happy new near from the bohos*

Boho Boy's brother Jon-Erik has been with us for over a week now. He flew into Northern California to stay with us at my sister's farm and followed us back home. The boys are keeping me very busy! They did a little New Years ditty for y'all at one of our favorite parks (above).

I'll come back soon to share images and stories of Christmas at the Farm.

Blessings to each of you as we journey into a New Year full of possibilities.



"On the longest night of the year, as we prepare to enter back into the light, it is important that we honor the darkness with as much reverence as we do the sun's return. Gestation and regeneration take place in the dark. We once grew in a dark womb. Plants begin their lives under the dark cover of soil before they emerge into the sun. Our dark places are not to be feared. They are as necessary to life as the light. Without a shadowed haven into which to retreat, even the life-giving sun will eventually kill you. The light and the darkness give balance and perspective to all of life."

Thoughts on the Solstice sent to me tonight by my love Mani.

{dream catcher was a beautiful gift from my friend rain, custom made by roots & feathers.  the star ornament is a gift from my friend sus and i hope she leaves from where in the comments because i know you'll ask!}

shedding, peeling, healing, changing*

self portrait today

The other day I was driving down a coastal road and the song Dream by the Cranberries came on the radio. A rush of memories swirled through my mind. That song seemed to carry me through so many enormous transitions in my life. Somehow it would end up playing at just the right time. I remember it being on repeat when I would take jogs around downtown in Northern California or on a hike with me in the hills overlooking the valley or when I would pull the top down on my Tracker and ride to Santa Cruz with my long ponytail flapping through my denim Gap cap. Still...the other day, it came on and I rolled down our windows even though it was raining and I looked back at Cedar with his eyes shut and a huge smile on his face. I had one of those happy cries. The kind where you giggle to yourself and a tear follows and your breath deepens and it just feels goooood.

I needed this moment. Life has felt intense lately. I've really pulled in and am in a space of peeling layers of old. I told a friend tonight "we grieve over things lost even when they are not good for us. even when we no longer want or need them in our life, we still hold love in our hearts for them. its a shedding, a peeling off and it hurts and leaves us raw and in time, some longer than others, it heals." I am in that space where in order to live in this new life fully present, I am needing to let go of old ways of being and there are so many layers to that.  It involves how I move my body, what I put into my body, the relationships in my life, in my family, the way I share myself with others, the way I communicate and connect and its not just one big thing its tiny little things among each of these that add up to feeling enormous right now.  But its beautiful.  Its hard.  Its ugly.  Its vulnerable.  Its frightening as heck.  But its also so very freeing and grounding all at once.  And I feel so very blessed because I have had new and old dears come to me, without me seeking them out, that have been so very patient with this process, and I feel like each of them have been aloe to my soul...to the wounds that are left from the peeling.  I am a sensitive being and I know that cannot be easy for others at times but man, the gentleness this attracts into my life is mmm mmm good.

I see a lot of peace coming around the corner for the new year.  I see a lot of change.  I see being the change.

yummiest. parenting. book. ever.

restoring my spirit*

{our frosty branch one morning}

I've received quite a few emails asking if everything is okay.  Many so curious as to why I have been quieter than usual here in this space.  And because it hasn't really been a conscious decision, I've had to ask myself the same questions.

I feel like moving here has birthed a transition within me, not just in body (obviously) but in spirit.  Its been happening mildly, slowly...ever so gently but I feel like this is just the beginning of shedding layers, healing past wounds, opening to new ways of being in this world and restoring my spirit .  I suppose with this transformation, I am listening deeper and paying attention more quietly than before. In the past I would work through my life by writing it out. Now I find myself sitting with it.  Meditating on it all.  Seeking in solitude.

Our lifestyle has changed so much, so fast with my husband working from home, just a door knock away, living in a real house with a backyard and front yard and neighbors that pop by, with forest a few feet away and ocean a few blocks away.  We've been nesting and exploring.  I thought when we first moved here, we would dive deeply into community but we found ourselves pulling in as a family.  Slowly rooting ourselves, becoming familiar with our surroundings but mostly just craving togetherness.  And it seemed until most recently, I only had energy for the three of us, really and creating a space that nurtured each of our spirits.  Only just now do I find us having the energy and space to connect to community and to other parents and their children.  Perhaps we were also following Cedar's groove, who seems to be at a time in his life where he is wanting to invite others into his wild imagination when for so long he preferred to be alone in his own world.  Its so beautiful to witness him opening, connecting to others and how he seems to be able to find kindred spirits.

{cedar exploring frost for the first time}

{cedar pretending to be a barista making me a latte}

For over ten years I lived in an area where I didn't feel I belonged as much as I tried to.  And the community that held me so close during my fertility journey was my online community of gorgeous bright creative motivated world changing bloggers.  Connecting to my friends within this tribe was through emails and texts and comments on blog posts, facebook and twitter and instagram...and occasional meet-ups or retreats or phone dates.  And for an introvert like me who needs a lot of alone time, these connections served my spirit.  And of course, they still serve my spirit.  I think because I was not connecting on a deeper level with anyone local, that I grew accustom to my online connections being the only friends I felt safe to let into my heart.

