keeping the good momentum going

Today, finally, there are no boxes and bags of old toys taking up room in our basement. After all the talk we've had with Gwen about giving her old toys to the babies, after how great she's been about willingly giving away those toys, and after spending 3 years now meaning to donate said toys, I finally found a place and actually took the time to do the donating! It took carrying a bag or box every day on the train, into the city, but today all the toys have been "re-homed."

It feels good to keep what I'm seeing as very positive momentum going. In the spirit of my 2014 goals of authenticity, of purging that which is not serving and encouraging that is, it feels good to rid our house of those items which were no long being useful to us, and give them to Philadelphia's CPS, who will make great use out of them! They will hopefully make some kids very happy at a time when happiness might seem out of reach.


CM: memories of Mama

My most recent post from Connected Mom.


A mommy who plays in the snow!
One day, I remind Gwen, she will be a grown up. Its weird to her that she would ever live anywhere other then with us, its weird to me too! But I think she started to understand it more when she suddenly realized that I have a Mommy and Daddy too, and I don't live with them. A-ha!

I think about those days, and what she will remember of this time in our lives. A time that often feels too full of the mundane, with not nearly enough excitement. I had to have my own a-ha moment when I think about what my fondest and most common memories are of my childhood. Yes, I remember that school trip to Disney, but I don't think of it often. The memories that I think of the simple ones: My mom making me noodle soup. My dad reading to me while we waited for the bus in the morning. Playing in the woods behind our house. Lots and lots of time spent talking with my Mom.

Sometimes its so easy to get stuck on the idea that bigger is better when it comes to the special, fun things we offer to our kids. And these extra special things have their worth. We are excited for our trip to Disney for her birthday next month! But while Sesame Place was fun, and the zoo was exciting, I know that in the end its the repetition of "small" acts that will stick with her. Family dinners, where we all get a turn to talk. Back rubs and quiet singing at bedtime. Getting bundled up to play in the snow.

Those are the things I want her to remember anyway. I don't want her to childhood to be a wash of so many big things, I don't want her to think I always got what I wanted. I want her to think: everyday my parents took the time to listen to me, I know that my voice and feelings were important, and my parents loved to be with me.


a 2 hour trip to nowhere

Driving for two hours for no reason on Saturday was definitely not the game plan, but when we got one exit away from my parents and the snow was coming down fast and furious with the roads getting worse and worse, we had to turn out. We would have made it, but my parents were sure that we wouldn't be leaving! So home we headed, with a VERY disappointed almost 4 year old in tow.

I knew it was going to snow, but didn't realize that the 1 - 4" they were calling for out come down in a matter of just a few hours. So, after having to reschedule yet another visit to my parents' place with accompanying hair appointment because of snow, I'm really identifying with this picture (courtesy of facebook), and am pretty sick of snow.

Ahh well, what are you going to do. It was a nice weekend nonetheless. We watched movies, read books, Gwen did lots of great independent play (something I'm really enjoying), and played some "hockey" in the living room.

Though Gwen's version of hockey involves much more tackling then I'm used to seeing.

Though it was rather fun. 


snow days

Back at work/school today, after Gwen had an impromptu weekend in the middle of the week. She was quite happy about the prospect since, Yay! Playing at home in PJs all day! Her father and I were decidedly, uh, less thrilled. Sure, I loved getting to sleep in more for the 3rd weekday in a row, because seriously 7am feel pretty extravagant when you're normally bustling people out the door at that time, but Trav and I were both still working on those lovely home days, and anyone who's "worked from home" with an almost 4 year old in tow knows it doesn't always go so smoothly.

Tuesday I headed in while Trav stayed home (since I was home Monday already). There was nary a flake in the sky when I left (which led to some grumbling about silly daycare), but when the snow started at 10:30ish, BOY did it start. I left the office at 12:30 and the sidewalks were already treacherous. I was really, really regretting my rushed departure in the morning and subsequent lack of snow boots. Seriously.


what do you think?

New year, new look. I've been so ready for a change, an upgrade, something more whimsical. Enter Clueless Mama Designs.

