There I Am...

I know all the reasons not to. The real life and imagined fears. I had them all. But the best reason to do this was right in front of me. She's almost 6 years old and the light of my life. What was I teaching her by continuing to spend my days doing something that was draining me, while letting my true passions stay hidden inside?

Truth time though: the pursuit of authentic self is hard. Its time consuming and draining, things that have the potential to pull you away from the very little one that is kicking your ass towards dream chasing. 
So how do you pursue your dreams while kicking ass at child raising?

Check out my piece, Balancing the Me with the We: Chasing your Dreams as a Mother, over on Hiya Tootsie!


An Honest Post about Life

Gwen returns to school tomorrow, and I'll be honest, I'm more then ready. I've had more then one moment over the past month, of just feeling like Motherhood is beating me right now.

It seems that the more time we spend together, the more she needs me, but the more we need time apart. She gets angry and impatient, and my patience falls apart by the afternoon. So many things are so much more fun with her around, but everything takes longer and many things are harder.

In some ways the balance out here in Colorado is so much better then in Pennsylvania... Trav and I have more dates, he gets out more (as I encouraged him to do in PA), I have more time for yoga and more time with Gwen. But. In other ways its so much harder here; I feel like Trav and I have less time together total, Gwen has so much less of an outlet away from us, and we have no family or friends to escape to.

I'm trying to be better about self-care. Doing certain things to make myself feel healthier and better. More consistent home practice for yoga, for one. And remembering that the only constant in life is its ability to change. This too shall pass, etc etc.  ;-)

Gwen says to me "Mama, I love you, too much," and I have to agree that sometimes it feels that way. Like her love for me is so overwhelming that I couldn't possibly live up to it. Mostly though, I remember even in the hardest times, that I am so lucky to be so loved by such an amazing little life. Even when it is overwhelming, and even when it is frustrating.

Getting back on track and back on schedule will be just what I need... I believe.


Swim Leasons

Gwen has loved the water for a long time. Pools, oceans, lakes, rivers... she's ready and willing to jump into any body of water she can find! Between swimming with us on Cape Cod, and some early swim lessons when she was a toddler, she is very comfortable in the water... and got by pretty well as long as she was wearing her floaty.

But Trav and I both love swimming, and we wanted to help her push past the floaty, to be able to swim -- really swim -- on her own. Not only for the sake of fun during vacations, but also for the sake of safety, taking a yearly vacation to a house that has a dock on a lake!

Until now though we found both schedule and pricing to be prohibitive. We were either signing on for something that would take up every single weekend, or having to pay Y-fees that were a little outrageous.

Aurora though, has a pretty great program with reduced pricing for residents... no extra fee required!

They also have afternoon/early evening lessons that work great for us now with Gwen's school schedule. And they are twice a week, meaning more bang for our buck, and better progression.

This initial session is 4-weeks long, and she has already made so much progress with being able to swim with her face underwater, and propel herself without a flotation device (not pictured here... ironically).

She's also loving it so much, and is asking about the next lesson as soon as one is over!
We'll definitely be looking to sign her up for the next session as well.


Things That Feed My Soul

Last year I put 6050 miles on my car, from big trips alone. Not counting runs to the store or my 2-mile round trip daily ride to the train for (pre-CO) work; not even counting trips to my parents or trips down to DC. We traveled to Ohio for my nephew's birthday, I went to Wanderlust in Vermont, we went to Cape Cod, and then there was our drive out to Colorado, and Gwen and my epic school break journey.

I loved it. All of it.

(I know I hit 111,111 miles during our adventure trip... aka 11,111 miles in about 10 months.)

I am a wanderer. I am a homebody. I need that stable place to call my own, and I need to travel away from it. Regularly.

This year is shaping up to be another amazing, exciting, throw the miles on there year.  And I cannot wait.

Gwen has another break in April, and we'll take a long weekend to drive to California to visit Babs and Keil (2200 miles RT). At the end of June I head to Wanderlust Aspen.

And fingers cross, if all goes as planned, July will see us taking a pretty epic ~4200 miles (RT) road trip! I took an hour the other day to plot out a route each way and pick places to camp. I can't tell you how badly I want this trip, with its opportunity to travel through 13 states, including crossing 3 new states off my list.

In other exciting/terrifying news a little closer on the calendar... I just signed on to volunteer doula for a woman in need this coming March. I'll be taking the team approach for this birth, since I'll be in the middle of yoga teacher training, and will split available days with another doula. This will be my first official doula birth!!

This year! It really is shaping up to be amazing.


Break Time, Take 2

Gwen went on break the week of Christmas, and she doesn't go back until the 26th. This is her second big break, and while the first one we went traveling, this time we were staying home. Groupon became my friend before break-time, and I picked up vouchers for rollerskating and the planetarium. I signed her up for swim lessons, something I've been meaning to do for a while, and now was the perfect time. I scheduled dentist visits, and a vet visit for Daisy.

Portrait of a vet visit.

With break falling after Christmas, I knew we would have new toys to play with and new movies to watch, but I didn't want to have too many days with all downtime. So carefully spaced activities were the name of the game!

So far, its been going... well probably better then I expected, though maybe not as well as I hoped! Really, its been good. We've had some moments of just too much together time, but overall its been going pretty well. We have some rules in place about TV time which are helpful for both of us, and Gwen has grown fond of dance parties.

There are other difficulties. Yoga for example... right now I've adjusted to going to class in the evening instead of the mornings. But next week I start yoga teacher training, so we'll have to readjust again. We'll make it work.