What I am realizing now that I am living in a seaside town full of kindred spirits, is that I have almost forgotten what it is like to have a friend that lives down the street that I can call and meet up.  Or have people that show up in my life, not only on "my" time but also on theirs.  It's as if since moving here, I have resisted this type of intimacy because it felt THAT foreign to me and almost a bit over stimulating for my introverted self.  Although I know it is what I need and what my son needs and my husband.  We have for so long talked about going back to simplicity as a family. Connecting deeper to nature, less time with technology, more reading, more community...slowing...slowing.

This is what I mean by a slow transition.   I didn't want to drastically transition from online world to in person world.  I found myself pulling back from my online life and sitting with it.   Asking myself many questions.  What is it like to live my life and not share so much of it publicly?  I felt like I was constantly checking in with my heart...am I doing this for me?  Am I doing this to share it with the world?  Have I forgotten what it feels like to not be so SEEN?  I wanted to remember.  To remember what it was like to live each day and hold it close...for myself and those around me.  I suppose it sounds a bit selfish as I am writing this out but I think for me, for us, it was selfish in a healthy way.  Healthy in the way of cocooning or hibernating when you know your body needs rest and when you know in order to be a good friend, sister, daughter wife, mother, you need restoration of some sort.

Now that I am somewhat surfacing and opening myself up to this community, a few mamas have come into my life organically.  A new cafe opened up here downtown for parents of children with a huge play area.  I have met a handful of gentle mamas and a few where Cedar really connected with their children and we've exchanged numbers like we're "dating".  I also have been invited into a women's circle by my dear friend in town that has held our family so gently and has been SO patient with my need to be quiet.

With all of this opening for me, I am in a space where I want to find a balance between my online connections and my in person ones.  I don't have the answers yet but I am surrendering the idea of needing to have it figured out.  As I am rising out of this quiet space, I see all of my dear, deep, soulful online friends rocking their online spaces;  eCourses, workshops, books, book tours and so much more.  On some days, it takes an enormous amount of energy for me to not compare myself to them, knowing that me pulling back, cancelling my eCourse, putting aside my book, taking a break from photography sessions, postponing teaching a class at a retreat this fall, was a healthy choice for me and my family during this time of transition.  Perhaps there will be a time for me to enter back into being more public or perhaps I will dive deeper into this community and put my energy into those spaces.  I am unsure.  What I do know is that this next year, I am going to continue on the path of restoring my spirit and I am still learning what that is because I feel like so much is shifting.

{self portrait in our hotel elevator in Victoria, B.C.}

{getting a yerba mate latte, downtown Victoria}

Its actually been really nice living deeper in each moment without the urge to run to the computer to share.  I notice I am more present in those moments and I am discovering a whole new kind of sacredness in this quiet.  Perhaps I will learn how to bring this sacredness into my writings again.  

So, I suppose all of what I shared may answer those questions I've been receiving in my inbox asking if I am okay.  I am grateful that by you asking this question, I was given the space to explore it and learned that, yah...I am more than okay. It feels good to acknowledge that.

guest post by stephanie ~ winners announced*

I’m back!

Wow, just wow. I’ve enjoyed every moment reading through each comment on my giveaway and visiting your beautiful sites and blogs. I related so deeply with the comments, as if I wrote the some of the words myself. I look forward to nourishing these new connections.

I am humbled by the outpouring of honesty. You are an amazing tribe and I am so grateful to be a small part of it. I truly felt the common thread running through the responses...desires to find oneself, find your balance, get healthy, extend the love you have inside outward, slow down. Its possible to get there...sometimes just putting it out there for all to view helps you see your own truth. Your desires become real. I encourage you not to stop here.

I would love to know if anything has changed for you since posting. Have you acted any differently, noticed a subtle awareness, experienced any synchronicity? Let’s keep this conversation flowing. You can email me at wellnessbydesignsp@gmail.com as comments are down for a bit on my blog.

Congratulations to Joanna and Karis! Please send me your emails so that we can set our little date up! XO {note from boho girl: stephanie became my holistic health coach a few months ago. i also consider her my heart and soul coach. the reason why i wanted to share her with you is because she is THAT fabulous and THAT real and THAT inspiring and THAT yummy. she's been so patient with me and compassionate and one of the things i love most about her is she truly LISTENS without projecting. she allows you to be you. my favorite trait in a person.}

holiday nourishment GIVEaway*

Oh hello there*. I’m Stephanie. A mama of two boys. Artist. Holistic health coach. Sometimes overwhelmed. Sometimes reaching for a little sweet when stressed. Recovered {mostly} emotional eater. Constantly rediscovering how real food makes me feel alive, fog lifted. Lover of twinkle lights, painting, the smell of beeswax, secret gardens, sea glass & driftwood, horses with curly manes, candlelit conversations, skirts & boots, wool anything, woodland walks with her boys and a bit of mercury glass. Major passion for working with other creative women. Seeker of deep connections. So honored to meet you*.