(If you don't know what I'm talking about, the blog has a completely new look... try refreshing.)

I'll probably keep tweaking things here and there for a little while, but what do you think?


big changes

Super excited about some big changes coming on the blog front. Stay tuned... a whole new design should be debuting tomorrow!


this weekend. this life.

This weekend offers some great little snapshots of our life. It somehow became one of those perfectly balanced weekends that we hope for, but don't always get.

For the past few weeks I've been doing French Braids in Gwen's hair before bed every night. It makes morning brushing so much easier. Friday night's turned out pretty good!:

Especially since prior to starting this a few weeks ago, I'd never done a F.B. before!

Saturday, at Gwen's request, we painted nails:

She was quite happy:

Trav did some laundry and vacuuming while I finally did some sewing I've had set aside to do for as long as a few years. Yeah. That was a torn pair of jeans. More recent additions included adding some stitches to my bathing suit top to keep the liner in place, rehemming a pair of too short pants, and the catalyst for this: repairing a small tear in our favorite flannel sheets.

That evening I headed to my yoga studio for a special class with 3 guest teachers, which was a fundraiser for Team in Training (Leukemia). Each teacher got 30 minutes, and it was fun trying each style. Afterward I ended up hanging out with a small handful of people from the studio enjoying some food, libations, and just fun conversation! It was a great end to the day.

Sunday we did some more house stuff before heading over to Ro and Pat's since GG had called me the day before to so sweetly ask for a playdate.  :-)  We were happy to oblige. We ate some lunch together and watched football while the girls bounced in the basement (GG's early birthday present was a small moon bounce! We were home in time for dinner and an early bedtime.

Today I'm home by myself. Daycare and Trav's work are open, but mine is closed. So I am enjoying the quiet to do some more around the house. I'm finishing off a shirt that I tea dyed this weekend, and sorting out our overwhelming amount of gift bags, boxes, and wrapping paper to make it all fit in my closet again! An a.m. yoga class got me off to a good start today, so I'm feeling pumped to get stuff done!

So house things, friend time, time of rest, and time of movement. I really good balance! 

Hope your weekend, no matter the length was filled with good things.


this moment

At this moment...

I'm disappointed in the way my morning ended with Gwen, but secure in the knowledge that when she gets home she will love me, and hug me, and we will be fine.

I'm grateful for good friends who cheer me up with coffee dates, funny videos, and commiseration.

I'm excited for a special yoga class tomorrow night. For the class itself, the people there, for stretching and bending and moving and working my body.

I'm frustrated with the work I should be doing and my current inability to focus on it.

I'm relieved that the week is over and that there is a low-key weekend ahead. It was busy and longer then last week, and tiring. Though there were many fun moments: watching Hunger Games with Trav for the first time, yoga with Apoc (his first time), quiet moments, Gwenie snuggles.

I'm incredibly ready for my Monday off alone, and hopeful for what I'm going to get done during those precious hours. A little extra sleep, some yoga, some decluttering and putting away, some organizing. And some relaxing too.

I'm trying. Trying to let go of the if-thens, trying to be the best me I can be, trying to see what that really means. I'm trying to let the bad roll off and away, and trying to embrace every bit of good that comes to me.

Where are you at this moment?


Using Continuity to Help Change {Carnival of Natural Parenting}

Welcome to the January 2014 Carnival of Natural Parenting: The More Things Stay the Same
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have talked about the continuity and constancy in their lives. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.


Sometimes it seems that the focus this time of year is on change, and lots of it. The irony though, is that for any change to become permanent, you need to repeat the action until it becomes ingrained. To effectively enact change, you need continuity. The fact of the matter is, you need both in your life. Without change we would never grow, but some things are better staying the same. Continuity can mean stability and security. The trick is knowing which things should be allowed to stay the course.

My goal for 2014 (to work towards my most authentic life), will involve changes. I can already see things in my life that aren't helping me, that will need to be changed. Just as important are the things that promote my health and happiness; and those things I will be working my hardest to cultivate, to embrace. A steady path, continuity, "more of the same." When that means security and well-being, then they shouldn't be thought of as stagnation or monotony.

