Monday, June 29, 2015

Can I nurse?

(4yo) I wanna nurse from your breast, Mama.

- you're too big to nurse from my breast, Lillian.

(4yo) No I'm not! I don't want milk from a cup. I want milk from your breasts.

-Why do you want milk from my breasts?

(4yo) Because you don't have to pour it into a cup. It's just comes right out.

-How about I pour some milk into a cup for you....with a lid and spout so you can drink that way?

(4to) Okay!

7yo walks in and the 4yo says

"I'm getting Mama Milk in a cup with a lid"

(No they aren't, they are getting regular milk in a cup with a lid but before I could reiterate that)

(7yo) iiiii want Mama Milk in a cup.

(4yo) Mom can just pour some in from her breast

-That's not how it works. I don't have gallons of milk in my breast I can just pour out into a cup for you. Lincoln drinks it because he's still little. When you were his age you drank Mama Milk too.

(4yo) Yes you can! Just use your hand and squeeze it in!

(7yo) Or get the pump and pump it all out.

(Mind you, Lincoln eats solids throughout the day so the milk he drinks when he's nursing is more for fun, comfort, and antibodies than it is for meal supplementation.)

They leave the room and I feel relieved because that was so much pressure. I've let them try it before - since Lincoln's been born - not straight from the tap, but expressed on a spoon. But that was a drop or two. Not ALL the milk. Talk about pressuea. *phew* Dodged a bullet.

Then they each returned with a sippy cup and asked me to fill them up.

(What do they think I am? A milk machine? Oh, wait.....)

In one word, describe what breastfeeding means to you?

Friday, June 19, 2015

Zentangle Handprint Keepsake for Father's Day

Looking for an collaborative Father's Day surprise? These turned out so cute!
I love how handprints reflect the size of each of my littles' hands...right (but growing fast!)

Here is a video HOW-TO 


Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Real Life Math

After talking to the people ahead of her in line, she figured out who was riding alone and who was riding with a partner. Then turned around and said "Mom, there are five we'll all get on this time!"


Monday, June 15, 2015

Taking Up Space - an Encounter and Mindfulness Work in Progress

Today I went to a Aldi with all three littles in tow. As I was coming out of the store to put our groceries into our rental car (we are in FL right now), it starts to rain. I get to the car, put Lincoln in so he's not all over the place while I unload each individual grocery item into bags and into the trunk. Lillian tells me she has to pee and instead of hauling all and everyone back into the store I open both doors and help her pee on the ground. Yup. Put her into the car and continue unloading while someone waits for me to be done unpacking the cart (I'm assuming because he doesn't have a quarter and wants to use our cart) - he's just hovering over me, waiting. (Even though I told him I was going to be awhile yet.) Layla is in the front seat helping herself to some water then heads to the back to buckle herself into her booster. I'm so grateful for her (mostly) independent nature. It's very helpful. As I am finishing, the waiting man takes my cart... I shut the trunk and an older man approaches me and says very rudely "that's a good way to lose a door!" Dumbfounded and unsure what he was even talking about, I walked around the car to see that Layla had left the front door open after getting a drink and helping herself into her booster. In my head I kinda laughed and maybe even cursed. Seriously? First, there was plennnnnty of space, second, who is he to walk over and speak so grumpily to me because he is feeling frustrated?? I politely, but firmly said : "I have three children with me today while grocery shopping. One of them must have left the door opened. I'm sorry it was SUCH an inconvenience for you." Probably more passive aggressive than I would have liked, but I'm glad I even said anything (old me would have apologized profusely and scurried away.) I am enough. I am deserving of being here. Taking up space. ALL the space. ALL THIS parking space. 

On the way home I reflected on this interaction in my head. And went over it. Still, it's taking up brain bandwidth but in such a different form of energy than in confrontations passed. I would have been beating myself up about it inside. I would have thought things like "that's so silly of me." "I should have known better." "How stupid." And felt bad for ruining someone else's day. Today I actively thought about how his grumpiness could have ruined MY day. It could have easily affected my children because you know how grumpiness has a way of catching on? Someone's grumpy to internalize it and before long you're acting grumpy to someone else (anyone else - typically those in lesser power or authority around you... In my case, my children.) the dog chases the cat chases the rat chases the mouse... Perpetuating the grumpiness.

And then I was reminded of how grumpiness is perpetuated. I was thought "what on earth could be going on in that man's life to a. Be so frustrated with a parking lot situation and b. Turn to a mother of three, trying to grocery shop and verbally transfer grumpiness to her." ?

It certainly doesn't make it right. But I am not going to allow it to create more grumpiness and anger in my life. I'm stopping it. And instead of letting his words haunt me, I saw his words in my mind on my drive home and simply said: "So?"