I work with women. Mama or not, single or together. Those who are a bit lost, at the end of their rope. Done with diets. Struggling with something but can’t quite put their finger on it. Knowing there must be something better. I’m here to say that if you choose to walk a different path I can walk with you. Support you and hold space for you. Together we can create something sacred.

I am beyond excited to extend my gratitude to the Universe and all it has given me. My greatest wish is to give back in some way, so today I am offering up an opportunity for a free “Holiday Nourishment” session to two special readers of Denise’s poetry.

Gently guiding you toward simple, less stress and a bit of magic. I’m here to help you get your twinkle back.

This is your chance to really make the holidays what YOU want them to be. It’s an opportunity to go from wishing to doing. 50 minutes of one on one time carved out and customized just for you.

First, we will set a time to have a chat. Don’t forget your cup of tea and a cozy blanket. We will talk, ask questions and connect. After our session you will have some new goals and a deeper sense of what you need to do for yourself to make some magic happen. Then, I’ll follow up with you with some recipes and tips that will help support your and your new intentions.

GIVEaway: For a chance to be entered into the drawing, please leave a comment on this post (one comment per person, please) and share your biggest, deepest or secret holiday wish! The two winners will be announced in 5 days when the giveaway ends.

{To get in touch with Stephanie, you can find her on Facebook or stop by and visit her new blog.}


Cedar is three today.

Three things about Cedar.  He's...

A little bit Comical. A little bit Soul. A little bit Zen.

I sit here snuggled up on the couch, gazing now and then in front of me at the birthday fort we built Cedar.  Each year we promised to do this and he wakes to a corner of fabric and pillows and balloons and a few presents.  His sacred hideaway.  His little cave.  It stays up for a while.

Yesterday, as I made the tiny preparations for his special day, I walked around in a bit of a haze and felt my heart both ache and soar about all of it.  His growing up feels so sudden.  Once he grasped language and could communicate fully, I was able to see deeper into layers of who he is.  And as much as his discoveries and sharings and imagination is so new, my connection to his stories feel so ancient, so familiar.  All those years of trying to conceive, it was this very spirit that he is coming to be, that I felt near me.  I probably say this often.  I don't remember.  But it is THAT true and wild.  I knew him before he came to us.  I heard his whispers.  And now...I get to feel them close, like when I am laying with him in bed and he puts his arms around me, rests his forehead on mine and says "lets talk mommy" with his sweet breath tickling my nose.  And oh the talks we have.  This is just the beginning.

As Maezen said to me earlier today..."3 is little. Little and wise."

More soon.  I've pulled in a bit, slowed down as the darkness of winter approaches and the chill in the air beckons me to snuggle in.  Reading this book again has awakened my heart.  Just returned from a long weekend away with a soul sister in need.  Life feels different to me as I re-enter.  I am navigating my way through it and brought to a space of slowing and savoring.



sponsor guest post ~ elise of peaceful mommas

I’m so excited about my newest class, Holiday Grace.

Don’t you just adore the name? I know – me too! In this online class, we’re gonna’ cover:

  • Saying NO WAY to media-induced comparison. (I mean seriously, why do we even allow ourselves to feel bad that we cannot afford to buy our spouse an expensive car for Christmas? It’s just silly.)
  • Dreaming. When was the last time you made time for yourself to think and dream about what you want these next 7-weeks to be like? We don’t. It’s all too easy to get caught up in the stress.
  • Handling other people’s (family members mostly…I know) anxiety with grace.
  • Stress-free budgeting. (#1 comes in here again. It’s a major theme.)
  • Creating traditions.
  • Staying calm.
  • Enjoying (not stressing out over) the week-before buzz.
  • Moving into January with love and ease.

The class is $59 for the 7 weeks.

Here is a link to a video of me hanging out in my office sans shower and going through what is covered. :)

Class starts Monday Nov. 14, but you have until Friday, Nov. 18 to sign up!

Sincerely, Elise



New windows were installed today. Three upstairs, one downstairs and our home was covered in plastic and we had to stay in a safe room (home built in 1900, precautions in regards to lead paint). So, we added some romance to it and while Boho Boy built databases, Cedar and I painted, snacked and listened to music (not the same trance music as daddy, blaring through his DJ fresh headphones).

