Tag Archives: baby

Seeking Rhythm & Ritual

21 May

I took a break. That may be obvious from my lack of posting. I needed a week away. My intention had been to have a stockpile of 30 different daily intentions by the end of my little experiment… but after about 22… I started having the urge to repeat previous ones. So instead of forcing myself to stay in the box I’d created, I took a breather. Let the week just go by and tried to pay attention to what my natural rhythm ended up being each day. And in each portion of the day. To notice when I had energy, and when I tended to get cranky.

I think Monday is my bare minimum day. Where I pick just a couple of things… like going to the gym, posting a book on PBS, and taking a walk… and then let that be my bare minimum.  Anything else, is only if I feel like it, extra.  I noticed that the previous intentions that fell on this day were ones like Slow Down, and Gentleness. And since I work on the weekends… Monday tends to be my breather, but I also turn into a grump if I get to the end of the day without having done anything that feels productive.

You see this intention game is part of this bigger search of mine. To bring more rhythm and ritual to my days. To our days. I had an inkling of the need for this before… months and maybe a couple years before now. But the presence of a baby who’s behavior is landmarked by rituals (naps, mealtimes, play times), and who brings a decidedly more scripted pattern to our life, had made me realize even more how important rhythm is.

But I’ve wanted it to be a natural rhythm, in line with the ebb and flow that occurs spontaneously throughout the day. Action and exploration at the times when our bodies want to move and our minds are alert. Cooking and clearing when I need to get out of my head and back into my body. Ease and gentleness at the point in the day where we all get tired, a little worn out.

Without rhythm, the hours slip away so quickly, but the days somehow seem long.

I’ve been aching for rhythm.  I have been trying to discover my/our rhythm.

Daily Intention: Seek Rest

28 Apr

My dear baby Mason woke up 5 times last night.  The longest stretch of sleep we got was 2 1/2 hours, the shortest, 1.  I think today’s intention speaks for itself… but I will elaborate slightly, just for kicks.

Today, my ambition will be hung on the coat rack to be picked up again tomorrow.  I will look only to create moments where I can find a bit of rest or pleasurable leisure.  Even if I can only pull off a few minutes while Mason is napping.  And in those moments, if my body screams for a nap myself… I intend to obey.  Even if there are several demanding to do list items eyeballing me from my notebook on the counter.

Rest.  I will seek rest.

Soulcare of a Different Kind

11 Apr

Mason was a gem yesterday.  Sweet and cuddly, quick to laugh, happy to play on his own fora  while, and easy to lay down for naps.  But beforehand, I was kind of worried about how the day would go.  Mark was going to be out late for a work event, so it was going to be just baby Mason and I all day and night.  No one to pass the baton to if things got tough.

So I developed a strategy for the day.  Each time Mason took a nap, I let myself watch a show on hulu.  To the unforgiving eye… this might seem like a lazy excuse for an excess of zoning out.  But let me tell you, yesterday was exactly what I needed out of the day.

Here’s the catch… it’s nice to watch a show every now and then.  But usually, when I do… I’m mentally beating myself over the head because I “should” be doing something more productive.  Something that will make the apartment cleaner or more organized.  Something that will contribute to dinner, or to a blog post, or something that will turn one of my collections of magazine cutouts or photos or blank notebooks into something creative and pretty.

But today I didn’t.  Today I decided, this was my day to start putting into practice some of the soulcare stuff I’ve been learning and contemplating over the past month.  So while tv watching isn’t generally applauded in the realm of self care, what was nourishing about it is that I laid down the whip.  And that’s about the best thing I could possibly have done for myself.  (Because even when they’re gems… caring for little ones all day by yourself is still tiring!)

So I watched my shows.  I did a spot of yoga when I felt too in my head.  I ate well and deliciously.  And I even treated myself to a ((vegan, gluten free, sugarless – sweetened with agave)) chocolate brownie cookie.  And when Mason was awake… I had the energy and enthusiasm to play with him.  To recognize when he wanted to be left alone.  To catch those times when he got sleepy before or after his normal naptime.

