Taken and processed with Cameramatic app.

I've been reveling in touch lately.

A few weeks ago my naturopath asked me to lay down and her hands made their way to my belly. I laid there with my eyes close surrendering to her touch, I felt our breath synchronize. The heat of her hand felt so so very good. So tender. I had no idea what her intentions were but that helped me practice trust and my intuition was telling me my body felt desperate for this caress. She cradled my thigh and applied gentle pressure onto the skin that protects my ovaries...my lower belly... and that is where the emotions surfaced for me. I know my reproductive organs and the muscles and skin that protect them hold so many memories, so much ache, so much need for validation that they are enough. Its almost as if I've been afraid to cradle them, afraid to go there just yet as I go about my life and what is in front of me. But what is inside of me there...there...is tender and needs my attention, my love, my grace...even after all these years. I've been a bit quiet with them.

Later my naturopath told me she was doing Craniosacral therapy. I nodded and took a deep breath, told her it felt good but wasn't ready in that moment to talk about what had just transpired. I got to my car, sat down in silence as the rain danced across the windows and the tears spilled. So much. So much emotion in those parts of my body. Endometriosis, cysts, (in)fertility...now that I allowed myself to pay attention to the emotion that rests beyond the physical pain, there was this tremendous release. I have known for quite some time subconsciously this needed to happen, this attention, this love...but honestly, I've been so afraid of it. Afraid of what would happen if I surrendered to it because it feels like it would be a flood that drowned me. And as I sat there in the car releasing what my naturopath had moved around, I was pleasantly surprised. It wasn't as frightening as I had imagined. It was good. So good and dare I say even a bit freeing. As cliche as that sounds (and the cliche of it has kept me from believing that freedom could really happen for me), it is true. The days following I have felt a lightness I haven't felt in years. Something has loosened. Something has awakened.

I've been touching those parts more. Laying my hand there whenever I can. Sending affirmations. Touch. Healing touch. Now I feel more aware when Cedar brushes my hand with his or my husband cups my face in the darkness of night to kiss me goodnight. I feel more alive when touching and being touched.

To my ovaries, my uterus, my fallopian tubes...(laying my hands there) I love you...and you are perfect for me, so very perfect for me, so very enough.

I will leave you with a little prompt droplet to think about what part of your body needs your love and affirmations...

family photo*

{us, polaroid by susannah}

I'm kind of loving (okay, totally loving) this photo of us. It just feels so gooood to have a photo together! Is it typical that photographers rarely have a family photo taken of themselves?

Here we are. Our family. And Cedar love...just looks like he's so part of us. And it brings me goosebumps. You know, many many times since Cedar was born, when people find out he is adopted, we get an emotional response. It could be the person near us on the airplane that talked with us for a few hours and spent time with Cedar or one of his teachers, or someone that spent 30 minutes chatting at a store or a neighbor, etc; there is always an emotional reaction when they learn our story. Gasps, tears and an embrace. And many times people have said "...but he is SO you guys!" Every time I well up with tears and laugh and cry with them because its such a heart-spirit-energy thing that is collectively felt. Its what I felt when I first held him seconds after his birth with my husband and his birth parents circling me. A feeling of home and belonging and I know most people that have adopted know exactly what I am sharing and so do all of those that have birthed their children when they have felt they knew them beforehand. And what I am sharing has nothing to do with whether or not Cedar "looks" like us. Its so much about his heart and how me moves and grooves and interweaves so perfectly into our family.

We've been going through an awakening with Cedar that is intense and sacred and all consuming right now and when I am able to find the words, I will share it here soon. But when I opened up this photo in an email today that my friend Sus sent to me, I felt the tears spill. I see the three of us and I know deeply how we are all three teachers and guides for one another and I feel such an affirmation to trust the process.

