Friday, January 27, 2012


I bargain with the clock: creep!

I bargain with the clock: speed!

I remember: love every moment. Always.

Thursday, January 26, 2012


This is a tough one sometimes, isn't it?

Today the morning found me groggy, tired, and weak, still feeling the pangs of another sinus infection.

Bleary-eyed, I tumbled out of bed to the shower after a night waking every two hours because a sweet baby wanted her mama.

In the mad rush of leaving for the day, Brown Baby clung to my hip, leaving my arm burning from her weight and my heart heavy with our impending separation.

The boy-os argued over DS games, excitedly preparing for their day off of school tomorrow.

Brown Baby planked when I tried to put her in her car seat, screamed in protest to the start of our day, looked pleadingly at me as I buckled her in.

I closed her door and leaned against the car, seeking a quick moment, a quiet reprieve from so much activity so early in the morning. My breath hung stubbornly in the cold, morning air. Its persistence reminded me that to breathe, to be alive, to wake to three healthy children in the morning demanded that I love these moments of frenzied activity, to be present with them all, to know that each of these moments are wonderful, are a precious privilege.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Matters of Faith

This past Sunday was Rowan's baptism. It was a wonderful day, and it signified a big change for me. I was raised a Baptist, and I even had to attend a Pentecostal church with my grandmother when I stayed with her during the summer.  (Note the word had there...)

The second dunk

Truth be told, I was never quite comfortable in the Baptist church; there was always something that didn't fit with me. I took a long haitus from organized religion after I divorced, and I even explored the Buddhist faith. I had such a desperate need to change absolutely everything about myself and find an inner peace that I couldn't find at our Baptist church.

Sometimes I wonder if all my exploring makes me look indecisive and fickle, but when I am honest with myself, I know I have learned so much through my searching.  I know for sure that the Baptist and definitely the Pentecostal churches are not for me.  I also know that I cannot be a Buddhist, either.  But what has come from all of this is a sprinkling of knowledge from each. I definitely wouldn't really understand my Momfulness practice without the time I spent learning about Buddhism.  And my experiences in the Baptist and even limited experiences with the Pentecostal church has allowed me to make a very informed decision that I know without a doubt is the right one for me.

For the last few years, we have been going to Mass at Husband's church sporadically, but recently we have been making a sincere effort to attend more regularly. We have become members of the parish, and I have decided to reconcile with the Catholic Church, which means that I am attending weekly classes, so that I can take the sacraments of the Eucharist and Confirmation.  Going to classes, reading the catechism, and especially going through the process of having Rowan baptized has confirmed for me that I am in the right place.  The rituals, the kinesthetic and earthy feel of the Mass and the deep-rooted, historic tradition of the faith resonates with me.

Lexus left with her cousin before this picture... 
Knowing that we will be bringing Rowan (and hopefully the boys) up in this faith and parish brings with it a sense of peace for me. I feel like it grounds us as a family and provides a common thread for us, and with blended families, that common thread is sometimes hard to find.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

On the Mend

The last several days have been challenging ones at the Rock House. Little brown baby came down with a nasty virus that included high fevers, a terrible cough, congestion, and finally an ear infection. For four nights, we were up every hour, and throughout the day, she was a sad, restless baby in need of constant snuggles and carries. Everyone is exhausted! We finally have antibiotics, and she slept much better last night.

Poor sick girl

And now, on my third day off of work, I'm sitting in the dark, in a rocking chair. My arm is asleep from her heavy, finally restful, body. We debated about whether she was ready to return to the babysitter today, and I almost got ready for work this morning. But as I listen to her even breathing and see her sweet, somewhat snotty face on my chest, and I know there is no place that I'd rather be.

The past several days have been stressful. I often returned to a breathing meditation from my Momfulness book:

This helped me to remember that although these moments have been challenging, they are still wonderful moments. In the midst of very little sleep and being thoroughly exhausted, in the midst of a sad, sick baby, I have reason to smile.

Finally on the mend

Friday, January 13, 2012

Being Responsive

I've posted many times about divorce, and as much as I'd like to put all of it behind me and move on, I have two sweet boys who are and will always be impacted by the choices their father and I made. Divorce is cyclical; the three of us continually journey through varying phases, and I never find myself prepared for where their little hearts and minds will go.

The latest installment came the other night at the dinner table when out of the blue, Gage looked at me very seriously and said, "Mommy, I'm never going to get married."

I can never be sure where Gage will go next when he makes sudden announcements like this, so I asked why and waited for the rest. I never expected what came next; his mature thought process that lead to his profound statement left me breathless, heartbroken.

"Because I don't want to be like you and Daddy."

I might as well have been a puddle on the floor. My brain grasped for something to say, anything that could take away this knowing, this life experience that my little eight year old possessed. My feeble attempt to reassure him, to restore his faith in marriage fell pitifully short. He looked at me skeptically as I rambled about choosing the right person until thankfully, his attention was diverted by his brother.

I know it is clearly too early to predict doom for his future relationships due to commitment issues. But at the same time, I also realize that they will both be permanently impacted by our choices, even if they were only two and four. They are fortunate enough to see their father and I interact positively most of the time. They also see a loving and healthy marriage here at the Rock House.

Gage, at 2

Gage's comments have helped me to realize that in addition to modeling healthy relationships, I need to be talking with them about marriage and divorce more frequently and in a more complex way than I have been. I have to help them heal and understand the whys and hows of what happened, so they can learn and hopefully not repeat this experience later in their lives.

