4.29.2015

Easter in DC

Can I even explain to you what the arrival of spring meant to me this year? I'm always happy for it, but this winter especially has felt eternal. I needed spring for its burst of warmth and light, and the accompanying burst of happiness. Easter is one of those things that feels so quintessentially Spring to me!

This year, as many past, we headed to DC to visit with "Gruncle Wray," a much enjoyed tradition. Gwen was excited enough by that, but add in the fact that Uncle Epie and Aunt Elise are back in DC this year to join us, and it was just that much better.



Both days were full of family, but Saturday especially was especially so. My cousin, Ian, and his wife came over, then my cousin Megan (who was one of my best friends growing up, before she became my cousin by marriage) and her family, and finally much of my Aunt Susie's family who were also in town visiting.




Gwen enjoyed many many snuggles. She especially couldn't get enough of Gruncle Wray and was in his lap every chance she got.



Sunday dawned too early for me (Gwen was up for the day at 5:45... oye), but we filled the hours with wonderful food, Easter fun, and more family. My cousin Brendan stopped over, and Ethan and Elise came by as well.



It was a wonderful, satisfying, fill up my soul and refresh my very being kind of trip. I'm so looking forward to our next trip down in July for my brother's wedding!!

4.27.2015

one single moment


We went for a walk the other weekend. It was a mild day and we needed to get out of the house. The temptation of water ice at the apex of our walk was a nice incentive too.

Gwen took a turn at walking Daisy, then alternated between holding my hand and running ahead. At one point she ran almost to the end of the block, so I yelled up to her to wait for us. She turned towards me then, face erupting in a sun drenched smile, and ran to me, all streaming golden hair and lanky limbs. When she got close, I scooped her up and we continued on.

My little girl is growing so quickly. That moment. The grin, the running, the all encompassing expression of her love, the gorgeous lack of self-consciousness... I know these moments are fleeting. Too soon she will be running to friends, she'll be too big to carry, too aware of everyone else to hold my hand. I do my best not to fret about that future (to instead drink in these times now), it will be here soon enough and I'll deal with it then.

I know it is all fleeting.

But oh, that moment.


4.24.2015

The More I Learn, the Less I Know



Something has been nagging at me for a while. A feeling like everyone else is so far ahead of me. Like I'm playing at this whole adult thing. I remember being a child and thinking that all the adults were so sure of themselves, that they knew all the whats and hows and whos and whys. Now I'm the adult, and i feel so far from that. Many days I feel like I have no idea what I'm doing!

I'm finally starting to figure out that it's okay that I don't have it all figured out. 

That image I had from childhood, it's just that: an image, an illusion, a child's take on this idea of adulthood. As a teenager you know it all, what and who and how you will be. But the truth is, the older you get and the more you learn, the more you realize all that you don't know.

I don't know what life will look like a year from now. I don't know what I want to be when I grow up. I do know that I have to stop waiting around for the next big thing which will let my "real life" begin. Job frustrations, life frustrations, house frustrations and all...

Real life is now, and I don't have to have it all figured out, I just have to live it.

4.22.2015

Earth Day, EVERYday! Alternate Title: We Must Improve Before its Too Late

I speak for the trees, for the trees have no tongues, 
And I'm asking you sir, at the top of my lungs... 


Ever since I was a little girl, I have had a deep and abiding love of the outdoors. I thank my parents, consummate hippies, for helping me to truly appreciate this earth for what it is... the sustainer of life. It might sound a little "Earth Mama" to say it that way, but its the truth. We have no where else to go, and right now, we are not being good stewards of this earth or its resources.

We are consuming, destroying, cutting, burning, and melting at an alarming rate. The Amazon rainforest is disappearing at a rate of 200 football fields in the time it takes you to read this post! During the past 40 years, close to 20 percent of the Amazon rain forest has been cut down.(1)  Forty out of fifty states are expecting to experience water shortages in the next decade.(2)  It was 5 years ago this week that the BP oil rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico spewing 210 MILLION gallons of oil... which is still not completely cleaned up today. Wildlife are still struggling there, as are the human residents.

Earth Day is Every Day. We have to make conservation a part of our everyday routine. We have to make small changes, take baby steps, to eventually lead to big results. The way we, as a species, are living right now, is NOT sustainable. But its not too late!

How do you make Earth Day part of your Every Day?  

For me this means doing my best to reduce my consumption, to compost, recycle, reduce waste (cloth napkins and cloth "paper" towels, switching to a menstrual cup), collecting rainwater to use on our plants and garden, supporting organizations and companies that use environmentally forward practices, and numerous other little things.

But this one particular day is important too. 

Its a chance to raise awareness and help those who want to change, but don't know how or where to start. So lets celebrate this day!

How do you celebrate Earth Day?

Gwen and I plan to go on a trash collecting walk. We talk about ways to be "greener" including shorter showers and less water waste in general. We talk about the importance of bees. And once we finally find that new house of ours, I hope to plant a belated Earth Day tree.

I've collected a variety of things to share with you.

