Monday, December 29, 2014

Remember these things for 2015

Each year as the days approach to New Years Eve many of us are pondering what it is that we will strive for in the following year. I have, in years past, set resolutions for myself. Some I have met, others I have failed. I feel goals are important. I think it is essential to our well being to strive for better things. To become better people. To look at ourselves and evaluate what it is that we need in our lives to feel accomplished, complete, and happy. I have been putting some thought into what I would like to achieve in 2015. A few things come to mind. The usual things like: being more patient, exercising more, and staying positive. This year I think I will not look at setting a New Years Resolution. No, I want the following year to be one of growth and accomplishment each day that passes. Instead of one or two things to work on, I want to remind myself of all the things I have done that have brought me happiness, love and strength. I want to reflect on these lessons and remember each day why they are important. I share these with all of you, may you find comfort in a few of them.

Remember: You are capable of anything that you put your mind to. If you want something with all your heart, you will reach it. Never say you can't, always believe that you can. The power of belief will open yourself up to possibilities you never knew were there.

Remember: It is easier to think a negative thought than a positive one. Each time you have a negative thought, try replacing it with something that is positive from that same situation.

Remember: Each day is a new day. A new opportunity for growth, adventure and challenging yourself. Do something you never thought you would do. Life is short, live your days as if it was the last one you were given.

Remember: You are going to make mistakes. You are going to fail. Instead of beating yourself up and dwelling on the mistake, accept it as a challenge and try again. We all have bad days. Do not live within guilt and let it own you.

Remember: Life is not suppose to be easy. We are meant to be challenged. Accept your challenges and meet them with strength and determination.

Remember: Keep in mind the power of words. Speak them kindly. Use your words in loving ways. People will hold on to what you say long after the moment is gone.

Remember: Take moments to stop: To listen. To dance. To sing. To be silly.

Remember:  You and only YOU are in control of your life. We choose the elements around us. Choose carefully and thoughtfully.

Remember: We are examples to our children. Be the person you want them to reflect. Teach them kindness. Show them love has no boundaries, no prejudice, and no room for selfishness.

Remember: Relationships are work. Each one; a lover, a friend or family member, requires its own unique attention. Give to each what you want in return.

Remember: Do not hold on to regret. Let it go, release it.

Remember: It is okay to cry.

Remember: Forgiveness. Forgive loved ones, yourself, and strangers. We all make mistakes.

Remember Be grateful for all you have. It is easy to want more or desire something another has. Look around your own life and count your blessings.

Remember: Be healthy. Eat foods that nourish you. Find an exercise routine that works with you. Eating right and being active can be healing to the soul as well as your body.

Remember: You are good enough. You are amazing. You are special.

Happy New Year to you all! May the days ahead bring you love, laughter, and happiness. Don't choose a New Years Resolution. Choose a better tomorrow for your journey ahead. 

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Sitting in the Pasenger Seat: Letting Dad be Dad

For almost four years it has been me who has put my oldest son, Chase, to bed each night. When the second son, Wesley, came along it was the intent that daddy would put Chase to bed and I would tend to the baby. A year later I was still assuming my mommy duties with Chase. He still insisted I put him to bed each night. Some of these nights included some screaming and crying...a little from him and from me. I would find myself sitting on the edge of his bed, rubbing his back, while nursing Wesley. It was either this or listen to blood curdling cries for "mommy" while I laid in bed and attempted to ignore the pain inside me from the sound of my son's voice. It would make me sad not to be by his side. I would find a way to get him to bed. I became a master at juggling around bedtime.

Then a switch went off in the middle of November. Jason, otherwise known as daddy, had just got back from being gone on a hunting trip for eight days. This is something he does each year yet now that Chase is almost four it was the first year that he was affected by him not being around. He missed his daddy. There was even a day he just started crying. I could feel my heart shattering at the sight of his little face crying. I just hate seeing my children cry.

Finally daddy came home from his trip and Chase was ecstatic. Jay and I wondered how the bedtime routine would go. Mommy had gone soft and allowed both boys to be in bed with me the entire time Jay was gone. We joked that since Jay was the one who left, he would be the one to put Chase to sleep in his bed again. That first night we braced ourselves for screaming, crying, and flailing body parts. Much to our our surprise it was the complete opposite. Instead as I waited in bed snuggled in with Wesley, I heard giggling and the sound of Jay telling Chase a story. A half hour later Jason emerged from Chase's room to report that he was sleeping. It was a miracle in our eyes.

This pattern has continued through the month of November into December. Most nights, not all, Jay has been the one to put Chase to bed. It was as if someone flipped a switch. There are still some nights we get the occasional crying for mommy to put him to bed. There are also some nights which it takes daddy a long time to get Chase to bed resulting in "chasing" him (we named him appropriately!) as he tries to run into our bed to get to me. Finally, after the chasing, more milk, more food, and another story...Chase is asleep.

Here's the thing I must admit: I miss putting him to bed. There it is, I said it! Even though juggling both boys can be exhausting, I like the moments that bedtime can bring. I believe it is important that daddy share in these roles as a parent. Chase is fortunate to have a father who takes part in his life. I am fortunate to have a partner to share parenting with. Though there are times I feel like co parenting is like being a passenger in a moving vehicle. I would rather be the driver than sit in the passenger seat. It is the same with parenting. Sometimes I find myself cringing as though I am afraid we are going to go head on in traffic. I have to stop myself from interfering or mediating a certain situation. I am learning how to let dad, be dad.

Just like Wonder Woman would have done for Superman, I need to empower Jason and let him share in the parenting duties. I need him to empower me in my parenting role. It's not me against him. It is us, side by side, doing this crazy thing called parenting together. It is supporting one another, cheering the other on, and letting the other one make their own mistakes. We are doing this as a team. Raising children isn't for wussies!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Battle of the Holiday Bulge

There is something about this time of year that makes me want to eat. I realize with the holidays we all battle this. We are surrounded by desserts, delicious dishes, family foods, and drinks made to please the pallet. It's more than that for me right now. I feel I am also not able to eat the foods I want on a daily basis.

The change of seasons has made grocery shopping less appealing for me. I love fruits and veggies. Have you seen how the fruits look this time a year?! Not only are they not as fresh and ripe as I would like, they are over priced. I find myself standing in front of the strawberries and blueberries pondering if I want to spend five dollars on them or keep walking. I am frugal in my shopping. I will bring a calculator and try to keep it at the allowed amount that day. When I see an item I want that I consider over priced, I sadly walk away.

It is important to me to eat healthy. It is equally, if not more, important for me to try to feed my children healthy foods as well. If you have a toddler then you may know how hard it can be to feed them a balanced meal. (Refer to my post in November: Can I Skip Dinner Please). Since both my boys love fruits I try to be sure I have an assortment in our house. These days it is slim pickings.

I have resorted to buying frozen fruits. They hold the same nutritional value and when I use them in my daily smoothies, they taste just as good. Frozen fruit is cheaper and you can get a little more for your money. Bonus right?! Yes and no. Have you tried to thaw some strawberries to hand to your wee one? They still are on the mushy side. There really is nothing like fresh fruit! I love strawberry and blueberry season. Right now I am mourning both.

