Sunday, April 28, 2013

What the Sun Does to Her

Oddly enough, right in the middle of Spring... the Sun came out!

It does not go unnoticed up here in Washington, especially with Abigail and, I'm sure, the rest of the Pacific NW children.

She rises quickly on a weekend morning, the sun only just barely peaking through the crack in her window.  The clouds are still huge and heavy in some places, and the wind remains, but even the back and forth between the Sun and the grey is enough to make her Aura instantly vibrant and energized.

All morning she has consistently asked me in many polite, Abigail-like ways if I would go watch her out front while she played...

WHY is the front yard so much better than the back yard?? LOL I'll never know. The backyard is bigger!

"Mommy...  would you so kindly, if you mind, you could watch me as your beautiful self.. um... in the front yard while I run and jump and play?"
<bats eyes, smiles and tilts head>

She's... irresistible, really.

She is amazing, smart, bright, kind, polite, stubborn, FREE, beautiful, and strong... She is SUCH my daughter.

It is the middle of the day now and she dances and twirls in the front yard sporting her multi-colored striped tights, her pink jumpsuit (as she calls it), a long sleeved shirt underneath, her shiny black dress shoes with her favorite lip gloss on.

She picks some of our Lavender and holds it out in her hand...

"Close your eyes and smell that, Mom."... as she lovingly smiles. 

She's just so beautiful to me, inside and out.

We ran giggling as I chased her around the yard for at least 5 minutes. She makes me feel like a kid again.

Children are the most amazing, magical beings we are so blessed to have and to raise, love and cherish.

I love all of our children, even if they drive me nuts half the time.

Life would not be the same without them.

Happy Sunday  :) 

Friday, April 26, 2013

My Wonderful Complaints

After deciding to stay home with the kids and not work for a while, my brain has been going nuts with ALL of the things I have ever wanted to do, try, create, and all the NEW things that I am discovering I may want to do, try and create.

Nursing Carlin is my new reality, as I have joined the club of millions of selfless women who choose to nurse their infants by sacrificing our bodies 24/7 for a year (or more) of our lives.

And being that I probably nurse him 8-10 hours in a day, fitting in all of my creative aspirations can be a bit difficult. 

Well... a lot difficult. 

It probably doesn't help that my brain is not exactly as organized as it once was, which is hard because when that happens, I feel like I am not doing everything to its fullest!

For example...

1) The bathroom is half painted. To be fair, 3/4 of the way painted. :) Started it yesterday but woke up with a cold!! So I have been trying to catch up on the bloggy world because now I feel crummy and do not want to do anything physical.

2) Also, (and speaking of the bloggy world) I have been nominated for 3 Liebster Awards, and after discovering I was nominated for the 3rd one, I had only JUST finished finding the first 21 blogs I wanted to nominate from my first 2 awards!  

Now I need to find 11 more blogs to nominate. Trust me, these are good things to have to whine about! :)  It's just... I really do take the compliment that comes with the award to heart, and when I nominate 11 other blogs as the rules state to do, I take it seriously and want to take my time!  

3) And... I have gone to the thrift store twice in 2 weeks, found new t-shirts to restyle/upcycle and got inspired! So now I have 3 unfinished products for my Etsy shop. <face palm>

4) I even admit to spontaneously finding (and maybe.. searching out intentionally... occasionally.. Or, a lot. Don't judge me!) yard sales on the way home from dropping Abigail off at Pre-k, and inevitably accumulating MORE things that inspire yet another project.

All the while... when I am nursing our little man, or sitting still for any reason, I'm thinking of something else I'm working on and what I can do to it next. 

Still, I am on my own time, doing things at my own speed. It's a nice change from the working life when my time revolved around what the corporate world demanded of me 40 hours per week, which means the house, family, chores and creative ventures had to come second. 

In the midst of my creative mess of a brain... I do feel like a sense of clarity has set in. :) 

For once, it feels good to have complaints. 
Time flies, and I will one day miss these days. 

Life is good when my these are my kind of complaints. 

Living Life Openly, waking up ready and receptive to all that the Universe has to offer each day. 


Thursday, April 18, 2013

And the Music Never... Oh Wait! It Did! It DID Die! :(

Our stereo in the truck (which I drive!) has been broken for nearly a year now (I KNOW!!!)

