Monday, January 30, 2012

Twenty-five Minutes with Z

The other night I ordered some take out.  Someone had to go get it.

It was cold and dark and I said, "I'll get it.  You watch the boys and I'll be back."

Then I realized what I had actually said.

I have not left Bodhi since he was born.  Even to go get take-out.

Wow.  I know, I know...

Then Z wanted to go.


I kind of wanted to be alone for twenty-five minutes.  Even just picking up food.

Then I realized even more what that meant.

I haven't spent any time with just Z since Bodhi was born.

So what did I do?

If you know me, you know the answer.

I ended up saying, "Come on!  Get your shoes on."

We cranked up the music and sang shouted "our song" over and over on the way there and the way back.

We didn't really have time to explore too much but being together was a special break for both of us.  He even got to pick a special "dude drink" and help carry food to the car.

I want to take him out alone again soon.

I love that little man and I almost forgot how special it was when it was just him and me.  This mama and her little dude have a special bond and I've got to savor that.  I've been so caught up in taking care of both of them, I haven't spent enough time with each of them alone.

I'm glad he asked to go.  As always, he opened my eyes a little more.

Mama & Z meeting Clifford!
Bodhi was in my belly.

Saturday, January 28, 2012


"All at once
The world can overwhelm me
There's almost nothin' you could tell me
That could ease my mind."
Jack Johnson

Ever feel overwhelmed?

Sometimes when I'm having a bad day I sit to write a list of all that's bothering me. This usually happens after I have been stewing in frustration and pity for a while and I'm sick of it.

Sometimes the list is very long.

It usually turns out that most of the things are not happing right now, right in front of me.

They are not real problems.

The ones that are right in front of me have often been exaggerated by emotion and hype.

Sometimes patience is required.

Sometimes it has to do with other people around me that I have no control over.  Then I realize the only thing I can control about that is not to add to the stress or try and just be nice.  It doesn't mean I have to ignore it or discount it but just don't feed the fear.

Sometimes with a little reflection or change of perspective the most annoying things can become quite laughable.

If there is something I can do about any of it right then, I do it.

If there is nothing I can do, then all I can do is recognize that.

Then I take account of all that I am grateful for.

That list is usually way longer.

By the time I'm done I feel a lot better.

Then I throw the lists away or could burn it.

Let it go.

And it feels even better.

I look around at my boys and realize they have no idea about my adult fears and problems.

They are living right now.

Why should I ruin our day over something that isn't even happening, something I have no control over?

All of a sudden, the sun comes from behind the clouds and I open my eyes a little wider.

This moment is precious.

This moment matters.

This is what is happening now.

This deserves my attention.

And I give it.

Friday, January 27, 2012

I Miss Her

The last time I held my Grandmother's hand was a year and a day ago.

My husband took a long lunch so I could go sit with her alone.  I drove a few miles away to the house where the nurses were taking care of her.  I was greeted by smell of a lovely aromatic lunch.  I was sad because I know she wouldn't be able to eat it.  In fact the only thing she had eaten in days was a little dessert. as I suppose it should be in your last days.

I peeked in her bright room with pink walls and lace curtains, just like her bedroom at home.  It was quite fitting for the petite Avon lady and Valentine's day baby that she was.  She was asleep, as usual.  I went to greet every housemate and nurse then retreated to her room.  I sat between her and the big picture window, her only view of the world outside, and took her hand.  I listened to her deep and shallow breath.  Tears welled up as I knew we didn't have too much time left.

I didn't want to wake her.  I knew how tired she was.  Being there was enough.

After about twenty minutes she woke up and gently smiled.  "How are you?  Where's ZR?"  I told her that he was at home.  She sure adored her great grandson.

She was weak and couldn't sit up.  I helped give her water and clean her mouth, which I was surprised she even let me do.  She held onto every thread of her dignity.

