These Boys

posted on: Wednesday, July 31, 2013

This picture pretty much sums up the interactions between these two boys. Kael is in the ultimate boyish world of rough housing and all things loud, fast and strong. Poor little Cedar is caught in the cross hairs of his big brother's imaginative play, all too often. He runs and totters after his brother through the halls, but never seems to quite catch up. I laugh so often at Cedar's adoration of his big brother. Forget any and all baby toys.  He is only interested in what Kael touches and loves.

I can count on one hand the moments of snuggles, sweetness and tender interactions between them. Kael's just not interested and that's ok.  I try to be understanding to Kael,  not putting expectation on his small almost 3 year old heart. He shouldn't be old enough to disappoint me. That's ridiculous.  And if I find myself in that emotional place, I need a serious heart check. They will find their own way and friendship, down the road. Until that season comes, I'm enjoying them in their own individual way. It's amazing to me the amount of love for these boys that fills my heart. In all the crazy, the hectic, the mess, the tears, knocks and bruises, there is so much love. And saying "my boys" thrills me to the core every time. I wouldn't trade this time for anything. 

Rain Play

posted on: Monday, July 29, 2013

This has seriously been the rainiest summer I've ever remembered. I love rain, but when it's everyday, my mind starts to wander back to the longing for sunny times and the smell of coconut from my sunscreen. Wishing the soppy mush of mud and humidity away won't make it disappear so, we've tried to make the best out of it. If we can't go swimming, then why not plan on making a different kind of outing and mess? Any time we get one of those crazy summer showers and the kids are awake, I grab a couple of towels, open the door and out we go. They love it. I love it. Yeah, we track mud and water in the house, but better to clean up a happy mess than a depressed mess right? It's my rainy summer policy.

I came to this decision, after being cooped up inside for 3 weeks straight. I was buried in projects, planning new things, keeping my small souls fed and happy. The gray gloom of rainstorms wasn't helping. I was starting to feel like I was becoming the stress I was creating for myself. Not really "stress" but, when the enjoyment of something is replaced by obligation, it's the breeding ground of stress for me. That usually happens when I put too much on my plate, thinking I can somehow do it all without any real system of managing my time. I was just the next mess of dried banana I had to scrape off of the floor,  those 5 batches of photos I still need to edit, the new blog design that needs to be finished, the logo I have to decide on, the 15 tattoo commissions I need to respond to...oh and planning birthdays, vacations and launch dates for upcoming ventures. Whoa. Stop. Slow down. I have to feel alive. I can't be a passionless machine that resents the things (or people)  I'm passionate about. It overwhelmed me like a wave, all at once. I looked out my window. It was pouring rain. I let myself just feel. I was all of a sudden running out my front door. Within 30 seconds, I was drenched.  And, it was amazing. I walked down our street, and with every raindrop and wipe of my eyes, (who cares if my mascara is all over the place?) I could feel the color coming back into my soul. It was my reset button.

When the down pour turned into light sprinkles, Sam came out with the kids and we just played. Puddles became our magical ponds, leaves became boats to sail and everything was a new. The mushy feel of the grass and the smell of warm wet concrete was better than any anthropologie candle. Thus began my summer policy of playing in the rain.  It's spontaneous, and we make it an adventure.

I was a spontaneous nut all the time, before children. Why not now?  I always pictured my kids jumping in puddles and making mud pies, before I had them. But, I find myself pulling away from the messy spontaneity of moments like that so often because of the clean up, the aftermath, the inconvenience. I kind of woke up to the fact that schedules and the easy of the predictable and manageable was in a way, running my show and smooshing who I am as a person and a mother. Isn't motherhood just an extension of who we are? Why change so much, just for the sake of what's expected or because I'm tired? I'm going to be tired for the next 20 or so years!  I'm not throwing my system and schedules to the wind, but definitely not letting them control who I am as a fellow life adventurer with my boys.

Life is so short. There are so many puddles waiting to be muddied by tiny toes and, one thousand giggles waiting to set free from my little boys' souls. I'm making it my mission to not let one of those laughs be forgotten in the name of structure or order.

Cheers to enjoying.


She Came Today

posted on: Saturday, July 27, 2013

She came today. Imogen Flora Snow was born at 1:44pm.

