motherhood

a crystal mothering a crystal*

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Sometimes his constant connection to Spirit, to other worldly, to what is around him, to what is *in* him and his need for me to be there at every. single. moment. can be overwhelming. Exhausting. There are days when all I can do in my wee moments alone is stare, linger into nothingness or endlessness and find my breath or close my eyes and whisper that I am still here, me and these Other parts of me. I always describe him as intense on those days but really what he is, is Connected, even in his disconnectedness to people around him, he is connected to something larger and whole and of Spirit. And he just wants me there. With him. I anchor him. I help him feel safe. Heard. Understood. Seen. Calm. Believed in. What we all need, really if we admit it to ourselves.

A Crystal Child mothering a Crystal Child.

I am not used to needing to anchor anyone. I am accustom to people feeling freer around me. I am used to inspiring others to take flight. Ever moving, evolving, spreading of wings but never anchoring.

Perhaps this is the struggle I feel within, that I have felt a resistance to the past few years and not being conscious of it until now. That by me anchoring him, my son keeps me anchored. That together we are in that space to work, to own and claim and BE *in it* and not try it on and then move on to try something else, like my gypsy heart did all the rest of my years growing up. "I'm not choosing easy. I am not choosing to raise a 'good' child." I heard my friend say to me before laying her exhausted body down to sleep at the end of a very long day with her son. And it shot through me like lightning. This is it. I am not choosing easy. I am not wanting him to conform to any of my ideals. I am desiring him to be fully him, of his own mind and spirit and desires and needs. It is not me controlling him but me joining him and us teaching one another and guiding one another and working through Life on this earth together.

When I allow that surrender to come in, it breathes life into my hours spent with him on the floor, outside playing in puddles and with cars, boats, rocks, sticks, etc. Those moments where I feel agitated and bored and want to be doing something different with my time. I sit with him and share my heart with him and don't pretend to have it all together as his mother and remember that his purpose on this earth is to heal and transform and offer people wings too. I feel so utterly honored. I feel a heaviness lift and I let go just a bit more and an ease, a relief washes in. And because he is who he is, a born sage, he looks over at me and shows me he totally gets it.

The other day, Cedar said to his babysitter when they were outside "This tree feels sadness, it needs a hug". He feels so much. I feel so much. When I see this as Connectedness rather than Intensity, it shifts things for me a bit for some reason.

Truly, I am just now beginning to find words for all of this. I haven't had words. I know I am going to stumble through trying to find words. I've been quiet with everyone, about motherhood. Sharing bits with souls I feel safe with but really even being quiet with myself about it. Because I wanted it for so long. Not because I always imagined myself a mother. Quite the contrary. I didn't really have a strong desire to be a mother until I had a dream at age 30 about an angel child walking with me on the beach and having a very deep conversation with this child. When I woke, there was a knowing that I would be a mother to this child one day. My yearning to be a mother was born from that dream and was affirmed when I met my husband a year later. Then began our very long, emotional fertility journey to our child because that yearning was deeply rooted in me and that child spirit called to me every day.

Because of our long journey, I have carried a bit of guilt that being a mama has felt overwhelming to me. I see women having two, three, four, five and more children.  I see them homeschooling, with their children every moment, not having a second alone and seeming to just flow and ease into it all.  And I wonder why having just one child has felt like so much.

I feel a peace when I stop comparing. I feel a peace when I remember that the child in the dream who visited me long ago, whispered in my ear that he needed to be with me. I feel a peace when I trust this and allow it to be enough.

A Crystal Child mothering a Crystal Child.

Its extraordinarily awesome and beautiful, hard and achy, stretching, widening, opening and rad. I wouldn't change anything about it except that I need to open up about it a bit more so that I don't feel alone and all the mamas out there don't feel alone. Its easier to share the easy parts in this safe screen between us. This is way more vulnerable and risky. I am choosing to trust releasing it into this space.  I choose to trust the pull to do so.

We all have our own stories and journeys through mothering/parenting.  This is my story.  Separate but also part of a whole we all experience and feel and see in each others stories.

Bare with me as I find my words...

surrendering*

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Processed with Cameramatic app.

Most of my life, especially in my adult life, I have resisted the idea of labels. I felt they placed people in a box and the concept of boxing anyone in didn't quite resonate or feel good in my bones. Intuitively I knew we were all unique and our experiences were unique and being open to others ideas, experiences meant deeper growth and a life of possibility. I feared the limited-ness and the feeling of being controlled and my free spirit ached for the freedom beyond boundaries.

Yet, even at almost 41 years old, as I continue to seek (and drift) and expand without a desire to associate myself with any one way of being, labels continue to come into my path.  They continue to be my teacher. My vessel of messages my soul needs.  Full of nuggets of wisdom. There is always a process of surrender while trying to sort out my own freedom within these labels and our societies preconceived ideas of them: Celiac, Christian, Infertile, Endometriosis, Dread Head, Empath, Wanderer, Adoptive Parent, Free Spirit, etc. There becomes this dance between intuiting my way through life and surrendering to needing guidance and help, knowing I cannot always do it alone.  I suppose labels happen for a reason. They provide direction when we feel lost.  They provide teaching when we are needing to be a student.  They provide council when we are confused.  They provide an opportunity to go within and find our own true voices in the midst of a choir.

This is what my husband and I are moving through with Cedar. A label. A diagnosis. Our resistance to this label. Our relief upon the awareness of this label. Our confusion. Our clarity. Our "aha...this makes sense". Our fears. Our projections. A sudden awareness of our expectations of Cedar.  Releasing those expectations. Our surrendering to needing help and guidance. Our tears. Or more like...sobs. Our awakening of being chosen to parent him. Our confidence. Our lack of confidence. Our free spirits so deeply wanting to intuit everything he needs. Our surrendering to the fact that we cannot intuit his needs every moment, especially when we are learning his brain and every cell in his body receives information different than ours.