I noticed she was looking at the picture of her and Grandfather, and her parents, all in one frame.  She pointed at them and said, "They follow me everywhere I go.  They are always with me."  I teared up.  She just smiled bigger than I had seen in a long time.

Have you ever felt peaceful, totally scared shitless and covered in goosebumps all at once?  Well, that's how I felt.

It was her way of telling me she was ready.  She showed me that she had found peace in what was about to happen.  I had been so scared she hadn't found peace or acceptance, as much as anyone could,  until that very moment.  She didn't talk about dying much but had cracked her shell once to tell me she was afraid.  I did my best to just listen and love.  What could I say?  I had no idea.

She didn't explain any further.  Sometimes words just aren't necessary.

She was tired again, and I knew it was about time for me to have to leave.  We said our goodbyes, hugged and kissed.  She asked me if I was coming back with ZR.  I said I would.  I blew her a kiss and she smiled and blew one back.  Then I walked out the door with the picture of her smiling in my mind.

That night I was so tired, cranky and exhausted, being three months pregnant and constantly nauseous, and Z wasn't in the best mood.  I called to see if she was awake.  She wasn't.  So I decided not to go back.  I went to see her twice most days.  The nurse said she would tell her I checked on her.

It would be a decision I will live to regret the rest of my life.

When the knock came at 5:30 the next morning, I was dazed and exhausted.  My husband went to answer it and I heard quiet voices then steps heading upstairs.  He quietly said, "You're Grandmother is gone."  I grabbed my phone that I had accidentally left downstairs -five missed calls and several messages.  I threw on some clothes and exited into the freezing January morning air to say goodbye.

It was one of the hardest days of my life.  I am so grateful that I had her for thirty years.  We had such a special bond and sometimes it's hard to believe she is actually gone.

I don't know what I believe about the afterlife, but I believe she is still with us in some form.  When Z asks where heaven is, the only word I can find to describe it, I tell him, "In your heart.  Heaven is in our hearts and is with us always.  We can't see it but we know it is there.  Anyone in heaven can hear us but we just can't see them.  GG is listening anytime you want to talk to her."

Rest in Peace, Grandmother.  I love you a bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck.  Thank you for my life and everything you taught me.  I miss you.


The song above, Waiting on an Angel by Ben Harper, was on the CD I chose for our road trip to her funeral.  Of course, I sobbed as soon as I heard the first few lines, as it perfectly described how my Grandmother felt in her last day.  What an amazing find at such a time in my life.  
The universe works in mysterious ways.

Friday, January 20, 2012

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.

Friday, January 13, 2012

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, January 10, 2012


I have been fortunate enough to be surrounded by strong women in my family who take good care of themselves.  Mainly my Mom, Nana and the women on those branches of my family tree.

I find it important for Mamas to build a little rituals into our day.  I mean little as in:  Small ways to center ourselves.  Ways to bring attention and focus to our day and everything we do.  A way to take care of ourselves, and therefore our family.  Our children also need to see us take care of ourselves and show gratitude for our overall well being.  Hopefully, they will continue the tradition.

Every Mama tends to feel pressed for time, so I try to make that time count.  Every little moment and thing we do is a blessing.  I used to think of them as stolen moments, but that makes me feel guilty by putting it in those terms.  I rather think of them as small pauses of gratitude.

In the last few months especially, I have slowly added and created rituals to my day.  I'd like to share them with you.  Here are the little touchstones of my day, in the middle of everything else I do.

When I wake up (or more like when Bodhi wakes me up) we lay in bed together and play around.  We giggle, smile, play and just gaze at each other until we hear Z wake up or Daddy is leaving for work.  That's my cue to brush my teeth, scrape my tongue and splash my face with water.  Then it's time to go greet Z with a smile, kiss and hug if he hasn't already joined me.