I'm reeling. Reeling in the wonder of today. I got to journey along side a best friend, through the storms and heavens of labor, birth and new love. Tears, laughter, pain, joy, expectation and the mystery of a wee new heart, waiting to be known, filled every space of today. My heart is still processing the beauty of it all. I've been up for almost 24 glorious hours. I've never seen a woman labor and conquer like Lauren did. I couldn't help but feel like I was up holding the arms of a queen as waves of contractions would  hit her. I have so much more to add.  There is still so much of a lovely story waiting to be told, but my eyes hurt so bad that I can barely type. I've cried so many perfect tears with this heart today. Perfect tears. Today was magic. As I say goodbye to one of the best days of my entire life...I'm filled with such an awe and joy.

Happy birthday Imogen Flora Snow! Your momma is a rare jewel, your daddy a hero and I adore and love you with all of my heart.

Farewell July 27th, you were truly a perfect day to my soul.

Remember Windland

posted on: Thursday, July 25, 2013

I wrote this on July 8th. 

"The word "tradition" itself derives from the Latin tradere or traderer literally meaning to transmit, to hand over, to give for safekeeping. "

Today, it rained, then the sun came out. It rained again and once more, the sun decided to have the last act of the day, not much different than most days this month. But, July 8th is a day that will forever be noted on my calendar. It was the projected due date of my baby, Windland, that we lost a year and a half ago in a miscarriage. I wrote my heart about that time here and here.

I cried only once, maybe twice today. I realize that I've come so far and grown so deeply. I've grown  in love, in pain, in joy, in compassion, in questioning, in peace,  in empathy, in beauty, and in the raw realities of living. I've lived in the darkest canyons of grief in the deepest ocean, craving water instead of air to fill my lungs and I've been pulled up to the surface of the living, of light and oxygen and love. Cedar really was my rescuer. He's been the sweetest of sweet joys that a soul could be, given to help comfort and heal. I cannot put into words the love and adoration that I feel towards this happy little boy.  In the same tone though, there is a piece of my heart that will always be missing and aching. I made sure that today, I did something to remember my little love that breezed by our lives a year and a half ago.

Recently, one of my closest friends lost her baby in a miscarriage. It was a tragic and devastating loss. While in the process of grieving with her,  I had a dream. I don't typically dream much. But, in this dream, I dreamed of a little girl with curls, like Kael's but a bit longer and lighter. She was around 2 years old, but was speaking more like a 5 year old. She was showing Cedar and Kael how to skip rocks on a creek bank. Almost being a little momma. All 3 of them were giggling. She turned around and smiled at me and I saw her face. She was mine. "Oh, you're my Windland!?" I said. She nodded and smiled,  then went back to playing as if it were the most natural thing in the world. I woke up. I didn't want to wake up. Whether that was a real dream or not, it comforted my soul immensely.

Creating beauty in the mundane and seeing the good in front of me, instead of only the awful is a driving part of me.  I like to think that this passion is in all of my children; a bit of my wild love for life and people, living and thriving in them.   I live to celebrate and to love. So, to pass by today with only tears, didn't seem natural to me. I had to do something. I thought to myself, Windland was and is my child, a small spirit that I want to blow a kiss to. A kiss with love and maybe somehow an embrace.   So, this afternoon as the boys played, I went outside and thought about the winds of love this baby created. My Windland wasn't a purposeless life. There's something about making traditions, physically doing, saying or singing something that attaches the dreams, loves or aches of our heart to reality and something good, some kind of hope? I wanted Windland to have one. I needed to have one.

I let the day play out naturally, enjoying the boys and then I found myself outside, making a tiny little crown of greenery from the woods in our back yard. This is for her, I thought. Cedar came out with me for a  bit, playing with the leaves and curling vines. As I wove the stems together, I reflected on the time I had felt, before the pain, and tried to harness that joy and elation. Then, coming back inside the house, I sat down and wrote out her name, as beautifully as I could. It was a sweet moment, in the middle of the crazy, right before dinner time.  Each bend and curve of my pen felt sacred, somehow connecting me to her. I started off to scribble a little note on the other side of the paper when, what started off as a sweet letter, soon turned into a gentle tear and then into heart gushing, finishing with a settled soul and maybe even a smile.  In a way, it made me feel happy that I found my own tradition to celebrate the tiny heart that forever changed me.

For the short time my baby was here, Windland's  sweet breeze created beauty just by her presence. The wonder of winter turning into spring, heart break fading into love and disappointment evolving into hope is something I know. Cedar wouldn't have even been a possibility if I hadn't miscarried, seeing I got surprisingly pregnant with him 2 short weeks later. Cedar is my springtime, my love, my little hope that carries the gentle truth of redemption. Am I still sad? Yeah, I am. Can I imagine or think of life without my Cedar baby? Not even for a second. That's the complicated reality of life and love, I suppose.

by: Songs of Water
We hung our harps on the willow tree, still the wind formed hands and plucked out its melodies. 
Our hearts rejoiced as if it were a dream, when the seeds of our tears became a field of wheat. 
Look what he's done, look what he's done for us. He turned our songless night into a symphony of praise.

