Reading

Novel

August 7, 2017

novel

It’s technically supposed to be a post of my favorite novel, but I thought I’d celebrate something I’m super psyched about: BEING ABLE TO READ AT ALL.

Pregnancy and then new mamahood knocked my reading to the curb. This should’ve been the.worst.thing.ever, but I was unable to care (thanks hormones). I missed reading, but more so, I was upset that something so important to my internal life just didn’t seem to matter anymore.

Luckily, my MIL shipped me a box of Nora Roberts novels that arrived less than a week after my second miscarriage. A series about Irish sisters where each book covers one sister’s falling in love? When I couldn’t feel much about anything, I was totally there for that. And last year while I was pregnant, Roberts’ series about a group of friends who own a wedding venue was one of the only things I read. There is something to be said about “airport” paperbacks and romance novels.

Speaking of romance, Outlander is the first full fiction book I’ve finished since A was born. It was a great read (though racier than I knew going into it – whoops). An 8-book series about a time traveling nurse who falls in love with a Scottish Highlander. Not a bad book to get back into the magical escapism of fiction.

Any book Lindsey enjoyed reading, I bump to the top of my list. And thus, I am now reading Saints For All Occasions. I’ll report back when I’m finished. I would love to know what books you’re into lately.

In case you need something to read:

The Nora Roberts Irish series and Bride series I mention above

All The Light We Cannot See

The Night Circus

Outlander series

The Handmaid’s Tale

Ready Player One

11/22/63

Big Magic

Favorite books of 2015

Anything I liked on my library list

And Harry Potter, always


For the month of August, I am posting each day using a prompt from The August Break challenge by Susannah Conway. The prompts encourage a “month of paying attention” which goes hand-in-hand with my new moon intention to focus on my creativity. I’m sharing all my photos on Instagram with #jtaugustbreak

Eating, Feeling, Living

Bicycle

August 5, 2017

Bicycle

This morning continued a funk that’s been plaguing me for days. I blame hormones and coming off two months of events at work. June and July were full to the brim. Post-event recovery is always a challenge for me, and adding in a kiddo has only upped the ante (talk about always being on).

I snapped this picture during breakfast. I don’t have much to say about bicycles today, but I did want to remember that I get to choose my thoughts. Not my hormones swings, or my mood, even, but the thoughts that all of those things produce, creating either more good or more negative vibes.

Easier said than done, for sure.

I ordered food that would support my feeling better (green tamales with eggs) and skipped the coffee for a matcha latte. I drank a glass of water. When H called me out on my bad mood I hugged him and apologized.

Sometimes it’s hard to break the cycle, but I tried. Maybe there’s an analogy about balance and peddling and smooth riding in all of this, but I don’t have the energy for that right now.

Instead, it seems what helped was laying in bed and reading while the baby napped. (Isn’t fiction always the answer?) Getting some time alone – no one touching my body or needing something or crying or talking. Just me, alone to myself, the a/c cranked and something relaxing to do.

Shifting our thoughts takes practice, but shifting our environment or actions, is maybe a simpler step. A baby puts so much restraint on my free time and yet, it doesn’t really take much to come back to myself. Going out for breakfast, reading, pulling a tarot card, listening to a podcast, writing here… In other words, not only getting back to myself, but giving myself a break.

I highly recommend it.

PS – Pregnancy + the hills in this neighborhood means I haven’t ridden my bike in over a year. In fact, it’s pretty much is ruined from living on the patio during the rainiest LA winter in a long while. While there’s a lot I’m grateful for in our new(er) spot, I miss biking and the ocean terribly so. Like this magic from two years ago, almost to the day. ::sigh::

PPS – I highly recommend Hormone Horoscope app which helps me remember, oh right, I’m not crazy, I’m just totally out of estrogen.


For the month of August, I am posting each day using a prompt from The August Break challenge by Susannah Conway. The prompts encourage a “month of paying attention” which goes hand-in-hand with my new moon intention to focus on my creativity. I’m sharing all my photos on Instagram with #jtaugustbreak

Living

Where I Live

August 5, 2017

our_street

What I want to remember about this apartment is how upstairs feels like a tree house.

