bouquets of clumsy words

Before i get into the heart of this post, let me just express the sheer joy i am experiencing in my heart for a few seconds. there are so many wonderful, blog inspiring events that occur over the course of my days. each day reveals something new to me. of course they aren't always grand or dramatic or exciting...but each day truly holds something for me to think about, which in turn holds the potential to be a post on this blog. there is something extremely therapeutic about blogging. i love it. i get to rehash the days events and express myself in a way that you can only do through writing. so you can imagine what a bummer it has been for me to have a computer that decided to go on strike the past week. what was normally taking me 15 to 20 minutes to blog about was turning into a drawn out ordeal because of the massive mood swings my motherboard was having. so i just haven't done it. i just didn't have the patience (or time) to sit through the pain of having my mind five steps ahead of my computer. it took massive amounts of patience....which i only possess "above average" amounts of... and above average amounts of time...which i have only "minimal" amounts of concerning anything that has to do with "me". so...for the past week my therapy has involved a warm tub of bubbles and a glass of Riesling instead of my usual date with the keyboard. i have been wanting to write for so many days now about various things ranging from the fact that my neighbors house got struck by lightening during the storm on thursday, or about asher's new gymnastics class, or about his playdates, or about the evolution of his imagination...but i haven't had the motivation to jump on this thing and give it a go. i thought the resistance my computer was having towards me was a sign that i should just back off. "what you resist...persists!"....SO....my babies are asleep after a car ride home and my curiosity in seeing if my computer is over her crisis has paid off! i am typing words as they come to my mind and they are showing up on my screen! yahooooooooooooooooo now....with all of that....i only have one thing to write about today. asher has developed what i might call "colorful" vocabulary in the past week. it is completely innocent, the child really has no idea of the social connotations that have been attached to these words he keeps uttering out of his perfect little mouth. unbenownst to him....he has really added some spice to our conversations. language development can be hard...sometimes entertaining... or shocking and all in all wonderfully complex. he has displayed quite an appreciation for the letter F these days. he likes to replace letters like TR or M with F....even though the original letters do their jobs well....they just don't make the cut in asher's vocabulary this month. he really likes F. to give you an idea of what i am talking about. i would like to share with you a couple of short conversations i have had with him in the past few days. the first one involves him talking about the firetrucks that appeared in front of our house after our neighbors home went up in flames on thursday (would have been another post within itself but the inspiration has escaped me). just as my mind started to wander while i watched the flames and smoke fly from the roof of a house some 50 feet away....just as i started to float into the abyss of realizing, out of all the places in the universe for lightening to strike, we were a little too close for comfort....asher offers some comedic relief. he had already been the one to bring my attention to the fire. now, as the trucks drove up with their sirens....he wanted to point them out to me. now i could just tell you to replace the letters TR with F as you read the dialogue below....but i'm just going to write it all out for you to see. just know that it is intended to be just as innocent as it was when it was first spoken. "mama da fider fuk" "ya buddy...those are fire trucks. they are going to help our neighbors" "ya...da fider fuk hep" "yes...they will help" and he continues to point out each of the 10 trucks as they showed up one by one "mama mo fider fuk" "yes buddy there are more fire trucks, that's right!" "fee fo fee fo....fider fuk!" (three, four, three, four fire trucks- this is asher's way of counting) something akin to this conversation took place over the course of the three plus hours it took for the fire trucks to stay in front of our house and take care of business. it was also retold to josh when he got home...just so he was in the loop. we talked about fire trucks a lot that night. we also tried to get the consonant T down. "asher can you say ta, ta, ta, ta ta TRUCK?" "ya...fa fa fa fa fa FUK" We're still working on that one. In fact, just yesterday asher tripped over his toy truck in the house and came up to me exclaiming with all seriousness... "mama da fuk owie hurt" "did you get hurt on your truck?" "ya owie hurt....fuk" this was followed by another lesson on the consonant T ta ta ta ta ta TRUCK. to no avail....he really likes the letter F. he often asks "where'd go fuk?" (where did the truck go?) Other conversations that leave me with my hand over my mouth trying to disguise the fact that I really want to bust a gut involve his endearment towards his new gymnastics class or "na-dics" as he calls it....and the delight he had in playing with his friend Zeke the other day or "dic" has he so confidently calls him. it appears he likes the letter D as well. and another usage of the letter F that baffles me is his ever changing word for milk. some days it is "bok"...other days it is "fok" and just this morning he quite inquisitively looked into my eyes and asked for some "botty fuk" (chocolate milk). he also likes to call berries "booty"...and the list goes on. now if i thought there was any chance of this all being something intentional...i would have quite a bit to be concerned over. but since i know that it is all a matter of displacement and experimentation...i will just enjoy it while it lasts and continue to smile at the innocent, yet saucy, expressions coming from my two year old who loves the letter F.

