Living naturally, most of the time.

Channeling the yoga class I didn’t take my kids to

This afternoon was pretty only with respect to the weather. The rest of it had lots of ugly moments, and buckets of tears from my five-year-old. No, I didn’t do yoga with my kids today, and we didn’t meditate together before bed or anything like that. But I did hold on to the imagined beauty I I thought was probably happening a few miles away 1:45-2:45 during the gratitude-based family yoga class I didn’t take my kids to, just enough to get me through and – fingers crossed no one comes downstairs in the next 15 minutes – come to a better place. If I’m not mistaken, I’ve managed to take my kids to family yoga just twice in the past 12 months. Once was this summer at the library, during which my son-with-a-broken-leg sat reading, and last November, just after Thanksgiving for last year’s gratitude-themed class. Both were with the same teacher, the lovely Cathy Burke of Evolve Yoga Beyond the Mat. It’s not like we never do yoga at home, and my kids see me do it most weekend mornings, and weekdays if they get up early. But, as I intimated in yesterday’s post about meditation, it’s not at though we’re totally living our practice all the time. We are, I repeat, works in progress. Especially me. The kids, they’re still growing and changing in fascinating and aggravating ways that befit their development stages. Me, I’m doing my best to grow up. The morning was chill, in mood and in temperature. Their dad was out at Ultimate and was supposed to be returning after we’d have already left for yoga so that he could have his hour to shower, eat and pack for his short business trip, and we could get our zen on, enough to last us all while I solo parented until he returned. The kids read while I talked to my sister. They occupied themselves while I put away laundry (not theirs) and vacuumed the entire upstairs and main level. Then they finally got dressed and went outside to join the neighbors at play. This neighbor thing can be lovely, in that they all run around outside and entertain one another without needing much from me, but it’s also not ideal for someone who never enjoyed babysitting and gets anxious with more than 3.5 children in her house, and sometimes even outside of her house, especially if I am the only adult around. I got the feeling I killed their buzz when I came...

Happier at home … by staying at home?

The more I channeled Happier at Home author Gretchen Rubin this morning, straightening up and dealing with clutter, the more I started thinking about ditching the chance to see her speak tonight. Talk about shooting the messenger. She didn’t exactly say the words “don’t do anything that doesn’t make you feel joyful” in what I read of this book, and in fact she suggests tackling things that make you uncomfortable so that you will feel more comfortable. But I do think the spirit of her work, as far as I can tell as a newbie, conveys the idea that you do not have to do everything all the time, and that focusing on what is important is the most important thing of all. Or so I’m going to tell myself. So why not go tonight? I don’t wanna. I did, but the more I read her book, the more I struggled with envying what I call her “wellness privilege.” I’m sure it’s been plenty discussed that she benefits from white privilege and economic privilege, but what I cannot stop seeing as I read her book with the eyes in a body that requires lots of care, is how little she seems to need to care for her body. There is almost nothing in the book about food. She talks about holiday breakfasts and about abstaining from candy (and oh! the freedom that brings when it’s not a health necessity!), and she mentions that her kids told her they’d like something besides cold cereal or peanut butter toast for breakfast. But that’s it, as far as I saw. For me, home and food are inextricably connected. I cannot imagine undertaking any kind of happiness project without food at the center or at least as a key component. Not because I am a chef or anything, but because I don’t have a choice. In my world, cooking and cleaning up from cooking take probably at least two hours on a normal day. Although I’ve made a lot of progress since I started the GAPS diet in 2010 and then since I resumed eating some carbs in 2013 when things shifted with my digestion, I still have a gut that needs me to make all my food from scratch. That is, if I want to enjoy optimal wellness and only pleasant experiences in the bathroom. My kids are healthy but need to be gluten-free too and do best also dairy-free. They came from my body, which was decidedly not a perfect beginning, and...