I try to at least do Sun Salutations, or a little Yoga.  Right in the living room floor in the middle of everything.  If I waited for the perfect moment I would never do them.  It's not about exercise, it's about bringing attention to my breath, body and the world and greeting each new day with gratitude.  Sometimes Z joins in, sometimes he just wants to be silly and sometimes he climbs on me and just about knocks me down.  That's just life with a toddler.  

I then fill a large glass with about 20 oz. of warm water and stir in a teaspoon full of local honey and a slice of lemon to light my agni.  I slowly drink it all.  Sometimes Z asks for some and I happily oblige.

We eat a healthy breakfast.  It is very important to start your day out right.  It's the most important meal of the day and I make it count.

After our breakfast and Bodhi goes down for a nap I sit on my zafu and set a timer to meditate for 15 minutes (sometimes a little longer, sometimes a little shorter).  Z is good at playing by himself during this time.  If he needs me I will answer.  Sometimes he comes to me and asks, "Mama, what are you doing?"  I answer, "Meditating."  He'll either run back to play or stop me.  I used to feel guilty about this, but if I can find 15 minutes to sit on Facebook, I can find 15 minutes to meditate.

It's important to spend a little of each day in the sunshine and nature.  This needs no explanation.  You know how good it feels to be outside.

I like to find a little time each day to read.  If Z is absorbed in playing and Bodhi wants to sit with me or play while I read then that is awesome.  If not, oh well.  They are my top priority.

I'd like to make the time for my creativity and art each day.  This one is the hardest.  Z and I do something creative every day, that's not what I'm talking about.  Things like drawing, pastels, making collages, cross-stitching or anything art or craft related that I enjoy.  Even five minutes of doodling lifts my spirit and makes my heart sing.  Z usually wants to join in and wants to do what I am doing, not his own art, no matter what I try.  I love to make art with him, but it's different when it's my own.  He will draw on anything I am drawing on because he just wants to "help" or do it with me, and I can't get mad at him even though it frustrates me.  He once drew all over a picture I have worked on for years.  He was so happy I waited until I was out of sight to get all teary-eyed.  By night time, I am usually tired and don't want to over-stimulate myself and get so absorbed by what I'm doing I don't want to go to bed at a descent hour.  That's not healthy for me or the boys.

I try to go to bed by 11 p.m.  11:30 is pushing it and anything after that just makes the next day much more frustrating and less fun for everyone.  After the boys go to bed and I clean-up, I like to spend a little time with myself or Daddy if he isn't zonked out.

So, those are my little daily rituals.  It sounds like a lot once I think about it, but they are simple acts that really don't take long and make all the difference to my day when I do them.

I don't get frustrated if they don't happen perfectly.  Sometimes some of them don't happen at all.  And that's OK.  My daily routine is always evolving and growing with me.

I try hard to be conscious of what I do during the day and how we spend our time.

Here are some other beautiful women that I would like to honor as my inspiration.  These ladies have opened my heart a little more every time I read them or touch base with them.  I'd like to thank them for helping wake me up, to follow my intuition and heart, and pay attention to what is in front of me.
Karen Maezen Miller
Pixie Campbell of Pink Coyote
Leonie Dawson of Goddess Guidebook
Christine Mason Miller
Stacy of Sweet Sky
Robin of The Good Eye Project
Amanda Soule of Soule Mama

Do you have any rituals that are important to your day?
Who inspires you?

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Joy Pockets

Bodhi is figuring out how to crawl.
He turned 6-months old this week.

I almost got this.

Our first handful of snap peas.
Making a spinach gruyere quiche using spinach from our garden.
Beautiful homemade bread.
Watching Z get excited about helping make
homemade baked mini-donuts with chocolate and sprinkles.

Checking out his first donut.

Campfires in the backyard under a haloed moon.

Making smores with Z and Daddy after Bodhi went to sleep 
with caramel marshmallows.

Clearing a creative space for me.
Deciding that if I can find 15 minutes to sit on the computer
or clean something, I can find 15 minutes to sit on the cushion everyday.

joy pockets

 Joy Pockets.
Thank you, Holistic Mama.