Asperger's Syndrome. High functioning Autism. Low Spectrum. Sensory Processing Disorder.

Crystal Child.

Our Cedar.

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Processed with Cameramatic app.

Suddenly, I felt faced with how to share this with others. What gave me courage is that we are one in billions of parents that are faced with labels for their children and not a lot of people know how to navigate through it all. It can feel isolating and lonely and full of so many fears.  Sometimes our fear of labels can paralyze us from giving our child what they truly need.

We are in the beginning of it all. That first awareness and overwhelm. Trying to live moment by moment and center ourselves and not allow the many opinions that may come our way to divert us from our own intuition and trust as Cedar's parents . Even the opinions to not label him. Which me, more than anyone, understands so deeply.

But I keep going back to that first moment when I heard the label and how my heart felt relief and a weight lifted and tears poured because I have always known down deep that there was something, something I couldn't grasp or understand about my precious son. I knew that most times his behavior or sensitivities came from a place that went beyond my empathy or intuition as a mama to a toddler figuring out his way in this world.  There has been completely messy moments for him and me.  Moments where I felt he was judged or I was judged and I have had to be his only advocate in a room.  The idea that I could now help myself and others understand him better, so that Cedar will have room to BE and feel safe being, offered me so much peace.

I know my son cannot be boxed in. I also know that just as I did not allow myself to be controlled or defined by any one label, I, we will raise Cedar to not be defined or controlled by any label. We will also raise him to not attach any shame to any of this as there is no shame in it. Just as I felt there was no shame in my fertility journey and sharing it out loud here on my blog has helped hundreds, if not thousands of women and men not feel alone.

As much as we go down the list of Asperger qualities and nod our head, not all of them apply to him. So we are on a journey. And this journey is all about helping him feel as safe and secure as he can when he is overwhelmed. Being married to a librarian, you better believe we have stacks of books on the subject. But we also put them aside at times, take deep breaths and not allow it to consume us or steer us away from our own intuition and free spirits. Those moments where we just hold space for him and release the need to know all the answers or strategies in that moment and to just surrender to the not knowing and what comes so easily for us, which is loving him with our whole hearts unconditionally.

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I have more to share about our process over the last few months and our choice to approach this holistically with a grain free diet, particular vitamins and minerals and tools for sensory overwhelm. We are meeting with an OT this month, have had appointments with a naturopath and phone appointments with a gentle and wise woman sent to me by a dear friend. This woman has become my life line.

In this moment, we are surrendering to the not knowing. Surrendering to the uncertainty of whether or not to embrace this label fully. Surrendering to the relief we feel when we can make sense of why he does what he does. Surrendering to the frustration we feel when we can't make sense of any of this.

Just surrendering.  Isn't that just what all parents have to do?

my wild child*

I think we made a good choice with this move, non? ; ) Look at him. Oh how I adore this wild child.

I have many posts to come. So much inner stuff going on that I would love to process in this space. But I do notice that living here, spending more time as a family, being outside most of the day and watching Cedar thrive...has taught me the essence of truly LIVE-ing. I am walking, breathing, feeling, BEing...more in the moment, you know?

I have less time to sit and process because of all this. Not to mention, Cedar seems to no longer need his two hour daytime nap. Ohmygosh! Talk about an adjustment for mama. That was always MY space to blog or clean or process. Now by the time he is indeed ready for bed, we are all under the spell of a nature drunk exhausted feeling.

But I miss being here. I miss sharing more of my life here. I know I am still in a space of getting settled and finding my way but I am writing this post as another way of reminding myself how important this space is to me. To my family. To my heart. To my journey.

I feel so much peeling and healing going on. Also so many new layers of elements I am not used to and trying to find my center with. This I will share soon.

Until then...perhaps you can try to bottle up his joy from this screen and drink it like a tincture. I know I will.

a moment in our day today*

Cedar does this so often. He wants me to sit and watch as he runs down a hill, towards me, then on top of me...to end with a mini boy hug (aka wrestle on the ground). I thought it would be fun to capture it today.

Lately I have discovered the wonder of audio books. Since Cedar came into our lives, I have not had the attention span, nor the time, to sit and read a book. I can skim through it quickly or jump around only to read a few sentences before I end up falling asleep or distracted in some way. I don't know why it took me so long to come up with the idea of listening to an audio book while doing chores or hanging with Cedar. It's brilliant!!! And I love that he is being read to as well. Although, the one I save for his nap time is "Connection Parenting...Parenting through Connection Rather than Coercion and Love instead of Fear" by Pam Leo.  Oh man, this one is full of wisdom that wraps around my heart and hugs it tight.  I find myself weepy while doing laundry and picking up his toys from ideas that resonate so deeply with me and also comfort my inner little girl.

So far, here are a few gems that I wrote down.  Will share more soon...

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"We are less likely to pass on our past hurts to our children when we do our own healing work."

"Once we understand that uncooperative behavior is a communication of a child's unmet need, a hurt, or a response to an adults unrealistic expectation, we do not have to take the behavior so personally."

"We create a strong bond over time when we lovingly and consistently meet our child's needs."

"When we learn to relate in ways that show children that their needs and feelings matter,  we strengthen the bond and avoid power struggles."

"Very young children learn conflict resolution when we model it."

"We teach children that every one's needs are important by honoring their needs.  From our example, they learn to honor other's needs."

"Children are delightful to be with when their needs are being met and nothing is hurting them."

"Whenever a child responds negatively to a reasonable request,  we look for a hidden hurt or the unmet need.  Once we acknowledge every one's needs, we can work on problem solving."

"I've learned to say...'When you behave that way, I know something is wrong.  We love each other and people who love each other don't treat one another this way. Can you tell me what you need or what is hurting you?'  If I can remember to stop and ask that one simple question, it changes the whole concept of the power struggle.  That question communicates "I love you and what you feel is important to me."

