April 28, 2010

The Sweet Scent of Friendship

Yesterday started just like any other beautiful day. My youngest woke, cheerful and smiling, then leaned over me to wake our four year old. I enjoyed the moment as they greeted each other with laughter. Then, my smallest looked up and said as clear as day, "Ceiling!" Twice. I was so proud. She's really speaking so well - even using phrases! Then, she said it again - and squinted her eyes like she was looking at something. I glanced in that direction - and did a double take. She was looking at something. A BIG, yucky something crawling slowly down our wall. First cockroach of the season. UGH. (Big shudder!!)

And so our day began.

After the chaos and squeals of horror (the girls' and mine) that ensued when I dispatched the nasty thing, we decided we'd all feel much better if we showered. Aaaah. We were soon dressed and ready for breakfast. Since my husband had to leave the house early, I was on my own getting everyone fed, dressed, packed and out of the house on time. I must have kicked myself into supermom mode because we weren't rushed and I got to storytime (my Tuesday job) early. Despite the "ucky" start to my day, it went great!

The rest of the day moved between typical blips of normal busy-ness, stressed mom and moments of fun. Busy - trying to get my girls home so my youngest could take a morning nap - and missing my window of opportunity. Fun - laughter watching my girls play. Stress - because I made a ridiculously complicated lunch, knowing the cleanup would make getting out of the house on time tight. Busy - racing to clean up before leaving. Fun - watching my very unstressed four year old, SSLLLOOOWWWLLLYYY dance and sing her way to the car (when we needed to leave!). Irked (at myself) - when I realized we were running a few minutes late. Fun - watching my daughter and her friends make up their own dance moves to the music from Sharktales. By the time the day ended, we were all tired and I was ready for a break.

So, I planned to use my "night out" to work on my blog, surf sites I love and just veg at my favorite coffee shop. Instead, I impulsively called a friend from college. We've been trying to connect for a while but between small fry, work and life in general, we have had trouble finding time. Amazingly, she was free too - so instead of blogging, I shut off my computer and we visited for hours. And I'm so glad we did.

This friend is a one cool woman. She is intellectually stimulating, funny, optimistic, thoughtful, strong and compassionate.The kind of woman you want your daughters to know and emulate. The kind of person I want to know and emulate.

We had a great time. For me, conversations like this are so few and far between in these days occupied with diapers, cleaning, babies and routine.We stayed up late, relishing the intoxicating feeling of connecting with a person with whom we could each be completely honest. Though we talked long past my bedtime, when we parted with laughter and a hug, I felt refreshed and reminded of who I really am, not just what I do all day.

I guess I just wanted to capture this moment in writing and not take for granted how awesome it is to have a friend who can not only handle who I am, she actually loves me for it.

Friendship. What a rare and powerful gift.

April 23, 2010

Five for Friday

Five for Friday

1. "Hey mom, remember that ring you told me I couldn't have at the store last week?", she said. Then, my nearly four year old showed me a little plastic ring - which we'd not purchased.
"Uh-huuuh." Didn't see that one coming. We talked about how taking things that are not ours is wrong and how it negatively affects the person from whom we steal. Then, we got into the car, drove to the store (a small resale shop here in town) and talked to the owner. Thankfully, she's the mother of small children too - and was very gracious. My small one broke down a little but she returned the treasured ring and hopefully learned an important lesson.

2. After a few months of looking for the perfect table to fit in our small space, I FINALLY found one in our budget at a second hand store. It's high quality - solidly built, the style I wanted and has cool built in extensions. I love finding the perfect deal, at the right price! Here's the table.

3. I received a special shipment from one of my favorite companies this week, Mountain Rose Herbs. After doing a little research on different lotions and all the yucky chemicals that are in most of them, I looked for natural alternatives. Unfortunately, a lot of those are pretty expensive or they aren't as natural as they claim. So, I started making my own. It's cost effective, really easy and takes about 15 minutes, less than a trip to the store. I enjoy it so much that I do it for fun now. I bought some tea to drink while I'm at it.

