Heat wave hits Seattle: We hit the zoo

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playing in the boat at the penguin exhibit

Potamus has been avoiding naps like they’re poison, so instead of laying in bed trying AGAIN and AGAIN to nurse him to sleep, we hit the zoo and I figured that a nap would happen if it needed to happen. Plus, it’s the first summer heat wave day, and I figured it would be fun to get out and get some sun!

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Now that Potamus can walk…er…run…the zoo is much more fun! He kept up with me for the first hour, and then got whiny so I pushed him in the stroller. He loved the penguins, of course, but was also really enthralled with things like…sewer drains. Ha!

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the elusive sewer monster lives here. it’s a little known park attraction.

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look mama, a penguin!

Yesterday Potamus had his 18 month checkup, and he took the shots like a champ. Turns out he’s a little over 25lbs, and is almost 32 inches long. I can’t believe how fast he’s growing up! But…I wish he’d take a freaking nap šŸ™‚

Offbeat Lovin’!

I can’t believe it ya’ll, I’ve been on Offbeat Families TWICE in one week! I love their community, because it really feels like I’m able to learn about other people’s lives and get support in my own!

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So, you want to start with seeing Potamus having a lovely conversation with his Uncle Tio, check out: Reader photo time: future world leaders, ninjas and hair stylists.

And, remember that King Midas post I wrote awhile back, about the struggle with weaning? Well, a version of it hit the Offbeat site today entitled: I knew breastfeeding might be hard, but didn’t know weaning would feel impossible, so if you care to get in on the weaning discussion, head on over there and check it out!

Much love to you fellow bloggies!

 

 

Found Poetry Challenge

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I’ve been struggling and haven’t had the ability to get the words in my head out. So, while sipping coffee this morning, I picked up the random Edna St. Vincent Millay collected works poetry book sitting on the shelf of the cafe. And the urge to write hit me…not my words, but hers. It’s a technique I learned in my high school English class, an exercise where you use ONLY words that already exist, or, in this case, first lines or titles of poems that already exist. You can’t change the lines or titles but you, the author, gets to put them into an order you want, to make a new poem. It’s similar to the Hindu idea of shruti, which is the belief that sacred text is simply just writing down the words (usually a rough translation) of the words that already exist in the Universe somewhere.

So, with an inability to write my own words, here are the re- The Collected Works of Edna St. Vincent Millay

Autumn Chant
-found poem from The Collected Works of Edna St. Vincent Millay

Some Things Are Dark,
look how the bittersweet
Wild Swans
Lament.
Intense and terrible I think, must be the loneliness.
Sky-coloured bird.
This should be simple; if one’s power were great.
This is mine, and I can hold it.
How innocent we lie.
Ashes of Life.

 

So, if you’re at a loss for works, or want to write poetry but are unsure of where to begin, try this exercise:

1) find a book of poetry (anthology or collected works) either in person or online
2) write down the titles or first lines (usually those are listed in the back) that speak to you. DON’T think about what you want the poem to say, just pick titles that you like or sound cool to you. Make sure to copy the lines exactly as you see them.
3) Once you have a list of titles (or first lines), start organizing them into an order that speaks to you. You are allowed to add commas/punctuation or words like a/an/the to string the lines together to make them work with each other.

4) Re-arrange any of the lines as necessary.

5) Marvel at your work! Make sure when you title it, to give credit that you ‘found’ this poem within a larger body of work!

Care to take the Found Poetry challenge? Link me with your poems, or leave them in the comments!

Bathing Suit Body

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Bathing suit season is upon us. It’s a time that many women dread, as it comes unexpectedly (after a few cold spring months were they vow to do a few more crunches to get ready) and then one day it’s here. But, to be honest, bathing suit season has never really bothered me in the body-image sense. My love of being in the water, of being in a swimsuit to SWIM, that I never paid much attention to any nagging voices that might persuade me that I would not beĀ good enough to wear that swimsuit this year.

But, as I’ve gotten older, and spent more time around women with significant body image issues, I find myself slowly analyzing my body. Post-baby, with 20lbs still lingering on an already-too-big-frame (according to the magical medical science BMI standard), it’s been a little rocky to try and think “hmm, maybe I will stay a size 18, instead of getting back to the 14/16…how would that feel?” and the fear that another baby will make me balloon even more.