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Such good stuff...and really resonates with my soul.  I find myself so much more present with Cedar these days.  So much more forgiving of myself in those moments when I am more reactive and then I hold him and talk with him about it.  I feel as though my mind and heart are opening wider to who Cedar is and what triggers him and how I can do my best to create an environment where he feels seen and heard and loved consistently.  Right now this mama business is SO my greatest teacher.

i am here.

{me in angela's room at the farmhouse.  yet another kissy photo}

I'm here. I promise.

I arrived home from my sister's farm the night before last. I feel like I have been living out of a suitcase for the past month. We are settling in. Unpacking slowly. Laundry. Deep breathing. Restoring with sleep. And nurturing a very emotional boy. His two year molars are coming in (ouch!). He also has had a lot of change over the last four weeks with travel to and fro. Change can be hard for Toddlers. Being at the farm was healing for him in that he is SO crazy-loved by my family and of course that just makes a mama's heart swell to bursting. I remember my sister saying to me and my marmie "Cedar coming into our lives was the start of so much change and healing". I welled up with tears. I felt blessed and in awe of the gifts he shares with my family.

I apologize for being quiet here.  I am exhausted and in need of restoration. There is so much whirling around in both me and my husband's hearts and minds. So much transformation ahead of us with preparing for our move and starting a whole new life. I wonder how I can fit it all in over the next 6 months. We have so much to declutter. I would love to arrive in Washington with a simpler idea of what will fill our home.

I was chatting with another blog friend yesterday. She is so beautiful and creative and earthy and crafty and an awesome mama to her children. I was teary while texting "how do you do it all?" and she replied "i don't.  i feel messy.  i am right where you are". Then we continued for an hour spilling our stories. This is what happens when we reach out. We begin to not feel alone. I wondered if I was somehow not doing enough or being enough. I have ONE toddler boy and yet my energy towards other loves/passions in my life is barely there. I give him so much because he needs it and I give it willingly but what is left of me at the end of the day is not a whole lot. I am told that this age is a lot...a lot to breathe through.  An age where children discover their separateness from you and are full of emotions and energies that need to be explored and released.  Another dear friend of mine wrote that she drove around in her car for two hours in her pajamas just to center herself away from her children. I told her it made me fall more in love with her. We need to do this, mamas. We need to let it out and have no shame in the hard parts. For me, adding humor to them is what helps me cope. I wonder what helps you cope?

When I put Cedar down for a nap today, I went out and laid on our livingroom floor pretending I was him. I threw myself back in a tantrum, kicking and throwing my limbs about, saying "Nooooooo!"...just to see what it felt like in his body. It felt AWESOME. Now I get it. ; )

I will share more images from my visit to the farm soon. Oh, and come back Wednesday. I will have a YUMMY giveaway for you all!

{cedar in my sister's almond orchard}

circus and therapy*

We should all start eating our celery and peanut butter in the middle.  Its where the good stuff is.  I love that he does this.

My days with Cedar have been so full.  His discovery of life...of emotions and energy and feelings and desires and needs are so big and the two of us feel so intertwined.   And I am in Love.  And I am so worn.  I don't know how you single parents do it but I will forever bow down to you.  Forever.

I am so tired that it is hard to put into words how this last week has been for us.  He is discovering so much more of his separateness and is expressing it in new ways.  The best way to describe it is that I feel like all day long I am either at the Circus or in Therapy.  Our children can be our mirrors and throughout the day I feel myself being triggered in some way.  Motherhood is like a never ending therapy session.  ; )

Guess what.  Remember I said I wanted an iPhone?  Well the very next day, Cedar and I were on a hike and I slid down a muddy slope and my feet flew out in front of me and when I landed, my Palm Pre went flying in the air and crashed down on a rock.  Totally cracked and broken.  I took that as a huge sign that it was time to move on.  We got iPhone's tonight!!!  I am so giddy about the better photo quality and the fun apps to play with and the video messaging.  I heard from my friends that I may get obsessed.  Would love to hear what apps are your faves!

Would also love to hear about your creative ways of how you inspired, encouraged, guided your toddler to listen to you (when they decide they don't want to).  Also, are you into time-outs?  If not, what worked for you?  I always love to hear your stories.  Stories are so much more fun than advice.  I am loving the book Parenting for a Peaceful World but I can only read it in bits.  Mama is tired at night.

groovy grooves*

groovy grooves.
self portrait today with phone {a photo i took for a dear friend that just got dreads and needed reassurance that bumps and grooves are an everyday part of them}

this is how my life feels right now.  a little bumpy and loopy and frayed.  this is why my dreadlocks parallel my life in a beautiful, messy way.  ; )

i am having a wee bit of computer issues.  hence...the lack of posting and spilling.  i recorded a long, heart soaked vlog for all of you today and when i replayed it, i sounded like i was sitting in a closet with cotton in my mouth.  i think i cried.  well, okay i admit, i DID cry because i really wanted you to hear it.  so i will try to share again what i felt inspired to share in that moment.  it might not look the same but it will be what is supposed to be sent out into the world, i must trust.

i've had two weeks of emotional upheavally days (yes, just made up that word) with sweet, dear cedar...and his deep need to express himself, along with his frustration that he is unable to do it fully with words.  so i shared about it in a very raw and vulnerable way on the vlog i recorded this morning while he was napping.  it felt so HEALING to get it out there and release.  then he woke up and was in such a soft, cuddly, present mood with me.  our day was pretty stellar.  i took him on a nature walk and there was so much connectedness between us.  i honestly believe it was because he could feel my release of worry for him and my trust in the process and his sensitive soul opened up more space for us.  when my husband came home tonight, i couldn't stop talking about our wonderful day (because for the last two weeks, he came home to a weepy, exhausted, emotional wife).

i thought i was losing it yesterday. today i felt so centered and present and patient and alive.  motherhood is beautiful lumpy bumpy ride, man...with lots and lots of groovy grooves.

i am posting the video anyways, for those of you that have earphones and can turn up your volume loud enough to perhaps gather a few words.  ; )  just so i don't feel it was completely for naught.

sweet and soulful wish come true...

cedar necklace
self portrait, canon 50d, august break #8

I adore my dear friend Stacy's work:

"Vintage Inspired Jewelry.
Stamped with sweet and soulful sayings.
Designed to empower, encourage, heal and inspire."
~ stacy de la rosa

This is me wearing my custom made Bella Wish "Cedar" stamped silver pendant.  He is our sweet and soulful *wish* come true.

i adorn my neck with his name.
my son.  our wish come true.
we journeyed deep and wide to find him.
all while finding ourselves.
then he chose to arrive.
at a time most perfect for our hearts.
he knew when to come,
even though we longed for him so much earlier.
such a wise, gentle spirit.