The truth is, sometimes a little continuity can be just the thing to help you push forward in other areas of your life. Continuity can be the biggest aide to change. If I tried to change all aspects of my life at once, I would feel adrift, lost, and out of control. By maintaining areas, I give myself the confidence, freedom, and security to move forward in others. Knowing that I will have consistency elsewhere helps to deal with the uncertainty that can come from stepping out into the unknown.

It can also help free me from worrying that my changes will adversely effect my family. If I can provide them with continuity in most areas, then the small changes in others won't be so hard.

So my lesson for early 2014: Embrace change. And equally embrace continuity. Let go of it as a sign of stagnation. See it as the safety net that gives you the courage to take the big leap.


Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
  • Always an Artist — Some kids take longer than others to come into themselves, so you have to stick with them, as a parent, long after everyone else has given up, writes Douglas at Friendly Encounters.
  • Not Losing Yourself as a First Time Mom — Katie at All Natural Katie continues to stay true to herself after becoming a new mom.
  • Using Continuity to Help Change {Carnival of Natural Parenting} — Meegs from A New Day talks about how she is using continuity in certain areas of her life to help promote change and growth in others.
  • Staying the Same : Security — Life changes all the time with growing children but Mother Goutte realised that there are other ways to 'stay the same' and feel secure, maybe a bit too much so!
  • Harmony is What I'm AfterTribal Mama gushes about how constant change is really staying the same and staying the same brings powerful change.
  • A Primal Need For Order and Predictability – And How I Let That Go — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares how she overcame her primal need for order and predictability once her awareness shifted, opening her eyes to the impact this had on her young daughter. Take a short journey with Jennifer and she bares her soul, exposes her weaknesses and celebrates her new outlook and approach to living life, even in the face of total chaos.
  • Breastfeeding Before and After — Breastfeeding has come and gone, but Issa Waters at LoveLiveGrow finds that her relationship with her son is still just the same and just as good.
  • A Real Job — Back in high school That Mama Gretchen had a simple, but worthwhile career aspiration and today she is living her dream … is it what you think?
  • Comfortingsustainablemum never thought she would want things always being the same, but she explains why it is exactly what her family wants and needs.
  • 'The Other Mums' and The Great IllusionMarija Smits reflects on the 'great big magic show of life' and wonders if it will continue to remain a constant in our lives.
  • Unschooling: Learning doesn't change when a child turns four — Charlotte at Winegums & Watermelons talks about the pressure of home education when everyone else's children are starting school.
  • Finding Priorities in Changing Environments — Moving from Maine to a rural Alaskan island for her husband's military service, Amy at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work found that keeping consistent with her priorities in changing environments can take some work, but is vital to continuous health and happiness.
  • Keeping it "Normal" — Kellie at Our Mindful Life has moved several times in the last two years, while doing her best to keep things stable for her kids.
  • The Evolution Of Our Homeschool Journey — Angela at Earth Mama's World reflects on her homeschooling journey. Homeschooling is a constant in the life of her family but the way in which they learn has been an evolution.
  • Sneaking in Snuggles: Using Nurturing Touch with Older Children — When Dionna at Code Name: Mama's son was a toddler and preschooler, he was the most loving, affectionate kiddo ever. But during the course of his 5th year, he drastically reduced how often he showed affection. Dionna shares how she is mindfully nurturing moments of affection with her son.
  • Steady State — Zoie at TouchstoneZ writes a letter to her partner about his constancy through the rough sailing of parenting.
  • A Love You Can Depend On — Over at True Confessions of a Real Mommy, Jennifer has a sweet little poem reminding us where unconditional love really lies, so it can remain a constant for us and our children.
  • Same S#!*, Different Day — Struggling against the medical current can certainly get exhausting, especially as the hunt for answers drags on like it has for Jorje of Momma Jorje.
  • New Year, Still Me — Mommy Bee at Little Green Giraffe writes about how a year of change helped her rediscover something inside herself that had been the same all along.
  • One Little Word for 2014 — Christy at Eco Journey In The Burbs has decided to focus on making things this year, which is what she is loves, as long as she doesn't kill herself in the process.
  • The Beauty of Using Montessori Principles of Freedom and Consistency — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares the continuity of her teaching, parenting, and grandparenting philosophy using a combination of freedom and consistency.
  • My Husband's MiniCrunchy Con Mom shares which of her sons looks more like her husband's baby pictures — and the answer might surprise you!
  • Growth Happens When You Aren't Looking — Lori at TEACH through Love is treasuring these fleeting moments of her daughter's early adolescence by embracing the NOW.
  • A New Reality Now - Poem — As Luschka from Diary of a First Child struggles to come to terms with the loss of her mother, she shares a simple poem, at a loss for more words to say.
  • Making a family bedroom — Lauren at Hobo Mama has decided to be intentional about her family's default cosleeping arrangements and find a way to keep everyone comfortable.
  • New Year, Same Constants — Ana at Panda & Ananaso takes a look at some of the things that will stay the same this year as a myriad of other changes come.
  • I Support You: Breastfeeding and Society — Despite how many strides we've taken to promote "breast is best," Amy at Natural Parents Network talks about how far we still have to go to normalize breastfeeding in our society.


