Thankful for tiny fingers and eyelashes. For sideways smiles and giggles. For the way Finn looks around for me when he's playing, just keeping me in sight, it makes me want to cry. Thankful for patience and love from family and friends. For people giving each other the benefit of the doubt, and for kindness and smiles in unusual places. Kindness seems to be one of the most powerful things in the universe. Give it freely, and you can completely change someone's day. Withhold it, and you can make someone feel so alone. I am thankful for kind people. I pray that I can be a force of kindness in people's lives. I pray for strength to keep my optimism alive. To see the good in people. To see the good in me. To see the good in the world.
Sunday, April 14, 2013
Wednesday, April 10, 2013
It feels like some days the energy is buzzing with love in my home...Finn is smiling and giggling, I am almost (and sometimes literally) dancing around doing the housework, and then I look around, the sun is shining through the windows, an upbeat bluegrass station is playing on Pandora, the house is clean, everyone is happy, and there is time and weather to take it outside for a hike or play with chickens. These days are amazing. Adventure is to be found everywhere, and the Restless Spirit is, for the moment, completely content.
Then there are days where I feel as though I'm barely staying caught up, and days where I'm simply NOT at all. Where frustration is pretty prevalent, blood pressure is a little higher, and the Restless Spirit is having a tough time in the midst of Domestic Monotony...there is a lot of resetting, deep breaths, and mantra repeating.
I'm trying to meditate and ponder on what makes these days different. What is it that contributes to the down days, and what can I do to at least ride out the lulls, if not completely jump out of it and into a more cheerful disposition. For Reid's and Finn's sake, at the very least. I haven't come up with an explanation on what contributes to the lulls, I'm sure it's any number of things: lack of sleep, the latest bug going around, Mercury Retrograde, gloomy weather, hearing someone being mean or judgmental to anyone, etc...sometimes we are all just out of sync. Nothing else really, just off timing. Like three watches ticking away at different intervals on different wavelengths, with three people trying to catch up to the other one. Nothing to be done but accept it, laugh about it, and move on. I wish there was a day time reality TV show that showed "A Day in the Life" of mothers these days. How they manage it all, and get through the "out of sync" days. I would totally get in to a show like that. Real Housewives isn't cutting it for me. Most days we do one episode of Andy Griffith, my hero, and listen to Pandora the rest of the time we're inside. There is something so blissfully simple, so innocent and good, about The Andy Griffith Show, that just has me in love with everyone...nostalgia is a powerful thing, but I digress...
So, a few of the things that really help me kind of snap out of it, and I'd love to hear any others you may have, are:
- Dancing, dancing, dancing. This is the cure all for me. I put on Micheal Franti or Tom Petty on Pandora, and let go.
- Finn usually nurses to nap, and is pretty easy about letting me move him to his corner of the couch to finish sleeping after he's done. If I'm having a rough day, though, I will just let him sleep in my arms for as long as I can, just studying his little face. This is another cure all for the Messy House Blues. It gets me back to the present moment, and what's really important.
- A few pages of Calvin and Hobbes. Again, nostalgia is working in my favor here. As a kid, I used to find a little of myself in both Calvin and Hobbes. Now, I totally see myself as his mom. But this comic really calls my attention to the vastly different world of children, and allows me to be more empathetic with Finn if he's the one having a bad day. And I know what he's doing all day. I can't imagine putting this into perspective when he goes to school...
- Meditation, or prayer. I love the saying that praying is how we talk to God, and meditation is how we listen to him in the silence. A combination of these two work wonderfully for me.
- Getting outside. Even if it's putting on full rain gear and standing in a storm in the driveway for five minutes. There is something deeply cathartic about nature.
Just a few things that work for me. I was chatting with a girlfriend today, thinking that I'd been at this parenting endeavor for over a year now, some days I feel like I should have a better handle on it. She assured me this isn't the case. So for any of you feeling the same way, you are not alone. And I keep repeating the mantra...love. It's all about love. If you genuinely want the best for your child, and are doing the best you can, that's all that can be expected of you. The rest is just details. And enjoying those dancing-love-buzz days when they alight upon you magically.
