Monday, October 20, 2014

Moonday Musings - An Ending

Of all the things that I don't have as much time for these days, writing is one of the ones that I miss most. To remedy this, I've started writing in a *gasp* paper journal again. When I get quiet moments, while Orion happily plays with his toys, when he's laying beside me snoozing in the afternoon or in the dimly lit comfort of my bed at night when I decide it's more important to get some thoughts down on paper than it is to get those few extra minutes of sleep.

But oh, even with my pen and composition book to feed the journaling bug within me, I miss my blog. I find that when Isit at the keyboard to write, rather pick up the pen, my mind wanders less and I get my thoughts out faster, more succinctly than I can by hand. I'm going to try to get back to this space, to the keyboard (I won't write from a tablet or phone I HATE it).

And so, to keep the cobwebs out of my wee space and satisfy my blogging urge, I'll be here Mondays for Moonday Musings where I'll muse on something or another each week, Wednesday for Wordless Wednesday where I'll share a photo that stands out to me, a special moment captured that requires no words and Sundays for Gratitude Sundays. And of course, I'll pop in to write on any other day that the bug bites while I am in front of my computer. ;)

Last Thursday, Orion turned 13 weeks old. On Friday, my newborn officially became an infant, having been Earthside for 3 months. It was also my final day in what is considered the "4th Trimester", meaning my body is more or less back to normal and healed and if I were in a culture that observed a lying in period for new mothers, it would be ending.

Neither of us is considered "new" anymore. And the ending of this stage of newness saddens me. Our transition from one person to two is complete as is my magical period of metamorphosis from Maiden to Mother.

I want so badly to bottle up these moments, all of our tiny milestones, all of the tears and laughter, complete with bleary eyed mornings, first time mom fumbles and the sweet smell of his tiny head and the touch of his downy hair... bottle them all up and preserve them forever. To open and wonder over, to tearfully, joyfully pull off the shelf and reminisce over when he's grown.

These were our firsts. Tiny drops in the ocean of life, but magnificent ripples for us. I will never again be a first time mom, he will never again be this small and new to the world.

These past 3 months have been like a hazy, beautiful dream and have gone by far, far faster than I ever imagined time could move. We've both changed so much in these few weeks; he is now grasping, grabbing, babbling, smiling, moves his arms and legs more gracefully and giggled his first real giggle last night. I've found my sea legs, if you will, and have become more confident, more patient.

My heart has grown larger, my emotions softer. My love has grown fierce and fiery; Mother Bear has awakened within me. My body is no longer the enemy of my mind; birth and breastfeeding have healed the rift between them and I'm learning to love my physical self - thick thighs, striped soft belly and all. I am awestruck and humbled by what this vessel is capable of.

Orion is teaching me to slow down and to let go. He is teaching me hard lessons in remaining calm, in patience and in priorities. His life has made me take a hard honest look at my own and to hold to light that which is lacking and to hold dear that which is truly important, not what I've been programmed to view as such.

This Motherhood journey has called me to let go of resentment, pessimism, self abuse and anger (I was fueled by so much rage) and to instead allow myself to invite in grace and peace and to be led by Love.

And it is hard.


This little soul, my shining star and mighty hunter, is transforming me in the very best of ways and guiding me on my transition from maiden to mother with the gentle wisdom of the very oldest souls. And while I mourn that our magical transition period is ending, I am excited for our today's and our future.

Monday, October 13, 2014


I'm joining Taryn at Wooly Moss Roots and several other lovely bloggers in honoring the things for which we'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.

* Celebrating 6 years of marriage to my best friend and love of my life.
* Mini golf, milkshakes, smooches and booty shaking.
* Being able to stay home and raise my son. He turned 12 weeks old on Thursday and if I were going back to work today would have been the day he'd go to day care and I'd go back. Even on difficult days, I get to comfort him, get the baby snuggles, listen to him babble and watch him learn. Not a stranger. And that is something I am so very, very grateful for.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Apple Time

This week, it's been gorgeous here in the Land of Eternal Summer. Well, to this Northerner anyway. It's been cool, cloudy and breezy most days with the sun peeking out just enough to warm it up when the breeze is a bit chilly. Very Autumnal, I was overjoyed when we got to wear hoodies on Mabon!