And after a couple post baby-bedtime shows… I didn’t feel like watching anymore.  And I turned off hulu.  Turned on some music.  And I wrote.  Listened to The Weepies.  Eventually turned that off too and just listened to the rain.  And can I tell you just how lovely yesterday was?!

Small steps to soulcare.

Being a Mama

16 Mar

“Being a mama is hard.

There are tantrums, tired nights, morning sickness that lasts all day….
But I just can’t shake the thought of what an incredible blessing I have been given.
It changes how I see everything.
God trusted me with these sweet little spirits.
And it’s moving so fast.”
Elaine Pregnancy Silhouette
I wrote a post on our family blog… that talked about how despite the hard, hard things about being a mama… there’s so many times when, even in the middle of the night after yet another cry to be comforted, I often look at my little baby cradled in my arms and would have it no other way.

Every word of that post is the truth.

Yet, almost immediately after hitting publish… I found myself wanting to go back and explain it.  Excuse it or apologize for it or dull it down even.  Which when I stop and realize what I’m thinking… makes me pretty upset that I have the urge to do that.  Because why should I feel the need to apologize for loving the hard times, even while I simultaneously, I occasionally want to pull my hair out over them.
I’ve written about this conflict before.  About how some women feel the pressure to hide the imperfections of motherhood, but more often than that I sometimes feel a pressure to hide my bliss in motherhood.  It’s counter-intuitive, wrong even… but it has something to do with not wanting to add to the guilt that I know even some of my very close friends who are mamas have over the fact that they aren’t filled to the brim and glowing over parenthood every second.

Because a constant glow… is nearly impossible.  I surely am not glowing constantly.  But I do carry this sense of awe with me over this little soul, through most of the moments in our days.  And maybe it’s because I have miscarried a couple of times before having our Mason, that I treasure this little gift of a baby so very much, that the hard times feel like blips on the radar screen.

And when I read something like the quote from Casey Wiegand, another mama, who echoes these same feelings… I feel less of a need to apologize, or explain.  And I remind myself that I don’t need permission to soak in these moments.  And to feel the elation.  Even while part of me wishes for a full nights sleep once again.

Because this time will pass so very quickly.

Gluten free, Dairy free, Soy free, No Animal Products, & No Refined Sugars.

23 Feb

Is it possible to remove any more items from your diet?!

One little addendum…

I will be eating fish, honey, and if I can’t find a gluten free bread that doesn’t have egg whites, then I will, on occasion, have some gluten free, egg white laden bread.

Color me crazy?

my poor eczema babyOur little boy has terrible eczema.  Our little four month old baby has cheeks that have gotten so dry and cracked over the past month and a half that they have a half inch spot on each side that is raw.  Our little sweetie, who has had been sleeping 10, 11 or 12 hours each night since he was eight weeks old, has been waking up anywhere from 3-10 times a night for about a month now.  He’s teething too, so we thought it was just that at first, but he wakes up scratching at his head, at his face, at his legs.  We didn’t realize it at first because he wasn’t coordinated enough to scratch yet!  Isn’t that terrible?  To be so unbearably itchy all over before you even have the hand-eye coordination to scratch!  It’s been breaking my heart, and we’ve tried so many different lotions and oils, that have barely done a thing.

Then I started looking into diet.  My sister Kelley’s two youngest kids have also had pretty bad eczema, and she gave me a book several years back about diet and allergies that has basically eliminated the problem for them (depending on what they’re eating, of course)

I tracked down this book and read it cover to cover in a couple of days.  ((Don’t be too impressed.  It’s only 66 pages.))  It pointed to animal products, dairy, refined (wheat) flours, and refined sugars as the biggest dietary culprits behind most allergies and skin conditions.

I had been mulling this over for the past few weeks, and had finally decided to go for it at the start of March… giving myself till the end of February to wean off these MAJOR parts of most mainstream diets.