Monday, April 8, 2013
As a parent, and fellow Earth-dweller, I’ve been really struggling with how to go about my days feeling as though I’m contributing to a better place for my children with my day to day choices. I passionately want to instill a love for nature in Finnegan, without proselytizing to or embarrassing him, or pushing it so hard that he doesn’t want to partake in these decisions or be thoughtful about his choices. I know, he’s only one, and I have a bit of time before we start having in depth discussions about our choices and their impact on the environment, but I feel like it’s never a bad time to start thinking about these things…and I wanted to share the choices I’ve committed to that have helped me to start feeling more sustainable in my parenting, and regular life, choices.
I feel like as long as it’s not a preachy thing, it’s just the way we live our lives, it won’t be too much; it won’t push him away from it. No question, no argument, these are just the things we do because they are good for our Mother. If anyone has other choices they make that really help them create a more sustainable lifestyle, I would love to hear them! But here are some things that I really try to commit to:
- Banning the plastic bags at the grocery store...when I started trying to do this, I would forget my canvas bags often, and just say, "Ah well, next time." But one day, I just thought, "Damn it, Sarah...this is a behavior change. If you forget them, turn around, go back and GET THEM." And it only took turning around to go back and get them once or twice, and now I don't forget them. The newer canvas bags that they sell at Safeway are pretty flimsy, but there are always thick, awesome canvas bags at Second Blessings for sale, or here is a link to a great store that makes awesome quality bags in the U.S...I just made the commitment and stuck to it, and I feel better every time I'm at the store.
- Banning plastic water bottles. I still have to get Reid on board with this. It was the same thing...it only took getting thirsty and not having my bottle once or twice and saying "Tough. You don't use plastic water bottles. Remember to bring one next time." And the behavior was changed. These two things are not even an inconvenience anymore, they are just part of the routine.
- Cloth diapering...this is more a good choice where I live because we have no shortages of water, but we do have a terrible shortage of landfill space. And drying on the line, the flats look like a prayer flag for the Earth.
- More fruits and veggies, less snacks in boxes, and less in the landfill.
- Buying in bulk and freezing batches.
- Washing out plastic ziplock bags...I'd like to try to see how long I can use one box!
- Less toys, more getting outside with Finn. Finding our own "sensory boxes" out in nature.
Sunday, April 7, 2013
Dearest Earth Mother,
Spring comes and goes in the air in the Aleutians, but the rhubarb is coming up, as is the mint and the chives, signaling rebirth once again. I am grateful for days when the weather is calm enough to take Finn to the beach, and thank you for the wonderfully mild winter we had this year. It was good for my soul to have walks to Summer's Bay, watching the seals and otters, as well as the sea birds and sparrows flitting about on the dried puchki.
My heart is heavy some days when I think too much on the apathy people have towards you, and the hopelessness it seems to begin the healing process in taking care of this wondrous place we live in. I pray that you give humanity time to become aware of what is really important in life, and send you white healing light to surround you and the diverse creatures and plants who are at the mercy of decisions we make, both globally and individually.
I thank you for the grass between my toes, for the rosy finches that Finn loves to watch out the window that join us for lunch most days, for puddles to jump in, and the wind that signifies impermanence in everything, and our continual evolution. May it be in the right direction to sustain us and our brothers and sisters in the world.
Father of the Heavens,
I pray that you enter the hearts of humanity and plant the seeds of empathy for your magnificent creation, so that we may take better care of our Mother. Please make us more thoughtful of the choices we make, and the implications they have on our world around us. Let us slow down and take time to look at the beauty and find hope in the upcoming Spring season. Give our leaders wisdom to make the right choices for us as a global community, not just what is best in the short term. Give us the commitment to make small choices in our every day behavior towards more sustainability, more empathy, and please give me the hope that I can make a difference in the world with my actions. Help me to make decisions in my parenting that will inspire these beliefs in my son, that he may be part of the generation that saves the world. Help me to be inspired with what I see in the world, instead of downhearted.
Thank you for the stars and the moon in the heavens that teach me of the vastness of the universe, as well as the order of it in the ebb and flow of the constellation cycles. Please let me feel hopeful of the direction we are going, and make me a part of the positive change.