We are finally surfacing. My sister was here all last week and the day she arrived, I felt the flu coming on. Oh how I was wishing it away but there it stayed. A gnarly chest flu that is going around town. So within a day of me being full on ill, she caught it and then Boho Boy caught it and so far Cedar only has the sniffles. So all week, we were lounging around on the couch, feeling miserable and trying our best to help one another when we really just wanted to bury ourselves under the covers. Being hit hard with a flu is rough. Being hit hard with a flu and having to take care of others is a lesson in LOVE and patience. We took care of one another. We survived. And we survived well. A little curly headed wood nymph was the light of our days, insightful enough to know we weren't our best and made his best efforts at bringing us joy.

When my parents were here a month ago, they caught food poisoning. Both of these visits were lessons for me in surrendering expectations to entertain and really being mindful about "togetherness" and the importance of quality over quantity.

Nearing the end of the week, a new local friend of ours made us soup and dropped it off on our doorstep. A selfless offering of love and healing. We were so grateful and humbled...

ps. various homemade soups and oil of oregano pills... pure magic for our healing.


pumpkin envy: my next door neighbor's porch. ; )

Been learning more about Samhain, recently...and feeling more deeply connected to it than Halloween.

"Samhain Eve is one of the principal festivals of the Celtic calendar, and is thought to fall on or around the 31st of October. It represents the final harvest. The Celtic year began in November, with Samhain (meaning "summer's end"). ... ... Spiritually, Samhain is a time for reflection and meditation on death, and the honor of your ancestors who have passed to another plane. It is an opportunity to be at one with your past, present and future. The Great Feast of the Dead is celebrated on Samhain Eve to offer tribute to those who lived before you, and those who will come after you.

Samhain predates the Roman feast of the Dead, Lemuria, and All Hallow's Eve - the eve of the Christian holiday to honor the saints, All Saint's Day. The secular holiday today is known as Halloween. All of these festivals, though called by different names, are celebration of the awe, communication with, and respect of the dead."

However it is you choose to celebrate this day, I am hoping you feel surrounded in love by those that are in front of you and those that are with you in spirit.

deer medicine*

Every day this sweetness of a deer comes to visit us. Walks up near our doorstep. Peeks in near our window. Sometimes the mama comes. And each time, the gentle medicine it offers is at just the right time.

When we see it stepping on our lawn, Boho Boy runs to our backyard to grab a few apples from our tree and we throw it the apples and sit on the steps to watch it feast. Such a peace washes over us with her gaze. We look forward to this every day.

The first photo I took was the first one up above. When looking at it on my phone, I thought I caught a sun flare at the top right corner. But once I uploaded it onto my computer, I realized it was my reflection in the window. It somehow seemed significant to the place I am at in my life right now. Me, connecting to my roots, what connects me to Mother Earth and the Divine and how we are all so connected.

I was given this book by a friend when I lived in Berkeley 10 years ago. It was my first introduction into animal totems and the medicine and messages animals offer us when they come into our path. Most recently I have been awakened and made more aware of this by some dear souls in my life.

As I said earlier...this deer offers wisdom that I deeply need right now.  I was guided to this link by a friend and it resonates so deep with where I am right now on my path, especially the section I wrote in blue: Deer's medicine includes gentleness in word, thought and touch. The ability to listen, grace and appreciation for the beauty of balance. Understanding of what's necessary for survival, power of gratitude and giving, ability to sacrifice for the higher good, connection to the woodland goddess, alternative paths to a goal.

Only when we move through life in the spirit of love for all beings can we melt the barriers that separate us from others, from other life forms, and from the beautiful mystery which is our own magical and spiritual gift.

By observing the ways in which deer behave, it is possible to see what amazing qualities - or powers - they possess. From the deer we can learn that the gift of gentleness and caring can help us overcome and put aside many testing situations. Only love, both for ourselves and for others, helps us understand the true meaning of wholeness.

If a deer crosses your path, this may show you that you are a very compassionate, gentle and loving person. If you don't have these qualities, then consider if you have a problem that needs addressing. Are you facing a challenge in your life, whether with a fellow human being or a delicate situation? If you are feeling negative emotions such as anger, try letting go. Think about whether a gentler and more loving approach can sort the issue out. It may be necessary to speak the truth, this is best done with kindness and from the heart, this will generally give a better result.

Deer teaches us how powerful it is to be of gentle demeanor, to exert keen observation and sensitivity. Deer's are in tune with nature and all it comprises. They are sacred carriers of peace and show those with this power animal how to open their hearts and love unconditionally.

Deer has entered your life to help you walk the path of love with full consciousness and awareness, to know that love sometimes requires caring and protection, not only in how we love others, but also in how we love ourselves.

Deer teaches us to be gentle, to touch the hearts and minds of wounded beings who are in our lives. Don't push people to change, rather gently nudge them in right direction, with the love that comes from deer. Love and accept people as they are. The balance of true power lays in love and compassion.

When a Deer totem enters your world, a new innocence and freshness in about to be awakened. New adventures are just around the corner and there will be an opportunity to express the gentle love that will open new doors for you.


