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Mama Thoughts

Thoughts from me on anything from our family to what it's like for me to be a mama, to how I think things should be.

Updated: 2018-03-05T10:47:07.730-05:00





I have come to realize that I do not have enough silence in my life. As a busy mama it's a small wonder that I even got to the place to contemplate the absence of silence in my life. Between all the 'Maaaaaama's" and the chatter of two small talkative children I have realized that I desperately need some silence built into my life.

All of my life I have thought that I was an extrovert....or on the extroverted side. I adore people and I really enjoy engaging with people one on one, but I am flat out exhausted by prolonged contact in a group setting. After some reflection, I have come to the conclusion that I am, indeed, introverted...just a verbal one. Additionally, I have to create the space for silence to fill my home.

I am intentionally just trying to be still during the kids' nap time. I am backing off of reading at my favorite message board, I am limiting my phone time, and turning off the TV. I want the peace and wisdom of a mystic. That probably won't happen to the droning sounds of Max & Ruby...

Wow, it's almost like magic


I really messed up my arm last week. I had an appointment with a new chiropractor conveniently scheduled for the day after my pain started. I am totally amazed at the turn around in my body. I was nearly 100% better after my adjustment. I went back today and I am even better still. I am really grateful that I have such good health and that my body was so receptive to the chiropractic work.

In addition, I have learned so much about the value of heat in the context of traditional Chinese medicine and body work. I still really like ice for numbing areas that need really deep cross tissue massage work, but moist heat seems to be very effective in treating injuries.

I am so blessed to have a healthy body that does what it is supposed to do almost all of the time!

Warm soup on a cold day


There is nothing more comforting to me than a hot bowl of home made soup. Tonight's simple pleasure was tomato soup. Add a little marsala wine and it becomes extraordinary. It is cheap, filling, and a delight to warm a cold hungry belly.



We have made it through vacation week. Big Daddy J is home safe and sound on a cold snowy night after a busy week of work and school.

We are cozy-ing in for the night to fold laundry and eat chocolate lava cake. 15 years ago I might have thought that was lame and boring, but this ordinary comfort is part of wedded bliss.

The Beauty of Flora


(image) My Diva Child and Man Puppy are the two living things that have thrived under my care. Obviously, that is a very good thing, but I must admit I was somewhat nervous given my track record with plants.

I love the idea of house plants, yet I always end up killing them....either with too much attention and care, or with plain old neglect. I love the idea of watching something grow over time. I have always admired the people who have 35 year old plants that came from small clippings from their great grandmother's house plants.

Having two little ones, we aren't in a time of life or a space that really is right for a bunch of fussy house plants. Last year I bought a Christmas cactus on a whim because it was beautiful and healthy looking. It had several ripe buds all over it. At the very least, I rationalized; I can enjoy these flowers for a few weeks before I slowly kill the plant.

It turns out that Christmas cactus is the perfect plant for someone who tends to run hot and cold with the care. They like to be dried all the way out and then watered. My plant is right behind my sink. Every week or so when I am doing dishes I say to myself "oh crap that plant is really dry" and I give it a little shower in the sink.

Much to my surprise I saw a teeny tiny little pink bud about 3 weeks ago. I was thrilled that I might see a flower on my cactus. I hadn't killed it like I was sure I would! I found the perfect little house plant for me. Every day I would see a new bud on my plant; each day they grew fatter and longer until we had this:


Every morning when I walk into my kitchen and stand at my sink I enjoy the ostentatious flowers that proclaim, "I had a will to live! It may be February but I am beautiful and alive!"

The other part of my gratitude today is that I have finally been able to throw off the label of "Plant Killah". A Christmas cactus thrived under my loving care! It gives me hope that maybe one day we will have the pleasure of eating a ripe, warm, home grown tomato.

In All Things, Give Thanks


Today's gratitude post will be short. There is a whole lot that I can say, but to be completely honest, today's bit of gratitude is an act of discipline.

A lot of little things have added up to a really big nuisance of an arm injury. I am a massage therapist, I like to knit, I have cast iron skillets that I use for daily cooking, and I am doing all the daily mommying (and then some with my hubby's really busy work and school schedule). On top of that I curled myself into a ball while sleeping last night, curling my arms and wrists into my body. I woke up because of the pain at 5 am. I am not a morning person and only wake up if my kids are crying in the night.

I am really in a lot of pain here and I can hardly straighten my arm. I do have a chiropractic appointment with a new chiro, so I am really really really hoping that he can do something about this tomorrow.

In the mean time my awesome dad took mercy on me and brought lunch over for me and the kids, helped me get them to nap, and somehow created the mental space for me to pass out asleep on the couch. He walked out of the room, I curled up under the orange blanket, and when he came back in I was passed out for more than an hour.

I am so very thankful for my dad and the many ways he pitches in with my kiddos when I need him most.