Environmentalist in the making

We went to a park a few days ago and Asher was displaying such great JOY over being in nature. It was a beautiful day. We were by a lake and saw duckies and all kinds of different birds. We got to lay in the dirt, eat the dirt, picnic in the grass and feel the slight breeze on our skin. As Asher chased the duckies around the pond, he got so overjoyed that he ran up to a tree and just wrapped his little arms around it as far as he could. It was such a sight. Simple living at its best. He tilted his head back and stood in awe of the wind through the leaves...and just kept a grin on his face the entire time we were there. It was magic. My little tree hugger.

All you need is love!

They are eachother's number one fans! I just love it!


So this is bliss...

You know those moments in life where you just stop? You know...things just fall together and you STOP. There aren't any things "to do" that linger in the back of your mind. Your thoughts are captivated by the moment. You tune into your senses and feel the feelings, smell the smells, hear the sounds, see the sights. My children really bring me into the NOW. This morning I was nursing Journey. There was nothing super "special" about the moment. I wasn't even paying that close of attention to what we were doing. My mind was full, as usual, and I was in my own train of thought when I felt Journey pull away from me. I look down at her and then just STOPPED. There she was, smiling at me with an open mouth, milk dribbling out of the corner of her smile...her eyes locked into mine with abnormal steadiness for a child her age. We stayed fixated on one another as I saw the emotion escalating in her face. Out of the core of her body comes a catharsis of her feelings and she expresses herself with confidence, she lets out a high pitched squeal of true delight! It was as if she had reached Nirvana...as if she was filled with the most pure joy. It was in that moment I just "got" it. It all became so clear...and I remember thinking... "I never want this moment to leave me". Not that I wanted time to stand still or for my mind to never escape that exact moment. I just want it to stay with me. Whether it is a feeling that subtly resurfaces throughout my future and exists to bring me back to that moment...or if it is a visual recollection of her face, her smell, her sounds. I just never want it to leave me. I want it to be forever inscripted in my spirit...my being...my essence. I want to take it with me when my soul ventures onward. I want to always hold the clarity I found in that moment...the wisdom that came with her joy. I just soaked up her beauty. She found extreme happiness in me providing for her needs. She was so JOYOUS in being fed and cared for. It was all so...so...SIMPLE. We are born with this innate sense of gratitude and we aren't fearful of sharing it with others. People strive to retrieve that wisdom their entire lives. And here it is...right in front of me. I didn't have to go anywhere or pay money to have it shown to me. It was presented to me in my living room. I was wearing pajamas. I was just doing what I always do. But the moment caught me, scooped me up and changed me somehow. It is in those very seconds where I am reminded that I am not always the teacher of these children. In fact, they hold more wisdom than I may ever know.