I remember in the dark of the night, walking up to a friend's cabin at Squam a few years back. She and a few others were huddled in front, bundled in sweaters and scarves but their hair was soaked. Each of their faces were filled with a rosy-cheeked glow. I knew something went down and when I asked, they excitedly told me how they just returned from skinny dipping by moonlight in the lake. I remember feeling my heart take flight for each of them and at the same time, it ached to feel that free in my body and comfortable in my skin.

I've attracted quite a few free spirited friends in my life. I lived vicariously through their stories of running naked with people in a field or soaking nude in a hot springs. I've often wondered what it would feel like to be so uninhibited that way. I wondered if I was capable of not being self conscious. I grew up in a very modest household. We didn't walk around naked like some of my friend's families. We always dressed or went to the bathroom in private. I honor this way of being too. I am grateful that I considered my body, my temple sacred when in romantic relationships at such a young age. All of that served me so well then.

But now, especially lately, I ache for a freedom and acceptance and celebration of my body. Perhaps its turning 40. Perhaps its me wanting to release the wounds left from (in)fertility and the doubts that crept in about me being fully woman. Perhaps its me being more open to the call of sisters long before me that danced under the moon with their skin glowing and curves swaying up on a mountaintop where shame didn't exist. Perhaps me pulling the layers of clothing off would feel symbolic to me of renewal and rebirth and transformation in this new world I am living in. Whatever it is and I know I don't really need to know what it is exactly yet...but this ache led me to something so beautiful that happened yesterday.

A new organic farmer friend of mine invited me over to this glorious house where she is house sitting up on a hill over looking the bay. In my mind, I imagined us snuggling up on the couch with tea and soaking in this very first time her and I had alone. Any other time we were together with both of my boys. Her and I have been longing for girl time. When I arrived, the sun came out and warmed our skin after a spell of such chilled weather, so we decided to say out on the deck. She had told me she put the hot tub on and that she wanted to go in nude. I sat with her on the deck, as we both were petting a cat and I felt my heart pounding in my chest. She held me gently with her gaze, and I felt the tears come and I shared with her how healing this will be for me and that I have never been fully nude out in the open with a friend. I knew this was the time. The time to shed the temptation to hide, to shed shame and to accept I am fully woman, along side this other woman...fully woman. She was moved that this was new and tender and that she was the one to honor it all with me.

I found myself wanting to savor the moment. I shed my clothing one by one, slowly. We then soaked our bodies and it was the most natural feeling. Mmmmm...water on skin, sun on face, crisp breeze on shoulders, the sounds of nature echoing around us. I wondered why it took me so long to be in this space but at the same time, I also honored the perfect timing of it all. And now I get it. I get the healing power of being fully nude in mother nature alone or among people you feel safe with. Like a friend said to me yesterday, it felt like a baptism and a coming home to an ancient part of me that wants to be heard and felt and seen and loved and held divine like a newborn is fresh from the womb and into our arms.

This photo was taken shortly after our time together in the tub. Her and I were on our knees, looking out the window, reading from a book of Buddhist quotes. My skin still moist, my dreads still dripping, the peace radiating from my heart. I wanted to take this photo to remember the complete surrender I felt in this moment. The connection to God and Goddess and all things living and breathing. One love surrounding me, within me.

When I looked at this image, I cried. Yes. THAT is how it felt. There it is. Baptism captured.

the apples i've tasted*

our apple tree

A dear friend guided me to this and it moved me so much that I wanted to share it with all of you... “Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won't either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself you tasted as many as you could.” ~ Louise Erdrich, The Painted Drum

I am sitting in gratefulness for the apples I have tasted.

nourishment for a growing boy*

Our dear boy is really growing into himself and as a dear friend said to me today..."the 3 year change is HUGE...the child goes from just in the head space and begins to work his way down his body...". And that is exactly what is happening. Even now that he has found his words, he still is most comfortable expressing himself with his body. Most people that spend time with him says he has a groove when he walks. We often wonder if he will be a dancer or an actor or something where he can move every morsel of his body to express an emotion.  Since this body movement is so part of who he is, I want to nourish it deep but he has chosen this part of his life to become a picky eater.  So, I come to you mamas or caretakers to freshen up our toddler kitchen!

I would love to hear some of your creative healthy toddler recipes!  Like I always say, I know there is Google and books and all that but I always find so much wisdom here and I prefer to come here to this community first.

Cedar LOVES green smoothies, so I am golden there...but I would just be delighted to learn of some yummy snacks and meals where the veggies are there but they'd never know it.  ; )  The only veggies he will eat right now is raw carrots and sauteed kale (score!) but that's all, folks.

So, so grateful for all of you.

ps. that photo of him laying down in the Vancouver Aquarium was taken this weekend.  he decided that this would be a better view.  such a sweet moment with the line of people beside us giggling and also nodding, perhaps all wishing they could do the same.  i think next time i will.

their visit*

Its almost as if having my parents here to visit created a completeness about our move. I know it has been as hard for them as it was for me to share with them our days and have them be unable to picture it all in their mind. Where the kitchen was in relation to the bathroom. How big our living room really was. How all of our "things" looked and felt within these walls. Now they know. The shapes, the smells, the teeny bathroom and the musty laundry room where we have to keep the lid to the washing machine up or it will begin to get moldy.