{Do check out Stacy's other beautiful shop Adele's Attic.  Yummy vintage treasures from her past.}

sacred spillings.

my view from the kitchen this morning...
my view from the kitchen this morning

This week I have really felt the vibrational pull of the full moon. Feeling very introspective and sensitive to feelings of others and my own. Cedar too is quite tender. We went I believe a whole month without the emotional and physical upheaval of teething. It seems to have returned with a vengeance and with it, behaviors like throwing food, slapping mama and throwing his bottle across the room. Because I too am in a tender place with my cycle and the moon approaching, it has taken so much inside of me to take deep breaths and be compassionate about the source of his frustration and not take it personally. Boho Boy is so much better at it than I am but that could be from over 10 years of experience he had teaching elementary school. I feel like teachers should have tattoos on their forearms to remind them of the second out of Toltec wisdom's Four Agreements: Don't Take Anything Personally.

The myriad of emotions I have in regards to Cedar in a manner of just a few minutes blows me away. How I can love him so much I could cry and then need space from him and then want to hold him close and then feel hurt if he acts out at me and then laugh at his funny ways...and that was just 10 minutes. Its overwhelming and has taught me so much about myself. It has helped me slow down. It has reminded me to stay present. It has required me to tap into the deepest parts of my sacred feminine for wisdom that was not realized until now.

So much of that wisdom tells me to be gentle on myself. To be gentle and empathize with other mothers, fathers, caretakers from all types of journeys. To have compassion.

I was spilling with a dear friend of mine about some tender spaces of my journey as a mama. One of them being how even though I felt confident about some choices I made for Cedar, I felt judged at times by other mothers. Mostly strangers that would see me at a park or in the aisles of a whole food grocery store. Whether it be me feeding Cedar with a bottle or placing formula in my grocery cart or organic jarred baby food, at times other crunchy mamas would give me a disapproving look. As Cedar would be gleefully sitting in the cart (because from day one, he hated to be confined in a carrier of any kind and needed to be FREE), a mama carrying her babe tight to her chest would give me two glances and looked concerned. One women shook her head when she saw me place Earth's Best pureed food in a jar into my cart...and when at Target placing formula into my cart, a mama actually told me she was surprised I was feeding my baby formula. Do I really need to go into my story that he was adopted and I didn't have enough time to get my milk going with herbs? Or that even if I did, I had a deep fear that the herbs wouldn't work (since it didn't work for me with fertility) and the last thing I wanted to be doing was putting energy into feeling like a failure rather than feeding my son in peace and filling his belly up in a way that felt right for us? That he had GERD and needed a special type of formula to soothe his burning throat and gut? Did I need to gently pull that woman aside at Whole Foods and share with her how many times I paid hundreds of dollars on organic yummy veggies and fruit to puree it myself and for some reason that I couldn't figure out, my son would refuse to eat it and only wanted jarred food?

No...I didn't need to explain all these things to them and thankfully when these things would happen, I was in a centered space and felt deeply connected to my own story. I have always listened to my gut about Cedar and went with his flow and he is thriving and happy and well and for this, I am so blessed. So blessed that for the most part, I haven't felt a need to justify any of this.

We all go into a journey with expectations. When I married my husband, I wanted to be fully pregnant with his child. I wanted to birth my baby in a tub, leaning on his bare harry chest, guided by a doula or midwife and screaming out to God and my tribe from around the world to get me through the surges. I wanted to pull my child from between my legs and onto my chest and be wrapped up in my husbands arms. I wanted many things but those things evolved and changed and something wildly different ended up happening.

Cedar found us in another way. I caressed the belly of another goddess to speak to my child. I watched him come out between her legs and be whisked away by doctors with gloves into another room to help him breathe and take out the liquid in his lungs. I held him for the first time fully clothed and just a few hours past me arriving at an airport. But it was beautiful and the connection I felt as his mother was instant and later that night as we lay with him in a hospital bed, and my husband told me I've never been more beautiful...I realized our story was perfect for us. I was exactly where I wanted to be. My expectations fell by the wayside and I felt fully present with what was.

I just wish in a sea of mothers that hold so many expectations on themselves and others, that we could embrace one another's journeys. That breast feeding mamas, could comfortably sit near bottle feeding mamas and not feel awkward or disappointed in the other.

My friend Brooke said something to me that has lingered deep for a few days now.  She is an urban-earth mama that I deeply respect and learn so much from...

 Feeling held to standards and rules, that takes the heart and soul out of parenting.  It makes us, as mothers, guilty and it disconnects us from listening to our children as individuals.  It prevents us from showing up to the moment and doing what needs to be done given the circumstances we face.  It denies us the gift of being alive to every breath and listening to our hearts.  The rules become the goal rather than the true goal - in this case, a thriving, nourished healthful child.

These camps and rules and parenting identities - from homebirth to breastfeeding to attachment parenting - it sets up wars and builds walls between us. They are labels and ideals tearing us apart. It makes me so sad that good intentions are actually victimizing us and keeping us isolated from one another.