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But, I’ve got to be honest. The ocean calls. And my love of being in a swimsuit (I used to own 17…as I was a lifeguard and swim instructor for 5 years!) has outweighed my tiny nagging doubts about my ability to pull of a bathing suit in public. There are blogs and articles talking about mothers not being in the picture, and I think that’s selfish of mothers…get out there, get in the action, even if your slightly bigger saddle-bag thighs are out there in the picture, too. Because, to be honest, I think my 85% adventurous spirit is outweighing the 15% of nagging body fears, and nobody really gives a damn about it, but me. Right? I mean, I’ve never gotten a negative comment about “flaunting” my white fleshy legs out in public…

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So here I am, soaking up the sunshine on the Oregon Coast, spending a good twenty minutes out in the water wave jumping by myself. My body felt strong, not perfect, but able to carry myself out into the water and I had the biggest smile on my face ever. And, even when I realized that I would have to walk back to the campsite in my bathing suit, sans towel (Potamus stole that towel, little bugger), I was okay. Because so what if people notice my bigger-than-normal white thighs…I mean…they need to tan sometimes, ammiright?

So, are you going to rock your bathing suit body this summer season?

Solo Mama Road Trippin’ to the Oregon Coast (Part 2)

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We could not have asked for a more beautiful 24 hours on the Oregon Coast. More often than not I’ve experienced the Oregon beaches to be tempermental, much like the Washington Coast. Beautiful and rugged and full of a loveliness all it’s own…but it’s often accompanied with some rain or wind or overcast skies. So, we HAD to take advantage of the sunny 70 degree weather! And all of this adventuring before 10am!

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The weather was warm enough to even take a dip in the Pacific Ocean! Woo!

A boy and the ocean

The trepidation that Potamus felt the first day was completely gone by the next morning. We could not keep him from race-walking (he can’t run yet) as fast as his little legs would carry him…straight into the waves! He was much more sure-footed now, not wobbling every time the sand shifted under his feet with the lapping waves. He even experienced several waves that got him thigh high and he didn’t get bothered by being knocked onto his backside. A kid after my own heart! When I was his age (and into late elementary school) I would TANTRUM SO HARD if there was water around and I wasn’t allowed to swim. I’m guessing I’ll have another fish on my hands šŸ™‚

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After some lovely wave jumping, Potamus settled in with grampy to build some sand-castles. Unfortunately we picked a place a little farther from the water, so instead of really building castles (because the sand started to dry pretty quickly), my dad said we were “building ruins.” We all had a good chuckle at that little quip.

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After a hard morning of play, we headed off to take a nap. Afternoon adventures were to be had, but first, rest!

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The afternoon was spent traveling up the road a few miles to Cannon Beach. I convinced my parents to go to this pizza joint that Boof and I had eaten at on our honeymoon. So yummy! But, in true Oregon Coast fashion, the weather turned from warm and sunny to cool, overcast and a slight breeze in the air. Looking at the sky we realized if we wanted a few pics with the famous Haystack Rock, we’d better get skedaddling before it turned into a full on rainstorm!

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By the time we made it to the beach, the wind was whipping pretty good. Not one to be swayed (we had come ALL THIS WAY DARNIT!), we headed out to the rock. It was low-tide and so there were some tide pools that we waded in (ouch! barnacles!) and tried our best to keep Potamus from running straight into the stormy sea.

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just take the darn picture already mom!

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being carried by grampy, cause it’s windy out here!

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mom, what’s so cool about that rock? there’s the OCEAN right here!

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wading into the ocean…regardless of the weather…a true Pac NW native!

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okay, one picture mom, but I will NOT be happy about it. I want to wave jump.

We headed back to the yurt just in time for it to start POURING! I won’t bore you with details, but night two was less than stellar, and we headed home early to try and beat the naptime grumpies. While I am exhausted from our almost 48 hour adventure, I think I would definitely do it again. Though, ask me in a few days when I’ve fully recovered, eh?

Any crazy road-trip stories to tell me? Road trippin’ with kiddos?

Solo Mama Road Trippin’ to the Oregon Coast (Part 1)

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first time at the beach!

