Sunday, July 14, 2013


I wore a bikini to the beach on Friday. Big deal, right? Well, it was a big deal. I'm not quite the bikini body you like to see on a sunny, summertime beach. I'm more of the 30 pounds overweight, she-should-put-some-more-clothes-on beach body. And yet ... I did it. I felt sick to my stomach (yes, the flabby, 9 months post partum, stretch marks from here to there, white-ass belly) when I peeled my shirt off. Okay, okay. It was more like a careful tug off, so that my milk-filled breasts didn't pop out of the top. Luckily, I can't see the back of my legs or I'm sure I would have been way more self-conscious about those cows. But I can't, so I wasn't. I flipped off my shorts (okay, okay, I quickly pulled 'em down, hoping no one was watching.) Then I strode out of the shade and off my blanket towards the water and my waiting family. I should back up a bit. First of all, I'm not a swimmer. At all. In fact, if I could go a summer without having to be near a body of water - I would tooooootttallly do it. Unfortunately, I really want my gals to learn to swim, so I park my rear on the blanket for two weeks each summer while they go to lessons at the local lake. I sit in the shade so I don't worry about sunburn or getting too hot. Because I've turned into my mother, apparently. Secondly, I used to have a bikini body. Oh sure, at the time, I was convinced I was "too fat" (read that in a teenager's whiny voice) but hindsight is 20/20 and I looked good back then. Tanned, toned, a bit more confidence than I have now ... Sigh. I didn't like the water then, either. I was more into the hours of lazing in the sun. "Tanning" with a book, lemon juice in my hair, and a timer so I could get evenly bronzed. But now. Now, I'm just a 30 something mama who doesn't think about summer and what that means until swim lessons start. I love to eat. I hate to sweat. Doesn't make for a great combo for a bikini body. And yet, I put that baby on and walked from the shade out into the sun and into the water. The whole time I was walking I thought about all of the different parts of me that were jiggling, the parts that were blinding others with their white-ness, the parts that were society-deemed ugly. Once I got into the water and waded (then dog paddled, because that's about as much as I can do) toward my family, all of that negativity melted away. My family was out there having fun - and so was I. I was in the water, playing. My gals were super excited to have me out there. They told me they were surprised to see me. They told me they were glad to see me. And they told me they liked my swim suit. Two people said to me that day that they wished they were as confident as me. Yes, I do realize that they meant they wish they could be "fat" and wear a bikini and not care what others thought. Oh I cared. The whole time I was walking out of the lake back to my blanket, there was a running commentary of all of the rude things people were saying about me, in my head. Were people actually commenting on my size and lack of suit? Maybe. Most people were probably not even looking at me. Many people probably didn't even notice me at all. But during that oh-so-long walk from water to shade (all of ten seconds, probably), I was convinced I was the talk of the beach ... and not in a good way. Today, I can still feel the knot of anxiety, writing about the walk to and from the water. But even louder, I hear the happiness in the voices of my children, glad to spend time with me, no matter what I look like in a bikini.

Thursday, June 23, 2011


We recently got a puppy. Recently as in last Sunday. It was my idea (and one day it will prove to be a good one, I just know it!) but for now, it's as if I have another child, one that I didn't have 9 months to prepare for. She's eight weeks old, which makes my 1.5 yo seem like a breeze. In fact, I can trust my baby more right now then I can the dog. Which makes for a looooooong day, when your toddler seems like a big kid. My husband keeps telling me, "remember, you wanted this" which means I can NEVER complain about any of this to him. I'll be damned if he's going to know that this past week was harder for me than the weeks postpartum. No way - he's going to think it's all been a funhouse. And if I seem to go to bed a bit earlier every night, it's only because this rainy weather makes me tired. It is absolutely not because the dog's 4 a.m. wake up call is making me regret that I ever uttered the word "pet". So, here comes the weekend and with it: fake smiling and so much patience that I can barely stand myself. Wish me luck and wish Matilda an urge to urinate OUTdoors.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


Some days it's all I can do not to cry when I think about how incredibly fast this world is turning. I used to always get so annoyed with my mama when she cried at sappy movies or when my brother and I hit yet another milestone. Daniel and I would joke about it - "there goes Mom again" and roll our eyes. But now, now I understand it. We all try to live our lives to the fullest, to capture each moment, savor the new day. Yet no matter how slow we take things, at 11:59 each night, the day is over. There will never be another May 25, 2011.

When my first child was born, different people would tell me, "Enjoy this. It goes so quickly." I heard it so many times that I would cringe each time I would hear it yet again. I had a terrible time nursing my baby and couldn't wait to NOT have to do it. I looked forward to her hitting each milestone. Since she was our first child, she got lots of attention from us and I can remember stories and feelings and special times with her. My middle child was born when our oldest was only two and a half. Regrettably, I can see how I wasn't able to relish each moment with her in my arms, since I was also tending to a toddler. And it breaks my heart.

In November, I birthed my third babe and have devoted myself to her. She rarely cries. She is always held or being entertained by her big sisters. I am totally 'in the moment' now with all three of my sweet children and yet, that feeling of time slipping away is still there. I have never been happier than I am right now, at this very moment, as the mother to these wonderful beings and partner to my fabulous husband. I want it to be enough - but if I sit still and ponder the future, I burst into tears.