In celebration of Autumn and to enjoy the beautiful weather, our trio hopped int he car this morning and hit up the local farm to pick apples. Orion won't remember his first apple picking adventure, but we will. Plus, we snagged about 10 pounds of the juicy buggers to turn in to apple butter, apple pie, apple muffins... you know, autumn apple overload. :)

Joe did his "fatherly duties" as he puts it and took some videos of us in the field with the handy dandy camcorder he ordered a week ago. We never did the whole home movies thing in my family growing up, but he did. As far as this camera happy lady is concerned, the more captured memories the better!

We had a lovely morning, walking the orchard and finding apples to bring home and some to munch on. The bees found some to munch on too! Orion had to settle for apple flavored milk, since he's far too little to actually eat them. Though he did help us pick some. ;)

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Confessions and Change

Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass, it's about learning to dance in the rain.
~Vivian Greene

I need to confess to some things. To being a worrywort and a negative nancy.

I need to confess that I am often overwhelmed these days, often wonder how any one ever gets anything done or has time for everything.

I confess to knowing that most of this overwhelm is of my own making.

I confess to knowing I should channel my Spirit Animal (Bill Murray) and just relax and go with the flow, but oh boy, is that hard when it's not just all about you. When there's a little, a husband, a menagerie of critters and a house that you care deeply about.

My days fly by. I feel like I wake up and blink and it's after noon. I haven't showered or remembered to feed myself. I blink again and it's 6pm; time for dinner and maybe a walk around the block. I blink once more and it's bed time. My day flies by in a haze of diaper changes, hurriedly stuffing whatever is handy in to my stomach, playing with my baby, trying to wrangle Luna outside to go to the bathroom, spit up, trying to make nap times happen and sleep. When nap time DOES happen, I spend it cleaning, eating or showering off the perfume of spit up and breast milk. I stress and I worry and I feel so strung out.

And I know it's my own doing. But the worrying has me trapped. As do my exceedingly high standards that I impose upon myself and the old school woman as martyr complex that's been so deeply ingrained in me that I didn't even realize it was there until I was married and didn't realize how BAD it was until I was a mom. If, at the end of the day I haven't spent 90% of his waking time talking or playing with Orion, taken Luna out every single time she rings the bell on the door (50% of which are NOT because she actually needs to potty), made dinner and did all the cleaning on the to do list in my head and had meaningful time with Joe... I feel like a total fucking failure. Like I'm letting everyone down. Like I'm not cut out for this.

But, I'm trying to change this thought pattern. I'm trying to believe my husband when he says I put too much on my plate and that my value doesn't rest in those things. That at the end of every day, even one with take out, leaves on the carpet and vomit stains all over my shirt - every one still loves me. And that I need to take time for myself. WITHOUT guilt.

Which is harder for me than all the rest, because taking time out to paint, nap, whatever takes time away from those other things. Writing this right now, Orion is sitting in his swing and I'm having extreme guilt that I haven't interacted with him in 10 minutes. Like I'm a selfish asshole who needs to get off the computer and talk to my child and interact with him so he develops properly.

And that, I think, is my biggest worry of all. Will he develop properly? If I spend too much time wearing him, hugging him, sitting outside with him, letting him happily swing or lay on his back on his play mat how the hell is he ever going to learn how to roll over, sit up, crawl or anything? How much is too much? How much tummy time does he need? If we lay in the hammock and he's tummy down, does that count? I've thought about the projects I can drag in to the living room to work on while he plays, scrapbooking, crochet, embroidery, my sketchbook... but I feel like that makes me an inattentive shit, even if I still talk to him and tend to him as he needs me too. Even if it's just half an hour.

