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.