The fact that I have survived all this time without it is nearly unbelievable. Music is my life and it is usually the only way to get me moving, pick me up when I'm down, to clean the house, or whatever. And it was always the best way to start the day, for both me and Abber-dabber

Ahh.. those were the days. Often I would take an extra back-road (or three) when we had a little extra time just to get to the best part of the song (and the part that I just so happen to sound fantastic at) so I can wail it out. It has a sort of therapeutic effect for me and can alter any mood. 

So now on the way to school every morning, I try to sing songs aloud to Abigail that I remember (from the days of old when I HAD A STEREO!) but quickly learned that I don't really know all the words to some songs that I thought I did. 

At least it inspires giggles

Do you do that?  Sing songs that you sing all the time but notice that you only really know the words when the actual song is playing? Weird.

And I don't know how to explain it but there are songs that I love (and I mean LOVE, LOVE) and come to find out, I don't even know half the words!

It's... It's just such an odd feeling. As if it lets me down or something. I know this is dumb. 

OH! And when you know exactly what song you want to sing but for the LIFE of you, you cannot think of even the first word?! 

Better yet!  You can remember half of the chorus, but not the rest, and you know... you just KNOW that if you could remember just the first word or two, the entire thing would come back to you.  

YES! THAT is what I'm talking about. I feel like I'm going to get a lot of support on that one. That's got to happen to everybody, right? 

Does it...?  :)  

Monday, April 15, 2013

Life As I LOVE It

You know those mornings when the alarm sounds and your eyelids feel like elephants are sitting on them, and when you try to open them, it feels like it is more like 3:00am instead of 6:30am

Mondays (usually).... 

It was something I thought I was getting rid of when I stopped punching an actual clock at a corporation 40 hours a week.  But having to get up before 8:00am  after getting up a few times with an infant to get Abigail up, ready, fed and off to school.... oh, and ON TIME... 

That just turned out to be my morning workout sometimes! Especially on Monday's

But it's good to know I'm not alone! Taking Abigail to school on Monday's consistently has the same feel to it.  We take our kids into the school, trying to look as graceful as possible while walking them into the hallway as we all could have probably benefited from arriving just a couple of minutes earlier. 

We give kisses, clean their faces a little one last time, tell them to have a good day and send them off to sit in their line and wait for their teacher.  

Abigail likes it when I wait for her teacher to come so that I am there to waive to her as she walks by Carlin and I in the hallway on the way to her classroom.  A few other Moms do the same, which is nice because we inevitably started talking to one another and now it's something that I kind of look forward to! 

A teacher will join in the conversation most of the time and it is kind of nice, especially for us stay-at-home-moms, because every woman can find something to relate to in one another.

But ANYWAYS..... Then it hit me. 

My dearest friend, Ann, always says to me when she comes by... 

<shakes her head and smiles> 

"THIS is your life" 

... as I watch reruns of FRIENDS and munch on the SMORES (Or REESES; depends what day she comes over) I made from my super secret stash of munchies that I hide from the kids.   (which I'm SURE we're AALL guilty of at one point or another!)   ;) 

Not to mention when my first post on Facebook in a couple days was about Carlin's massive poopy that required me to just hang his little butt under the faucet to effectively clean it! 

When she saw me she said, 

"You're posting about poop. THIS is your life."

That's when I thought, standing there in Abi's school in my ankle tight yoga pants, bright blue Converse (shoes that make your feet look HUGE), half combed hair and wearing my hoodie...... 

"This IS my life. THIS IS MY LIFE!!!" 

Working full time worked for me for a while, but my heart (and my hubby's) felt the need for a change, so we went for it! 

And here I am, talking and sharing stories of morning or weekend events with other Mommies, and coming home to watch FRIENDS (and ELLEN!! I admit, I just LOVE her!), nurse our baby, attempt to manage a clean-ish house, do projects and, most of all, BLOG! :) 

This has given me a chance to grow & awaken to my abilities, expand my creative side and enjoy myself, our little family. 

I truly value how I spend my time more than I ever have. 

Paul, my husband, said it best....

I love that you're so content, baby.  

Yeah, "Content" .... That's it. :) 

Content, and SO humbly happy and thankful. 

Friday, April 12, 2013

Mule Wrestling!

Yes, I said

Mule Wrestling! 

No.... Not that kind. 

Keep reading!! 

Ever since I have been out of work, my mind has been going nuts with all of the things I have always wanted to do but have never had any time for. It has gotten so crazy (in my head) that I have informed the family that we will be doing a Family Vision Board

A vision board is simply a poster with photos and/or descriptions of your goals, and its purpose is to be hung where it is always at eye level so that you do not forget what you want to do next. It has been proven to work, as people tend to ALWAYS reach all of their goals because their goals are visually in front of them, keeping it all at the tops of their minds. 

