weekend.

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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

Narcissistic wanderings. Typical blog fodder.

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It’s as I’m sitting over my cold coffee googling “what do I do next?” that the tears start to fall. I’m a feeler, crier, a thinker and also a do-er. But? I’m an odd combo as I am also not a go-getter in any way. I have time, energy, ideas, and heart but zero drive.

So I’m sitting with windows open that span from our local technical college, a nearby University program for nutrition, pintrest homeschool projects, and a Facebook. And my kids are going on hour three of playing cooperatively, well, happily, imaginatively, and   most of all; Independently.

I’m whining to my husband about it and he says “Soak that up! It’s a sign of what a great job you’ve done!” and I’m crying “no! It’s my freaking pink slip!”

What next?

I have a lot of interests. I love writing but am finding more and more that my skills are zero when you apply any kind of deadline or topic umbrella. I am highly interested in fitness and nutrition but don’t know how/why I would ever want to charge people for that information. I would love to talk to people about food options/ideas/solutions all day, but I can’t fathom having the drive or oomph to turn that into a career.  I am decidedly UNentrepreneurial,  to a fault. But? I also don’t want to pour everything I have back out into something again and just end of taking time/energy way from my family (like I did before with the Mama Network) and end up only sinking money in.

This is a blog post that is exactly what blogs are about. Narcissism and verbal vomit wandering. But, here I am, looking busy on paper (homeschooling Mom of two managing a home and feeding my family whole/homemade foods seventy billion times a day, helping with a homeschool co-op, kid watching regularly, and logging endless hours nursing my now oldish baby) but with these moments that need some kind of filling.

Is anyone else there? It seems like an odd spot. Every post about Stay At Home Motherhood seems rife with how much endless work it is, not with how much odd left over space there is. Confusing space that could be easily filled with the menial (there are dishes in the sink and projects begging to be finishes) tasks. But those tasks are low on the list to me lately and my brain space needs are creeping higher. Being home is hard in many ways, but strange in ten times more. I am here with this hour(four hours?) of time but could be called away in 30 seconds to catch puke into my hands or clean stickers off the mirror. I am sitting calm and meditative for 20minutes, or could be talking my two through a sibling dispute for the umpteenth time because ‘in our home we talk’ through everything (again and again and again).

I also feel in between because I don’t want to leave this job. I have found myself, joy, and meaning in being a SAHM. I am finding my footing as a homeschooler and really sinking into that community more. When I am ‘on’ it feels like everything. I don’t feel buried by the dishes and laundry, I feel like I’ve found the ability to let stuff slide when we need to but to buckle down when we must. It’s just in these moments. The weird ones between needs. My brain is missing learning.

School? I don’t know.

And this post has no tie up. No lyrical beauty. No bow. It’s just… in between wandering.

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

(bitter)sweet 6

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She was my cozy, cozy, baby. She and I logged endless hours of rocking and nursing, cuddling and bouncing. Those first two years she rarely left the Ergo. As she grew it was obvious what an incredible gift she was. She played, she imagined, babbled, and chatted. She included whoever was near her, her arms outstretched to the world to know everything there was and to welcome it in.

As she grew up her hands just reached out further. Knowledge, curiosity, questions, and ability grow, grow, growing. Her words and vocabulary sky high, her gentleness and love unending, and her ability to include her sister, enjoy her deeply, and play without ceasing… was beyond anything I ever knew.

At around 4.5 she weaned, but her snuggling never left. She cuddled and chose to start sleeping in our bed around that time. She found connection wherever possible and whenever needed. She has always known her needs, asked for them to be met, and generously met others without hesitation.

Nolie is magic.

Knowing her is a gift, my closest friends will all agree. She’s different.

At five she was textbook exuberance! Newfound kid-hood was exploding and with it was so much joy. New experiences. New confidence. And it was all so beautiful and exciting. I rejoiced with her as she found her footing in dance classes, and drop off playdates. As she sounded out words and and wrote first poems. Her songs unending as life opera spilled from her lips whenever she began to imagine deeply. She and her sister grew from siblings to best friends. Paramount to each others’ play, worlds, and imaginary worlds alike. She grew up, a little.

And now six. It’s all still there. The light behind her eyes, the hands outstretched, the unapologetic curiosity, quick grin and the brain that never stops. But there are new shadows. She’s aging, she’s on the cusp, she’s emotional, and deep. Her feelings growing more complex by the day. Her need for me changing. Her world exploding as she sees that there are doors, and experiences, worlds outside of her own. How she needs me is deepening in many ways but becoming lighter and lighter in the most tangible ways. I don’t often carry  her. I don’t often buckle her in. I don’t always make her food. I don’t hold her to sleep often. I don’t get up with her. I don’t nurse her. I don’t give my body to her.