Kindred Spirits


Every now and again a person comes into your life and you just know that there is something innately present; an intertwining of souls from the first meeting. My sweet friend Rosalia is someone who transcends time, space, and distance.I met Rosalia when I was 14 years old. She was the beloved piano teacher of a friend, and she had an opening for a new student. When I was 11 years old I begged my parents to get me a piano, I just had to play piano. I can remember being 4 years old and sitting in someone’s formal living room earnestly trying to make music. I was always drawn to it and desperately needed to learn how to play. My parents found a beautiful old piano that had long been forgotten in someone's farm house. It was only 50 bucks but didn't really play on a humid day. At any rate, I was beyond thrilled and set out to take piano lessons.I will save you all from the horror stories of piano lessons pre-Rosalia. Suffice it to say, it wasn't good. I had a great ear, I disliked the short baby songs I was given to play, and I struggled with reading the music.Going to Rose's house for piano lessons was like falling into a world where everything is safe, just, right, lovely, and beautiful. Think of any fairy tale where children wander through the harsh wood to stumble upon the cottage of a kindly old godmother who communes with fairies, woodland creatures, and flowers....with treats and treasures everywhere your eye would rest. Being a teenager pretty much sucked for me. On the continuum of suckdom, my life was, in a universal sense, very good. But being a sensitive, artistic person, the teenage years were filled with a lot of loneliness, angst, and confusion. This is where my friendship with Rosalia really starts.Rosalia inspired me with beauty. She encouraged me to play anything I wanted to play. My lesson was crafted around challenging pieces of music by Chopin, Debussy, List, Bach, Brahms, and more. I would sit on her piano bench at her antique baby grand piano with the windows open and the afternoon light pouring into the room. She would sit to my left and we would work. She could always tell if something was bothering me and would always draw it out. There were a lot of tears cried on her piano bench, and I'm sure I was not the only one. Aside from tears there were joys, giggles, deep pride, happiness....and probably many life decisions. Rosalia really got me at a time where I hardly understood myself. Because of our special relationship she was able to be totally honest in an unbiased way. She was the one who could see how much I needed to get out of my small town. She could see my desire to travel and strongly encouraged me to go for it. Because of her I went to Costa Rica after I graduated high school, and not to a traditional university path. I did go on to college, but the time I traveled was life altering in every way imaginable. Everyone in my life (minus Rose) had scripted me going to music school after high school. I thought that is what I wanted to do also. But with a little time and distance from it all, I got to know me and knew that it wasn't what I wanted. My parents are so great, but where would you rather your 18 year old daughter is; music school within a few hours drive of home or Central America? My beautiful friend Rose created beauty and love despite chronic pain, heartache, and personal suffering. She is in such constant pain that she rarely sleeps. She is a dancer, athlete, musician, poet, gardener, mother, teacher...but her body has always caused her the kind of pain that makes most people just break and stop. I know that she has been broken many times. Each time, she picks up and chooses life and beauty.She cries over the beauty of a sun set; she leaves me messages of playing a song on the piano that made her think of me. She talks to the birds, she introduces me to her flowers, and she speaks t[...]

Gratitude for the simple things: The Orange Blanket


A few years ago in some discount department store I stumbled upon this orange blanket pictured to the left. At the time, it seemed like a rather stupid thing to spend 15 or 20 bucks on, but I could just tell it was going to be something I would want to snuggle up with every day.

Everyone in our house and any guest who has slothed around on our super comfy lazy couch has come to covet this orange blanket.

What you can't see in this picture is, as my kids like to call it, 'the cozy side'. A super soft velvet/velour side of the burnt sienna blanket is what makes everyone fall in love with this throw.

After arriving home from an all day outing, the kids settled into late afternoon naps. I decided to put aside the mommy work today and do something I haven't done in years. I snuggled under the favorite family blanket and watched a few minutes of Oprah. I don't even like Oprah all that much, but there was something completely indulgent about allowing myself a bit of mindless TV under 'The Blanket'.

There's no place like home


I have the great fortune to live a short 7 miles from my child hood home. Today’s exercise in gratitude is a thankfulness that my happy childhood home is still a place that I go home to any time I want.

After church I called my mom and asked what was cooking. We get out of church at lunch time and I knew they had dinner guests last night. That means leftovers; very good ones at that.

The house was warm and cozy with a fire roaring in the fireplace in the living room. My mom had thick, salty pieces of last night's ham in a dish on the counter. Yummy crusty rolls, with spicy mustard, and reheated home made chicken noodle soup. Is there any thing better than your own mama's cooking; especially on a damp, cold, New England Sunday?

We all crowded around the round kitchen table to eat together. Diva Child said "Neenee, you always have something for me!" We laughed together between mouth fulls of warm yummy lunch and steaming cups of strong coffee.

As a kid, Sunday's were lazy days at our house. Winter time Sunday's were particularly hedonistic as they involved yummy food, fires, football/basketball watching, and a nap. After lunch today I was instantaneously drowsy; wanting to stretch out on the floor in front of the fire to let my eyes droop to the sounds of whatever the game of the week played in the background.

My parents love our stopping by to be fed. I love that I can do it.

I am so thankful that there is a place I can go, whenever I want, that is as pleasant and warm today, as it was when I was a little girl.

What is my problem with gratitude?


It is only day two of my thirty day challenge and I have smacked straight up against an intellectual problem with gratitude.

According to Merriam-Webster, gratitude is, “the state of being grateful: thankfulness". As I was thinking of the many things I could post about today I uncovered my own limit to gratitude.

