Moving in slow motion, or not at all

Sparrow keeping a hand on Douglas last week, when he was feeling cruddy one night and ended up in our bed too. I’m lying in bed sick, recovering from some kind of bug yesterday that involved fever and puking, thankfully mostly during the night though.  My boys brought me a snack in bed this morning, which stayed down, and my husband got home in time to take over for the rest of the day, so glad for that!  I’m starting to feel human, and the house is quiet as they just left for the library. 
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On holidays and allergies and food ...

Holidays seem inextricably linked with food, which makes it joyous for some, torturous for others, and probably a mix of both feelings for most of us.  Spending more time in the kitchen, cooking things that you don’t make any other time of year, and eating more often and more heavily than usual.  It’s tough to keep it simple, and for many it becomes a depressing struggle with weight.  How is it going for you so far this season?

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When's the last time you were sick?

The garbage pail under my desk when I started this post, which was last emptied yesterday …This is an utterly self-serving question, because I’ve been miserable for the last 5 days with a cold/sinus mess.  It’s a genuine question though, because when I’m down for the count, it really puts a lot on those around me.  I’m the glue, the scheduler, the gap-filler, the teacher, the most-of-the-time cook, the laundress, etc. and when I can’t do more than 20% of my usual tasks it gets pretty chaotic pretty fast. 
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Thoughts from above the clouds

I’ve been trying to post this all week, but I just haven’t found the time and energy in the same span of quiet time.  Giving it a try on Friday night finally!

Having the boys gone for two weeks was an amazing experience.  Like I mentioned before, the week alone with my husband was great.  I worked a LOT and we had some good downtime together also.  Getting away for 5 days in FL the second week was utter bliss.  I truly disconnected once I got away from home,  away from all the distractions of coulds and shoulds and maybes that surround me here, whether my kids are home or not.  Vacation is a different story.  

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Slowing down and savoring

Fynn’s memories of the evening … complete with firefly catching, a bat, lying on the ground in the tennis courts to better see the stars, and chasing his brother. The purple tree is the linden that smelled delightful, and hung so low to the ground that he could walk up and sniff the flowers.

Edited to add a link to Renee over at FIMBY, a favorite blog of mine, as she’s doing a fun Savoring Summer series of posts … I’d already written this one but it fits the theme rather well, so go on over and check it out!)

I’m glad it’s raining.  The damp plants smell good through the window, the sound of the rain somewhat masks Fynn’s banging up in his loft, and Douglas’ burping practice, and I don’t feel guilty for not getting the boys outside yet today.  It’s also making it easier to savor the delightful two hours I spent with my family in the Park last night. 

We went there just before dark, to join in a Bat Tour of the park with a well-informed naturalist who lives in the neighborhood.  We got there right on time (a minor miracle) and had 20 minutes or so to relax before things started.  The tour guide started talking about what he was seeing, feeling, and hearing, what those signs meant for our chances of seeing bats.  The chimney-swifts were pointed out, and how that they came out not long before the bats, and the more of them there were, the more bats we’d likely see.  The humidity and temperature, the cloud-cover, the time of sunset, the types of fireflies and how they interact with each other. 

While my head started spinning a bit with information, my awareness of what was going on around me was heightened. 

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Q of the Week : Last time you really laughed?

Image courtesy of notashamed via FlickrI know I should be asking about summer plans, survival tips, and that kind of thing, but I want to know other things right now.  Google answered my most pressing question already tonight: How do you get cat pee out of a down comforter?“  Thankfully I have a laundromat right around the corner, and made a mini-date with Fynn out of the wash cycle part of it all.  We read both a crazy Italian folk tale about a girl with a goat-head, and details about the Roman Army’s weaponry and strategies, nice combo don’t you think?  Then I dropped him back at home and made the drying time into a date with myself and my current book.  A nice break from a pile of client work!
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From Carnegie Hall to the Lehigh Valley

Spiffed up and ready to roll …I promised you a weekend recap, and so I shall indulge in one!  I spent the last two weeks getting more and more wound up, trying to get Fynn ready for his recital, find outfits, work out girl’s weekend details, and survive another couple of weeks of homeschooling.  If you’ve read the blog the last few weeks, the few posts that surfaced made those feelings pretty clear!  Not much sleep was had, tempers were frayed at best, and we just barely squeaked by.  After a last rehearsal on Thursday night at Fynn’s cello class, I was sure that a) he could play squeakily and off key and no one would be able to hear it thanks to the din of 178 other kids, and b) that it was going to be really really cool to see him on stage at such a fabulous concert hall. 
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Q of the Week : Where's your favorite place to relax?