This has definitely had the potential to completely stress me out! Instead, with my momfulness practice and focus on presence, I'm learning to be less reactive and more responsive to their needs, to love all of the challenges and opportunities parenting them brings.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


As I was rocking and nursing Rowan to sleep on Sunday night, I was trying to savor the moment and not fret over returning to work the next day. I have been focusing on my word, presence, and trying to keep myself grounded in the moment. I've posted about rocking before, and there is simply something almost healing about it. Everything else falls away, and it is just the two of us, our breath aligned, her sleeping body heavy on my chest.

It was in this quiet the other night, in my earnest attempt to remain present, that I reflected on the weekend. It was full and busy, but I realized that in that fullness, was happiness and joy. My first instinct is to stay home, to keep things quiet, in an attempt to stall time, but this weekend there were times that we had to be out and then times that we chose to be out. Because I've been working on presence, I was able to find the joy in each experience, rather than feeling stressed because how much time they were taking.

As I reflected on the weekend, I had a very clear and humbling sense of the privilege I've been given to be a mother to wonderful children and a wife to an amazing husband. My life is so rich because of what they add to it, and I know my focus on presence has allowed me to be more available to enjoying every second.

Thursday, January 05, 2012


Every so often, Pacey and I come to blows over homework. This time it ended with this:

He has been blessed with the gift of stubborness, something that will certainly come in handy as he grows, but for a mom, it can definitely be a challenge. He is a brilliant kid (and I'm not just saying that because I'm his mom), but that sometimes leads to total meltdowns when he has the opportunity to be wrong. I say opportunity because he definitely needs to learn that it is okay to be wrong because that is how we learn.

As a teacher, I am accustomed to helping kids. When they don't understand something, I patiently work with them. It frustrates me to no end when he immediately shuts down, refuses to listen, or starts to cry or bang his feet on the floor.

I try my best to maintain my composure because really a 10 year old having a meltdown and a 33 year old having a meltdown are not a good combination! This doesn't always work, though, and yesterday, I did have a hard time maintaining my presence and finding ways to respond to him with compassion and grace.

Until today. I am always humbled and in awe by how what we need will often show up for us right when we need it. I have recently started following a group on Facebook called Peaceful Parenting. Throughout the day, they post positive statements or thoughts about motherhood, and this morning, a link to a YouTube video that has many different positive affirmations you can use with your children. They even group them by age range. The thumbnail on their post showed this statement:

I had to stop and allow it resonate.  After the drama of the afternoon's homework time, I decided that I would find a way to help him become more responsive to my guidance during homework time. I planned on setting aside time tonight to read some more in my Momfulness book, sure that I would find some guidance. 

I've read about and used affirmations before. I used to carry around meaningful statements on index cards that I would read each morning or when I needed to find focus, but I have not thought about using them with my boy-os. And now that I think about, I'm not sure why I haven't. Instead of telling them to focus, to listen, to stop getting frustrated all in the heat of the moment, laying a foundation of of these things in a positive way seems like a much more effective starting point. This isn't to say that some moments will not call for me to redirect their behavior, but slowly, we can reshape their reactions, beliefs, and behaviors in a positive way. My next step is to figure out how to begin sharing these with them consistently, intentionally, and effectively.

Monday, January 02, 2012


With the new year comes new hope and fresh starts. Everyone is talking resolutions, and I usually hesitate to make any because like most, I fail to follow through with them! I follow a blog called Sorta Crunchy, and each year she picks one word to focus on and guide her through the year. What a fabulous idea!

I really wanted my word to be one that seemed to find me, rather than one I decided would work best (or would be easiest!). I wanted it to be one that would impact me personally and relate in a positive way to my family. Choosing to pull the Momfulness book from the shelf a few days ago played into this perfectly. The first section is dedicated to presence:

We practice being here, now. We relax into life and stop wanting to be somewhere other than where we are. We realize that our true home is so close to us; it is in this moment; it is in the eyes of our child or in the greeting of our partner or in the hug of a dear friend. Our home is as close as our next breath.

We live in such a fast-paced world, and I find that I am always focusing on what is next. I'm most challenged by this when I am at work. Being away from Rowan is so very hard, and I live for the clock to strike 3:30. I wish away those 8 hours until I get to be back home again, and then I wish for the evening hours to slow down and creep by, so I can immerse myself in my family. I fret for the 25 minute drive to the babysitters, fret while we are getting the kids' things together, and fret for 15 minutes until we get home. I fret about the traffic, I get really annoyed at slow drivers, and I curse red lights.

This constant push and pull and consuming stress is exhausting. I am so focused with the idea of time speeding up and slowing down that I've realized I don't spend enough time living in the moment, being present. I look back on the months since I've been back at work, and they seem like a blur. And I wonder. Did I live in them enough? Or did I spend my time dreading work, rushing through traffic, mourning the end of the evening?

Is there any wonder why I feel imbalanced?

I go back to work tomorrow after 12 days off, and I plan to take it minute by minute. I know I will cry after I drop Rowan off, but I will be present with those tears, not wish them away, not only long for 4:00 when I am with her again. I know work will be very busy, so I will be busy with it, not focus only on 3:30 when I get to leave. On my ride home, I will enjoy the quiet time to myself-- time to pray, to prepare myself for the busyness of homework and the clinginess of an infant who has grown used to her mama 24/7.

As I approach 2012 with a focus on presence and Momfulness, I will work towards finding home in any moment, rather than wishing moments away. For now, I am a working mom, and I have to find a space in my heart for that home, too.