Vegetables too are not at their peak. Luckily my grocery store has a good selection and isn't  disappointing me as much in this area. As with fruits, I am not one to buy canned veggies or frozen veggies. I keep a few on hand, the kids love peas. I just enjoy cooking and eating handful's of fresh fruits and veggies. I am missing our box garden to pick from.

The cold is now setting in and the nightly salad I would have with dinner is becoming less appealing to me. I want warmer, more comfort food these days. 

My diet is a way of life for me. What I put into my body is important. I work at keeping myself in shape. I am not one that can eat whatever I want and not have it affect me. Since I have had children my body has needed extra attention. Let's face it, I am not 21 anymore. There use to be a time it didn't matter, I am no longer in that time.

I have surrendered myself to the fact that during the holiday season I may gain a few extra pounds. I am okay with that. I do believe in indulging! Over the next couple of weeks there will be gatherings with friends and family and I fully intend to enjoy these times without restrictions. It doesn't mean that doesn't come with guilt though. I will be honest, I get food guilt after I have consumed that piece of chocolate cake or had that extra glass of wine. This just means I will work a little harder after the holidays. It is me against the battle of the holiday bulge. I will win in the end!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Dialing Santa and canceling the Easter Bunny

Living with an almost four year old at Christmas time can be exciting. Then there are moments when it can also be rather exhausting. Lately I feel like I am repeatedly threatening to call Santa. That's right, I tell my child if he does not behave I am calling Santa. I have even picked up the phone to "call" him. Moments like this I really wish there were a Santa. I would call him, have him march his ass over here and put my kid in his place. Then reality slaps me in the face and I realize that I am Santa and it is ME who needs to wrangle the little animal and hope to God that he pulls it together so I do not turn into the Grinch. 

How often am I dialing Santa? I pretty much pull out the Santa card twenty a few times a day. It is effective for short periods of time. It allows mama to pull herself back together and prepare for the next mishap in our house. This may not be parenting at its finest, this I understand. Let's face it, kids want there to be Christmas so in a desperate moment calling Santa may just do the trick.

The problem with this is that soon after we are left with no Santa. We have to wait months before we pull out the Santa card. Yeah, there is the Easter bunny. He too could just hop on by our house. I am sure that I may slip up and threaten that one as well. After Christmas I will still be left with the same child, and no Santa Claus. I have to also admit I pull out the: "If you don't start behaving you are not going to school today!" card. Chase LOVES school. For him to not go would be painfully sad for him. Let's be honest here though, if I kept him home it would be equally painful for me.

Parenting, as many of you know, is the most challenging thing we will ever do. There are classes, books, along with several professionals who are all ready and willing to tell you just how to raise your kid and what you are doing wrong. I may read the occasional article but I don't do those books. I believe each child and home is unique. Most of us are doing the best we can. Some days are harder than others. I feel like I am the biggest critic of myself. I know some days I need to try harder and be better. That is what tomorrow is always for right?! I am learning. My children are learning.

I know there are other tactics besides dialing Santa Claus, I do attempt those as well. Some days though it is just easier and more effective to call on the big guy in the red suit. Besides, does it this form of parenting ever change. There will always be some variation of it: taking away the car, not being allowed to go out with friends, and keeping them home from a date they have been waiting to go on. It goes on and on and on...

Happy Holidays to you all. If you are in the same boat as me, I send you hopeful vibes. Time for me to go...I have to make a phone Santa!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Remembering Bobby

Sometimes I can still smell his cologne. It happens at random times. I was running a few weeks ago and it was as if he was running right next to me, pushing me along.  Other times it's an old song that comes on the radio and suddenly I am right back where I was when I was 16. I still have dreams about him. Some more vivid than others. I still see his face and if I try hard enough I can hear his voice.

When you are 18 and 19 the world should be in the palm of your hands. You are setting goals. Finding out what it is like to be an adult. Falling down, then getting back up. At least that is what most young adults are doing. Others are leaving behind friends and family who years later will still miss them and wonder why they had to leave.It has been 18 years since he has passed on.

If you knew Bobby you loved him. There wasn't a person who didn't like him. Sure, he could get you mad but it was almost impossible to stay upset with him. He had a smile that was contagious and a heart as big as he was. His laugh would cause ripples in you like a wave and before you knew it you were laughing right along with him. He was surrounded by three beautiful women, his mother and two sisters, who he loved intensely. Family was important to Bobby. He loved the outdoors and the woods. He was strong, athletic, and passionate.

I was a freshmen in college when I received the phone call that he had passed away. I had just been home for Thanksgiving break. I hadn't seen Bobby when I was home yet had only talked to him a couple weeks before. I had spent a good amount of that summer before I left for school with Bobby. Leaving him was one of the hardest things I had done in my young adult life. He was one of my dearest friends. I knew leaving would change our friendship and we would move on in other directions. I also knew I would miss him terribly. I was not prepared for the heartbreaking phone call that he was gone forever.

There would be no more phone calls. No more letters. No more I love you's. A mother lost her son. Sisters lost their beloved brother and friend. Friends lost a piece of themselves. The world lost a good man. We all grieved. Our small little community suddenly had a crack in it from the place where he once was. He will always be there. He never left really. It's in those moments where you feel like your loved one is no where near you, that if you stop for a moment and try, you will feel them. You will be comforted and filled with the love they left behind.

He lives on within each life he touched. For however long or brief, he has left his mark on you. He lives on in his nieces and nephews. He lives on through memories and stories we all share. He lives on, waiting for us on the other side. Someday there will be laughter again shared with him.

Each person has a purpose. Each spirit has a divine meaning. We are all gifts to one another. Pieces of one another. The ones we love surround us, mold us, teach us and complete us. We all fit together like a puzzle. There are several pieces, many hearts, and they all fit together to make our world beautiful. Each soul is carried within us, hugging our hearts and reminding us that we are never alone.

Monday, November 24, 2014

The Holiday Haze

I broke down today and started putting up Christmas decorations. Stockings went up, some lights around the entrance way to the dining room, and a few Christmas ornaments. I am anxious for the tree to go up as our my plan is to have it up Saturday. Soon "Percy" and "Sheldon" (Our elves of coarse. Percy is named from Thomas the Train and Sheldon is named from Big Bang Theory) will be coming back from the North Pole! I am ready to bake, eat, drink, give and most importantly, to watch little faces light up over the festivities we will be sharing the next month.

In preparation for new toys coming mama did purge some old toys. I love cleaning (really I do!) and have enjoyed watching toys be sold or passed on to other children who could enjoy them. I am tempted to do one more "go through". If it were up to me I would throw them all in large garbage bags, haul them to the dumpster, and start all over. Unfortunately I would have to deal with the repercussions of little boys crying and the thought of any more crying makes me want to pull my hair out!

New toys are on the way. More for me to step on. More for the dog to chew up. More for me to take away when Chase isn't behaving. It is Christmas though!  Christmas is not about toys and material things.We all know it is about family, love, giving, and Christ. Yet let's be real here, when you are 4 none of that matters. It's about Santa, elves, toys, and more toys. As their mama I have to admit I do love shopping for them! (Side note here; I generally do not like shopping!) I picture the excitement and since I know what my children like, I know Santa will do a kick ass job when the presents are finally delivered.