This scary and inspiring video:



Links to some great ideas for ways to help:
7 Ways to Reduce our Daily Water Consumption
5 Ways to Reduce Unnecessary Consumption
8 Practices for Creating a Zero-Waste Society

Or organizations for you to support:
Stand for Trees
Sierra Club
Environmental Defense Fund
Humane Society
World Wildlife Foundation 
Or click here for a more comprehensive list: A Guide to Environmental Non-Profits


There are so many little things that we can do, on this day, and everyday. Share yours with me!


Unless someone like you
cares a whole awful lot,
nothing is going to get better. 
It's not.

- The Lorax







4.21.2015

Tasty Tuesday: Banana Coconut Muffins

I hate wasting. This applies to everything, but especially food. One big reason I love making soups... its a great way to use up veggies of all kinds and make something delicious. Last week we ended up with one poor, old, mushy banana that no one wanted to eat. Especially with all the beautiful perfectly ripe ones sitting nearby. So I decided that some baking was in store! Overly ripe bananas are perfect for baking into breads, cakes, or... mini muffins!

I'd also been wanting to make something with coconut for a while. I love coconut anyway, but baked it is even better.

Some googling led me to a simple recipe, which I tweaked and played with just a little to make it even better. The original called for all butter, but I did half butter half coconut oil (to up the coconut flavor even more). It also called for regular sugar, but I subbed honey and coconut sugar (better on the glycemic index, plus I just love honey).


I also decided to make these little devils as mini muffins instead of regular muffins. Easier to pop, and quicker to bake... which was perfect since I wanted one NOW.  :-)  These muffins turned out delicious, fast, and easy. Two bowls, all hand mixed, and completely done in about 25 minutes from decision to make until I was pulling them out of the oven.


Adapted from a Recipe on Food.com


Ingredients
    • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 2 very ripe bananas, mashed
    • 1/4 cup butter, melted
    • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
    • 1/3 cup coconut sugar
    • 1/4 cup honey
    • 1 large egg
    • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
      (or slightly more when you accidentally overflow your 1/2 tsp measure!)
    • 3/4 cup sweetened flaked coconut


1. Preheat oven to 375°. Spray mini muffin tin* with non-stick spray.

2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.

3. Whisk together bananas, butter, coconut oil, sugar, honey, egg, vanilla, and 1/2 cup coconut in a large bowl until combined well, then fold in flour mixture until flour is just moistened.



4. Divide batter among mini muffin cups and sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup coconut.



5. Bake until muffins are puffed and golden, about 10 minutes.



6. Transfer muffins to a rack and cool slightly.



Enjoy! These are so yummy and made my house smell amazing.
If you make them, let me know what you think! 



* Note: these can also be made as regular muffins, in which case you would want to increase the baking time to about 25 minutes. This makes 24 mini muffins, or I believe 8 full sized ones.

4.20.2015

somewhere between hard and soft, strong and weak

I've been back at yoga now for about 10 weeks now. It feels good to move, to sweat, to work my body hard.

My relationship with my postpartum (round 2) body is funny. With Gwen I was so much more distracted from it. I had a brand new baby to care for. This time around, while I know I'm already so far ahead of where I was then (for numerous reasons), its hard to not just have my body back already. My stomach/core is so much weaker then it was. Everything is softer, shakier.

I have to remind myself over and over that it took 9 months of hard work to put all the baby weight onto my body, months of stretched stomach muscles; it will take time to drop, tighten, tone, and strengthen things up to whatever my new normal will be.

Lately though I've been finding comfort in the positives. How amazing it felt to lay on my back for savasana. Being able to do floor work again and rock out an amazing bow pose. The way, after 8 weeks away, my body and my muscles remembered exactly what they were supposed to do. It might be harder, it might not be as deep or as stable, but it is there.

For now I do my best to concentrate on the progress vs. the desired outcome.

4.17.2015

all those days

What have we done over the past month? There were plenty of fun weekends, and full busy weeks. So much normalness, and much normal playfulness.

Amazing how much fun you can have
just rolling around on the floor!

There were pictures, some of which I'll share in the weeks ahead. But here are a few that don't need their own post. 

Gwen, making friends with new family...
One time I wore an elephant shirt. Not worthy of its
own post, but gah, seriously... elephant shirt!!

There were also some bigger things. We made an offer on a house. It was nerve-racking. With 3 other families seeing the house the same day we were, we knew there would be multiple offers. But we figured we had to try since there was no way we would find a more well maintained house in this area for that price!


Alas, we didn't get it.
Breathe, sigh, move onward and upward.

Finally warm enough to REALLY get outside!


All-in-all, it was a great "spring break" from blogging. But now I'm so very happy to be back and am ready to share.

4.13.2015

pen to paper

Its funny, but within hours after publishing my blog break post, I felt the urge to write. Indeed, within days I'd started jotting down things I wanted to post about when I returned. By the following week, I had started all out paper journaling again, which I hadn't done in years.

There is something refreshing and satisfyingly liberating about setting pen to paper, and letting whatever I wanted out to flow. No worrying about who was going to read it and what they would think. No worries about how things would sound compared to how I meant them. Not a care about whether the "secrets" were mine alone to share, or needed to be censored. And certainly no care for editing.

Just Write.

Sometimes it wouldn't even be paragraphs, or sentences; but instead words, phrases, ideas, and one-offs. Whatever wanted to come out, did. Period.

Some of those pages and ideas I'll share here. Many I won't.

But it was nice to just get back to writing for me again.