this is why it takes a village

Its amazing how simple commiseration can make you feel so much better. A 10-minute text conversation and the simple phrase, "I'm so over 3," helped me to release the last bit of guilty and weariness I'd been holding on to from Gwen's "offness" the past few weeks.

This week really was good for the most part, and went so much faster then I worried it would seeing as it was the first full week back in what felt like much longer then 2 weeks (or more if you count my impromptu work from home with kid in tow days). Her behavior has improved, as has our reaction to it. Still, its nice to have that not alone feeling.

Looking forward to relaxing with the family this weekend, and tomorrow escaping with just Trav for a little bit (thanks to Auntie Ro agreeing to babysit!). Planned a little surprise few hours for Trav. Nothing big, but something I know he wants to do. Should be fun.

Hope you have a fun, relaxing weekend as well!


now the year really begins

Back to work and our regular routine today. I'm happy for it, and now it feels like the year really begins.

I'm not even sure that Mother Nature knows whats going on right now, but there are wind chills of -50* in the midwest today, and we are in the 50s. A 100* difference. That's insane. Don't worry, we're back down to a high of 16* tomorrow, which also boggles my mind. Considering all the rain today, I will be ice skating to work tomorrow.

Its funny how often this happens, but after putting in writing all of the positivity of Saturday, yesterday ended up being a bit of a hellish day. Lots of frustration, and didn't do any reading or get to my yoga. Go figure. But today is a new day, and tonight there will be yoga post-Gwen bedtime! One day at a time, like everything else.

For now, back to work.


Jan 2014 - so far, so good

I have been a little worried about next week and how long it was going to feel. After weeks of one or two day work weeks followed by two or more days off, five whole days of work seemed long and daunting. But now I'm looking forward to it a bit too. After weeks of having weird schedules, Gwen is starting to act out more. She's more clingy at bedtime, gets frustrated more easily. I think she will be so much better off with her normal schedule back.

That said, the holidays have been fun. Gwen and I had New Years Eve off together, while Trav worked. We headed to see Gwen's first movie in the theater, Frozen. She loved the theater experience. The big seats, the popcorn, the big screen. She enjoyed the first part of the movie with its pretty scenery, dancing, and fun songs. But the later parts of the movie proved too much for my sweet girl. She bawled during one scene and spent the rest of the time in my lap, wrapped in my arms. Thankfully she appreciated the ending, and we spent some time cuddling and talking in the car before we left, so she was fine. However I don't think we'll be heading back to the theater until next NYE.

Gingerbread house with Auntie Ro.
That night we went to Ro and Pat's to hang out and watch the ball drop. Once again, Gwen was up until almost 11!! (Despite my efforts to get her down sooner. Hard when there are other kids not going to sleep yet.) Unlike last year though, she did not sleep in the next morning. Ugh.

