Monday, January 20, 2014

Miss Future Bookworm

Reading Rainbow! Scholastic! Kids Books rule!

I am so delighted to rediscover so many wonderful books of my childhood, and after reading Madeline every night for the past week, I am ravenous to read new-to-me books with Miss Cassidy Sue.

Since Madeline won a Caldecott Medal in 1940, that is where I am beginning my search. Bemelmans's words connect in such an effortless lyrical quality, something that is not easy to achieve.

In two straight lines - Madeline
While I am all for letting Cassidy discover her own passions, it's apparent to me that children emulate their parents, not only out of love, but also due to an increased exposure to certain activities. For example, I apparently am in love with commas. My English teachers were always fussing with me to simplify and reduce sentence length!

I've struggled with reading to Baby Girl up until now, but it is becoming a huge part of our bedtime routine. She really is a fantastic sleeper. Life is so intense in the first few months, it's impossible to not worry about EVERYTHING... I've just got one of those babies that don't sleep longer than 3 hours... but the nighttime snuggles are pretty worth it!

We've already begun swim lessons...
Today we are headed to lesson #2. I'm going to have Travis handle her, I felt so nervous! I'm sure she felt that energy. This week I can smile and sing to her... probably no videos if we are in the water, but there will be many, many more.

Here are the Insta-Glamour Shots for baby Cassidy this month!









We are so in love...

Monday, December 2, 2013

3 MONTHS! Dear Baby

Oh my little wonder baby.



You are 25 inches long. (That's over 2 feet!)
You are 16 pounds.
Your head is 15 inches around.
Measuring in the 95th percentile of babies, you are ahead of the game! Daddy says it's because he cooks us mega-breakfast every morning. Mmmm bacon...
Wearing 6 month clothes!
Your daddy can make you grin like the whole world has shut down and nothing exists but his silly face, singing and dancing with you.
Sleep is touch and go, but you love to get a lot of it! Just sometimes in 1 hour increments, and that makes a very tired mommy. But somehow, thanks to the rhythms of the day and the special chemical high you give me, its all ok. We recently moved the mega space-pod swing into the bedroom, and last night you went down at 7:30pm... up at 11pm... 1am... 4am.. 7am. Believe me, that is fantastic for us! Naps are a definite need, sometimes in one big 3 hour spurt, and other times in smaller chunks. We just go with the flow!

Bathtime is the BEST. We can't wait to get you in some infant swim classes. You love the water, kicking your legs and floating around. You used to cry when bathtime was over, but now you know it's oil massage time afterwards, and we listed to lullabies and sing together before bed.

A couple days ago you let me read to you for nearly 5 minutes straight! What a great attention span my love!

Tummy time is not your favorite. But we hangout on the floor everyday, practicing kicks, side rolls, hand eating and grunting noises.

We are getting over a little cold this week, Mama got sick last weekend, and now you are fighting the sniffles but it's so very minor.

Speaking of songs... you LOVE to sing! Whenever mama sings a song I'm rewarded with a HUGE grin and if I'm lucky some sweet coos.


We are so ready for some mega adventures with you! Mama is trying to convince Dada that a snow-shoe hike would be awesome! We'll bundle you up and hit the trails. With Daddy carrying you we can go for miles & miles.

Girl, we can tell you are going to be a handful. Fortunately we have four big hands to help you on your way to becoming a truly bright star in our lives. You have no fear of strangers (yet?) and are so interested in the world around you. Getting to know you has been the adventure of my life, and we have so much time ahead of us!





Friday, November 29, 2013

Writing Blocks...

Hiking with Papa at Oaks Bottom in the Fall

I find it hard to finish posts for this blog, reading other mama's stories and "hearing" their writing in such a natural and relateable style makes me hear my writing as forced, and unnatural. Believe me, I know how that style comes across, I've unsubscribed from many blogs, one in particular reminded me of my writing due to the verbose and grand vocabulary! As a book worm, I've always had a particular advantage in my English writing courses, and garnered top scores on my exams. However, I feel that I learned to write for the examiner, not for myself, or an audience of peers.