I give my head. Her questions still run the gamut of “why is air invisible?” but now also are more …thoughtful “why do some kids not like me?” or “why are adults mean to kids sometimes?” “are there homeless babies?” “how can we give away more?”…. it’s changing.

She’s emerging. She might be an introvert? Craving time alone, all alone, to just stare into space “and day dream” and recharge. She is asserting herself. She’s choosing her friends, activities, everything with strength. When kids say “let’s not tell our Moms” she easily turns it around and suggests a new game. She’s so incredibly strong in heart. Her bravery deepening and her compass always pointing true North.

I read this post on Humans of New York today… and it summed up everything that’s been hitting me so hard. “…there is an unexpected sadness to getting your life back. Like you’re getting laid of slowly from an equally grueling but joy filled job…”

I often find myself with an hour here and there, where I am untouched and unneeded. Hours where the only sound is two little voices narrating amazing play. And I should use it, feel freedom, all the rest… but I feel sadness. Deep, deep, mourning for the years that are past.

Oh Noele Grace, you made me a Mama, you took my heart and cracked it wide open for me to learn to love and embrace. You did it all. You saved my life. I would live your baby years over again and again and again till my arms couldn’t carry you. You’ve been nothing but a gift my girl. And I am excited, but slow embracing, this new you. 6 is so little. So, so little. And so big. Slow down, my baby. Slow down.

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New Year, current me.

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{resolution one: be more of a babe. And let Tiffany Burke take a billion photos forever}

For ten months of last year I was a new me.I was me with layers of growth and learning and grace packed onto of layers of self doubt, and hate, and guilt. I was a me full of depth, the oceans deep of past and present and growth into one, Me. I wasn’t the mantra of “New year; New me” I was living This Year, This me. And it was so empowering.

I spent the time finding and cultivating a community of health seekers and people who don’t scoff at selfies, laugh at progress and food photos, and who are also all steadily walking towards the same goal of freedom, health, and deep self love. Wether in big strides, small stutters or crawling along, I found some people.

I dropped off the path in late November, and allowed myself to indulge. It wasn’t in (just) sweets, and breads, and eggnog (those things were fine. Hard on my body and skin, but fine and delicious, and by in large very worth it). What i really gave into, indulged in, were my deeper layers of guilt. Of self deprecation. Of “what’s the point anyway.” and in that I lost some growth. It’s not just body. It’s heart and brain that I found so much freedom in last year. It was going to bed each night feeling confident and calm in my head about my choices for the day. It was growing muscles and strength and skills. It was headstands, deadlifts, and plank times. It was self love regardless of scale, acceptance of my shape, it was growth in my marriage and confidence. It was all of it. It was a new me, because the growth and layers on top of my foundation were all so shiny. But I chose to indulge in the old ways of hurting myself.

And I want to say it was pointless. I want to say it was stupid. And I want to believe that it was more proof that I can’t do it.

But that is a deep lie.

And these past six days I have began to rebuild the familiar growth. It comes so much quicker now. I am waking up and choosing health with each meal, love with each thought, and caring for my insides. Not just my gut. But my brain. Towards the end of October I had really begun to delve into the power of positive thinking, it seems to cliche and trite, but it works. Repeating true, positive thoughts. Again and again. Taking each negative thought captive and casting it off. I’m back to it.

Because I refused to let eight weeks of indulging in harm to mean a new year full of self hate. Instead I started early. I woke up today, New Years Day, ready and full of compassion for my practice, my heart, and myself.

My intentions for the new year:

To live cliche. Because I am just that person. I love them. I’m cheesy as all get out. I want to do all the joy filled cliche’ out there. I want to live Actions Speak Louder than Words, I want to Dance Like No One is Watching, Any Friend of Yours is a Friend of Mine, As Beautiful as the Day is Long, Every Cloud has a Silver Lining, Laughter is the Best Medicine, and on and on and on… I love em’ all and plan to embrace what a cliche I really am. Proudly.

To end the year stronger than I started it. Simply that. Not slimmer, not smaller sized, maybe even larger. But stronger. That can mean in heart, or mind. That can mean in biceps and glutes. Stronger.

To be more like my girls. They give freely, love heartily, and trust with open palms.