Home is where too much of your head is

This, a gorgeous fall day, was my last full day visiting family. A few weeks ago, a local mom I barely know let me stay in her apartment so that I could start work in earnest on my novel. Whenever I get out of my comfort zone, I always find that I breathe differently, appreciate things in a new way, and enjoy the quotidien at least a little more, at least for a little while. And sometimes being removed from routine results in a totally new one upon return. I’d love to hear other folks’ reflections on how travel this holiday season — or any time — gives you new perspective. Baggage It doesn’t much matter where you go to escape your own chaos whether into a hotel room feigning uniqueness or into another’s home filled with clutter that asks nothing of you Any walk that is not yours daily, past tall apartment buildings with too many people you will never know, or in a neighborhood of bungalows that squat like a limber toddler or stone homes sporting peaks like a family of perky witches, any walk can be away from everything you know and toward anything you forgot you wanted to discover. ———— 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 Day 9: Reminders Day 10: Routine Day 11: Lux Esto, in moderation Day 12: Family Photo Shoot at (nearly) 4o Day 13: Siblings Day 14: Point of View Day 15: Background Day 15: Greener Grass Day 16: Journey Day 17: From two to twelve Bookmark on DeliciousDigg this postRecommend on Facebookshare via RedditShare with StumblersTweet about itSubscribe to the comments on this...

My child is my mirror – January Carnival of Natural Parenting

Welcome to the January Carnival of Natural Parenting: Learning from children This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared the many lessons their children have taught them. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants. *** It almost goes without saying that my son has taught me about living joyfully, living in the moment, and living as though every detail in the world were worth exclaiming over, lessons I forget and re-learn daily. But what he’s really taught me is about me. It’s not that I was new to introspection before he came along. I’ve written plenty about the various roads I went down pre-child to deal with my issues and get healthy in my head and heart: talk therapy, craniosacral therapy, emotional freedom technique, flower essences. I always considered myself a pretty self-aware gal, almost annoyingly so. But. Then I had a child. Plenty of books talk about needing to get in touch with yourself in order to be a good parent. And plenty of people probably find ways other than parenting to really explore their own complexity. Still, there is something special about having a being that is a product both of your nature and your nurture, something that screams: “So that’s who I am!” Some of the things I’ve realized about myself have been surprises, but most have been frightening confirmations. I talk a lot. This I knew. But hearing the never-ending stream of narration from my toddler then preschooler’s mouth. It’s not just a phase. He’s using my words.  My gestures.  My inflection. I even titled my first blog “Mama’s Mouth” because he had a replica of mine, both in shape and in spirit. I am messy. I do not live a ritualized, orderly life. My son has inherited and/or learned to copy my hoarding tendencies and my failure to put things away in a logical place when we are done with them. Yes, this is the opposite of a Waldorf approach, and yes, we’re working on it. I am judgmental. Not in a scary way. But when I hear him — with a finger-wag in his voice — spouting about how someone biking without a helmet is not safe or that someone shouldn’t eat a certain food because it has chemicals, I cringe. He’s been learning a bad/good dichotomy from me that I don’t want to be...

Consumer confession

Bless me, Earth Mother, for I have sinned. To cut to the chase, I drove a full 22 minutes on a perfectly gorgeous sunny autumn day to buy a bucket of plastic toys. Virgin plastic. $29.99. Lots of petroleum. Bad precedent. I know, it’s not pretty. So why did I fall so hard? It’s complicated. It starts with the grunts of a baby that had me more actively parenting in the night than I’d like, such that I then ended up sleeping until 9 a.m. Wow, that is late. By the time baby girl and I emerged, waffles had been made, and when it was time for my husband to take our son to a birthday party 90 minutes later, it became clear that the poor child had had essentially no protein in the three and a half hours he‘d been awake. No wonder he was copping an adolescent-sized whinefest about riding in his baby sister’s stroller instead of biking, walking or scootering the 3 and a half blocks to the party. We stuffed him full of nuts and goat cheese, but I claim the damage had already been done. Like mother, like son: a day that starts with carbs is not one with a storybook ending. Unless your storybook has the name Grimm on the spine. Hubby left the party shortly after we arrived (boy on bike, baby in sling) so that he could do his one fun/sporting activity of the week. So I was left solo with the two kids. Usually the mom who brings an entire meal to a party for her gluten-free son, this time all I had prepped was a trio of Enjoy Life allergen-free snickerdoodle cookies that I bought on sale hoping I would get a chance to bake and wouldn’t need them. Fat chance. What a surprise when I heard the host say something about lunch. Did I even read the Evite, I wondered? I had assumed we’d be back home for lunch after just some snacks and cake. Wrong! Lunch was sandwiches and pasta salad. The host kindly gave me access to some lunchmeat (not Applegate or Wellshire, so I gave him just one slice) and a big chunk of cheese off of which I cut several slices then and again when he asked for more. What a great guest I am. He also ate a lot of grapes and some veggie chips (which I hoped were not the kind that contains wheat flour) and even handed me a stray goldfish...

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