Someone wrote to me the other day that our story offered them hope when they felt so desperately that there was no hope left. I am humbled and honored to hear these things and I never take it for granted and I most always am taken aback by the outpouring. I always said if your desire to be a mother or a father is there, it is there for a reason and your child will find you and hear your longing. There is so much purpose to the union of your child. Cedar is one of my life guides and I think one of the things that kept me going during our fertility journey was trusting that my desire was there because there was much to learn from it...during the journey AND the destination.

lighter lily love*

{all images in this post are of me last week wearing custom made feather earrings & feather in a bottle necklace from one of my blessed sponsors and new dear friend, laura at roots & feathers}

Firstly, happy Mama's Day to those who mother in all the beautiful and nurturing ways we can be mothering spirits to one another.

I begin this story with the disclaimer that I am calling the upper part of my body "lilies" not only because that is what we used to call them growing up in a household of four females but also to not draw spam or lurker-loos to this post. ; )

Anyone that knows me intimately or has been reading my blog since day one of putting myself out here in this space, knows that I am a lover of a woman's shape. I have always been drawn to it in my photography and was inspired by it in my pastel drawings. You can still find me sketching the hills and valleys, dips and skinscapes when I allow myself some quiet time to write or scribble while talking on the phone. Embracing various shapes is part of my upbringing as a Portuguese/French woman surrounded by my marmie, sisters, aunts, cousins, grannies and nieces that most always were confident in their skin no matter what size or shape.

I've shared much about my journey with my own shape here in this space. How I have always had curves and it was just so much a part of the fabric of my being. When it became a bit tender and vulnerable for me was following my fertility journey, when I saw my body shift and change and without a pregnancy or a birth to channel that acceptance. Many of my loved ones encouraged me and within my own heart, it helped to just believe that even though I didn't carry Cedar in my womb or birth him, my body grew wider, softer and went through the motions because he was so much my spirit baby. That offered comfort to me.

Many of you know that throughout our five years of trying to conceive, most of our intentions were to bring our child into our lives naturally: Herbs, meditation, tinctures, therapy, acupuncture, you name it, we poured ourselves into it. But for 5 months out of the 5 years, we tried the Western approach. I was put on clomid and HCG shots for 5 months and we did artificial insemination. Our insurance did not cover any of the costs because at the time my husband was a sexy librarian for a Catholic high school and we learned the hard way that the Catholic faith does not believe in messing with God's plan (ache. ouch. sigh). So if we didn't get pregnant naturally and needed to get out a loan for 25K, we were going to choose adoption rather than IVF because we knew we could only afford to try it once and well, our hearts needed a sure thing. ; ) At that point, we were open to whatever would bring us to our child. We have/had no judgements on any choice be it Eastern or Western but with my history, I had always noticed my body responded better to natural methods of healing. This was proven after I took clomid and the HCG shot. Suddenly, a few months after being treated, I had endometriosis. If I indeed had it before (I was never diagnosed), this medication made it 10 times worse. Suddenly, I had blood filled cysts on my ovaries, more painful cycles, I gained 15 pounds within a few months and my lilies grew from a D to a G. It was a fast transformation and it took my heart some time to catch up with it. Once we had Cedar, I put all my energy into him and tried my best to take care of each of our bodies with holistic nourishment in all forms.

Over the past few years, I began to get back, shoulder and neck pain. It hurt to walk around without a lily supporter on and if I tried to exercise, I would have to wear 2 lily supporters (thank you all for hanging in there with me and these fun words!). 5.5 years into living this way, the weight and the pain started to get so cumbersome that I did research about lily reduction.  My husband was so very supportive about me connecting with a doctor in the nearest city to just share my journey and gain some clarity, so we made an appointment with one of the top surgeons in the Pacific Northwest.