Friday, January 6, 2012

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, January 5, 2012

When Grandma Gives You Oranges...

After playing outside all morning we were getting tired and hungry so we decided it was time for lunch.  Z decided to organize his kitchen cabinet and the oranges that Grandma gave us while I fixed lunch.

Then he showed me his orange juice.

So I asked him if he wanted to make real orange juice.

That was clearly appealing.

So he squeezed...

...and squeeeezed.

Then asked for a little help.

Then savored his juice.
Tiny sip by tiny sip. 
Perfect afternoon pick-me-up.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Earth Hugger

I get asked a lot of questions.  Some of them are simple and some are rather complicated.  Sometimes the most complicated part is how to explain it to a three-year-old.

Z asked me, "Why do I fall so much?"

I thought for a second and replied, "Because you're goofy and because of gravity."  I was just curious if he'd accept that or ask about gravity again.

"What's gravity?"

"The earth is dense and heavy pulling you to the ground.  It's called force.  It doesn't want you to float away."

He laughs.  "Why is it pulling me?" 

"Well, we see the moon go around the earth everyday, right?"


"The moon spins around the earth.  The earth pulls the moon close because of gravity.  And the earth spins around the sun.  The sun pulls the earth because of gravity."

"Why?  Why is it pulling?"

"The earth wants a big hug!!  You sure like to hug the earth a lot, don't you?"

After many laughs, giggles and earth hugs we went about playing some more.

His why's indicate to me that he's curious and learning.  He may not always fully comprehend it but he's paying attention and asking questions.

Astrophysicists don't even know why.  They can explain, observe and experience but the don't know why.  So that's my explanation.

I love the questions he asks.  I love that he inspires me to think about things I haven't thought about in a long time.  I love that he makes me curious.

It also makes me happy to think of all the things we will learn (or re-learn), experience and observe about this world together.

And now we have a fun explanation for falls.

How would you explain gravity to a three-year-old?
What are some of your favorite questions you've been asked by your kids?

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


I honestly can't remember the last time I was bored.

I remember as a child when I told my Nana that I was bored she'd hand me a broom.

So between that lesson, sitting on the cushion and staying at home with two children I think I'm set.

Sure sometimes the day can feel a bit monotonous or groundhog day-ish but I never do the same thing twice or exactly the same way.

I've learned a lot from playing with and observing Z.  No matter how many times he plays with one thing it's never exactly the same every time.  To him there are infinite possibilities and I often carry that into what I do.

I don't always want to do the dishes three times a day, laundry almost every day or pick up over and over but I do.  It's what I do.  There is hardly room for boredom.

I didn't say I don't get restless or my mind doesn't wander.

That's not bored.  That's human.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

In a Few Words

One more time we've welcomed a new year.

Happy 2012 to you.

I'm not big on making new year's resolutions.  I'd rather my intentions slowly evolve and grow with me every day.

However, there are a few words I'd like to bring further into focus this year.

Unconditional Love
Towards every being.

For everyone and everything that crosses my path.
Good or bad.
Welcomed or unwelcomed.

With my life, my place in this world, my home, my family and my friends.

To family, friends, community, the earth, the seasons, myself, my art & expression and breath.
A deeper connection to my children by seeing the world through their eyes, not just mine.

A reminder to be aware and present.

Slow my thoughts, my reactions, my sense of urgency and worries.

Non-judgemental Awareness
Thoughts and emotions come and go.
Don't hold my thoughts or judgments against anything.
Let them burn away in their own time.

Heart, mind & sense of freedom.

For my thoughts, words, breath, actions and reactions.
Finding space for me to sit.
Creating a space for my creativity and art.

Going beyond my fear.
Learning to dive in deeper.
Not worrying about perfect.

Have you made any resolutions, set any intentions or thought about your new year?