Which completed deflated the power the words had over me. And I decided to verbalize some of this brain energy to my 7-year-old who has been having a hard time dealing with anger and a hard time understanding how other people could say mean things. It was so cathartic to me to not just go over it in my own mind but to verbalize it aloud for her to overhear. Mostly because I don't have all the answers. I am human. As much as I used to think they always needed to see me composed and perfect... sometimes watching the messy process unfold can be even more beneficial - for us all. A template of how to get from here to there...a road that is twisty and windy and not always black and white and certainly not perfect. 

She told me "if we were there again, I would open my door and say to him 'it's not okay to talk like that. To be so rude to MY Mom. It's JUST a parking space."

And her voice was big and angry and I said "I hear some anger in your voice, how are you feeling?" And she said "It's not right that he can be so rude to you or anyone. It's my job to keep you safe and protect you" (words I recently spoke to her.)

And there you have it. Why this work is so important. Why showing our children the beautiful mess inside is just as, if not more, important than the beautifully packaged Christmas Morning we put together. 

I am grateful for that man today. Even though I was a little irked, annoyed, frustrated, and even a little bit angry. Because he fit right in to our discussions this week. Because he gave me a chance to communicate with my daughter. Because he reminded me to be messy-authentic with myself and my children. Because he reminded me that we never know the whole story. Because he opened my heart to accepting protection, safety, and love from my 7-year-old and her fierce heart.

Because I needed to see my messy mindfulness working - and I needed to witness the growth I've made within.

I am enough. I deserved to be there. To be here. Taking up space. Taking up parking space. 

And so are you. 


Saturday, June 13, 2015

Green Pasta Primavera

I found this recipe in the Vegetarian Times and thought I would give it a try. I have been trying to eat more vegetarian meals to get in my leafy greens and expand my flavor-portfolio. Here was my first version and it was delicious. Gone in 2 days. Even my 7-year-old loved the combination of flavors.

I made a second batch because I enjoyed it so much and discovered it was just as good served cold as it is served hot (making healthy-mama-meals a snap!) I do not buy pine nuts in bulk, however so had to use a nut I had in-house. We opted for cashews and it turned out just as delicious. I also used the veggie pasta. So so yummy.

Here is a link to the recipe :


Friday, May 29, 2015

Do You Believe in Magic? Looking at the World Through a Child's Eyes

We went to Sesame Place last week. During one of the craziest, crowded, most insane weekends I've ever been there (and I have had a season pass for 5 years!) While we were waiting in line (out the door) to go to the bathroom there were some of those claw machines. You know the kind where you move the joystick to position the claw and hit the button to watch it descend while hoping it will grab a stuffed animal by the limb and hold onto it for dear life until it gets to the exit door. Yep, that one. The kids were so so so so so so so excited to give this a try. In their minds they were incredibly likely to win - how could they not? Just grab and go, right? "I want that Bert behind the glass. He's right here. So close I can almost touch him. All I have to do is move the robot arm like in a video game and I rock at video games. I'm sure to win." 

There is so much magic there. In the hope my children express every day. When they ask to have another treat. When they anticipate the arrival of the toothfairy. When they watch a butterfly, hear the birds, jump into the pool, "try out a dance move and make it look just like the people on tv." They wholly believe they CAN DO IT. They show me glimpses of a world far less jaded than the adult perspective I find myself falling into, I wonder where or when that hope dissipated in the first place.

I've always been a benefit-of-the-doubter (even when people don't really deserve it). I've always been sort of knowingly naive (though that sounds like an oxymoron, I'm not using it as such). 

Does hope stray when your brain develops? Becomes more organized, more connected? Does magic fade when you test your incredible ideas to failure? Because my children seem to hold onto this hopeful notion even the 78th time they jump off the couch and don't actually fly. Is it only when it fails time and time again that we replace the theory of hope with the seed of doubt and hopelessness? Does imagination dwindle when others start telling us magic doesn't exist? Or does it disappear when thoughts turn from ideas into the less-than-optimistic pieces of reality in our day-to-day lives? When we listen to only our head and never our hearts? Life is filled with both magical moments and really hard minutes. Is hope just a feeling you have inside? Or is it a mindset? Is it merely a way of looking at those life-pieces? Is it genetic or can it be learned?

Many adults chalk up this way of thinking to "child's play" - as if to suggest it's unimportant. As if to say it's unproductive,  unreal, a waste of time. But is it? 

Some of the greatest, most innovative inventions came from notions that first seemed magical - impossible - intangible. 

Then why, as adults, do we let hope and magic whittle away? Why don't we spend time cultivating and embracing the power of "What-If"? Spend time in the magic-zone ? In FLOW (that space you get so caught up in time seems not to exist because you're so engaged)? 

I invite you to pause today. Ask a what if. Expand your boundaries. To the place of impossible. Unfathomable. Let hope seep in -- deep down -- and take root. Look at the world from a child's point of view and just bask in the beauty of magic and imagination.

My children have taught me more about myself and my world than I ever thought possible. 

My 4-year-old's drawing of an animal fairy.

My 4-year-old's drawing of Tinkerbell

Fairy Friends can be found at Mama May I