The Oregon Coast holds a special place in my heart. While we only went there a few times as a kid, I have been back several times as an adult and always around special occasions. There was the birthday I spent there, with my parents, just a few weeks before I left for India. And then there was my honeymoon, where Boof and I relaxed for a week (after driving all over Washington to spend Christmas with everybody). So, when my parents discovered the joys of yurting (like camping, but not in a tent OR a cabin), I jumped at the opportunity to book a small getaway with Potamus. Yurting has all the lovely camping feels that I love, without the hassle of camping that I dislike.

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Manzanita, Oregon

Boof couldn’t take the time off, so I decided to do the road-trip myself…which was a little nerve wracking. Good thing I’m adventurous, and slightly deranged because the drive there took almost 6 hours (though part of that was a pit-stop in Portland to visit my bestie Ruth). While we just hung out last week, it was so much fun to have a back-to-back visit! We chatted, ate some yummy crepes, and Potamus had a chance to burn off his energy in the park. He mostly slept the whole way there, so that was nice for me!

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enjoying some dinner

Potamus has never seen the ocean before, so it was a real treat to watch him go from nervous to super excited. While we had spent some time in the sand, it was in a warehouse and not warm and awesome for sand-castles! There is just something so magnificent about the way the ocean comes rolling in while you sit there in warm sand. And we don’t have to go all the way to California to experience it šŸ™‚

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swingin’

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our digs! pet friendly yurts. like camping…but with beds, electricity and HEAT!

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doin’ dishes with grammy. clearly he is enjoying himself.

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let’s build a sand castle!

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COME ON GUYS LETS GO!

Nervous at first, but a few minutes later he wouldn’t stop heading into the water! We seriously had to pry this kid away from the waves because his toes were turning purple and he was shivering.

wave jumping with grammy and grampy

wave jumping with grammy and grampy

After a long day of travel, lots of adventures in swinging, playing in the park, wave jumping in the ocean and building sand castles, Potamus and I crashed. We had pulled the futon mattress onto the floor so that it’d be the closest to home and fell asleep. Fortunately he slept pretty well in the new place.

So, what’s the craziest adventure YOU have taken with a little one? Did you do it solo or with a partner? Ever been to the Oregon Coast?

Zen-mer Break

wear red lipstick to clean

wear red lipstick to clean

Zen-mer. That’s my intention for the next three months off from work. Though zenning out will NOT include endless slothfulness. While I had no intention of tackling large projects until July, my first day off was so blissfully relaxing that I actually found myself doing random things like organizing my underwear drawer, three loads of laundry, and beginning to clean out the bathroom cabinet so we can remove it to paint the wall. I did all of this while wearing red lipstick, because, who doesn’t want to look fabulous while cleaning?

Actually, in addition to the red lipstick, I wore black leggins and a black tank-top, channeling my inner Grease goddess. Maybe the rock-n-roll attitude doesn’t seem to jive with zen-mer, but yeah, it felt relaxed and lovely at the same time. I think the whole CHOOSING to do chores, rather than HAVING to do them was the difference. And knowing that I could just relax if I wanted to, was delightful.

Babysitting

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My tranquil night plus long stretch of sleep left me slightly crazy. Crazy, as in, I accepted the last-minute urgent request to watch my friend’s daughter. She’s a work-from-home mom who does some financial consulting and clearly her husband couldn’t get off work in time for her to make it to a client meeting. If it hadn’t been last minute I wouldn’t have said yes, because, let’s be honest…I don’t really like kids all that much. I mean, other people’s kids are cute to look at, but they’re pretty exhausting, and come with a whole other set of rules and expectations that don’t always fit into my schedule.

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So, my friend shows up in a dither, clearly already late for her meeting, and drops her daughter off without even so much as a goodbye snuggle. Whoa. Stressful for baby AND for babysitter. I did the “look at the balloon” method that I see the daycare teacher’s use, and it worked…for a few minutes until mom came back inside to drop the carseat off. Whoa, set off a whole extra set of crying and tearfulness that lasted on-and-off for about twenty minutes. No big deal in the grand scheme, especially since her cries were WAY less nerve grating than my own kiddo’s cries, but still, we were heading into the witching hour and one toddler crying on my lap was bound to be two.