And am I fucking him up by not having a set in stone schedule>? Because I don't. I go out when I want or need to, to go to the store or the library or the park, or to watch an evening concert. I don't live around naptimes because he doesn't have set ones. If we're home and he gets yawny, I put him down to nap. If we're out and he gets tired, we snuggle him up or wear him and he sleeps on us. But so many moms talk about living around naps, that it has my worrywort self, well, worried. We stay out until 9pm or later on occasion, but we're trying to have bedtime be between 8 and 9. Are we shitty parents?

It's time I knock this shit off and stop beating myself half to death at the end of each day. I decided not to read baby books or sites because they'd stress me out, so instead I'm stressing myself out. I don't need to spend my days sitting on the living room floor while he plays and I don't need to sweat it if we're outside swinging in the hammock or out late listening to music and we miss tummy time. And I certainly don't need to kill myself over having a spotless house, beautiful gardens, scratch made dinner and a perfectly outdated idea of what a stay at home mom or housewife is supposed to do. Some days there will be leaves on the floor, baskets of unfolded laundry and pizza for dinner. I need to learn to be ok with that.

I need to quit being so negative and hard on myself. To let go of guilt and worry and this fucking martyr complex that tells me that crocheting while my son plays by himself makes me a shit mom. I need to let go, channel Bill Murray and relax.

I know all of these things, deep down inside of me, but it's so hard for me to embrace them. But, I want to. And I have to.

It's going to take work, but dammit. I'm ready.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Ordinary Sacred

My last Full Moon ritual, where I did more than toss a tired glance out of my window in to the cloudy sky, was in June when I strung my mother cord necklace. July's was the night before I went in to labor and my body felt beat up and exhausted. August's and September's felt similarly, though I had a baby to show for my exhaustion which made it feel less lazy. I didn't light candles, I didn't go outside. I went to bed, because that's what my body and mind demanded of me.

Lughnasadh went by with just a hat tip and Mabon will most likely be celebrated with the eating of a sacred (ok, not really) apple fritter.

I had scaled back a while ago, keeping my altars simple and my rituals a quiet (usually, I don't speak) and straightforward affair. Nowadays I barely have time to do more than pause for a moment in front of it, breathing in the scents of wood, wax and old incense. Maybe I pull an oracle card, maybe not.

Depends on the day.

Mind you, I'm not complaining. Rather, I'm recognizing what has been going on in my spiritual life since this little star came and landed in to my arms.

It's taken some adjustment, as so many things have in the whirlwind of new mommyhood, but I'm finding the sacred and keeping my spiritual side fed in different, smaller, ways.

The sacred is all around us, we don't need fancy trappings or rituals to find it. We need only be still, quiet and observant - even if it's only for a minute. The sacred whispers to me as a breeze through the leaves. It warms me with the first glimmers of morning sunlight kissing my cheek. It's found in the quiet moments of love while Orion and I lay quietly nursing. There's magic in the songs of the cicadas and in the breathing of my sleeping boys as I lay awake at night, petting Luna.

I've been inviting it in with small gestures: burning candles, windows thrown open on the first cool day in months, dusting my altar spaces, creating a wee new one in the studio, giving my hands up to spirit and paint when time allows. I invite it in by sitting silently, taking deep breaths and quieting my mind.

It may not look like witchery or magic. It may not seem sacred, but finding beauty, magic and gratitude in the simple and ordinary truly is.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Summer's Light is Dying

Summer's light is dying.

Everything is becoming golden, in that soft way that gently announces Autumn is on her way. The sun shining through the branches of the oaks in the morning casts a soft yellow haze over the world; everything is softer, more magical and lovely.

In the evening, as the sun casts his dying orange light over the world, beckoning forth the moon, we take walks and note the subtle beginnings of the turning leaves. The air feels lighter, the bird song is changing.

The garden is turning forth its last Summer harvests, a few more tomatoes and small hot peppers. The squash died of powdery mildew and the cucumbers were taken by the larvae of moths weeks ago. Meager effort though I put into it during my time as a rotund planetary body, the harvests were more abundant than we could eat alone. Plans for Spring planting already dance in my mind.

