weekend randoms

Our last weekend in April (what?!) was a great, fun, way too fast weekend. Gwen and I headed up to my parent's place on Saturday, while Trav had a much needed quiet day at home.

Gwen hung out with my parents, watched some Curious George, listened to her beloved Frozen soundtrack, and played outside.

I got my purple back.

We arrived home just in time for a really yummy meal by my boy.

Sunday we switched, with Trav spending the day with Gwen while I jetted off to my girl Lauren's baby shower. She looked amazing, there were tons of great people there, and it was a really fun day.

Trav and Gwen in the meantime, headed to the MS Walk, hit up Linvilla Orchards for some apple cider donuts, and then Trader Joe's for some grocery's and some new tulips for me (so sweet!). They had a great time together, and I was exhausted just hearing about their day.

So the tulips. The one bummer in an otherwise great weekend. When Gwen and I got home on Saturday, I was happy to see my tulips had finally bloomed... thought they were laying down, I assumed from the rain. Turns out no, they weren't laying down, they were CUT!

Someone had annihilated my poor flowers, and I have no idea why.  :-(  I saved one to put in my window, but the rest were cut too short.

So hence the beautiful flowers Trav and Gwen brought me on Sunday:

Some people. Ugh.

Thankfully that really was a small blip in an otherwise great weekend.

What was your weekend like?


come what May

Apropos to nothing... LOVE this picture!
Its the silliest thing, but I always get so excited when I turn over my monthly calendar (hanging on my wall at work and full of EVERYTHING coming in the month ahead) to the new month. I always do it a few days early, since most months start sometime in the middle of the week, so I just add the last few days of the previous month. I like being able to see what's ahead.

May, oh gosh, what a month that is looking to be. A trip to DC, and one to Boston (for work and pleasure, respectively). A wedding, six birthdays, Mother's Day, and a graduation. Three long weekends, garden planting, a dance recital, and possibly jury duty. And yoga, hopefully lots of yoga.

Add that to some plans for the summer (Cape Cod, camping, starting my class to become a certified Lactation Educator Counselor, my birthday), and I'm pretty excited for all that lays ahead.

I also have tons on my mind about upcoming changes, and it feels like I have heavy decisions to make, even though most are not actually decisions... more, just adjustments to changes that have to occur. Such is life, right?

What upcoming things are you excited about?


CM: the gifting dilemna

My newest piece from Connected Mom. How do you keep the gift giving in check? 


We love holidays in my household. Any excuse to get together with family for great food, celebrating, and together time is fine by us. Our favorites are Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, all for their own reason. But Easter has its own charm. Its just starting to warm, and the weekend is often spend enjoying some egg hunting outside. What is not to love?

However there is one thing we struggle with a little. Presents. Specifically how to find that balance between not having the holiday be all about what our daughter is going to get, while still treating her a little. Finding the balance of enough, but not too much.

My husband is very much a gifter. He loves finding things that his family and friends will really enjoy and treating them. There is something really special, for both him and the giftee, about opening something that reflects just how well a person knows you and values you. I love that too. I love giving!

BUT I don't want my daughter's biggest associations with these holidays to be getting "stuff," and frankly, she doesn't need anything more anyway! She has plenty of toys, and our house is not large. Plus, we have lots of family that we know she will be getting things from as well. So what do we do?

Well first we reduce: get rid of this idea of quantity being important, and focus on quality. One or two main gifts that we know she's going to adore.

Second, we advise: if we know that certain friends or family will be gifting Gwen we something we will offer gentle guidance. We don't force, and we aren't offended if they buy something else, but we've found that most people who don't have 4 year olds are grateful for a little guidance!

We think beyond toys: Gwen loves getting new clothes, which most people might think would be an unappreciated gift. So we often advise people of what her current sizes are and what gaps her closet has. She loves having fun new items to pick from (superhero anything is a BIG hit right now), and we appreciate not having to break the bank clothing our ever growing girl! We've also had people take Gwen for fun activities instead of gifts, which its been proven provide longer lasting happiness thing things do!

So far we've managed to stick a good balance. Gwen has always been happy and appreciative for what is given to her, without it being the main focus. I hope we can keep this going for all the years to come.

What is your happy medium with gift giving?


semi-wordless wednesday {progress}

It feels amazing to be able to have real concrete evidence of hard work having paid off.

Crow pose. 6 months difference, and I am thrilled!!


Easter at Cornfield Creek

Courtesy of my Uncle Wray

I always love Easter weekend. Its normally warming up and getting lovely out. You have the great celebratory feel of a holiday, but with a lot less of the prep then Thanksgiving and Christmas. Plus, we've made a bit of a tradition of going to visit with my Uncle and Aunt at their place. The location has changed from DC to Cornfield Creek, and as of next year, back to DC, but the great company remains the same.

