8.11.2011

maybe not?

I haven’t been posting. And that’s not like me, but it’s pretty indicative of my current life. I was always motivated to continue working on what I had started, to get to completion and accomplishment. The theme of my life lately has been giving up the things I thought I would be able to continue doing, and this may just be one of them.

I haven’t been terribly motivated to write lately. And that’s kind of weird for me. It had been my solace, my connection to others, my “friend” when I lived in a place without friends around. And now that my Mountain Man isn’t commuting 3 hours a day I find myself with less time. Since I’m closer to friends I have been seeing them occasionally, which is taking up a bit of time. Since we’re better able to really search for a home we’ve been spending a lot of time on that, as well. All of that has left me with less time to write and a lack of motivation to make room in the day.

I still feel like I have a lot I want to say. I still feel like I may be working toward a book. I still like the idea of the connections I built through blogging. But I also feel like it may not be the best use of my time right now.

So I guess this is fair warning that posts may become sporadic or cease. I may write and write and write and never post. I might find motivation again as soon as we get this house hunt settled. I don’t know. It isn’t like me to quit something that I’ve chosen to take on without putting in a lot of time and effort.

But that has seemed to have been the theme for me this past year, so I guess I should go with it. I don’t want to post a lot of insubstantial yammering because I don’t have the energy to really write. I don’t have the energy (and never really had all that much interest) in the blog promotion side of it.

If you want to get all the updates (if they happen) put me in your reader. I promise, if I don’t have anything to say I won’t bother you!

Thanks for being along on the ride… this could be a blip or  a splat. We’ll find out together.

8.08.2011

Congratulations! Here’s your bill.

“Congratulations! Can I take your picture? Maybe with the Pie holding the ‘sold’ sign?” He asked.

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“What? Take our picture? Why?”

“You know, you just bought your new car! Here’s your ‘sold’ sign. Let’s take your picture holding the sign in front of your new car!”

“But it’s not an accomplishment to buy a car. All we had to do was spend months researching, then spend an entire day sitting here doing paperwork and then take on another loan shortly after we paid off the truck. I don’t understand – it’s debt, not success.”

“Oh. Well maybe we can just move on to putting the car seat in.”

We took the car home and went on a camping trip. We got the car muddy in less than 24 hours and put 500+ miles on it in less than a week. That’s what I would call an accomplishment.

Then as soon as we got home from our camping trip we pulled into the driveway and began the car-shuffle necessitated by parking on city streets.

As the Mountain Man shuffled the Pie and the camping gear out of the back of the wagon, I turned the key in the old volvo.

Chug chug chug chug. Chug chug chug chug. Black smoke was spewing out of the tailpipe. I tried to remember how long it had been since I had last driven it. 4 days? 6 days? Either way, it should start!

The Mountain Man got in the car and finally got it started, drove it around the block to it’s new parking spot, and suggested we try selling it right away.

For sale: One sweet old volvo. Runs great (once you get it started) for at least one square block.

Congratulations on your new car! Let me print out a “sold” sign for you.

8.01.2011

loose connection

The Mountain Man and I had a rough weekend last week. We had a lot of fun and stayed busy. We ate out (a rare luxury for us) visited with friends, went on a hike, and enjoyed a ride on the ferry and a drive through the peninsula.

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Somehow though, we just weren’t connecting normally. We weren’t fighting, but things just weren’t normal. We had a loose connection.

Nothing was wrong, but in the cracks and spaces, things just felt off.

I guess it’s normal to have these kinds of waning periods. This post-partum marriage is a slightly warped reflection of what it used to be. It’s like looking into a mirror made of old, wavy glass. It’s you, just a little distorted.

I adore my Mountain Man, I can’t imagine my life without him. We work together so well, enjoy each other’s company, laugh at each other’s jokes. But after baby, our lives have changed. We can’t spontaneously do the things we’d dreamed of – at least not for a couple more years. We had had the luxury of time and focus and each other, and now our time and focus are shifted. We still have each other, and we still have time - just less, and more fragmented.

I have everything, even if I had nothing but the Pie and my Mountain Man. So I have to keep working through these strange days of loose connections, to make a point of connecting even when it feels awkward or forced, and just know that we’ll pull back into the normal soon enough. As long as I keep making  a point to keep the love going, it won’t run out. Even when there’s an occasional loose connection.

7.29.2011

Intentional parenting

DSC_0582 (2)Today I’m chatting with Nina of Shalom Mama about her experiences with parenting and living with intention. Nina and I met through another blogger and found that we had a lot in common – intentional living, loose attachment parenting, natural living and (of course) blogging about it all.

Check out our conversation!

How do you define intentional living and parenting? How do you make it happen on a daily basis?

I define intentional living as identifying the values and actions most important to me and making a daily effort to live by them. Wellness (body, mind, soul), building meaningful relationships, generosity, gratefulness, simplicity, creativity and flexibility are incredibly important to me. These values apply to the way I interact with my husband, kids, family and friends.

