Monday, April 29, 2013

The mom stays in the picture....

You may have seen this Huffington Post article when it was making the rounds through social media.  But it really hits on something and I found it worthwhile to repost here. 

    But we really need to make an effort to get in the picture. Our sons need to see how young and beautiful and human their mamas were. Our daughters need to see us vulnerable and open and just being ourselves -- women, mamas, people living lives. Avoiding the camera because we don't like to see our own pictures? How can that be okay?  .... 
   I'm everywhere in their young lives, and yet I have very few pictures of me with them. Someday I won't be here -- and I don't know if that someday is tomorrow or thirty or forty or fifty years from now -- but I want them to have pictures of me. I want them to see the way I looked at them, see how much I loved them. I am not perfect to look at and I am not perfect to love, but I am perfectly their mother. ...
   When I look at pictures of my own mother, I don't look at cellulite or hair debacles. I just see her -- her kind eyes, her open-mouthed, joyful smile, her familiar clothes. That's the mother I remember. My mother's body is the vessel that carries all the memories of my childhood. I always loved that her stomach was soft, her skin freckled, her fingers long. I didn't care that she didn't look like a model. She was my mama.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Just say no

It's a bit of the working mother motto, "there's not enough time"...  Time to work (and do a job you're proud of), time to parent, time to do the things you like to do, time to do the things you have to do....   It's a juggle and very much a work in progress.   I don't have the answer but I'm making a conscious effort to continue to hack away at it.  I've developed a decent lunch time workout routine.  I made my way to a Sunday night yoga class.  I make it a priority to get to this little space.   Quite frankly, there is never enough time.  It's not just a problem of a working parent, but the finite property of time seems exaggerated since having my son.

One thing I am doing, and not apologizing for, is saying no.  I recently was faced with a circumstance of putting this advice into action.  I received an invitation and I did not have an actual conflict.  However, I still declined.  This person is not a close friend of mine although I hear the grapevine she was "surprised" that I did not attend -- read: probably pissed.   And you know what, that's ok.  I have to let go of putting other people's needs before my, more than ever.

I came across this really worthwhile article by Kris Carr on the very same topic.   It's worth a read.   And I appreciated one commenter's view: "don't think of it as saying 'no' to someone, but saying 'yes' to yourself."

"You can’t always “yes” your way out of a problem. Mindlessly agreeing may temporarily avoid discomfort, but it’s often short-sighted and even lazy. Instead of setting a boundary, we slip into “yes” amnesia, forgetting we’ve been here before. In this delusional state, there’s unlimited time, superhuman energy and a gaggle of soul-nannies who keep us fed, bathed and exercised. Sober up! Splash yourself with cold water and (gently) slap your cheek. If you’re worried about scarcity, let that go. Offers and opportunities will continue. Every unwanted “yes” takes you one step further from freedom, well-being and time with yourself and loved ones."


Thursday, April 25, 2013


Just me and my boy on an evening walk to welcome spring last night.  Perfect.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Via Inner Journey

Thank you to my sister for sharing...  via Inner Journey

"God has no other hands than ours."
-- Dorothee Solle

"One act of beneficence, one act of real usefulness, is worth all the abstract sentiment in the world."
-- Ann Radcliffe

"Past the seeker as he prayed came the crippled and the beggar and the beaten. And seeing them... he cried, 'Great God, how is it that a loving creator can see such things and yet do nothing about them?'... God said, 'I did do something. I made you.'"
-- Sufi Teaching

"To learn to get along without, to realize that what the world is going to demand of us may be a good deal more important than what we are entitled to demand of it -- this is a hard lesson."
-- Bruce Catton


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

No more trouble

On this cold and rainy morning, while we struggle to rid ourselves of the hangover last week left behind - the radio played Bob Marley.   The music has never sounded so sweet.  I turned it up.  Then I dug through a CD book from my pre-Ipod days and found his album.  And turned the volume up loud.  Just like that, my mind relaxed.  Thank you, Bob, you were right.  Your music will live on forever. 

"Some people feel the rain.  Others just get wet."  - Bob Marley.  


Monday, April 22, 2013

5 months

You turn 5 months old today.  wow.  In many ways, it seems like you just joined us but in other ways it feels like you've been with me my entire life.  Maybe you have....