However, we went to our pediatrician appointment this past Tuesday, and she took one look at his poor dry skin, listened to all the things we’ve tried already, and started talking to me about diet as well.  (yes, she’s so fantastic)  She added all wheat, and soy to my list of “No’s” as well, as possible allergens.  She expressed shock that I was willingly removing refined sugars from my diet, and concern over my protein intake while abstaining from meat.  I feel pretty confident that I’ll be alright on the protein front… even though I won’t be able to rely on tofu for it now.  Beans, grains, nuts, seeds and veggies can pack a pretty mean protein punch.

Now… just to be clear… I have NEVER dieted.  I have NEVER restricted myself from ANY kind of food in my entire life.  (Except alcohol while I was pregnant)  So this is quite a switch for me.  But hey… I feel like my life has been doing 180’s for the past couple of years.  I can handle pretty much anything at this point 😉

So, I’m not sure how long I’m going to be doing this for at first.  It’s an elimination diet.  So the point is to be really strict about it for a period of time, to detox my system (and the little one’s), and then one by one, start adding certain foods back in to see if we have a reaction to them (did I mention I’m breastfeeding? I’m sure it’s obvious, otherwise, why would what I eat make a bit of difference to him, right?).  The book recommends six months.  I’ve heard other recommendations from various sources… so that part is up in the air… but hey!  I’ve started!

I’m actually pretty stoked about it.  I love being creative with food, and I don’t know if I’ve ever met a food I didn’t like (well… there was a quail egg in a Vietnamese restaurant once… and I’ve tried sea urchin at a Santa Barbara cafe. Ugh to both!).  So I’m excited to put my pinterest recipe boards to good use and bust out some new yummy cooking (and quick snacks too of course!)

I have high expectations for this diet!  Because really… there’s nothing else left that could be causing this!  So we’re on day two.  And hopefully the results will be glorious.

In the meantime, Dr. Hamdani gave us a hydro-cortisone prescription for his little cheeks and it’s helping them to heal so much quicker.  We have a little mixture of olive oil and sandalwood essential oil (from my dear friend Jenna’s doTerra line)  that is helping balance out the rest of his skin, and a half teaspoon of baby benadryl to help him sleep at night.  Two appointments with a dermatologist and an allergy specialist, and a follow up with our own doctor… phew!  We’re throwing everything but the kitchen sink at this one.

Like Dr. Hamdani said right before she ended our appointment, “We won’t stand for this!”

((pieces of my last meals… turkey taquitos & Crushcakes cupcakes))

taquitosCrushcakes cupcakes

30 Days Mind and Body Challenge – first week

22 Feb

30 Days Mind and Body Challenge

I’ve been wanting to write a post since the second day into this challenge!  But life is busy, right?  I have had so many lovely moments in each of the past seven days, each so different from the one before.  Some days I’ve been full of energy and excited to spend an hour or more on my yoga mat, some days I’ve been so full and tired and felt relieved to be able to squeeze in my ten minutes right before I collapsed into bed.  And I’m almost shocked to say that I’ve actually done some amount of yoga EVERY SINGLE DAY so far.  I’m super proud of myself for keeping up with this commitment.  And thankful for all the ladies participating in this challenge, and keeping us all motivated with their supportive, kind, honest, and funny words.

The first few yoga sessions, I was reluctant to give up my time during Mason’s naps… so we did yoga together.  I had recently gotten a mommy & me yoga dvd through a book swap website that I LOVE, and had only tried it once before.  He would got tired halfway through the first time and needed to go down for a nap… but while he lasted, he seemed to love it, which was so fun.  He would watch my arms go up and down and side to side during stretches, he loved being right under me and I coo’ed at him during a swan dive, and he sat or stood on my belly while I did bridge pose.  Mark even joined in once we hit the weekend, and it was family yoga!  I was in heaven!  There were grunts and giggles, pauses for diaper changes and a lovely shavasana at the end with a quietly kicking babe lying between us.

