COME HERE SPRING, LEMME KISS YOU

April 15, 2015

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I made the fortunate mistake of watching the first episode of Daredevil on Netflix – fortunate because it was awesome, a mistake nonetheless because now I can’t sleep. Good news is that I got a decent nap in this afternoon, bad news is there’s no cup of coffee in my future and rooibos tea is nice and all, but it’s no freshly brewed French Press, let’s just be clear.

I’ve traded in some no-so-good-for-me habits, replacing them with ones that are a little bit more in line with where I want my life to go, as opposed to where it has already been. A lot of years have been spent in my head, thinking and rethinking and over thinking. I’m trying harder to plan, and do. I’ve given myself small, attainable goals in an attempt to begin to implement an entirely new routine around here. One that is simpler, but also more consistent.

This week, I’m focusing on these three things around my house:

1. A clean kitchen. This is a nice thing to wake up to, a clean slate from where to begin the day. Many things happen in my kitchen throughout the day, it truly is the heart of my home. I’ve taken to running the dishwasher each night + emptying it first thing the next morning, and am trying trying trying to clean as I go while I put my kitchen to good use. At the end of the day, before I unwind for the night, I do a final sweep, clearing any clutter from the counters and making sure our water filter is full.

2. A load of laundry a day. It’s really, really easy for clothes to pile up and then for the piles to pile up. Making sure at least one dirty load goes in and one clean load comes out per day has made a big impact in the way things can collect in places like the bathroom and next to the bed.

3. Vacuuming! Novel, I know. But we just invested in this vacuum and it’s literally changed my life. This little appliance might have been the catalyst to my new obsession with daily tidying.

Certainly nothing revolutionary, just good old fashioned housekeeping, which I’ve never really been any good at. There is something about approaching 33 as a mother of three that makes me feel like I should have this figured out already, so I’m attempting to play catch up. This exact same sentiment can be applied to a great many areas of my life – and it is! – which is to say, in simpler terms, that this is a season of active growth, of blossoming. Of working hard, of learning, and allowing for the possibility of new greatness to emerge.

RESOLVE ON THE GOOD

January 26, 2015

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The one good thing about being confined and immobile during an MRI scan is that there is nothing to do but think!

This year has gotten off to an interesting start. A change in our family dynamic, right of the bat, with a side of medical drama, to keep things interesting. We’ve undergone a bit of unexpected restructuring, and I’ll be taking a temporary leave-of-absence from teaching in order to assume the role of primary caretaker of one Roux Huckleberry Baker, duties previously belonging to his most handsome and capable father, who has become far too busy otherwise to adequately care for the baby whose needs have grown exponentially over the past few months.

The bottom line is, it is B’s design work that supports our family. My income is supplementary at best, which is to say, it would cost more to hire a nanny or to put him in daycare than it does for me to stay home. Furthermore, I should be the one escorting him to doctors visits and to have his blood drawn, and vise versa. So I’m doing just that, taking time off to care for my baby. And to care for myself, but that is an entirely different matter.

I can’t tell you how agonizing a decision this was for me to make.

Of course, I have been plenty busy navigating the bureaucratic + scheduling fiasco that is the health system of which the baby and I are both patients, and have been, since the day his life began. We will have had at least six separate visits to our different doctors this month alone, not to mention a surgery, and hopefully a clean bill of health, times two. In the meantime, my anxiety is peaking and the baby is teething, which is to say, my nerves are shot to shit.

Thankfully, the tumor in my leg is benign, a lipoma of unknown origin, which I will be having removed tomorrow. I’m told it is an ambulatory procedure, more like having wisdom teeth extracted than a veritable operation. Still, I don’t like the idea of being put to sleep, it gives me the heebiejeebies. That it is a relative non-issue is a huge relief, because I was a little bit freaked out for a hot minute there, and having been through the devastatingly aggressive surgery that produced my darling little Huckleberry, I have been able to muster up a new brand of confidence toward the whole surgical situation.

The baby, well, his bloodwork has improved to some degree, but he is still extremely mineral deficient. He’ll have another hemoglobin test in a month to determine whether he’ll need another full panel, but the doctors are all hopeful that because he’s shown improvement already, that we’re headed in the right direction. This means that we – he and I, because I’m still nursing him, we’re still a team – we must be on a rigorous diet of easily absorbable iron sources, and watch his vital signs carefully.