I really connect to this and with her permission, I wanted to share this with you.  Whether you are a parent or not, I know so many of you are nodding. This can apply to so many things in our life, really. I am putting a plea out to the Universe, to gather gentle, open minded souls to continue creating change, gentle change with these tender parts of our journeys. Journeys of all types...not just mother/parenthood.

cutting molars & a fat lip.

teething face.
cedar today in a mood

I planned on doing this romantic vlog for you all today by the window...with the light shining in and some inspirational stories about this new Kind Diet (via Alicia Silverstone's book) I am on and how wonderful I feel on it.

Then cutting more molars happened in our house. Cedar has been off and not sleeping well and the nights have been long and catching up to me. And today, in the beginning of a tantrum, I picked him up and he threw his head back into my lips so very hard. SO very hard. I finally know what it feels like to be punched hard in the mouth. I felt my teeth dig into my bottom lip and the torn flesh from it moving to the tip of my tongue and the gushing of blood down my chin. I sat there stunned. Cedar turned around to look at me, stunned. His tantrum stopped and my crying started. I tried breathing deep to stop the tears, to remain calm and unaffected in his presence but I sat there staring at him with my hand over my mouth, blood dripping through my fingers and tears, huge tears quickly spilling down my cheeks. I was a bit in shock. He rocked back and forth shaking his head and I rubbed the back of his head with my free hand. He didn't know how to express his sorrow. I understood that. I was in this strange in between place of wanting to be angry at someone for doing this to me, yet knowing there is no one to be angry at, all the while falling more in love with my son for being so empathic. What a strange myriad of emotions to feel in one moment. I had to distract him with his guitar, take a step away from him and call my husband. My heart was racing and I just needed to talk it out, to cry it out.

I know my emotions so easily came to surface because of my exhaustion and because of my approaching moon cycle and because this is the first time I've been physically injured by someone I love, even if by accident. It still feels shocking. I don't remember the last time I cried from physical pain.

Many dear hearts told me this was to come. That parents will get bumps and bruises from tantrums or what have you. I suppose I never expected a bruised, fat lip.

He woke up from his nap today and we held one another longer than usual. I sat on the chair rocking him and he was limp, feeling totally safe in my arms. I rubbed his jaw and planned my trip to Whole Foods tonight to gather herbs to make chamomile popsicles for him tomorrow. I might have one too.

Motherhood is a trip.

Edited to add: By request, here is the recipe for the Calming Cooling Herb Pops, sent to me by the wonderful Latisha (she gets her herbs at Mountain Rose Herbs):

Calming Cooling Herb Pops
2 tablespoons chamomile
2 tablespoons catnip
2 tablespoons spearmint
1 teaspoon valerian
1 teaspoon stevia

Steep in a quart size jar for several hours or overnight if possible. In a large pitcher, mix in 1/2 jar of juice and 1/2 jar of water
Pour into freezer trays
Wait about 45 minutes (depending on freezer setting) then insert popsicle sticks
Freeze overnight

Simply chamomile will do if you don't have access to the other herbs. }

java mama.

javamama3

javamama1

javamama2
cedar in the play area of java mama, taken with my palm pre phone
{view from the half moon shaped bar}

First I want to thank every single one of you that came to this space to share your own stories and experiences with the park...as new moms, not so new moms, moms of one, moms of many or those of you that aren't yet moms but have some fears or concerns. It was a beautiful and gentle dialog and I most definitely don't feel alone in this. So many different ideas, so much wisdom, such vulnerability, philosophies, analogies...WOW. I am touched and moved beyond words.

I felt really brave yesterday walking into Java Mama. It is a darling cafe in town that just opened up, specifically for care givers to bring their little ones (ages 6 and under) so they can work on their laptop or gather with friends while supervising their children in a play area. They designed a bar in a half moon shape facing the play area, so you can sit up on the stools, sip coffee or tea and observe. Boho Boy has been wanting to stop by for ages and yesterday, on the way to the beach, we did. Oh I am so glad we did!

I'm not sure if it was the groovy tunes or the laid back atmosphere or the urban funky setting (perhaps all of the above), but the children were just all so mellow, kind and gentle with one another. Plus there were parents sitting side by side, drinking their yummy drinks and winking and smiling at one another. My heart felt like it was bursting. I really needed this soul balm.

There was this one two year old boy with curly locks of hair that kept following Cedar around and handing Cedar his toys and sitting patiently with him. I felt like he was such a wise spirit, knowing Cedar was 6 months his junior and is just now learning how to interact with others. I kept looking around for his mother, who was watching him intently but everyone seemed to be watching them. I then saw this one woman, breastfeeding a newborn. She had such a kind face and laid back demeanor, I wondered if it was her. Somehow I just had a feeling. When she came closer to me, I leaned over and asked "Is the boy with curly blond hair yours?" She said "Yes!" but with a worried look on her face. I told her "He is just being so gentle and sweet with my 18 month old." She looked like she was about to cry and thanked me. I could tell she really needed to hear that. We then watched our children together for a while and she shared with me her own stories about parks and her first born and her emotions surrounding the dynamics.

An hour later, Boho Boy and I were gathering our things and walking out. He encouraged me to go get her phone number. I felt so totally nervous and shy but as I took four steps outside, I wondered if I would ever see her again...even though she had shared with me the parks she felt comfy at and I may go, I wondered. I suppose I couldn't miss this chance to allow my son to connect with another sweet spirit and for me too.

So, I went back in and clumsily approached her and shared that I'd love to meet her here again. She blushed and said "me too!" and we wrote numbers on postcards that were left at the shop by some artists. While she was writing her number down, I was chatting with her newborn boy in her arms. He started smiling huge and cooing and chatting back and forth with me. She seemed stunned and said to her friend "Oh my gosh, she's making him smile and talk!" My eyes got teary. I said "Maybe he's just pooping" and she assured me he wasn't and that he never does this with people. It was pretty dreamy and I think it created a safeness between us.

I know this was a gift. A gift for bravely putting it out to the Universe hard emotions surrounding the park. Emotions that could have easily been judged or not received in gentleness. But you all circled and it opened up a space for each of you to share in such a raw way and to learn from one another. I honor it all. Every person and child are different and need different things but with that, we were all able to be with one another's hearts. Even if we felt differently.