My little boy, you are such a source of happiness.  When you first learned to smile, Grammy said that your smile lit up your entire face.  It continues to do so but it doesn't only light your entire face, it lights the face of anyone lucky enough to be with you.   Pure joy.  Pure goodness.  

You sleep in your crib now.  You talk to your friends on the mobile and you turn yourself in all directions...  You stare at your hands, the dexterity of your fingers, in pure awe.  Everything is so new and so wonderous to you.  The world is so new to you, you stare out the window when I hold you on my hip.  As you take it all in, I am humbled by your curious little spirit. 

You are a lesson in being present.  I love our weekend mornings.  Our mama and Joseph time.  You sit in my lap and we sing "You've Got the Whole World in Your Hands" and you always giggle as I stretch your arms out. At night when it's time for bed we sing a slowed down version of,  "You are My Sunshine"

In the aftermath of a terrible week here in Boston, you do make me happy when skies are grey.  Thank you, Baby J.   Mama loves you more than words could ever describe.


Thursday, April 18, 2013


It's hard to move beyond Monday's events.   Policemen and armed militia dot the streets on my way into work.  Nothing feels right, yet nothing feels more real than to know I am a Bostonian.  We will get through this tragedy.  We will support the innocent victims and we will catch the people who did this.  Justice will be served.

Marianne Williamson posted this prayer on her blog after Hurricane Sandy.  I find it equally relevent for us today and have taken liberty to edit it to fit Marathon Monday.

It can be difficult finding peace at a time of full tilt catastrophe. To many on the East Coast, the destruction must feel like a cross too hard to bear. Why, you might ask yourselves, is your area of the country so often ground zero? Why are you the ones to be in the line of fire? And many of us, living far away from you geographically, can only say, "We love you. And thank you." We know you've sometimes taken the hit for what all of us have created.
But I assume that while you've experienced destruction, you've also been blessed by miracles. Destruction is usually material, while reconstruction begins on a spiritual plane -- not seen physically at first, but bursting forth like little knowings in the soul. I'm sure it's not easy -- in fact, the most brilliant dawns often emerge after nights of anxiety and anguish -- but there's no way you're not burning through layers of meaninglessness not just for yourselves but for all of us. I know you're learning in whole new ways what it means to live in community, to be there for each other, to survive without much of what you thought you needed in order to survive, to throw yourselves on God's mercy at a time when nothing or no one in the mortal world can lift you up in the way you feel you need, and to hug your kids like you've never hugged them before. From broken houses to broken hearts, you're having to sift through the debris of a world that needs to die now, and for the sake of all of us, make room in your hearts for some powerful new beginnings.
The rest of the country is doing what we can for you...praying, sending money and material help, definitely not turning away. And at least as importantly, we're bearing witness not only to your agony but to your courage. We deeply acknowledge the journey of sorrow you're having to take within yourselves -- not only to endure but to triumph, and ultimately to transcend the storm of the times in which we live.
I know I speak for many in sending you all the love in the world.


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Look for the helpers

Iconic Mr. Rogers suggested that children "look for helpers" amidst tragedy.  While I am grateful to be holding Baby Joseph in my arms these past few days, and thankful that he is too young to understand the Newtown Shootings or the Boston Marathon Bombings, I do think about how I will explain these catastrophes when the time comes. 

I appreciate Mr. Rogers advice.  "Look for the helpers."  It is simple enough for a young child to understand but poignant enough for us adults to remember, as well.   In the wake of senseless tragedy, it is easy to become anxious, afraid, resentful, or angry.  But when we look to the multitude of heroes, instead of the lone coward, we remember the world is good.

Carlos Arredondo is the grieving father of two lost sons.  His older son died while serving in Iraq and his younger son subsequently took his own life, unable to cope with the loss of his beloved brother.  Carlos attended the Boston Marathon to support runners who were representing his fallen son.   He wore buttons with the pictures of both of his boys.   When the blast went off, Carlos ran toward the bombing.  He used his own clothing to tie a tourniquet around the legs of a victim and get him on a wheelchair.   We will never know whether that victim would have survived without Carlos' interference.

Carlos was born in Costa Rica.  He had since become a US Citizen.  He is an American hero in every sense of the word.


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Boston, you're my home

Last year we watched it from Mile 17.  A few years ago, we watched it at the Finish Line.  The Boston Marathon is a special day for the runners, for the spectators, for our city.

