On my "to do" list is to finish our office space. It's more of an office alcove --- just a corner of a room. It's off the kitchen and generally out of eye-sight. The good news is because it's out of sight I haven't felt any rush to finish it. The bad news is because it's out of sight I haven't felt any rush to finish it. :)
Anyways, there needs to be book storage. Check out this very simple inspiration photo. I think all I'd need is some white Ikea shelves and some organization.
Grateful for my sweet baby --- his chubby little legs and perfectly pudgy little fingers. His giggles, his smiles, his kind and gentle demeanor. He is growing so fast, playing with toys now....so excited to hold his feet while we get him dressed on the changing table or he plays in his crib. My boy, perfection.
Grateful for lovely Boston seasons. I love the change. It goes from bitter cold to stifling heat but the inbetween, ahhh...the in-between. Spring and Fall. A little crispness in the air, an easy breeze. Luscious green. Good stuff.
Grateful for my relationship. Not always easy but always worth the work. My heart is full and my soul is happy.
Three years ago, on Memorial Day weekend I met with my college roommate and ventured to the Pacific Northwest for 9 days. We explored Seattle, Portand and Vancouver with many stops along the way. It was a trip I desperately needed at that moment in life. It's value will never be something I can quantify. I think of it often.... especially on these grey, foggy, drizzley, cool New England spring days.
One of the last moments of the trip we were driving down from Vancouver to Seattle. We stopped at the side of the road to get coffee. I'm not even sure either of us spoke. There was no breathtaking nature to inhale. But I was just so full. so content. so at peace. I didn't need a single thing. I didn't have a single worry. ....then I think we started laughing. Because what were we doing on the side of the road?!!!! Ahhh, good times. Thank you.
Short on time but... To all the women: the mamas, the caretakers, the peacemakers, the breadwinners, the daughters, the sisters, the girlfriends, the wives --- we are in this together. Let us be gentle on ourselves and each other.
"Right now in this moment there are women just like you loving their children as you are. frustrated as you are. praying for peace as you are." - Seane Corn
Peace in our inner experience and peace in our outer experience. To you....
I've got troubles. Chances are, you do too. We are human - flawed, difficult, imperfect. I don't think anyone is without worry or trouble, some people are just better trained, biologically programmed, or a combination of both, to handle crisis. The other day friends and I were talking about the adjustments needed in the first year of a baby's life. It's no shocker that the change, together with lack of sleep, is major. People were chiming in the usual tidbits --- try to streamline household tasks, utilize diapers.com, outsource wherever possible. All helpful and true. But one new mama said something profound --- she reminded us to stay away from the treadmill analogy. That we are, in fact, getting somewhere. We are moving through space and time and raising these little people. Instead of a treadmill, let's think of it as a very long walk.
ps - Speaking of trouble, hearts out to the people of Oklahoma. If you want to help, check out one of my very favorite blogs Sweet Fine Day's Team Rubicon page. Although my contribution was small, I reminded myself that the slightest good deed is better than the grandest intention. Thoughts and prayers to those people.
Do you guys know about this site - Red Cottage Inc. It is a perfectly curated collection of reasonably priced, but beautiful, vacation rentals. The locations are a bit random --- mostly the Catskills and greater NYC but then a few miscellaneous places - Ireland, the Bahamas, Nantucket.
Anyways, I'll be keeping it in my back pocket. Also, a fun resource for design inspiration!
I've probably posted this before, but I'm going to post it again. Some of the most beautiful words I've read and a bit of a prayer for me....
Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass. Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy. Max Ehrmann, 1927.
A few days ago I was writing that I needed to find a lakehouse. My soul was telling me to go to the woods. To go to the water. So, in an effort to practice what I preach and go confidently in the direction I desire, I found a simple little house on a simple little lake not too far away from home. It wasn't available for July 4th week, the week we traditionally like to go away, but it was available any week of June. ...any week? What about the month? What about the entire month --- all for me. Yes, please!
I got a great rate on the June price because it is off-peak. But I'm not a sun worshiper nor do I have kids in school, so June is actually perfectly "peak" for me. So I followed my heart, didn't overthink and just committed. I think it's going to be perfection!
Some years I like to use my vacation budget for Europe or a far away place. Othertimes use it for what we know and like but this year, an overwhelmingly different year for us, a quiet retreat in the woods was exactly what I need. Peace.