The idea of relaxation seems to go with holidays, right?  Time off from school and work, get-togethers, down-time.  Nicely idealized in pretty menus and gorgeous pictures.  Yet the opposite seems to happen most of the time: lots of rushing and stress, in exchange for some family time or a trip somewhere.   There’s too often a real lack of joy in the journey.  I hope your Easter or Passover or long-weekend-thank-you-very-much wasn’t one of those times, but was full of great memories and moments! 
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Live near Baltimore, Mamas? This one's for you!

You remember the lovely Heather, of My Mama Mojo, right?  She’s written some great stuff for SaneMoms in the past, and has spent the last few months focusing on her coaching biz. 

The good news is, for those of you in the greater Baltimore area, she’s offering a Breathe : Group Coaching For Moms class next month!  It’s affordable, takes just 4 weeks, and offers two convenient time slots to choose from.  I’d go if I was within striking distance for sure, I’ve gotten too bogged down lately and need a sounding board and some “mmhmm, me too!” moments in my week. 

What’s it about?  Teaching moms how to listen to their hearts, quiet their minds, and thrive as women and moms! Tame the chaos, sort priorities, and feel more joy while raising your kids. You’ll come away energized, refreshed, validated, and ready to tackle your many roles with new eyes and positive perspectives.

The deets?  Click here for details and to register, the cutoff is April 29 so don’t miss out!

If the info looks a bit familiar to some, yes the Breathe content is originally from SaneMoms, and I’m so glad it’s being shared with some of you by such a great coach!

Fanged Giraffes, and why mama needs a cocktail (or two)

Photo of the elusive fanged variety, courtesy of Chris Adams via Flickr. I’m sure you’ve heard of the dangerous fanged giraffe, right?  They generally appear as gentle-seeming crocodiles, strolling up out of the river into the trees where you’re walking.  When you decide it’s wise turn and walk away, thank you very much, the croc morphs into a giraffe with lightning-fast reflexes and some nasty fangs, and nips you in the neck before you can move. 
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Q of the Week : Any good reads lately?

I received a Kindle on Friday as a thank-you gift for a design job I did for a friend.  I’ve been wanting one for awhile, and am loving it so far!  Thanks M :).  I don’t think it will ever replace paper books for me, the tactile nature of turning pages is something I love, and kind of miss with e-book reading.  Then again Fynn is so pleased with it he just sits next to me and wants to turn the pages :).  It’s rather seductive in it’s sleekness, and the idea that I can carry a bunch of books in my backpack, including ones to keep my boys busy, is pretty fine. 
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Q of the Week : How are you taking care of yourself these days?

Image courtesy of Coffeegeek, via Flickr. Looks yummy, yes? Anything with muddled coffee and sugar and blood orange, spiked of course, has to be good! Click the pic for the recipe :). This issue is an old one, but so central to the premise of SaneMoms that it’s worth revisiting.  It was brought to mind again by a comment on Christina’s Inside and Out post.

And sometimes I find you even have to defend those moments when you are doing something for yourself, right? My husband lately realized that I was steadily making my way through a series of books and some nasty comments came out about how lucky I was to have time to sit and read during the day while he’s at work and late home every night this week… My response that one of us had to stay sane competely stumped him. I had to fight off my own guilt too about being able to sit quietly for an hour each day, but seriously, if I don’t take care of myself and we BOTH lose it, what good does that do?