When they pulled up in my dad's big white truck, Cedar and I were standing out on the front lawn, waving them down the street towards our little blue house. I promise you, in that very moment a very warm, moist wind began to blow down the street and didn't go away until they left. The entire time they were here, it was the most windy we had ever seen it. But it wasn't a chilly wind. It was warm and almost tropical. It felt heavy with magic and it made the trees dance until they released what needed to be gone.

It was so comforting to have them near and to share our life with them and to receive their blessing and understanding about where we have chosen to be right now. It was sweet seeing them get to know Boho Boy in a way they haven't yet had a chance to, since he works from home and was with us most always. And it warmed my mama heart to witness them bonding with Cedar. He loved calling out "Grandpa!", "Grandmarmie!" because those words are easy for him to say, so he wanted to say them all the time. Vu Vu was hard for him so within minutes of pulling up to our house, my dad told me he wanted Cedar to call him Grandpa. Once I saw the glee on Cedar's face when he was able to say "Grandpa", we knew it was the right choice.

My parents fell sick the second day they were here. We think it might have been food related. They both ate fish from downtown when no one else did. It could have been the water they were not used to drinking but whatever it was, it laid them up on our couch most the of the remainder of their stay. Each of us were sad about this at times but we always came to the understanding that truly, they are here to be with us and there are plenty of opportunities to tour them around during their future visits. It was nice to have a home for them to relax in and to stay in our jammies and to just be together. It was definitely another lesson, a message of how important it is to not have expectations...especially when going on vacations. A lesson in letting it flow, being in the moment and being aware of what means the most to you and for me, snuggling together on the couch at night means so much more to me than showing off our new city.

Cedar is almost 3 years old now. A few more months away. I am really seeing him come into himself and he is in a fierce space of finding his voice. He is coming to an awareness that so much of him is separate than us...meaning his wants, desires and needs. He is loving the idea of "No" right now. Which I find so inspiring to tell you the truth because for years I was a YES person and the last few years have been about me grooving with the idea that it is okay and crucial to say no to some things in order to align myself with my truth. So on one hand it can be so annoying that Cedar is resisting our ideas or needs for him but on the other hand, I am admiring him for being so in touch with his own needs. I am also noticing he is an empath, much like me. He absorbs the emotions, feelings and energies in a room and has a strong reaction to it. All this to say, he was in a sensitive place while my parents were here. I could tell he knew they were not feeling well. He was really acting out a lot and it was a huge lesson for me to not feel shame or sorrow about it around my parents. We all have this deep need for our children to be truly SEEN for who they are...especially around family and when they get explosive with their emotions, all these fears come up about being judged.

I kept finding myself trying to explain to my parents that he wasn't being himself and of course they were loving and patient about it with me, reassuring me they were just happy to be with him regardless the space he was in. After they left I did a lot of self reflection about it because the times I was rambling off to my parents about how he is not usually like this, I felt an ick inside that I even went there. Cedar is Cedar...even when he is in a chaotic space and even if it is not an everyday occurrence, it is still him and I never want Cedar to attach any shame to his emotions because he hears his mother apologizing for him. Oh this goes so much deeper and I am too exhausted tonight to get into it but I will explore it more in this space.

I know that them just being here, witnessing our rhythm was needed and it was a foundation for their relationship with Cedar and even if he was more grumpy than peaceful...it is real and raw and OUR LIFE. I know that is all they could ask to be a part of and I love them for that.

I also wanted to share that I just hired a Holistic Health Coach! I feel so blessed that Stephanie came into my life. It all begins in October and I will be exploring and documenting this new journey here on my blog.

Here are a few more images from their visit:

i heart portland*

This was a unique birthday for me in that I spent it alone...by choice. Much of my life I have been a person that balances being social with also being alone. Some people are filled up in crowds of people. I am a person that gets filled up with quiet time. I recall a dear friend of mine once saying about herself "I enjoy my own company!" and I thought that was brilliant and brave and beautiful and so so secure. And I get it. I enjoy my own company too. I now know as a 40 year old woman (weeeee!) that allowing for alone time is crucial for my empathic, introverted self. What I realized as my birthday approached was that now that I have a child and a husband that works from home, I am rarely and I mean very rarely alone. So when my husband asked what I wanted to do for my birthday, all I could think about was sleeping in without interruption, long walks, sitting at a cafe with a book and window shopping...alone. Oh, and throw in getting my dreads tightly locked by my soul twin Stephanie for a few hours and I am GOLDEN.

