Mothers Day

I wanted to share a couple of things. One is my post from my Facebook page, that you’ve likely seen. And two is my post to my girls on Mothers Day from my personal page. I’m sharing it here because today marked a big and really awesome milestone. I’ve written posts to my girls in some form or another, on some platform or another, every Mothers Day. But today, I read them all aloud to them. And they were still, and listened, and smiled, and cooed over the photos of tiny them. They’re getting big, and grown, and starting to understand it. How deep our love is. And how special and different it is. I’m so honored to be theirs, and today felt so big to share with them.

However, I am aware of what a deeply hard day this can be for so many, and so first I wanted to share from my page these words. I dropped tear after tear thinking of the hurting women out there who are aching for babies of their own. My heart breaks for those who give and give as Mothers, who put out mothering love and energy and don’t receive this day as their own for one reason or another, mostly all based in labels and cultural constructs. This day is hard and loud, and I hold you close today.

 

****

Happy Mothers Day to you! You out there who nurture, who give, who donate, who love on others. Those who mother birth babies, babies birthed by others, babies that come over from across the street for a cookie and an ear, those who mother the kids who come through their line of work, those who mother with their hearts but not always their bodies, Happy Mothers’ Day to you. You who ache, you who yearn, you whose heart hurts, I am thinking of you today. Happy Mothers’ Day to those who are that stable person for a child, a teen, another person whose mama isn’t. You are doing the work, and it’s work that matters, regardless of what story your body or Facebook tells. This day is for you too. Take it, whether that is in a gentle thought to your heart, or a card, or a hot bath, or just a passing thought as you work yet another day. You are a strong Mama. No matter through what avenue or for what amount of time. I am thankful for you.

 

****

1917191_622897257000_2212957_n

Noele, meeting you was the single hardest thing I have ever done. Getting you out of my body, and to my arms was incredibly difficult, long, and scary. But we did it, together. We beat what every one in the room thought would happen, and you and I worked together through it every moment. Your Papa was the first to hold you, and your bond is deep and unbreakable. When you came to my arms, I felt what I had alway been come to a new and deeper fruition, I knew Mama was my name. You calmed and clung and nursed and gave me every gift in knowing you. We have continued to work together, learn each other, but have that deep and unspoken understanding between our matching round eyes. You are fully your own, and have been my guinea pig in motherhood. I’ve learned how to put the ideas I had into action with you, I’ve felt regret and learned to apologize, you are the best teacher and most forgiving friend. Thank you for allowing me to watch you grow, witness you as a person coming into your own more each day, but fully yourself ever day. You are curiosity and wild delight, you are grace and calm, and you are nurturing personified. I love you dear heart, forever.
 
310858_10100490700693930_528792431_n
Ever, you are my spit-fire. Your birth was all redemption and beauty and prayer in action. You arrived into my arms, and were welcomed with total surprise (you came so fast!). I wept with pride in myself, and for us together, and your life has continued with that. We work together endlessly, we talk and talk through each obstacle and you have the endless ability of reflection. You came out scowling and crying and only wanting me, persnickety to the bone, and it’s only been recently that your shell has been allowing others (Nolie, Papa, and I have always had access!) to peek open to your deep security and willingness to allow others into your Joy and grin filled world. You are well named my love Ever Harbor Joy, you are always a moment away from a tight hug, a huge grin, and a quick joke. You have continued to surprise me, and put my ideals to the test. I love being your Mama and seeing your world unfold. You made the new baby mantra true in every way for me, when you were born ‘Everything is new again’ and it hasn’t stopped yet. Ever, you are wild and sensitive, gentle and talkative, particular and genuine through and through. I am so thankful to be your Mama and am honored to get to know you, and that you choose me daily in your arms. I love you dear heart, forever.

weekend.

IMG_6621

He’s reading books in ridiculous voices and their smiles are quick and goofy. She has loose teeth and absentmindedly wiggles them at every chance. Her tiny fingers find Ever’s and they squeeze hands as his silly Ms.Frizzle voice grow’s louder and more emphatic. I can hear their anticipation as the story grow from across the room.

