GF Carrot + Apple Muffins

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2 large carrots grated
1 large apple grated
1 egg (or flax egg)
1 tbs flax meal
2 tbs water
1 tbs coconut oil
1tsp cinnamon
½ tsp. Ginger, nutmeg, clove
½ + cup almond meal
1 cup (plus) GF mix (I used Pamela’s pancake mix)
1tsp baking powder
3/4 cup of coconut milk (or real milk, or almond milk)
¼ + cup of orange juice
½ – cup brown sugar

Spoon into cupcake papers, sprinkle the top with raw sugar and add a pecan to the top of each before baking. Bake muffins at 375 degrees for 40 + minutes, until a toothpick is clean and the tops are golden brown. Let cool and then serve and enjoy!

They are only small once

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I can already see how Henry is pushing away “Go away mommie, go away!” he says. Sigh. And yet in the middle of the night, when a bad dream wakes him, he seeks comfort in mommie and wants me to lie down in his bed, where I fall asleep spooning his warm little body; he still wants me. Felix falls asleep in his carrier while I vacuum tonight and I am reminded that almost a year ago he was born. So much has happened since he was born, we have moved, bought a house, are adjusting to a new climate and state. We are making new friends, finding our baring’s again, we had just moved right before Felix was born.

I am reminded though today as I vacuum and Felix falls asleep, then wakes to be nursed and nurses happily and eagerly in his carrier that they grow big quick so to try to pause and cherish these moments. These moments where their heads are sweaty and sweet with sleep sweat, where there hands, and faces are stained purples with blueberries. Life feels really intense: a week stay in the ICU (huge deductibles, lots of heartache), a hail storm (more deductibles, roof and car damages, and trouble and time) not knowing many people and the thickness of budding humid summer heat, and even with this there is joy and sweetness: evenings with citronella candles burning, chalk board drawings, sticky finger, lingering kisses. Life is so full these days it feels pregnant and uncomfortable but there is the promise of joy as we dig in and make our lives here in outskirts of Houston, TX, breathing in the sweet moments for ever lasting memory and letting the not so sweet ones go.

I made cookies, everything else is undone.

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My cup of coffee is only half finished,  the bed is not made today, it sits a pile of blankets twisted up in darkness as I have yet to open the blinds, they only take a moment, but it takes a moment I haven’t had. The dishes pile up in the sink, the laundry sits in hampers yet to be washed and then is baskets waiting to be folded and put away. The only thing finished is all the chocolate.

The toys are out of place strewn across the floor, my piles up; undone.  Right now the boys play in the sandbox on the edge of the deck. For the moment there is a pause, sun breaks through the clouds and showers light everywhere, I can feel my heart swell and I gulp air in. The beautiful little red bird is here, visiting again – singing Spring songs – and this moment has be enough. 

Sentences hang on the page, incomplete. And in the long afternoon that hangs on past its welcome, because of skipped naps, I bake gluten free cookies with a baby at my feet and a toddler “helping.” I make them because I needed to be able to say I did something today, “Today I made cookies.” Everything else is undone – I didn’t finish the laundry, I didn’t vacuum, or get work done, I didn’t get time to do yoga, or to clean the toilet, but I made a dozen cookies and ate a bunch of them, life is good.

Fear + Perfection

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I hold onto a lot of fear, sometimes about silly things and sometimes about things that are really scary. I want to do more daring things, and I don’t mean jumping off cliffs (though that would be cool too). Sometimes the scary thing is to pick up the phone and ask for help, or write a letter or resignation, or ask another mom for their phone number so you can plan to get together. Fear offers opportunities for rejection, failure and humiliation. Fear is the giant elephant in the room that doesn’t say a word. Fear often holds me back, I don’t even try because I might fail, I worry so much that I might look stupid, that things won’t turn out in my favor that I never do them.

Perfection is my other nemesis, it is the shimmering mirage of water when you are stranded in a desert, just a few steps further and their will be water, but no, it is more steps and you can never arrive. With perfection you never arrive either, you will always fall just a little short of where you want to me.

I am overwhelmed by the need to have it perfect and the fear that it won’t be that I am frozen into inaction.