Is gratitude, in and of itself, the exercise of saying "thank god I'm not like/experiencing/in need of ___________"? For example, by my expressing gratitude for my warm home, it also acknowledges that there are those without a warm home. When I am grateful for the ways in which our lives are blissfully simple, it makes me very aware of the complexities of the lives of others.

This is very hard for me to reconcile. It isn't that I want to be ignorant of the struggles of others; it is just that the enormity of the need of the world is overwhelming to this mommy in her small corner of the universe. I feel at a loss for how to reach out from the abundance of what we have been blessed with because at the same time I feel very small; that what I have to offer makes little difference. I also know that to not practice daily gratitude is to be ungrateful for even the simplest of things that we take for granted each day.

Where is the balance? When will my efforts at bettering the world ever feel like 'enough'. I can not suppose to 'fix' the world in a universal way by myself, yet shouldn't I strive for something?
I know that my own faith speaks straight to the heart of the matter, yet I can't help but feel unsettled by it all.

So today's act of gratitude is that I am thankful to be challenged in my thinking....whatever good it does for the big world outside my head!

I promise, tomorrow's act of gratitude will be something like an ode to the light bulb.

Tap tap tap.....Hey, is this thing on?


I feel like I got to the back of my closet and found a poor, shriveled up, dusty blog.

I have been inspired back to my blog to do a thirty day gratitude challenge by a sweet mama friend . Gratitude may be the solution to what ills so many of us during this cold stretch of New England winter. I don't mean a false optimism or a Pollyannaish attitude that refuses to feel sadness. In the midst of it all...the good, bad, and ugly, clinging to a spirit of gratitude for what is right and good just might get me through the days that I want to hide under a blanket and come out once spring has arrived.

So, today's exercise in gratitude almost sounds like a back handed gratitude compliment. But truly I have to say my knees nearly buckled in gratitude.

Our little family mama car with 60,000 miles on it has been smelling like gasoline when at a stand still. I couldn't see anything clearly leaking, but it was stinky stinky fumy.

Anyway, I took the car in with my two kids and the shuttle guy drove us back to our house. Part one of the gratitude was that I didn't have to sit in a hot airless room with my two kids while they worked on the car! Then, the shuttle had built in car seats!! Score! I didn't have to pull out reinstall, and then pull out, reinstall car seats again! I pretty much think car seat installation is one of the inner layers of hell. The question I always have is: What exactly am I supposed to be doing with my two kids under 4 with all the car seat movement? Do I let them run wild in the parking lot? Do I restrain them in the front seats of the car? It is a mystery to me, and I am so pleased I didn't have to find out in the process of doing it, yesterday.

Well....what we thought were hoses leaking a little is actually a cracked head gasket. OY! However, this $2,200 job is only going to cost us $100 because weary back 4 years ago when we bought the car we purchased the extra warranty.

I am so grateful.

Who's your Man Meme


Thanks for the tag Karen1. Who is your man?Big Daddy J2. How long have you been together?8 Years3. How long did you date?A few weeks (yikes!! so far, that has worked out pretty well for us!) We laid eyes on one another for the first time in August or September of 1999. We started mountain biking and rock climbing together in October. We then went out on our first 'date' in October. We were talking about marriage and were ring shopping in November. And in early December, we got engaged. 4. How old is your man?345. Who eats more?um....probably me. I have a rather high metabolism and eat all the time.6. Who said "I love you" first?It was all such a whirlwind...I think we arrived at saying I love you at the same time. I'm not sure who said it first.7. Who is taller?He is the tall one by about 5 inches at 5'6"8. Who sings better?I am going to say me. Although I love it when he is putting it all his effort into singing.9. Who is smarter?I think we are smart in entirely different ways. He is really pragmatic and mathematically inclined. He takes things apart and fixes them. It would have never occurred to me to ever take anything apart....ever. I love to read and write. I am intuitive and love the complexities of the very grey world we live in. Big Daddy J's world is black and white, filled with rights and wrongs. In fact, he tends to see issues in rights and wrongs while I am always 'bending the rules' so to speak. It drives us nuts about each other....although I think we value the big difference there.10. Whose temper is worse?That depends. I run hot. I raise my voice and make passionate arguments. I tend to 'bark' at the kids. But then that's it; it's over. In fact I have a gift at letting it go and not even remembering what I was mad about. Big Daddy J tends to simmer and hold grudges. We both think the other has a worse temper.11. Who does the laundry?We both do12. Who takes out the garbage?We both do, but he usually rolls the big can out on Trash day.13. Who sleeps on the right side of the bed?That would be me.14. Who pays the bills?For now he does, but I may be taking over that endeavor.15. Who is better with the computer?Him16. Who mows the lawn?Neither of us....Someone else does it.17. Who cooks dinner?We both really like to cook. I mainly cook dinner during the week, but sometimes he does. On the weekend it is pretty split.18. Who drives when you are together?Pretty much him.19. Who pays when you go out?Who ever has access to a wallet and who isn't chasing down the kids.20. Who is most stubborn?That would be him. He comes from a long line of impressively stubborn people.21. Who is the first to admit when they are wrong?That would be me, given number 20.22. Whose parents do you see the most?Mine23. Who kissed who firstHe asked my permission to kiss me. It melted my heart. Very very sweet.24. Who asked who out?He asked me out. I had just given up dating for a while when he inconveniently showed up on the scene to delightfully throw off my big plan.25. Who proposed?Well, the whole relationship moved super fast. I was sort of freaked out by it all and nearly dumped him in a parking lot because I just couldn't take the intensity of the whole thing. I was really afraid that this would go on for a few years and then he would get some job offer across country and be all 'its been real sweetie, but I don't want a long distance thing' (something I had already experienced twice). In exasperation he lightly banged his head against the steering wheel of his old car and said 'but Sarah, I want to marry you!'.While this wasn't the actual proposal, it was the turning point in our few week old courtship. The words had been spoken, it was just the details that needed working out. We shopped for a ring toge[...]

