

Today, we have heavy hearts around here.  There's nothing to hide but it's all delicate news to bear.  Explaining some things to tiny people without freaking them out takes practice.

One thing I do know is that since becoming a mother and starting Zen practice I have noticed much more in the world and there have been more feelings than ever before in my life.  My tender heart has opened a little more each day and experience.  It has also been the beginning of strength like I never knew I had.  Even when things happen all at once all I can do is be there with each one as it is happening and do my best not to see it as a problem but tending to life.  I try to take it one at a time but sometimes it seems to magnify every single thing around me.

I found out that someone I love dearly fractured her vertebrae.  She was giving Z a piggy back ride then fell.  While it's not very serious it will take some uncomfortable recovery time and sets her back to zero in a lot of ways.  It breaks my heart and there's not enough I can do.

Then yesterday, Z's doctor's office called regarding the swab they took from what I thought was a bug bite.  It's a "rare unidentified gram branching bacteria" and they sent it off to the Texas Department of Health to identify.  The nurse did her best to reassure me "not to worry too much if he's getting better and the antibiotics are working" or it could be a contaminated sample.  However, it's not any news any Mama wants to hear.  It is getting better and he's acting completely normal but the words "rare and unidentified" coming from a doctor's office just don't sit well with me.  I will wait and watch.  I am also grateful he has a three year old well check scheduled today so we'll see what the doc thinks.

All the while we've been thinking about our sick fourteen-year old, Paco's bone cancer.  He is our chihuahua companion and best tiny buddy.  We love the fearless goofy little tail wagger that has been on numerous adventures with us over the years.  Zach got him as a tiny puppy before we met.  He's had a life that has been more fun than some people I know.  But now, he is not doing well and getting worse.  It all started around Bodhi's birth but we gave it time before jumping to conclusions and rushing to a vet.  We all know his time is waning and we've done what we can to keep him comfortable and happy.  It doesn't seem right or fair to have to make the sort of decision we have but we did.  Tomorrow we will lay him to rest in our backyard and bury him on our property.

OK, now I'm really crying.  

It hurts and scares me.  All of it.  All at once.  But all I can do is breathe and see what each moment and tomorrow brings.  I am trying not to jump to conclusions and be on edge.  My children surround me and watch my reaction to everything.  They mimic my feelings and their little instincts pick up even the most faint emotions.  I will not hide my feelings, I will explain them.  But I must be strong at the same time.  I am grateful for my practice -both Zen and motherhood.  Life isn't fair or easy.  It requires love and fearlessness to get us through each day.  And today I need a lot of it.

Paco many years ago

Paco and Z as a baby

Bodhi and Paco a month ago

Mama and her tiny Paco Roboto 

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Joy Pockets

I watched Z gather boards, sticks and run to get some mud.
I watched for a while then asked what he was building.
He replied, "A doghouse."

Getting ready for Daddy's birthday dinner.  
His birthday is today!
Baby Bodhi turns four months old today!
He's really talking, giggling and squeaking a lot this week.

I had a great time catching up with an old friend at a park with our boys.

We had a blast on Halloween.
Z was so eager to trick or treat.
He wore his costume all day, even to the park.

Harvest time and making a delicious dinner.

joy pockets

 Joy Pockets.
Thank you, Holistic Mama.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Testing, 1...2...3

Some moments test my patience.  Some days test it even more.  Yesterday was one of them.

I appreciate and adore Z's boldness, independence, sense of wonder and amazement.  However, there's nothing like a three year old to test my patience and reaction.

A lot of stuff he does is inconvenient or annoying but I have to pick my battles.  I realize most of the time when I get annoyed it's about what I want or expect.  Sometimes that should matter and others not.  For the most part I cross each bridge as we come to it.  He's three and learning and I'm learning just as much.  But some days it hits me one after the other and some of the things he does are a few of our major no-no's -like hitting, running off and not stopping (over and over) and saying "rude" words to people.  It's an extra challenge with a four-month old in tow.

Yesterday was a roller coaster.  I am glad that we started and ended happy though.

Thursday morning started awesome.  We cuddled, ate breakfast, watched a cartoon, played and set out for the park to meet some friends.  We arrived and he set off to play like every other park visit.  Then he decided to run into the cafe out of my vision and as we're looking for him my friend says, "He's going into the store!"  OK, corral him back after he refuses to stop and explain we'll go later.  Test one.

Suddenly I look over and I'm getting the stink eye from other Mamas.  I see a small kid on the ground crying and Z staritng to push another one.  I get up and I see it in his face that he knows what he did wasn't nice.  I ask him not to push or hit people.  They were small and it wasn't just roughhousing.  He goes about his business.  Test two.

My friend and I are talking and I'm holding Bodhi but Z decides to book it up the stairs again.  Once again I ask him to go back to the park and he runs for the parking lot.  "Stop!  Z, STOP!"  He eventually stops and we head back to the park to play.  Test three.