My boys and I took a trip to Seattle. They went to a really fun toy store and I went to an appointment. I remember sitting in the waiting room. Me in my layered clothes and Uggs and long dreadlocks and not at all feeling like I fit in with the rest of the women looking so put together and coiffed. But we all looked at one another, nodded, warmly smiled and felt this collective support because I know each of us were there for vulnerable reasons. When the doctor first met me in a private room, he shook my hand and said "Well you're going to be refreshing!" and at that moment, I felt he was a kindred spirit. We talked about our children and our spouses and he sat knee to knee with me in such a gentle and kind manner. I opened up with him about our fertility journey and how I responded to the hormones and of course the emotions came flowing as the story poured forth. He lightly touched my knee and I will never forget the kindness, the warmth in his eyes. "Denise, I want to reassure you that you are not alone. Many of my patients find themselves here after fertility journeys (loved that he picked up on my language). I know you never thought you'd end up here in my office but let me share with you what has happened to your body." He then went onto say that some women, those that do not respond well to synthetic hormones, can get extra tissue growth. Hence, how quickly my endometriosis spread around my reproductive organs and how my lilies grew so large, so fast and full of dense tissue rather than fat. Dense tissue is very heavy and this is where the aches and pain started for me. This is why I began to walk a bit hunched over and why the top of my shoulders have dents and bruises from the pulling. Many didn't notice my size because I chose to wear a lily supporter that was many sizes too small to pack it all in there so that it wouldn't hurt so much.

I think you know where this story is going. Walking out of his office, I felt so validated and the choice was not hard to make. The drive home when I shared it all with my husband he could see the lightness in my spirit and the freedom of sweet validation in my sing song voice. My surgery was set for a few months later and the extra tissue growth that formed from the hormones is no longer a part of my lilies and my natural form is back to the way it was pre-fertility drugs. I am now 14 days post operation and I am still healing physically but emotionally I have felt such a beautiful transformation.

Many of the loves in my life have been so poetic about this choice:  How moving to the Pacific Northwest, choosing to be a bit unplugged from the internet and being more present with my boys and my family, these lifestyle changes, shifts and choices I am making to live a year of gentleness are all connected. That it all is a metamorphosis of sorts. That I have cocooned when first moving here and now I am surfacing lighter...LIGHTER and shedding, letting go of so much that does not resonate with my heart, my body, my soul.

Its so so true. Thanks to my VERY selfless and helpful mother in-law, my dear husband and my sensitive and tender 3.5 year old, the past few weeks I have been given permission to fully REST and lay and meditate and sleep and not lift much of a finger. During this time of healing, it has all become much clearer to me. I am feeling more and more at hOMe in my skin, literally...and in my heart and I look forward to sharing much of that here in this space. I have unplugged from Facebook, from Instagram so that I can keep some things sacred, focus deeper in the present and in my close relationships and on some creative projects but I will not unplug from this space. I plan to be here more often to share this journey with you. I have needed to be quiet. I have needed this cocoon but oh how I feel an opening and inspiration is flowing. I am grateful to my readers and to my sponsors for totally going with my cocoon-y flow.

I realize the choice I made to lighten my lilies is not for everyone. I can imagine some will be disappointed in my choice and may have their own opinions about it and that is perfectly okay. I am attracted to and attract such earthy, elle-naturelle spirits. I get if it will not settle well with some. But I am in such a beautiful, solid and secure place about it (and so are my loved ones). It is human nature to project our own stories, thoughts and opinions onto others. I have compassion for all of it:  For people's reactions. For my own knowing and awareness.

I had many long emotional talks with my body before and after this procedure. We are in a good good space, my body and me. A good, tender-loving, nurturing place.

{I do feel it is important to share that my body's response to western fertility treatments is not an average or normal one.  I have never been able to take hormones (birth control pills, etc).  I am highly sensitive to it all, so know that, please...this is just my own story and it does not in any way mean it will happen to you if you are going down a similar path.  I have known many women that have been united with their children through the miracle of Western approaches and their bodies responded beautifully and were perfectly healthy.  Of course with all things fertility related, consult your healers/practitioners}

spirit babies and lipstick.

me & cedar, taken with phone yesterday

I haven't had a moment to upload photos from my sister's visit yet. I finally got my "big camera" out while she was here (lately I feel it is collecting dust). I have much to share about our time together but I don't want to share it without a few delicious images. I promise soon. I have yet to learn now to balance a heavy baby on my hip, carrying a heavy diaper backpack AND a heavy camera everywhere we go. So these days, I just snap with my phone so that I can immediately send the images to family and friends via picture message. Although, I do want to make a conscious effort to try to lug my camera around with me because yesterday at the park, Cedar kept picking little flowers from the grass and handing them to me. What a precious photo that would have been.