What a month!


I feel like I have abandoned my poor fledgling blog. Thank you Julie for your comments and reminding me that I do, in fact, have a blog. (and apparently, a person or two who actually read it!)For the last several months I keep saying how we are in the midst of so many changes. We really still are. It feels as though it has been a year of change. But I think I may just live like this all the time. Either way September was NUTS!My husband has started a new job that entails some international travel. September brought Big Daddy to India. He was gone a full week which was the longest he has ever been away from me and the kids. It did result in some very cool presents.In the middle of that I attended two births. I had taken these clients before Big Daddy had the new job. It would not have been my first choice to balance my husband's absence with being on call for two separate clients. But it all worked out. Somehow, the crazy details of my doula life fall into place at just the right time so that I can be physically and mentally able to serve birthing women.Diva Child started preschool and has been doing very well. Minus the intentional peeing for know going on the potty perfectly, as if she has been doing it her whole life, while at school and then actually saving some pee to go right outside the car door at pick up. Her ability to only wet her clothes and then finish on the potty is somewhat commendable. Thankfully, almost a month and a half later she seems to be tiring of this game. The end of September brought a week of all things BIRTH. There was a lovely Red Tent Event that had women sharing personal birth stories. There was the folding of programs. Late nights talking about transparency in maternity care. How can we help women have the type of birth they want? The actual performances of the play were moving and beautiful. Leading up to the play also brought together myself and 3 other amazing doulas to start a doula collective of sorts. We are 4 independent doulas who back one another up and support one another in our field. We are busy trying to make better connections with area hospitals, care providers, women's groups, and doulas. We all believe that women's birth experiences matter and that women should be supported in labor and birth if that is her desire. With my new massage room I have been really working from home. It is a delight. I love it so very much. My clients from my old work space have made their way back and it is all working out.So with all the newness...all the change, I am freaking out a little. I am quite happy but my body is very stressed out. I am a bit overwhelmed with the small things that add up to the whole. My work nuisances. As we all know, no job is perfect in every sense. There are always the dishes to do after the joy of creating the meal. It is the dishes type details that I am mired in. In my three roles: Mama, doula, massage therapist, I have been avoiding the 'dishes'.You know what a house looks like when the dishes have sat in the sink for a week? It's not.good. My brain is filled with the clutter of things to do/things left undone. My home has weird back ups of laundry and sorting. I have just scads of paperwork calling to me for massage and doula business stuff. So that, dear blog, is why I have put you aside. It is a self grounding for avoiding all that other stuff. However, I think maybe my mama self needs to ground mama sarita from on line asteroids.[...]

"Jesus Died"


Last night as I was tucking Diva child into bed she informed me that Jesus died. I have to admit I was really taken aback and then was really mad. She just started Sunday school 2 short weeks ago. I have had a lot of trepidation about that; to be honest, much more so than with the start of preschool. I asked her who had told her this and she said 'someone from church'. To me, it was rather important that this came up 1) at bed time three days (or more) after this had come up and 2) she was confused by it all.

Before anyone freaks out and thinks I am not a 'real Christian' (whatever that means...) I do, in fact, realize that the death and resurrection of Jesus is the whole point of Christianity. But my Diva Child is THREE. She is little and doesn't get death. I'm not sure when anyone 'gets' death as it is the most unnatural thing that most of us spend our entire lives trying to avoid.

I'm also feeling rather sensitive about this as we have just had to say goodbye to the dog. When I asked her what it meant that Jesus died she said, ummm well....his body stopped working?

I guess this is the central theme of my rant. Jesus did die, but he rose from the dead. A supernatural event that is part of the faith of Christianity and the 'good news' of it all (if you will indulge me with some 1970's Jesuspeak).

When I think about talking about God and Jesus to a bunch of three year olds, I think of all kinds of biblical truths that they can get. God created us. God created the world...nature, animals, mountains, water, the planets.... God is good....loves us and wants relationship with us. Jesus is God's son. He loves Children. God loves us so much that he still loves us when we don't do the right thing. God forgives us anytime we say I'm sorry...

I could go on and on and on and on and on. But Jesus died? Well of course he did. Easter would be a great time to dive into that topic with almost 4 year olds.

So, what do you think? I'm seriously pissed that my child left church with the message 'Jesus is dead'. My issue? How would you feel? I'm really not into pumping my kids full of 'the story' just to know it. I would like them to experience God and learn things that would be relevant to their three year old selves. Just because I haven't told Diva Child that Jesus died, doesn't change a thing about that. Clearly we would go there at some point....I wouldn't have picked 4 days after the dog died, but that's just me.