Mark even found a couple netflix yoga videos and did them on his own on the weekend days I worked.  I was thrilled that this challenge was catching on in our home!

baby yoga

One of my most inventive yoga sessions was this past Friday.  The morning flew by, I worked the afternoon away, and then Mark and I drove down to a Ryan Adams concert (ps… AMAZING) in LA, getting back home around 1am.  I realized on the way to work, that there was no way I was going to want to do anything besides fall into bed when we got home from the concert, but I was on such a roll, I didn’t want to miss a day!

Get this… remembering a quote that Lauren Emily put up on the facebook page:

“You cannot do yoga. Yoga is your natural state. What you can do are yoga exercises, which may reveal to you where you are resisting your natural state.” -Sharon Gannon

I tried to bring the intention that I experience in yoga, to my work.  A little easier in my case, since I work as a massage therapist.  But wow…

You know, I’ve been doing massage for about four years now, and while I do feel I am “present” for every massage that I do, I have to be honest in that I’m definitely not present for every moment in each massage.  After doing thousands of massages… it’s almost like driving home… some of it happens on auto pilot.

But I tried to stay very aware throughout the entire first massage and an hour into the second (before I had to take it down a notch and just focus on the massage because I felt like I had been in a two hour yoga class!).  I tuned into my client’s bodies, and the changes in their muscle tissue as I worked on them.  I tuned into my own body, and how I held it, my alignment, and how I was leveraging my balance and shifting my weight to apply the necessary pressure. And I was even able to throw in a few yoga poses as I massaged.  Which felt amazing to me, and seemed to bring more of a centeredness to the work.  I warrior’d my way down my client’s back.  I stood in tree pose while working on their neck.  I took dancer pose as I ran my knuckles up their leg.  It took concentration, but I feel like it made the massage better for both of us.  I even did a quick sun salutation while their feet rested in warm towels.  Yoga while doing massage… who knew!

Here are a couple yoga videos that I’ve found on youtube over the past week… And again, if anyone wants to play along, do click the banner at the beginning of this post and link up!  This challenge.  It’s amazing.

((This video was posted by Betsy on the facebook page.  Phew! Quite a workout!))

((This one I found by searching bedtime yoga, nice and gentle, a great wind down))

((This video was also posted by Betsy, and I dream of having my yoga practice have this much of a seamless, graceful, gorgeous flow))

Just a small moment

14 Feb

We got back from vacation yesterday.  The baby is just waking up from a nap, I haven’t eaten breakfast yet, the house is in need of a good picking up, I have several projects in mind that I want to finish up or get started on, and some errands to run.



A few minutes alone.

A deep breath.

A few dabs of essential oils (doTERRA’s Whisper). 

And this song.

All momentarily made me feel like I was doing a slow rumba in a small exotic town.

A story, not yet fully told. Part 1

24 Jan

Santa Barbara bluffs

It was at the end of April in 2010, and Mark and I had only just started dating.  I had big plans to move to New York with a couple of friends, very ready to wrap up my Santa Barbara life.  Skating around the topic with Mark, because I was quickly falling in love with him, and didn’t want to have to think of how to reconcile those two facts.

It was at the end of April in 2010 when I found out I was pregnant.  I sat stunned in the free clinic as the two women who told me my results then proceeded to go into depth about my various options.  It wasn’t until a few minutes later that I had to tell them I hadn’t heard a word they had said.  I left the clinic with several flyers, got into my car, and started to drive.  Well… got into a car.  I didn’t own one at the time, so it may have been Mark’s, it may have been a friends, I can’t really remember.

I drove.  Across town, up a hill, along the cliffs of the ocean, parked on a dead end street.  And I bawled.  I cried huge, gasping, confused sobs.  This was so far out of my mind as a possible life step right then, that I moved from shock, disbelief, to utter despair.  I couldn’t even think straight I was so overcome.