***

We drive in bright dappled roads, lined with tall trees, the warmth is out and bringing the calm in a way that only sunshine in Washington can. My hand on his familiar thigh as new music that cuts to the heart plays loudly and the road winds and winds to the beach. Nolie is surefooted on the path and Ever is snug on my back, the questions and conversation quick and bright and unceasing as both have mastered language and illuminating their thoughts into words. It’s new. The years and years of “what does she want?!” have ended and there is rarely a moment that we don’t know what both want, need, and are asking for. Contrary to what you may have heard, it’s glorious. I’ll take my never ending talkers any day. I soak up their thoughts and ideas like a dry sponge as the trail descends and I feel Nolie’s hand tighten in mine and Ever’s body grow heavier and tired.

***

There is space. We come home and dispersing into play is immediate. They spread like water into the corners of our home. Creating fairy homes, and Strawberry Shortcake adventures. Piles of books spread wide and fill every space as Nolie devours one after another after another. The window that sold me on this home has never let me down. It lets in the most beautiful and warm filtered sunlight onto my flaxen head babies as they are silent in their own space. Charlie eats and reads. I have time and I write. Their play and my typing are our afternoon symphony and it feels too right to be true.

Too beautiful to be my own.

A season I can’t fathom that illuminates with a  brightness that I turn my face to and soak up the vitamin D that this family puts off.

***

And it’s only Saturday. 12419117_10101600455905590_6954619838839458809_o

The Midnight Tempest.

It blew through last night. The screaming, angry, thrashing, waves crashing down on my bed in violent ear pounding screams. Night time can be so dark. When you hear ‘no’, even gently, for so long, eventually it stirs up the waters until they begin to hit the shores of smoothed motherhood with harsher and harsher abandon. We’ve never night weaned. Ever has naturally lessened the frequency of her nursing, but her ferocity of love for this connection has never dried. And as it has ramped up and up the past few nights, I knew it was time for me to begin to say “not right now, in a  bit” a bit more. And the storm has been brewing.

Coupled with a cold, and the day of chocolate before this… I knew I was tempting fate.

Her feelings are enormous, and familiar, and mine, and begin with a small cry that swells into a yell and a wave that crashes onto me. Again and again. Into the walls and pounds on the doors and hurts and grows and recedes and comes back, again, this time taller.

Ever is the ocean and I am the moon, my heart and words pulling her huge emotions into the shore again and her heart crashing into my beaches looking for soft landing. Finding it, and the arms smoothed by her weight, every time.

And as my heart rises and her tide recedes she melts into softness and ripples and deep breaths. The undercurrent gone. The crashing waves, calm. And my arms melted around her the way the sand melts around your feet as the water pulls back again. One. So connected. Both our tears dry and kisses wet.

Ever is my ocean, deeper than I can fathom and brighter and more buoyant than my heart can hold. I am her moon, consistent and ever rising and falling and pulling her into me and allowing her back out to grow. We depend on each other, connected and confused, and always knowing the parts that are most important. Even if we can’t grasp each others expanse or need, we can always pull back to the other. We always nestle into each other. We always ware each other smooth till the kisses come back and the calm returns and the stars rise and we are there again. Known again.

This girl is my tempest. My teacher. The exclamation point to our family. IMG_6537

Traditions.

When Nolie was really little I felt this huge need and pressure to create traditions. But I tried and tried and nothing stuck, felt right, or really worked. I can now see, looking back, that’s because we didn’t really know our family all that well yet. We were still figuring it all out (and still are, big time), we had lots of needs (need to nurse often, or snack all the time, need to sleep right.now., need to get a diaper changed, need to rear face, etc.) and those made traditions (that are often far away, car filled, late at night, long term, include waiting or lines, and often not super baby friendly…) hard. But as we are finding our groove with a, still so young, growing up family we are slowly finding that traditions are gaining, and so much fun!

But, we’ve had one (seriously, other than sweet potato cheesecake on Thanksgiving… I think this is it) long standing, forever tradition. And that’s the pumpkin patch! And over documenting! And donuts! And I love it.

This was year six. And goodness, look at how  much changes in six years.

12143206_10101490122998620_5942046083243065394_n

One not quite one year old, two exhausted parents wondering “are we doing this right???” and now … two big ol’ kiddos and two exhausted parents thinking “I think we might be doing this right!” And, whoa, that feels so good. Not that I don’t have days of intense doubt, but it’s pretty amazing to be coming into the time where we can see some of the results of our parenting (especially in Nolie!) and feel like “yes! This path, the one of endless talking and relating and loving and gentleness and not punishment… it’s working!” and I just want to go and hug those two parents from six years ago and say “hold her! nurse her! she’s great! you’re great!”