I want to live forever. There, I've said it aloud. I want to experience all of the changes each of my children will go through. I want to see their children's grandchildren. Hell, I want to see if VT really does turn into the temperate rainforest it is supposed to, due to global warming. This will never be 'enough.' Living life to the fullest or simply taking each moment at a time is a contradiction. And yet, each different path has the same outcome. Time still goes on.

One year it is Kindergarten graduation. Soon it will be high school ... The thought of my sweet little ladies growing up and away kills me. My mom used to have a quote on her fridge that she found somewhere: "Give your children two lasting things... One is roots, the other is wings." I love this. I love the imagery it brings to mind of tethering your children's heart to yours, while they are flying high.

So, I'm going to keep crying. And my brother will keep calling me "mom." I am going to want to live as long as all of my children do so that I don't miss a thing. But I can reconcile my heart breaking with my heart overflowing by being the best mama, wife, friend, daughter, sister that I can be each day of my life. I'll never be good friends with Time, but hopefully I will show her that I'm the ruler of how my days go.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Clutter be gone!

From now until the end of the year, I'm going to get rid of one thing each day. (Don't worry, fellow environmentalists, "get rid of" in my case means thrift store, repurpose or re-gift...) This is not because I have so much stuff - but rather it is because I have too much clutter. In thinking about buying this place (or moving ... again) I want to be able to do so with a clear mind. And in my world a cluttered room/desk/home equals a frazzled mind. I'm ready to change that!

Today's thing is an empty pencil box that I will instead use to put my daughter's hair curlers into. And the plastic bag with holes in it the curlers used to reside in, will be recycled. Okay. Not too hard. My mind feels freer already.......

Saturday, November 13, 2010

how to be a good ...

What makes a person a good parent? A good friend, daughter, spouse? I've been thinking about that lately. It's hard for me to separate myself into my different roles many days. I may feel like the world's greatest mama, but may be totally sucking in the best friend category. Or vice-versa. How can we be everything to everyone at all times? We can't; I know that. But how to reconcile the vast space in between our good days and bad ones?

I've been hit by a case of the overwhelms. And it's not that my life is sooo hard or that I'm sooo busy or that I'm sooo important. I just can't get on top of being a good mama, spouse, friend, housekeeper to the level that makes me feel good about being each of these things. I keep telling myself, "IF ..." You know, "if I could get this done" or "if I had the patience" or "if I did" then everything would magically change and POOF! I could be the best (fill in the blank) for each person in my life.

I keep amassing books about how to be a good parent, better housekeeper, more patient partner. Perhaps what I really need to do instead of read all of these is do what makes me feel good about myself in the myriad of roles I am cast in. Is there a way to get over this feeling of 'not good enough'? Can I embrace my shortcomings and still be a good person?

Aha! That's it. Being a good person encompasses all of the roles each of us performs daily. It's not so much 'how to be a good wife' but how to be a good person whose traits can be found in a wife. Right? Does this make sense? If I'm polite and giving and kind, then it would make sense that each relationship that I have would then bear these qualities as well. (Although, as a 'homemaker' furniture/dust/dishes don't require *quite* the same qualities...)

Being a good person sure sounds easy. Perhaps the hardest part for me won't be 'being good' but instead accepting my shortcomings. So if that means I only mop twice a year, at least it got done! And if that means I play tea party with my girls so often they learn to speak with a British accent, but in the mean time, I forget to teach them to skip, so be it. And even if that means I eat cookies when I should be exercising, at least I can be comfortable in my own body.

To finish my ramblings, I guess what is most important is to be a person people both look up to and respect. I want my children to be nice, kind people, so I'm going to be the person they want to be. And maybe some afternoon, we'll cut our tea party short, go outside and skip. Or perhaps instead, we'll just bake some cookies to go with our tea. How lovely.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Our trip to Washington

1) The Pacific Northwest is just as beautiful as you think it is.

2) Coffee shops ARE everywhere ... but that doesn't mean the coffee is always better. (Best cup I had was waiting in line to get on a ferry. Thanks, Crusty Crab man.)

3) If you wanna feel competitive, take a whale-watching boat out to see the orcas. If you think people trying to catch a bride's bouquet throw elbows - you ain't seen nuthin' until the whales are spotted. HOLD ON TO THE SIDE OF THE BOAT or risk being pushed over so that the person beside you can get the picture they want! Kids are in just as much danger, fyi.

4) When hanging out with adults, you will seem like a super-parent for bringing your family of five across the United States. (Especially if they are very well-behaved.)

5) Don't forget your pajamas if you are camping in a colder climate. You will then have to go into town to buy something and look like a walking advertisement for that town.

6) ALWAYS bring more clothes for your children than you think you need.

7) When transferring the groom's ring from the box to the shell it will be carried in, do not drop it. It will sink immediately. And then every person there will give advice on where to find it.

8) Finding a metal detector on a Sunday morning, in a tourist town, that you then use to find said ring will make you into a hero.