Axis of Evil

I've done it. I've really done it. Today, I located the undeniably REAL "axis of evil". I don't use that phrase lightly. In fact, the word "evil" is rarely (if ever) muttered from my lips, let alone the term above that gets tossed around like a fish at sea in today's world. I don't like the word. It is a label...a judging word...it creates fear...which creates the "other"...which creates more fear...which creates ignorance...which creates hatred...which creates war...you get the picture...I just don't often use the word. But today...I am compelled to use it. Whoever came up with the brilliant marketing ploy to place a free standing kiosk, full of stuffed monkeys, lizards, elephants and whatever other animal that just captivated the hearts of small children at the zoo, right at the exit zone, where everyone must parade themselves through....is downright EVIL. Not only do they dangle the eye candy for these poor unsuspecting children at kids eye view, they also place most of their merchandise so low that some parents have to actually PRY the object of their child's affection out of their determined fingers. I know, I know. It is genius. It takes great minds that have mastered manipulation to create a ploy like that to fuel the fires of consumer culture. After all, consumerism just plays on our desire of ownership (or in other words our inability to share), our hope that we can buy happiness (or in other words our despair if we don't have what we want at the moment), our competitive nature (or in other words our comparing ourselves to what other people have and not feeling "enough" if we don't have it), our carelessness (or disregard for how and where things come from), and so on and so forth. Come to think of it, the very foundation of consumerism itself plays on the characteristics often found in a 2 year old!! So...it makes perfect sense to appeal to their every desire to have, have, have. It isn't enough that I bought a membership to the zoo in the first place. It isn't enough that I frequent the zoo. It isn't enough that I bought a refillable thermos from the zoo and on occasion use my $1 refill benefit throughout my visits. It isn't enough that I have bought Asher several rides on the carousel. It isn't even enough that, against my better judgement, bought him a Zoo hat AND a $2.99 toy froggy that he couldn't live without at one of the small shops strategically placed by the bathroom. (In my defense, my toehead really does "need" a hat...especially on a day like today.) I already reinforced the values of consumerism that I have an ever increasing desire to start challenging more consistently. But never the less, none of this was enough. The gift shop itself, which is placed right before the zoo exit as well, isn't even enough. No...they have to stick one more obstacle on your never ending course to freedom. Seriously. When it is time to leave the zoo...it is TIME to leave the zoo. Asher was already headed for meltdown hour and he was trying so hard to be a good kid. And then we passed the kiosk. It's like running through an obstacle course where the end is in sight and then one more thing is thrown in front of you...like a sinkhole or something. He spots a lizard. Oh...how I want a lizard. If I don't have a lizard...I think I might explode. If I don't get a lizard...this could be the end. No one can come between me and my lizard. I keep walking. And it happens. The thing that these kiosk people live off of. The thing that enables their existence. The exact thing that they WANT to happen (that is why it is so evil). Asher starts screaming. He starts kicking the foot stool on his stroller. Tears start POURING down his face. He turns bright red. He is very mad...because he is heartbroken...because I am not listening to how much he REALLY wants that lizard. At this point I couldn't even understand what he was saying. I pull over to the side of the path. I ask him to calm down and to use his words. "what is it that you want Asher?" huff, huff, sigh, sigh "da yiyard?" "no buddy, we aren't going to get the lizard" More screaming, some threatening motions with his arms to let me know just how devastatingly SAD this all is, and more tears. I see that this isn't going to stop so I decide to just keep moving. No more indulging today. I keep walking. "I know it is hard buddy but I know you can handle it." Asher is really sad. He is really upset that I don't understand how much he loves that lizard. He is P-Oed. I am waking through the parking lot and the tantrum is getting worse. People are staring at me, staring at Asher. I can almost see the questions in their minds. What did she do? Why is he so hysterical? What is wrong with that kid. Top of the lungs screaming. His body starting to flail. He is literally throwing himself back and forth and I can only imagine what people are seeing with a full on view. I keep on pacing through the parking lot (which, by the way, just happened to be SO FULL this morning that I had to park in a dirt lot about 15 miles west of where I was)... ok...that is an exaggeration...but you get the picture. Asher is having a melt down. A melt DOWWWWWWnnnnnn.....all the way down. The MOTHER of all meltdowns. I decide to pull over. I squat next to him in the stroller and talk as quietly as I can. "Asher. You need to calm down" His screaming stops. The crying slows. He can't catch his breath from all the excitability in his little body. I seriously think he going to pass out. His whole face is drenched with tears. He can't keep his eyes open. He is holding on to my hands for dear life. He is one sad little kid. He calms himself down. We take some deep breaths. I ask him if he wants his froggie. He says NO. Wow. He is really sad. I tell him we are going to the car. He doesn't want to let go of me. "Do you want me to hold you?" "Yeeesh" ok. So here I am. In 96 degree weather (with JEANS on...but that part is my own fault), pushing a double stroller while holding a very tired two year old, and four wheeling my way through the desert landscape to reach the sanctuary of my car. Beautiful. I mean, I know that the money goes to keeping the zoo around. The zoo is great. It is very educational. It is fun and exciting and (hopefully) a good conservation tool. I love the zoo! But throw us a bone (preferably a lizard shaped one) and move the darn kiosk! It only creates dread in those of us who have children with hearts that cling to animal shaped gadgets and who have more determination in their pinky finger than most people have in their entire bodies. Needless to say...Asher is peacefully dozing at this moment...probably dreaming about lizards. And, I'll bet you $20 that when he wakes up...he will want to know WHY he doesn't have one in his hands. Ha! Then maybe the next time we visit the zoo, I will ignore my desire to become an activist for simple living, and I'll buy the dang lizard with my winnings!