I want to thank those of you that left such kind, gentle and warm words on my last post. I want to thank those of you that emailed me with your own stories...being that woman in the dark room with me, blinded, feeling around for the other hand of someone who has walked this same path. Those emails are a gift to me. It gives my journey purpose more than just the growth of my own soul but also others. Oh man, what a weepy girl I have been reading your words. I feel really blessed because I know every time I take the risk of spilling feelings that could be interpreted wrongly or perhaps trigger another on this journey, it seems I am still understood and received gently. That somehow, through the clumsiness, I am understood.

A few of my friends wrote to me with tender questions. One question of whether or not Boho Boy and I are trying to conceive again. Or adopt again. With those questions was the reassurance that if we were, that they would hold this hope gently and let me guide them on how much I want them to be a part of manifesting this dream. That a space on their alter would be set aside just for us. That their knees would hit the floor in prayer for us. I wasn't expecting this at all and it really wrapped me up in a feeling of being so protected and so not alone. This journey has brought such stellar women into my life. As I type this, I weep with such awe and love for them. Love love love.

Since they wrote me curious, I wondered how many of you were curious. So, I wanted to share with you where I am with that. No. Boho Boy and I are not trying to conceive right now and there is no active energy being put towards adoption. What is happening is that something is shifting. This is the first time I am really putting this into words. I am still in the process of figuring out what this all is. I am wondering if perhaps it is a primal thing. That once your first child approaches two years, that it is natural to want companionship for them. Sometimes I feel a spirit close. Sometimes I don't. What I am doing is just really marinating in Cedar and learning how to stay present and not have expectations of anything other than the three of us. I think so much of that is about the fact that I am not one of those women that can just say..."okay, lets make a baby, I want another child!". I am not programmed to think like this. For me, that would mean doctors visits and a mindset of prayer and manifestation and dreaming and energy all towards a new child in our life. It also represents possible disappointment and fear and sorrow and I just don't want Cedar to have to absorb any of that energy. He is such a sensitive flower child. When we are off emotionally, he feels it too and it shows.

So, I suppose I am in a space of trying to hold all of this gently. To not try to control any of it. To just trust...really trust that if there is still another spirit up there, floating around us, longing to be with us, that that spirit will come into our life in unexpected ways, just like Cedar did. This is the space I need to be in. I don't want to be in a space of trying. I just don't think I can...not again. So, perhaps this is why my last post was written. It is a space that feels extra raw and tender and at a time when Spring arrives and babies are made and flowers bloom and new life begins. It all feels closer than it usually does.

I also really want to envision just the three of us or moreso just put my energy into the three of us and not so much on the future or even on the past. Just the here and now. I am sure I will process more of this here in this space...like I always do.

I wanted to share this photo above because I just am so in love with Cedar's face here. This angel, sweet presence that he has shows so much here. The safeness he feels with me. The belonging. The wise soul that he is. I also chuckle because I see why everywhere I go, people think he is a girl. It must be his lashes. ; ) Or perhaps it is just his soft gaze.