I so needed this because I felt like my creative bubble was going to explode, feeling a bit overwhelmed with what to do first and how to start and what to buy and ... and..... UGH! 

I am a bargain shopper and do not wish to spend a lot of money in one place no matter what I am buying, and being that I am a hippie girl, I'd rather reuse, recycle, upcycle things instead of try to create things from brand new, unused materials. 

So, this is my first attempt at "Upcycling/Restyling". I cannot sew (never tried) and have zero patience right now to try to learn, so I researched what no-sew creations I could make. 

T-SHIRTS!!! Perfect! 

On one of my Thrifty Trips that I take once or twice a week, I found a rack of t-shirts for 50 cents a piece. SCORE! 

After swinging by the craft store to grab some fabric tape, fabric glue and some good, sharp scissors for cutting fabric, I raced home to begin creating. 

I found two shirts that have the name of a local-ish school's wrestling team on it and found it funny enough to be a style of it's own, so I grabbed one of them up to work on first. 

The bags/totes I created this time can be used every day for holding your wallet, phone, etc. Although I suggest putting any smaller items (such as lip gloss) in a makeup bag within the bags, otherwise they will just slip right out the bottom. 

Now, the only thing I have to hang these on is my daughter's painting easel, so bare with me on that. :) 

Here it is.... 

Shoulder strap bag with fringed bottom and top corners, topped with my first attempt at a fabric rose.
"Mule Wrestling"!! See what I mean?! LOL It is its own style. 

Here is my second bag.... (Abigail's fav)

Should strap bag fringed on the bottom and top corners with a heart design on front (covering up the  label that came on the shirt). The hearts will just get better looking as time goes on, getting more curly along the sides.

Here is the third bag.... 

This is a Hobo Tote Bag with shorter shoulder straps....

... and a drawstring bottom...

 This bag is perfect for  a reusable grocery/produce bag, a small beach bag, or for just running into town really quick!

But wait.. There's more! 

I also made this... 

A head band from the scraps from my bags (plus a cloth napkin I found at the thrift store)
Not so bad for my second attempt at a cloth flower!!!  :)

It's amazing what you can make with a pair of scissors, a little bit of fabric tape and some old t-shirts! 

This is a new addiction of mine and I don't plan on stopping here. Not sure if anyone would ever buy such things from me but who knows! 

My time is my own right now and having this time to center myself around my family, our goals and my creative aspirations is something I am not going to take for granted, so there's more to come! 

There are so many ideas I have for creating my own business out of our home, hobbies I want to start, things I want to sell... The sky is the limit and I have a long way to go because I haven't even left the ground yet!! :)

So there you go. I've shared with you the very beginning of my attempt to be crafty. Hope you like my creations! 

What are somethings you have made with your own hands? 

<3 MHM

Monday, April 8, 2013

Little Miss Fashionista

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

While the rest of us were getting ready for a day trip to Olympia, WA to have lunch with some friends we made in Occupy who traveled from WA, DC, Abigail ran around the house in her “fashionable” and well thought out outfit loudly expressing her excitement to try a new Indian restaurant.
Daddy had just finished getting ready and sat down while he waited on the rest of us to get ready (and by that, I mean Mommy. But I have to get everything else ready for the day ahead!). He asked Abi to come to him so he could brush her hair when he asked her (being jokingly serious … ? Yes, that works)…

“Abigail, are you sure that black dress coat is “fashionable” (a term our daughter has re-defined) with your outfit? I’m sure the rainbow sweater with the hood would go much better”, he says with a smirk to be funny, but was actually making an honest observation.  

Abigail tends to match some pretty random articles of clothing together by pairing cowgirl boots,  tutu’s and small dress coats with pants and halter tops.
Free expression is encouraged in our household. It keeps  things interesting to say the least!

“That’s OK, you don’t have to listen to me. I’m just the stylist”, he continued as she stood with hands on her hips looking at him like… “REALLY DAD??”

It was then when I chimed in and said, “Yeah babe, maybe go get your black boots to match your dress coat.”
She then lovingly walked over to me, put her hand on my shoulder and said, 

“Mommy, please stay out of this.”