Monkeys, Monkeys, Everywhere!

Something is haunting my dear little Asher. I am trying to figure out what the root of the problem is. He has been so reluctant to go to bed the past three nights, claiming that he is "sared" and that there is some kind of monkey or "funtey" (as he likes to call them), galavanting in his room. Now, Asher is somewhat of a drama queen. He likes to really get emotions across and sometimes he just likes to "play" with his acting skills. I have a pretty keen sense of when he is REALLY scared and when he just wants to liven up life a little bit. When the nocturnal monkeys who have set up camp in his bedroom start swinging from his fan, ( I am assuming that is what they would do), he is prompted to open the door, close it tightly behind him, tiptoe silently to the side of the sofa with his half-open eyes and arms held close across his chest, and quietly say (convincing body shake included) "mama...em saaaaaareeeed" with the corners of his mouth pinned down to his chin.
"What are you scared of bud?"
"Da funtey....ooooh ooooh aaaah aaaah (just in case I wasn't aware of the terribly frightening noise they make)
"There are monkeys in your room?"
"Well let's go see if we can make them dissapear."
So, since this scenario has occured over the course of three nights, we have had to try a few different things to scare those awful monkeys away. The first night I brought out my eucalyptus pillow spray and told Asher that it was magic and would make all of the monkeys go night night so that they wouldn't keep him awake anymore. We sprayed it on his pillow, in the air, and at the foot of the bed. I let Asher squirt some where the monkeys were and he was absolutely delighted to help solve his monkey problem. This seemed to help with the monkeys but it didn't quite solve the "asher isn't going to sleep and keeps going in and out of his room" dillemma we were facing. He wanted more water. Instead of just asking for water, he has to go through a routine that he has invented to buy some time out in the world of the people without a bedtime. It goes a little something like this.
"Mama...da ju?" (mama, may I have some juice?)
"No buddy, no juice, it is time to go night-night"
"uuuuhhhhh....da fok? (yes it sounds a little R rated when you say it out loud...what he is asking for is milk)
"No buddy, no milk, it is night night time."
"uuuuhhhhh....da waderrrr"
"Yes! Of course you can have some water"
"Oh, aaawwwight!" With an instant smile appearing on his face.
So, after a few rounds of this and another one of him asking me to sing him the "shishie son" (fishie song)...he was off to dreamland on night #1. The second night brought more monkeys. After informing me of the problem just seconds after I had tucked him in, I couldn't resist the temptation of letting Josh handle the situation this time around.
"Buddy why don't you tell daddy about the monkeys....maybe he can help you out."
"Daddy...da funtey....ooh ooohh aaaah aaaah"
Asher at this point gets distracted by some kind of tantalizing treasure that he had pulled out of the junk drawer earlier in the day. Josh tries to get him to focus on the monkeys.
"Asher....show me the monkeys"
No reply...not even a glance to show that his audible senses are functioning correctly.
"Asher...show me the MONKEYS. Show me the MONKEYS"
At this point a picture of Tom Cruise shouting into a telephone flashes across my head and I let some tired giggles slip from my lips.
Josh has to physically remove Asher from the gadget... takes Asher into his bedroom where I soon can hear the two of them shouting "get out of here monkeys....get out of here monkeys!" It seems to have worked. Asher stays in his bedroom for one minute...two minutes...we're up to three...oh wait! His little hands so determined to twist the doorknob and set him free. His little footsteps on the carpet....
"yes Asher"
"da ju?"