 

Happy 2016. It’s a hot coffee, family growing up, muscles getting stronger, body being more loved, kinda year. It’s a long baths, try new things, read more books, be read to, kiss deeply, and hug tight, kinda year.

New year, same me, who I love so much.




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Other resolution. Be more like those two. So themselves. So six. So three. So fun.

So, you failed after your whole30.

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(these thighs brought to you by equal parts coconut oil/sweet potatos/theo bars/beans)

I was talking last night to a few friends who are also on the whole foods/paleo/what makes your body tick lifestyle with me, and the word “failure” kept coming up. And we realized… how we define failure really needs to shift, and I noticed that along with that, how we treat failure needs a full on overhaul.

First I wanted to point out a few things that helped me to have successful and fully compliant (meaning, no “cheats, slips, treats”) during my past whole30’s, and success living a healthier lifestyle after.

  • only doing 30 days, not setting out to go for an unknown number or “forever” (this isn’t a forever diet!)
  • deciding what you want your lifestyle to, realistically, look like after a whole30 is done
  • following the reintroduction period, to the letter, once (at least).

Now that I am living a Whole(30)foods lifestyle my days don’t always look like a whole30, and that isn’t a failure. I have days, weeks, in a row where I eat only fully compliant food. Mainly because I am used to preparing it, have it on hand, and feel my very best when I am both dairy/gluten free. But I have added back in beans, occasional gluten free grains, and some honey and maple syrup. That’s the model I follow at home and for my packed meals (breakfast and often lunch three times a week). I also prep only whole30 foods on my Meal Prep day (weekend!) each week and that makes it easiest to grab whole foods for the rest of the week. It boils down to: I eat whole30 + beans at home, and if I am out socially with friends/party/playdate I choose wisely but without restriction.

After you finish a whole30 you will feel your best. You will notice how food effects your body. After a reintroduction period you will find out completely ridiculous things about food! For example, gluten makes me moody (what?), dairy makes me look pregnant, nearly instantly. Sugar is the trigger for my husbands decade long battle with migraines, and seasonal allergy is actually code for dairy in his body. The reintroduction period is SO important. If day 31 comes and you dive into the best donut ever, you will (likely) experience a host of symptoms and have no idea if they are caused by the dairy/gluten/soy/or sugar in it. Taking the time to determine exactly what makes you itch/cough/bloat/ache/cry/hurt will be so incredibly worth it in the long run.

But once you know? It’s IS NOT a failure to choose to eat it anyway. It might not be the best choice (if it causes you pain). But it doesn’t mark you as a failure. It may be an indicator that you are tired, over worked, need a break, underprepared, or lacking accountability. But it can stand alone as that. Say you are waking up early with your baby, and going to bed late with your toddler, you are trying to pull together a resume and start to research going back to work, and late one evening  after drinking your water all day and eating whole foods… you eat a chocolate chip cookie. Maybe it isn’t the most worth it cookie you have ever had. Maybe it wasn’t even great. But you aren’t a failure because you ate it. You are tired. Probably hungry. And likely in need of a massage and break.

One choice doesn’t determine the next choice. That is the number one reason I think that redefining “failure” is important in this arena. A failure is this jacket, that, for me, easily gets picked up and put on. I wear it and never shake it off to feel the sun around me. It’s a little bubble I’ve lived in where I ate the cookie… so I might as well skip the workout, eat the candy bar, order the pizza, talk terribly about my body, and then shame myself for the whole thing and wake up feeling so defeated that I start the same thing over again.

Instead I am challenging that. It’s only a failure if I name it that. Instead, it’s a choice. And I made it, and it’s just fine. My next choice is mine too. And more than likely I’ll make that one water or something green if I don’t feel awful about myself. Its choosing self love, care, and health to choose to not make a cookie such a big deal.

Also, I wanted to add. Whole30 is not for everyone. I would argue that whole foods, water, and thinking more thoughtfully about our food and where is comes from, is. And however people choose to engage that, is amazing. It isn’t more “clean” or more “healthy”( a very hard to define term) to do this for 30 days. It isn’t a badge. It is a way that worked well for me to find a better diet for my own body and I don’t doubt that there are as many ways to find out what makes you feel best as there are people out there searching for it.

But I do challenge you that if what you eat makes you feel like a failure, look less to the food to determine that worth and more at your heart. Because you aren’t  failure. No matter what you eat.

Whole30 (behind the scenes)

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(click the photo collage to see them more clearly, sorry!)