Upstairs the windows are 6 feet tall, but the views are covered in foliage. There is no view of the horizon, all three sides of the apartment face a fence or wall, but there are trees that grow right up against the building which makes you feel like you can step outside and stay perched above the ground. The sun comes blazing in through those big windows from mid-morning through mid-afternoon, baking the rooms and making the summer heat that much more unbearable. But it also means you can stare out any window and watch the sunlight filter through the trees or see a bird settled on a branch.

What I want to remember about this apartment is how downstairs feels like a cave. The ceilings feel low, the entryway has two steps down into the living room, and all of the light is filtered or oblique. The lack of natural light has put a major damper on my photography this last year, but I’m grateful for it as it keeps the downstairs cool, dark and comfortable in the oppressive summer heat.

What I want to remember about this apartment is how new everything felt when we first moved in and now some of it is showing wear. How pregnancy and new parenthood made us forget to vacuum corners or dust shelves until the baby stick her hand in a pile of cobwebs. How her arrival brought so much crap into the house, it’s all I can do to not fill garbage bags of stuff for donation bins. With my energy finally returning postpartum, I’ve gone on one manic spring cleaning streak and I know the fall will usher in an urge to purge, organize and nest.

What I want to remember about this place is how quiet the neighborhood is. There is no through traffic, no stop lights, no noise from the highway. You can hear dogs barking a mile away or conversations happening next door. Most of our neighbors have 20 years on us.

What I want to remember about this living is that we’re surrounded by nature. Coyotes, mountain lion, hawks, lizards, rabbits, raccoons, and rattle snakes, plus the usual birds, squirrels and snails. Being on the back-end of a state park has its advantages.

What I want to remember about this part of Los Angeles is the amount of park space. Malibu Creek State Park, Santa Monica Mountains Conservatory and other park land surrounds us. We have three trail heads in walking distance of our front door. Because of this, we also have views of rolling hills and land where development has yet to bulldoze in and pour concrete. Sadly, though, there are construction sites at either end of our neighborhood, so real estate is having its way. Luckily, city park space is already zoned and safe – dog runs, easy hiking trails, baseball fields and playgrounds are accessible and plentiful.

Our lease is up in a year. I don’t know how much longer we’ll live in this space, this community or even Los Angeles. We dream of even more woods, nature, space, and seasons. We dream of bringing A up outdoors as much as possible. The next location isn’t on our radar yet, so in the meantime, I’ll enjoy this all as much as possible.


For the month of August, I am posting each day using a prompt from The August Break challenge by Susannah Conway. The prompts encourage a “month of paying attention” which goes hand-in-hand with my new moon intention to focus on my creativity. I’m sharing all my photos on Instagram with #jtaugustbreak

Living, Mothering

Roses

August 3, 2017

roses

When I think about roses, I think about my walks through the neighborhood. About the rolling plumage of gardens, the seasonal shifts, the rose bushes in full bloom. These peach ones are some of my favorites in the sea of gorgeousness.

A year ago, we left our apartment of 7 years on the west side of Los Angeles to move to the suburbs, also known as “the west valley”. I was 28+ weeks into a pregnancy after (two) losses, flooded with anxiety, and trying my best to still get out for twice-daily walks with the dog, despite the heat and hills of our new community.

Earlier that summer, I jumped on the 100 days project when an intuitive hit pointed to flowers as a way to connect with the little girls inside me. One girl being my daughter. It seemed my intuition was showing me images of English rose gardens and scenes from The Secret Garden (a novel I’ve read twice now – once as a kid, once as an adult) as a way to calm my frazzled nerves. The other  girl being the kid I once was, a little 3 year old obsessed with nature, squatting down to shove my face in a flower imitating my grandmother who taught me to “smell the flowers”. Shooting and posting photos to #jt100daysoutdoors was a love letter to my daughter, and to myself.