But now, the season of my heart is coming. The time when nature is dressed in its very best crimson and gold. The time of early nightfall illuminated by fires. Of cool nights and breezy days. It'll be here soon.

Once Summer's light has fallen.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

5.5 Weeks

Every time I've sat down to write over the past few weeks, my mind has suddenly gone blank. I'll have all these thoughts on what to share and how to express the things I've felt these past weeks while I'm nursing Orion in the middle of the night, shoveling food in my face or having a long hot shower. But I've so missed writing that I'm going to sit here and try to get the thoughts out, even if they come out jumbled. I'm running on pure exhaustion currently. For those who don't dig mommy blog entries, that's fine. Skip this one. :) I won't always be writing about mom stuff from here on out, but let's be honest, this is all new for me and with a newborn it's not like there's much else going on with me right now. ;)

It's been harder, yet better than I imagined. Being someone who has lived my entire life with depression, I was so worried I would have issues with it right after the baby was born. I was scared that I wouldn't feel a bond with the baby easily, because I wasn't one of those pregnant women who cooed at, read to or generally was enamored with my swollen belly. I didn't feel any crazy strong bond with my unborn child. To be honest, until I held Orion in my arms for the very first time, the whole thing felt sort of surreal to me. Luckily, all of those fears of mine were completely unfounded. I have loved this little boy with ferocity and a sort of love I didn't even know I was capable of since he was first placed, goopy and screaming, on my chest. When they did his tests in the hospital and he was crying, it was all I could do not to strangle the nurse doing the dastardly deed of pricking his heal. It strikes me that I may be the momma grizzly bear type. Woe be unto those who give him shots and make him cry!

The first night home from the hospital was by far the worst. My self esteem was somewhere deep, deep , in the shitter as I tried desperately to get Orion to latch on my breast properly. Every time we'd try, I'd have sharp excruciating pain and my nipple would come out misshapen. I'd elected to stay in the hospital for an extra day so I could meet with the lactation consultant to help us out, because this natural process wasn't coming so naturally to us, so I was beating the shit out of myself for having such an issue with it now that we were home. I shot an SOS off to my really, truly, fabulously amazing doula and she said she'd not only be by the next day to try to help me but was going to give my info to a lactation consultant who is going for her IBCLC certification and needed volunteer hours so she could make a housecall and help me out. By the time the two of them got to me, I was scabby and just the thought of nursing my child made me cry. When he started rooting, I'd feal myself grow anxious and when he latched on I'd yell out and spend our 40 minute nursing session crying, because it hurt. Worse than the entire 80+ hours of unmedicated birth. No lie.

They both watched our technique and both complimented me on how well we were doing in that department. The consultant said that if I hadn't told her I've never seen anyone breastfeed and have never done it before, she wouldn't have had a clue. So it wasn't error on either of our parts in that department, so we checked his mouth. I was kind of surprised they didn't do this in the hospital, since I was having so many issue and am tongue and lip tied - something that can interfere with breastfeeding and other awesome things like speech. (Ask me how much fun it was to overcome speech impediments sometime) Turns out my baby inherited my severe tongue and lip tie, which were keeping him from being able to flare his lips or move his tongue properly. Since he couldn't make the proper wave motion with his tongue to get the milk, he was chomping on me with his gums. No wonder I hurt! Joe and I did some research in to practitioners in our area that correct the issue. Mine was never revised, my mom didn't even know I had it until I told her about Orion's, and so I'm well aware of some of the issues that can arise from it later in life. We opted to make an appointment for revision, not just so we could continue nursing with reduced pain for me, but to hopefully prevent the issues I have had in him.