I’ve fully completed four whole30’s and there is a lot I’ve gleaned along the way. From the physical ways that food affects me, the triggers it has on my body, how much I can push those sensitivities before I feel it, to how many ways I can avoid eggs and create a million other breakfast options. I’ve had the typical results of increased energy, far better sleep (but that took three whole30’s and realizing that I needed to eliminate caffeine, what?!), weight loss, muscle gain, more emotional calm, and a far bigger skill set in the kitchen. But the thing that I didn’t gain until this whole10 (a little reset after a short break, common for people who have completed a compliant and full whole30 to do to get their bodies and brains back on track) was a real and deep understanding of just how enormously my hormones and emotions, mood and highs, are truly and deeply changed by food.

Above you can see the days upon days of whole30 foods. The cooking is no longer daunting, there is a lot of repetition. I am no longer scared of avoiding meat most of the time (a rarity for whole30/paleo people, but I am not a big meat fan and can’t often afford the quality of meat that feels important to our family). Ways to find all the protein and fat and nutrients in veggies and seeds and nuts. I feel like I’ve got it pretty down, for my own body (the whole point). But what I have been resting on is that I keep my boundaries tight even outside of whole30.

Since January I have been booze free, and kept nearly all sugars out of my home. We don’t buy gluten or dairy to consume at home at all. And my one real way of indulging was out with friends/at friends houses, and I tried (and succeeded about 95% of the time) to keep that to only once or twice a week. Meaning, since January, I’ve kept it very boundaried and out of my space (paramount, for me, to be successful). Consequently I started to feel like I really had this figured out. Enough that this past weekend, after my whole10, I went out with friends and had a craft rootbeer that the shop was known for… and then a gyro (it was free! how could I not!)… and then a birthday party, and then a ladies night… and then the left overs from the birthday party and … you get the picture. I allowed myself to fully give in to the downward eating spiral that had ruled me for decades. And not only did my body feel ill (itchy, bloated, tired, puffy, sleepy), but something else arrived. Something I hadn’t experienced in whole30’s or reintroduction ever before. I felt rage.

We walked down the isles in Costco, shopping for this week, knowing we needed to get back to whole foods as my body was tired and failing. And I felt rage. So frustrated at all the shoppers, at the food, at the samples, at the cupcakes, at my kids for being loud and demanding, at Charlie for… anything. It was intense, and misplaced, and most of all VERY out of character for me. I walked down and isle, looking for a particular snack for the girls, and my brain was rushing “I hate it here. Why do people buy this awful crap? Why are there so many people here? I’m going to lose my mind if the girls ask for another toy. There better be a chocolate sample.” and it was weird. And almost out of body. As my typical mood is Resting Smiling Face and enjoying chatting with the checkers (like, genuinely enjoying) everywhere I shop. I don’t understand road rage, I don’t honk unless there is danger, pretty much the only topic that gets me amped up is mean parenting. But today? It was everything. The lack of organic apples. The way Charlie sounded when he talked (what?). The sheer list of foods on this list that I know I would be buying, preparing, washing dishes for, blah, blah, on and on.

And it hit me. This. This is the long term effects of sugar/gluten/dye/dairy on my (just on mine! not saying this will be true for everyone. But I would encourage you to experiment with this.) body. I was rushing and raging and felt so out of control and terrible. A far far cry from the calm I feel when my body isn’t full of caffeine, crazy quantities of sugar, gluten, and a long list of GF grains. It was Charlie who noticed it, suggested it, and after I nearly bit him in half… I agreed. It was intense.

I was humbled. It is not that I am better at whole30 than anyone else. It isn’t that I have more self control. And it certainly isn’t that I am better in the kitchen. But what is, is boundaries. What do I let into my home often. What do I decide means “fun” (no longer a mixed drink. And now it’s the conversation with treasured friends.) nights out. What I label as a treat. What I frame my day around ( no longer just my coffee, or that donut we always get on Tuesdays, or the Menchies night out on Fridays). It’s creating healthy food relationships, balance, and truly enjoying and not being ruled by the food I eat.

This doesn’t at all mean that I’ll never have sugar/gluten/dairy again. It means that I am ready to pull my boundaries back in. Because as ‘unfun’ as I may be, I feel strong and safe and self assured with them intact. I feel better each day that I stay strong in my choice to not drink (I am not ascribing a date or anything to this, because should the most worth it/amazing/company/once in a long time opportunities presents itself, I’ll thoughtfully and responsibly imbibe. But so far, that moment hasn’t arrived, 11mo deep.).