I also wanted to share this photo because you can see my new lipstick my sister bought me while she was here! Its actually two lipsticks. Nars Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in the color Walkyrie (used all over my lips, not as a liner) and Tarina Tarantino Conditioning Lips Sheen in the color Prong. This is a funny story. I was SO in the throws of PMS when she brought me into Sephora. Both of my sisters (and my nieces) are divine when it comes to make-up. They just know their colors and do it so beautifully and I have always felt clumsy and like a fish out of water in stores like Sephora. I just never felt pretty with a lot of make-up. Anyways, she let me know that most of the time, my lipstick dries and all you see is my liner and that my liner was darker than my lipstick and I was so surprised!!! I have always used Mac "spice" lip liner and Mac "cosmo" lipstick. For years and years but no one ever told me that my liner was darker. I don't have the best lighting in my home and we have just a few small mirrors. So, I suppose I never look. ; ) We laughed about it and she helped me find a new color. A color that might look a bit darker than my natural lip tint and help me not have to wear any other make-up. What's funny about this story is that I pulled her aside and cried right in the store!! My tears came from an insecurity that her and my other sister Pamela call one another up to make a plan to get me to wear more make-up. Last time Pamela was here, she bought $100 worth of make-up for me in Sephora. She asked one of the Sephora ladies to give me a make-over with foundation (i've never felt comfy with foundation but I did it out of love for my sis). I just had this vision of Pamela calling Darlene before she left to come out here and saying..."Dar, its your turn. Didn't work the first time!!!" So, I pulled Dar aside and asked "do you and Pam think I am ugly and need help??" with tears flowing and a lip pout. You really just had to laugh at the whole thing because it did seem like a conspiracy and Darlene agreed that she too would be suspicious if the tables were turned. She wiped my tears and reassured me that this is her passion and she just wants to share it with me but agrees that I don't need any make-up. Her and Pamela are not in cahoots. ; ) We hugged and she got me and I got her and arm in arm, we purchased my new lipstick with giggles. And you know what? I LOVE them and wear them every day. I like the darker lipstick, no make-up look. Momma did need a change and my sister could see this more than I could and it was such a yummy gift. Both of my sisters had sweet intentions and I am grateful for their love and caring. Darlene also got me this sparkly cream to wear over my moisturizer. It makes my skin feel luminous. This feels so much better to me than foundation. Wanted to share the love with you.

Can I be any more random in this post? You guys are seriously patient and I so appreciate you going with my flow (literally...).

; )


sunny dreads.
me walking cedar on the beach, taken by jessamyn

A few years ago I was sitting on the floor surrounded by a circle of women. Each of us, one by one, answering questions from a slip of paper in our hands. Some of them light, some deep but with the space I was in at that time in my life, anything asked of me to share felt sacred. I remember trying hard to swallow the tears I knew that would come, even at something as simple as "what is your favorite color and why?" Speaking in front of more than one person is already vulnerable enough for me but to be speaking to a circle of tender hearts that are intimately aware of my journey, it all just felt so raw and at the surface. I recall opening my mouth and when the words didn't come, covering my face and apologizing. It helped that in this circle of tender hearts, there was room for all of this and shame didn't have a place where my tears fell. What I remember most about this moment and why I am sharing this is because something a friend said to me, lifted my shoulders a bit higher and gave me strength to keep sharing. "Throughout this whole journey, you have been so graceful with your pain. I wish I could have been more graceful when trying to conceive." It felt so healing to hear this because I was feeling so completely messy at that time in my life and for someone I admired to see the dance in it all, the gracefulness, was a gift. A soft, tender, cotton-y gift I needed for my heavy heart in that moment.

Something very similar happened on the couch with my sister Darlene this week while she was here. My whole being was swirling with heightened emotions that come with the approach of my moon cycle. We sat drinking our tea on the last morning of her visit, exchanging thoughts about our time together. She had been with us a full week and had observed from morning until night how so totally full and different our life is now compared to before Cedar was born. She quietly observed new dynamics in my marriage. She watched me do the dance that day in and out can feel so invisible to the world. I felt that all too familiar heaviness in my throat, swallowing down the emotion that was swelling. It took one moment of a soft gaze from my sister and these words to crack me open..."I have witnessed so many times throughout this week when you could grit your teeth or grunt or pull your hair out but you are so graceful going about your day. You never stop, you're always moving and you do it so gracefully." Once again, the idea of me and gracefulness created a wider, more tender space for me to spill. The tears flowed and shame washed away and I felt safe to share the vulnerable parts of motherhood and marriage and parenthood through the eyes of grace rather than clumsiness.