Gwen adores getting to visit with her Gruncle (Great Uncle) Wray, and Aunt Susie. They are some of her favorite people (mine too), and the feeling appears to be mutual.  :-)

We headed down on Saturday morning, and had an easy drive. The rest of the day was spent eating much ham, cooking, and enjoying each others company, interspersed with much singing. W and S gifted Gwen with the soundtrack to Frozen, which has already gotten much play. There was also some egg decorating.

We spent the night and Gwen was up early as usual on Easter morning, rearing and ready to go. I was less eager, and Trav was nice enough to get up with her to give me another hour or so.

My cousins and spouses/child showed up for brunch and egg hunting. It was a very picturesque egg hunt. The weather was gorgeous and the temps finally on the rise again.

I always love watching Gwen and Tommy together. They always find something new to entertain themselves.

After that it was time to head back home. Trav tried to nap in the car, and Gwen and I listened to more Frozen. The drive took longer back, since we hit all of the post-holiday traffic. Once home we decided to have an easy evening, and ordered some Chinese food. Trav lay with Gwen to put her to bed (a rare treat for her!), so he could take a bit of a nap, and I got some quiet time. It was a great end to a great weekend.



I had a moment last weekend when I was just completely struck by how innocently carefree, loving, happy, and gorgeous my girl is. I know I'm biased, but she has redefined true beauty for me.

In that moment it was breathtaking. I don't know why, right then, but the sun on her skin and the wind blowing her hair... it just struck me.

I hope she always knows how beautiful (inside, outside, the whole package) she is to me.


sunset musings

I drove home last night, with the sunset in my rearview mirror, tired and pumped and exhilarated after a wonderful yoga class (with my very favorite Apoc). Heading home to my family, all I could think was why can't all nights be like this? Its the kick in the tail I need to get my yoga home practice, struggling since Disney and the ensuing work craziness, back on track.

I thought about what made it such an amazing class, and the answer wasn't anything profound. The class was playful. It was hard, but fun, with a kick ass pose which I hadn't tried before. But the biggest thing, was that at the beginning of class I had made the mindful decision to really try everything, to push through when it got tough, and to commit to this practice even if I was sore and tired.

It is all about trying. How many times have you seen someone do a pose/move/act and said, "Whoa, that was great. I can't do that." Its so simple, so obvious, and so elusive... of course you can't, if you don't TRY to! I can decided to try though; to really push through the doubt, to accept that it will be physically hard and a little uncomfortable, but to still give it my all. You don't know unless you try.

It can be hard. Really committing to trying can be a very vulnerable place to be. There is the worry, what if I give my all and I still can't do it? What if I try, and I fail, and others see that? To that, it takes a practiced effort, but you have to say Who Cares?!

In the end you aren't competing against anyone in the class, you aren't trying to be better then anyone else. You are competing against the person you were yesterday, in the hopes that today you can be a little better. You are trying to see if you can give your best, whatever that means in the moment.

Last night that meant pushing harder into my leg poses, knowing that my legs get tired easily, but pushing through anyway, straight to the end. It meant trying Dragonfly on the second side, even after the first side was a complete fail. And last night, it meant getting into Dragonfly... if only for a second or two, then falling on my buns with the biggest smile on my face.


wordless wednesday {troll yoga}

At her request we used paper and cardboard from our recycling to make "yoga mats" for all her trolls. Then she had the teacher demonstrate the poses. Love her imagination play!!


weekend full of doing

Spring has really sprung in Philly. In the city:

In our neighborhood:

And in my front flower bed!

When the weather warms up after a cold winter, I always get the urge to "do." Cook more, clean more, just do more. This weekend was no exception!

Tally-le and Eddan came over to enjoy the spring weather on Saturday.

They hung around all morning, then headed home after lunch. We had a few things to get done inside, but mostly put them off... we basically couldn't get enough of the outdoors!

Some of us more then others...

Dinner guest...
That afternoon Gwen rode her tric on the tennis courts, we headed to a local park, got some ice cream on the way home, then hung out in our (and our neighbor's) yard until it was time for dinner... which we ate outside!

That night we fell asleep with the widows open for the first time this year! I can't tell you how good it feels to spend so much time with the windows thrown open. This house needed a good airing out, and its been getting it... finally!

Sunday we spent a lot of time outdoors again, but tempered it with a bit more indoor play/chores. I slept in a bit while Trav and Gwen ran to the store to grab mulch and bird seed. When I woke up, I took Gwen to ride her car on the tennis courts, while Trav tackled the last of the weeding, then the mulching of the front flower bed. We hooked our water stone back up too!