Friday, April 5, 2013
Who ever knew these small wonderful tools would be such a lifesaver...the other night, Reid and I were eating Caribou Red Curry, trying to let Finn eat portions of it on his own by himself, and good pieces of 'bou were going right to Squid...not that she minded in the least! Reid and I were eating with chopsticks, and I don't know why I thought of it, but I just picked up a piece of meat with the chops, and offered it to Finn, and he thought it was the greatest thing in the world! He must have eaten three quarters of his meal with chopsticks, it was a miracle.
Not knowing if it was a fluke, a few days later he was being picky about this beautiful apple omelet I had created for him. I get discouraged when I put so much effort into making him culinary masterpieces; where is the appreciation? I NEED my positive reinforcement, damn it!! Anyway, I thought of these little gems, and got out the chopsticks...he immediately smiled and giggled, and ate the entire plate...the rays of sunshine came shining through the clouds, the angel choirs started.
I try not to use them too often, more like, when we need to go soon and don't have a lot of time and he decides then to experiment a little more with gravity and texture. I love letting him get messy and experimenting, don't get me wrong. I also like when he eats. I know that this year eating habits will fluctuate, and not to worry, but man, I fell in love with two little pieces of wood the other day, and stuck that little gem of a tool in my tool chest!
Wow...one year olds are tough to feed...we've been blessed with a fairly good eater, however, we've had to exercise our patience skills when experimenting with gravity, and throwing every last bloody pea on the floor to watch it go into the dog's mouth...wastefulness is one of my all time biggest pet peeves, couple that with minor control issues that I'm still learning to let go...breathe, Sarah, breathe....thankfully, we have worm composting and chickens that we can throw the scraps that even Squid won't eat.
But I wanted to have a page to share a few victories that really worked well for little Finnegan. We are Baby Led Weaning moderates...we'll mash up things every now and then, but overall we try to let him feed himself and play for the second half of the meal, after he's gotten a bit of it down. And if it's starts to go on the floor, we'll give him a few chances and then off it goes, he just has to visit for a little while. As long as he's not fussing, we're not fussing.
Thursday, April 4, 2013
I struggled a bit with this first birthday…ideas on how to keep it low key. I had fears of kiddos running out of my house with little baggies of plastic crap, all of it landing squarely in the landfill, and thousands of years from now having evidence of this birthday still not biodegrading. I never struggled with real post-partum depression about Finnegan, however, I do suffer now sometimes from a low grade pessimism about the state of mankind, and the universe. If I start to think about it too much, I feel like one of those fifth graders whose teacher shows them pictures of dead sea turtles and ugly beaches on Earth Day, which research has now shown only makes kiddos feel hopeless instead of inspired. I feel that way if I start to think too much on it. I do my small part, but it is so easy to feel as if your small part is too miniscule. The hard part is, change can only happen on an individual basis. The rearing of thoughtful children and the saving of the planet is a slow, arduous process that takes time and patience. So, what we ended up deciding on for Finn’s inaugural birthday into the world was a Cardboard Party…with a small burning man taking place afterwards to rid ourselves of the decorations. Besides, they say kiddos enjoy playing more with the boxes than they do the presents, right?
It turned out to be a huge success. We started with a tunnel built around the table, and a car to pull the babies around in. Stars hung from the ceiling, and the cardboard they were cut from was put in the windows, a two-fer decoration deal. His name was in the window, and each guest got to take a star home with them. It was certainly a birthday I could feel good about economically, as well as ecologically. I feel like I got Mother Earth Advocate points to add. Although we requested no gifts, we still got a bucket load. I’m open to ideas as to how to deal with this in future birthdays! Perhaps requesting everyone brings a bag of dog food to donate to an animal shelter, or a shell or piece of beach glass. I really am looking forward to years to come where Finn and I can brainstorm together. It’s not that I’m not grateful for the thoughtfulness; we simply do not need it. This year has been about downsizing…in a 950 square foot house, this has been more out of necessity, but has been a blessing in disguise. With added awareness comes more frustration, though…especially with a baby, and all the stuff that comes along with it.