“It” could be a lot of things, but in this case “it” is a little playgroup that I am writing about. I have contemplated for some time now a playgroup, I have even made false starts, and semi attempts but I have never engaged seriously, so now I am. I have given myself a bit more time to plan, learn, grow and stretch myself, but I am really doing this (assuming there is interest). Now I get to wait and see and let fear and worry run free. Maybe no one will want to come, or maybe the moms will be mean, or maybe the kids will be wild and crazy, or maybe someone will laugh and point and “say she can’t carry a tune,” or maybe it will be ok. I will look fear, worry and complicated perfectionism in the face and say no more.

Care to join me and my two boys as we explore the world of imagination, play and story? Email me with your interest, or read a little more about the playgroup, Happy Fireflies, by clicking here.

Update: – Due to unforeseen family illness I will not be doing a Spring Fireflies program.

A Financial Review

A quick review of our budget left me feeling like we really needed more income, so I picked up more work with me client that I have managed to hang onto through the last three plus years of babies and moves. Work that demands me to think and remember how to be snappy with the Internet is good for me though. Just like our physically body becomes soft when we don’t exercise I think our brains become a bit mushy if we are not using them to their fullest capacity. Work also makes me feel like a bigger part of our family, and not just a “kept women.” For me contributing financially to the household is important and makes me feel more independent, healthier and less guilty about spending money on yoga, wine and delicious local chocolate like Tejas.

Of course I am dreaming about new clients or a new job but until I can make a 28hr day or not need any sleep that isn’t going to happen. Bringing back work has made the days long, I start early with yoga before the kids wake and work in a little work then if I can, then its all about kids and household chores until they nap and then I scurry through more work until they wake. Then I start to prep dinner, feed them snack and we play until dad gets home. When he gets home things shift gears, and we focus on the kids, catching up a little ourselves, and then getting dinner on the table, chores and putting the kids to bed. After that all finally finishes I often try to get a bit more work done before my eyes close and I fall asleep. Mostly I try to remind myself this is not a race it is a marathon and just keep plodding away. Having a clear goals like; being able to pay for my Henry to go to the little Waldorf inspired school here (Great Oak School) in the fall, to keep paying for yoga classes and workshops keeps me motivated and to put extra money in our savings.

Our move to Texas left Jimmy and I a bit separated on our financial goals for the first time since we have been together. I would like to have more in savings then we do now (buying a house took a lot) and he is less worried about this. So rather then continuing to whine about how we were living paycheck-to-paycheck and having nothing extra I decided I would do something about it by working more. Taking action has been surprisingly empowering. This coupled with lots of conversations, I think is helping us to get back on track as a couple and get clear about what we want for our future. I think it is easy to get complacent about your finances, a little extra each month and you can dig yourself into credit card debt that doesn’t get paid off at the end of the month. Suddenly a little turns into a lot and your financial health goes down-hill along with it often goes other things to like relationships. Having been through one divorce and screwed up finances, I don’t want it to happen again so I am a little overly concerned about keep a close look at our financial picture. We use Mint, Excel and also closely watch our bank and credit cards to tract our monthly and quarterly spending, and build budgets. It doesn’t mean we would get an “A” according to Suze Orman but I think we are slowly moving out of the place where I am totally freaked out. Now to pay off all our debt (or at least everything but the house) its time to go get some inspiration from And Then We Saved…(she has a book deal!!).

Eight Months


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Dear Felix,

Your six months oh no wait you will be eight months in a day or two, how crazy! And your my baby and at the same time so wholeheartedly becoming your own little person. Your a confident crawler, expressive, reckless adventurer and sweet cuddlier. Your baby-hood is speeding by and already you are turning more into a little boy who is so eager to walk along side your brother.

Its been so different being your mama then mama to your brother. With you I have’t plunged in to the darkness of post-partumn depression and self-doubt. I understand your cues, (that when your brother was little completely confused and overwhelmed me) I know when you are hungry, tired, happy or displeased. Your normal bumps and bruises don’t worry me the way the tiniest thing did with your brother. I don’t worry about why you are not sleeping or why you are fussy today because I know things will pass. Life is so much easier with you, we nurse in the darkness of night or sometimes we just cuddle you being spooned by my body, me smelling your sweet baby head. Transitions and changes have happened smoothly with you and you have eagerly joined the family taking your place with a big smile and heart. In the evenings when you brother is playing his harmonica and shaking a maraca you join in, banging on the tambourine.