After that Gwen and I got showered and clothed and ready for the day. She hung out with neighbor Joe and his granddaughter Ava, while we did some work around the house... laundry, Trav grilled some lunch, I cleaned the mess that was our room (my pile of sorted out clothes to give away were still in a giant pile on the floor waiting for me to sort through the last of my drawers and laundry baskets, tons on laundry to put away too). It wasn't long before it was time to head over to the township's Easter egg hunt!

Gwen had a great time meeting the Easter bunny and grabbing some eggs.

We headed home after that for some food, cold water, and a bit of shade since the sun was pretty hot! Before long, Gwen and Trav were back outside, playing in Joe's sandbox. I stayed behind to make the most amazing banana muffins!

My admin made them the other week, and when she shared, I knew I had to make them too!

Gwen and Trav were back in soon enough, so Gwen joined me upstairs for more work on our rooms. The stripped and not yet remade bed became a airplane which flew us (and a selection of her stuffed animals) to "Mickey Mouse Clubhouse" (aka Disney) to ride the rides.

I finished upstairs just in time to come down and make my favorite Mac and Yeasty Cheese, then dinner and getting Gwen to bed a little early. After a little lamenting the always too short weekend, it was off to bed for us too. With the window open.  ::happy sigh::

Now another busy week ahead!


things will bloom

My lilac bush is starting to bud. I'm so excited to see it bloom this year, every year, so those little buds, well they hold so much promise. Just seeing them there makes me happy before I even see a flower or smell that intoxicating scent.

That lilac and my life are a lot alike right now. I feel like there are a lot of things "budding," all of which are just chock full of promise. Will they all bloom exactly as hoped? Probably not. But at least some of them will, and that is a beautiful thing. 

The warmer weather, the strengthening sun, its coaxing excitement and life out of my lilacs current brown blah-ness. I feel like its coaxing new things out of me too.

I'm signed up for a class, starting this summer, to become a Certificated Lactation Educator Counselor. I'm a little terrified. It has been a long time since I've been in school, and its going to be a lot of evening and weekend work for me. But I'm so excited. Its a topic I'm really passionate about and I can't wait until I can help other people become passionate about it too. 

Trav and I are planning out summer vacations. We're both taking some extra days during the summer so that half of the summer session weeks Gwen will do will be 3-day weeks. We're working on nailing down our Cape Cod week, and then will figure out which of those long weekends we can turn into our annual camping trip. 

We've started looking around to see what houses are out there as we anticipate a move to a better school district, and a shorter commute for him (and to Ro and Pat!), sometime before kindergarten registration next year.  (Pardon me while I hyperventilate...) 

And that's just a few of the things. Exciting months ahead! Can't wait to see what blooms. Can't wait to share it all too!  

My beautiful lilac, last year.


natural childbirth in a birth center {on the pistachio project}

Locking eyes with my daughter for the first time.
From the moment you find out you are pregnant, there are hundreds of questions that will flow through your mind. Everything from what you are going to name the baby to where they will sleep, and what they will wear. Will I babywear? Will I breastfeed? So many things to figure out. Arguably one of the most important, the one you have to figure out before any of the rest can come into play, is where and how am I going to birth my baby?

I'm unusual in that it was never a question for me. From the moment I watched my brother born (at seven years old), I knew that I would birth unmedicated in a birth center.

[Read more over on the Pistachio Project!]

Meegs is a lover of the outdoors, a budding yogi, and a tattoo enthusiast trying to live her most authentic life. A breastfeeding and babywearing enthusiast, she is also a gentle Mama to the most amazing girl.

You can find her online at her personal blog, A New Day (also on facebook), as a contributor to Connected Mom, and as a contributor
on the Natural Parents Network and moderator for their Facebook page.


the power of fresh air

Grounding myself amongst
the towering pines.
I'm a huge believer in the power of fresh air. When Gwen is cranky or has energy to burn, we head outdoors to walk it off. When she is feeling sick or tired, then I strap her into a carrier and do the walking for her, but still head outside to get her that fresh air. Its rejuvenating and one thing I am really looking forward to this spring is the chance to throw open all our windows and give this house a good airing out.

The weather was sunny and relatively warm this weekend, so we did the best to enjoy that as much as possible!

Saturday I had my monthly recharge in the forest. It was a rewarding, refreshing day. Crisp air, good clean up done on most of the main trails of the park (thanks to a divide and conquer approach). Most the the blowdowns that my group was removing from the trails were from pine trees, so that offered extra olfactory enjoyability!

While I was doing that, Gwen and Trav headed to the Home Depot for their own monthly ritual. Every month HD has a kids project. You sign up and show up, they supply the pieces for a different project every month. This time it was bird feeders. My girl is going to be pretty crafty thanks to all these projects!

The rest of the day was low-key. Gwen requested a blanket fort and I was happy to oblige! By the end of the day, that thing was so stuffed full of books, pillows, stuffed animals, and super hero costumes that we barely fit. But she was happy!