9) Weddings on the beach at sunrise are beautiful, even if there is no sun because it's raining for the first time since you arrived.

10) Hotels are worth every penny after four days of camping.

11) Apparently if the airline misplaces your carseat/stroller, you can RENT one from them.

12) The airline will return the missing carseat/stroller HOURS after they call at 6 in the morning to let you know that they will be returning it to you.

13) Men are just as captivated as women by toothless, smiling, good babies. (Except for plain ol' jerks who recline their seats, but sit forward in them. And then sigh loudly every time they are kicked by babies who are very excitable.)

14) If you plan to bring home shells/sea glass/beach rocks - rinse them before you put them into your suitcase. Otherwise your bag will smell like rotting seaweed.

15) Hero or not, colds will attack anyone standing out in the rain for hours not properly dressed...

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

From one nursing mama to another

Welcome to the July 2010 Carnival of Nursing in Public

This post was written for inclusion in the Carnival of Nursing in Public hosted by Dionna and Paige at All week, July 5-9, we will be featuring articles and posts about nursing in public ("NIP"). See the bottom of this post for more information.


When I birthed my first child in 2004, I knew that breastfeeding was beneficial for my baby but I had no idea it was also supposed to be enjoyable for me. Looking back at my struggles now, it makes me so sad to remember that I was offered help, but just didn’t take it. Part of why I continued to have trouble nursing for almost two years was that I was too embarrassed to ask for help. I couldn’t imagine yet another person (other than the nurses and midwives that had already tried) touching my breasts. The other reason I continually struggled was pride. I didn’t want anyone else to know that I couldn’t get something as ‘easy’ as breastfeeding. I didn’t realize that breastfeeding is not as easy as it looks for everyone, but with the right help, it could have been something that my baby and I took pleasure and comfort in together.

I had high expectations of myself in the role as a mother, beginning with pregnancy. I ate well, exercised daily and took as many naps as I could, resulting in a relatively easy pregnancy. My labor was normal, a little long, but peaceful in general. The trouble started after my babe was earth side… in my arms and ready to eat. For the life of me, I couldn’t get the hang of breastfeeding. Not only that, but this was the first time in my life that my breasts were not mine. They were there to be pinched, sucked, squeezed and I was mortified. I was very shy and the thought of someone else coming in and trying to force my nipple into my baby’s mouth was almost too much for me. The nurse brought by a breastfeeding ‘how-to’ video for me to watch. The only thing worse than watching that was watching the same nurse pinch my breast and force my daughter’s mouth on it. It was terrible.

Once I was home, I thought I would be able to get the hang of it by myself without anyone around. I had no idea that it wouldn’t be that simple. Within a week my nipples were cracked and bleeding, beyond what was normal, as my midwife exclaimed in surprise. I lubed them up with lanolin; let them air dry; cried; but nothing was working. I called the local La Leche leader for advice over the phone, but I couldn’t get my baby to latch on the correct way. I tried different positions, all to no avail. A friend offered to come help, but I was too bashful. I dreaded each nursing and cried for weeks every time she latched on. I finally gave up. Not nursing – no, I nursed her almost two years, wincing with pain practically every time she took her first swallow. I gave up on thinking anything was wrong. I just figured some women must not be able to enjoy nursing as much as others do.

Having been through this cycle two more times (currently nursing baby number three) I am here to say two things. One – breastfeeding does get easier with practice. Two – ask for help. Nurses, doctors, midwives have seen it all, as have La Leche leaders. If a friend offers to help – let her help; she’s not going to judge you (or your breasts.) Birthing a baby is one of those times in a woman’s life where she is allowed, even encouraged, to ask for help. Asking for help in no way makes us bad mamas – quite the reverse. Being able to ask and receive help prepares us for all of those other situations that will be presented to us as mothers. Comfortably enjoying the brief time you and your baby have together while breastfeeding is worth so much more than worrying about pride or embarrassment.

(And to those mamas out there who have been through it – give advice, offer to help, share your story! You may be just what a new nursing mama needs.)

Art by Erika Hastings at

Welcome to the Carnival of Nursing in Public

Please join us all week, July 5-9, as we celebrate and support breastfeeding mothers. And visit any time to connect with other breastfeeding supporters, learn more about your legal right to nurse in public, and read (and contribute!) articles about breastfeeding and N.I.P.

Do you support breastfeeding in public? Grab this badge for your blog or website to show your support and encourage others to educate themselves about the benefits of breastfeeding and the rights of breastfeeding mothers and children.

This post is just one of many being featured as part of the Carnival of Nursing in Public. Please visit our other writers each day of the Carnival. Click on the links below to see each day’s posts - new articles will be posted on the following days:
July 5 - Making Breastfeeding the Norm: Creating a Culture of Breastfeeding in a Hyper-Sexualized World
July 6 – Supporting Breastfeeding Mothers: the New, the Experienced, and the Mothers of More Than One Nursing Child
July 7 – Creating a Supportive Network: Your Stories and Celebrations of N.I.P.
July 8 – Breastfeeding: International and Religious Perspectives
July 9 – Your Legal Right to Nurse in Public, and How to Respond to Anyone Who Questions It