I recently heard a story on npr.org about a woman whose mother held her family and friends to rigorous standards of appropriate conversation. Essentially, she said it was boring to hear about someone's: work/health/dreams... and so on. While these rules are pretty outdated, it got me thinking... unless I am in a specific situation with a friend who I turn to for deep sharing, telling others the dream I had last night isn't really relevant to anyone! Everyone's work is stressful... Everyone is dealing with their health whether it's up, down or stagnating. So think of something interesting! A recent book! Movie! Travel! BABY....?

That is all.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Week 4: Dear Baby

Oh girl. This week is a roller coaster of emotion.

Monday, your one-month birthday you were amazingly wonderful on your first road trip! We drove to the coast, with you sleeping blissfully all the way. When we arrived we fed immediately. At dinner, you slept on me in the Moby, fed, slept, fed, slept, then when we went back home to the rental house, you slept in your carseat for a couple more hours! Mommy and Daddy got to party (kinda... more like watch other people get wasted)

Tuesday, not quite so easy, but fortunately you did sleep in the car on the way home!

Your sleep times have shrunk, I am delighted if you sleep for a whole hour & a half. You are feeding ALOT. Everything I read indicates you are in the midst of a typical growth spurt. Making more eye contact, working on holding your head up independently. Fussing more than usual. We went for a walk tonight, and you insisted on holding your head outside of the Moby and checking out every house. Not very restful, but at least you weren't crying! Hooray!

I love how you are watching me now. If I walk past you, your head turns and your eyes focus on me. You are smiling, and responding in a way that is so encouraging!

Your cries now carry much more emotion. Going from 0 to 60 in the first shriek, you let us know how you feel! I am starting to be able to distinguish your different cries, for example, when you signal your last battle cry in the fight against sleep... and then zonk out.

Friday you seemed to take a break from all the fueling up, and slept almost all day.

Saturday, we were back on hourly feeds. So we have been co-sleeping in bed together. Boy, you love that! Mama loves snuggling with you too. Occasionally you start to wiggle, and fuss, and before you can cry, I whip out the boobie and almost before it touches your lips I see your eyes close and mouth drop open, and you are back asleep again. Sometimes, all you need is the loving reassurance of touch. We are going to take an infant massage class. Maybe the trick is in the timing. I seem to always try to do a massage when you are pretty worked up around bedtime, and you just scream!!!!! I just have to remind myself that everything is so new to you, and we are learning what works, together.

Daddy got your stroller all ready to go, and we went for a great hike at Mt. Tabor. He's pretty cute. He is so in love with you little baby girl!
Oops! You are awake. That's all for now!



Thursday, October 3, 2013

Week 3: Dear Baby

My darling girl. We have come such a long way! Amidst daily laundry, constantly running out of diaper wipes, and some chaotic nights, now our rhythms are starting to flow together.

Week 3 is feeling so good. Your bright eyes catch ahold of mine, and your eyebrows knit together into a question my heart leaps to answer. Yes, baby. Yes. Always yes.

You've begun sleeping in 3 hour stretches. I can recall one of our first nights at home, I had this silly excitement to sit in my big plush rocking chair, next to my mama station with water, snacks, candles, and reading material. I listened to Bob Marley remixes and sang to you through your night feeds. Now that I have read a couple parenting books, I have learned to make night feeds quiet, and save the funstuff for the daytime. This has helped both of us get back to sleep. Your daddy doesn't even hear us get up in the night, unless you complain about the diaper change. This makes me a proud mama! Your papa is working so hard to make our lives smooth... putting in hours at the brewery, making us a delicious breakfast every morning, starting the laundry, taking us grocery shopping.

Here is one of my favorite lullabies for you, my sweet Cassidy Sue:

Monday, September 30, 2013

Laundry Meditations

Tiny laundry
As I prepared the speech in my head, I simultaneously began to deconstruct why I felt it was imperative that Travis adopt the same speedy approach to laundry that I follow.

When my darling mama stayed with us for the first 12 days of Cassidy's life, her speed and expertise with laundry was one of my biggest stress relievers. She would inquire about it, do it, return it, and unload it within a few hours. I am such a slug with laundry, it can take me days to do one load! Just getting from the washer to the dryer can be impossible sometimes. But now I am a mama! I have many tiny little things that quickly become soaked in spit up and other fluids.
Baby Laundry
The adorable pink basket for her little laundries fills up daily, and since we are using cloth diapers, we tend to have leaks, and go through every. single. swaddle. daily.

