Friday, September 7, 2018

May your dreams be larger than mountains and may you have the courage to scale their summits.
Harley King

P.S. Acorn's dad is *way* more comfortable on mountain ledges than me. Maybe *too* comfortable. :-|

Friday, August 31, 2018

Returning to the Woods

Ravens playing over Stony Man Mountain, Shenandoah National Park

Just over two years ago (Yes, it's really been that long), I made the decision to stop lurking on our local Hike it Baby group and actually go to an event. It was super hard for me, because I am:

1. Awkward as fuck. Those awkward penguin memes that are so popular? I am that penguin.
2. Ludicrously shy. Which makes point #1 even more obvious.
3. A bit armored when it comes to friendships. I've been burned badly and it has been difficult for me to get out of my own way and let people into my life.

But, the local group combined something I had (babies) and something I really missed doing (hiking) but felt too nervous to do with a baby on my own, so I decided to just toss Acorn and my baby carrier in the car and show up for a hike.

It was hands down one of the best decisions I have ever made.

Not only have Acorn and I logged hundreds of miles of adventure time, but it reignited my passion for something I'd missed since leaving the North and my close proximity to the AT. Even during trying times on the trail due to tantrums (the little guy was only about 18 months when we started hiking together), injuries, heat, whatever, I have never regretted getting out into Nature together.

Acorn and I to the right, hiking off the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina

Returning to the woods has healed me in so many ways. It rekindled my connection to Momma Earth, I am sharing something I love with my son, I met one of my oldest internet friends for a hike up a cliff where we bonded while ravens swooped and played nearby, it literally got me out of my head several times during the long last few months of health trials and answers. The two months that I was too sleep deprived and sick to venture too far from my house felt like forever - I longed to be back out on the trail. To feel the crunch of dirt and rocks under my shoes, to see my son jumping off of every rock and excitedly pointing to bugs, birds, and plants he spotted.

Hitting the trails healed me in another way, too.

It caused me to drop some of my armor and actively welcome some of the women I've met and their families in to my heart. I expected to make some "mom" friends, some "trail" friends when I joined this group, but what I found are some true, close friends who have made my life fuller and helped me get through these trials - the toughest of my life. I never felt like I was "out of sight out of mind" during my time off the trails; there were messages of love, offers to help in all manner of ways, food dropped off, childcare for appointments.

I returned to the woods to find myself again, to share the wonder of this beautiful Earth with my child, and in so doing I found so much more than I had hoped for.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Begin Again

Artwork by Flora Bowley

The urge to get back to blogging has been nipping at me periodically for some time. The desire to write and get back to this space of mine, to explore and share my spirituality and life through words. This popped up in my social media feed earlier and felt like an artful swift kick in the ass to stop finding excuses not to blog (or paint) or worry about how... and just begin again.

I'm not going to lie friends. This past year has kicked my ass something fierce. Here's the super condensed nutshell version.

I turned 35 in February. 4 days into March I was in the hospital for what presented as a possible heart attack. After a week of waking up with vertigo, shakes, nausea, and complete panic that would last all morning and in to the afternoon, I realized it was anxiety. Called my therapist as soon as the revelation hit. Started waking up within 3 hours of falling asleep shaking and in panic mode, could not go back to sleep. For an entire week.

Somehow, I didn't completely lose my mind. Acorn got to watch a loooot of Super Why. (I've switched to using a nickname rather than my son's real name. And now hate Super Why.) My Doctor gave me Lunesta. Which got me about 4 - 5 hours of sleep. Still shaking in the mornings. We tried Lexapro, but it made me so sick after two doses that I ended up hospitalized for the 2nd time in a month, this time due to dehydration.

My doctors basically told me, I'm a woman of a certain age now, so it's likely just hormones and nerves. I said, the FUCK it is.

I got myself in with a psychiatrist who has been wonderful. We found a very mild med that works well for the anxiety. But, while we did so, I continued to see my therapist. And ALSO, got myself in to see my gastroenterologist to check for ulcers or other digestive issues that can flare and cause anxiety (especially while sleeping), had a full hormone panel run (everything is perfect. So FUCK that hormones theory), and went to see a sleep doctor.

Who immediately told me it's sleep apnea. But they couldn't get me in for a sleep study until the end of June. This was early April. I called a different sleep doctor.

He also told me it's sleep apnea, but elaborated on believing so not only because I snore and was waking up panicked, but because not a single sleep medicine would keep me out, and most wouldn't put me to sleep because I'd snore myself awake just as I was dosing off and that was it. I was up. He set me up with a home sleep study 2 weeks later and it was confirmed. I have sleep apnea.

I'm still on my Buspar for the anxiety to help my nervous system calm the hell down from this ordeal, and I've been on CPAP for 2 months. Let me tell you, the difference in how I'm feeling is pretty tremendous. I could climb a mountain! And have, a few times since.