This was written by a friend of ours, who lost his best friend in an accident right before finding out he and his wife were pregnant with their first child.  The first verse is my favorite: "We hung our harps on the willow trees, still the wind formed hands and plucked out it's melodies." The first half of that line is referencing Psalm 137:2, when the Jewish nation was forced out of their land to live captive, pretty much as slaves, in the land of the then current super power. They had lost all heart, joy and hope. "Hanging up your harps" was like "throwing in the towel." They were done with expecting good. The grief and heartbreak was too much.  The part saying, "Still the wind formed hands and plucked out it's melodies..." Good lord. I listened to this song again, randomly after I had already named Windland and gotten pregnant with Cedar. I burst into tears when the words spilled over into my soul and the gently, haunting chorus filled up my car. Somehow, they were good tears. It comforted me. In some way, a song settled the confusion of my heart, as I was looking for a place to put my emotions. It gave word and tone to the meaning of my disillusioned state. My brain thinks in imagery so, it was the language I needed to hear.  Even in the sadness, my little breeze played a melody. A perfect little song, named Cedar.

As I am sitting here, writing the thoughts of today,  both of my boys are laughing and screaming as loud as they possibly can, as their daddy tickles and chases them around the living room. Cedar, the pure delight of my soul, goes from moods of happiness to frustration, as he realizes he can't run and jump like his big brother can, although he's walking. What? How did that happen?  Kael's curls are a glowing crown of wild, in the early evening light, and I want to kiss his chubby cheeks a thousand times over. I'm soaking up this sweet moment, as if it were the last time my ears would ever again be able to hear the sound of joy. Soaking in the moment has become a gift that has been strengthened in my heart. The art of clinging to the good, pausing and acknowledging the beauty that is in front of me has become my moment by moment practice. Telling my children that I love them is my mantra, holding them to my heart is my physical prayer.  Life has taught and is teaching me this gift.

Today, I'm remembering. I'm remembering the joy of telling my best friends that I was pregnant, jumping around ChickFila like a crazy person. I'm remembering the elation that I felt, when calling my friend Kristina in Florida, squealing on the phone and talking forever that night about this baby being redemption, after such a sad season. There was joy. I'm remembering the look on Sam's face and him instantly telling me girl names that he loved. I remember feeling Windland's goodness inside of my soul, at the kitchen sink and singing to her. I remember loving and dreaming. This is what I'm remembering today.

Windland Sweetheart, 

You were and still are a beautiful dream. Our dream... my dream. 

I love you forever. 


10 Months

posted on: Friday, July 12, 2013

My brightest ray of sunshine is 10 months old. I can't believe it. These past 10 months have been the fastest, gloriously lingering months of my life. Somedays, I wish life would run on slow motion mode. It's going by so quickly! This sweet little boy, who's always happy and wanting to explore, has stolen my heart away. He's full on walking and trying to run.  He rarely crawls anymore, kinda breaks my heart. When he started crawling so early, everyone said he'd walk at 10 months, and almost to the day, they were right.

We go through bags of frozen blueberries like water, because of this boy! He eats like a toddler. Always stuffing his wee cheeks like a chipmunk. Cedar's favorite person is Kael, although Kael isn't as interested as Cedar thinks he is. ;)  We have entered the "This is MINE!" stage. Lord help us. haha.  I call Cedar "bright eyes" a lot. Every time I look at him, he lights up with the biggest, sweetest most gentle smile that I've ever seen. He's magic, medicine and perfection. Gah, I love this kid.  And the baby jibber jabber that fills my house these days,  I can't even handle it! I was wondering the other day what it would be like to have a perpetual 10 month old. This age is just so perfect. Of course that would be weird and selfish. Life is about being loved, loving and growing. But, I do kinda wish I could bottle this time up forever.

Breastfeeding is hanging on by a thread, Cedar only nurses 3 times a day now...tear. I'm going to try and keep it up until he's one at least if, I can. I never thought I'd love breastfeeding as much as I do. But, it seriously has been THE best experience this time around. Now I know why women cry when they wean their kids.

When did I become a mom of 2 sons? When did this happen? You know you have those moments in life where you feel like you're a spectator, just for a second? You're looking at your life and yourself from the outside. I have a lot of those lately. I look at my boys and am in awe of the beauty of their precious little souls. I have found more love than stress in my journey with two, so far. I love it. I love being a mother with every part of my being.