Let's fast forward to December 26th: Invasion of the toddler toys. I can see it now... I will wake up and try to make my way to the coffee and stumble on a toy. I will look around and see glitter all over the floor. There will be boxes that need to be put in the recycling. Wrapping paper that has found its way under my furniture. Parents across the world will be exhausted from family gatherings. We will be hung over from the amount of alcohol we needed to consume in order to get us through these festivities. Some of us may decide to just continue to drink throughout the week (yeah, you all know who you are) because New Years Resolutions don't start for another seven days.

The holiday haze, it is worth it! We, as parents, get to live vicariously through our children's joy and excitement. As we are surrounded by friends and family, let's remember how lucky we are that we are sharing these moments with them. Hug a little tighter. Stay a little longer. Laugh a little louder.


Monday, November 17, 2014

Discipline And Determination: Running Through Winter

As many of you know by now, I am a runner. I love running. I love how it makes me feel, how it keeps me in shape, how it strengthens my body and my mind. Who needs therapy when you have a good pair of running shoes?! If you know me well then you also know that I hate winter and the cold. Okay, so maybe hate is a strong word. Maybe it's not so much winter as it is the cold itself. This will be the 4th winter in a row I run in the cold temps and snow.

I don't own a treadmill and I don't have a gym membership. I love having my feet hit the pavement and I am not about to stop because of the cold. I have grown accustomed to cold weather running. Two years ago I said I would not run if it got below 20 degrees. Last year I ran when it was -5 degrees. When it came down to it the cold did not stop me. I would conquer it! I have learned how to dress appropriately for the weather. Once you master that, you don't get cold. I do hate layers and I prefer running in less. I have figured it out and can get away with thin but warm gear and am comfortable during my runs.

With the time change it also gets dark much earlier. Two out of four of my runs are in the late afternoon. This week not only did I run in the first snowflakes falling, I also ran in the darkness. Safety is important when it is dark. I wear a reflective vest, head lamp and use Knuckle Lights. (If you don't know what Knuckle Lights are you should check these out! Visibility is great when I use these. I had a man tell me this week that the lights looked pretty when I was running with them.)

It is harder for me to get into my runs when it is dark out. I still enjoy it yet I feel like I put so much energy focusing on staying safe that I don't get to loose myself in my runs as I usually do. I have talked about it before; running for me is spiritual as well as physical. When I am running at night I have to pay close attention to my surroundings. It is a constant focus on completing my run safely.

So here we are. Winter is almost here and now it is cold and dark. I have to discipline myself to get out there. I love running, but the elements of my run I don't always enjoy. I have to push myself. Determination fills me so I can get my ass out there on my running days no matter what the weather is. I have run in sun, rain and snow. I would rather run than regret not running. I don't ever come home wishing I had not gone for that run.

This year was an important running year for me. I hit some personal records, or as I like to think of it, "milestones". I completed two Half Marathons and to date have run 1,032.75 miles this year! I am out of training mode and have scaled back a little. After the new year I will most likely kick it into gear again as my goal is to do three to four Half Marathons next year, beginning with the first in April. It is important to me to set new goals. Even more important for me to reach them.

Run when you can, walk if you have to, crawl if you must; just never give up.” ~ Dean Karnazes

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Can I skip dinner please?

At the end of the day it is nice to finally sit down and have dinner as a family. Or is it? I would have no idea. For almost four years I am not sure I have made it through a dinner without having to get up, feed someone, beg someone to eat, get  more food, get something for someone to drink, take food away, pick it up off the floor, share MY food, or make threats about taking away the TV or toys “if you don’t eat your dinner”. It’s exhausting. It really is...Almost... Every...Night! Okay, so maybe once in awhile I will put something on the table that my toddler, Chase, thinks is out of this world and within one bite it is gone. These times are rare.

I enjoy cooking for my family. I like being in the kitchen making food. I also enjoy cooking with my son. We like to bake together. Some nights he will insist on helping me make dinner. I love these moments. I am still practicing not being a control freak and allowing him to help in the best way he can. I hate messes and I am learning to let there be a mess and enjoy his help. I remind myself what matters is making the food together. You would think that would help my situation out when it came down to the actual dinner. No, he can still help me with a meal and decide he doesn't like it or it isn't what he wants.

I have come to dislike dinner. I put all this time into making a meal when most nights I don’t get to sit down and actually finish my meal while it is warm. It’s always “something” : "It’s too hot", "It’s cold", "I need ketchup", “What is this?”, "I don't like the orange ones" (he used this referring to pasta color! You know, because it tastes so different from the white ones. Urgg). Then there's my favorite: "I don’t like it". That last comment sometimes comes before the first bite.

By the time we sit down to dinner mama has lost most of her steam. It’s amazing these poor creatures have made it to the dinner table at all. Isn’t it enough that I got them changed, fed them, entertained them and was able to keep them alive all day?! 

Growing up dinner time with my family was always important. We sat down and ate as a family every night. That was always the way it was. As I got older no matter where we were, we needed to be home for dinner. I like that I was brought up this way. I too want to share dinner time with my family. I wasn’t prepared for the reality that it would be several years before I would actually enjoy it.

And now there is my youngest, sweet Wesley. Yes, the darling baby of mine who now finds it hysterical to throw food on the floor. The kid throws food like he is in a high school food fight in the cafeteria. Oh and my favorite; he has taken it upon himself to include the dogs in every meal he has, throwing food towards them. Don't even bother telling him "No". He will just erupt in giggles and continue. Not only am I pleading with a 1 year old to stop throwing food, I am yelling at the dogs to go lay down. If I take his food away then he screams like a Capuchin monkey. More of his food is worn than actually eaten. Worn on him, my walls, and the floor.

It’s been 7 minutes. I have hardly ate any of my dinner yet. I just want to eat my dinner! 

I do not look forward to dinner time. It's 20 minutes of chaos. By the time it is all over I am exhausted. I look at the clock wishing for bedtime with the reality that we still have a couple more hours until then.

Some days at lunch I actually leave the dining room area when they eat. I don't go far, just sneak away to do dishes or some other chore. I stick close enough so I can hear choking of coarse, I am not that bad of a mom. Dinner time I would like to do the same thing. I have visions of running out the door and returning hours later long after dinner is done. I don't know where I would go. Somewhere. Anywhere. Rite Aid. Maybe the Dollar Store. Who cares right? I'm easy to please (unlike my children). How about sitting in a nice quiet coffee shop with a book. Hell, I would take a crowed bar and a stiff drink too.

I realize "this too shall pass". I dream of a day that we all can sit together and have a conversation at the table instead of talking over one another and wiping pasta out of the baby's hair. There will be a day when I am going to look back and miss them being so little. I will miss the messes, sticky fingers, and the laughter coming from Wes mouth as he throws food at the dogs. Until then, can I skip dinner please?!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

26 Things I am Grateful For

I believe in living a life that is filled with gratitude. I feel that we become who we are with the help of everything that surrounds us. People. Things. The universe. It is easy to want more and forget about the little things that have become a part of your life. Those tiny little things that make up your world. I decided to create a list of the 26 things that I am grateful for in my own life. No particular order or rank. Some have a deeper meaning than others. Some are simple things which make me happy. For each one I am grateful.

1- My children. I cannot imagine waking up without them each day. Every breathe of theirs becomes mine. I am grateful that they chose me.

2- My partner. Our lives are intertwined by love, commitment, and friendship. We are a team.

3- My parents. The two people who gave me a loving and supportive home. Who taught me important values and lessons that I hope to pass on to my own children.

