Thursday, May 5, 2011

May Day Blessings

We celebrated May Day yesterday. We have been fortunate enough to find a group of home schoolers whom gather once a week at Ancil Hoffman Park. It is a beautiful setting near the river. There are no play structures or guided activities, which fosters group games and creative play. We celebrate many seasonal holidays, seen in the Waldorf schools. Yesterday about 50 people gathered around the May pole as the procession started. I was named the May Day queen and came in throwing rose petals. My children were a part of the procession, Cade playing the hand drum and Josie playing the maraca. We welcomed all and I shared a Spring poem. The day continued with other performances consisting of music, poems and jokes. Then the weaving began. The little fairy kids went round the pole to music. The older children had practiced weaving some going over, some under, ending in an intricate weave pattern round the pole. We stood around the pole, blessed our food and friends and had a delicious potluck.

I enjoyed the moments I had with my kids. It is special to enjoy the little things, like Cade rubbing the baby, kissing and saying I love you baby. I also enjoyed my little Josie trying to get me dressed for the job of the queen. She found the perfect dress for her and I. We shared the bathroom mirror to add the finishing touches. I watched Cade capture the special scenes on the camera. He also spent time with one of the youngest members, Mason, 8 months. Josie was a great momma to her newborn doll, Cambria.

It was a lovely Spring day! We ended by taking my parents to dinner and celebrating the time we have with them. The children ended the night with some musical performances for Papa. I went to bed at peace with where I am for now. I look forward to the birth of this third baby.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Trying To Balance

Well it's been about a month since I've last posted and who knows what time I'll have after the baby comes mid May. I am really going to make an effort to try and keep some balance in my life, even with a newborn. I was inspired to look back at a post awhile ago about BALANCE. It has some great tips on how to create a routine to bring balance in your life. It is also a eye opener to what areas maybe affecting you and creating some unsettled feelings.

Since March 13 th, the kids and I have been living at my parents house. This is the house I grew up in, the neighborhood I went to school in, the place we had kids over, the party home, etc. It is also the place my parents have opened to many in the family when they are trying to find their way. There have been a few cousins, aunts, nephews, friends, that have lived here. This is also the place my parents brought my little grandma to stay when she could no longer live alone. She stayed and then went to a care home, then returned to die in a more private setting.

My husband has been on the road since the end of February. He comes and goes for 4 day trips to 20 days, coming home for 4 or 5. It is constantly changing and the transition is often rough. We are fortunate he has a good job and the promotion he got this year has taken some stress off his plate. He has been working extra hard tying to get ahead, so he can take a few weeks around the birth. This will be a treat. The last two births he flew in from Washington and Florida and had to leave a few days after the births. I look forward to having him bond with our baby from the start, not months later. With him gone so much I have developed a survival tool for having to do it all. Now that I am at my parents home, I have more help. It is often hard to ask for specific things, because I am used to doing it. I also don't want to assume they are willing to do anything at anytime. We also have different ways of dealing with the children. Just as a mom and dad do things differently, now we have two other ways. It can be challenging to try and help kids understand the different dynamics of a family. The nice thing about being with my family is the meal time, we eat together every night. My mom usually cooks and my dad cleans up. This has been a life saver on my body and mind, as I approach the due date.

We sold our home and have been looking for a new one to buy. As I get closer to the birth, I realize we will not have a new home before the birth. I have planned a home birth and now have to change my plan from my own private space, to the space of my family's. For the last 6 years, every time I thought about another baby, I imagined a home birth. I have been teaching natural childbirth classes in my home for 9 years. The more I learn about the business side of birth and the intervention cycle that is hard to escape in the hospital, the more drawn I was to a home birth. I had pictured my living room, with a birth tub, candles, music, my husband and kids. Well, I no longer live in that home. My mom has been gracious enough to offer her room for the birth. It is the only space that is somewhat private. We can retreat to the room, have a bathroom and access to the outdoors. Now the challenge is to let go of the vision I had and create a new one. When you have a home birth it feels safer, more private, more comfortable. These are especially true when you make the space represent the energy you need for a calm birth. As with every person, every room has a different feel. What maybe calm for one, may feel overwhelming or cluttered to another. As I approach the time that I will birth I need to feel I have created the best nest I can for this baby. This is such a different time in my life, where I feel it is a blessing to have this baby join our family. I want to have a quiet space with different elements from each direction. The children and I have been out selecting items, such as shells, eggs, birds, chimes, fruit, and candles in different colors. I hope to set up a birth alter to have something to focus on, to draw strength from. If I can do this then I can have balance. The area is a huge factor in how you relax and surrender to the labor. There needs to be a focus on physical, mental and emotional relaxation. These can be achieved, I managed in a hectic hospital setting, because I had many hours to adjust. I got through a fast labor in a birth center. I look forward to a wonderful home birth, with my family supporting us in the way we seem best at the time.