LOL OH that child…

Our daughter is a little fashion diva and has been since she was big enough to walk and talk. It may have been the princess movies she watched, or the ballerina movies and her obsession of becoming a rock star that inspired her “fashionista” personality, but it certainly wasn't from me . Sure I dress well when I need to and may have my own sense of layed-back-hippie-style but it is not in my nature to stand in front of the mirror and prep for very long. Brush the hair, throw on some facial lotion, minimal make-up and some lip gloss and I’m done!
Abigail will change several times in one day, and when she knows something is coming up that she will soon be attending, she will pick her outfit out ahead of time with every piece carefully thought out.
Her murmurs can be heard from her room as she giggles and says things like… “This will go PERFECT with this tutu.” (EVERYTHING should be accompanied by a tutu, according to Abigail) “Oh yes.. this will be fashionable. Daddy will approve.”
Daddy is her personal stylist. This is just something that developed organically over the years. To be specific, he is also the Chef and (main) Gardener. :)  I am the glue. I keep everyone and everything in order (and I use that word lightly), delegating tasks to keep the house in some sort of decent condition, while also being sure we have fun along the way. 

But it is Daddy who, when we go to our favorite thrift store full of very lightly used/like-new clothing for children to replenish Abigail’s wardrobe (Shout out to Tiny Hiney's in Vancouver, WA!), is the one who picks out all of the clothes which are usually as funky and unique as our Abber-dabbers.
It will be interesting to see if this pans out over the years as she gets older.

<3 MHM

Monday, April 1, 2013

Achieving My "Non-Goal"

It may be Spring Break but I will not let the presence of  my 2 school-age children in the house all day (and all week!) keep me from certain routines I've developed over these past couple of months of being home. 

It's my sanity! 

I woke up at 8:00am, and there was not a sound in the house. The hubbers had already gone to work and the 5 year old and 15 year old were still asleep. This was my chance! 

Quickly I changed Carlin's poopy, made him laugh a few times (mornings with him are my favorite part of the day), washed my face, brushed my teeth then quietly scooped him up to softly tread down the stairs, careful to not.. wake.... a soul. 


After putting some oatmeal, a couple of eggs and my morning glass of water into my belly (all while nursing my little man, of course), I carefully placed him into his car seat with the full intention of tricking him into thinking we were going for a ride. Yes.... I said trick him. My yoga routine is 40 minutes long and on a usual school morning, he is still sleeping when I get back from taking Abigail to Pre-k and that is when I usually take the opportunity to get in a little workout. You learn all sorts of "tricks" with a baby in the house!

Now to the good news... 

I am not a "vanity" type of person so this wasn't necessarily a goal of mine. Even if it were, it would be a long term goal with no real intention of focusing on making it happen this soon.

Just for giggles, after taking a quick potty break after yoga this morning, I stepped on the scale. When I was pregnant with Carlin, I gained 35 pounds with my end weight being 170. 

It has been 9 weeks and I am now back down to my pre-pregnancy weight of 135! Although this wasn't something I was striving for just yet, I have to admit that it does feel good. 

Here are some simple things I have done in these last 9 weeks (actually 7 weeks b/c I was recovering from a loss of a LOT of blood in the first 2) that have, apparently, played a roll in achieving this "non-goal" of mine. 

One thing I will say is that the reason I did these things had little to do with losing weight and everything to do with feeling balanced, energized and centered. Pregnancy and childbirth really has a way of knocking those 3 things out of you and it was a carnal need of mine to find them again and hold on to them. 

Wake up. Dress up. Show up.  

   Besides taking Abigail to school, I don't really have anywhere to go, but it is more about the idea with this one. What I mean is, if you wake up, wash your face, brush your teeth and hair, throw on a very minimal amount of make-up and put on your best pair of yoga pants as soon as you wake up, you're much less likely to lay around all day and do nothing. This, I have learned from experience. Since I have begun doing this every morning, even on the mornings I don't have to take Abi to school, I have had no problem staying active throughout the day. 

Eat often. Eat Small. Eat healthy. 

   This one seems like a "duh" but it really has taken some conscious effort on my part.  It is important to keep your body full of calories that count and not of ones that your body will just want to throw away, especially if you are breastfeeding. My typical morning would start off with two eggs, oatmeal, a chicken breast, honey Greek yogurt (I'm addicted!) and a side of fruit, all topped off with a glass of water. I never miss eating breakfast. Eating in the morning jump starts your metabolism, energizes the body and wakes the brain, setting the bar for the rest of the day. Breakfast is followed by a mid-morning snack, which is usually fruit and more yogurt with some granola on top. Then my lunch is usually a chicken-spinach-pesto sandwich on multi-grain bread, with a few healthy snacks (yogurt, fruit, raw veggies) before eating the yummy dinner my husband comes home to cook. 