Hours after my sister had left on the airplane towards her farm, I had felt so far from gracefulness. A week away from the computer left me feeling a wee out of touch with the outside world. I spent some time on the computer and in retrospect, I wish I had waited a few more days and just reveled in the quiet. The quiet my soul needs when my moon cycle arrives. I read a few blogs. I saw a few photos on facebook. All in celebration of pregnancy. An image of a sonogram. A swelling belly. Honest and raw spillings about the beautiful and hard parts of this new life and heart shift. I wish so much in these first breaths of coming across these images and words, I could celebrate with them. It is not natural for me to turn my ears and eyes and heart away from such a beautiful soul shifting miracle as a woman announcing she's pregnant or a stunning moment captured of a fully pregnant goddess twirling in a field. It is not natural for me to feel anger and resentment and sorrow with something so sacred and precious. Not only does it feel painful to feel these emotions but it also is painful to have to juggle the shame for feeling this at all. Eventually I arrive in a place of celebration with these sweet souls and calm and acceptance and bravery but in those first few moments, I want to crumble to the floor and weep. This doesn't feel graceful to me. This feels messy and clumsy and strained. I feel isolated and blind, feeling my way through a dark room for the hand of another woman that tried for almost five years and never once had those two pink lines appear through the stick. Five years. years...not just months.

So I laid my head down on the bed last night and allowed this all to be. I held myself close until the sorrow felt too exhausted to thrive. I took deep breaths and thought of what makes my journey unique. I thought of Cedar and the extraordinary way he came into our lives. I thought about what I would do if I was faced with a choice; A choice to be pregnant with another child, biologically ours or to be there at the birth of Cedar like I was. Cedar entering out of another woman's womb and not my own. I knew the answer. I would choose him. Yes, I would choose him.

I wish the awareness that I would always choose him would take that hurt away. Would steal away those first tight breaths upon hearing or seeing moments of the other side. A side I may never have the pleasure of feeling or knowing.

I am grateful for the dear ones in my life that forgive me when this happens. My soul sisters that are newly pregnant or fully pregnant or once pregnant that have always been gentle with these first tight breaths I feel. That have been patient and waited for messy emotions to move through me. That have wrapped me up in their arms to reassure. That have never forgotten my pain and longing. That have told me that my story helps them move more gently during the hard parts that comes with being pregnant, both physically and emotionally. That have told me they see gracefulness on this path of mine when all I see is unwieldiness. I am especially grateful for those that have no concept of what it is to walk on this path and yet still meet me where I am and remind me that regardless, they see me as whole and feminine and connected to the goddess within. It is when these souls in my life bend and leap and twirl with me, that I am taught what gracefulness truly is.

moody waters.

tree buds
tree buds at balboa park, canon 50d

I've been swimming in moody waters this past week. Some really mystical and alluring and goosebumpy...and some very languid and dark and mucky. My clear and confused thoughts and feelings ebbing and flowing...feeling pulled by the wolf moon that shined so brightly down on us. I have often been closely connected to the moon. My monthly cycle, when I am taking gentle care of my body and what I put into it, moves in sync with the moon's phases. When the moon was full, I sat out on our veranda and had to drink her in. She felt like an old, wise friend...a guide, so gentle and knowing. Everything felt so obvious for a moment, so clear under her magnetism. It made me realize how much more centered I am when I am open and connected to nature.

This has inspired a few heart soaked talks with my husband about what it is about nature that makes our hearts sing and our bodies stretch further and spirits feel at peace. We've been talking about how much we ache to leave this city and the many freeways and find our country. Root our home where there is forest and sea and miles of trails for Cedar to explore. Right now he only knows short trips to the park and busy beaches. I desire for him to lay on grass at night and count the stars and feel sheltered by tall trees. To nurture his imagination and dance with faeries and gnomes, which we always joke are "his people". We are feeling a pull to move on and because of this, I am finding it very difficult to stay present. There is a battle within to pray for and manifest and dream up such a place for us but also to stay ever grateful for where we are and what is surrounding us. I can be so hard on myself when I am in an impatient place. I feel impatient with my impatience.