Which brings me to our diet, which has changed dramatically over the last month and a half. In a way I could never have foreseen, but then again, one can never underestimate then lengths to which a mother will go when it comes to the health and wellbeing of her children.

The long and short of it is that iron is a supremely difficult mineral for a body, any body to absorb. In synthetic form, it can be harmful. In fact, iron overdose is one of the leading causes of death in children under six. My own body has always reacted negatively to synthetic iron, and I had a feeling Roux would be the same.

It took only one dose for it to be clear to us that supplementation was not an option, that we were going to need to fortify his diet. Thanks to the support and guidance of a lovely tribe of ladies, who all enthusiastically ascribe to and practice the art of “ancestral cuisine” which draws heavily upon the teachings of Weston A. Price, I’ve come to the realization that if I want to practice the age-old adage that is “let thy food be thy medicine”, I have to fully embrace what that actually means.

So. In short, chicken broth.

Chicken broth, the real stuff, is sometimes called Jewish penicillin for a reason. There are a lot of easily absorbable nutrients in chicken broth. And eggs. Nutrients that my baby needs, and needs badly.

To an ethical vegan, this can be a real dilemma. I sat with this question for close to a month before arriving at this conclusion: I would rather feed my child something that is divinely created and ethically harvested (sustainably raised chicken) versus something cooked up in a lab (prescription iron supplements). There is something infinitely more wholesome in boiling a chicken to make soup – something nearly everyone’s grandmother has done, mine included – than there is in taking drops that ultimately make my baby sick to his stomach.

His love for chicken broth, and eggs, is all that I need to know that feeding him – and myself, remember, we’re a team – these things is exactly what I’m supposed to be doing right now.

That all of this went down during resolution season was not at all lost on me.

What it comes down to, is doing what’s best. To strive to stand up for whatever it is that is in the best interest of my family.

Steiner, my forever teacher, offers this particular verse, which I’ve adopted as my motto for the year, as one part in particular has been my personal refrain for this season of my life.

To wonder at beauty,
Stand guard over truth,
Look up to the noble,
Resolve on the good.
This leadeth us truly,
To might in our doing,
To peace in our feeling,
To light in our thinking,
And teaches us trust
In the working of God,
In all that there is,
In the width of the world,
And the depth of the soul.

Today is my half-birthday. (And also, it’s my beloved’s birthday. We’re birthday twins. Just another reason we know we’re MFEO.) What this means is that it’s been six months since I last wrote a list of goals, one which I’ve kept a close eye on, but one which is filled with many things yet to be checked off.

Except our house! We all put in a lot of effort, and together we got this place so entirely organized, it’s almost like real grown-ups live here. We’ve also managed to keep it in such condition, for the most part. Again, real grown-ups.

My point is this, the things that I’m striving for in my life are basically the same, but the angle from which I’m approaching these things has definitely shifted.

Six months ago, I was still struggling with feeling well each day. Now, even as I stare surgery in the face, I feel better than I have in a long time. Having the courage to listen to what my gut was telling me from a very primal level – care for my baby, care for myself, feed my family from a place of traditional nourishment – has helped me to reconnect, to feel aligned with my purpose, to emerge from a dark place stronger and more self-compassionate. These are things I needed greatly in order to truly be able to tackle some of the goals I set for myself. Now with a better sense of the person I have grown into, I’m able to have a clearer vision of how it is I am to go about achieving them, or at the very least, putting them into motion.

I have a lot of hope for the year that lies ahead. If the year that has passed taught me anything at all, it is that often the best of times are born out of the greatest challenges.

01/52 // THE 52 PROJECT REVISITED

January 7, 2015

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“a portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2015”

emet: his current obsession.
jade: my child wild.
roux: the quiet observer.

A lot more than this portrait series got away from me last year, that’s for sure. While I’m not one to harbor regret, I can say with a great deal of certainty that I simply did not slow down enough to enjoy the little things, and away they slipped. With nearly a full week behind us already, it seemed as if this year was headed in much the same manner, which is precisely why, instead of driving straight home after school this afternoon, we took a small detour to the playground. It’s amazing how special half an hour can feel, even on an ordinary Wednesday afternoon.