4. My girls and I have been growing a little garden in large pots and in the flowerbeds on our small patio and it's doing great. So far, we have carrots, spearmint, peppermint, chard, spinach, catnip (great for teething babies!), lavender, aloe vera, St. John's Wort, garlic, moon and stars watermelon (heirloom), summer squash and tomatoes. The girls are learning about the importance of taking care of the earth that feeds them and they're actually eating their greens - since they grew them. Pretty cool. We'll see how our garden does in the summer when things get hot.

5. We're clearing more "stuff" out of our house. Our small space is so easily overrun by the things we accumulate - even when we are careful. It's so easy to hold on to stuff - "just in case" we need it someday. My husband and I have made a commitment to keep selling and giving away unused things that someone else might truly need. In the process, we're retooling our definition of need. Having an uncluttered space and less things to care for gives us more time for what we really value - making connections with people. I'm frequently inspired to live more simply by another blogger named Sara Janssen. If you haven't seen her blog, check it out. She is an amazing woman!

That's all for today. Hope you are having a wonderful earth week!

April 6, 2010

The Voluptuous Shopper

Last night I had a chance to go shopping - by myself - so I went. I really needed some new clothes that don't look like they've been pooped or spit up on (you know those oily spots?) or fingerprinted by loving hands. It's not that I don't love those precious little marks, but sometimes I want to wear something that says, "sexy, smart woman" not just "mom" - you know?

Since I'd received a generous gift card to a department store for my birthday, I decided to head there. But, here's the thing... Due to stress/childbearing/laziness/happiness/exhaustion etc. and despite my organic lifestyle, I've added a few inches my waistline in the last several years. So, I have to head to the, um, VOLUPTUOUS girl section of the store. I started looking and as usual, was underwhelmed by the style offerings available. First, over half of the clothes in that section look like something my grandmother would have enjoyed wearing - in 1970 - if she'd been any bigger than a thimble. Then, there are the natural assumptions some "designers" make about fuller figured women.

Poor assumptions: 1. If you're bigger, you have big breasts to match. (Not true of me - which means I need a seriously boosted bra or an amazing tailor). 2. If you're bigger, you're probably ashamed (or should be) of your body, so here's a rather shapeless, giant, floral tent to cover it. Ok, this may not be entirely fair. There ARE some great, fashionable clothes available in fuller sizes - and I found some to try. But, overall, the boring/ugly/insulting offerings in full figured departments can demoralize a curvy gal before she even gets to the dressing room!

I made my way to the fitting room with a TON of clothing, determined to be open minded and to bring something new and cute home with me. As I got ready to try what I'd chosen, I could feel a critical spirit making her way into the room. You know the one. I stopped, knowing that she didn't fit in with my new commitment to love me - now - as I am, not as I was or as I could be. I placed my hand on my heart and said a quick prayer, then smiled into the mirror and purposely looked for a few things I love about me. The smile crept from my lips to my eyes as I recognized a woman I really like. Me.

Then, I tried on some clothes. Some of them made me laugh, bringing back memories of really funny clothes shopping trips with my mom. Some of them went in the "Heck, No!" pile. But some of them looked great so I bought them.

This is a very personal experience - but I shared it because I don't think I'm the only one who has to exorcise personal demons when shopping/or dressing/or showering/or having sex (YES - I said the S word!). I hope it will be an encouragement for all of us to find a person we love as we gaze into our mirrors - and that he or she will be the person we are right now, not who we were or who we hope to be someday. I hope it will be an encouragement for us to daily choose awareness, joy and love - with abandon.

Ruben's Venus at a Mirror

By the way, I looked up voluptuous in the thesaurus. Here are a few of the synonyms I found.
"appealing, attractive, delightful, desirable, enticing, erotic, sensuous, sexy..."

I can live with that.
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