Two more weeks and she'll be back to school, our routine will be back to something more normal, and she'll have her normal school outlet. And I also got myself a Groupon. A mani/pedi, being scheduled for her first week back!


Semi-Wordless Wednesday {you never know what you can do...}

I was afraid to switch to the advanced class, though in my heart I knew I was ready. I get too caught up in my own head and worry that I'll embarrass myself. The truth is, who cares?! If I fall, I get up, laugh it off and try again. That's how you grow. I'm so glad I made the jump. The teacher is playful and the class is hard, but fun. And I'm trying things I never would have tried on my own. And bam, this happened. Make the jump. Push yourself. Do things you never thought possible! 

Yoga teacher training starts next week... a new adventure begins!


Random Thoughts in January

Taking down the Christmas decorations kind of stinks. Its just no fun having to take everything down and pack it up, for starters, but even more so, once the decorations are gone its no longer so festive... its just cold! Winter is definitely not my favorite time of year. (Though having that space back is nice!)

Someone posted something a few weeks ago, wondering why A Christmas Story (and its red rider bb gun) was such a hit... why certain channels play it over and over on Christmas Day. I don't know why that stuck in my head for so long, but I think I finally figured it out. Its a tradition for my family, as I'm sure its become for many, to turn on that movie at some point during the day, and enjoy it in the background for at least a full movie viewing. Leading up to Christmas there are a million movies we watch about the thankfulness, the giving, the cheer, and the togetherness of the holidays. These are such important things to emphasize about what can unfortunately become a very commercial holiday. But when all is said and done, on Christmas day its nice to watch a movie that emphasizes normal family weirdness! Yes, enjoy the deep and holy and sacred about the day... but this movie finally gives us permission, day of, to just be a normal family too, with all the fantastically unique bizarreness that contains.

At least that's my probably overly analytical take on it.

January has been passing by so quickly already; here I am still talking about Christmas, when the month is half gone. So much normality, though with the added stressor of an extra long school break (more on that later). I can't believe that its only a few days over a month until Gwen's birthday. Her big present is definitely going to be a Lego table/organizer of some sort to makes sense of her Christmas presents. I'm drowning in Legos over here.

Only a tiny part of the carnage.

Before that though, we have a visit from a college girlfriend and a visit from my in-laws.

Other completely random things:

- The reading for doula certification and for yoga teacher training is mostly fascinating, and obviously about topics I love... but holy smokes, I cannot wait until May(?) when I can finally pick up a fiction book again! And just. read. for. fun! I have quite the pile built up.

- That whole simplify and balance thing I'm hoping for in 2016, I hope that won't have to wait until May too.

- I need a sugar detox after December, I really do.

- SouleMama and Charlotte of Rebel Heart make me want to really buckle down and get good at sewing, and relearn knitting.

What's on your mind this January? 


Planetarium Fun

Gwen and I recently took a trip to the Fiske Planetarium up in Boulder. I am in awe of stars, planets, and the cosmos in general (the miniseries was amazing!), so when I saw the groupon I had to snap it up! I would love to pass on my fascination to her!

We hit up a show that was half "look at how cool the stars are" and half lasers with holiday music. I figured it would be a good combination that would keep her entertained. 

I may have overestimated things... Ha!

I definitely enjoyed things more then Gwen did, though she liked the lasers. She complained that she wanted more planets (less stars), and I think all the names and types of stars were a little over her head.

I'm not giving up though! I will find a more planet-heavy show, maybe try the planetarium in the Nature and Science museum... but maybe I'll wait a few months first!


Wordless Wednesday {pop of color}

Trav gave me a whole beautiful bouquet, but these two lovelies were the ones that lasted the longest. Bright, wonderful dahlias that got to be little suns on my table for another few weeks.


a different kind of sun

Mid-December I noticed the change in the sun. Don't get me wrong, the sun here in Denver is still more intense, brighter, and warmer then the East Coast sun I'm used to.

But the clouds take longer to burn off, and the light that comes through is more timid. 

We've had snow for a while now, so this more then anything let me know, winter has truly come to Colorado!

It definitely makes the morning walks to school much more exhilarating!

I'm not looking forward to how hot that sun is going to feel in the middle of summer, but I have to say... I won't be sad when winter makes its way back out again. 


Fresh Set of Days

2015 turned out so differently then I could have ever imagined.

Its started off with birthing a beautiful surro-baby (a little earlier then expected!), and ended with us living 1700 miles away from everything we'd ever known! Unexpected indeed!

2015 was hard and wonderful, it was exciting and exhausting. It was life changing, to be honest.

I won't say that I will even hazard a guess at all 2016 will hold, I know better now! But I do know that with yoga teacher training, and finishing my doula certification, it is bound to be full, busy, and wonderful. Probably a bit stressful too! I'm already so excited for everything ahead.

Quite simply, I cannot wait to see how 2016 shapes up!

I look forward to finding balance in this new life of ours; to continuing to simplify, organize, and adjust.

Last night we stayed home to ring in the New Year. The Christmas decoration are still up (probably take them down this weekend) and there was still that magical festive feel to it all.
It was quiet and comfortable. Trav and I drank some champagne, Gwen had her fancy glass with water. We missed our New Years nights with Ro, Pat, and the girls, but it felt appropriate to ring in the New Year with just our little family.

I hope it was a great night for you, and that you are looking forward to a beautiful year ahead.