Not terribly big ones, mind, because I've got a 4 year old in tow, but still. Mountains. ;)

P.S. In addition to not using my kiddo's real name anymore, if you scroll back through older entries all of my photos are probably telling you they're private. I won't be showing his face here much, either. That's just how I'm choosing to roll from here on out and it was easier to make my photos private en masse. At some point, I'll go in an change the privacy settings on the ones I'm cool with sharing. But tonight is not that night.

Sunday, July 24, 2016


This Week I am Grateful For:

* Thunderstorms and the rainbows that follow them.
* Listening to my husband read our son bed time stories and sing him to sleep.
* A fresh haircut.
* Exercise.
* Taking care of myself again. Because that means this fucking fog is finally lifting again and maybe I'll be laughing more easily again soon.
* Music and Harry Potter re-reads.
* Huge hug tackles after Acorn yells "hug!" and charges me down to jump up and wrap his arms around my neck.
* Lone long walks in the heat. This just ties back in to "taking care of myself".
* Being OK with what I do and don't get done. Knowing it's enough.
* Hard stable ground and strong winds whipping around.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

On the Farm

During our renovations, we took time to stop for play and rest. One of the things we did was take Acorn to visit a local farm.

Growing up in farm country, farms were old hat to me. Half of my friends grew up on farms! But living in the suburbs, Acorn's missing out on really seeing the animals he sees in his books. Luckily, there's a small farm about 3 minutes from my best friend's house that had an open house and tour last weekend.

So we loaded our little dude in to the car and drove across town to get our fill of farm fresh cheese and yogurt (from sheep and goats! No cows here.), touch all the wool blankets and skeins and roving that I wanted to throw all of our money at, and of course, visit with the animals.

There were some little lambs that we were able to get up close with and Acorn was maybe a bit too excited about them; especially their tails! So I had to hold him back to keep him from hug/tackling them or trying to drag one home by its tail. Poor things!

We *do* have horses next door to us, so while he was incredibly interested, and even a little freaked out by, the sheep and goats he was completely comfortable around the horses. I laughed at how he gave this friendly old guy the brush off - "quit sniffing my hair, horse!"

We'll definitely go back when they have their next open weekend!

Friday, June 17, 2016

Veggies, Renovations, and Summer Scenes

There's been quite a lot going on here lately, and due to the relentless heat, I'm grateful that a lot of it has been inside or in the shade!

Acorn's been super in to helping Joe and I out with every thing we do lately; when I'm in the kitchen he pulls out the folding step stool and drags it over for me to unfold so he can "help" with cooking dinner. Since he still tries to touch the stove or grab knives, he helps by standing at the edge of the counter holding the spice jars. And, if something is cool, putting ingredients in the bowl/pot and adding those spices.

Over the weekend, he helped me make two jars of fridge pickles. Then helped Joe mow the lawn while I started my very first batch of sauerkraut.

We've been prepping the house this past week for our first major renovation in the 5 years since we moved in. We're tearing up the carpet in the living room and 2 hallways and replacing them with high quality laminate, and changing the wall colors. Since we'll be replacing the floors, we need to move all of the furniture out, which means we needed to take all of the stuff off of it. We also had to take all of the pictures and paintings off the walls, which makes our home feel awfully naked.

Our poor cat, Molly, has been freaking out as things disappear, while Luna and Acorn are unphased. Molly's moved enough times to know that usually when stuff gets packed away, it means he's going to get stuck in a crate in the car at some point. Poor thing.

When it's been cooler in the evenings, we've been pushing Acorn on his swing and hanging in our hammocks watching the fireflies and bats and taking a reprieve from all of the work that's been or is waiting to be done.

I'm learning how to hold on to the to-do list a little less tightly and to chillax every now and then. Even in the midst of a major project.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Gratitude*Sunday A Day Late

Each Sunday I stop and count my blessings.

Taking time to honor the things I've been grateful for throughout the week. A quiet, weekly practice of appreciation and positivity. A time to breath and reflect. A small step towards a more simplistic and appreciative outlook. Feel free to join in. <3

This Week I am Grateful For:

* A patient, loving, unwavering husband who is my rock through the even the stormiest periods of my anxiety and depression.
* Getting some time with a beautiful friend who I don't see as often as I'd like, who is in a huge transitional period. The fact that she takes the time to talk and care about other people's shit during her own upheaval is wondrous.
* Sipping sangria poolside. Seeing Acorn actually enjoy the pool for a little bit.
* Our neighbors treating us to a delicious lunch.
* Speaking what I want aloud, even though it sounds so cheesy. Letting go of judgement of that cheese.
* New hammock straps that make it a cinch to put up - hammock hangs after bedtime with my love. Watching fireflies dance around us, bats fluttering overhead, and a huge owl swooping out of our pine trees. I guess I know why I haven't seen as many hawks around the yard this year.
* Going through and paring down my jewelry & fabric collections. Letting go of things is far more freeing than I'd anticipated.
* Acorn picking a flower for his friend, then dumping dirt in her hair 5 minutes later, then a few minutes after that ripping out an entire plant to give to her which Joe quickly replanted. It's the thought that counts, right? :)
* Having a very light, happy, uplifting weekend. Seriously, I'd call it perfect.