The Power of a Mother's Love

When did I first learn about love? Did it happen with my baby's first belly jiggling laugh or when she first looked into my eyes and said love you? Perhaps it was when I meet my now husband over Thanksgiving break from college.  And I felt a searing pain in my heart every time we had to separate while I finished out that long school year away from home, away from him. Or was it even when a stranger passing by on the street offered me the honor of a heart-felt smile?

The love I found in all of these profound experiences was based on a foundation built long ago near the beginning of my life.  And it was my mother who taught me about love, as most mother's do.  She was my hero, my everything when I was a small child.  All that sweetness she had poured into me everyday filled me up and one day was solidified while I played in our backyard.

Nestled securely in the middle of my beloved tire swing, I was twisting the tire round and round.  With each successful turn a delightful popping kink of the hanging rope would gratify my efforts.  I struggled to keep my feet in place with each turn as the tension from the rope sought to undo all of my hard work.  Finally the rope, being all bunched up with tension, would go no further.  Looking forward to my destined ride, as I had a hundred times before, I lifted me feet from the ground, held on tight and with eyes closed I began a fast spin.  This time though, something went terribly wrong and in an instant I was slammed to the ground tangled up in tire and rope.  The rope had broken and I, being a very small child, was trapped beneath a tire to heavy to move.  Feelings of shock and pain began to consume me when an angel appeared to free me from the tire.  The angel was my mother.  I couldn't imagine where she had come from or how she had known I need help but she was there right when I needed her.  Such a feeling of love and appreciation filled my heart that I was overwhelmed.  Turns out she was folding laundry and watching me from the window that looked out underneath our porch, while I had no idea she was anywhere nearby.  This was the moment, this moment when I really needed someone and that very special someone was there.  This was the moment when I learned about love in a deep yet conscious way.  While she rescued me from the swing, I felt the world become a safe and beautiful place.  I knew that she would be there for me when I needed her, that I could trust and believe.  And, as I moved forward into my life I carried this deep knowledge and used it to recognize love everywhere.

Even now I am blessed to learn more about love everyday.  Everyday with my kids and husband there is more to learn, more to experience.  Each day I witness acts of kindness and caring in the world, cherishing even the smallest of gestures.  Mostly what I am learning about now is love for myself and appreciation for life simply as it is. With each breath and each step I endeavor to appreciate and love myself, those around me, my world and embrace being alive.

 Thanks Mom!

Shared On: The Sunday Parenting Party

Some Sweet Foot Lovin' For Mother's Day

Some Sweet Foot Lovin' For Mother's Day

This time of year we are always busy preparing something for those loveliest of people...  Mommies.

This May we are making foot soaks for pampering hard-working feet and to go with it?  The cutest footprint butterflies!

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At Long Last An Essential Mommy Time Out

Just Me, Myself and I

This is important.  This is something many of us forget.  This is something we need to remember for ourselves and the other people in our lives.  Each of us has a responsibility to care for ourselves.  When feeling depleted and frustrated it is hard to care for others and more over, we deserve to take care of us, to feel good and happy.  As a mom I find it so easy to forget about myself and get caught up in the everydayness of life; all the things each day that come and go pulling my attention.  It is easy to become overwhelmed and depleted at a very deep level.

Well, today it was time to take care of me!