4- My brother. For all the memories we have shared and for the ones we will create in the future as a family.

5- My sister in law. She is not only my brothers wife, she is also my friend. An added bonus is she gave birth to my niece and nephew whom I adore.

6- Our home. I am fortunate that even though we do not own our place that is filled with love and feels like home. We have a roof over our head and walls that keep us warm.

7- The animals. I couldn't imagine a house that I lived in that did not have furry creatures in it. I am grateful for the happiness they bring me and especially bring to my children.

8- A kick ass job. I am happy that I have a part time job that helps me keep the balance between family and work. My bosses are wonderful and I feel appreciated. 

9- My health. I am grateful that I am healthy, strong, and active. I consider it a blessing to be able to run or be active with my children.

10- Friends. Old and new, my heart is full when I think of all the amazing people in my life. I have wonderful friends who have supported me, loved me, and watch me grow as a person. I am beyond lucky to have a fabulous support system known as my friends!

11- My grandmother. I have one living grandparent that not only do I get to see on a regular basis but that my children get to spend time with. I am happy that both boys will have memories of her to share in the future.

12- Food. I always tell Chase that he needs to be thankful for the food we have and not be wasteful. I explain that not everyone has food like we do. We may not always want what we have in front of us, but should never take it for granted.

13- Beer and Wine. Same category so I will count them as one. I think they deserve to make the list! Lord knows there are days they helped me through!

14- My camera. I love capturing special moments . Simple moments. Silly moments. Pictures to me are treasures.

15- The Ocean. The sound of the waves. The sand on my feet. The memories I have created and will continue to create with my family while going to the ocean.

16- Being a Woman. Really, I am truly thankful for this. I am thankful for this amazing body that created, carried, and birthed two creatures.

 My Family

17- My Boobs. Yes, they are a part of my body  and being a woman, but they deserve their own recognition. I am grateful for the milk that they made/make to nurse both my boys.

18- Laughter. My children's laughter and the ability to laugh. Good, deep down, belly laughs can make the worst day vanish.

19- Cupcakes. With lots of frosting!

20- Nexxus Hair Spray. I am serious, this stuff is the bomb. After trying several I keep going back to it. It tames your hair and doesn't make it feel like a rock. True Story!

21- Music. All different genres. The sound of it, the words, the ability to sing it, and the beat to dance to it.

22- For our soldiers. All the men and women who fight for this country and selflessly give themselves, sacrificing their lives and own family time during the holidays.

23-  Second Chances & Forgiveness. Enough said here.

24- A Creemee on a hot summer night. I miss you summer!

25- Words. The power of them. A good book. An inspirational quote. Words spoke by a loved one that touch your soul.

26- God. I am grateful for a God. The higher being, whatever that means for each of us, who gave me all these things.

(If you wonder why I chose 26 I will tell you. I actually thought that I had 25, but I miscounted and came up with 26. I was never that good at math, Ha!)

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Camo Season is Here

It's that time of year again. And I am not talking about Christmas. It is hunting season. As a woman who lives in Vermont I am so lucky (insert sarcasm) to have a partner who is a hunter! Even better is that he goes away the first week of November each year leaving me, and now two children, home alone. (Sarcasm people!)

Here's the thing, I am pretty good on my own. I don't get all weepy that he is gone. I have always been independent. Don't get me wrong, I will miss him like crazy and will be excited to see him when he finally walks in the door a week later. There are pro's and con's to parenting alone for the week. Let's talk about some.


*It was heartbreaking watching Chase break down earlier when I reminded him daddy wasn't coming home tonight.

*The hardest part for me is I can't keep up with my routine of running. I realize that may sound selfish but hey, it's the truth. As I have mentioned before, mommy is a much happier person on the days I can run. So if mama doesn't get to run, mama may indeed lose her shit! Thankfully my folks only live 20 minutes away so I will be taking my boys there to at least get in a run or two. Not my normal 4 days a week but it will do.

*My mind tends to wander. I am left with thoughts of people breaking in. Jules, my big dog, is normally kenneled at night. When Jay is gone she is out. If she is lucky I let her sleep at the foot of the bed. At least I know if anyone comes in she will hopefully protect us.

*Schedules. These too change. This is almost a pro & a con. I have to do my best to let certain things go. I am repeatedly asking for patience. Picking and choosing what battles I want to conquer. Being the only parent in the house sometimes it is easier just to simply say "Fuck it". Like now, both boys are in bed with me. I just didn't have the energy to try and battle Chase to go to bed in his own room. I am exhausted. This is just easier.


*I only have to pick up after two boys, not three. Seriously that guy leaves just as many crumbs on the couch as our kids do. (Sorry honey, love you! But really, it drives me nuts!) If you know me I hate crumbs! Dirt! And all that darn animal hair. A little less mess is nice.

*I really don't mind sharing the bed with both the boys. I love looking over and seeing them both close to me. It's even better when they snuggle together or are playful with one another first thing in the morning. Those moments are priceless. The best part of my day is in the morning when they share hugs, kisses, and laughter in bed. (Once we get out of bed it all goes down hill).

*I have more time for Blogging, writing, reading, or Facebook. Typically I try to spend less time in front of my computer when we are all together, yet right now I am able to sit in bed with my laptop writing to you lovely people! Guilt free!

I really can't and won't bitch about him hunting. It doesn't bother me. I grew up in a family that hunts. I am happy he gets away for this week and he does this trip with his brother. It is not just about the hunting, it is about tradition. Someday the boys will be a part of this trip.

I will not complain about this week. I will be thankful for this time with the boys. I hear them breathing next to me and my heart is happy.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Magic Children Make

Children have a way of making things magical. They have a way of reminding us just how beautiful life is. Those moments we had as children that seemed to come alive with a dash of fairy dust are suddenly no longer a distant memory. This is what the holidays are about. It is love. It is happiness. Hope. Joy. It is the glimmer in their eyes that you see which suddenly lights a fire inside your soul.

Before I had children holidays became a hassle more than something I wanted to take part in. As I became an adult I no longer enjoyed this time. I didn't turn into Scrooge, yet I just didn't care about Thanksgiving or Christmas the way I wanted to. It felt busy and rushed.

Then I had my own children.

Over the past few years I get giddy about the Holidays. I try to engage my oldest son (he will be 4 in January) in festivities around each holiday. He is excited for Halloween this week. We have decals on our windows of ghosts, witches, and pumpkins. Yes, I have allowed my child to desecrate my windows by putting those cheap and rather ugly decals on my windows. He loves them. It makes him smile. That is all the reason I need to let him do it. I am eager for Thanksgiving. Of coarse for the  food I will consume, that is a given Yet more so for the day after when I can pull out the Christmas decorations and start putting some cheer into our house.

We have two Elves that also will make their appearance. This will be "Percy's" third Christmas with us and "Sheldon's" second. I tried to get creative with new hiding places and mischief that the elves would get into when Chase was asleep. Every morning he would go looking for them. I tried to take pictures of the scenarios I created. I had intended to make an album of Elf pictures. That never happened, maybe this year.
Percy & Sheldon got into the blocks.
I love the smell of the Christmas tree. We go and cut our tree down and I have vowed to make this a tradition we do every year. I remember going with my grandfather as a child and doing this. I grew up in a home where we had a fake Christmas tree. Going to get a tree as a family is a new tradition for me just as much as it is for my children. Last year Chase brought along his own "tools" to help cut down the tree.