I didn't take for granted one solitary moment. I woke up at 4am and while my boys slept, I sipped my warm yerba mate while getting ready for my airport taxi to arrive. I stepped out into the still dark sky and chilled morning, took a deep breath and I don't think I stopped smiling for two days. Of course I missed my boys and reached out to my family and my soul sisters. There were moments when I wondered if I should have planned a gathering or allowed others to plan one for me but then I always came back around to knowing I needed to feel filled up and rested and when I get together with my gals, sleep is never on my mind. I am learning...learning to take better care of myself and a sweet little gnome named Cedar has something to do with that. Okay, a lot to do with it.

Portland is a charming city. Simultaneously smooth and vibrant. Definitely one of my favorite places on earth and each time I have been there, have felt so at home. So many kindred spirits walking the streets.

When I landed and walked out of the airport to find a taxi, a kind looking man approached me. He had soft eyes. My heart told me to go with him in his taxi. On the way to the salon , he told me about how his family came from Ethiopia and how he loves Jesus. He even invited me to church with his family. It was the sweetest conversation and he was so open to my thoughts on religion and spirituality. We decided that he would be my driver from the hotel and back to the airport. It felt like a gift. Each time I saw him, I soaked in the stories about his country and the food. Oh the food. I must try it!

Being with Stephanie was like warm butter on freshly baked bread. Oh I have missed her and our spirits feel so twin that I find myself nodding as she somehow is able to express so much that I can't. This time for us was about big intensity but also big laughter. She is medicine. And man, nobody loves on my locks like her. I just let her do her groove thing and she works her magic.

She had to tame my wild head but I know it will unravel soon. We both agreed we are in love with cavewoman-esque hair. ; )

One of the first places I went after my dread appointment was me and my husband's favorite tea shop: Tea Chai Te with their cushy velvet chairs and couches, a variety of mates and chai's and a smell that I want to bottle and take home with me.

Sinking my body into the blue velvet chair, I felt so inspired. I felt so closer to the me that has so much to say and so many ways to express it creatively. I wish I had remembered to take my journal with me but instead, I just let myself feel it and move through me. The last time I was there was right before adopting Cedar. And there I was a tired, worn totally in love mama to a toddler aching to be alone for a day. I would have never imagined!

My husband set me up in the funkiest hotel a few blocks away from 23rd street (my favorite). The Inn @ Northrup Station. So fun and colorful. Especially their salt water taffy center pieces in the lounge area. ; )

Most of my time was spent drifting in and out of shops, people watching and taking deep breaths. As the night fell, I ordered a gluten free pizza and a chick flick. Mmmmmm. I found myself emotional about being away from Cedar in the night. We had a teary Skype. Boho Boy is so brilliant at diverting Cedar's sadness into laughter. I didn't expect to feel that deep pang of missing over just one night away especially when so many nights I ache for space to sleep uninterrupted and into the late morning. We are a co-sleeping family but it still surprised me that I slept better at home than in the hotel room alone. It was nourishing for me regardless but also so good to be reminded that I am also nourished by the closeness and connection I share with my boys.

40 was just awesome in so many ways. Especially awesome because I went into a Free People store for the first time and left with their ADORABLE cloth bags that held my new bday sweater. That store is just eye candy-liciousness. The owner of the store was giggling behind the counter at how I needed to touch everything and how I drooled over the design on the walls and the tree branches hung from the ceiling draped in ribbons, yarn and sparkly trinkets. I want to hang branches from my ceiling, yes!

Just walking down the street and seeing this adorable double decker bus filled with vintage yummies on the side of the road speaks volumes about Portland's groove...

I heart Portland.

And I heart my parents who will be pulling into our driveway this afternoon after taking their first roadtrip to Washington!

glorious 40~ness*

Tomorrow I turn 40. I feel just as much excitement and anticipation as when I turned 30. I've never been one to freak out about age, really...to me it is just a number. I remember someone telling me that your 30's are all about discovering who you really are and your 40's are the beginning of being comfortable with who you are the rest of your life. This may not be true for everyone but reflecting back, it feels true for me. I think this is why these milestone ages didn't frighten me. I have always so longed to be comfortable in my skin.

Boho Boy had a discussion with his acupuncturist the other day about how our American culture views age and how different it is to how it is viewed in the Asian culture. You often hear in our culture "I feel old" or "I can't do that or wear that because I am too old!". There is such a negative connotation on the idea of aging in those statements. So much of how we view ourselves is how we will end up feeling and being. What if getting old, being old, was a celebration? What if we all looked forward to it? What if it was an AWESOME thing to be old? Then on the days we are feeling good and sassy and deliciously comfy in our skin, we would say..."I am SO old! Yay!!" ; ) In the Asian culture and perhaps others I am unaware of, it seems age is less limiting and just more of an opportunity to create and embrace the abundance in your life.

I want to embrace this concept. As I see the gray hairs peeking through in this photo above, what if rather than wince and cover up, I celebrate them as silver ribbons in my hair? I see long gray dreads in my future.