I’m not sure where I’m going with this. Other than, ten day of whole30 was still life changing (but 30 days is important if you have never done it before) and the changes may not show on a scale, or pants, or skin, or anywhere that is visible to anyone but you. But for me, those calm and growing up changes… those have been the ones that I am clinging to far more tightly than a number. Choosing calm and joy, and no longer celebrating/over doing it/feeling weird vulnerability hangovers from booze… It feels amazing.

Also, I’d love to answer any questions about whole30, or about the foods up there! (one smoothie is there! It’s not technically whole30 to drink smoothies, but it was that or a grocery trip, so I stuck with compliant ingredients and gave myself some grace).

To start learning about this way of eating check out this website. And I also run a ladies whole30 group on FB if you want to join. Also, I’m still into yoga… apparently, that’s sticking longer than typical this year. And I am feeling really great because of it. Back to whole foods today, yoga, and waking early to get sweaty. I read an article about it not too long ago, and had some moments recently that really drove home this new feeling… Self care won’t always look like a a bath, wine, Netflix, or cake. Sometimes self care looks like getting shit done. And this week, that is caring for myself from the inside out, and chipping away at my goals (not quite ready to share those yet) I’ve set. And I’m doing it. And it feels a whole lot more like love than any glass of wine has ever felt.

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.

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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!

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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 😉
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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!
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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!

I saw the rain.

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This past weekend we had the chance to get away. To head out to summer camp in the cool fall near the rainforest. We experienced rain so loud it drowned out any loud night thoughts. We paddled quick to shore in the canoe as the sky opened up and we filled from the bottom up. And that’s exactly what I was needing. Filling me, from empty to the top.

Ever, exhausted and played out each evening, fell asleep on her own little mat, without nursing, each night. She came home, and the trend has continued. A season, chapter, a nurse, is ending (maybe). And it’s beautiful on it’s own. No hint of bittersweet. Purely sweet to see her pride in herself “I just have a nurse when I need you. But right now. I lay in my own bed and go to sleep. Night!” Allowing her to self wean (and night wean) has been one of the best parenting decisions I have made. To stop making it a problem “how much am I up at night?!” “she’s soooo old!” “when will I sleep through the night? How long can I endure this??” and instead to just live in each of these nights, knowing that while they feel so long, they end, and regret is heartbreaking and not worth it. It’s brought a huge relief and lightness to our nursing relationship. And it’s so beautiful. I hope we continue on for a long time (and I have very little doubt that we will) but it’s a beautiful feeling to know that if it ended today I would know that I’d given everything in my heart to make it positive and gentle. {Don’t mistake this for meaning that we haven’t ebbed and flowed and that I haven’t had my days of wishing we were done. Or wishing I slept all night, each night. But instead of that we have come into a season that is beautiful and easy in nursing. Our attachment is so secure, and not leaving all those nights grew that, even if I had wished at the time that I could go out in the evenings. I am so thankful I chose not to.And that I am so grateful to be able to see that it’s a relationship, and we’re in that cozy space of it working so well, for both of us.}

We’re a bit more than a month into our homeschool adventure and it has been more exciting, harder, more time intensive, stressful, and right than I ever could have imagined. I thought it wouldn’t be much harder than my SAHM gig has been thus far, because… really, it’s just kindergarten. But I wholly underestimated the weight of being the “teacher” and the job of getting us to “school” (she does a supplementary school program for a few classes a week, that Ev and I stick around for as well) three days a week. It’s still all very much in the air, and I feel as though I’m juggling six needs… balls…. events… curriculum… teachers all at once. But the one sure thing is that every time I watch Nolie in her classes, or see her at the table working through math problems I’ve spent time teaching her… I feel calm. Each time I am still with her and ask her about how she’s feeling about school, I feel so secure. This choice is certainly not the easiest on me, and is an enormous transition. But it’s the absolute best choice for her. And that’s really all I can give. Each year, each day, each child… making the choices to the best of my ability (we plan to reassess and decide each year, with each girl, what the best choice for them is). I see my main job as being her primary advocate. And while I am struggling through this I also feel better than I ever have about advocating for her education and needs. And that seems to always outweigh the doubts or overwhelm.