Nothing really slows you down for long, you are going to be my risk taker, I think we will have some adventures together. I so love being your mama, you make being a mama great!

(We were being pirates for the day, your brother’s request, I don’t normally make you wear a bandana.)

Breathing Space

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I have taken away all the breathing space in my life. Waiting in a doctor’s office I look at my phone and respond to an e-mail, check Facebook or my bank account. My mobile device has slowly grown into my life, now it is so entwined and attached that there is no opportunity for boredom, even at stoplights (particularly the long ones) there is my phone. Shhh no judgment I know so many are doing this just look around. I don’t even need to notice the person next to me at the DMV because we both have our necks bent slightly our heads down – as if in prayer, but no there is a small glowing device in our hands. These moments these natural pauses in life – lines at the grocery story, waiting at the eye doctor, driving used to be a time to just breathe and think, but no now I am so “connected” that I miss these moments and the conversation with my fellow humans right here and now.

It has happened slowly, to the point I haven’t even noticed and now I think is perfectly acceptable to check my phone mid-conversation with a friend or to have a friend do the same. My phone has a place of honor next to me at all times. And I have no house phone. Phone calls come in anyplace and anywhere, my financial matters at the tip of my finger, recipes there for me in digital form and 1000s of them, news from any and every source imaginable. A quick text message tells my friends I am thinking of them. Some of it is good, don’t get me wrong I love being “connected” I love that I can plan my meals while breastfeeding with the help of the Pinterest app on my phone, I love that I can look at beautiful pictures on Instagram, but really I am starting to wonder and to question if the way digital technology has invaded is good.

What is the consequence of loosing my breathing space? I am in a fuss right now because I am sick, and so I am missing my Yoga class, the thing that brings light and strength to my week. Where I can disconnect from family and PHONE and just breathe pressing through a series of postures. My body feels strong and alive when I am finished and my mind has space. And you know, I was really looking forward to it this week because I am feeling guilty about my lack of practice this week, about my lack of motivation to get out of bed at 5am and show up at my mat. I am breathing trying to let it go, then I wonder if thats why I got sick, I didn’t take breathing space enough this week. It is more likely that I am sick from wiping the runny noses of both my sick kiddos, but still I wonder. Sigh. Next week I will be better, I am telling myself – the yoga class starts in seven minuets. Nameste.

I have heard so many mothers ask questions like, “how do I keep my kid from getting bored?” You don’t I think, boredom creates space in our minds where imagination can flourish, and later as children grow these moments of boredom can create space for a mindful breathing practice. What happened to my moments of boredom where my mind can just unravel with no particular destination? 2015 for me is going to be a year of becoming breath conscious, it doesn’t mean much besides to take a look at where, when and how I am breathing. I hope this consciousness can shift towards a mindful-breathing practice that will become the cornerstone to my life going forward and allow me to return moments of breathing space into my everyday life. Do you have breathing space in your life, if so when and how, if not do you think it would be good to get some?

Lucky

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My sister and my mom are masters at finding four leaf clovers and I am not, I have always been sorta jealous of their skill. When walking in our new neighborhood I always look at the patches of clovers trying to see if I can find one, sometimes I pause over a patch that looks particularly rich and search. Then today as I walked and looked at the patches of clover, soaking in the sunshine in the cool brightness I saw them, two four leaf clovers nestled close together, I was joyful. I put them in a book to press them, my very own four leaf clovers – that revealed themselves to me during this challenging time of change. Reminds me that being attentive and present is good, oh so good. Smile.

Balance

The end of 2014 is ramming up into the newness of 2015, and already glancing at the calendar of 2015 I can see how it is off to a lightening start, the days rushing over each other and quickly progressing the weeks of the calendar through the months of year. I am excited for the New Year, converging with our recent move it feels like a BIG new beginning. A great time for developing new patterns and rhythms – new ways of being, those that bring more joy and balance to my life.