Here we go again. This time....the monkeys reappear and I end up having to sing songs to Asher until he falls asleep. I sing the sunshine song, the fishie song and then start taking request from the little guy. He wants an "eeew son" (an eel song)...I don't know any songs about eels so I just make it up as I go along. Ok...that was satisfactory...how about a "saur son"...ummmmm. How about I make up a song about Asher! That sounds like fun. So off I go on a song about the boy with the wild spirit who loves animals and fishies and strawberries and his baby sister and who is so lucky to be surrounded by so much love. So much love in fact that it makes all of the bad monkeys go bye bye and protects him while he sleeps....and....his hand that was playing with my right ear falls down to the safety of his mattress. He is asleep. Good work.
#3...last night as we prepared for bed I was anticipating more monkeys. There weren't any...but there was great dread in being left behind in his bedroom with nothing but the glow of the night light and the 10 plus stuffed animals, ranging from sharks to a life size elmo, that take up the majority of the space on his bed. Josh had recently watched Nanny 911 and was on a kick about how we shouldn't talk to him when he seeks us out. We should just take him back to his bed and leave promptly. You can imagine just how hard that is when dealing with Asher. The kid has a spirit similar to Abe Lincoln. He never gives up. Here he was...getting in and out of his bed, asking for anything he could think of (and at this point he was stuttering just to come up with something to ask about). I take him back to his bedroom while Josh folds the laundry. He is pulling on my arm "mama...em sarrrrreeeeed". Now really. We all know the scared bit is probably an antic to stay up later and to have some mama and daddy company....especially given the great JOY Asher was displaying when we would indulge in his story. But...if I would have just ignored this, I would have felt like I just turned off my "human switch" and became a hunk of metal. Frankly, I like the fact that I have a heart.
"Oh buddy there isn't anything to be scared of"
And I just start talking. I take Nanny 911's advice and shove it.* I talk and talk. I talk to him about his day and all of the things we did. I talk to him about how much I love him and start listing things that are so special about him. I talk to him about God and how we are all connected and that there is no reason to worry about anything. I talk and talk and talk.....until once again...he is asleep. * there have been several times I have listened to her advice and have been pleasantly pleased with the results...I'm not a nanny hater.
Tonight rolls around and I am resisting the inevitable bedtime hour. What kind of rigamaroll will we have to go through tonight? Not much really. Asher didn't want to be left behind. He cried pretty hard...I went in to check on him....I sang him the Angel song...the fishie song....he asked for an eel song...I told him it was time to go night night...I kissed him goodnight and he was fine. He drifted off to sleep within 5 minutes after that.
So what is going on? Why the sudden sleep saga? This is the same kid that was laying down to sleep with a hug, a kiss, a snug-as-a-bug-in-a-rug tuck in, a wave at the door, an exchange of "bye-bye's, see you laters" and that was that. Could it be that new "Elmo in Grouchland" movie I picked up for him last week that was only $5 but after seeing his reaction to it, could end up costing thousands of dollars in therapy later down the line? Is it that he is copping out on his naptime and just using his room as an obstacle course during his quiet times? Is it that he is reaching new milestones and can't seem to switch gears when it is time to go to bed? I really don't know the answer. But I think he is talking to Journey and somewhat successfully trying to get her on his side. I have reason to believe that he has talked with his people and they have granted her a membership to the club. Yep...I think she is an official Warrior of Wakefulness. The two of them may just help eliminate the already endangered word "sleep" from my vocabulary. At least it wouldn't be lonely...I'm afraid "nap" is already extinct.