Knowing God is a beautiful thing. I emphatically disagree that people have to be intouch with the most gruesome elements of the death of Jesus to experience Gods love, forgiveness, transformation. I think there are seasons for that type of understanding of God, but isn't there a lifetime of learning about God ahead of little children? I don't think we have to go to the most painful parts to experience freedom. Just like I don't have to read the news everyday to have gratitude for how cushy my life really is.

But then again, I don't make my little child know about the ugliness of the world to experience happiness either.

I would love to know how other Christians have navigated this issue.

Goodbye's are never easy


Today my old old old childhood dog as peacefully slipped away after 16 great doggy years. I am nothing, if not deeply practical, about the place of animals and pets in the grand scheme of this world. My old sweet Bandit has had more medical care than is maybe sane in an eternal sense. He did have his ACL reattached....He did have intervention over a decade ago when he was hit by a car. When a dog has arrived at year 16 of his doggy life (95 years if you do the voo-doo math of a vet) it is time to enjoy the spoils of a doggy life well lived and not look into the many ailments that are bothersome in doggy old age.

After a nice walk yesterday with my dad, the dog started having some issues with a growth on his body. It didn't seem to bother him but also would not stop bleeding. Long story short, the dog had an aggressive cancer that was going to claim his life and make him really uncomfortable in the following days and weeks.

My parents did the most merciful thing by euthanizing him this morning. He had one last long walk, some really good people food, and had his favorite owners by his side as he drifted off at last.

In the last 2 years, we have said goodbye to both of my grandmothers, our very old cat, and now Bandit. My diva child loved that dog. She called him 'my dog'. While I am a bit choked up about the dog, it was very difficult to tell my little girl that Bandit's body stopped working. It sucks to put an animal down even when you know it is the right thing to do. But it truly grieved my heart to see my little girl feel the sting of death herself. The child sobbed and sobbed and sobbed in my arms. And really, fair enough! It is sad!

I wish there were something 'true' I could tell her about death. But ultimately, we don't know exactly what happens. And any spiritual platitudes I could extend seem less relevant and hollow when it comes to an animal...and ridiculous to tell to a smart 3 year old. So we did pray. We thanked God for Bandit and his long & happy doggy life. We thanked God for the joy he brought us and the love we had for him. We also asked God to care for Bandit and to give him lots of good people food in doggy heaven.

I wish that the sweet blissful ignorance of babyhood could just stick around my house a little bit longer. This is it people....this is exactly the crap I was sad about when I posted about preschool starting. It is this awareness of life...the growing up and learning about the world. So much beauty and so much pain to learn about and experience. Yet we all do, and we are all pretty much fine. I will be sure to update when I have found a non freaky way to save my child from ever experiencing loss or pain and yet somehow have them not turn out to be narcissistic.

Big Girl School is Around the Corner


This Summer has been a lot of things. Busy, fun, long, short, quiet, crazy and very special. I have had the sense, all summer long, that this was basically the last Summer of Diva Child's babyhood. She hasn't seemed like a 'baby' for a while now, but still she is my first baby.

In a week, Diva child will put on a special dress and new shoes and the two of us will trot off to her first day of nursery school. While I am delighted that she is going and I know she is ready I would be lying if I said this new thing isn't causing some trepidation in my heart.

As I have examined my conflicted feelings on this I have realized that we have been living in a very small, safe, innocent, and happy world together. Our family life is very happy. I take deep joy and delight in my family. I love mothering my kids, even when they are driving me up a wall. Our 'social life' is simple. We have a few close friends that we hang out with, but otherwise, we spend the bulk of our days together. So, in other (less flattering) words, I maintain a lot of control over my family right now. Not in controlling them, but in controlling their access to the big world 'out there'.

My kids just aren't exposed to a lot of the world. There are a lot of wonderful things out there in the big world. There are new friends, other caring adults who can encourage Diva Child's gifts, new experiences, new foods, classroom pets, arts and crafts and many many more things for a pre-schooler to encounter at school. But there are things that scare structures that little children try on for size...rejection, injustice, materialism, high fructose corn syrup, bad words, adults that are hard and mean.

Now, before you all get the idea that my kids have never eaten high fructose corn syrup or that I have would never lose it or be overly harsh in a bad mommy moment....those are mine to own. They are my mistakes to make. I haven't yet handed either of my children over in this way to experience the world without me.

It is with excitement, nerves, and peace that I prepare my Diva Child for preschool. Oh the stories those teachers will have to tell....

Thank you to Karen and Julie who inspired me to post about this.



My office is complete. I am so very happy with how it turned out!! Big Daddy and I have been burning it the last few weeks to transform the space from 'cluttered dumping ground' to beautiful office. I am so pleased!
Before: Okay, to be honest it is not the *real* before. It is much nicer that the gritty 'crap all over the place' look we had going before this slightly better picture.
(image) (image)

After: I am really really pleased. I will say that I realize I have to take the tags off the fake plants. I am going to paint inside the window wells as well.(image) (image)

This is the first full on reclaiming a space project that I have ever done. I am just delighted with the outcome.

Now, if anyone is wondering where I am, you all know where to find me!

