Monthly Archives: June 2013

Inspiration Is What You are to Me…

(Thank you to Led Zeppelin (fav band!) for my aptly titled post, from, ironically enough, the song Thank You)

I have been feeling very “stuck” as of late.  I feel this intense need to bring more creativity into my life – into my daily routine.  I feel strongly that I am not meant to sit in a cubicle day-in and day-out.  My best friend Kate, (whose beautiful blog is here) recently said that it is one thing to send our kids to daycare so that we can pursue a job that is fulfilling, but it feels so wrong to do so for a job that simply pays the bills.  Ok, so I need a job right now so we can pay the bills.  That is a reality. 

Truth be told, I’d love to have MORE time with my babes every day rather than doing the damn thing and feeling no passion.  I am feeling more and more of a strong need to start digging deeper.   

digging deeper with toes in the sand might be a good place to start...

digging deeper with toes in the sand might be a good place to start…

I have accomplished a lot in my thirty some-odd (that’s a very accurate saying by the way!) years, and I have no regrets because I don’t believe in lamenting over such things.  Besides the fact that it’s not as if I have faced any huge hurdles that have put a damper on my life.  However, I have put a lot of work into big goals, such as graduating from college as a grown-up, with way more responsibilities – like a baby, and then another baby…and I yearn for still more babies, and even with all of that, or maybe especially because of that, I feel that I owe it to myself to make something of that piece of paper I so painstakingly earned.

This blog is a beginning.  It is a creative outlet that I look forward to investing time and effort to.  And it will get better – that is a promise. 

But I want more.  I want to go back to my roots. 

When I was 18 and had started college (my first and failed go at it), I was going to major in art.  Photography was my main interest, but I’ve got to admit I was a pretty good artist too.  I need that in my life again. 

I need a spark.  Which will light a fire…

My summer to-do list is to find something interesting, beautiful and enlightening every day.  If I am to be honest with myself, and make things happen for myself, I just need to live in every moment with attention and purpose, and think imaginatively.   

carefree...

carefree…

dreamer...

dreamer…

SO… feeling inspired, I decided to do a craft with Red.  Red is not particularly crafty.  He loves the IDEA of crafting and creating, but when faced with (in this case) a pile of feathers, pipe cleaners, googly eyes, felt, scissors and glue, he doesn’t go at it with any certain intent.  He kind of stares at it, then me, and asks what to do.  So we just started cutting and gluing and I made a silly monster that ended up looking more like a rooster:   

mommys monster

 and he made this: 

finns monster

It’s an abstract, and I can appreciate that, though every time I picked it up it was falling apart. 

Quick back story, I am forever jaded from an art experience in nursery school when we were told to make jack-o-lanterns and given a bunch of triangles and shapes that we were supposed to precisely glue to an orange circle and make a face.  I, being the little spit fired redhead who refused to follow the rules (god, if THAT wasn’t foreshadowing at its best), decided to just keep gluing shapes any which way I pleased, and my conceptual jack-o-lantern was met with a look of disgrace by the teacher, who was from what I can recall, (and by my then four-year-old standards) an old bitty, asking me why I would do such a thing.  Obviously I was a visionary genius way back when…but clearly misunderstood.  (my apolgies for the run-on sentences…I just had to get that off my chest.  Moving on…)  So, because of this exprience, I would never question the originality that Red saw in his piece.

And then he said, “Lookit Mommy – it has Love on it”  and although he was literally speaking of the puffy, glittery “LOVE” sticker he put on the felt monster, it struck me.  I looked at it, took a picture and said to myself, “Yes, yes it does.”

So I guess point being, is that even in the things that don’t seem to have any specific creative sense at first, if I look hard enough, I will find it, or if not, I will make it, and in either case, whatever “it” turns out to be – it will be filled with love.  Maybe I should go back to my four-year-old self, and consult with her about just how to make this happen.

