9.29.2017

Little Things: Our Days

School has been in session for a month and a half, swim lessons for a few weeks. We are finding a rhythm to our days. The schedule adjustment, at first a thing requiring constant thought, is now becoming more easy and normal. I still, of course, feel like I often don't have enough hours in the day, but that was the case last year too. As it is, my girl is enjoying some new found independence this year. After homework, after a quick video to chill, before dinner, Gwen often finds her way outside to scooter with friends in the area behind our buildings. She has a few "neighborhood" friends that are regularly outside during this time and they meet up to run off some energy, and even more important, to get a taste of the independence that so many of us grew up with.

***

Our schedule, for my own future interest and for those who are curious about how others structure things looks generally like this:

Trav wakes with Daisy, sometime around 6am, when he takes her out and feeds her. Often he gets right up, in the shower, and ready for work at this point; though sometimes he climbs back in bed for another half hour or so. I wake at 7am, either to the alarm I had to start setting on my phone (wah!) or to Gwen yelling out, "Moooommmmm," as she wakes for the day. If she's up at 7, then she gets dressed, heads into the bathroom to take care of teeth etc, then sits down for a quick cartoon - we give her breakfast to eat while she watches. If its been a tiring few days, I might have to wake her closer to 7:20, then she just gets ready and eats. We are so lucky she is pretty quick in the morning! Trav leaves sometime after we wake, and Gwen and I leave to walk her to school at 7:40. I walk home after that, and what I do depends on the day.

Most mornings I take the time to make my green tea latte, and something for breakfast. Then I take all that on to the balcony. I relax and breath, preparing myself for the day. This is a huge bit of self-care time and I know I'm so spoiled to have it, but I don't feel badly about it at all! Its so important for my mental health. While I eat, I look at my calendar and see what is coming up that day and the days ahead. I check emails and reply to urgent ones. On certain days, I purposely read and peruse things that will give me inspiration for writing.

After that: Mondays I teach yoga in the mornings, Wednesdays I take yoga class in the morning, Fridays I take yoga class mid-day. Thursdays I switch things around, heading to the gym on my way home, then taking my time on the balcony. During the rest of my day, I run errands, do chores, write classes, have meetings, and occasionally meet friends for coffee or lunch.

I leave the house between 2:30-2:35 to pick up Gwen. We walk to the mail center to check our mailbox, and say hi to our friends at the office, then head home talking about her day. Once home she finishes anything left in her lunchbox as a snack, while working on a bit of homework and reading. Its not normally more then 15-20 minutes of homework and 10-20 minutes of reading. Then she gets to relax and watch a video for a little. After that is when she might run outside to play with her friends, staying where I can yell for her when dinner is ready. If its raining or otherwise not so great out, she might play Legos or Superheros instead.

While she's playing I finish anything I was working on during the day, and start to prep dinner. We eat around 5:45-6pm when Trav gets home. Tuesday nights I teach, so Trav takes care of dinner; some nights he works events, so then Gwen and I are on our own. After dinner, we relax for a bit before Gwen heads in to get herself ready for bed at 7:30pm. After she says goodnight to Trav and Daisy, we read in her bed until 8:15, when I say goodnight and turn off the lights. While I'm reading, Trav takes Daisy for a walk. After Gwen's asleep, we relax and watch some TV. Trav normally heads to bed around 10:30, and at that point I try to put my phone away, turn off all electronics, and read for a bit to prepare myself for sleep. I'm trying to be better about getting into bed by 11-11:30pm, but sometimes its a bit later.

***

And that is the state of things now. As we prepare to enter into my favorite month of the year, I'm feeling good about our schedule and our routine. Much will change in the months ahead, of course, as the days shorten and cool; but we have found a good place.

9.27.2017

Wordless Wednesday {Colorado Outdoors}

Beautiful sunset behind 17 Mile House, a few weeks back.

Trying to identify a local wild flower, 
Daisy was curious what I was up to!

9.25.2017

Mabon

This past Friday was the Autumnal Equinox, and with that came our first celebration of a new tradition. There's been so much change in our family in recent years, and while we still hold and celebrate our old traditions, I found myself longing for a celebration that was all our own, one that could be shaped and molded completely to our choosing without the burden of generations of observance. I found the answer in the solstices and equinoxes.





Mabon is celebrated with the Autumnal Equinox, sometime around September 21. It embraces the harvest, the celebration of the equal length of day and night. It encourages connection to nature. Gwen and I did a nature walk after school to collect items for our table, including pinecones, leaves, and some wildflowers. We do a house cleaning, like in the spring (which we did a week and a half ago), and finish with sage smudging (I did that when everyone else was out at work/school, its a strong smell!).