Perhaps Java Mama is my in between. A small, quiet, safe and groovy place to take my child, to get him acclimated to other children...with music freely playing, encouraging him to dance and twirl. They even have a little outside play area. Perhaps for a few months I can take him here and then if he makes a few friends, I can venture into the big world of Parks where older kids roam.

I learned so much about myself through this experience. I paid attention to the mirror that was in front of me where some old wounds from my childhood surfaced. I was able to close my eyes and sit with that little girl that was shy and perhaps a bit bullied on the playground or in school by louder more outgoing children. I gave her love and wrapped her up in courage and whispered in her ear all the wonderful things she would do with her life along side family and friends.

I also learned what I am and am not comfortable with and allowed to embrace that with gentleness rather than shame. I learned to let go of expectations and to breathe into the unfolding in front of us.

In a nutshell, I've lightened up a bit and next week, I will go to Java Mama rather than the park and see where that takes me. I had not an ounce of anxiety in that place. Quite the contrary...I was filled up and energized and inspired.

I am listening to my body, my soul and my mind and it tells me where to go.

park anxiety.

park bridge

Okay, I wanted to talk about this in my previous post but I hesitated and ended up talking about Cedar being tall (hello, boring!). What I really wanted to spill is that I am having some serious Park anxiety but this is a tender subject and I am needing gentleness about it.

All of you helped me so much by sharing your very vulnerable and courageous stories about behavior and parenting during awkward moments involving other children and/or parents. So, I did feel validated, prepared and lifted up should that happen again...at the park or anywhere. My anxiety is not at all coming from that issue.

I can be a naturally shy person, so striking up a conversation with strangers takes a lot of energy but since the Park is sometimes my only social venue during the day, I am trying. What I notice is that mamas just don't respond or open up to my sharings and after the fourth try, I feel my heart sink. Many times I get odd looks or stares and I am wondering if it is my dreadlocks. ; ) Well, the park that we now go to is smack dab in the middle of upper middle class suburbia, so perhaps my violet red locks do stand out. But I think I am SO approachable!

Oh, this is all so new to me and I suppose I am fumbling with it. I am really wanting to marinate in my time with Cedar there and be present with the idea that it is okay if he is my only kindred spirit. Although, I did come home feeling deflated and discouraged and soooo craving a move to Bellingham. Like now.

I laid my head to sleep last night and sent those mothers love and compassion and wondered if they too were just shy and novices at this whole park dynamic. I have often heard of people joke about Park politics throughout my life but I ignored it. What ARE park politics? Enlighten me.

The fact that Cedar stopped what he was doing AGAIN yesterday and danced his heart out when the ice cream truck pulled up with music, created such a space of soul balm for me.

I don't at all have expectations to make friends at the park. I am circled by an amazing group of women in my life.

Tell me your stories. Was it awkward for you at first bringing your first toddler to the park? Does everyone feel this way or am I just a weird bean?

the park.

cedar at park.

It took me about a week to take Cedar back to the park after this day I captured above. You see...there were boys teasing him. He was being a bit bullied. There I stood even more confused than him. What is my role? Do I allow these events to unfold before my eyes, hoping for a teachable moment? Allowing Cedar to find his own center without me trying to find it for him by scooping him up and removing him? This is what I wanted to do. Remove him. Run away. Protect.

My heart broke into thousand jagged pieces to see him be so misunderstood. Cedar can be a bit quirky. If he hears a plane far up in the sky flying over the park he will stop, point and scream out. He is obsessed with planes and helicopters. If there is a hint of music from a car driving by he will stop what he is doing and start grooving, in his own little world, bobbing his head with his eyes closed, feeling the rhythm deeply with every orifice of his body. He doesn't care who is watching. When he sees someone he is attracted to, he will squeal, run and hold onto their back if they're sitting down. The older, tougher boys saw these things and decided to mock him, to run up to him and scream in his face. Their mothers giggling a bit along with them as I looked over to them for support. I felt like I was outside of myself, looking down at what felt like a scene from my elementary years. I know I was a bit quirky too.

It hurt me more than it did Cedar. He ran to the sand with his truck and smiled at the little girl beside him. I sat there holding back my tears. I know my emotions were coming from a deeper well. Perhaps some fears. Some unknowns about how to mother and parent in situations like this when he is older and either being the one that is teased or the one that is teasing. Knowing that there is that space between how we desire our children to be in this world and how they will naturally unfold and the process of letting go and accepting and not projecting.

This is all such new territory for me. Feeling so protective of my sensitive soulful flower boy and yet knowing he needs to explore and discover and evolve without me hovering. Also getting that there are times he too will channel his myriad of emotions into acting out at others. So this gives me compassion for those boys. Although I didn't feel that compassion right away. It took a week for me to get there. A few emails sent between family and girlfriends, being supported and guided and reminded that those boys need to be sent love and that their behavior comes from a deeper root.

I felt guilty that it took me a week to get there. Perhaps as time goes by, as these situations happen more often than not, it will come sooner. The ability to breathe into the hurt and the need to protect and soften the knee jerk reaction of judging or assumptions. To remember that some of my child's experiences may be a mirror to my own hurts and that it can be a teachable moment for both of us.

Perhaps most of all, Cedar's reaction is my greatest teacher that day. The fact that he walked away and found a spot with a like-minded soul and continued to play and create despite those voices whispering to him that he was different and different wasn't cool to those boys. He was so grounded in who he was and he found another soul that got him.

This is just the beginning. I know, I know...and I am grateful for the gentle souls in my life circling me through it all. Circling us. Celebrating this journey.

separateness & togetherness

boho bebe.

I'm upstairs in the loft while Cedar is napping. Me and the wide screen hanging out for a few minutes. I am drinking my second cup of yerba mate today. Creamed up with vanilla rice milk and agave nectar. Most of you know this is my drink. This is my morning nectar and today it is my afternoon nectar. A moment ago, I sat back in my chair, just gazing at the steam moving upwards passed the lip of the mug. The only sound I could hear was the hum of the baby monitor. The slight buzz of the ionizer inside where Cedar is sleeping.