Small Luxuries


Everywhere out side of New England, road weary travelers pull up to the Starbucks drive-thru in a harried and distracted way; one of many stops along their way as they move through the day.

When I saw the Drive-Thru sign I practically squealed the breaks as I abruptly changed direction to recaffinate.

Now, I do realize that this is shallow. I realize that it makes me look like a lazy person to be that excited about getting my hot cup of goodness without ever leaving my car. As it all turns out it is a royal pain in the ass to drag two little children into the local coffee shop or Starbucks. While I am trying to order I have to keep their hands out of displays, ward off the demands for cookies and treats, then feel guilty that I am getting something but am saying no to the GIANT cookie for the kids, balance my scalding hot coffee while holding two squiggley hands of kids that want to hurl themselves in front of the slow moving mini vans of the other distracted mommies trying to get through stopping off for coffee. So, because of this scene I often drive right on past Starbucks thinking about how nice a Grande Americano with Soy would be and then move along to the next thing on my mental list.

My heart may have skipped a beat when I saw the drive-thru. At age 30, a mother of two children, the feeling that was once reserved for spotting the hot guy across the student court yard is now relegated to a Starbucks drive-thru. I'm not sure if I should laugh or cry....I pick being really happy to have a steaming Grande Americano with Soy in the comfort of my mommy car without ever leaving it.

It's the simple things that can make my day.

The Fresh Salt Air


The sunshine and salt air just transforms me and my family. Each year we make our way to Cape Cod for a family vacation. Big Daddy and I started going there 6 years ago and have been back every year except one. My parents have fallen in love with this tradition and have kept our family vacation alive by renting a big beach house so that we can join them. (THANK YOU mom and dad!!). When I was in my early 20's I scoffed at the lack of creativity shown by boring old people who would habitually return to the same damn place every year. Now I delight in the simplicity of the 'same damn place' every year. All I really want is the beach and salt air. When the best kid beach ever has been found, why shake that treasure up? Because so much of the time, life with kids is unpredictable, it is nice to at least be familiar with the destination. Both of my kids are May babies. When we return each August we can really take a step back and look at how much they have grown. Last year, Man Puppy was weeks old and the two of us suffered in 100+ degree heat and humidity. We spent a lot of time in a cold bath with a fan pointed at us. He was also recovering from a bout of thrush and had a bright purple face from being treated with gentian violet.This year he was thumping his big Man Puppy feet up and down the wooden floors of the beach house. He was diving into the salt water with the unbridled joy of a toddler without fear. He would cry as we carried his shivering self up to our spot in the sun to warm him back up as his purple bottom lip trembled in sorrow at being pulled from the cold waves. Diva Child is now more cautious at the ripe old age of 3. She is less fearless of the rolling waves and wily seaweed. She was preoccupied with the existence of jellyfish (I didn't see one while we were there). She enjoyed clinging to me or Big Daddy in the water so long as we promised not to let go and put her down in the water for her feet to touch the pebbly sand. There were great times visiting with our Natty Uncle from the Mountains. Diva Child was smitten with his head full of dread locks and charming smile. Man Puppy was 15 months going on 17 as he sat side by side with 'Antz' as he has taken to calling Natty Uncle from the Mountains. He took big giant baby gulps of Uncle's Vitamin Water...he was throwing high fives in a way that was less baby and more teenage boy than I could take!At the end of the week I am always exhausted by the whole wonderful experience. There is sand that will stay in my car until next year when we return. I have a pile of salty sandy towels waiting for me to shake out and wash. Despite all the work the beach creates, I always return home deeply refreshed. [...]

I keep Crying Baby, Baby Please!


So it seems that after all these years, all of this time, my secret boyfriend finally responded to my silent plea and decided to come into town to put on a rock show just for me.Okay, well that's how it played out in my mind anyway when I heard that The Police decided to go on tour this summer.In all actuality, my very wonderful Big Daddy husband got me tickets months ago. At the time we were in the middle of a bad patch of night time parenting and the tickets were a great distraction of good things to come. The anticipation of a night out with my Bid Daddy man to see my favorite band of all time has been as good as the AMAZING experience of seeing The Police play live.Most of the artists I adore are not great big rock stars. While their concerts have been amazing interactive experiences, there is something different about seeing a widely revered & acclaimed rock band with tens of thousands of other people.Seeing The Police was a bit like a reunion with old friends, but maybe better. It was a nostalgic experience hearing their legendary songs as only they can play them. At the same time there was a fresh take on their music that showcased their evolution as artists reminded me why they were great to begin with; they have always played their music well. Their presentation of their classic songs was done in a familiar way. To me, it felt like the perfect balance of familiarity with innovation. Sting's voice is as clear and lovely as it has ever been. All of his hallmark yodel like "eyooooo eyo yo yo's" were spot on and in full beautiful force.My favorite songs of the evening were: Walking on the Moon, So Lonely, I Can't Stand Losing You, Wrapped Around Your Finger, Next to You, Invisible Sun ,Every little Thing She Does is Magic, Walking in Your Footsteps and King of Pain.There were only two downsides to the evening. First, I really wanted to hear them play Canary in a Coalmine and that didn't happen. But there was enough of my more obscure (if any of their songs can really be called 'obscure') favorites to make up for that omission.My second complaint has nothing to do with Sting or The Police, but the venue. The parking and crowd control was, at best, abysmally bad. It took us well over an hour to get out of the 'parking area' which amounted to a big field of cars trying to drive every which way without rhyme or reason. Once out of the field, it was at least another 35 minutes to slowly meander to the 'exit' of Rentschler Field.I feel so fortunate that I was able to go to this show. It did feel like a very special event to go to because it doesn't seem that they will pull a Rolling Stones and Tour, Tour, Tour every summer for the foreseeable future.Edited to add: While on my long awaited vacation, it occurred to me while I was listening to my boyfriend sing to me via my i pod that, for years, I have been Calling baby baby please as opposed to CRYING baby baby please. Maybe that is why he took so damn long to show up in Hartford. I apparently suck at being a groupie as I do not know the lyrics without flaw. My deepest and sincerest apologies Sting....[...]