Of course the star of the show for my family was the food! We did a smattering of harvest relevant foods like corn, bread, apples, nuts, grapes, and wine. We did turkey legs as our main protein. 

We turned off the light and ate by candlelight to embrace the coming darkness. And we discussed the meaning behind the holiday, what we were being thankful for.

For dessert, there was French Apple Cake, a new recipe for me to play with! 


After dinner we took another walk, as the sunset fell. It really turned out so well and we enjoyed it thoroughly!!


Happy Mabon all! I hope it is a beautiful season for you!

9.22.2017

Autumnal Equinox


Oh Autumn! Time of crunchy leaves, crisp air, and that happy place between hottest summer and snowy winter.

I will always celebrate this season, and revel in the unique joys and observances we find this time of year. Indeed, last night/tonight we add a new element to our keeping of this day, and I can't wait to share it with you once I get a real chance to put down my thoughts (Monday!).

But for today I'll just enjoy the balance that comes this time of year, when days and nights have found their equilibrium and before we move into the longer nights of winter.

Enjoy, friends!

9.18.2017

Rambling Rambles

Wedding hair color!
Before the wedding I was more then a little stressed out. There was so much to think about and get done - logistical things like replacing tires for the drive out, booking a dogsitter, making sure I had everything for my outfit, and buying things to help make the centerpieces - I wanted my best girl's wedding to perfect! That was not, of course, my responsibility, but I just wanted to be sure that everything that I was handling was as perfect as possible. Plus, the rest of life didn't stop because I was thinking about a wedding. We have a bunch of big travel coming up throughout the rest of the year, and there were things that needed to be addressed for those as well, not to mention school items and teaching. I was feeling a little overwhelmed.

While all this was happening, I couldn't help thinking about how ridiculous it was of me to complain; because at the very same time, a whole city was/is underwater. Blogs that I read, people that I know, friends and online acquaintances, whole cities of strangers that deserve so much better... they're all underwater. Fighting for their lives in some cases, or for their homes and livelihoods. (Just look at this over at Lag Liv, and this one too.) I feel silly for being overwhelmed by the good things in life, and completely stuck for ways to actually help (these are great references).

But here's the thing about life: it keeps going despite the horrors of the world.

(From Lag Liv:

I was standing in Trader Joe's today and just looking at all the people buying healthy foods for their week ahead and I just wanted to yell "do you know what Houston looks like right now? do you know there are piles of drywall everywhere? and mold is starting to grow and spread? and people don't have flood insurance? or money or power or AC or water and it is all just fucking awful?" But of course they don't. I mean, some may have gone down to Houston like me and seen it, but one of our necessary abilities is being able to move on from other people's tragedies to focus on ourselves. You can't let every disaster devastate you. You help, but you stay in your circle and you live your life. I've done the exact same thing over and over again and you must, but it was just so jarring to have gone from a drywall covered emotionally overwrought hellscape to... Trader Joe's, four hours and several light-years away. )

So I continued to be overwhelmed and anticipatory.

There are just so many things on my To Do list, projects I want to try to tackle, things I want to incorporate into life, new ventures to pursue; but I already feel like I am just maintaining adequacy with what is currently on my plate.

I had a full week last week, with new doula clients, yoga classes, a dozen errands and the normal day-to-day details, but this one should be slightly calmer? I look forward to "working ahead" on what I can. Pounding out details so hopefully our next trips are just a smidge less stressful. We'll see how that actually works, of course.

9.15.2017

2017 Wedding #3 - My Bestest Babs!!!

Where do you even start when its time to write about one of the weddings that has meant most to you in your entire life? How about with some words I already wrote?

Hi, my name is Megan and you might not know me personally, but the most important thing to know about me is that I’m one of the two asses behind the name of Heather's perfume, “Candy Ass" and I’ve been dreaming about this day since Babs – as I call her – and I were babies! We met when we were in preschool, and she’s been my sister from another mister ever since.

From playing with barbies, killing it at Donkey Kong and Mario Kart, and swimming our days away when we were kids, to surviving 90% on phone calls and text messages while managing businesses and kids, life has changed a lot since then. But some things have remained the same: Babs, you are still the same strong-willed, fiercely independent person you were back then. You've always known who you are and what you wanted. When you met Keil I knew things were different. HE was different! I say that you, Babs, were the first love of my life, so I was never going to let you settle for a man that didn’t deserve you; none of these friends sitting here would have! So standing here today makes me so damn happy because Keil and Babs, you bring out the best in each other. Its been beautiful to watch your relationship grow. Keil, you make Babs shine in a way that no other partner has, and for that I thank you.