Back Story

We had a fun and exciting holiday season topped off with four birthdays in our immediate family.  That is right four!  We are all Capricorns and have our birthdays from December 29th to January 11th.  With two little girls eager to celebrate their special day and with the excitement of Christmas, the last six weeks were a whirl wind of planning and activity.  I always try to make their birthdays a bit extra special because, let's face it, having a birthday close to Christmas and New Year can be a big bummer.  So this year, true to form, they each made special plans and we carried them out to the best of our ability.  So, for me, today really feels like the first day of the new year, like the holidays are finally over and I can get on with life.  But instead of feeling ready to go and grab the bull by the horns so to speak, I found myself feeling grouchy and tired.  Previous life experience gained from ignoring signals from my body told me that  I must stop, truly, and take sometime for just me.  Just me, myself and I.  With the kids at school and nothing immediately pressing in my day I decided to seize the morning and after a bit of ponderous deliberation settled upon a good old fashion spa day.  As a young woman I used to relish in a custom, homemade spa day for myself once a week.  Unlike in my youth when I would do hair masks and rinses and multiple different facial masks while soaking in a herbal bath, today's spa day needed to be easy while also feeling decant.  I would say that I hit upon the perfect balance because now that I am done not only does my skin feel fabulous but my soul is peaceful, my mom brain is refreshed and clear, and well, I smell really good too!

The components of a luxurious, nourishing and simple mommy spa day

For this easy and relaxing morning I chose to do a honey mask, milky salt bath, shea butter foot rub and to finish off by brushing my favorite essential oil lavender right into my hair.  Each time I move my head I am still surrounded by drifts of calming lavender being liberated from my hair.  Um....

This spa day was simple with hardly any preparation required and easy to execute.

Here is how I did it...

  • Honey Mask:  I put a spoonful of honey into a bowl then added 3 drops of helichrysum (great for skin health and encouraging fresh new skin cell growth) and 2 drops of lavender essential oil to the bowl along with a sprinkle of mild soothing kaolin clay.  While I am super lucky to have all of this in my bathroom, simple honey alone would be excellent because it is so very hydrating and nourishing for the skin.  Before getting in the bath I applied this mixture to my whole face.  It is important to put honey on dry skin as it kind of dissolves away when exposed to water.  I left this mask on for my entire bath and throughly enjoyed the scent of honey and helichrysm wafting up to my nose!   After rinsing the mask off at the end of my bath I followed up with a small amount of rose infused coconut oil from my favorite herbal apothecary Rebecca's.  This oil was dreamed up by none other than oil making goddess Rebecca.  So amazing!
  • Milky Salt  Bath:  Epsom salts always find their way into my baths nowadays but today I wanted something special.  So I filled a large glass to the brim with milk, took it into the bathroom and dumped it into the tub along with about two cups of epsom salts (this amazing salt relax muscles).  Milk bathes, reputedly used by none other than Cleopatra, hydrate and smooth skin.  Then when I got into the tub I added 8 drops of lavender and 4 drops of cedarwood (encourages a meditative mind and releases stress) essential oils and gave the water a good whooshing to mix in the oils.  Now, I admit it, I take baths pretty regularly.  I consider it one of my rights as a human being.  But this bath was special.  I think the milk really held the essential oils in suspension so that the smell from oils permeated the water for the entire length of the bath.  It was so luscious!
  • Shea Butter Foot Rub:  After my bath I got all  dry and toasty and then  I gave my feet a nice rub with some rosemary lavender shea butter that I have on my nightstand but don't use often enough.  My feet were thanking me as the dryness and tension melted away.  Then cuddly warm socks topped my feet and kept the moisture where it needed to be.
  • Lavender Hair Brushing:  Last but not least, a few drops of lavender on my brush and some kind strokes through my hair topped off this wonderful experience.  Lavender essential oil is a great conditioner for hair and the aromatic benefits of brushing essential oils into ones hair is profound because the oil is placed so close to the nose!

So here I am.  Happy and calm again.  So glad to be sharing my beautiful morning.  It always surprises me that with a little intent and attention things can readily change.  Feelings become clearer and thoughts settle.  This was a fun adventure in self care using what I had on hand so that I could really focus on me.  Now, when my kids come home from school, they will find a happier mom.  A mom who is ready to listen fully and play and cuddle with her whole self!