 

From a five year olds perspective…

I’ve been taking a lot of photographs lately.  It seems like our Canon Rebel is constantly by my side, or I run to get it if I see some lovable moment the kids are creating that I just have to capture.  It could be that I am really trying to get better at picture taking, or to see things in a new way, or to learn new tricks on the camera, or, (this is the most probable) that I am completely obsessed with this heckin’ blog and all I wanna do is show my sweet family, our adventures and anything else I happen to stumble upon in pictures. 

Yesterday, Red decided that he wanted a turn at taking pictures and quietly snuck away to capture a few shots of his own.  Below is what he came up with:

 misc 091 misc 093 misc 092 misc 094 misc 097 misc 105 misc 104

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(This is our “patio” – UNDER CONSTRUCTION!)

Not bad!  He actually really loves picture taking and has his own Leap Frog camera…but the real deal is so much more fascinating, what with all the buttons, and flashing, and a lens that goes zoom.  I think he enjoys the continuous shooting especially.

Here is where he got busted:

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Uh-oh – Daddy is ruining all the fun!

 And here are some more shots from the weekend.

It was a hot one.  Since Red was still recovering from “the throw-ups” (which unfortunately hit him again at 2 am this morning-poor thing), we rested at home and enjoyed the warm sunshine, while trying to stay hydrated and feel better.

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The tomatoes needed watering. Farmer Roo to the rescue!

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Mena came over to see her boys.

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Boys & their toys.

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Mommy’s way of hydrating.  Even the glass is sweating.

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So……until this guy feels better…IMG_6770

 …there is nothing new to report.  And hopefully in a few days, he will have a more energetic and peppy perspective – one which might end up in our camera.

Happiness is a Warm SUN

Today is the first day of summer…it’s the longest day of the year – the day the sun shines it’s lovely rays upon us for as long as possible before giving in to the moon.

Mike recently made a comment about how depressing it is that the days are going to get shorter after today.  What a terrible thought, and I told him so.  It is just the beginning of the season that brings us warm breezes that gently rustle the huge, lush green oaks in our yard.  It brings the sound of wind chimes as they sing with the wind.  It’s the sweet melodies that I love to hear the birds make during the day, and the ones that Red, Roo and I wind down to at dusk.  The flowers we planted on Mother’s Day weekend are just starting to really blossom and bloom and take up more of their real estate in the garden beds and window boxes.  The hydrangeas haven’t even flowered yet.  It’s the beginning of free jazz concerts on the town green, ice cream cones that melt before we can gobble them up, fireworks, beach bumming, and summer weddings.  It’s only Roo’s second summer (he was born last April), and only Red’s fifth, and when you think of it in those terms, oh how much we have to explore and observe and appreciate!

IMG_6971hydrangea

It’s the peak of the season – the climactic rise of all that is abundantly offered this time of year and we have a LOT to look forward to.

Although today is the longest day, it is a quiet, laid back, easy and carefree one.  There isn’t much going on.  We’ll put the kids to bed at eight o’clock, and it will still be light out, just like it has been for the past month or so.  Then we will sit on the deck and enjoy a drink, and said breezes, and wind chimes, and watch the sun set on the horizon.  Goodbye to the length of the sun’s daily duties, but not to the feelings that summertime sets free.   I will go barefoot for as long as possible and keep the windows open at night. 

It’s not the quantity of daylight that we should pay attention to, but the quality of our days and the time that we spend in the sunshine that counts the most. 

lily

Mike is not a cynical person, but I know that he loves the summer as much as I do and he wants to take it all in as much as possible.  Let’s start in the here and now, and let nature take its course.

 So, in honor of summer, tonight’s cocktail of choice is a Pimm’s Cup.

If you haven’t heard of Pimm’s, which is British, its legacy can be found here.

I was introduced to this fine beverage last summer.  I have a cousin who is living in London (lucky lassie!) and she had taken my aunt (her mum) to the Royal Ascot horse races, as well as the London food festival.  The Pimm’s Cup was a featured beverage at both events. 

http://ascotracing.webs.com/

Royal Ascot Race

Don’t you love their fascinators’s???

flynns1

Back in the states, my aunt made a beautiful pitcher full of this cocktail and served it, interestingly enough, at a Fourth of July picnic.  Now, obviously this is the American holiday celebrating our independence from England, but seriously folks, this is one British invasion that you should allow into your summer festivities!