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Inside And Out (by Christina Simon)

Balancing (or at least trying to balance) my inner and outer selves

As a mom, it’s difficult to pay equal attention to both my inner and outer selves, the emotional and physical aspects of who I am. Neglecting one or the other seems like it comes with being a mom. Time flies and sometimes the day passes so quickly I don’t have time to put on that cute outfit or even sneak a moment for myself. My emotional and physical well-being are equally important, but which one takes priority? It’s complicated.

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Q of the Week : When do you feel sexy?

I think Anne’s glamorous and sexy here, because of her smileI’m sitting here in a sports bra and sweats, with a cardigan thrown over top because the house got chilly after supper, and I didn’t want to put my stinky running shirt back on, nor did I have time for a shower.  To be completely truthful, the cardigan was pulled out of the “to wash” pile the other day because I decided it wasn’t that dirty (while hunting madly for another layer to wear under my coat).  I don’t look or feel one shred sexy.  I still need that shower, feel pressured to get a lot more work done tonight, and would far rather kick back and watch the Oscars.  I’m consoling myself with some live-blogging updates via the NYT. (Yay, The King’s Speech just won! … speaking of sexy, Colin Firth certainly fits that bill in my book, but I digress …)
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Is Parenting Feeling Hard? Maybe You're Thinking Too Much (Guest post by Gina Osher)

On occasion, I want to tear my hair out, toSometimes I can’t wait for the day to be over. Yes, I said it. Sometimes I am just trying to kill the seemingly endless hours between the crack-of-dawn time that my kids wake up, to the can’t-come-soon-enough hour that they go to sleep. Perhaps this feeling stems from the really intense phase our daughter has been going through in which she needs to be in control of everything. And when she’s not allowed to have her way, holy Mother of God…watch yourself! Or maybe the recent four month long phase where our son was using me as a human pacifier and waking every two hours to ask for a snuggle is what makes me feel that the days are, at times, interminable. Or maybe it’s because my husband had a heart attack two months ago and I am trying give him more time to relax on weekends (hello, Saturdays on my own with the kids). Or maybe this tense feeling comes from micro managing every quarrel and crabby interaction my kids have in a misguided attempt to teach them to get along.
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Q of the Week : Plans for summer?

I know, I know, it’s still February!  But we’re looking at a snow forecast here again, and I’m so ready for sun and summer it’s not funny.  So rather than gripe about it, I’d like to plan for it!  Anything you’re looking forward to, planning for, or have on a wish list?  Trips already outlined, annual vacations that you just do every summer, beaches that you’re plotting and saving for? 
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Vanity Over 40 (by Jenny Heitz)

Image courtesy of Samantha Steele, via Flickr.It’s one thing to recognize we live in a youth obsessed culture, but once you’ve hit 40, you’re officially on the other side: No Longer Youthful.

Yeah, magazines preaching to the peri-menopausal set can prattle on about how “40 is the new 30,” but we all know that’s b.s.. 40 is the threshold for belly fat, for official skinny face, and for behinds which seem to want to drop off the back of us, as if they’re seeking a new owner found on the sidewalk.

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Snow Craziness

Our backyard iglooI’ve got a full-blown case of cabin fever.  Running has taken a big hit, only 2 runs in two weeks, and boy do I miss the outlet.  Then there’s snow, freezing rain, etc, and yes I can go out in it, and should have, but it’s so much freakin effort that I just didn’t bother today.  We all got on each other’s nerves, and I left the supper table in a mess, hid on the computer for awhile, and then catapulted out of my chair at the “Mom, the cat pooped on the couch!” cry from the frontroom.  A frantic cleaning frenzy ensued, most of which had nothing to do with cat poop and everything to do with finding an outlet for my craziness. 
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Whistling in the Dark, part II

I’ve been trying to write all week.  It’s not been successful, and now is a bad time to write as the boys are ready to start the day (don’t ask!), but I’ll give it a shot.  At least until they start killing each other. 

I wasn’t quite ready for the new year, but I don’t really have any other options other than continuing to go about my daily business, ready or not.  Homeschooling started off pretty well, meaning the boys were more than ready to start some work again, and are having a good time with it. 

I came up with a few new tricks which seem good to add to the arsenal. 

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