So, I reflected on how I feel when I look at a pile of fresh laundry...
and although everything is so cute and fluffy, all I can see is the "to do"-ness of it, and imagine how the next time I am at the changing table, and need a burp cloth or a swaddle or a diaper cover, I'll have to run into the next room where we fold laundry on the bed. Which means picking up Miss Cassidy and taking her with me, which might result in an extra pee fountain, or spit up or crying bout!

Now, look at this picture.

Ahhh, a peaceful, orderly vision. Soothes my OCD-loving heart. 

I know its a little thing now, but I have nightmares of piles of laundry taking over my house. I babysat in high school and college, I know how this family thing happens. One day its the laundry, the next day its piles of art projects and animal crackers, and you can't even find the sofa underneath the pile.

One of the best tidbits of advice I received in my breastfeeding workshop, was our instructor's response when a fellow momma mentioned that she was told to "let it all go" in the first few weeks, and just DO NOT CLEAN, just REST and SLEEP. But our instructor had a different perspective. She said that most of us have a "trigger" cleaning spot, that just HAS to be clean. For some it's the floor... for others, the kitchen counter. Or maybe it's the bathroom. So acknowledge what you need to be clean to feel sane, and then let everything else go. When people ask what they can do to help. Tell them. One thing. Then relax. For me it's the kitchen counters. I love to deep clean behind the toaster, under the microwave, in the cracks of the stovetop, sweeping up all the crumbs, then vinegar/EO spray all over the place... then I can breathe. 

So, back to the laundry. It has become a type of meditation for me. In the early weeks when my body was too achy to even sit on my meditation pillow (the midwives even told me, do not sit cross legged!) I didn't have access to my usual mental space practice. Fortunately breast-feeding is a magical meditative experience of breath and gazing at pure beauty.


So, in conclusion (finally! what a captivating topic...) I think laundry will be my mama "thing". You know me, I can't let my space devolve into a junk pile, I am too acutely attuned to the energetics of a space, and the need for cleanliness and clarity. 

A Portland local healer, Tami Kent wrote about this in her book, Mothering from Your Center. ( A title I feel I will reference often here) Her writing explains and validates something that I have always innately felt to be true, that a mother cultivates and maintains the energetic space for her family. I can't wait to write more about this topic.

I like to imagine that perhaps I spent a past life as a lady's maid, living in one of those grand Downton Abbey estates with great and grand personages... Of course I also probably was a fancy lady in one lifetime, lazy and spoiled because I feel that way often enough as well... But, as we weave our karmic lifetimes, and dance from one polarity to another, I feel most drawn to the calling to the art of keeping house. Of clearing space. In fact, I spied a job posting at Breitenbush Hot Springs for a Clearing Arts position. Essentially housekeeping, but I loved the title. It so succinctly described how much I love cleaning my house, and transforming chaos into order. It also supports the mother in me that likes to create loving space for others.

Now, with a small pile of tiny laundry, I can spend under five minutes to transform a pile of mess into a sorted, well-aligned pile of order. Breathing and smiling.

And all is right with the world.



Wednesday, September 25, 2013

You Are My I Love You



It's been almost a year since I wrote here. I could blame the wedding...



And I could blame my job... last fall I was hired to serve as the Executive Director at Street Yoga, the lovely non-profit where I found meaning, opportunity and best friends for the past 3 years. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to maintain healthy levels of work/life balance... and experienced a massive burnout.

Fortunately the nature of a yoga service organization draws to itself a circle of self-aware yogis, and the Board of Directors were able to help me admit I was in a dark place. We mapped a plan to hire my replacement, then gradually ease me out of the position. I still volunteer with graphic design projects, and plan to teach yoga to kids again, but recently my attention has been elsewhere:


Cassidy Susan Puckett joined our family September 2, 2013. Yup, on Labor Day. She popped out bright eyed and alert, so strong and ready for life! We were blessed to labor at Alma Midwifery, a community is so amazingly full of support, resources, and experience. During my 16 hour labor I was fed tiny watermelon chunks, smoothies, and coconut water as I moved around the birthing suite (as Travis put it, more like a luxury B&B) and afterwards, my midwives delivered takeout from a local Thai restaurant, making Tom Kha, coconut chicken soup my first postpartum meal. Plus a salad roll.