The doctor couldn't get us in for a week, so I had to keep on keeping on. I ended up with not one, but TWO plugged ducts! But kept reminding myself why I chose to breastfeed and also reminded myself that soon we'd have surgery and things should improve. When Orion was a mere 10 days old, we drove an hour and a half to Charlotte to let the dentist shoot lasers in to his mouth. We weren't allowed in the room, but were allowed to stand outside the door and watch. Joe stayed, I hid in the bathroom and cried for the 2 minutes it took for them to do it. I nursed him immediately afterwards and it didn't hurt! Unfortunately, I developed a fever and was diagnosed with mastitis that afternoon. This snotty little medical student at my doctor's office (who had been at my birth - there's more story there that I'll tell with the birth story at some point) invited herself in while I waited for the nurse practitioner to see me and proceeded to tell me about abscesses that can form from mastitis and strongly hinted that I should switch to formula. I told her that I didn't think 10 days was giving breastfeeding a fair shot in a way that left no more room for discussion. I don't judge any one for their feeding choices, but dammit, this is mine. Let me give it a fair shot.

Things have gotten better in that department. I'm still sore, but now it's because he pulls off without breaking suction. We're working on that, because OUCH!

Joe wasn't able to take his full leave that we had planned on, which was a massive bummer for both of us. The week and a half he was home was wonderful though. For the first week, he tried very hard not to let me get out of bed and wouldn't let me clean or do anything except nurse Orion, sleep, eat, shower, or take Luna out in the yard. That was the compromise to keep me from going completely stir crazy - I've never been much of a sitter or layer, so that took a good bit of adjustment for me. He made me fresh ground Jamaican coffee and breakfast every morning, ran the errands that needed to happen, called the doctors and made appointments, fed the zoo and spent as much time cuddled up with us as he could. After I made a print of my placenta (oh yea, I brought it home and made art with it), my ridiculously amazing husband boiled, dehydrated, ground and encapsulated it for me. At one point, I was having a baby blues crying jag and he looked up at me while filling up capsules and said "You know I love you right? Because I wouldn't be playing in placenta dust for just anyone." Ha ha. Really, I loved every minute of our family time and wouldn't have made it through those first 10 days with my sanity in tact without him.

When he first went back to work, I was really overwhelmed by how very much time I suddenly didn't have and how very hard it was to perform every day tasks with a newborn who nursed every 2 hours for 40 minutes, hated being in his swing, decided napping was something other kids did and was only happy being held. Being as how I've never held a newborn before I was handed my own, I wasn't very comfortable holding him in one hand while I did anything. Truth be told, I wasn't super comfortable holding him - period. He was so little and floppy! As the weeks have passed though, I've gotten my sea legs under me a bit better and am significantly less overwhelmed. We still have some bad days with no naps, lots of fussiness and nursing around the clock (damn you, growth spurts!) but most of them don't bother me as much since I've realized and accepted that things just aren't going to get done the way they used to for a while and that's OK because Orion will only be this little and need me this much for a little while. And, he'll never be this little or need me this much ever again. Right now, I'm his everything; his source of food, drink, comfort, protection and love. I'm all he knew for 9 months and he's still transitioning to life in this great big world outside of me.

And that's what's important right now. That's what's keeping me going through pain, sleep deprivation, nap free days, screaming fits and all the other bad shit no one really likes to talk about. The knowledge that his tiny little head is only going to seek the comfort of my shoulder for so long, that he will only fit on my chest for a little while longer (he's already over 10 lbs - he's gained 3+ lbs since birth), that he will only nurse for a small portion of his long life and that before I know it, he'll be an independent, somewhat self sufficient little person and we can never, ever come back to these moments... and I'm soaking them all up. Even the ones like last night, when he finished nursing at 4am and decided he wanted to be awake, to gently kick and punch the air and coo at me and the ceiling fan for an hour. I was cranky this morning, because I'm always cranky when I haven't slept well, but at 4am, I was smiling at my mighty hunter as his little legs hit my hip and his little fingers grabbed mine.

It's all about perspective. And while I still stumble and fall and have bad days or moments, he is slowly, but surely changing mine just as surely as he's changed my life.