The ingredients.

The ingredients.

Pimm’s Cup:

(my version)

Shot of Pimm’s

Top off with Sprite

Add chopped mint, lemon, lime, orange and cucumber

Enjoy!

Yum!

Yum!

It looks and tastes like sunshine in a glass.  CHEERS!

https://twitter.com/PimmsGB

It’s Pimm’s O’Clock!

(Note: I was not paid to promote Pimm’s, it’s just a personal favorite of mine and thought I’d share the love.)

The Sickies…

It’s been a little ick around the house the past few days.

Red is sick with “the throw-ups” as he calls it.  It’s a terrible thing when the kids are sick, eyes glazed over, skin pale, and their bodies limp.  Selfishly however I do love the extra mommy cuddles that happen during these times.  After a pretty nasty episode last night, I sat Red in the chair while Mike cleaned up the kitchen and hallway floors, and he just looked at me with his weary, sad eyes and said quietly, I love you and gave me the sweetest hug. 

We got his jammies on and he got in bed, dehydrated and queasy, and after another few head-in-the-bucket incidents, he asked me to lay down with him.  And I did.  I rubbed his back slowly and watched him as he closed his eyes, exhausted after exerting himself, and as he fell asleep I relished in the moment that he wanted his mommy to comfort him. 

These moments are fleeting.  They don’t only happen when he is sick of course, and though he still lets me cuddle and kiss and hug him, it’s usually only a quick moment before he is off and onto the next adventure, or game, or thought as his minds darts at warp speed.  That’s the beauty of being a 5 year old boy.  But for me, these peaceful instances of calm are what I love to wrap my arms around so tightly, and hold onto forever….

The other part of the sick-kid saga, as all working mother’s know, is the fact that a mama is always going to pick her kid over work.  At least this mama is.  Luckily, I have a job that allows me the flexibility of working from home, but it doesn’t come without the nagging question, “What are my colleagues thinking/feeling about this?” The ability to make work happy and family happy is a constant struggle, and one that is unfortunately met with guilt, stress and – pulled from some sort of amazing Mommy-gene – strength.  I am fortunate to have an understanding boss (who raised two kids of her own while climbing the corporate ladder), but the pull of one over the other, as well as playing catch up and feeling the need to prove oneself as a valuable team member, is real.  Now, I’m not looking for sympathy, or whining and complaining that the corporate world is unkind to working mother’s (I’ll maybe save that for another post), but I want to simply reference the fact that when it comes to my family – work will take a distant second every time.  Does this make me an undesirable employee or a good mom?  I’ll leave that for my kids to decide.

******************************************************************

And now, for pictures of our happier, healthier weekend.  Luckily the sickies happened on a weekday this week, because we had a lot of fun stuff going on last weekend.  There was a festival complete with rides and friends and rock climbing walls!  We celebrated Dads (and Pop-Pop’s) day with family, food, new grills and swimming!  And we had a great day at the park with Roo, who loves discovering all of the fun to be had at such places. 

"I'm 5, so I can ride the swings this year"

“I’m 5, so I can ride the swings this year”

Making mommy dizzy on the teacups!

spinning 

climbing climbing1

DaddyClimbing

That’s Mike on the climbing wall – Show off!

jack and mommy Jack

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Grilling a MANLY meal.

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Happy Father’s Day to Daddy & Pop-Pop!

Swingin

Roo kept saying “Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!”

RINGS

shadow Park

BigBro

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Obviously we had a great weekend, and wiped the kiddos out!

And because I am so late with this post – it’s only one more day until the next round of adventures….Happy, healthy rest of the week!!

Free Blogging Advice. Say WHAT?!?!