As I sat writing my Maid of Honor speech a number of weeks ago, I realized just how much I had been looking forward to this wedding since my best friend in the entire world and I were babes. It didn't disappoint!

Last Wednesday I dropped Gwenie off at school, and jumped on the road heading West through the mountains. I could probably write a whole post just about the 15 hour solo drive - the first I've ever made like that, with no little companion in the back seat - but lets see if I can sum it up: It was amazing to drive through these mountains I've grown to love, catching up on podcasts, and just enjoying the journey without worrying about anyone else. There were no snacks to pass or toys to pick up, and no "I'm boreddd" pronouncements to ignore. I stopped when I had to get gas, using the bathroom at those stops, and eating the things I had packed for the journey. Not to say there weren't lonely moments, and I definitely wish I could have switched off with someone to give my eyes a break about 13.5 hours in, but as I drove down a Eastern California highway after darkness had fallen, and watched thunderstorms put on a light show to both the North and South of me... well, I knew there was something pretty magical about the solo journey.

I arrived late, so headed straight to the AirBnB I was sharing with one of the other bridesmaids, and tried to get some sleep. I was up pretty early the next morning. A combination of a different sleep environment, the hour time difference, and excitement for the days ahead! Yvone woke pretty quickly too, and we headed out to pick up some groceries. After that it was finally time to go over and see my girl!!


We got to squeeze, I got to see her new apartment, and we got to chat a bit... but it wasn't just a lazy day. Nope, Yvone and I got to work!


We made all the centerpieces ourselves to help Babs out, and figured out the logistics for everything else that still needed to be done. Then that night it was time for the Bachelorette festivities. There was dinner and a special show. It was late to bed that night too, but we had another busy day to follow!


Friday we picked up the sound system, handled a bunch of last minute details and supply getting, I grabbed Gwen and Trav from LAX, and we hit up the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner. Then it was back to the AirBnB where Babs and I slept next to each other like we did the night before my wedding. It made me wistful, but oh so excited.

Saturday, Wedding Day, dawned early. Yiv and I were up at 5:15am to let the hair and makeup people in, and we all got to work. We did hair and makeup in the AirBnB until about 7:30 when we switched over to the venue to eat breakfast, finish our looks, and put on our clothes.

This was not the final result, but I had to stop here
and enjoy my 80s rocker hair... 👅

Those ladies were geniuses, and I'll admit, I felt pretty damn good!!


Heather was great and pretty damn chill all morning, even as wedding time came... and passed just slightly! Oops.


Still, when it was time to walk down the aisle, the delay didn't matter. She was stunning, literally making her groom pull in a breath and utter, "Wow" - while needing to dab his eyes.


I was more then tearing at that point, and for the rest of the ceremony, so no shame!
It was a beautiful ceremony, with amazing vows, some of the best ring exchange vows I've heard, and this amazing show of new family unity:


(Yes, those are smoke bombs!)

I will share some professional pictures when they come out and I get permission, but please click through here to look at some teasers... they are AMAZING!


When all was done with the ceremony, the guests headed off to the reception venue while the bridal party got pictures done. Then we headed over as well for some really great food with a pretty killer view!



It was a low-key reception in some ways, there was no dancing, not a lot of the traditional stuff (no cake cutting or garter tossing)... but it was full of amazing personality just the same. A personalized playlist, gorgeous cupcakes, and a speech from the groom's sister, and the Maid of Honor... 😘





After seeing Babs tear up just a moment or two in, I bawled through a good portion of it, but I managed to make her laugh, so I'm happy.

Gwen made a friend in her new "cousin" Sai (Heather's new stepdaughter!), and it was amazing to see them play together. 


I've always imagined that we would have babies playing together.  💗


At the last minute, Yvone, KJ, and I snuck out to give Heather's car a little decorating, then it was time to see the couple off!





Everything I'm writing here seems so inadequate to describe all of the emotions running through me over these days. This girl is my sister, and Keil is such an amazing guy, so to say that I was thrilled for them doesn't even cover it. There was so much love, so much color, so much excitement, and such an amazing feeling of relief that the day was finally here and the work was done!

After we got back to the AirBnB, to strip down, clean up and start packing. Trav realized at that point that we didn't get a picture together, so Gwen snapped a quick one for us!