Sunday I had to work for part of the day, but even that entailed some walking in the city (though while wearing high heels! Ugh!). Trav and Gwen cleaned out his car, Gwen spent some time with the neighbors, they hit up a grocery store, and a playground! They were busy. Once I got home, I was ready for some more outdoor time... in more sensibly/comfortable shoes! 

Gwen and I headed out to take a walk, but only ended up as far as our corner, since the local firemen were doing some training exercises on the tennis courts across the street. Gwen was enthralled, so we hung out to watch.

Well, one of the guys took a shine to her, coming over to say hi, then coming over again (after checking with his cohorts) to see if Gwen wanted to try using the hose! She gave a very enthusiastic yes to that!

Such great guys! She has decided that she wants to be a firefighter when she grows up.

We hung out for much of the rest of the afternoon just watching them do their thing.

Love the rainbow!
Once they packed  up and took off, we spent another 30 hour or so killing time outside before Trav was done grilling our dinner (man I missed that grill!).

It was a great weekend, and I cannot wait to spend much more time outside in the coming months!

For now though, back to the grind!


nothing new

I can't remember when or how I stumbled upon Inked in Colour, but I was hooked on her blog from the moment I found it. Her life, especially at the time when she was living in Indonesia, was so very different from mine. Yet we had many things in common. Breastfeeding, bedsharing, travel loving, conscientious living Mamas.

When she started her "Nothing New for 52" project at the beginning of the year, I was intrigued. (I get her posts by email, and have a folder full of them saved!) The more I read about it, the more I was drawn towards something greater then intrigue. There became an almost constant voice in the back of my head telling me that I need to do this too.

In my quest for more authenticity in my life I have repeatedly realized that I have gotten bogged down in the materialism that is so present in our society nowadays. To be blunt, I have too much stuff and it is cluttering my space and cluttering my mind. How can I embrace what is ME when the things that are most important to me are buried in a sea of junk. So I've been attempting to declutter. To slowly but surely cull the unnecessary so that I can embrace the important.

But there is another side to that. All the donating, and otherwise getting rid of, does not one lick of good if it is not combine with a decision to stop the inflow as well. Everyone knows the "three Rs" of being environmentally conscious: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Well, the last is probably the most well known and embraced, but it is also the last resort. They are in order of importance... the biggest impact you can have is by first drastically reducing your consumption, then by reusing what you do buy, and only finally by recycling what can no longer be reused.

I'm not as ambitious as her for my initial go around, but I want to do this. So for April and May, I pledge "nothing new." That is my goal. 2 months, no new purchases. No clothes, books, songs, etc.

Now lets break that down a little, because obviously I can't go two months without buying anything. So here are my rules.

Food: I will obviously be buying food. But I'm going to stick to grocery store shopping. So no eating out lunches, or stopping for a little bag of snacks. I have some money on my Starbucks card, but once that is gone, its gone and I won't add more. (My one exception: my coworkers and I treat each other for our birthdays.)

Hygiene: Shampoo, toothpaste, deodorant, etc. Things that keep me healthy and clean, I will buy as needed. Perfume or special scented lotions, or other nice but not necessary things, I will be skipping.

Birthdays: I will try to make people gifts if I can, or if not try to treat them to an activity vs. buying them "stuff." But in the end, I will get birthday gifts as needed.

Yoga: I will buy new yoga class cards as needed, but no new yoga gear. 

I guess those are the main points. If something gets used up, I will try to find a way to repurpose it. If something breaks, I will try to fix it. If it can't be fixed, I will only replace it if it is a absolute necessity. I won't buy things because I think they will make me happier. I won't buy things because I think "Oh Gwen would just love this...." even though she has MORE then enough and doesn't need yet another thing. If it is something truly unique, I'll tag it for Christmas shopping.

Our culture has become so driven by possessions, and we are constantly bombarded with images of what we "should" have, what our things say about us as a person. The media tries to set your worth by the value of the items you buy. I don't imagine this will be an easy 2 months. But damn I am so ready to try this!

Anyone care to join me? 


splish splash

The weather turned warm over the weekend, but the sun waited until Monday to come out. The weekend was a deluge of rain that left me wondering if we should be investing in a boat! But my girl knows how to make the best of a wet situation!

I'm happy for the nicer weather though. And for the calmer days at work (not slow enough that I didn't leave this window open all day looking for a moment to pop in... but calmer, at least!).

Not to mention the closet sorting I've been doing (nice to "refind" clothes you forgot you had, and get rid of the ones that don't make you feel good). And other bits of purging.

I have a bit of a project in mind. A bit of simplification that I've been considering since the beginning of the year, but its high time I do more then consider. More on that soon.

For now, time to close up and head home!