I am pushing my body up into Warrior II wobbling like a piece of pottery thrown off center on the wheel. I breathe and wobbling stills for a moment and I am able to straighten through long arms reaching in opposite directions for a moment there is strength in my body and total balance– then a trembling shake shivers up my left front leg the muscles weak and fatigued already after only four breaths. I fold my arms back to the ground and take Downward Dog finding my breath again.

In the early weeks of moving here (Houston, Texas) I found the loveliest little yoga studio a short drive from my house. The yoga instructor shared the name of one of my first instructors, back when I took yoga regularly in Phoenix – and it felt like coming home. I could feel the weakness in my body, two C-sections later and years of lack of practice, but I breathed deeply moving my body chunkily into poses, then resting gently at the end in shavasana I felt good – no great. For days afterwards my body felt muscles I didn’t even know I had and I felt incredible fully of energy and something else was starting to form – Balance.

Balance, the New Year has not yet arrived, it is just cresting towards the finish and I know exactly my word for this year – Balance. In Merriam Webster, Balance is defined as: “1: the state of having your weight spread equally so that you do not fall; 2: the ability to move or to remain in a position without losing control or falling; 3: a state in which different things occur in equal or proper amounts or have an equal or proper amount of importance.” In 2015 I look forward to balance, not just in my body and yoga poses but balance in all of my life – “proper amounts of things”. I am exciting to enter this New Year, find new opportunities, greater focus and practice deeper breathing, join me in ten deep breathes and then return to your day – see if things don’t feel like they shifted just a little in a positive direction. Nameste.

New Patterns

IMG_6856Since moving we have been adjusting, trying to find our rhythm again, new and different from before, one that matches this place and the changes with have had. The pulse of life is different, finding structure from the roar of the traffic which ebbs and flows in long tidal movements peaking twice a day during rush hour. The air hangs heavier with lingering moisture in the air, and it  is relatively warm compared to the high mountain desert, wind swept and sparse with temps dipping to -26 that we left behind. We joined masses of humanity in Houston area, Texas where subtropical plant life and warm rains greeted us.   Incorporation of these and many more changes is happening slowly and deliberately. With the geographical shift that took place I am working to unearth a shift in myself one where I can create new patterns of thinking. I found a yoga studio and I am working to make space for Joy in my life. It isn’t about, finding or seeking joy but rather choosing to experience it, to allow good moments to be enough and to lace these together to fabricate a joyous outlook on life.

Week mornings happen early (5am) when darkness still clings, yet the roar of traffic begins its climb to its first peak. In the darkness I breathe a rare moment where both children still sleep. My body slips into yoga poses that are  becoming familiar again to me working towards finding balance, my left leg shaking, and my weak core collapsing.  I am finding new patterns in my body, and I can feel strength growing slowly – its exciting.

Saturday I load Henry into the car to join me at the farmers market. I can remember joining my own mother on Saturdays at the farmers market, I remember some of the people there two – the Carrot Guy, big long bushy beard and large hands cracked from the soil. The Egg Lady, whispery and tall a gentle complexion and quite voice, of course there were others too. Now Henry and I buy fresh pecans, he picks them out of the shell, juicy slices of watermelon, we buy potatoes and green beans, eggs and delicate salad, purple and green mustard greens to sauté in the morning with an egg or to chop for a frittata latter this week. Strawberries, still verging on ripeness but nonetheless delicious find their way to our bag too. I feel rich. This fresh food creates the backbone of our meals, that bring us together as a family in the evenings around low light and candles to celebrate nothing more then our lives in their rawness and imperfection.

Sundays I find myself in reverence on the yoga mat, at the new studio I have found. I am joined by half a dozen others that choose to leave their  cell phones outside and come to their mat for an hour of practice. We move through the moon sequence a beautiful and gentle arrangement of moves – and while it is gentle I am reduced to tears as I struggle to move my body. Poses that used to come easily now do not, my body is out of practice, my core weak, my hips off balance and I keep telling myself that its ok, in time things will come more easily – or they wont.

Like the opening and closing of butterfly wings we breathe in activity and out rest, and so we progress through the day and weeks. We find moments of release and quiet in the day to counter the movement, activity and noise. And somehow quietly and slowly we find our rhythm again, the balance to the days and weeks.