Another tradition I started was getting a special ornament for my children each year. Chase has picked out his own the past two years. Someday when he has his own place and a family of his own he will have his ornaments to take with him. Or as I like to think of it, tiny treasures to remind him of past Christmas'.

I also want my children to appreciate what we have. To realize that the holidays are about creating memories. About sharing in love and laughter. I want to be sure we donate in some way this year. I try to explain to Chase that we should be thankful for what we have. I do my best to try and be grateful for all I have been given. I want to teach the boys to give to others as much as they want for themselves. Our town is having a mitten tree at our local library. I think this is a great way for us to be a part of helping someone in need. It is a reminder that the holidays are truly about how we give to others, how we treat one another, and how we need to love one another.

This holiday season I hope you all find the magic that lives within you. Share that magic. Laugh from deep in your belly. Share your smile with a stranger. Happiness can be a contagious thing.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Turning Water Into Wine

There are some days that I feel like I am getting a hang of this thing called parenthood. I can juggle what feels like a million things and manage to keep both boys alive until bed. Then I wake up and do it all over again the next day. And then there are other days where I wonder how the fuck I am going to make it past the next temper tantrum or attempted murder by toddler (I am convinced he is trying to kill his little brother). I try. I do. Each day I try to be a little better. A little more patient. A little more gentle. A little more accepting. Some days I succeed more than others. Those others, they make me want to start the day over and try again.

I wonder, did Mary ever have this problem with Jesus. Okay, so I get it, Mary had more patience than ten woman combined. I wonder though, did Jesus ever have act like my three year old? Did he ever get time outs? (Insert sarcasm here people) I am just saying, I am not a saint. I strive to be better but some days are are more of a challenge than others.

I will admit, I sometimes wish I could be more like that "other" mother. You know the one I am talking about. The one who seems to have it all together. I realize that not all things are as wonderful as they seem. We all know that it is easier to have more patience and keep ourselves grounded when surrounded by other parents. Yeah, I am sure some of you are reading this and think that one should always maintain themselves even when not in front of others. Sure, but are those people human?!

Every situation is different. Each child is different. Each home and family has its own set of challenges and small mountains to climb and conquer.

I guess I just don't want to feel like I am the only one who harbor's these feelings. I know, I am just one is a sea of mommy's who struggle with this. That is why I am writing about it. Lately I have felt stuck in this notion that I am just not getting it right. That I am not being my best. Some nights I lay down in my bed wondering how I could have done it better. I lay there promising that tomorrow I will get it right. 

I want my children to have memories of their mother that don't have the words "crazy" or "scary" in them. I want them to know that even through those "moments", that I love them fiercely. I want them to feel how my heart swells for them and though mommy may seem like she is losing it some days, that she would never trade a second of it. In every moment of chaos there is love.

I am learning. Some days struggling. Failing.

Then I hear the laughter. I join in the dancing in the living room. I watch the smiles on their faces. I may not earn mother of the year today or tomorrow. With every job we do most of us take time to climb the ladder of success and get where we want to be. I am climbing mine. Learning each and every day how to get this thing called "parenting" right. I'll get there. You will get there. There may be screaming, crying, and temper tantrums (I am not talking about the kids right now) but we will get to a place where we stop beating ourselves up and start toasting to the fact that we made it another day.


(It was Jesus himself who turned water into wine. Possibly he knew mothers everywhere would need this to get them through their parenting years. Well done Jesus, and Thank you!) 

Monday, October 20, 2014

be. Skin Clinic : Your skin deserves to be happy too!

It is not often that I get out and do things for myself. So when Rachel Ahari of be. Skin Clinic asked me to come out for a facial at her new spot I couldn't turn it down.

be. Skin Clinic is located in a beautiful old building on Falls Road in Shelburne. Just walking up to the door of Rachel's place I could feel the good vibes emanating from behind the door. Walking in I was instantly drawn to the design and scents.

Rachel took some time to tell me about the clinic and explain about the products she had and services she offered. There truly is something for everyone and each skin type. After filling out my information sheet and discussing what I was looking to achieve during this visit, we decided on the Arctic Berry Peel & Peptide Illuminating System. Sounds delicious and amazing doesn't it?!

The Illuminating System is broken down into three parts: Exfoliate, Activate, and Illuminate. The products used are from a company called Eminence from Hungary. These products are also organic. I don't know about you, but it is important to me what I put into my body. We spend a lot of time reading labels for food yet how many of us actually read the labels of what is in our skin care regimen?

The treatment felt wonderful, smelled delicious, and left my skin looking smoother and radiant. Rachel was excellent about explaining what she was doing and being sure I was comfortable during the treatment. She walked me through each step and I even learned things about my own skin I wasn't aware of.

It is obvious in listening to Rachel talk about her clinic and the services offered that she is truly passionate about what she is doing. There is an excitement in her voice and she glows while telling me that she is happy to be back in Vermont starting her new journey. I asked Rachel to answer a few questions in her own words. Here they are:

 1- You are passionate about skin and what you do. Where did this come from and when did you know that this is what you were meant to do?
After completing my undergraduate degree in Business Management, I knew I had wanted to work in the spa industry. It just made sense for me to focus on customer service and management, which is exactly what I did. It wasn’t until I visited an international spa conference in 2010 that I met someone who ended up opening my eyes to the world of aesthetics. And as soon as I got my hands wet, I absolutely fell in love with being a practitioner!

2- What would you like the community to know about be. Skin Clinic, LLC, that sets your spa aside from the others?
My training! I am the only Master Aesthetician in the area and extremely proud of that. My bio on the website describes it well… "Rachel brings to Vermont an elite and rare blend of high-level training, professional experience, and deep passion for skin care. She is a licensed and certified Master Aesthetician with over 1,500 hours of medical aesthetic training and professional experience in both clinical dermatology and plastic surgery practices throughout New England. Furthermore, Rachel’s characteristics of intellectual curiosity and true passion for skin care ensures that she employs the most up-to-date and innovative advancements, products, and treatments in her practice. Through her years of training and professional work, Rachel has perfected her approach to skincare and hair removal, in addition to her commitment to providing a high quality, enjoyable client experience. She is thrilled to share her skills and passion with the Vermont community through be. Skin Clinic."

3- In building a business, what have you learned about yourself?
That hard work pays off! It took awhile to get here, but my dream has finally come true and I am so thankful!

Please visit Rachel's Facebook page for be. Skin Clinic and welcome her back to Vermont and give her a "like". Next time you are in need of some personal TLC, contact be. Skin Clinic! Gift Certificates are also available so be sure to hint to your significant other or pick one up for a gift! The Holidays are right around the corner! We all deserve to be pampered once in awhile and this is the perfect place to do so!

"I think women should start to embrace their age. What's the alternative to getting older? You die. I can't change the day I was born. But I can take care of my skin, my body, my mind, and try to live my life and be happy". ~Olivia Munn

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Saying Goodbye to Victor

Along with our two dogs and "Horsey" (it's our cat, can you tell my 3 year old named him?!) we have had a guinea pig. His name was Victor. Victor was not super friendly. He had a mate he lived with who passed away last July 4th. For over a year it has just been him. Victor's cage was in our spare room and every day Chase would feed him. Even though Victor was not out a lot and did not like human contact himself, we were always sure to visit with him and bring him all our vegetable scraps.