An Exciting New Chapter


There has been so much change here in the last several months. One of the things about me is that I seem to thrive on change. One can be assured that I will have some new plan cooking up every 6-12 weeks. Motherhood suits me well in this aspect, as I am really engaged by the 'changyness' of my kids. They grow and learn at such a rapid rate that my whole life seems to shift frequently....and that is perfect for me.

Professionally, several really great things have happened in the last several months. I was finally awarded my undergraduate degree after much debate and waiting. Because I must reinvent myself habitually, I left my university studies to become a massage therapist back in 2002. There was a bit of a hiccup with my credits from massage school transferring back to my university. It was supposed to be seamless transition, but it ended up with my degree being in a 5 year state of stasis. I know am the proud recipient of my Bachelor's degree in Sociology!!! It feels a bit surreal and like a non-event. I may have to borrow a cap and gown and walk around my house for a few hours. It will probably feel more real once the 'piece of paper' arrives in the mail.

I also have completed my birth doula certification that I started in 2003. My best friend and doula partner has left her job and moved closer, in part, to pursue a doula practice together. It is so exciting to move forward with something I love so much with a friend who is equally as excited and passionate about serving women at such a special time in life.

I also ditched the bad massage gig I had going and am preparing to see clients out of my home. My sweet Big Daddy has been helping me get my new massage room ready with lots of painting, sanding, mad math skills, measurement, and hardware installation.. I have really always wanted to practice out of my home. One day I woke up and asked myself, 'why not?!'. It is really a great process to create my own work environment from scratch.

My diva child has been learning how to use the potty & is slated to start preschool this fall. I am enjoying the sweetness and simplicity of this summer with the knowledge that I don't really know what Autumn is going to hold for her or me. I know she will do well in preschool and that she is very ready, but I pause to sigh and wonder where her babyhood has gone.

My man puppy is a walking talking baby who has recently weaned at 14 months. His chubby baby feet and soft baby curls on the back of his head are the last little outward signs of his infancy. I have two little children now, no babies. I was happy to see him through 14 months of breastfeeding, a little relieved that it is finished, but with a very slight pang of 'oh, my baby is big now'.

All of our life changes are not limited to me and the kiddos. My husband is starting a new job in a few weeks that has been hard fought and greatly anticipated. It involves some minimal international travel and may offer us the opportunity to live in Europe some time in the distant future.

It is strange to have so many big life changes unfolding in a complimentary manner. Sometimes it is very clear when you are entering a very special phase of life. I have a strong feeling this is one of those times where things are just a little easier, a little sweeter, and very special.

The slow transition from information overload to ignorance


I like to know what is going on in the world. In fact, I remember reading my grandmother's Newsweek magazines when I was as young as 9. I loved to try and make sense of the political world around me through the political cartoons and bullet point articles. From an early age there was a lot of talk radio, newspapers, TV news, and news magazines floating around my life. I would ask my gram lots of questions about current events. There was political debate in my home for as long as I can remember.

Maybe my long standing interest in the political world is why it feels so foreign for me to be so hopelessly uninformed at the moment. It's not that I decided one day to check out, it slowly happened.

My diva child is 3. She is sensitive, intuitive, and engaged with her surroundings. Nothing slips past her radar. By the time she was 1 or so, it became apparent that I could no longer watch the news when she was in the room. This was due to my own emotional reaction in addition to shielding her from the acutal content.

When Hurricane Katrina was slowly lumbering towards the Gulf coast I was in the first trimester of my pregnancy with Man Puppy and diva child was about 14 months old. I just sat there, jaw dropped and obsessed. Why weren't people leaving? Why wasn't anyone making them leave. Once the whole mess was underway I, like many people, just couldn't understand how in America the poor could be discarded and tossed aside for 'later'. I cried every time the news was on. I really couldn't take it in while growing a baby and caring for my other baby. The anger and sense of helplessness I had while just watching was overwhelming.

To a lesser degree, the daily news bristled me. I don't believe it is just motherhood that has softened me; I think the images of 'the news' have gotten more graphic, more raw...just more everything. So we really need to see the video of the convenience store clerk being shot in the face? (Oh but it's okay, because he survived, right??) Did we really need to see the actual video of a bomb exploding in the midst of a bunch of unsuspecting every-day folks going about their lives? How can these images be sandwiched between the latest starlet 'news' and the weather with only 5 seconds of a description to go with the gut wrenching images? Am I to then believe that daily life is just that much more dangerous?