So as you read my adventure, please take time to review your life and ask yourself how can you balance more? Look back at the BALANCE post and try and implement just one area. What are you doing daily for your body? What does the area around you look like? Are you surrounded with things and people you love? Are you being loving to others? What aromas do you use to help create calmness? Are you focused on the now? Are you trying to be present? Do you know how to center in the midst of the storm? Where do you go to take a deep breath and refocus? Are you willing to stop living the same old story and replaying the same old habits in order to embrace the ways to balance that I have presented? If you are feeling weak in any of these areas, it is time, now, with the energy of Spring, to move forward and change. I have faith that if we all try and live a more conscious life we can make this world a more peaceful place to be.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Party in a Cool Box

Over the years we have had many parties in our home, yard, street and garage. So, as we got ready to move, we ordered a Cool Box storage unit. It arrived at our home on a holiday, so all the kids on the street were out of school. The box was insulated and unpacked and the kids said, "can we dance in there?" I thought, no, we have to get packing. Then I stopped and realized we needed to make part of this moving fun. So I said, "one dance." They grabbed their friends, the boom box, their hip hop dance CD, and had an instant party in a box! There were about 10 kids in a 20 foot box. They needed no decorations, fancy lights, nothing, just a place and music! They wound up dancing for about 45 minutes, break dancing moves and routines were being taught. I haven't laughed so hard! I called the mom's to come see the kids. Seeing the kids and their creativity gave me and idea. One of the other mom's and I have had a Halloween party every year and transformed the garage. We would take a few days to push our stuff to the side, hang black plastic and lights. After I saw how much fun they had, I thought we could just rent one of these boxes and we'd have an instant party!!
It is amazing how dancing can lighten the mood and make you feel good. I often will turn on music while cleaning the house. It sure makes the job go faster. My sister and I used to turn on a record from the movie Annie. We would dance and clean to "It's a Hard Knock Life." So as you go through your day, I hope you dance!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Going to Ireland

I've never traveled to Europe, but I have been to many new cities across the U.S. I have been on this world win trip recently, that has kept me so busy I haven't had an ounce of energy or time to write. Oh, did I mention I'm 8 months pregnant? So, I am back and hope that as I get back to my routine I can write about some adventures my family has had in the past 2 months!

So, we put our house on the market in the end of January, had an offer in a week! Great, now what? Well, we really wanted to finish the process of selling before we bought another home. Meanwhile my husband was getting ready to leave for work the end of February. So, the whole month we spent packing our 10 years of stuff in a portable storage unit. We had done a lot of decluttering through the staging process and there was a lot in the garage. That was the easy part to pack. Well, actually I did get a little nervous every time I'd hear a new click of the plastic bins. I thought when will I see my stuff again? So with a lot of help from my parents, husband and old friend we did it, packed a 20 ft. unit. Now it was the end of February, James left for Arizona for a month and I still had to pack the house. We thought we needed to be out on the 16 th of March, so we lined up friends and family to come pack another unit on the 13 th. I was having a hard time deciding what to take with me and the kids to my parents house. Yes, my parents have been gracious enough to put us up until we find a new home. After all daddy is traveling and this would help the kids through the transition.
My friend and I were talking one morning, because I was overwhelmed with the process of packing clothes, school materials, toys, etc. What would I need over the next few months? She said, it's like you're going on a trip to Europe and you are going to pack just the essentials. A couple jeans, shorts, dresses, shoes, etc. For some reason I loved this analogy and thought about all the traveling I had done and how I couldn't bring everything I owned. I changed my perspective on the situation and started packing. Along with traveling you have to be flexible and go with the flow, act like the locals do.
On March 13 th we had my mom, brother, two neighbor couples, my father in law, a good friend, and a lot of kids. Every one came to pack us and send us off on our trip. I decided I've always wanted to go to Ireland and since it was almost St. Patrick's Day, we could learn about the culture there and have fun along the way. I started talking to the kids about our trip and how much fun it would be, how we wouldn't have all our toys and we would miss our friends. They weren't sure about this imaginary trip, but took it in stride. They loved when a small plastic leprechaun came to visit and stared doing tricks on us. He would hide among the boxes and hide gold candy to share.
We arrived in Ireland late on the 13 th. Our room was packed with our suitcases and we had a hard time adjusting to the new sights, sounds, and the time change :). We were so exhausted from the previous weeks that we could hardly see the positives of being here with my family, surrounded by love and support. As with any trip, you meet people along the way that bring light to your life and help you get acclimated. My brother came and took my son Cade on a night out, which really helped as he missed daddy and his friends. We spent the next week trying to finish house paperwork. This took over our nights and days until the 22 nd, when it finally closed!
Every time we got caught in the blues we would try to stop and enjoy the ride. The transition is hard. We had been in the same house for 10 years. The kids had great friends and constant play dates. We are grieving the loss of the old ways. Every time you go through a big life change, you grieve. The first step is anger. My son definitely exhibiting signs of this on Monday. I had a hard time trying to calm him. I too was sad and disappointed, that this was not going the way I had envisioned it. I thought, we would sell, maybe rent back, then move to our new home. When am I going to learn you can't plan it all?
I have finally tried to get up at 6:30 to do my stretches, yoga, and mediation. One morning I thought about the transition and how it was our routine, it was our schooling, it was what we were doing and had to surrender to the now. I saw the correlation between labor and now. In labor you go through three different stages. You learn to relax physically, mentally and emotionally. When you get to transition, you feel like your contractions are coming on on top of the other, you may feel crabby, sick, etc. You often feel you can't go on and this is often when people ask for drugs to ease the pain. Of course when you understand the process and know that transition is the shortest part of labor, you can manage the pain. The tools you were using before may not work the same, but knowing it will be over helps you surrender to the process. The more you fight it, the more painful it will be. So here I am in transition. I can't control my emotions, feel a little un productive and having a hard time relaxing through the process. As soon as I saw the correlation, I realized I needed to surrender. I am now trying to enjoy the moment, go with the flow, let the kids lead the day and follow their interests.
I have also found these wonderful speakers whom are helping remind me to be present. I know all these things, but sometimes it is hard to stay calm in the midst of the storm. The daily affirmations, the focusing on the simple things and the gratitude's, do help. I hope as you read the next few weeks, you'll see the shift or reminders in how to enjoy the ride, the vacation, the trip. This trip isn't what I expected, but what trip is? You never know exactly what people you will meet, what food you will like or what events will be going on? Take it one day at a time, or if it's real tough, one hour at a time. You too can get through transition.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