And then there was the other night. I was exhausted and immobile and found myself curled up on the couch watching an episode of Private Practice while Cedar was taking his late afternoon nap. It just so happened on this episode there was a woman giving birth, naturally...drawing all her strength from within herself to work through the pain. When the baby surfaced, I found myself sobbing. Oh man, it brought up so much raw emotion for me. You know...some people have been brave enough to ask me where I am at with all of that since I adopted Cedar and for years wanted to be pregnant and give birth. Since Cedar was born, my answer was always that I feel such a healing has taken place. That I no longer have that desire to be pregnant in that it is the only way I can imagine finding my child. I learned otherwise, feeling so very connected, instantly...with Cedar, that there are other ways to build your family. So, my primal reaction to watching this woman give birth took me by surprise. So many old wounds were torn open and they stung so deep. It made me wonder if that wound would ever fully heal. It left me feeling tender. It has been almost a week since watching that show and I still feel freshly peeled and vulnerable with it all. It is not that I am currently desiring to be pregnant or even have another child. My thoughts are so full of other blessings and life transitions. Its just that ache of perhaps never knowing what it may be like to watch my belly swell and feel a baby dancing in my womb. That I may never know what it feels like to have to take deep breaths through contractions and hold my husband's hand and find that warrior woman within and push through the pain and feel a baby move through my uterus, into my arms, soaked in my flesh and blood. It is something I have to grieve when these deep aches get triggered. I need to allow these emotions to move through me without judgment or fear or impatience and nurture them with only gentleness and forgiveness.

But I have to tell you what happened once that episode was over. I heard Cedar crying, waking up from his nap and I couldn't wait to scoop him and hold him and when I did, he melted into me. Lately when he wakes up from his naps and drinks his bottle, he wants to play immediately. He is giggly and sprite and earnest. But this time he didn't even want his bottle. He wanted to lay on my chest and so I sat down with him in our huge cushy chair and we held one another for a while. He would look up at me with his sparkly eyes and then nuzzle back again into my neck. It was as if he knew I was aching and he wanted to remind me that even though he didn't grow in my womb, he has known me long before. He waited patiently until he was fully grown in my heart, before he came into our world. He reminded me that my long journey to him was like gestation and birth, constantly contracting and breathing and connecting to that warrior woman within, holding my husband's hand and never giving up until we found our child. This all came to my mind when holding him and it has been a constant comfort the days following.

I suppose I have never lived my life in a conventional way and with that, there can be pain and grief but oh the blessings on the other side. I honor all the ways we find our children and I honor all the ways we grieve the path that once was and is no longer.

Moody waters are so hard but they add poetry to my life.

cedar, me and cushy pillows.
my angel, miracle love, gnome baby

our little hobbit.

cedar hobbit, 4.5 months, taken with phone

There was this scene in the film Lord of the Rings in the beginning when all the little hobbit children were sitting on the ground at a party and the camera scanned all their sweet hobbity faces. I remember seeing this one little girl with big round eyes and a look of wonder and awe and I thought to myself "Ohhhh...how I would love to have a child with that spirit."

I didn't know that at the same time, snuggled up in the theater, that Boho Boy was having the same thoughts. He noticed that same girl in the crowd of cuties and fell in love with her spirit the same way I did.

We were trying to get pregnant, you see...so something down deep inside of us connected with that child and the ache we felt for our own.

It wasn't until about a year later, when we were talking about how we envision our child to look (like all couples do that are desiring a child)...will he/she have my eyes, my lips, my hair, etc. We both mentioned that child in Lord of the Rings.

"You saw her too?" I asked. We both felt that is how our child would look, would be.

As we were approaching the 5th year of trying to conceive, I think we forgot about that girl. Or perhaps it hurt too much to go to that place, to that dream, that vision of our child and we put it in the safest part of our hearts, tucked away.

Then our birth parents and Cedar came into our lives and the healing began and life was so entirely and utterly beautiful and not at all what we expected but everything that we needed.

When Cedar was about 4.5 months old, we were goofing around by pulling his ears back like a hobbit and taking photos for our family. Our family has always referred to Cedar as a Wood Nymph or a Gnome or a hobbit...because he just has that look, that essence to him. What blew us away is this one photo we took of him (above). Because that is the face....THE exact face of the little girl in Lord of the Rings that we often dreamed of.