We left early Sunday morning, with me waking everyone at 7am, and being completely packed and out the door before 8am. The ride home was shorter (plotted drive time - 14.5 hours) and longer (sooo many stops to peee!), with us arriving at almost 1am (we lost an hour in the time change). It was amazing to have Travis available to drive the last two hours for me, and fun to have him see this drive that Gwen and I have done multiple times now. Driving the Southern Utah desert area at twilight might be one of the most beautiful drives, and this time did not disappoint. There were cotton candy skies in front of us, a fiery display behind us, and a thunderstorm way in the distance lighting up the darkening clouds in beautiful flashes. It was a pretty magical end to an amazing long weekend.

There’s an anonymous quote that says, “Once in awhile, right in the middle of an ordinary life, love gives us a fairy tale.” Now I don’t know that anything in Babs’s life has been ordinary, and we all know that fairy tales in the traditional sense aren’t real – there are no fairy godmothers making our dreams come true – but love like this is as close to a fairytale as we get in this world, it imbibes life with a little bit of magic. The best marriages are found when a couple is a team, when there is mutual respect, and when there is so much love; plus the willingness to really work on your relationship and put it first. Thankfully you guys have all the ingredients for a beautiful marriage.

This group has traveled from far and wide to make it to this celebration, and you are all here because you mean a great deal to the bride and groom. Please, join me in raising our glasses to the happy couple. To a long, beautiful, colorful life together! Cheers!

9.13.2017

Wordless Wednesday {From The Past Few Weeks}

Silly, sweet beast, half hiding under the futon!

This guy's stuff is amazing. This one in particular makes me feel 
the need to plan a camping trip soon!

Lovely green breakfast: matcha latte, lemon white chocolate bread with 
mint mojito jam(!), and eggs with sauteed spinach, and tons of basil, 
fresh off my plant on the balcony!

9.11.2017

Mornings On the Balcony

Our little balcony is quickly becoming one of my favorite places to be in our whole apartment. In the mornings especially as they are wonderfully crisp and chilly, Daisy and I slip out there to sit and breathe in all the fresh air.


Its quiet from our balcony, since we're in the back of our building, overlooking some townhouses, and a path. Especially at that time of morning when some people are just waking up, while others have jetted off to work already, it came seem like Daisy and I are the only ones around. There's tons of blue sky to take in, some soft morning breezes which tickle our wind chimes into chorus, and of course the greens and bright colors of my container garden. 


Our new morning routine often has me eating my breakfast after Gwen has been walked to school, which means I'm rather hungry, but that does allow me the time to really stretch out and enjoy the process of sipping, eating, savoring. I often take a book or magazine out, in the hopes of stirring up some inspiration to start my day.


Its not super fancy out there. We sit on folding camp chairs, and use a small, discarded old side table as a spot to rest our cups! I do plan to eventually buy some more aesthetically pleasing furniture, maybe with big, thick outdoor cushions; but it doesn't matter really. The vibe - if not the look - that I want, is already there.


I look forward to to many more crisp mornings on the porch before the snows come and it gets too cold to spend much time there. Maybe the sweet beast and I will just have to make a little nest by the doors then to sit in and gaze at our outdoor sanctuary!

9.08.2017

Give Me a Day...

As you read this, I'm in California preparing for a very important wedding! Give me a day, but I'll be back to tell you all about it next week!


Have a great weekend!

9.06.2017

9.04.2017

Ancestrial Chain

There's a song in Moana that always makes me cry. I mean, lets be honest, I often cry through much of the movie; but in particular...



There is an ongoing theme throughout the movie, a connection to the long line of people who came before us, an ancestral chain. Its a theme that means a lot to me, which runs through me and influences my interests.

Throughout my childhood and until his death when I was in high school, my grandfather sent out many stories to his family. Retelling of pieces of his life, normal things that painted the most beautiful pictures of where we came from.

"I was born in a small town in eastern Pennsylvania called Forty Fort. There is a long story about how the town got its name but that is history.

My father and mother were both immigrants. Mom was from Canada and Pop from Wales. Pop only went to the third grade in school but he could read well, write, and could do math well enough that later in his life he became a tool and dye maker for IBM. He left school as many boys from Wales did, to work in the coal mines. At age nine he was working twelve hour days and worked his way up to become a mule driver and when electricity came to the mine he was the driver of an electric train hauling coal from the mines to the breaker. Using this experience, he was able to get a job as driver on the local trolley car system.

Mom was never employed but stayed home and took care of the kids as most women did in those days. She did however, ingrain in our heads that education was the most important thing for us to think about and made us read a lot. She only went to eighth grade in school but at age sixty-five got her high school diploma." 

I find myself rereading these bits and pieces often, these parts of my own story. My family's history.

"By Christmas time I was doing well and then I realized I was totally in love with this girl and asked her if she would go to dinner with me. She said she was going to visit her aunt and uncle for Christmas in Los Angeles and I was really devastated. Then she said, “Would like to go with me?” My life began and I would never be the same.

