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Archive for July, 2012

Today’s tragic theater shootings in Aurora

I am a mother now. I am changed. I will never again be able to hear news like a movie theater shooting or any other tragedy big or small, local or not, and have the reaction I did before I had a child. I am a mother now. And now I feel this kind of news differently now. Viscerally. Emotionally. Every child that is hurt, I imagine is my own. Every mother who sits my her wounded child is me. Every mother of every gunman is me. I feel the pain of every mother connected to this story. It is my story too. I am connected to these people and it affects me too.

Today, my husband and I woke up to get our toddler out of bed with her half cheerful, have cranky calls to come get her. After a fast game of “not it” (not because we don’t want to be the first to greet our child, but because our daughter is a morning pooper and the first greeter also gets diaper surprise duty. Pun intended. Sorry for this detail, Doodle bug. Hopefully you will never read this or be to old to care by the time you do), my husband glanced at his phone as he usually does and his face goes a little pale and his expression bleak. 14 dead in a Colorado theater shooting.

All day, I have been tearful. Emotional. Feeling the trauma as my own. As if I were there. To make matters worse, my husband bought his ticket to see the Dark Knight two weeks ago and has been doing daily happy dances about it in anticipation. And the thought of him in that theater…well, its too much to bear and it brings me to tears as I write. Fear, anger, grieve wraps around my throat. I am sure you know the feeling.

From what I understand, the youngest killed was 6 years old and the youngest wounded was 3 months old in addition to a pregnant woman. And the mother of this shooter, who was a PhD student at UCD in neuroscience, who was preparing for her child to be a brain surgeon, is now grieving the loss of his humanity and his participation in society. And is now grappling with him being the most hated man in Colorado, perhaps America, for his unthinkable senseless violence against innocent people.

I don’t know his story. Or his family’s story. In a way, I don’t need to know. What is done is done. (Colorado has seen a similar kind of tragedy at Columbine high school in 1999, my high school graduating year. I was too young and too self involved to care or understand or care to try to understand. Coloradans are strong and will raise above and heal.)

But today, today I am a mother. And today I am grieving with James Holmes’ mother. For her. As a fellow mother. And I am grieving with all the other mothers touched by todays horrible, unthinkable, violation and violence. In solidarity.


A great piece by Lisa Belkin in the Huffington Post, The Aurora Shooting: Any of Our Children Could Have been at the Movies Last Night. 

Little Red Couch

Little Red CouchWe bought a little red couch this weekend at an Estate Sale! It was kind of sad actually. I think an elderly woman had passed away. Everything was being sold. Cars, house, and every single item in her house. I felt like a pillager walking through without permission or in a riot. There were a lot of people there.

We walked through each room. Closets open, drawers open. Stickers with numbers sharpie’d onto them on every single thing in that house. It felt hallow and abandoned.

We walked us stairs and then I saw her. Buried under a pile of linens and pillows. The little red couch. You didn’t think I meant…no, come on.

*I have a strange habit of personifying things, mostly clothes, by referring to them as ‘her’. Picked it up from a friend when we were teenagers and it seemed super cool then. It stuck.*

She was beautiful. Little, red and has a pull out single bed. She was a little worn looking. But I knew right away I could shine her up like a new penny.

Thanks to Pinterest for your endless relevant information and this little ditty. Who knew you can use hydrogen peroxide on unidentified stains and spots and it will lift them out. I knew it would take blood stains out and whiten your teeth and kill unwanted germs and bacteria and whiten laundry, but a couch stain. I bow down to you, Hydrogen Peroxide.

Anyway, I love, love, love the idea of a pre-owned couch anytime, but at this stage of our lives, especially. I love to recycle, reuse and repurpose. I love not spending full price. (I have been swooning over a similar couch for years that retails for over $1000. ) I love knowing that when my dog tries to sleep on my new little red couch whilst muddy or my toddler decides to wipe her blueberrie’d face on it, that I wont freek out. Its used and I have the power of Hydrogen Peroxide on my side.

So, thank you to little red couch and welcome to our family. You were as longed for as our child and just as much as a pleasant surprise when you graced our lives.


Tomorrow’s Intentions

I wrote this down after Sofie went to bed one night. Feeling tired. Frazzled. Having no memory of what we did that day if anything at all. Trying too hard to do too much, too little, the wrong things or nothing or not enough. Honestly, I can’t remember. It’s been a really long day.

So, I decided to get organized and write out what I wanted my day to look like tomorrow.

slow down – sit on the floor – pull out puzzles and toys – play – read books – slowly, add narrative and ask what she thinks – wait for her to respond – make animal sounds – say the alphabet – then sing it – say words, repeat – invite her to say words – snuggle her before naps and after naps and all the time – color with crayons – bounce a ball – pull toys out of the blue bucket – laugh – tickle – kiss – hug – play music – have a dance party

I’m laughing at myself now looking at this list. Sometimes this is what my to do list looks like as a mommy. Sometimes it’s just this simple. And hard.

It’s the simplest stuff that’s the hardest, actually. I mean who writes a to do list that includes “play” because I felt too frazzled to remember to do it? I do. I suppose.

Happy Hour, Part 1: MangoRita


My Mango Margaritas…and my idea of a perfect stay-cation!

Happy birthday, America!

We had a glorious long week together as a family to celebrate America’s birthday with a trendy stay-cation. We stayed put at home to enjoy the sun, the pool, eachother company and some yummy concotions. First up…a mango margarita.