Lovely Teacher Gifts

Lovely Teacher Gifts

Over the years our family has been truly blessed by all the wonderful teachers that have taught our children.  Amazing souls that have nourished and cared for our children, striving to do their best with each interaction.   Having guided and taught my kids with love, insight and a firm hand;  every single one of these people has not only passed on the required material but have also imparted their own unique wisdom and gifts to my children.  This is a most precious gift.

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Baby Tooth is MIA in Which Mommy Done Bad

Shock tingles up through my body filling me up from feet to head. My hand is in the dishwasher delivering a glass to the top shelf when the realization dawns on me. The plate which held my child's newly lost tooth has been placed upside down into the top shelf of the diswasher. Checking the plate I find my fears confirmed. Her tooth is gone and I have committed a grievous error. This is a tooth that Violet not only wanted to put under her pillow but also planned to keep forever. Violet is already off to bed and seems to have forgotten about her tooth for the moment. Knowing that time is probably short, I start frantically searching for her tooth. Pulling out the bottom rack of the dishwasher and loudly lamenting the situation, I call to Nyssa, Violet's sister, and ask her to bring me her flashlight. Nyssa comes running and we begin to search through the dishwasher. "Is that it?" asks Nyssa.

"No, that is a piece of rice." I reply.

On we go, with me getting my head as far back into the dishwasher as possible trying to keep my weight off the open dishwasher door and Nyssa examining every little thing she finds. After a while we back track to the dining room table. Do you know how many things look like a tiny baby tooth? Every little white bit of anything could be it and given that I haven't vacuumed recently there are a lot of little bits everywhere. "Um," I tell Nyssa, "Maybe it is in the garbage disposal."

By now Patrick has come downstairs from putting Violet to bed. While relating the predicament to him, I stick my hand into the disposal. Feeling a sense of protection for my hand come over me, I announce to the room that it is on it's way into the depths of the disposal. Patrick stops mid-step opting to stay out of the kitchen until I am done rumaging. Nyssa notices this and wonders what the big deal is about garbage disposals and hands. So we begin her education of this dangerous kitchen appliance. I am uncovering all kinds of things in the disposal and to my amazement find myself searching these things very, very thoroughly. It dawns on me that this is yet another of those experiences parenting has brought me. Another one of those things I never thought I would do, that I wouldn't have even imagined doing. Things like catching vomit in my hands or eagerly cleaning mucus out of a sick baby's nose. Or, more pleasantly, playing night-night in the bottom of my closet for long stretches of time laying amoungst various clothing and shoes that had made their way to the floor to create a comfy nest. And even more surprised at being glad to be involved in, if not the center piece of this activity, because as a pregnant mom I was exhausted and at least I got to rest while keeping my child happy.

"Well, the tooth isn't here. What am I going to do?"

I feel like I have failed. I meant to protect that tooth and help Violet get it under her pillow but I really just totally and completely forgot all about it. As I poke around in the kitchen I start to form a plan. In our house we often communicate with the tooth fairy, Santa Claus and even the Easter bunny by writing notes and leaving them where the visiting guest is likely to find them. So, I will leave the tooth fairy a note and apologize for losing the tooth. Maybe the tooth fairy would leave Violet an extra coin to lessen the hurt of her mommy's mistake. But, Violetreally wanted to keep all of her teeth and had planned to ask the tooth fairy to leave her each one behind, how do I deal with that?

I am trying to reconcil this in my mind when Nyssa decides to try and help me. She finds a lovely piece of stationary and writes the tooth fairy a letter telling of the lost tooth. She then makes a fake tooth out of a cotton ball on which she puts a bit of red marker to look like blood. In her letter she asks the tooth fairy to take the cotton ball as a replacement tooth. It is so sweet and cute. But Nyssa doesn't know that Violet wanted to keep her tooth. As I start telling her about this, her attention wanes. Deciding to let it go for the moment, we move on with our evening. In the end I decided to leave the tooth fairy my own note with a confession of my mistake. The tooth fairy replied on that same note and left Violet a little something extra, just this once!