I went to go bring him his veggies on Monday night and found him dead. I paused and stood there for a second. I will be honest, Victor and I weren't real close. I adored Piper, our previous guinea pig, yet Victor was not social like she was. My first thought went to Chase. I needed to tell him and be honest with him. He knows things die. We have had several talks about death (Let's go back to June when I wrote: "Mama What Is That?") Here I was faced with the first time it would be a pet in our house that died and he was old enough to understand that he was dead. Besides the fish of coarse, he has gotten use to that cycle.

I walked into the kitchen and whispered to Jason that Victor was dead. I took a deep breath and said to Chase:

ME: "Come here, I need to talk to you about something. Your piggie died honey."

CHASE: "I want to see him." His voice was sad.

ME: "Okay buddy."

On our way to the spare room he he perks up for a moment,

CHASE: "We can get a new piggie?!"

ME: "No honey, we just have more love to give to our other animals now".

I will be honest, I was not going to miss cleaning the cage. I have no desire to have another guinea pig anytime soon. Don't get me wrong, I think they are great pets. Yet until Chase can actually clean the cage himself, I am all set. I also don't want Chase thinking pets or people are replaceable. I want him to know each one is special.

We walked into the room and he softly goes: "Poor Piggie". I explained to him that we would bury him the next night.

Last night we walked to the back of the house where there are trees and a wooded area. Chase and daddy both dug a hole together and we placed Victor in the hole. I explained to Chase we were giving him back to the earth. He said goodbye to him in his sweet little toddler voice and that was it. Victor was laid to rest.

It went easier than I thought it would. Phew! Yet it wasn't one of the dogs or his cat. I know those will be harder and I dread those days. I love seeing this compassionate side of him. He is a sensitive boy with a soft heart. We will talk about it I am sure. He still talks about our other cats that have passed on. He has a good memory, just like his mama.

RIP Victor. We will miss you. Even if you were a cranky piggie.

Monday, October 13, 2014

The Sweet Victory of The Finish Line

I wear a RoadID bracelet when I run. On it has my name, emergency numbers, and the quote: ALWAYS BELIEVE YOU CAN. I wear this bracelet every time I run for safety purposes, yet it also serves as a reminder to me that I can complete each run. I can run up that hill. I can go another mile. I can beat my personal PR. I did all those things on Sunday when I ran my second Half Marathon.

This race was very different from my first half marathon. I knew it would be and part of me worried how that would affect me. This was a smaller run. Approximately 750 people. There were less crowds which meant less cheering. The race went along country roads and along side the lake. The colors painted the sky. The smell of the apple orchards filled my nose. The view of the lake and mountains under a morning sky looked like a perfect painting.

As I sat in my car yesterday morning waiting for the race I tried to take time to relax. I brought a book and was able to read. I love to read and find it near impossible to do so these days. I watched other runners do their personal preparations for the race. I prayed for the strength and endurance I would need to do this race. I was nervous. More nervous than the first time. It was as if this was my first Half Marathon.

My goal was to pace myself for the first 6 miles. After that I would kick it up a notch. It is hard for me to pace myself. Even when I try not to go fast I find my legs taking me forward and I just can't seem to stop them. I also try not to pay too much attention to my GPS watch. Running this race though I did try to pay attention because I did not want to burn out the first half of my run. My focus was the end of the race. Jason was going to meet me with the boys at the finish line and the image of seeing their faces is what helps me to finish most of my runs.

Somewhere after mile 4, I heard cheering and my name. To my surprise, I looked over to see my parents, sister in law and nephew. They were there for me! I did not have a clue they would be there and as I ran by them I was filled with love and emotion. As my feet hit the pavement tears ran down my face. When it comes down to it, I could not be where I am without my family and friends. I was fueled in that moment by their love and support. I am grateful for each one of them.

The road and the earth are my personal church when I run. I think, I reflect, and I pray. This run I tried to focus on the things that make me happy and pull from that the positive energy I would need to move my feet. Toward the end of the race there was a hill. The kind with a slow incline. One that seems to never end as you are running up it. I run hills bigger than this on my normal runs but since I had tried to push myself harder the second half of my run, by the time I hit the end I was feeling my legs work for each step I took. My challenge was soon met with the sweet victory of the finish line. I had made it! I completed my second Half Marathon.

I even beat my last time by two minutes! I finished at one hour and forty two minutes. I placed 19 out of 235 female runners. I placed 10th in my age group out of 80 of my fellow female runners. It is true, you can do anything you put your mind to. Body's are made to change and be challenged. Remember: ALWAYS BELIEVE YOU CAN. Set new goals. Try new things. Life is short, run happy!

Friday, October 10, 2014

International Baby Wearing Week: A tradition to celebrate

Good Morning & Happy Friday! I can't believe the week is almost over and I haven't gotten the chance to sit down to write about Baby Wearing! Why? For me I have always loved wearing my children. Especially this second time around. Wearing Wesley was something that I did often if I was going to get anything done. I wore Chase a lot when I went walking or hiking. I always love the feeling of my child pressed up against me. Close. Tight. That is where a baby belongs, right next to your heart. When they get too big, time to wear them like the little monkeys they are, right on your back.
Chase & Mama. My first Mothers Day ~ Using the Moby Wrap

I wore Chase even while I was pregnant with Wesley. One of the last small hikes I did I was 7 months  pregnant with Chase, on my back in the Ergo. I probably would have carried him even longer if he would have let me yet this independent little man insisted on hiking and walking through the woods himself. I tell him often that he is my favorite hiking partner.

Getting work done.

When Wesley came I was faced with the task every mother is faced with when that second child arrives. It is called the "balancing act". I was trying to figure out how to take care be a slave to my toddler, nurture my baby, and maintain my household chores. I am not one to sit still. I have to move. I need to feel productive. Wesley would not let me put him down for much of the first 6 months. If I was going to get any work done I had to wear him. I cooked with him on me. Vacuumed, worked at my laptop, did laundry, whatever it was that needed to get done, I had to do it with him attached to me.  He hated his car seat so even grocery shopping could get ugly when he was first born. Thank God for baby wearing! I still, with him being a year, wear him as often as I can. If we go for a walk I prefer to wear him rather than put him in a stroller. Funny fact: Wesley didn't get in a stroller at all until he was 10 months old.

Hiking using the Ergo
Baby wearing is not new. Baby wearing has been used for thousands of years. Baby Carriers have been made out of several different things: blankets, shawls, woven cloths, pouches, backpacks, and bags. Each culture has a unique way of wearing their babies. Baby wearing was essential for many women. If one was going to work they wore their baby while doing so. The only thing new about baby wearing is the carriers that have been created to do so.

My two favorites are the Ergo and the bitybean.  I be sure that I am never without one of them any where I go.I will actually be sad when I can't wear my children anymore. I really love having my child next to me. This time with them goes by so fast. Keeping my child close to me is how I want it to be.
Taken the day we adopted our kitty in May

There are so many baby carriers out there. Find what one works for you and your babe. Wear your baby as long as you can! Happy International Baby Wearing Week!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Learning to like Preschool

It is Tuesday afternoon and the house is quiet. Wesley is on my lap nursing, I have a cup of tea I am sipping on, and the sun is shining through the windows. Chase is off to school as he goes on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons.