Ok, so when I found out about this contest on one of my favorite blogs, Living in Yellow, in which five (!) randomly selected winners will be chosen to receive free blogging advice from four seasoned, successful, and downright awesome bloggers (who have more than a few followers!!), I felt like a dog that has just been offered a treat. “Oh my GOD! Oh my GOD! Oh my GOD!” my brain said about 100 times in rapid succession.
In her opening paragraph, Erin stated that one should blog because it is “life giving.” Yes! I feel the same way! I felt it as I wrote my very first post, and I continue to feel it as I now think and see things in terms of blogging, like, ALL THE TIME!
I am very new at this, but I love my blog like a child, and want to nurture it and cuddle it and feed it and make it blossom into something I am proud to show off and publicize and fine- tune and watch grow.

(source)

In order to make this happen, I can use ALL the advice I can get! I have so many questions, so many ideas….and if I could get some information from these women who in my opinion, are blog “rock-stars,” my mind will be blown.
For anyone else out there who also wants a chance at this incredible opportunity to be put in the hands of greatness, I am providing the link. And hopefully if you win and I don’t, you’ll pass along all the juicy tidbits of information that you have acquired, and come and share it all with me!
Now get on it and enter! Oh, and make sure to check out past posts on Living in Yellow. Erin really is pretty super cool. I love her writing style, her blog style, her fashion style, and if you’re like me, I think you’ll feel the same…

30’s are not the new 20’s

Recently, the onslaught of age has come up in a few conversations.  Some are embracing it.  My boss for example, who is fabulous both in her appearance as well as her attitude, is celebrating her fantastic self as she turns 49 this weekend.  She is happy to announce her age and is already shamelessly plugging the big 5-0 next year.  Another woman I know, who is the same age as me (36) was recently lamenting about turning 40 in a few years.  Why dwell on a number, which in my mind has nothing to do with personality and attitude, but is a mere mathematical symbol for how long we have been on this earth.  Besides, it’s not how old we are, but how we choose to live the years we have, and what we do with ourselves that really matters, isn’t it? 

I also recently read this advice column by E. Jean in Elle magazine (which, by the by, if you haven’t read her before, take a look through the archives – she is snarky, straightforward & very spectacular!) and it made me think about how much there is from your 20’s  to look back on.  Thankfully, there isn’t anything on her list of “regrets” that I would take ownership on, other than maybe starting my career “too late,” however I don’t see that as a regret, rather that I am still figuring it out. 

I choose to subscribe to the mindset of taking it all in and living in the moment – seeing, believing and accepting the goodness that comes from each day no matter how old (or young) I am. 

(source-someecards.com)

I am loving my thirties and feel that some of the best moments experienced thus far have occurred in this decade.  It’s hard sometimes to not get caught up in thinking about life as a timeline and focusing on all of things you want to accomplish by a certain age.  I know that I have been guilty of doing exactly that, but looking at all of things that I HAVE accomplished, makes me remember that we are all on our own unique journey, and there are no absolute paths.  I don’t regret any of my choices, but I have learned from many mistakes.  I am certainly not the girl I was in high school, or even the girl I was at 21, or 25, or 28!  Age makes us better, riper, more cultivated – like a juicy fruit (or as the saying goes, a fine wine!)

TP Picture

Me celebrating 3O in NYC

As I reflected on this topic, I decided to make a list of the things that I think are better about me now, then when I was in my 20’s.

I will call it:

Why my Thirties are so much BETTER than my Twenties

I am 100% more confident

I am 100% healthier

I am a lot funnier (probably since I have more life experiences to draw from and hindsight usually makes great material for humorous stories…of which I have quite a few – and you’ll likely read about them at some point!)

I am more willing to take personal risks

I know what it is to feel sexy and it doesn’t involve uncomfortable lingerie or revealing clothing

I appreciate date nights so much more!

I appreciate Girl’s Night Out so much more!

But…

I am perfectly content staying in on a Friday or Saturday night and drinking my own wine and watching a movie with the Hubs

I can laugh at myself (and I do, a lot!)

I have two beautiful children both birthed in my 30’s

I get to watch the world through their very young eyes and recognize daily all that they teach me

I have a better body (even after having two babies!)

I appreciate my body more

I am settled in my relationship (14 years this year!)