I don't want to be undisturbed. I really don't want my children to become immune to such imagery. I don't want to see it. I want to be able to know what is going on without the assault of visual violence everywhere I turn.

There has to be a balance. While this has been the summer of blissful ignorance in our house, I feel the weight of responsibility to be informed.

Post your best on line news links! I need to shake this baby up.

Great MD Appointment


What a complete relief. I had my appointment with the surgeon and she is sure that everything is **FINE**.

The stuff we were palpating is, apparently, just dense breast tissue. The calcifications that were found on the films were really normal, but we will follow up with more imagery in 6 months to make sure they aren't changing in a way that would cause concern. The lumps we could feel were not the calcifications. That was not clear to me after having the mammogram and ultrasound. That could have been because I was totally freaked out or it could have been because no one made that distinction.

Either way, I'm done. I am back to my carefree summer. I am so relieved to have the mental space back that the fear of the unknown was occupying.

just a bit more


So, I will be meeting with a surgeon in a week and a half. It is a second opinion of sorts. They will review the images and talk about what they feel is the best course of action here. The radiologist felt comfortable with a 6 month follow up of mammography and ultrasound. Having other physicians review the images and give their opinions can't be a bad thing.

It's still probably nothing. That being said, there is something in me that isn't normal and shouldn't be there and it is scary.

Nothing has changed. I am just going one step at a time. Admittedly, I hate throwing all of the stupid words around. I feel a bit like maybe I am sharing too much in my blog. I want to talk this to death, but I don't want to talk about it to just anyone.

It is a weird paradox. I am sure there are people who know me who are reading this stuff here and are hearing this from my blog. I really am fine. I just have to get this out somewhere where there isn't a lot of pressure or expectation about how I am supposed to feel about all of this.

On one hand I feel like I am over reacting. On the other hand, who isn't scared to death of words like: lump, breast tissue, mammogram, surgeon, breast cancer center.

I have to say I feel very fortunate that I am at least getting appointments in short order. I feel so ignorant and uninformed about the kind of procedures and doctor world I am walking into.

When I was pregnant I had the background of having been a doula, I knew all the words. I understood birth as normal. All of the reading I devoured added to what I had already experienced with other women. It was preparing for something joys and wonderful.

I am doing my best to step away from 'the google' for now. I want more information, but I am afraid of scaring myself shitless with worst case scenarios that I don't understand. I don't even know what to read or where to go other than where I have been referred.

I'm so out of my element and am hanging on to the 'its really probably nothing' with all that I have.

I am about 90% sure that it is nothing, but 10% of me is very afraid that it is something big, bad, ugly, and scary.

In a Moment


My day was a lot of fragmented moments. I had my annual midwifery/OB/GYN exam, tentative plans to go to the pool with friends, and the basic mommy stuff.I dropped Diva Child off to play with a friend while I took the baby along to my MD appointment. Just another thing to check off my list before moving on to another task. I was happy to see my sweet midwife who has seen me through both of my pregnancies and births.As she was chatting with me and doing a breast exam she stopped. She made a face. And she palpated some more. She asked me if it was tender, and I said it wasn't. She showed me what she felt, and indeed, a lump.The rest of the appointment is rather a blur. I was given a few pamphlets about breast health put out by a local women's health cancer center. I was given MD orders for ultrasound and a mammogram. They made an appointment for me while I was in the office for later that afternoon.I don't know that I can describe the combination of stunned shock, fear, and 'talking myself down' I was doing in the few hours between when I left the office and arrived at the radiology place. I am only thirty years old. I am healthy. No one in my family has cancer. I don't have any risk factors for breast cancer. I had my kids in my 20's. I breastfed both children and am still nursing my son. This can not be anything. I am a mother. I have to take care of my kids, I can not be sick.... I pretty much rolled all of that around my brain all day feeling really grateful that I was going to be seen the same day. I felt stupid for not knowing there was a lump in my own breast. How could I not feel that? I felt shitty that I felt entitled to be healthy. I shouldn't have cancer. Who the hell deserves cancer anyway....I think every last women who has felt a lump in her breast must go through all the reasons she shouldn't be sick.So I had my mammogram and ultrasound. I have calcifications in one breast. It doesn't seem to be anything all that alarming or scary. It isn't a 'mass', it is a small group of calcifications that may go away, may change, or may just stay the same. I go back to repeat the same tests in 6 months to see if there are any changes. I am rattled. I am fine. I did not like the places my brain was going when the fear of all of this started creeping up my throat. I want to be very old and tired when it is time to leave this earth. I want to mother my children into adulthood and love on their children.As an aside, getting a mammogram was I got very freaked out while waiting because there were all kinds of directions about how uncomfortable I might feel afterwards, how their may be some discoloration from the compression. That I could take Tylenol for the discomfort. They were initially reluctant to do the mammogram today due to the fact that I am still nursing. Lactating breast tissue is especially dense and hard to photograph, and supposedly very uncomfortable.I was really nervous when she took the first image....I kept waiting for it to hurt. When I realized she was moving the machine around for a new image I nervously laughed out loud and said 'that's it??!'Really, thank God that's it....[...]