Sending Chase to Preschool has turned into a good thing for all of us. The most important thing is that he really, truly, likes to go. On school mornings he will ask several times if it is time to get on the bus. He has said, more than once, on his days off: "When am I going to school? I miss my kids". He cracks me up.

Chase taking a break on our hike to find acorns for a school project.
Chase is a social bug like his mama. He may play shy yet after he warms up the kid just really likes to be around other kids and play. He's energetic, enthusiastic, and eager to be engaged. We just finished his 6 weeks of soccer and I am just as sad as he is that it is over. He had a knack for soccer and I see him playing for years.

When he gets home though it is near impossible to get him to tell you about his day. He is more interested in eating (if this was a subject in school he would get an A+) than sharing with his mother what he did. Thankfully he comes home each time with a paper and pictures showing what the children did each day. His school also has a Facebook page that shares what the children are doing in the classrooms. With the help of both of these I am able to facilitate some conversation about school. How great would it be to be a fly on the wall for just one day!

I had a difficult time putting Chase on the bus that first time. I felt sick to my stomach and my heart ached. I cried, my face drenched with tears as Wesley looked at me with confusion. Each time has gotten easier and I remind myself just how important this is for Chase. This is his happiness and future.

Lots of acorns!

This has also opened up afternoons for things I may not have had a lot of time for before. Wesley and I get to have some one on one time. I have been able to get some writing done. I work without being interrupted 10 times because "someone" is hungry "again". Errands are much easier to do with one child than two! I guess you could say I am learning to like Preschool too.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Challenging the Woman Within

In less than 2 weeks I am scheduled to run my second Half Marathon.  I am ecstatic about doing another half marathon. I know this one will be very different from my first and wonder how that will work for me. Last time it was warm and sunny. I ran in temps I was not use to at that time. This time it is what I call my perfect running temperature. I love when it is between 40-50 for my runs. (Let me clarify that I enjoy that temp only for my runs, I prefer warmer weather and am not sure I will survive another winter!) This time my fellow runners will be a much smaller crowd. I wonder if this too will have an affect. There was a euphoria from the large number of runners and the support that the first half marathon brought. I am not sure what to expect with this one besides less cheering and more like one of my usual Sunday long runs.

I love fall. It is my favorite season. The colors of the trees, the sound of crunching leaves under my feet and the smell in the air. It is a good thing I run year round because with fall comes baking and I also enjoy that. When I bake, I also eat. Running helps that balance. I eat a little more so I need to run a little more.

Wesley with My First Half Marathon Medal

I am nervous. I know I shouldn't be. I have done this before. I also just broke my PR! I hit 14.1 miles. I will admit it was hard! The last two miles challenged my body. I had planned to do 13 miles in preparation for this next half but then as I was running I got it in my head that I wanted to beat 13.1. That's how my head works when I run. I am not competitive when it comes to races or life in general. When I run, I become competitive with myself. I want each run to be good (by the way, that is impossible). I want my times to get faster. I want my distance to increase. What I want is a stronger and better me. I was sore that night and into Monday. It was worth it! Every. Single. Mile.

Chase & Mama before the race
What's next for me? I would like to maybe someday do 15. Maybe even 18. A full thank you. I admire you runners who can do it. For now I am happy where I am. I like my short runs on the weekdays and my long run on the weekends. I have a schedule I stick to and I am not a happy lady if it gets messed with. Just ask Jay and my kids, mama is much happier when she gets out for a run.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Love, Compassion, Trust & Safety: Where did it go?

I am not into TV. I could pretty much do without it. If the TV is on in the living room while I am home it is usually Disney Junior that is on. When I do watch TV it is at night time when I am laying in bed waiting for sleep to take me to a happy place. I pretty much go between three shows: Big Bang Theory, Pawn Stars or anything on ID (Investigation Discovery). Some nights I need to laugh. Some nights I need brain stimulation (I love seeing all the old things that come into the pawn shop and the history behind it). Then there are those nights I need some intrigue. I am hooked on ID! Shows like Swamp Murders, Evil Kin, Dateline, Blood Relatives, Nightmare Next Door, and the new one: Surviving Evil. Most of these shows come with some pretty disturbing details. Some sad,others down right unbelievably heartbreaking. Yet I am drawn to these shows.

They say it is like a train wreck, you just can't help but watch. Part of it is the excitement of catching the bad guy in the end. It does terrify me that such evil lurks in some people. I have fucked up dreams sometimes after watching an episode of one of these shows. One time I had a dream that Jason killed someone and cut them into pieces and burned their body.  Years later he was caught but as his partner I kept it a secret. Just last week I had another dream that an one of my clients, from a previous clinic I use to work at, held me and some friends hostage and attempted to kill us all with an injection of something pink. I woke up right before it was going to be my turn. WTF right! Maybe I should stop watching thee shows. Yeah, probably not likely to happen.

What it has also done is instill into me that people are untrustworthy. You never really know a person do you? It is always in some small, safe town that these kidnapping and murders seems to occur. A neighbor, a co worker and even your partner that you have always trusted. Everyone has a deep, dark secret.

The first day Chase went to preschool a couple of weeks back I got a knock at the door. I typically do not answer the door if I am not expecting someone. I always try to see if I can see the person from the window. I couldn't this day and for some reason decided to open the door. It was a young girl selling a Kirby vacuum who asked if she could have a few minutes of my time. (By the way, what they really mean is can I steal 25 minutes of precious time from you). Since this girl seemed nice enough and had the awful job of going door to door selling a vacuum, (Yeah, I know, her choice) I invited her in to do her presentation. Maybe it was because I was feeling emotional, who the fuck knows. Or maybe it was because she brought a little basket of food as a thank you for inviting her in (Hey, it was food! Don't judge!) As she was unpacking the ridiculously priced vacuum my head started spinning. Someone had dropped her off. What if this was all a plan to get in my house? Is she going to try to kill me and my baby? Should I go grab the phone? She looked like she was honest enough, but those are the ones that commit the crimes. Needless to say she did her presentation and left without pulling out a knife.

It happens at the store, when I go running, at random times. Those thoughts wondering if the creepy dude staring at me and my boys is going to follow me. The truck that is slowing down as I am running, is he going to grab me? Seriously, maybe I should stop watching those shows!

It also saddens me that the world has turned into a place like this. I fear having my children someday walking the streets or playing outside. When I was a child we would be outside all the time without supervision. I just can't wrap my head around sending my kids outside without me. What happened to mankind? What happened to love, compassion, trust and safety? I wish more for my children than having to fear the evil of others. I want my children to be able to live in a world where we don't have to lock our doors. I want my children to learn trust. It is my job to teach them love and raise them to be good men. To show them kindness and respect, and how to give that to others. I can only hope they make the right choices and that evil does not cross their paths.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Fire And Ice

It amazes me how fast life changes. You blink and it is like you were dreaming what happened a year before. Last year at this time I was laboring with Wesley. I had gone in that morning when contractions were on top of one another only to be sent home since my body was not making progress. Soon there after contractions slowed down and I labored well into the next day. The evening of September 18th at six forty five, under a pink and red sunset sky, Wesley Holden finally made his arrival. He came like a roller coaster that derailed, yet he was here and life as we knew it would never be the same.