Self-actualization is defined as the development of one's best self. Maslow talks about it in his Hierarchy of Needs. Shouldn't all jobs, all relationships, all of life be helping you towards this goal of reaching your most true potential. If they are no longer serving that need what becomes of them....
Sometimes you read a blog post and you just weep. The author is able to so carefully, beautifully articulate feelings you experience. To the outside world, one might wonder why we read them. Is it some strange voyeur phenomenon we are experiencing as a culture. Do we, as readers, need to know what's going on with others - strangers - to measure our own life?
I knew that was not why I read. I read to have those "aha" moments where someone else's words help me make sense of my own emotions.
Yesterday, my yoga teacher included the following words in her class. It finally answered the question of Why I read....why I listen....why I write.....why I talk.
Tell the truth about your feelings and your experiences
Nothing has turned my life upside down and made me question myself, both my future and my past, in the way that motherhood has. I'm reflective by nature, but this journey magnifies my reflections 1000 times over.
Hormones, lack of sleep and total change of pace in conjunction with the weight and responsibility of being the best mama I can be, can certainly take their toll. All that to say that it is worth it, oh - so worth it. When I look at my baby boy, I know that he is the answer to a prayer that has lived in my heart for as long as I can remember. The hope that this would happen has changed into gratitude and peace that this did happen. He is here. In my arms. Happy and healthy and the biggest, most amazing dream come true. Worth every single ounce of struggle. He is my truest gift. It is my truest honor to be his mother.
This week I'm hoping to finalize a lake house rental for July 4th week. I need it. In a bad way. I need to get off this ferris wheel of work, childcare, errands and social commitments. I need to unwind. reset. unplug. It doesn't have to be fancy. It doesn't have to be cool. Just us. in the woods. with the water. and a fishing rod.
(this image is old. Sorry, I don't have the source).
Sometimes social media is a pain. Sometimes it makes me worry that kids will never understand what it means to be "disconnected" or to wait for a response, rather than the immediacy of text messages and Facebook updates. Are we over-exposed, hyper-addicted, desperate for attention and "likes"?!
Regardless of your opinion, it is the world that we live in and there are great benefits too. I am able to keep in touch with peripheral college friends and people I studied abroad with thanks to Facebook. That's a fact that simply would not have been possible if not for social media.
But the benefits of social media haven't only been a link to my past, but also a connection for my future. I live in a city-suburb about 15 minutes outside of Boston. Our neighborhood is a mix of young professionals, elderly people, and immigrants. It is slowly experiencing its own gentrification. However, most of us, myself and my family very much included, are too busy to get to know our neighbors and although we've lived there for 8 years, I don't think I knew a single neighbor's name. Just recently, the woman across the street flagged me down and asked for my email address so she could invite me to join "Next Door". It's a very simple website that allows you to map your neighborhood and invite neighbors to join your site. From there, you can make postings about things happening in your community, a recommendation for a housepainter etc., or just general getting to know who lives in all of these houses. It's been a great resource. Turns out, I'm surrounded by some very interesting people ---- I had no idea!
Anyways, keep it in mind if you want to get to know your neighbors a bit better or if you already know them and just want a more convenient way of connecting with them. It's simple, straight forward and I think it fills a basic need that we're missing in today's "super connected" world.
As a new mother there is obviously some adjustment necessary. As a new full time working mom, there's even more. For me, my first few weeks back to work were smooth. There was a certain adrenaline keeping things pumping along... As I start on month 3 of being back to work, that has worn off and the non-stop "treadmill" feel has replaced it. Only it's as though someone keeps turning up the pace on the treadmill and my husband and I are gripping the handle bars trying to hang on.
But I had a small epiphany yesterday. Perhaps it was the beautiful spring weather or just a moment of clarity --- we have a new normal. That includes a wonderful, healthy, happy giggly boy. I must adjust our expectations to adhere to that miraculous change. Maybe a nicely cooked dinner every night is just no longer realistic. Maybe 3 days at the gym instead of 5 is good enough. Maybe I have to ask for help more than I ever have before....it's all good. Waiting for things to "quiet down" or for a weekend to be free of plans, commitments, errands, chores is.... unrealistic. And I refuse to wait my life away. Time moves on with or without our consent.
Instead, I will embrace this wonderful new normal with my beautiful boy... Fit things in when I can, accept what I just can't get to, release a need for perfection and find happiness in it all. It's a great life filled to the brim with blessings. Happy Friday, friends.
...believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even if it leads you off the well worn path. and that will make all the difference" - Steve Jobs