We were very lazy on New Years Day, back to work/school on Thursday, then home for an impromptu work from home day (for both Trav and I) thanks to a storm that dropped a good 6+" and drove the temperatures down to a high of 19* (not including wind chills). While stressful, that day reminded me just how lucky we are to have a safe, warm house to call our own.

I was however, thanks to Trav's presence, very productive on Friday. That productivity seemed to have spilled over into the weekend as well. We used today to put away all of the Christmas stuff, and set up Gwen's new play tent (a Christmas gift). Trav did some work in the bathroom we've been wanting to do, and I fixed the button on his pants.

I also did yoga at home for the 3rd day in a row, which makes me happy. In the spirit of my pledge to be more authentic this year and cultivate the positive, I've been making a big effort to improve my home practice, which has been pretty lazy to date. I got an email about a 21-day challenge by my yoga online though, and thought it a great way to jump start things. I believe that 21-days is what they say it takes to make something a habit... either way though, its a great start. Yoga, you may have noticed, is something that makes me so happy and fulfilled. So adding it to my daily routine is a huge step towards a happier, healthier me. [If you are interested in checking it out, you can start anytime. And if you use my link to sign up, you get 2 weeks free:]

Another thing making me happy? Reading. I started Watership Down almost 2 months ago, but thanks to super busyness at work, holiday craziness, helping a friend read through his manuscript, etc. I put it down and had a really hard time picking it back up. I knew if I could just get myself to start again, I could read through it pretty quickly, but for some reason I just didn't. Well, Trav started reading the Hunger Games a few days ago and thanks to seeing him tear through that, I finally picked up W.D. again.

And promptly finished it in one night.

The next night I read through a novella from the Ender's Game series (a Christmas gift from my brother), and now I'm halfway through another of the books from that series! It feels so good to read again!! Three more books in that series, then its time to decide if I want to reread the Hunger Games trilogy, or reread Harry Potter first (for the 9th? time...)! Then its on to the large pile of unread books in my office, and in our home office! I have some damage to do, and I'm so excited to get to it! I have the feeling I'm going to be going through a LOT of books this year, and that makes me endlessly happy.

Small changes to begin the year. Very happy Meegs.  :-)

How has your New Year been so far?


CM: new year; fresh start

My newest piece from Connected Mom. Do you have a parenting resolution for the New Year?


This week it will cease to be 2013, and begin 2014. Its a non-existent line in some non-existent sand, but one that hold so much significance to so many people. I don't know why it does, but heaven help me it really feels like a clean slate, a fresh chance.

As a mom I find myself looking for clean slates. Its so easy to hold every raised voice, every overreaction, ever missed learning opportunity against myself. Its so easy to judge myself and find me to be lacking. So here's to using this fresh start to allow myself a little more forgiveness. Fresh slate, new day, new year.... my mom sins have been purged and I'm starting anew.

When we hold on to old "failures" (whether they be a real failure, or only something that feels that way in our heads), we bring ourselves down, wear ourselves out, and set ourselves up for future "failures." When we forgive, give ourselves the space to be human, and show our children that everyone makes mistakes but if we own them and learn from them then they aren't failures.

So my parenting resolution for the New Year? Make mistakes, and let them go. Be the best mom I can be to Gwen in each particular moment. Then start anew.

What do you hope for the New Year?


what 2014 may bring...

I've talked about this a bit before, but on the first day of this new year I want to reiterate my big goal for 2014. Its not a single act, or something that is black and white, but and overarching idea(l). 

I want 2014 to be a year of authenticity. 

I want this year to be all about being true to myself. To figuring out what is beneficial in my life, what is true to the innermost parts of me, and cultivate those things. Conversely, I want to find those things that are bringing me stress and unhappiness, that don't add to my life and what I am striving for, and cut them out. 

Today, on this first day, I have no idea what this will end up looking like. But I have high hopes for what it will feel like. 
A little wild, a little scary, but also fulfilling, right and joyous!

What are you hoping for in 2014?