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Potamus was so cute. He clearly has developed some baby-empathy, because he was hamming it up for her. He appeared to be trying to cheer her up…doing a little dance…bringing over all his new toys and wanting me to hold them and show them to her…and when she finally still wouldn’t calm down, he lost it. Which meant two toddlers crying on my lap. I think the glass of wine helped me to not totally freak out, and so I ended up mostly going about my evening routine…watering the yard, straightening some dishes, putting some toys away…

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Potamus figured out shortly that being held by mama was boring and so he went off to play. Little Miss decided that playing, and having animal cookies, seemed fun, too, and so she toodled off to play with Potamus. They had a good time inside and then went to explore the backyard where full-on-witching hour reared it’s ugly head.

sharing is hard

sharing is hard

Let’s be honest, sharing is hard. Sharing when you’re a toddler and it’s almsot bedtime is even harder. When I told Potamus that it was Little Miss’s turn for the cart, his face looked so crushed. His feelings were SO hurt. And then he made that face. But not to be outsmarted by this, he went over to some random toy item he found on the back deck and got Little Miss’s attention. He then threw it into the flowers, distracting her enough to steal the toy back. While it wasn’t exactly what I wanted to happen, I was pretty proud of his problem-solving skills. It was cool for me to observe this interaction and to see, so clearly, his intention and smarts written all over his face.

Our crazy adventure only lasted an hour and a half. Dad swooped in as fast as mom had swooped out and tried to juggle the screaming kiddo while putting in the carseat (that he had never done before). It was quite the circus, but I’m trying to not judge, because it all seemed stressful and I had managed just fine. Potamus was wiped out, and fortunately fell asleep quite easily after all of the commotion. And it helped me to have another TV/media free night (with the exception of instagramming these adorable pictures).

Bonus. Today is my last day of work for the summer. Booyah!

slow the fuck down

a boy and his dog. a rare moment in the mids of crazy.

I’ve been doing a lot of self-reflection as it relates to my parenting style/philosophy/way of being in the world. While my overall anxiety has remained pretty high, some conversations with really good friends, an appointment to begin therapy on Friday, and a quiet night that included 6 WHOLE HOURS in a row, has reigned me back in from the crazy cliff of burnout.

I have this bad habit of going full steam until burnout and it needs to stop. I know it’s part of my personality, and the stressor this time was Boof’s crazy work schedule, but truthfully I’ve been stuffing my anxiety and emotions for awhile. I’m not sure how long, probably since Potamus was born, but maybe even longer. The pioneer-buck-it-up woman has been working her ass off, because, in so many ways, moving forward full steam feels safer than pausing and acknowledging what is going on. That it’s hard. I know I say it with my head and mouth, but I haven’t let myself feel the weight of the difficulty for fear of breaking into a thousand little pieces.

And, while I’ve written about it before, I have come to this realization, that my tool for stuffing all my emotion is Facebook, my smart-phone, endless hours of mindless television. As an introvert, and a sometimes selfish person, I want “me” time. Lots of focus on “me,” and what gets in the way is this kiddo who I love and is trying his best in the world. In an effort to get MY needs met, I end up stressed.

But last night was different. Instead of facebooking, I spent 2 hours talking to different friends on the phone. Potamus was eating dinner, but I wasn’t mindlessly zoning out ‘liking’ things and surfing for the best answer to solve this to-wean-or-not-to-wean question. Or this co-sleeping-until-eternity dilemma. I was intentionally connecting. And, when Potamus had enough of Jake and the Neverland Pirates and his helping of tortellini, we played outside. He toodled around and I chatted with my other friend. And then we came inside and got ready for bed.

He was out by 8.

I didn’t feel guilty for nursing him.

I didn’t feel like I needed to be anywhere else.

I forgot about the dishes/laundry/crumbs on the floor/ and the anger that Boof wasn’t around to help.

We didn’t watch any TV past 5:30 or even listen to music on the TV and dance like we normally do. It was quiet, and focused, but not so intensely goal-oriented.

And I ended up with 6 hours of sleep in a row, and a feeling of being refreshed.

I don’t know if this relaxed way will always ‘work,’ but I do think that Potamus picked up on my calm and focused energy and it mirrored back at him a way to be in the world. I think, if I can’t figure out how to unwind, how can he learn it for himself? I have no idea how tonight will go, or how I will monitor my on-line habits, especially since summer is beginning and I will now be home with Potamus 3-5 of the 7 days out of the week, but I do think that the evening ritual was helped by this long unwind time.

Thoughts? Have you tried slowing down to achieve your parenting goals?