pass the butter, please

So...it has been one of "those" days for me. I actually have them quite a lot and it always reaffirms my belief that none of this parenting stuff comes all that natural for me. This gig is not for wimps. Whether you are a stay at home dad, a stay at home mom, a work outside the home dad or mom...it doesn't matter. This stuff is for real. Not that today was all that difficult. We had a great morning. Josh actually got to leave late for work so it was nice to have him stick around for a while, even though it may have put us a little off kilter as far as our "routine" is concerned (yes those words just came out of MY mouth...who'd a thought, huh?). We had breakfast, we watched Sesame Street, we read books, we rocked, we nursed, we played with our "saurs" as usual. We even mustered up the energy to take a little trip down to my sister's shop, Uptown Girls Downtown Boys, to oooh and aaaaah over what just may be the cutest kids clothes in the universe. We even treated ourselves to the artery clogging goodness of Wendy's chicken nuggets and fries. Good day, right? Right. But somewhere along the way...my mind started to wander. I know exactly when it was actually. On the way home from the shop I saw a young 20 something guy walking along the side of the road with a back pack full of his every belonging I am assuming. Yep...that is when I got lost in my own series of "what ifs". So, I started down the path of wondering what if....I wouldn't have started this life as a mom. Where would I be? What would I be doing. Treking through Europe with a back pack full of all of my essentials....learning the joys and hardships of simplicity, of being a lone explorer in a world full of beauty and sadness. Would I be in Africa serving in the Peace Corps, building wells and homes for people that never have known the "luxurious" lifestyle of indoor plumbing, running water, or electricity to name a few. Would I be in an eclectic city, working at a coffee shop exploring my creative nature to new heights and lengths? Really...where would I be? I have a very enticing set of wings. I wouldn't say that they are extra big or really all that sturdy...but there isn't a day that goes by that they don't remind me that they exist. They like to get used...they like to take test runs. They even like just taking off without knowing where they might take me to. I really like my wings. The only problem is that I feel that during this time in my life....during these amazingly important years in my childrens' lives...I need to use my roots a little bit more than I am accustomed to. Roots, wings...it is a never ending quest to find balance with these juxtaposing realities in my life. Some days...I like the roots. I enjoy developing more organization in my life...more consistency...more foundation. Other days...I ache to use my wings...to take them out for a spin and to say "adios" to stability. Reality is...the chillins' need stability and then so do I. I am amazed to watch the difference in Asher's behavior when we set and stick to a routine throughout his days. He needs it. He wants it. He is free to learn from it. So...as a parent who has made the decision to be with these children day in and day out...I struggle. Not that I know exactly what I would rather DO. I mean what holds more value in this world than shaping and teaching the next generation of humans? Is there anything? There are immeasurable ways in which to do this...not just through having and raising children as a parent. But since these souls chose me to be their mother...I take that trust very seriously and want to be everything that they need me to be. Right now...I think they need me to explore my roots and ability to ground myself. Right now....I think they need from me what I struggle to find within myself...they need me to be a rock. I know that down the road they will most likely need me to help them find their wings. They will need me to take them on some serious adventures...they may just need me to be the gypsy that I am at heart. Who knows? I just have to TRUST the process of life and know that I am exactly where I need to be. The grass is always greener anyway...isn't it? There are great big blessings that come from this life I am living. And I can tell you one thing for sure...I have never in my life been challenged to dig deep in the ways that I have the past three years. I mean it...this is some really intense stuff! So it wasn't all that rare for me to come home...to sink into the relief of having both children sleeping soundly...to take a hot shower...to put on my comfies and to sit in front of the computer with a head full of ponder, a heart full of longing and an undeniable urge to blog about it all. But it was just too much. I wasn't going to go there. So I get up and decide to reintroduce myself to the cinnamon strudle bread that I made this morning. I cut a slice, heat it up and reach inside my recently stocked fridge to find the butter. I open the lid and there, so delicately carved with a butter knife are the words " I LOVE YOU". Deductive reasoning only left one culprit for this. It had to be that one of a kind guy in my life, Josh. It was so simple, yet it left me with a clean mind. I just sighed away everything else that was occupying my life at the moment and sat there smiling at the butter (seriously...it was probably a pathetic sight to see). It gave me the ever so vital piece of thankfulness for the things in my life that "tie" me down. Really now....who would have done that for me in the Peace Corps?


I really love these photos because they capture a side of Asher that not everyone gets to see. He is really into books. Sometimes during the day, the house will fall eerily silent. When I go to find out what has captivated my little energizer bunny...I find this. He will be locked into a book, his eyes fixated on the pages to discover their every detail. These pictures speak volumes to me because when you catch Asher in these moments, you can really SEE his imagination at work and it makes me so curious. What does this little guy think about? I think this world is going to be a different place with this kid around...and I'm so grateful that I get a front row seat!

a little soul searching...

