Living naturally, most of the time.

On the eve of finishing Harry Potter

In just 30 pages, I will have finished the epic that is the Harry Potter series. My son and I started it in July, a week after his cousin had read him a chapter at a beach cottage and two days before my son ended up breaking his leg. We did a lot of reading this summer. I read to him while his leg was propped up. We listened to audio books en route to appointments. We watched each film after we’d finished the novel. It didn’t take me long to go from my pre-reading “don’t buy the hype” eye-rolling to a total kool-aid-drinker. The books are totally fun to read out loud, a delight to hear Jim Dale read, and super fun to see enacted in film. I cannot imagine what it must have been like to read these books just one at a time and have no earthly idea how it would all turn out. I didn’t know much, but I had seen a few scenes of films that my nieces had watched over the year, and my sister, upon finishing the series, shared some insights with me. I couldn’t remember the details, but I remember that I was putting away clothes in my son’s room when she shared, with my spoiler-alert permission, because reading these books seemed so far into the future. This half-remembered knowledge has stayed with me as I’ve read, but it was about the very ending of the book where I am now, and I’m still not totally sure how it will pan out. I’ve also been given some specific spoiler alerts direct from my son, who has read ahead of me, waiting with each book for me to catch up before he can move on to the next. That has often included re-reading part of the books with me out loud or listening to the audio after he’s already sat for hours hunched over the same passages. Some of the intel I’ve had has been welcome; it’s been a relief to know what is coming and has even enhanced my anticipation. Just the other day, Amy of Teach Mama posted on her Facebook feed a post about Snape’s first words to Harry that I didn’t even finish reading because it hinted at something I had no idea was coming. There were only 400 books left in the series, I thought, what the heck is this about? I didn’t want to know too much. But when I finally came upon the information in...

Writing To-Do List: Making it Public for #NaBloPoMo

Since the start of November means the start of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month), I feel the need to make my Writing – and my writing support – To-Do list public: for accountability and to show the whole picture. I have come to understand that I can’t just say I will write every day on a certain project or subject or in a certain genre; the crucial part is setting my life up to prioritize and value writing and to integrate it into everything else I have to do to be healthy. With my chronic health issues and tendency toward depression, I have to make everything make sense. Barreling through without proper nourishment or hydration, drinking coffee, and staying up late are not options for me. Sustainability is the name of the game. First: When to write. To ensure that I can make the time when I won’t be distracted, and to make sure I’m well rested, the whole plan for early morning writing starts the night before. I need to get to bed by 9:30 having turned off the screen by 8:45 and having done some yoga and a short meditation. That means I have to get the kids to bed earlier so that I still have time to deal with email, clean the kitchen, and possibly talk to my husband. I’m hoping the earlier darkness will make earlier bedtimes possible. Since I’ve gotten back into morning exercise, I’ve felt a lot better, so I am not going to ditch that. Exercise is key for my mental and physical health. Walks and more yoga during the day are good to add, but it’s best to get both writing and exercise done when there are no emails coming in and no food to prepare. When the wifi isn’t even on. On a weekend, like today, I will write first because I can get on the elliptical or the yoga mat after the kids wake up, either letting my husband make breakfast, or just pushing our eating time a little later. On weekdays, though, when breakfast needs to be ready (and made by me) by 7:10 a.m., I’m going to exercise first. Otherwise just know I will start writing and never stop in order to exercise. If Daylight Savings Time wreaks havoc and the kids start getting up earlier than 6:40, I’ll shift the order!   Second: What to write. While I would love to shut out the world for 40 minutes every morning to work on my...

Family legacy ambivalence

Welcome to the April 2015 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Family History This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have shared stories, lore, and wisdom about family history. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants. *** As my son gets older, I hear him sounding like a mini-me, making up songs with kooky words, singing out loud about adding 28 plus 6 while he figures perimeter on his math homework. It can be a delight to see your child reminding you of yourself. Other times it can be embarrassing. It can also be anxiety-producing. What worries me most is when he takes things too deeply to heart, and I worry he will follow in his parents’ and grandparents’ footsteps of holding on to hurts. With such a strong history of depression, and having lost my brother to suicide, it’s hard not to feel some anxiety about my intense little guy’s emotional well-being. In January 2009, I had a piece published in the Journal of Attachment Parenting International (before it became Attached Family magazine) in an issue about “healing childhood wounds.” I talked about my parenting choices and some of the holistic health choices that I pursued first with myself to heal from a thyroid disorder and regain my fertility and then with my son to try to undo some patterns of thinking I’d grown up with. It was really important to see my son growing up with a sense of optimism and not dread or depression. Sharing the piece with my mom was its own kind of healing. Then, a few months after the 2010 birth of my daughter, my health declined. I’m still trying to figure out what all went awry so profoundly and how to address it, but at a minimum it’s safe to say that I was pretty severely adrenally fatigued and that my leaky gut had caused big problems. It’s taken a lot of time and energy these past four years. Then my mother’s health declined, and after I read Wild by Cheryl Strayed, I decided I needed to spend time with my mom on my own, without my kids. So I flew out on Valentine’s Day 2014 and again in November. We had some great talks, and I learned a lot both times. One thing I’ve come to realize is that I am or have been turning into both my...

Rediscovering play

This night, the children needed an extra dose of essential oil and a second tuck-in, and my house and husband need some serious love. So here we have a photo from my son’s school, one of the preschool classes, and the playfulness I loved in these paintings. Reminders To create simply for the sake of creation is an art lost to parents and a gift their children bring back To gather leaves for the feel of their crinkle and the delight of their irreverent colors To stroke a brush just to feel the thick paint thinning into paper To honk through wax paper on a kazoo and marvel at the zippy sound of vibration These are the joys we can stand to be reminded of After casting aside my poetry hat for far too long, my NaBloPoMo plan is to write a poem — and to take and post a photo — every day in November, spending less than half an hour on both. The hope is to drill down, to focus, to look for and create beauty. Previous Posts: Day 1: Eleven One Day 2: Shoreline Day 3: Damage Day 4: On Parenting and Sunrises Day 5: When will we? Day 6: Voting Line Day 7: What I want my children to learn from me Day 8: Haiku Bookmark on DeliciousDigg this postRecommend on Facebookshare via RedditShare with StumblersTweet about itSubscribe to the comments on this...

Mother’s Self-Renewal workshop begins

When a two-hour workshop that requires almost an hour of driving leaves you feeling recharged like you had a nap, I’d say it lives up to its “self-renewal” title! Today was the first meeting of a “Monthly Mother’s Self-Renewal Group” based on Renee Trudeau’s book, The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal. We centered, we talked, we drew. It was great! I can’t wait to start working on some of the exercises and sharing them here! What an inspiring way to start the new year! Thanks to Lil Omm yoga studio and parenting counselor Jennifer Kogan for putting this together. I’m so motivated, I’m going to cheerily clean up the house while my husband puts the kids to bed, even if he has made at least two or three wisecracks about my taking three hours out of the day on a busy weekend to do this. It’s up to me to keep up my mama mojo. And yes, I did notice that one of the other books Jen had resting on her yoga mat was Mojo Mom: Nurturing Your Self While Raising a Family by Amy Tiemann. Next on the list! Bookmark on DeliciousDigg this postRecommend on Facebookshare via RedditShare with StumblersTweet about itSubscribe to the comments on this...

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