I obviously took a million pictures and I love them all. So here are a few… this is our family scrap book!

12080279_10101489504098900_8697022842404101737_o

This is the first year that both of the girls were fully into the family photos! Neither put up a fight, both giggled and smiled and picked apples and asked if they could get the donuts after this (of course!). We figured the donuts were a pretty good incentive to get through the sappy mom and dad moments 😉
12119912_10101489503879340_3336622536468465320_o

This was our first visit where Nolie was interested in taking some of the photos. She snapped a ton and has a pretty great eye! I love her pictures best because you can see that none of us are uncomfortable around her. All the kisses, grins, and loves are so authentic. So, thanks Nolie!
12112127_10101489503734630_5665163560522397107_n

Almost 6 suits Nolie. She’s just amazing. And made for a pretty perfect big kid baby holder for her sweet and tiny 10 week old buddy, Birdie.12087948_10101489502896310_1486973605987359779_o

She’s still all nut though. 12108722_10101489504458180_542569339146138902_n

Donut, that is. 12065479_10101489503839420_5553754914229578542_n

Ever Harbor Joy is 3.5 and a spunk. Wild, overflowing, huge emotions, slow growing empathy, and mindblowingly sweet. Her favorite things are to fly! and run! (she can run two miles! what?!) 12132537_10101489502716670_1168160652183001784_o

 

This was the last year this pumpkin patch will be open, but I know that our tradition will live on and next year we will be scoping out a new spot. But an apple orchard is required!

Should I W30?

I am sure it feels like everyone is posting about W30 – I see it all over my instagram feed and facebook groups. I think there are lots of reasons to want to do a Whole 30, but the catch phrase of a “reset” isn’t the one I would chase. I wanted to do a Whole30 for a few reasons. The primary being my eczema. Being dairy free did NOT eliminate it completely, but has had a big enough effect that I was hopeful that an elimination diet would answer some questions I had about it. Secondly because I was getting buried deep into food guilt, going to sleep each night feeling bad about choices I’d made and sick to my stomach, literally, from overeating on “good” junk (aka: high quality milk shakes ;)). Also because I like “challenges” and a month feels like a really manageable amount of time to try out a lifestyle change. And, finally, because I was ready to break the calorie counting/macro tracking/scale obsessed habits that I nearly always fall into in the winter.

Should you Whole 30? Obviously, only you know the answer to that. I think a lot of whether or not you would enjoy/benefit from a whole30 is personality. Do rules make you want to rebel? Or do they make you feel safe? (There are a LOT of rules). Do you have reasons, outside of weight loss, that you want to pursue eating more whole? Or are you looking for a weight loss solution (it isn’t one, it has that as a side effect for some people, but it isn’t a weight loss program at all)?

I did my first W30 (day one of my second one starts right. now.) with a little group of friends. Our results varied greatly! I adored the program, and felt free/guiltless for the first time in…. ever? Two of my friends felt triggered by all the rules and guidelines and found themselves not eating as much as their bodies needed, and chose to remove the rules and decide that “if it felt worth it to eat something outside of W30, that’s just fine.” and then had way more success with eating more whole/balanced meals. Another friend followed it closely and had big changes in body (skin especially!) and confidence and calm, but chose to eat “non compliant” after the W30 and then possibly do another soon.

A few things to ask yourself before you W30, to set yourself up for some success.

Are you a planner or an intuitive eater? If you are a planner: meal plan specifically for each.day. And shop accordingly. If you are more intuitive (want to eat what “sounds good” each day) then meal plan loosely (five meal “options” and then list them somewhere BIG in your kitchen) and shop for those meals, that way you have some freedom in your eating without going off the deep end.

Is your family on board? If not; Buy yourself a splurge set of amazing tupperware, make your meals ahead, have snacks already bagged and ready, have lots of easy and amazing prepped options on hand. Stock up on fruit and fresh veggies that are ready to eat and washed. If so; think about what your family likes (are they big juice drinkers? coffee consumers? grazers? or sit down meal eaters?) and PLAN ACCORDINGLY. Have snacks (kid friendly!) on hand to offer, have tiny portions ready, have watered fresh juices on hand for them, have frozen berries for a treat, use this as a time to buy higher quality coffee so it tastes GOOD black or with no sweets.
Know yourself! Sit down, have an honest sit with a journal, and think about what your triggers are (playdates? happy hours? hungry grocery shopping? that ‘nap drive’ coffee?) and plan for them. What will you bring/do/eat in those situations. Buy yourself an emergency car snack (Lara Bar, heyo!) and a water bottle to keep with you.