I am in that realm of welcoming this space from him but also missing his enchanting spirit. I am also recognizing that he needs space too. Sometimes he loves to just hang out in his crib. Flipping through a book or playing with his stuffed puppy or standing up and holding onto the bars, dancing and making himself laugh. I remember my sister once telling me "babies need their space too...just like we do. don't be afraid to give it to him when you sense it." I hear her voice whispering those words a lot. Cedar does like his alone time. Its a beautiful thing to witness. This separateness that he is beginning to embrace. It makes those moments when he needs me that much sweeter. When he leans towards me to hold him or lifts his arms up for me to carry him or crawls over to me, stands up with the help of my knees and lays his head on my lap. Lately its a dance between really needing me and really craving independence. I thought this would be really hard for me, this shift...but I am finding myself resonating so much with him. I have always needed my alone time. That balance between needing touch and needing space. So I get it and respect it and marvel that he is so in touch with himself.

Last night Boho Boy and I were talking about all of these new shifts that are happening with him. How he's gaining confidence in his personality, his wit and his ability to commune with us. We are almost convinced he is going to be the funny dude. He spends much of his time trying to make us laugh. In this really intelligent, almost adult way. I am quite used to this, really. Boho Boy is so naturally witty. Within minutes of first meeting him, I was bent over in pure gut laughter. I've always told him he could have been a stand up comic or an actor of sorts. He always nods his head. He knows this but he has chosen to share his wit sparingly, surprisingly and at just the perfect moments, surrounded by people that are perhaps shocked by it. My mother would tell you I am really funny but I am not sure if a lot of people see me this way. Especially in this space. I think people assume I am always so serious and emotional and ever tender. Which, is true...but I do have a side to me that is comical. I suppose it is reserved for those moments when all is aligned and I am feeling secure and clear and damn tired of feeling blue. So, perhaps Cedar has picked up on this energy. The obvious energies and the ones in between. Or perhaps when he was a spirit baby floating around us before he came into this world, that he was the clown out of all the spirit babies and knew this was the house where we would let him shine and spread his wings and let loose and crack us up.

I am just really in love with him. Not just because he is my son and because his journey to us was just so fricken wild and whirly and life altering. I love him because he's really fun to be around. I enjoy his company. I want to be inside of his mind and his soul because there is just so, so much there...in his eyes, in his movement, in his pauses, his wide baby tooth smiles and in his serious, lingering gazes. I feel I have known his soul for lifetimes. Sometimes when I gaze in his eyes, it feels so familiar, like..."oh, hello again...its you." You know what I mean? There are few people in my life where this soul recognition has happened and he is one of them.

This morning I brought him into bed with me when he woke up. Daddy was in the shower, so it was just me and him. He sat up and immediately pointed to the firefly lights hung across our wall. "Yes, fireflies!" I said and then I asked..."Can we just cuddle a bit more?" I could tell he was in a joyful mood and wanted to get right to business out in our bright sunny living room. But after he saw the look on my face he plopped his whole body onto my chest and wiggled his nose into my neck and stroked my arm for a while. I held him close and took deep breaths, marinating in our limbs intertwined. Just when I was about to shed a tear, I felt his chubby finger reaching for my nostril. He then stuck it in slowly and I gasped and he lifted his head up and we looked at one another. He had a huge smile on his face and then giggled into my chest. And this was how we begun our day. Our separateness and togetherness.

pola magic.

cedar & me1
cedar & me2
us.
pure joy

As promised, here are the Polaroids that Susannah took of us while she was here visiting. This meant so very much to us since the last photo session we did as a family was when Cedar was 3 weeks old...with the amazing Tara.

I may have mentioned already that Cedar took us by surprise a bit by his modeling skills once Susannah started clicking. He would be in full throttle laughter and as soon as he saw the camera pointed at him, he would look into her lens and give her this "camera face" you see above. Where did he learn how to flirt with the camera so intensely? We were cracking up.

I am so impressed with her Polaroid magic. The first time I saw her in action with this type of camera was at Squam this year and she captured such moving imagery. Especially with portraits. When friends of mine have raw talent like this, I never take that for granted or assume they will bless me with any of it. So, when she expressed how deeply she wanted to capture us with her Pola, I was touched and well, I think it shows that I feel so very honored.

me & susannah
me & sus

It was healing. She helped me to feel so beautiful that day. I am going through this thing where I feel a bit frumpy and tired and new-mom-ish and Susannah danced through and brought some sexy into my life. She encouraged me to take down my vintage boots and wear tights on my legs and a dress that showed them and just like I felt transformed with lingerie a few weeks back, I felt transformed again. There was a moment when she was telling me to do this more often. To keep my boots down from the closet and make time to dress up and go out...even if alone. I got teary. Sitting there in a cafe, with her shooting me with her Pola at our table outside, I just realized how I feel I had perhaps lost that part of myself. That girl who dances in her boots.

I do love so much to put on my layers of organic cotton and play on the floor with my boy and get messy each mealtime as him and I help him to explore food. I do adore and marinate in all of those moments. I think what I realized is that with the messyness and play and hard work of a new mom, that it is so important to nurture the other parts of us. The parts that came before. When those neglected parts are nurtured, it helps me to be more present and have more reserves for my sweet family.

I am forever learning. Forever doing my inner work as a new mother, wife, daughter, sister, friend, artist. It seems every day I learn something huge and even if its the same thing I may have forgotten the week before, it looks different today.

quiet sense of self respect.


"Your Child's Self Esteem" by Dorothy Corkille Briggs

My dear friend Karen handed me this book while I was sitting at her dinner table one evening. I'll never forget that evening. I was trying to hold it together as someone who was just about to become a mother. I was someone who was just about to become a mother to what may have been a preemie. I was someone who was keeping her phone close because that call might come and I'd fly out to Oregon from wherever I was and, with my husband, help our birth mom bring our child into this world. Something we had never done before. Something we weren't trained for.