Wow. Right? Wow. Perhaps our hearts always knew this and that is why at the exact moment, years ago, we both recognized that face on the screen.

So of course we're going to dress him up as a hobbit tonight...but we won't have to do much. ;)

Happy Halloween. Be fulfilled. Be joyous. Be playful. Be safe.

out of hiding and dressing up.

polaroid by deb

I have been a little fireball of energy today. It feels so good. Not the energy that would make me want to run tons of miles (i wish i loved to run. at one time I convinced myself i loved it when i lived in Berkeley and was in awesome yoga shape but in reality, i couldn't do it without music blaring to distract me from not liking it very much). The energy I feel today is more from joy and acceptance and a feeling of freedom within my body.

I am packing for my trip right now. We leave tomorrow morning. I heard that it is extremely hot there and to wear nothing but barely nothing. Since I posted my vlog the other day, the one where I am being extremely vulnerable and brave...sitting there on my floor showing all of you one of the most insecure parts of me; my arms. I have felt empowered and a bit more daring with the part of my wardrobe that I have hidden in the back (strappy light cotton summer dresses...smushed far far behind layers and layers of clothing).

I know we all have those parts of us that we are critical about. We all try to overcome them and see ourselves as our loved ones see us. One of those parts of me is my arms. I have never had thin arms. Well, I take that back. I did for a few months in my life...and that was after my boyfriend of five years and I broke up and I moved to Berkeley and couldn't bring myself to eat out of shock and I went from a size 6/8 to a size 2. I never noticed how thin I got because I was stumbling in a transition that was unexpected and trying to find my footing and I didn't have time to look at myself. It wasn't until my best childhood friend Amy came over and gasped and made me a huge plate of scrambled eggs and forced me to eat it (with gourmet love) and after a few bites, I realized I was STARVING and remembered I love food and I haven't stopped eating since. ; ) All the way up to a size 10/12. Woo hoo I love food!

Anyways, I digress. So, I have been hiding my arms a bit. Well, A LOT. So, today, while listening to Kate Havnevick on Pandora and Cedar was soundly sleeping down below, I pulled every. single. strappy. dress. out. And you know what? I had a blast!! I had forgotten how many unique and lovely dresses I have collected over the years with hopes that I would someday be brave enough to wear them.

So here I was, trying on dress after dress and viewing my whole curvy body in the one and only full length mirror we have that we cart around our house and lay against the wall wherever we are. I actually twirled and danced and said out loud...I LOVE YOU MY FORSAKEN ARMS!

Its happening folks. I am letting go. Letting go of needing to be a certain way in order to feel good in my skin. I am going to choose to be that full figured petite woman that shows her skin and embraces the goddess bits. And if through this new way of eating and taking care of myself, I lose weight, then I will love myself just the same and know my intentions are pure. Because I want to put my energy towards it not being about weight or size but about FEELING good and sexy and wanton and...well, like me. I just need to make that choice. For me. For my son. For my husband. For those that love me and have been longing for me to be more gentle and forgiving and embracing of my new fuller self.

So, I have packed only strappy dresses and nothing else. A few light and airy cover-ups if needed...but this is so exciting! Dear world...I have fuller arms and fuller bosoms and that is brilliant.

Some of you that are new to this space might be thinking how trivial this is or perhaps how vain. That there are so many more things I could put my energy into or how could I think about my arms when there are people struggling with so much worse across our precious globe. These thoughts enter my mind as well. Daily...perhaps throughout the day. And I remind myself that this isn't an issue of beauty but an issue of me overcoming those messy and hard parts that came from my (in)fertility journey. Parts that I am working on releasing and transforming into a grand purpose in my life and the life of others that have gone through what we have. That purpose is becoming more clear and this is a piece of that puzzle for me.

We are off tomorrow and I promise to document some of my appointment. My husband and I are so giddy about my dreads! I have never been so thrilled about a new hair-do. Perhaps because it represents so much more than a new, fresh style. More on that as it unfolds...