Have real expectations for yourself! This is a gift you’re giving your body. It isn’t a punishment. And if you are in the midst of it and feeling bad/worse about yourself/not eating enough, then take a step back. Think about your goals for the W30 and if you are getting closer to them (this should be mentally, NOT physically) or if it’s taking you further (more guilt, more restricting, less freedom) and STOP! It’s important to be really self aware during the whole process and know that yes you CAN give up a few things for 30 days (it’s only 30 days!) but it it is causing you do have disordered eating/thoughts and feel worse mentally, it is likely not the right program for you. And that’s okay!

I’m starting my second Whole 30 today, I’m really excited! I feel like I still have quite a bit of mental work to be done. And am looking forward to seeing what I learn and how I grow and change through this second round. Here We Go!

Also, our Whole 30 Mamas (but open to Non-Mamas too ;)) is active and awesome if you want to join, find us on Facebook!

Whole30 Family Results.

10866069_10101212288665850_849849170498646766_o
10959584_10101212288655870_3276089480772452090_n

I’m sitting here feeling like I’ve found the golden key and simultaneously like I know nothing and am at the very beginning again… The whole30 is it’s own beast, and one that has me back to studs in my heart trying to discern what tastes good/what feels good/what “feel good” means/and where the heck I got the idea that donuts once a week was “fun” or felt good or was good for me or my kids.

Somewhere around day 5: The girls were begging for noodles (a very frequent meal around here :/) and  I whipped them up a bowl of noodles with pasture butter and fresh parm (good stuff! right?) and as Nolie was shoveling spoonful after spoonful into her mouth, and I was feeling satisfied to see her finally eating a meal that day, she started to squirm. “My belly hurts. It hurts but I don’t want to stop eating. I want to feel fuller.”

oh. uh. what?

I know that feeling. It’s exactly what I feel when I eat bread (homemade or franz, bakery or store-bought…) like I just want to keep eating, even though my stomach hurts, I don’t feel “full” I just feel… not done? It’s the same feeling that motivates me to eat a whole Sourdough Boule from Trader Joe’s (with Brie, yum) and then bemoan(or just moan) my choice for the next few hours while I sit on the couch feeling overfull and underfed.

I don’t know when or how my five year old got to that… but I do know that it’s because of what I was putting out there. Of my weird notions about what she “would like” or “could eat” or “she’d NEVER like that”. Because, the thing is, Nolie is an AWESOME eater. But the foods she likes take effort (on my part). She loves roasted vegetables (Primarily beets!) and dark meat on  a whole roasted chicken, and buttery quinoa, steamed broccoli… like, she would eat those foods for every meal. But that meal? Hours of time. Prep. Money. Energy. Workworkwork. So? Noodles became my go-do to get them full during the day.

It wasn’t till we started this whole30 (a modified elimination diet, but not at all a legit one, as it’s all self led/instagram led 😉 and not persribed by a doctor or naturopath) and began to eliminated grains/dairy/sugar from our home that I noticed how worth it the work was, and how I could prep ahead and be ready to feed my family well.

We’ve started prepping meals… roasting chicken, roasting veggies, sautéing greens, baking eggs, having all the protein/greens/fats/fruits on hand and closer to us than a bowl of pasta. And the proximity? It’s working. There are plenty of meals that on days 1-15 the girls just saw/wouldn’t touch and would request something else (our go-to’s if you aren’t a fan of dinner are apple/PB, turkey/ham and nuts, yogurt and honey. I’m always willing to serve something easy to the kids if they aren’t a fan of dinner and I would never remove an entire food group from a kiddo unless it was obvious that they had an allergy). But the most amazing this has been happening… as these foods are on our table more and more, as restaurants are becoming a distant memory (sob sob!), those foods are becoming more and more normal to the girls and, without pressure, they are trying and loving them!

The effects on Nolie are less obvious, an expanded pallet, easier time falling asleep, and a general level of energy/calm instead of high highs and low lows.