My mind was buzzing that day when I pulled up to her Zen retreat of a house. She was the most perfect soul to be with. It felt like she had gently enveloped me into her arms just by her reassuring whisper at the table that night. In her presence I just knew everything would be alright. I felt a quiet strength from her that I needed.

In her book {Momma Zen: Walking the Crooked Path to Motherhood} she talks very honestly about her experience as the new mother of a precious preemie. A book that has guided many mothers from all walks of life and from all experiences through a time where we are all feeling so raw and vulnerable and perhaps misunderstood. I was honored to be sitting at her table that night...eating her healing soup and soaking in every confidence she had in me as a mother to be.

Her and I giggled at the cover of this book (above) that she lent to me. A sweet retro image of a naked baby in the bushes, holding a flower and totally in bliss. This so reached out to the hippie in me. ; )

I just recently started to read it. It has been nestled in my book shelf since. I knew there would be a time when I would need to and I didn't rush. In fact, I stayed away from many books in the beginning so that I could learn how to listen to my own intuition.

Now that Cedar is crawling and exploring and indeed developing his own person, I have felt that need to open up my arms for help. But gentle help and how gentle does this cover feel?

So I opened it up and ohhh...it is wonderful.

There was this one quote I wanted to share with you. Mainly because it applies to anyone, wherever they are in their life and to me, it provided comfort.

"High self esteem is not a noisy conceit. It is a quiet sense of self-respect, a feeling of self-worth. When you have it deep inside, you're glad you're you. Conceit is but whitewash to cover low self-esteem. With high self-esteem you don't waste time and energy impressing others, you already know you have value."

Learning to parent a child is also like therapy for self. I feel like I have always had a quiet sense of self-respect. In an online world where I am encouraged to market myself and talk more about how fabulous business is going, it has felt a bit outside of my comfort zone. I have questioned if I am cut out for this because I have never needed that attention to fill me up. This quote helped remind me that how I am is okay and that perhaps my business will continue to grow because of my heart and who I am rather than me trying to impress the masses. There is a place for me in this online world of business and I will figure it out as I go. I want to learn how to grow my business through my story and not my ego.

balancing my family, my dreams, my loves, my life.

cedar & me

dreads...day ten
cedar & me, taken by boho boy

I've been a little quiet in this space this past week for a few reasons; had cold, cedar caught mini tummy flu, swamped with work during every spare moment I can spare, really.

So the house looks disheveled. The laundry is in sweet lil' piles. We are tired of take out (even if its healthy take out). ; )

July, August and September are the busiest months for my husband. Not only does he have his full time day job as a sexy librarian but he has his own business, a sweet gig of designing databases for online homeschools. The Summer months are crazed for him because he's needing to build and make all of these changes to prepare for when schools start in the Fall. This means when he comes home from work, he still has to go up to the loft and work until the wee hours of the morning. Everything with databases is surrounded with a "we need this now!" energy and it is challenging to plan our lives around him putting out fires all the time. Its tough for him because he would rather be spending time with us but it helps to remember this is temporary. Although as much as it eases up in the Fall, he will still have to work each night but perhaps not until the wee hours.

It just so happens that my cup has runneth over as well the past few months as far as work goes, which I am feeling so blessed about but also trying to figure out a way to balance it all. My priority is obviously Cedar and being as present as possible with him throughout the day. But when my only time to work right now are his naps and a few hours after he goes down for bed (because my shoots are on the weekends), then other things like cleaning and laundry and creative meal planning drift away into a vortex of nothingness. If Boho Boy only had his day job, then I know I would have my nights and weekends free but for the time being, I don't have that luxury.

The thing is...because I have passions and dreams and ideas that are bubbling within me, I know that I will always be in a space of learning to balance it all with being the most attentive and intuitive mommy for Cedar and loving and supportive wife to Boho boy.

I don't feel comfy with the feeling that I get bummed if Cedar's nap is shorter than usual because I still have work to do. But at the same time, when I toy with the idea of not working for a while, that doesn't feel right either. Not only for financial reasons but for heart reasons. I feel too inspired right now.

I also know that this time with Cedar is so precious and it goes quickly. This time where he is not yet walking and is a wee cherub babe in my arms. Plus all we had to go through to meet him and be with him...it just creates a sense of wanting to marinate in him that much more.

I have also always said that because it took so long for him to get there, that I had ample time to figure out who I was as an artist and what I needed to put out into the world. So, as soon as my career was flourishing and my book was coming to fruition, Cedar happens. Awesome timing my love!

Its so interesting. It all comes full circle, really. My longing for him brought so much clarity for me as an artist and now that he is here, I want to share it, explore it, do it...you know?

I know this is an age old dilema. How do working moms do it all. I know there are a million books out there about it...and if I had time to sit and read them, I would flip through a few.

This is the first time I have tried to voice was is going on inside of me through words. So, I am not quite sure if it is coming out as articulately as I want it to.

I suppose I want to pose a question to all of my readers that are either mothers, fathers, caretakers of children but also work from the home. How do you structure your time so that you feel your child, your partner, your home, your health, your work are all receiving the attention they need?

I know we are all different...and because of this have different needs. I know we all have different stories and there is not one answer and that is why it will be fun for me to read all the stuff you've tried and perhaps something in the midst of it all will resonate with me. Comments are way easier for me to read in doses rather than a book right now! I also feel as though I have attracted many like minded souls here in this space and find you very interesting people.

I've always been one to go with my intuition and my inner voice and not ask a lot of advice. Although, lately I feel a bit worn and overwhelmed and am in need of some fresh ideas and inspiration in regards to all of this.

So my lovely buckets of warmth, love and inspiration...do share what works for YOU and your families. How do you balance your family, your dreams, your loves, your lives?