And, the next morning when Violet came running down the stairs and jumped into my lap for a snuggle, I had to tell her about the tooth and the note which I had slipped under her pillow. She handled it well, in her calm, sweet Violet-like way, though she did say she was really sad I lost her tooth, which pained me. After the news sunk in we quietly made our way upstairs together to find the note complete with a reply from the tooth fairy and six shiny quarters. Then we had to count all the money in Violet's clear blue plastic piggy bank adding in the quarters. Afterwards a happy Violet stayed behind to feed her piggy bank. Phew!

But it turned out that not everyone was happy and appeased in the end. It turned out that Nyssa was sad because I didn't leave her note too. "Well Nyssa, I dont' know why I didn't leave your note too, I guess I just didn't think that it would work with the note I wrote, I'm sorry!"

And, on we move into the new day ready for whatever comes and happy for it.

Shared On:  Sunday Parenting Party

I Am Going to Kindergarten


This is about me going to kindergarten for the last time. One last time as my youngest goes off for her big day at school.  The excited anticipation of the first day is palpable.  What to wear?  What to pack for lunch?  Who is Violet's new teacher?  And, will they take good care of my baby?  There will be new friends to make, a new school to enjoy and new experiences to be had.

I am 36 years old and I am going to kindergarten.  While I am excited about this big change in my life, I am also nervous and sad because my youngest child is off to school.  So sad in fact that I find myself tearing up at the school office while filling out paperwork for admittance into kindergarten.

"Is it your baby?" asked the kind lady behind the desk. "Yes, my last one." I replied. "Ah," she commiserates, "my youngest kid is in middle school this year."

After I finish filling out the paperwork and put down a deposit to hold Violet's space in the full day program, I go home grieving but happy. Violet is there waiting for me with big brown eyes, a hug and kiss, and of course a fabulous story concocted from her imagination.  I hope that I have made the right decision for her and our family to put her in full day kindergarten.  Only an hour or so earlier, I had received the phone call telling me that a spot had opened up for her in full day.  We were next on the waiting list.  I hesitated.  I had finally adjusted to the idea of Violet going only to morning kindergarten.  They had cancelled the enrichment program at our school that I had planned to send Violet to two afternoons a week.  So now it was all or nothing.  Full day kindergarten would mean she would be gone all day, everyday. That I would only be with my kids together, both of them at the same time.  The special alone time of the preschool years would forever and finally be over.

Two people have now said to me, "No more babies for you!" because Violet is starting kindergarten.

"How did this happen?" I wonder. "Wasn't I just pregnant with her?"

I can still feel her pregnancy in my body and soul.  I can still smell her sweet baby scent and feel my arms cuddling her while nursing in the wee hours of the morning, just her and me.  But she has grown so much and she is so very ready for the next stage in her journey.  Am I?  Am I ready?  Can I bear to watch my last child, my baby, go off into the world?  Mentally I know this is just the beginning and that I need to let her go with love and confidence.  I remember how my mother clinging to me as I neared the end of highschool drove me mad.  It could not have been a surprise after all that I would be leaving home soon, didn't she expect it?  Hadn't she known for years that this time was coming?  Now that I am here and experiencing separation, not for the first time, but on a new level, I am able to appreciate some of what she was going through.  All the while during the past 5 years while I changed diapers; made food; cleaned the house; read stories; scheduled activities; created art projects; put kids to bed; cleaned up astounding, sometimes disgusting messes; and more; my baby has grown up.  It was a sneaky wonderful thing to do.

In the meantime Violet's older sister is doing her own growing.  She is reading novels; developing artistic skills and learning things unknown to me.  I can sense her mind working quickly behind those beautiful hazel eyes.  I can feel her absorbing all she can from the world, from each situation and interaction.

The experience of raising children, of watching them grow magnifies the poignancy of life.  If you don't pay attention, you might miss it.  To take a moment and stop to see my children growing, this is truly bittersweet.