Tomorrow morning I get on a plane for a wee one night groovy getaway.  I plan on doing a lot of reading, window shopping, drinking a cocktail or two, getting a bit pampered and SLEEPING.  All stuff I can't quite do right now as a mama without interruption.

Here's to glorious gray hairs and uninterrupted fun!  Getting older rocks.


my world halts*

{last night...propped up on pillows while mama watched his breathing}

{today was a lazy couch day. daddy & cedar playing with his new iPad}

{i am so honored to be his safe space}

I wish I could say I was one of those mamas that are really strong when their child is sick.  But, I'm not.  My whole world halts and I feel it with him.  I just want to sit near and stare at him while he sleeps and hold him when he wakes and make it all go away.  When he cries while he is coughing, tears run down my cheeks or anxiety fills my heart.  My mind sees flashes of emergency room visits and hospital stays.  Perhaps all mamas feel this way but some are less messy about it.  I know what Cedar needs most is love and I feel confident that he feels that from me and that is what brings me comfort and gives me permission to be gentle on myself.

Its been a heavy and emotional week in regards to some family stuff but Cedar becoming really sick was a not so gentle reminder of where my energies need to be right now.  Both Boho Boy and I have taken a few trips to the Co-Op for natural remedies and the drug store for the big guns.  Tomorrow I am taking him into a new family Naturopath.  Its all chest and head congestion related and his cough seems really painful but no fever, thank goodness.   I am sitting here on the couch with him.  It is 8:30pm and he's been asleep for 3 hours.  I think this might mean another long night of staying awake with him against my chest, reading and watching the tellie.  I had so much I wanted to do today but everything has slowed and all that matters is this moment, his breath and his comfort.

I am tired and worn with dark circles and bags under my eyes but I am stepping into that peaceful warrior within.

{I am slowly finding my footing as a daughter, sister, wife, friend and especially a mama}

Thank you to all of my dear friends and family that have been sending Cedar love, prayers and healing thoughts. Man, he is a little dude blessed with so much love.

Also...sending all of you a warm cup of healing soup on this day of remembrance (9/11).

doing the work*

{my sis and me, after a few days of much heart work and tears that come from the deepest places}

Some thoughts that have been on my mind the last few days...

My whole life and especially presently, I have been attracted to and attracting people that are very different from me. I love the unique. I learn from it. It widens, expands and opens my heart. For years now I have been a seeker of the different on a quest to find Truth and Love.  I do not need the people in my life to be the same as me, although kindred spirits are a blessing in and of itself. What I am discovering that I do need and strive to cultivate is kindness and respect among family and friends, however it is expressed from person to person. We all express it differently. I yearn to cultivate peace for my home and the environment surrounding my son.  Peace that will offer him room to breathe and LOVE and be who he needs to be while feeling held in complete acceptance. I suppose peace does that for me too and it is important, very important for me to offer that breathing space to anyone around me.  It always has.

One thing I am learning and navigating through, is the balance of being open to love and be loved with healthy boundaries.

Every single person in my family, oh my...we are all wonderfully different than one another.  This past year has been full of some deep wounds opening within all of us.  We are all...each of us, in a space of wanting to let go of habitual patterns and release what binds and holds us spinning in the same unhealthy and toxic cycles.  That is so so hard, isn't it?  To break free of such things.  For so many reasons.

Last week, before my sister arrived, I was sitting knee to knee with a neighbor and dear new friend, listening to her share about her own family dynamics and how her and her parents are now practicing consciousness of patterns that arise each time they visit with one another.  Each of them are doing the work to come to a place of awareness with one another.  They have moments when they catch themselves projecting and they each take responsibility for their own actions/reactions and work through it together.  When she shared this with me, my eyes held hers and I shared how deeply I craved this for my family; An openness that can provide healing and understanding and compassion in a peaceful way.  She reminded me that it is HARD work because the only way we can all get there is if we do our own work, take responsibility for our part in the cycle and have compassion for the rest.  That's huge and hard but so freeing.  It is a space we all ache for but our fears and insecurities hold us back.

So that is where I am.  I plan to step through the fear and do my own work.  My part in the puzzle.  I am going to seek out a therapist and work through it in a way that feels right for me.  A few of my family members are planning to do the same and those few of us plan to go together next month.  Perhaps someday, we can all...every single one of us in the family...gather and do the work together. I am going into this without any expectations but with so much HOPE because the awareness that has surfaced this past year and the peace that comes with it, is enough for me to keep going and trust in this process.

And I am so grateful that I have this amazing person by my side through it all.  A man who truly SEES me and my truth and inspires me to step into LOVE every single moment while still maintaining those boundaries that are necessary for self preservation and peace:

And this little dude who has been an angel in my family this entire time. His arrival and gift of healing hearts around him was divine timing:

I love my family. I feel blessed with the different and the same and even the hard work that comes with it all.