Eventually, I drove back down the hill, pulling over to burst into tears again over the phone with my New York friend.  And waited at Mark’s house for him to come home.  I didn’t want to call him at work.  I didn’t know what his response would be.  I didn’t even know what my response was yet.

We had only been dating for two months.  We’d known each other for a few years, been friends, secretly adored each other, but only recently started dating.

I was so nervous.  He came home, I told him we needed to talk.  And then, yet again, I burst into sobs.


Somehow, without any words, without any explanation.  He knew almost immediately what had happened.

We weren’t careless.  We were very careful, we were very protected.  A pregnancy was in the highly unlikely category… but not impossible.  Apparently.

What blew me away was his response.  I don’t remember exact words, I don’t remember much of anything very clearly from that day… but I do remember that his response is what made my decision.  Right then and there.  Subconsciously, perhaps.  But the second I felt his support. His arms encircling, his sense of love, and courage and acceptance.  Like there wasn’t a thought or an option of leaving me to deal with this on my own.  Togetherness.  I knew we would figure it out.  And I knew that before that moment… every prediction I would have made about my reaction to this situation would have been dead wrong.

Building Courage

18 Jan

smelling the flowers

I’m building up the courage to write about the miscarriage.  Miscarriages.

And I’m a little surprised that I have to build it at all.

It’s a shame that the arrival of new wonderful things in life, a baby boy for instance… don’t just erase the lingering traces of old heartbreaks.

The fragments that led me here… To the place where I’m realizing I still have to sort through these feelings…

The dream I had, the details of which are unrealistic, of course.  But left me with the sickening feeling that I’d lost everything I had built.  My life, my family, my sense of peace and joy and wonder.

The electric bill, that I’ve felt like I should keep under my name.  Just in case.

Pieces of a talk by David Whyte.  About how much potential love and adoration there is in the face of a family you’ve created, and how terrifying it is to give in to that love because what would you do if you lost it.

The strange hesitation, something like nervousness… like it’s the very first time, even though it’s obviously not.

So I’ve been biding my time…

Not biding really…


Trying to gather strength to dive into my own muffled pain.

Part of me accusing myself of melodrama.  But I know I’m entitled to the traces of pain.  As much as I’m entitled to the sifting.  As much as I’m entitled to the releasing of it.

There’s a part of me that really wants to tell my story with my own voice.  Right here.  It just feels like I could own it more that way.  Bare a little more soul.  And leave less room for editing.  But I don’t have the equipment to do that.  So I may just buck up and write it all out.

Just know that I want to do this.  I’m just a little scared.

Livin’ the Dream

12 Jan

I just came across Martha Metzler’s blog where, rather than  making New Year’s resolutions, she’s giving herself a new challenge each week.  And I decided to play along, when the mood strikes.  I’m just going to state right off the bat, that I give myself pull permission to just pop in on any of the weeks that jive with me.

Her first challenge is what hooked me… because rather than cataloging all the features and habits that we dislike about ourselves, turning them into aspects to overcome… she asked us to list 5 things we DON’T want to change about ourselves.  Even for the relatively confident… it’s hard to do!

Here are my five.

  1. I’m very open to new things.  New thoughts, ideas, perspectives… I love to hear other’s explain their own beliefs and opinions.  New places, flavors, activities and experiences.
  2. I’m a great beginner.  I love to learn and don’t mind asking questions or admitting when I don’t know something.
  3. I love to read.  And as much as I love blogs and ebooks… I will always love holding a book in my hands.
  4. I’m creative.  I enjoy making things, and I make some pretty dang cool things.
  5. I’m a good listener.
It is… um… nourishing… to think of the things that I appreciate about myself.  Rather than the ones I’d like to change, or work on.  Thanks for this fantastic idea, Martha.
As a last aspect of that first week’s challenge, she asks us to post a photo that we don’t analyze or critique of ourselves.
Most of the photos taken of me in the last few months have not been taken alone.  So here is one of me and my little one.

Baby & Me

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