At one point he comes for snacks and decides to call me the "B word".  I ask him not to but don't want to overreact and make him say it more.  He seems to enjoy it when I get riled up.  I guess it's the "ha, I got a reaction" thing kids get a rise out of.  Test four.

Eventually our friends leave and Z heads for the store.  But wait, we have to get our stuff and put little Bodhi in the carrier.  "Please wait, Z.  Want to help me?  Please don't run off."  He inches ahead of me.  Test five.

We go inside and it's super busy.  He stops every two feet touching everything.  As usual.  No worries here.  He's exploring.  We're deciding on a sandwich and he keeps running off and the store is crazy crowded.  He almost gets knocked down and people are irritated.  I just don't want him or anyone hurt.  I ask him to stay close or I can carry him.  He's beginning to hit a nerve.  I'm beginning to feel hot.  Everything before is to be expected but now I'm hungry.  He ate what I brought and I know he wants to eat more.  He stays close for a few minutes.  Test six.

I snag a sandwich and he picks green beans as a side so we head to buy the food.  He starts swinging the basket and I ask him to stay close and not hit anyone.  He starts to take off with it.  I leave the line and corral him back.  We go back to our place in line.  He wants to run off and I lean to talk to him and he punches me.  I grab his hand and tell him not to do that.  Just then some guy cuts ahead of me and five other people in line to get a coffee.  I smile at the guy behind me.  The guy behind me smiles with patient understanding, "We're in it for the experience, right?".  Whew.  Thank you for saying that, guy.  Test seven.

Where to sit?  He wants to go upstairs to eat.  No, downstairs.  No, upstairs.  He clearly just wants to do the stairs and we're in no one's way.  OK.  We go up again.  I want to sit inside.  No outside on the patio.  No, downstairs.  "(No.) Let's pick a table up here, Z."  It's less crowded.  We go outside to the patio and there are a few big kids running around feeding the birds and no other people.  Cool.  They run inside.  I'm thinking -please come back out.  They do.  Then they go back in.  I'm nursing Bodhi and our food and bag are out.  Z tries to open the door.  "Please come here, Z.  PLEASE don't go inside."  Just then he gets the door and starts to disappear.  I leap up, hold Bodhi, pull my shirt down and run.  He's only a few feet inside.  I ask him to go back in.  I'm really hot now and he knows it.  I don't even look around but I can imagine that some people probably feel me, some are irritated and some are amused.  He refuses.  I give him a choice.  Go back to the table or I will pick him up.  Bodhi starts crying.  I pick him up.  Test eight.

He says he will stay on the porch.  He is hungry and eats some lunch.  He stays close.  I begin to nurse hungry Bodhi again.  But now there is a couple on the porch trying to have a nice quiet lunch and they are not pleased with Z.  He stays away from them.  Thank goodness.  I still haven't eaten a bite.  He won't sit down and that's fine but now he won't stay close.  That's not fine with me where we are.  He quickly runs and bangs on the window at the people inside.  I get another stink eye.  "Sorry."  I pack our bag.  "I DON'T WANT TO GO!!  WHY ARE WE GOING!!??"  I want to yell, "Because you're sucking right now!!!"  But I say as calm as I can, "Because it's time to go."  He gets fussy.  I ask him to come with me or if he wants me to carry him.  "Hold me, Mama."  I end up carrying him, Bodhi in a carrier and our backpack.  You have to do what you have to do.  Test nine.

We get into the truck.  "I didn't get a gelato!!!!!!!"  I said, "I know, maybe if we can chill out and go to our doctor appointment (to check this bug bite looking thing on his chest) we can talk about coming back."  "WHY!?!?"  I don't say what I want to say but, "Because you ran off, hit me and said rude words.  I am losing my patience, Z.  That's why."  He starts to whine.  I try to ignore it.  Bodhi gets fussy.  I nurse Bodhi and Z sits there being pissy.  "Do you want to talk, Z?  Do you have a feeling?"  "I WANT GELATO!!!!!!!"  I know he's three.  I know he's learning.  I know this will blow over if I don't lose it.  I reply, "If we can go to the doctor and be nice (not hit, run off or say rude words) we will come back and get a gelato."  He huffs but gets my point.  Test ten.

We get to the doctor and both boys are asleep.  I've decided to not talk about it again or be pissy even if it's still on my mind.  That does no good and would only make it worse.  I grab the bag, gently pack up Bodhi in his carrier and go to get Z.  I unbuckle him and grab him as gently as I can and sling him over my shoulder.  Again, about sixty odd extra pounds uncomfortably lugged around.  He wakes up and goes to play with the toys.  We make it through without a hitch.

We go to get gelato and we're smiling again.  Just like at the beginning of the day.  We giggle, eat gelato, laugh and have a blast.  We head to the truck and he falls asleep.

Storm over.

Today?  Let's just see how it goes.

This Moment

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.  Inspired by SouleMama.
If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.