I own a home

I got my Bachelor’s degree at 33

Doing this made me recognize my talents and want to work toward improving them

I know my fashion “style” and am comfortable owning it and not following trends

I have developed a positive spirit

(source-positveboomers.files.wordpress.com)

I have an amazing circle of girlfriends that I have collected over the years

I am pickier with the things I purchase – for my home, my closet and for my refrigerator

I am more open to trying new things

I am not as much of a “people pleaser” and can decline conflicts as needed

I am wiser with my money

I seek more knowledge and yearn to learn everyday

I am motivated to challenge myself

 I have more courage to stand up for what I believe in

I worry less about what people think of me – I am who I am, and I am pretty AWESOME!  (God, that sounds like something straight out of a self-help book, but it’s not, I swear!)

 So there you have it.  I’m sure I could probably even add more to the list as I sit and think more about this topic, but let’s hear it – does anyone else have something to add that they appreciate about where they are in life?  I’d love to hear your comments!!

The Trials, Tribulations and Joys of Extended Breastfeeding

Roo turned 14 months old yesterday. Unbelievable how time flies, and how far we have come in our breastfeeding journey.
From the second he came out of the womb, he latched and nursed like a champ.

baby

It has been such a different experience from my first try with Red. I became privy to a world of relentless hospital lactation consultants grabbing my cracked, bleeding nipples and shoving his little mouth into my double D’s, the life-saving, but oh-so-silicone, realm of nipple shields, and finally the success of nursing for 10 solid months, but not without supplementing with super expensive (and because I am picky, mail-order organic) formula – all while still pumping at work, 3 times a day.
Fast forward five years. Roo and I are now entering the realm of “extended breastfeeding.” I have what those in the BabyCenter breastfeeding communities refer to as “golden boobies” or something like that… While I am proud of how far we have come, I am wading in uncharted water, or perhaps more appropriately, uncharted milk territory. My questions are plentiful, and I am not feeling confident, or brave enough to believe everything I read about how my body works, miraculous temple that it is. I am beyond ready to stop pumping at work, but I want to continue our wake-up session and bedtime session, not to mention that on weekends, my “goldies” are the only thing that he wants at nap time. They are a comfort and I enjoy the quiet times when we sit in the rocking chair in his peaceful, sunny bedroom while he begins chugging away, and then slowly, his breathing starts to mimic the repetitious back and forth as he fades into slumber.

naptime
I respect everyone’s choices and decisions and would never pass judgment on any mama who is giving her children the best that she can. I would never look down on a woman who does not breastfeed, so I found it rather interesting the reactions I have gotten when people learn that I am still breastfeeding my toddler. In the beginning, as soon as I came back to work from maternity leave, the first question I was asked when people learned I was pumping was, “how long do you think you’ll nurse for?” When I responded with “at least a year, “ I got some glassy eyes stares (as in, really???), some outspoken questions of my sanity (part-jokingly, but also, partly not), and some half-hearted nods as in, “oh you’re so cute for trying, but you’ll never make it.” If there is one personality trait that I can absolutely attest to, it’s that if you tell me I can’t do something, I won’t like something, I will not be successful at something, I will go to the ends of the earth to OVERacheive at it, no matter what. And that has always been my way of thinking with breastfeeding. Did it hurt five years ago when I started out? YES! Was it a struggle? YES! Breastfeeding was and is a huge commitment, but it is one that I have devoted myself to for my own peace of mind and for the wellness of my babies.
The reading I have done on-line in the baby forums, which voices experiences from all of the moms who have been there, say that my body will adjust. My supply will be fine. I’ll still be able to continue this amazing nursing relationship with my son who still wants to snuggle up next to me in bed in the early morning hours when I am not yet ready to open my eyes. I am testing the knowledge and am down to one pumping session at work a day. I am SO ready to stop lugging the heavy black bag to work, slung over my shoulder on a daily, along with all of the other stuff I carry, heaving the weight through the parking lot at work, looking and feeling like a bag lady. I am proud of myself for keeping up with the routine for so long and I am hopeful that everything I am beginning to prepare to believe about my body is true. If I can count on anything, it is the fact that it hasn’t let me down yet, and I don’t plan to give up on it now – I’m going to “milk” it for all its worth.

bedtime