I try to grow in those areas every day by:  Eating nourishing whole foods. Spending focused time with my kids, husband and friends. Giving thanks throughout the day. Taking time to exercise. Creating something every day - be it writing or crafts. Having the flexibility to throw plans aside and pursue an exciting opportunity. And having grace with myself when I fail miserably. I'm really working on that last one.

How is your parenting style informed by your values?

My style is attached-ish. Being a loving, gracious mom is important. However, I often come up short when I'm stressed and I am grateful for the forgiveness my kids willingly extend to me. I want to build meaningful relationships with my kids as much as with anyone else and I do that by including them my daily actions when I can.

My aim as a mom is to model to my kids the values that I want them to embrace - generosity, creativity, simplicity, curiosity, living passionately. Right now I'm struggling with giving them each quality time (there are 4 of them). They seem happiest when I'm reading to them or snuggling or pushing them in a swing. But I feel like I should be doing more. It seems that they understand simplicity better than I do. :)

Does living and parenting with  intention make it hard to connect with other moms?

Yes and no. The Internet makes it so easy to find like-minded moms. The communities available online make unconventional living much easier. However, I find it more difficult locally. I don't know if it's the small town I live in or my tendency to be shy, but this has been a challenge for me.

I'm overcoming this, though, by sticking to my mission to build relationships and approaching women that I'd like to get to know better. Like the other day at the park when I saw a very pregnant mom with 5 other little kids. She just looked like someone I wanted to get to know. I approached her and found that I had actually heard about her from several people and that my midwife was her midwife as well.

Sometimes my efforts go well, sometimes I just don't connect with other women. It's a risk that I'm getting more comfortable with taking.  

Did anything surprise you about parenting? How was the adjustment for you, in the early days, to becoming a mom? What is the adjustment like now as your kids grow?

What surprised me most about parenting was my reaction to it. I thought I'd be an uptight germaphobe. Instead, it made me really mellow, which is good after the things I've seen my kids put in their mouths. :) My husband has helped me to be less fearful and I let my kids explore more than I would have before I had kids. I can trust them more than I thought because they really are careful with themselves.

As they grow older, I'm really enjoying their independence. Having 4 kids in 5 years means a lot of the baby stage. That is really challenging! The youngest one is walking running now and they're mostly able to buckle and unbuckle themselves in the van. (I'm SO glad about this).

We're able to do more together and we're slowly breaking the kids into festivals and other outings. This is helping my husband and I let go of unrealistic expectations of our kids and enjoy as much as we can before the meltdowns begin. Everyone I know that had kids close together keeps telling me it gets easier. That's proving to be true.

 

 

Nina Nelson is a student midwife, mama to four and wife to one. She writes regularly at Shalom Mama, providing health and herbal resources and inspiring others to live intentionally. She loves reading, snuggling and giggling at miniature horses.

7.27.2011

sand, snow and screams

This weekend we headed up to the peninsula to enjoy some time with friends, visit Hurricane Ridge in the Olympic National Park and enjoy the unusual sunshine.

We headed out early, but we missed our ferry. Since we had almost an hour to wait we decided to hit the beach and enjoy the Pie’s first experience with sand.

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When our boat pulled in we loaded on, rode across the water and arrived on the other side. I was trying to conserve camera battery, as mine suddenly started flashing “warning! danger! low battery!” I missed some great shots, but enjoyed the moments.

We met our friends and took off across the peninsula and up the mountain roads to Hurricane Ridge. We got out of the car and met a lovely little ladybug. The deer were feeling rather social and the trails opened up for us. We hiked across snow, mud and dust. We found shade and had a picnic, smelled the wildflowers and found native onions. I love the gentle smell of those wild onions.

 

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While we picnicked, we realized that it was getting late. 5pm lunch came too soon, and we realized that we would be fighting the worst of the summer ferry traffic coming home on a Sunday evening after a beautiful weekend. We headed back to the docks instead of the second trail. We had to wait as a ferry docked, unloaded, loaded and left. The next one came in and we were lucky to board. The short ride back to the mainland was enough for the Pie to learn to drive and to use navigational technology. I think from now on I’m going to buy touch-screen GPS systems as baby toys.

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We spent the ferry commutes realizing how different life and travel and recreation is with baby. Our plans to drive to Alaska will have to wait until the Pie is a little older and able to handle the car ride a little better. Long-distance hiking doesn’t make a crawling baby very happy. Camping in the Northwest is complicated, since there’s no wide stretches of grass for babes to crawl. We realize now why so many families stay close to home when they have small kids. I swear everyone told me that babies love car rides, but not this Pie. She screams in frustration when in the car, and isn’t in love with riding in the pack anymore.

That’s not really what we had planned for – we had always intended to pack the little Pie into her carrier and go on with our hiking, biking, camping lives. We just hadn’t planned for that little Pie to have a preference of her own. We have to modify our expectations and our trips.

So we let the Pie crawl around off-trail, illegally. We let the Pie out of her seat to drive and navigate while we were on the ferry. We comforted and consoled while we drove.

Our next trip will have to be a little bit better planned, with plenty of breaks for crawling and cruising and nursing and snuggling. We’re not wiling to give up our days in nature, so we’ll have to figure out how to make them work a littler better for all of us.

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