What Would Love Do?

I was motivated last weekend to go back the The Spiritual Life Center, where all are welcomed. It was the New Years weekend and all were filled with hope and joy for the upcoming year. There were two speakers who addressed the opportunity for change. I love sitting with an open mind, taking notes and enjoying the positive energy. The first women spoke about being present. She said we are all so blessed in everyday, that we need to spend our time focusing on what we do have, not what we don't. I already believe this and make a conscious effort to do this daily. She talked about love and how powerful it is. She challenged us to use love in times that the answers weren't that clear. To follow your gut and come from love. So when you are in a situation and you don't know how to handle it, ask yourself, "what would love do?" For some reason this statement resonated with me and I have implemented it all week long. My husband also thought this was a positive saying to incorporate into our home. He said that I could remind him by saying it to him.

So what does this look like? Our daughter is having a hard time handling the answer, NO. Sounds like every kid! She has a fit and we are in the process of figuring out what the best plan is. Now, the frustrated parent would yell and say that is the answer! But, if you stop and ask yourself, what would love do? You would stop and listen to her and come from love, still standing your ground. I remember my mom used to say, when all else fails give them a hug. This goes well with love. It takes patience and concentration to stop your old habits. You must want to create a loving environment, to have one.

Yesterday was a challenging day. We had school work to finish to turn into our home school advisor. We had to eat lunch and be ready to turn in the work. We are also getting ready to put our home on the market, so keeping everything neat and tidy with two kids is a daily challenge. Meanwhile my son was feeling the beginning signs of a cold and he was having a hard time focusing. I was grateful that he was home and not having to try to focus in a classroom. The advisor came and the kids played with her 3 daughters for 2 hours. It was a great visit and we were ready for our afternoon. It was getting cold and I had to say no to playing and deal with 2 melt downs. I decided to go off and run an errand, hoping that my husband would be able to handle 2 crying kids with love. When I returned the energy was the same, a bit chaotic and upsetting. After dinner as we sat around the table, I asked myself, what would love do?

I called a family meeting. The rules were that one person spoke at a time, and you could say anything you feel, anything that is bothering you. This was going to be the challenge for my husband and I not to want to teach a lesson in the middle. My son started by saying he is frustrated when his sister cries. She had to take a deep breath and not get mad when he was speaking. There were a few concerns stated about her and I, as the moderator, had to intervene to be sure this wasn't going to be a gang up on one person circle. The intention was that you could feel safe to share and we would all listen without judging. When my 6 year old spoke she said, she has days when she feels off. She gets upset and doesn't like to, but she doesn't like not getting her way. People had chances to respond, in a loving way. Of course we needed lots of reminders, even for my husband not to turn it into a lecture. We sat for a good 20 minutes, which was longer that I had expected. We restated the rules of the house, our routines for morning, school and evening. My daughter finally raised her hand and said can we be excused? We continued our evening in a calmer more loving fashion. There was less yelling and more feelings being shared. All helped clear the table, do dishes and play a game. It is exhausting to constantly stop and come from love, but it is really damaging to come from the opposite place. Whoever said life, parenting, marriage, etc. would be easy?

As we head into this New Year, ask yourself daily, "What would love do?" You will be surprised, the answer is always there. It feels good. You can do it. You can train your brain to form new cell assemblies. You don't have to stay stuck in your old patterns. You don't have to make up excuses and blame your childhood for the ways you are now. You can make a conscious effort to bring positive change into your daily life. It takes one statement, one minute to stop. If this is overwhelming, reread my centering and balance posts. This is nothing new to me, just a different looking tool. What would love do? Take the time to stop and think.

Things I find fascinating

  • Bagua Board/ Dream board
  • Balanced Birth Approach
  • Birthing From Within
  • E Is For Ethics
  • Homeschooling
  • The Bradley Method Of Natural Childbirth
  • The Family Virtues Guide
  • The Power of Wisdom
  • Waldorf
  • Young Living Essential Oils
  • Zen in Ten Seconds