I have an obsession with mangos. I love the flavor. I love mango gelato especially. I love mango netcar and fresh mango salsa and mango smoothies and mango popsicles. I spent an entire summer studying abroad searching from near and far of each town I visited for mango gelato (also delicious paired with coconut gelato…makes my mouth water just thinking about it). LOVE it.

So, it seems obvious that I should create my own mango margarita for our stay-cation (in the hottest, humid-est place on the planet). MangoRita as I like to call her. So, when making up my own recipes I usually scour the internet for other peoples recipes first to get an idea of options out there. I visited Pinterest (check out my write up on how to use this God-send), my archive of recipes in Evernote, then to FoodTv and a general Google search.

Here is what I came up with:

1 bag of frozen mango
1 cup+ of orange juice (if you have triple sec or cointrou, I would use these instead of OJ)
vest of 1 lime
juice of 2 limes
1 cup of tequila
splash of coconut water (optional)

Blend thouroughly to make her smooth.

Quater a lime and rub the rim of a pre-frozen glass and then dip rim in a mixture of sugar and salt. This is a game changer! Much to the disrespect of my Southwestern roots, I do not prefer a traditional salted rim for a traditional margarita and I also do not love a sugar rim for a sweet cocktail, either. But a mixture of salt and sugar is magical and a perfect mouth watering balance!

Pour your mango margarita in the pre-frozen salt and sugar rimmed glass, squeeze a bit of fresh lime over the whole thing, put your feet up and eeeeennnnnjoy!

…for a second and then chase your toddler away from whatever disaster she is about to partake or get her hand out of your MangoRita or fend yourself off from the soaking wet long haired dog trying to get you to play fetch in the pool. That’s my life, anyway.

Try it and let me know what you think?

Take a walk!

When I feel overwhelmed, stuck, stir crazy or just plain crazy…I take a walk. Sometimes I run. Sometimes both.

But let me tell you, it works. Perhaps the cure-all is simply a change of scenery. Or maybe the outdoors really do have magical properties. I think both are true. I also think movement, forward movement is sublimely therapeutic. When you can’t psychologically, emotionally or even spiritually progress, physical movement engages all those other areas and more.

Its also a chemical thing. Science tells us that walking elevates your mood and brings strong feelings of happiness. Increasing our serotonin, the feel good chemicals…(Read more about that here.)

My family growing up were always big walkers. My mom race walked and was an early morning walker for most of my life. My aunt has walked every day of her life it seems. My husband and I are walkers too. Especially since we got our dog, our beloved Golden Retriever puppy and bought a house one block from the most gorgeous park to every grace the earth. A dog and a slice of heaven are the perfect enticement for even those who are not self proclaimed walkers.

On our family walks, my husband and I talk, vent, dream, vision, fight, strategize, laugh, problem solve, and sometimes we just silently walk hand in hand, enjoying a beautiful day and the calm of being in each others company. Our family walks are therapeutic and have become our informal family meetings in motion.

Growing up, my mom, who was always juggling more than any one human I had ever known (as a single mom to 4 kids with a 10 year age span between us), had a saying, “15 minutes counts”. Even on her busiest days, she made an effort to find time for herself, to take just 15 minutes, if that was all she could spare to take a walk. That mantra sticks with me, especially now that I am a mother.

What do you do when you are feeling stuck or crazy? Do you think you could build in walks into your daily life?

Running is my prayer. God is my coach.

Today while running I was drafting this post, as I often do while running. Amongst other things I work on and sort out. I was thinking about how much I love to run. Thinking about its new established place in my life: my health, my mental health, my marriage, my identity and in my spirituality. I have been running for over a year now since the birth of my baby girl. I have logged over 300 miles.

I started running to put humpty dumpty back together again as I often joke. And now…

I run for so many reasons.

Today, I was thinking about how therapeutic it is. How much I work through as I run. Whatever is going on in life. I work it out. I let go, I run harder when I am angry or feel helpless, hopeless or out of control. Running is more than therapy though. For me, it’s prayer. It’s my prayer in motion.

As I run, my arms are at my sides hands open loose and facing the earth. As I run, I move forward. If I fight my body I can’t run fast or efficiently and I get tired too quickly. As I clear out my head, I slowly start to feel lighter, stronger, faster.

My body reflects what I need out of that run. Sometimes.

I talk to God while I run. And nearly 100% of the time, when I am finished running I feel peace. Holistic peace. In my body and in my mind. I have resolutions. I feel like a better person. Perhaps that means that God is talking to me too, giving me feedback and guidance. Gracing me with perspective.

I think about being an athlete and how important a coach is when you are an athlete. When you have a goal for victory or improvement.  Success, any success, rarely can be achieved in isolation without input, feedback and encouragement. I believe this to be true and I have lived it. And so many greats pay homage to this truism.

God is my coach. Coaching me through my wildly variant feelings, my negative self talk, the question marks that hang over my decisions, my deepest struggles and creates a path towards my best self, the vision of wild success and good humanness I want for myself. God moves me through it all as I move my body…ever forward.

Running distracts and occupies my body long enough to allow a spirituality to take hold and seize my thoughts, feelings and higher self. Running is my prayer in motion. It moves me. God is my coach. Running occupies my body so that God can take hold of the rest of me. And He moves me. I am learning to just keep moving forward. In life. In all things.

Yep, I love me some runnin’. Partly because it scares the shit outta me. What I am capable of. What it opens me up to. What God needs to tell me. What I have to confess, get real about, confront. What is possible. If nothing else, it keeps me moving forward.

What keeps you moving forward?