A few of the comments responding to a previous post got some of us thinking about what it is we can choose in life and what it is that we don't have control over. Of course...this is probably a questions that travels with us all the way through life. How much of our life is what we have created and how much of it is just the way things are...out of our control...under the instruction and guidance of our higher power? How much of life can we change...and how much do we just need to accept and think positively about? I agree with Cory when she says that so much of our happiness depends on our perception. When life starts out we seem to trust everything that happens..we are all clean slates for our story to be written on. Then our stories take place...we get hurt, we get influenced, we accomplish things, sometimes we don't always get what we hope for. I think in one way or another, all of us in "mid" stride through life have noticed that our life isn't exactly what we thought it would be. I know for me it isn't. But...what we do with it is what counts! I like to think that I bring my passions for social justice, cultural awareness, conscious living, personal & spiritual growth, and so on into the life I am living on a daily basis. I like to think I am working to help create mindful children who carry compassion and concern for people and the planet. I like to think those things and yet, sometimes I get to feeling like my reality doesn't quite reflect all of the things within me. Not that it always has to...but I do feel more comfortable in my own skin when I am living my truth. I started re-reading this book on simple living. It is all about down-shifting in our lives so that we can live a life that better reflects our values and that enhances the well-being of ourselves, our communities, and the planet as a whole. There is a chapter near the beginning that takes the reader through a series of questions to help them define their values in order to see if their daily lives are in tune with these values. The author's argue that living a more simplified life results in greater health and happiness. Again, it is a movement that requires an open mind and a little bit of questioning the status quo...which is always a healthy thing in my opinion and something I hope I exemplify. How much of our day (energy, time, etc) goes towards these values? Good questions...I thought that I would share for those of you so inclined!:) 1.How do you define success? You might want to rephrase this question, in terms of how you would define a "life with no regrets". What would your life look like without regrets? How would you spend your time? 2. What do you think our purpose is here on earth? Why are we here? As Wendell Berry asks in one of his essays, "What are people for?" 3. What matters to you most? What do you hold sacred? When do you feel most at peace? What brings you the most fulfillment? 4. What characteristics do you value in friends? 5. What are families for? What does our family believe in? What's important to us? What do we stand for? 6. What makes you happy? What activities give you the greatest joy? What activities do we like to do together as a family?


That's my dad!

I think there is quite a friendship forming here...wouldn't you say? Looking at these pictures makes me so happy that my children have such a great daddy! My dad was, and continues to be, such a powerful influence in my life. I think that my kiddos will probably feel the same way about theirs. He is a good man!


Can she get any cuter??? I just love her!:) This little girl is, no joke, always smiling at me...unless she is a little tired or hungry and then she makes a few grunts and moans to let me know what is bothering her. Other than that...what joy she keeps in her heart! I was so happy to find a cute BLUE outfit for Journey...I just had to get it. Doesn't she look so good in this color? It makes her eyes jump out at you. I couldn't take enough pictures of her this day because she was being so darn expressive.

Studious Joe

We discovered that Asher has a real interest in aqua doodle coloring pages after spending an evening with Granny and Grandpa Rundio, who had a few at their house. I was amazed that my wild child was sitting still for an extended period of time with such determination and interest! We bought him some of his own and he really loves discovering the colors and pictures that show up. Look at the concentration in his face...isn't that so great? He really favored his left hand when he was working on these this day. Hmmmm....creative process I guess!

The newest blue-grass band

Asher and Papa created a band when papa came over to tune my guitar. Asher busted out his skills on the harmonica while Papa played a few Peter, Paul and Mary tunes. Let's come up with a name for the new band!!

My Buddy

We went to the zoo last week with Uncle Matt, Auntie Jamie and Beth, Eric, Elijah and Dylan (Matt's brother, sister-in-law and nephews). Asher had such a blast even though it was right smack in the middle of his nap time. He really wanted to hang out with Uncle Matt...so it was convenient that they wore matching outfits that day!