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With all the new stress and workload and change Charlie has been my constant. An unending fount of encouragement, and a space to vent my every (lots) frustration without letting that flow out (too much ) onto the girls. Two of the biggest lessons I’ve learned so far about homeschooling are to 1. Learn self care. Because your breaks will be few and far between, and the reality of being “on” all the time is intense. Self care is a non-negotiable for your own heart and health, and for the health of your family. and 2. It would be fully impossible for me if I didn’t have a support person to hear me out, all the time. Charlie helps me sit and write my plan for the week, or cut me slack when there is no plan, and really doesn’t need to be. He is there so say “yes! you are capable of this!” and also there to say “no, that’s way too much! Just call it a movie night and cuddle in.”

Back to that number one. Self Care. I’ve been using yoga and whole eating as my means of caring for myself inside and out. I finished up a fourth round of whole30 a few weeks back, and am on day one of a whole10 today to kinda reset my body after lots of amazing  and indulgent camping food. I’ve all but quit my high intensity workouts and running for this season (well, running here and there. But just for pleasure) and am choosing yoga because I can do it in short bursts here and there, at home so easily, and at this time… I just need the calm. And I need the awareness of how beautiful and strong and capable my body can be. And the constant growth of yoga is the type of pay off and accomplishment I am craving right now.

I made a little bit of time this past weekend for a little workout (stairs/squats/pushups) but also made time to stretch out each morning. And it felt so good.

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My writing is feeling so clunky. But my words are overflowing. I’m so thankful to have a space to put some thoughts, memories, and my heart out there. I’d also love any homeschooling resources you are loving. Any great FB groups? Blogs? Any inspiring, real, and not super overwhelming spots I could be looking for ideas? I’m at the very beginning of this journey, and I am looking forward to sharing more about it in the coming months. Any other homeschooling parents out there? solidarity and coffee to you!

blog gone.

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When it was almost gone I felt a moment of relief. All those words and moments and documented mistakes were gone. All the over sharing and stories that aren’t quite mine to give so fully… gone. I felt a second of “oh good. Now no one will know. ” I was thankful to have the words gone from my girls. And thankful to not have to wonder “have they read about me?” when I meet a new Mom in Bellingham.

In the next flicker I felt intense heartache. It’s all gone. All the mistakes, and moments, and over sharing of motherhood and wife life and our story and his story, and her sleeplessness, my body hate, and my anger, my sadness, my everything from the start was gone. Poof, into the internet universe never to be seen again. And with that felt a strange weight. I’ve already forgotten those days (I was recently at the store and a new mom asked me if sleep was hard with my oldest, and it took me too long to remember. Because now I miss it. I remember rocking her fondly. Not putting her down, to hard, in anger at 3am. The realities have slipped away). I quick look through the archives reveals a women I am both pushed and pulled to cry with and comfort for her choices that she will regret (that I’ve already forgotten) and also pulled to never remember because she feels wholly unrecognizable.

The words I used to describe Nolie in her sleeplessness break my heart. My desire to not cry it out but to push it to the edge and “break her of this habit” make my stomach turn.

How freely I shared Charlie’s story makes me so torn. It introduced me to so many beautiful and suffering women. So many women who needed to know they weren’t alone. And who needed, desperately, to see a story of hope. But it also feels heavy and strange to know that so much of our very personal hearts and life are there. On a page. Easily searched. (But know, it was all shared with Charlie as the editor. And who stills believes wholly in that story being available).

The words that go along with my birth stories are so strange and hard and beautiful, but oddly stoic. Because I didn’t quite know myself. I didn’t quite know how much to give, how to give in, or how to convey it. And now my desire to rewrite them, years later, with just what’s left. Just the intense and the beautiful.

The moment dragged on. And my need to make a decision (to pay to have this page hosted) loomed. And I’m here.

Bubbling over with words, after feeling mute for so long, so much to share, so much changing going on and beautiful and happy and light. So much heavy and new and universal.

I’m struggling with the boundaries. I know that I won’t be putting as much of my children out here. And I know that I will be choosing wisely how quickly I share my own tender heart. But I also feel the words pressing out my fingers again and I’m ready to make it a practice again. To find a new voice. And to see what story it is that I am needing to share.

So, it’s here. And will be here. And won’t (as some posts will be disappearing, but no recipes). But that woman, the one I’m desperate to erase, she’s still there too. And she deserves hold a piece of my past, as much as it pains my heart to read those words and feel utterly divorced from the woman, and mother, I was.

All I can do, as I read back and decide to write on, is to do it with grace for who I am, who I was, and who I will be. And trust that those who love me have the same.

So, hi. And we’re back. And it’s new.