Our first night as a family was so peaceful. The doulas checked on us every four hours, taking mine and Cassidy's vitals. Everything went so smoothly. The fact that neither my nor Cassidy's vitals were ever less than perfect during labor was the best part. I never had to worry about her, I knew she was working hard, right along with me, trying to enter this world in the best way possible.

Now, my life feels... so different. Intense, dreamy, quiet, challenging. Peaceful and chaotic all at once. We chant Sanksrit mantras to sleep, and just today read a sweet book, You Are My I Love You.

Over the past few weeks, my motivation has driven me to resume this blog, and write to my dear baby. She is certainly the epitome of Funstuff & Pretty Things.


So if you are still following along, the content here will still be 100% my life, but it feel like a brand new life to me! I can't wait to write to my daughter about her development, her rhythms, our memories, and most of all how much I love her.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Farewell Lovely Bike



Dear little blue bike,

We spent some serious hours together over the past few years. You came into my life, shiny and fast. What an upgrade! Every morning, we raced down the hill and across a bridge. You handled my heavy panniers with stability and grace. Your old and funky shifters were hard to learn, but we got there. Remember the time when I tried to shift from top to bottom gear on that crazy hill and the shifter cable was already frayed? Yup, I shoulda seen that coming. The cable snapped, and I rode for the rest of the day in the toughest gear!

Well, I probably won't see you again, or perhaps I'll learn something new about the stolen bike culture in Portland. I feel lucky that its been over 4 years before my first robbery. The truth is, I have been having adulerous thoughts. Peeking at that Jamis bike online, riding slowly by the bike shop with all the cruisers... its not you. Its me. I'm just ready to sit up on my commute. Have a little basket in front. Or a freaking giant bucket.

So farewell. I hope you are enjoyed until the end of your days.



Sunday, May 13, 2012

this magic moment

well i went inside to find a pen and paper.
i made it back outdoors nearly an hour later, having sunk into the depths of facebook. blogs & emails...
upon leaping into my hammock, i found the laptop had remained glued to me, yet the paper & pen still lay inside.

so i will give in and record my reflections here, for myself and for you.

last month i attended a creative writing workshop with sweethome at breightenbush hot springs. it was my first experience there, and what a dreamy place! a real live thunderstorm blessed our final night there. as we laid in our cabin, we watched lightning crackle and thunder boom. as the storm passed, we made our way to the healing pools and sat under the falling rain and absorbed the heat, earth agni, ancient minerals, and soothing silence.

breightenbush hot springs...
 the river swollen with snowmelt.
i heard the bridge is a magical place to stargaze.
saving a list of new adventures creates magical daydreams.
 warm weather & long summer weekend camping

a new seat. 

today i am luxuriating in my backyard heaven. our two hammocks have found their summer homes. (of course june which i curse as "june-uary" will bring back some rains and force us back into the house.

as i reclined in my hammock i wanted to reflect deeply in this moment. the blue sky. wrinkly apple tree leaves waving to nobody in particular. the neverending wind, rhythmically sharing its blessing with all beings. the leaves dance with joy, frolic with blissful unawareness. unaware of the pain of self awareness. self realization is the path to connect us with all levels of consciousness and remove our humanness.
experiencing the embodiment of our divine nature.

cross section of compost... 
we are beautifying & utilizing.
 this truly is a summer of celebration & abundance.
 jai lakshmi!

the climbing roses are particularly vivid this year.

phoebe cat is very very happy these days.

making my momma proud.

faery door.

poppies reseed so well here.
lupine loves the windy climate of the columbia gorge.





all photos from my instagram feed. 
om shanti shanti shanti

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Instagood

prAna pants / tulips season / not so happy hour / fond memories / hello!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Vancouver Explorations


delicious baguette from finch's tea & coffeehouse

my fantastic tour guide!
i love lamp.
boneta from the street