But  on Ever? It’s been crazy. She’s 2.75 and has always had big feelings. But recently her emotions had been getting huge and scary and seemed to be out of her own control. I reached out to friends, Facebook networks, books, and kept coming up pretty blank. “developmentally normal” or maybe sensory related? She would, seemingly without a trigger, just completely lose it. Her eyes would go glossy, she’d scream as loud as she could, pinch/hit herself, pull her hair, throw herself on the ground… it was awful, heartbreaking, and impossible to help her till she just, eventually, came down. She was having one or two a day, most days, and we were just weathering them while I clung to the hope that this developmental stage would pass.

Then we started the whole30, the girls weren’t on it 100% at all, but their consumption of gluten/dairy became HUGELY reduced. Their consumption off highly processed sugars (donuts…oops? every week. oops?) was drastically cut back, and the fruit/veggie consumption sky rocketed. And one week in… It dawned on me that Ever hadn’t had a single freak out. I brushed it off and assumed it was a fluke. But the days kept going by, the meltdowns were small and normal and not at all near the caliber they had been, and she began to sleep at night. We are now about two months into having a gluten/dairy free home (for the most part) and the two times that we’ve let her have a big amount of gluten… she’s had a huge and heartbreaking meltdown. So, now, we are limiting gluten in a big way.

I am pretty shocked by this. I have never been an advocate for putting kids of elimination diets unless there is a VERY good reason. But I am beyond thankful that this happened so naturally, and that it’s been by and large easy to keep out of our diet and home.

We have no intentions of going back to gluten or dairy with any kind of regularity, and so far the girls don’t mind at all. It’s amazing what having healthy option on the table, meal after meal after meal after meal, can do for a kiddo pallet. They didn’t want/try/like things the first, second, third, or even fourth, but often times the 5th time they saw it, they would try it! Or the 10th time, they would like it! Slow and steady, and healthy. I am in shock and so thankful!

10394534_10101212288610960_6055916537288211825_n

 

3/52

1614386_1398705013764790_7296359880771295733_o 10498219_1398704943764797_6390899632566266240_o 10830492_1398705020431456_3701267874907380535_o 10397087_1398705033764788_3552903842964580660_o

 

1. Waldo, Charlies baby. (photo by Nolie)

2. Questioning eyes, almost always.

3. Jumps by the waterfront, puddles stomping in what feel like March rains! We’re having the most beautiful and warm January.

4. Ever the beauty. Learning to play, one finger at a time, on our new keyboard my Grandmother gave us. The girls are in love.

2/52

10897007_1393955167573108_298039824252237501_n

10931004_1393954990906459_3713639862212659898_n

10933850_1393955164239775_3605096181897269862_n

 

1. Peeking. Waiting for me to pull the blanket off and tickle them.

2. Orange obsessed baby.

3. Blanket pulled away!

 

I’m 12 days into my Whole30, and 16 days into being Facebook free. I have endless words about both… but not quite the time to devote. Soon. Really soon. But for now? Suffice it to say; I feel better than ever thanks to these food choices, and I am playing/art making/thinking/dancing/tickleing more than ever before thanks to my Facebook choices. It’s all good good stuff, well… 99%. But I’ll write soon.

1/52

I don’t have the dedication for a 365 project this year. But these seems doable. A photo of each of my kids, each week, for a year. I’m on the boat with every other blogger out there. I can’t wait to look back and see how they grow and change, and all the ways they stay very much the same.

10636639_1391251821176776_5967823217207071856_o

10898149_1391251891176769_3587228136950270983_n

10523558_1391251834510108_328161407432668022_n
10915174_1391251857843439_5619193218911274631_n

1. Dancing to Roar, dancing her little heart out.

2. Her quick feet.

3. Singing the “Rooooooo-arrrrrrrrrr!” and then exclaiming “I stand up to bullies!!!”

4. Tap shoes, always.

 

raising women.

Ever just get chills when you look at those beautiful big eyed babies? See them speak with love, interact without shame, and love with zero abandon; The hairs on my arm stand tall as I see them walk taller. And I know. This is holy work. This is it. These girls are gonna change the world. And I can’t even fathom in what huge ways their love with shape people. Will change broken hearts. Will rock this town as we know it. This world as we know it.

The little powerhouse firecrackers who live in this home are gonna do some big, big, things.

1510713_10100859150552460_3401389504444965690_n

10251895_10100859149719130_1561921758856954126_n