How do you put words to what happened yesterday.  Senseless. Tragic. Terrible.  Frightening.  Yes, they all fit.   We were fortunate to not be there this year.  I was fortunate to be able to go home and hug my family. 

I do not take life for granted.  We are shown time and time again how suddenly our lives can change.  I practice gratitude for my happy moments - whether it's Baby Joseph's contagious smile or a friend crossing the finish line of the Boston Marathon only one year after a Stage 3 Cancer Diagnosis.  There is so much, big and small, to appreciate every single day.

So, in the wake of yet another tragedy, my faith in God and all things good remains.  My belief in America holds strong.  I do not allow cowards to rob me of that.   

Our hearts are heavy today as my city puts the pieces together.  I pray for the victims. I pray for the investigation.  I pray that justice is served.  I pray that goodness prevails.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Brene on Generosity

"Give to people on the street.  Tip outrageously.  Help a stranger.  Write a note telling someone how much you appreciate them.  Smile.  Donate (more) to a cause that means a lot to you.  Take clothes to GoodWill.  Share your toys (grownups and kids).  Be patient with yourself and with others.  Replace the toilet paper in the bathroom.  All generous acts count!" 

Generosity is near and dear to my heart.  I have been the very, very fortunate recipient of some wonderful generosity in my lifetime.  My parents are a model of generosity.  We watched them, from a very young age and to this day, walk the walk.   I have met other people who's generosity just astounds me. 

I try my best to live my life with a generous spirit.  I try to be financially generous when I can, but as the quote above reminds us - generosity is much more than your ability to financially contribute.  You can be generous with your money, with your time, with your compliments...or perhaps even just your willingness to listen to a friend, or a stranger, who needs to be heard. 

Buddhists remind us that a candle is not made any more dim by lighting another.   Nothing is lost by practicing more generosity in our everyday life...


Thursday, April 11, 2013

Stepping in the arena

Brene Brown's book, Daring Greatly, is inspired by the Theodore Roosevelt quote below:

It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat."

"Citizenship in a Republic,"
Speech at the Sorbonne, Paris, April 23, 1910

What beautiful, thought provoking words as relevent today as they were more than 100 years ago when they were spoken. 


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Brene Brown - III

Twenty Five of her best lines via Pioneer Woman:

1. We need to change what we say and what we allow to be said in front of us.
2. There are infinite numbers of do overs for your teen girls.
3. The most powerful teaching moments are the ones where you screw up.
4. Do you light up when your kids are coming in the room or do you become the instant critic?
5. If we own the story then we can write the ending.
6. Every time you watch the Jersey Shore, a book commits suicide.
7. You need at least one friend who will help you move a body. No judgment. There in a second. No explanation.
8. Midlife: when the Universe grabs your shoulders and tells you “I’m not f-ing around, use the gifts you were given.”
9. We have to be women we want our daughters to be.
10. Talk to yourself like you would to someone you love.
11. It’s no longer a question of can I do it. It’s a question of: Do I want to do it?
12. There’s nothing more daring than showing up, putting ourselves out there and letting ourselves be seen.
13. In our moments of most intense joy, we realize how vulnerable we are.
14. You either walk inside your story and own it or you stand outside your story & hustle for your worthiness.
15. What would you be glad that you did…. EVEN if you failed?
16. We are sick and tired of being sick and tired.. Definition of courage: Tell your story with all your heart.
17. We cannot give our children what we don’t have.
18. You are imperfect & you are wired for struggle; but you are worthy of love & belonging.
19. Vulnerability is our most accurate measurement of courage.
20. Talk about your failures without apologizing.
21. It’s not about “what can I accomplish?” but “what do I want to accomplish?” Paradigm shift.
22. Think about what’s pleasurable, not just what’s possible.
23. Those who have a strong sense of love and belonging have the courage to be imperfect.
24. You can’t dress rehearse the bad moments.
25. Want to be happy? Stop trying to be perfect.

**My best life involves frequent visits to Spain.  Nothing beats some jamon, cheese, olives, a cold beer, a sidewalk cafe and time with the one I love.   