Drink Water.

   This one is easy for me because every time Carlin starts feeding, my mouth gets really dry and my body screams "NEED WATER"! The cup from the hospital only lasted me a few weeks before it, inevitably, got a crack in it. But it was replaced with a reusable coffee cup. Keep something similar or that has a lid on hand that you can fill easily. I drink about 10 to 12 of these a day, pretty much every single time my little man nurses. Water is great for the skin, as well as for regulating the body, keeping it cleansed and, in turn, keeping you feeling good.

Do something. Anything. Once a day. 

    Once a day, do something that requires you to get up and move around for at least 20 minutes every day. Stretch it to an hour sometimes if at all possible, but don't stress it. Keep it casual and don't dwell on it too much. I find that keeping this a habit, but not a "job" or something I HAVE to make happen, takes all the pressure off so I don't feel like I failed if I don't get around to this at some point in a day. This is important because, with a new baby, there WILL be days like this! Every day I have either cleaned the house up a bit (which takes a minimum of 20 minutes), done some yoga or just went for a quick walk. The point is to try to burn some calories at least once a day instead of eating and just sitting around. I've found that it raises my energy and makes me feel good about myself, putting me in a better mood to deal with everything in my day to day. 


   This is something that organically happens when I clean for my "at least 20 min per day" because the only way to get me cleaning is to TURN ON SOME MUSIC! 

I've always said...

"Where there's a beat, there should be a dancer" ~Amanda Autumn Nipper 
(yep, I'm claiming that one) 
   Dancing does so much more than giving a work out to more muscles than you could imagine. Music releases endorphins, making your mood transform no matter what kind of day you've had. It is a great medicine for the soul. SO GET UP AND DANCE! You'll be glad you did. 

Take the stairs. 

   I have not gone many places that have stairs, but when I do, I choose them over the elevator (as long as they are not more than 3 stories high!). Since I am usually wearing my baby (which makes for a good amount of a little extra weight on your thighs), walking up the stairs is not a problem, and is perfect to get in a little cardio and feel the burn. This is just a quick and easy way to throw in a little extra movement in your day. Lucky for me, we have stairs in our house, and there is not a day that goes by when I do not make frequent trips up and down them. 


   Okay, this is not something I have started but that is due to the weather, not my lack of 'want to'. Spring starts in March, but in the PacificNW, our Spring usually doesn't start until May or June. Meaning, it doesn't stop raining until then. For some reason, it has been a rather dry Spring, and as long as the weather continues this way, Gardening will soon be a part of my daily routine, as I try to reach our goal as a family to be able to grow our own veggies this year instead of having to purchase them. Gardening is a great way to workout, all while doing something that can benefit the whole family. What's better is the kids can help! Get the whole family involved! 

Don't be Super Woman. Delegate. Rest. 

   You're already Super Woman... You carried a baby for nearly a year AND gave birth. You have nothing left to prove to anyone. Don't be a martyr. Ask for help. This may not seem like a way to lose weight, but I feel that it is, just indirectly. Without the help of my awesome partner in life, my loving husband, and the help of my children (even my 5 year old), I'd probably feel overwhelmed, not being able to fully contribute my energy in all the areas of our life that keep us "afloat". While it is good to do a little housework to get the blood flowing and to burn some calories, DON'T DO IT ALL! Delegate some tasks and don't forget to rest. If you are overtired, overworked and overwhelmed, you're likely to become depressed and most likely will just lay around, wallowing in your misery. Don't be Super Woman. Ask for help. Not everything has to be on your shoulders. 


   This goes right along with the idea of... If you're mood is good, you will feel good and will not find yourself laying around, adding on the pounds postpartum. Get out and talk to people! Even if it is another mom in the baby isle at the store. Or the clerk at the register. Or your friends!! Call your friends, BS with them and tell them to come see you! You're a mommy but you're still  YOU. It is easy to lose sight of that after giving birth. Socializing with other adults makes you feel good inside, and as long as you feel good, you LOOK good. 

Most of all, don't forget to smile. And don't take yourself so seriously! Even if you don't find yourself back to your pre-baby weight, doing all of these things will make you feel like a better YOU. And that is something that everyone around you can benefit from. 

So, enjoy your baby, but don't forget about YOU. 

Those are just some of my thoughts and experiences.... 

If you have some you'd like to add, please do! I would love to hear your thoughts!