I LIKE YOU, THIRTYTWO

August 6, 2014

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image via

I will be the first to say that 32 started off just about as perfectly as can be, complete with beaucoup des fleurs and a homemade pie. Indeed, last Saturday was all kinds of special, I must’ve said at least a dozen times that I was having the best birthday. I say that every year and every year it is true, but this was the first time in ages that I went and had an actual party, a last minute decision that turned out to be a brilliant idea as it resulted in an unforgettable evening filled with friends and laughter and a whole lot of me feeling like the luckiest gal in all the land.

The week that followed, however, not so much.

Did I tell you about the giant second degree burns I sustained on, of all places, my boobs?! Because oh em gee double you tea effff. My french press erupted on me, drenching my upper body with scalding hot coffee, leaving me with an impressive wound that oddly resembles the silhouette of a pot bellied pig. Breastfeeding has been a bit complicated, especially since my tiny guy likes to touch me when he’s nursing. Oh, and not only is healing from a burn mighty painful, it’s pretty gross too. Super fun stuff.

This was the morning after I got a parking ticket, by the way.

And that baby of mine, he’s plum given up on sleep. Like, maybe he sleeps eight hours a day. Total. And not all at the same time, either. We are going crazy, at least I know I am. The dreams I’m having, if you can even call them dreams, are wild and feverish and terribly, terribly haunting. I’m restless and usually feel more disoriented than refreshed.

BUT I REFUSE TO LET THESE THINGS GET IN THE WAY OF MY BIRTHDAY HIGH, is what I keep telling myself. And you know what? It’s kind of working.

I’ve got big plans for this year, my friends. I can’t think of the last time I have felt simultaneously inspired and motivated, and I have decided to take full advantage of this enthusiasm by setting actual – and attainable – goals for myself. The last few years have been characterized by such instability and uncertainty that it was all I could do to just survive. These days, I’m more settled and focused than ever before, not just surviving, but thriving. I’ve had a few projects and a few secret wishes swirling around in my head for what seems like forever and I’ve decided now’s the time to take action, to stop thinking about doing these things and to just do them already. If not now, when? I don’t remember when I last composed a specific list of things to accomplish, and I’m hopeful that by doing so, I’m able to retain a better sense of where I am and where it is that I’d like to be this time next year.

Continue reading “I LIKE YOU, THIRTYTWO” »

19/52

May 11, 2014

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“a portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2014”

Emet: A constant state of motion.
Jade: Smile for the camera.
Roux: Fresh from a nap.

I’ve always had a kind of love/hate relationship with this holiday, if it’s even really a holiday, I’m still not sure? For starters, my own mother and I have a long history of tragic encounters as I always fell short of her expectations surrounding Mother’s Day. Then, five years ago, I made the decision to end my marriage to the father of my two older children, the inciting incident involving Mother’s Day plans that had gone awry. Of course, this particular infraction was the last in a long string of similar disappointments, but nonetheless, making such a choice cast a certain kind of damper on the day meant for honoring my role as a mother.

Each year since, Mother’s Day has found me in an unsettled place. Whether I was just starting a new job, struggling to make a strange city feel like home, or battling with plain old anxiety, it seems this day has always brought with it some sort of challenge.

Today started about as unpleasantly as possible, with a crying baby after a rather restless night, followed shortly by a sibling squabble that erupted into full on hysterics. And this was all before I’d even had any coffee! I declared our family unfit for any sort of outing, and set us all to work on various chores instead. Somewhere between the third load of laundry and moving furniture in the dining room, I realized how far five years has brought me.

Never in a million years could I have conceived of the journey that began the morning I chose divorce over despair. Yet here I am, older, wiser, happier, more grateful, more fulfilled, and more inspired than ever before. Sure, I didn’t get breakfast in bed, or even a day without my kids fighting, but this Mother’s Day was spent with the family I have always wanted caring for the house I have always dreamed of, and it was perfect. I even took photos!

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Little by little, our living space is transforming into a reflection of our family and our lifestyle. It’s been five years since I’ve lived in a place that I truly moved into, with photos in frames and art on the walls, and with help from each member of this sweet family of mine, our house is starting to really feel like our home.

Happy Mother’s Day, indeed.