Brand New Baby Wesley

My life is better because of him. He is an amazing child. He has always given me this overwhelming joy that resides in my heart and soul. Isn't is astounding that children can light a fire in us that we never knew existed?! Both Wesley and Chase have given me more than I could have ever hoped for. More than I ever thought possible. The love of a child is truly magical.

What also amazes me is how different both my boys are. Chase from the beginning was a fire cracker. He was an active baby in me and the moment he entered this world there was no doubt this child was going to light up the world around him. Wesley arrived with a contentment about him. He exuded love. His eyes looked into mine as if to say everything was now perfect. Wesley has a smile that stays with you and reminds you that life is beautiful. Chase likes to shake things up while Wesley goes with it and is the content one. My boys are like fire and ice.

The differences in them balance me as I hope they will balance one another. I see pieces of myself and Jason in both of them. I see pieces of Chase in Wesley. Small ones, little fragments that compliment him. Each child is a magnificent creation and for this my heart swells with love.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Breastmilk Jewellery, A Priceless Keepsake

I love jewellery and I love breastfeeding. So when I was on Facebook one night and saw a page titled Breastmilk Jewellery I had to check it out. I instantly fell in love with the pieces that were created. I was intrigued that my breastmilk could be made into a keepsake. A piece of myself and my children. A reminder of the bond, intimacy, closeness and magic that I was able to share with my boys.
The Raindrop Pendant

After watching the page for days and repeatedly checking out the website, my breastmilk was packaged up and went on a journey all the way to Australia! Yes, I said Australia! Lucky milk, what an awesome trip! I have to admit I am a bit jealous. A short time later I received my pendant and it was worth the wait. Included was even another piece without a bail (that is what connects to the breastmilk piece to make it a pendant) so I bought a bail of my own and turned my other breastmilk piece into another fabulous pendant. I have been wearing both pendants and since I was so happy with them I asked the owner, Kate, to do a write up for me to be featured in my blog. I am thrilled she agreed!

The Trapezium Shape I made into another pendant

Hi from Australia! My name is Kate and I'm a mum of 4 kids aged 5 months to 8 years, and somehow I still manage to create keepsakes for people wanting to celebrate their breastfeeding journey through my business, Breastmilk Jewellery.
I'm actually Canadian, I came down under backpacking in 2003, fell in love with a cowboy, and I've been stuck here ever since! We had our first baby in 2006 and it was never a question that I was going to breastfeed her - because we really could not have afforded formula back then. She was born by caesarean and we had a rough start to breastfeeding, I had no idea what I was doing and quickly ended up with horribly cracked nipples. Really the first 4 months were just awful - from mastitis to oral thrush, we went through it all! I am so proud that we went on to breastfeed until she was 14 months old, and the boy and then 2 girls who came after her were a breeze. My boy weaned at 18 months and #3 weaned, with my encouragement, the day before her 3rd birthday in August this year, after feeding through 9 months of my surprise pregnancy with her baby sister and 4 months of tandem feeding.
I came across the business, Breastmilk Jewellery, when the previous owner joined the babywearing group I run locally. She came to a few meets and then my husband found the ad for the business she was selling, and the rest is history! It fits in perfectly with my passion for breastfeeding and allows me to earn a small income while staying home with my youngest 2. I am loving being able to use my creativity and making beautiful things that people seem to love is just icing on the cake!

Kate creates beautiful pieces. Along with Breastmilk Jewellery she also does Placenta & Ashes pendants and other jewellery. Her prices are reasonable! Honestly, these are all priceless!

Take a minute to check out her website. Spread the word to any other mama's you may know. This is one piece of jewellery that will always be treasured.

Be sure to go over to Breastmilk Jewellery's Facebook Page and give it a "Like". If you haven't yet been over to my page, Discovering Me In Them, come visit me over there too! As always, THANK YOU for stopping by! A very special THANK YOU to Kate for taking time to be a part of this blog!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

What I have been taught

In just over a couple of weeks it seems mind boggling to me that I will be celebrating my babies FIRST BIRTHday. Seriously, can someone please pinch me now?! I can honestly say the past year has flown by. It saddens me that he will be turning into a "toddler" soon. I assure you though that the title "Baby Wesley", as we call him at home, will most likely follow him for years to come.

Over the past year there have been many changes and discoveries. This Blog is called "Discovering Me In Them" for a reason. I went from being a full time mom who also worked full time to being a SAHM working part time. I thought I would reflect on some of the things I have learned about myself in the past year and what this year has taught me.

* When they tell you it is the hardest job you will ever have they are not kidding! I heard it several times and it is not that I didn't believe them, I just didn't completely understand it until now. Some days are down right exhausting and I feel like I am being pulled in a million directions. Others are filled with play and laughter. This job is unpredictable and challenging. It is without a doubt the hardest job I have ever had. On the other side of it I have never had a job give back so much in return. I can't imagine one moment without these little creatures not at my feet or pulling at me with those dirty, sticky little hands.

* I always thought I was a patient person until...wait...can you guess?  Until I had kids! I thought I could be softer and much more patient than I am some days. This actually disappoints me, kind of even hurts some days. I have to practice patience daily. There are days I manage to succeed while other days I fail miserably. This is one of those lessons that they are teaching me.

* Forgiveness. I do this daily. I have come to terms that there will be many fails as a parent. I have found that the longer I dwell on the mistakes I make the harder it is to let go and move on. Parenting is learning as you go. You have to forgive yourself in order to move forward. I tend to be my biggest critic. Each day I vow to try harder than the next. I am bound to figure it out and get it right sooner or later right?!

* Working part time and staying home has taught me balance. It wasn't easy in the first few months. I had to try find where work fit into my life after making the decision to stay home with my boys. Working from home some days is not a luxury as some people may think. Have you ever tried to make a phone call with kids around? It always seems like a good idea to do a little work when they are playing or napping. Then it happens, you pick up the phone and suddenly all hell breaks loose! There are days which I have to leave for work and being that I am with them most of the time I still struggle to feel okay with working and being away from them. There are days I wonder if it will ever feel okay. Will I adapt as they seem to do? It is a balance that I am working on still a year later but happy to say I am getting better at.

* I have been taught that these moments with my children are priceless. I may not know what a lunch break is, how to take a piss by myself, or always shower without worrying if one of the kids will be dead when I get out, but that is all okay! The past year has flown by. Shit, the past 4 years have flown by! I am happy and blessed for each and every single moment. I would not change where I am right now because for me this is exactly how it is suppose to be for me.

* The past year has taught me to be gracious for everything. Even the smallest of things. I appreciate what I have and though I have to admit there are days I would love a big house, a new car, or maybe even a new wardrobe (oh and bra's! Seriously, I don't even know the last time I bought a nice bra), that all those things are only material items. It is the people who I am surrounded with that make life incredible.

I am sure if I had more time (Time? What is that?) I may have been able to come up with 10 or maybe even 15 things to write about. I wonder if in another year I will look back on this list and find that life has gotten less crazy. Maybe I will have adapted more. Or maybe in a year this list will still be the same. Really, it doesn't matter. I feel I am right where I was meant to be. This past year I feel like I have come to a place where I feel truly happy and fulfilled. This place now, this is where I have always wanted to be. At the end of any day that is the meaning of all of this. It is all any of us ever want, pure happiness.