Now, a year later, I walk the same hills with 18lbs of baby strapped to my body in a carrier instead of that weight under my skin. I still walk slowly so I can narrate to A what we see. “That’s a baby lizard” and “see this yellow flower? So pretty”. She looks on patiently, sometimes reaching out her little hand to caress a leaf or tree. I’m not sure she’s interested at all, but she doesn’t seem to mind. I let my lips grace her hair.

I’m so appreciative that now she can be a participant in one of my daily practices: the walking, noticing, grounding.That she can watch me observing nature, breathing in the clean air, looking out to the horizon, watching the birds, and stopping to smell the roses, especially the peach ones.

Most importantly, I hope she can feel our connection, forgiving me all the anxieties I bring to our relationship, and know that this world is beautiful, I love her more than anything else in it.


For the month of August, I am posting each day using a prompt from The August Break challenge by Susannah Conway. The prompts encourage a “month of paying attention” which goes hand-in-hand with my new moon intention to focus on my creativity. I’m sharing all my photos on Instagram with #jtaugustbreak

Mothering

Golden Locks

August 2, 2017

goldenhair

Her hair, oh, her hair. It’s getting so long, sprouting out from her head, all different lengths, so soft and wispy.

Sometimes it’s a buttery-yellow blonde and other times it’s strawberry. It’s filling in at the nape of her neck, covering up her birth mark. H is especially particular about combing and styling it, while I let it do its own thing. If the wavy curls are brushed straight, she resembles a little boy with a dapper haircut. If it’s fluffed up in the middle, she’ll have a mohawk, a tiny circular wave of curl down the middle top of her head. I call it her “high school emo” hair style. I can picture her in her late 20s rocking the same look.

When she’s relaxing, she brings both hands up to her head and plays with the strands, running them through her fingers. It’s all I can do to not run my fingers through it constantly myself, just to feel how silky it is.

I know it’ll grow longer, change colors, possibly/probably become a thing that we argue about. It may turn green from chlorinated pools or gum will get snagged in it and have to be cut out. Her first haircut will be another milestone where I will question how fast time is rushing by us.

We’ll cross all of these bridges when we get there. For now, I’m just loving on her and her little golden locks.


For the month of August, I am posting each day using a prompt from The August Break challenge by Susannah Conway. The prompts encourage a “month of paying attention” which goes hand-in-hand with my new moon intention to focus on my creativity. I’m sharing all my photos on Instagram with #jtaugustbreak

Feeling, Mothering

Morning

August 1, 2017

morning

My routines are different now, 9 months into being a mother. Where I used to wake up on my own or to an alarm, I now hear A babbling or crying. Sometimes I wait, eyes closed, to see if she’ll fall back asleep. Most times, I roll over to check the time. If it’s before 5:30am, I keep laying there, hoping maybe she’ll doze back off. I turn the monitor on, the digital screen blinding in the morning darkness, and check on her. Is she rolling around complaining or sitting up and chirping or trying to pull up to a stand while babbling? All of those combinations matter, but the result is usually the same: me, stumbling to the bathroom and then into her room to scoop her out of her crib and up into my arms.

Mornings are when I still get to nurse her. This thing called breast-feeding that I believed we’d take to so easily instead became another connection to fight like hell for. It’s almost over. Mornings are when she’s patient, missing me and just hungry enough to nurse.

We sit in the rocking chair in her room, her big-little body draped across mine. We don’t need a nursing pillow or extra help anymore. She latches right on and gets to eating while I cradle her head in the crook of my arm and rock us both back and forth. Sometimes she throws her arm over her eyes to block the light or reaches up to play with her hair. Sometimes she grabs her own foot and waves it around. Sometimes she lays her hand on my breast, her eyes closed, and it’s as if this connection is the only thing she could ever need.

Afterwards, she may lay her head on my chest, cuddling against me. I’ll kiss the top of her head, breathe in her hair, let the weight of her rest on me. And we sit there, rocking, gazing out the window together, for a few more magical moments.


For the month of August, I am posting each day using a prompt from The August Break challenge by Susannah Conway. The prompts encourage a “month of paying attention” which goes hand-in-hand with my new moon intention to focus on my creativity. I’m sharing all my photos on Instagram with #jtaugustbreak