Her name was EDDIE. Her real name was Ednagene C[*****]. We became friends that week and had a lot of things to talk about. Her life in China, her college days, her nursing career, her sixteen cousins, and mother and father. That part frightened me because her father was a Ph.D. and dean of students at Lehigh University.

When we returned to the hospital we went out every night, sometimes off the base and sometimes we just walked and made stops at the slop-shut (a navy word for a place to sit and have a beer). After two weeks we were totally in love and I asked her to marry me."

Its amazing to get these glimpses into another time and place, to see what pieces make up my foundation, to see where I came from.

Let's not forget the other side of my family. While I don't have the amazing written stories for my Paternal family, there's much fun in knowing that my Great Gram was born in Glamorgan, Wales... just like Tom Jones! Ha! 😊

I believe that the line of family that came before us is so important to where we are and where we are going. I look forward to learning and sharing more!

9.01.2017

Tying Up Loose Ends

Since I pre-publish 99% of my posts now, sometimes by the time they go live circumstances have already changed and we've moved on or finished up or changed up a routine already. So, as we move into September (holy smokes), finishing off our third week of school, here is a right now up-to-date update! Hopefully tying up some loose ends from other posts.

--  My attempt at reconnecting with healthy routine is going strong after a bit of a hiatus while on the road. I'm back to green smoothies, lots of fruits and veggies, and lean proteins. I've adjusted my yoga schedule to accommodate a change in the schedule at my home studio, but it actually nets me another yoga class a week, so that works out!


--  New school times are working out okay. The morning is definitely more rushed then it used to be, but we're getting used to it. It allows me a little more quiet time when I get home in the morning, as its an hour or more until a lot of places open and I normally wait to eat my breakfast until I get home. I also lose time for errands in the afternoon though, and its definitely more of a rush if I have a lunch meeting, and I can't do much in the way of meetings in the afternoon unless I sign Gwen up for after school care. We do have more time for homework and relaxing after school though! 

So, its an adjustment for sure, but overall its been going well. I think by the end of the month this schedule will all feel old hat!

As for school itself, Gwen is doing amazing. She's coming home with good reports everyday, and enjoys her teacher so far. We've settled into a routine with homework and reading, and she's shown some amazing maturity with choices around lunch. I can't wait to see how the rest of the year goes.

--  My mental health is still stubbornly glad... most of the time. 😏 More time for myself during the day, a return to that wellness routine, and just a commitment to honoring my mental health - wherever it may be - all helps, and overall I'm feeling really good.


Life has been very busy lately, and more then a little stressful, so I'm not going to pretend that things are perfect. They aren't and I have some days that I just want to run away! Ha! But I know that some of the big things are going to be done with soon, and that life will calm down.

--  Our new neighbors downstairs are quite lovely. Its nice to know they are there if we need them, and its amazing having a little friend nearby that Gwen can go outside to play with. Its amazing to me that Gwen is to the age that I can let her out to play right below our place, and it easier to trust that when she has a friend to run around with. I've always daydreamed about living in a safe, quiet area that allows me to let Gwen have these little freedoms.

--  Parenthood is going much more smoothly in general as well. Having a little bit of space from each other during the day makes a HUGE difference. We're working on communicating more effectively and considerately, and in a way that preempts an in the moment blow-up. It takes more effort, but the rewards are immediate and exponential.


We are excited to see each other at the end of the day again, and can't wait to talk about our days.

--  Our plants are still alive, huzzah! In fact, some of them are thriving! A little breakdown, as much for my knowledge next year, as for your information...


My shade coleus and trailing red mezoo are absolutely amazing! I definitely will be planting those again.


My sun coleus, basil, and dragons wings begonias are all doing good. The sun coleus and begonias could use some more room, so I'd switch up how they were planted next time.


The freesia died, as did a different varietal of begonias, so I won't do those again.
I did add a lovely little indoor fig tree to my collection, a birthday present from a friend!


I'm very happy with my garden progression from last year to this year!

--  Creating is still on my mind... it looks to be a very handmade Christmas this year! I can't wait to share more, but after Christmas obviously! Let's just say, I'm gathering supplies and preparing to start mixing, melting, and creating some lovely items for my favorite people.

--  Matcha lattes are still the shiz. 😋


Seriously, they are a huge part of my healthy routine now. It not just the nutrients they deliver, but the whole process of creating it. The measuring, mixing, blending, and pouring; its comforting and familiar. I alternate them with smoothie days, often adding eggs and a fruit or veggie to make a filling, healthy breakfast.



And I think that's all the lose ends!