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Brene Brown - II

In an effort to take Brene's message from the weekend and really let it marinate and soak in, I'm going to dedicate this post to her message as well.  And maybe tomorrow's.... and possibly the next day too.  Why not just make it Brene Brown week here on NTL.   Without further ado:

Daring greatly is not about winning or losing. It’s about courage. In a world where scarcity and shame dominate and feeling afraid has become second nature, vulnerability is subversive. Uncomfortable. It’s even a little dangerous at times. And without question, putting ourselves out there means there’s a far greater risk of feeling hurt. But as I look back on my life and what Daring Greatly has meant to me, I can honestly say that nothing is as uncomfortable, dangerous, and hurtful as believing that I’m standing on the outside of my own life looking in and wondering what it would be like if I had the courage to show up and let myself be seen.


Monday, April 8, 2013

Brene Brown - Wholehearted Parenting

I watched the first part of Brene Brown on Oprah's Super Soul Sunday yesterday morning....  but it was so good, I had to watch Part 2.  And her TED Talk.   This woman's message resonated with such ease.  She had a humility and sense of humor and I could watch her speak every week.  Wow.  On Parenting, she says, "Who we are and how we engage with the world are much stronger predictors of how our children will do than what we know about parenting."   Amen.

There's so much I want to share here but I just don't have the luxury of time right now.

Below is her Wholehearted Parenting Manifesto (if you have trouble viewing it click on the image below) and I urge you to check out here two episodes here or visit her website.  You won't regret it!

Friday, April 5, 2013


I admit, I don't love the look of these but if your kid is into pacifiers - they are a must have, as far as I'm concerned. There's a lot of opinions about pacifiers but for infants under 1 years old, the AAP even recommends them as they reduce the occurance of SIDS.

All I know is there have been many a time that this pacifier saved us from total meltdown, which makes them good enough for me.  What's so great about the Wubbanub is you can actually find it, it doesn't roll under changing tables, and possibly, best of all, you can easily find it from the drivers seat and give it back to baby while stopped at a red light.  Joseph also likes to hold it and I think it's been great in teaching him some fine motor skills.

I've set out, and essentially achieved, my mission of not purchasing every baby gizmo out there but there are a few that I would call must-haves.  I'll try to highlight them here for those interested.


Thursday, April 4, 2013


I'm sure I'm not alone in this, but having my own baby and becoming a mother has brought to the forefront a lot of thoughts about the way we were raised and parenting choices my mom and dad made.   My siblings and I laugh a lot at their expense, I guess that's every family though... There were so many things that were "normal" to us, but when I look back as an adult I can't help but raise an eyebrow.

My parents, like all parents, had their deficiencies.  There were plenty of things that they could have done different and many things I will do slightly different with my own little family.   However, there was so much they got right and I will try to replicate.  They have taught us to be *good* people and to know right from wrong.  They open their home with a warmth and hospitality that is so sincere and kind.  I do not take for granted the gift I was given when born into my family.   One day, very very soon, I will start to teach Baby Joseph things and hear the voice of my father, my mother and my grandparents in those very bits of wisdom.   I guess, in that way, they live forever. 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Dwell Baby Sale

Dwell Studios is offering 25% off all kids and baby items today.  We got J's bedding there and I'm a very happy customer.  The look is fresh and modern, the quality is good and the price point reasonable. 

I have been the fortunate receipient of some amazing baby gifts.  Honestly, people's thoughtfulness, generousity and creativity has surpassed my wildest imagination.  Now I feel the pressure to be a good-gift giver.  

Honestly, the babies get inundated with stuff and since they are so small and unaware, I think it's extra special if it's something that can be enjoyed by both mama and babe.  I recently gave a friend's son a play picnic set and a West Elm picnic blanket for his 1st birthday.  I thought it was a nice gift, something fun for the kiddo but practical for his mom and dad.   I didn't realize Dwell also carried play picnic sets.   At only $14.99 + 25% off I bought a few sets to store away.  Now I just have to wait for some nice looking picnic blankets to go on sale and I've got a thoughtful gift at an affordable price and, maybe best of all, saves me a rushed trip to the mall. 

(image via Dwell Site)

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Lighthouse Park

Lighthouse Park, Vancouver CA.   Salt water, pine trees, crisp fresh air.   I'll be back.


Monday, April 1, 2013

A picture

If a picture is worth a thousand words, here is one to capture my life these days.  Our little guy is so full of smiles and man, are they contagious.  He is such a little ball of great energy --- such a happy boy.   He makes life so wonderful just by being who he is.

My heart is so full.  Thank you, Baby J.