25 February, 2013

8/52 + A Goodbye.

"a portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013."

Mara Eden: just so busy, busy. Talking on her phone, putting on her Grammy Gina's velcro shoes, all while entertaining us with her head full of adventures and stories.
Porter: keeping me company while I cook, always.

These pictures were bittersweet for me to go through, because the pictures I snapped in the last week, have pictures of our dog, Martha, her last pictures, before I took her to be put to sleep this morning. I briefly mentioned in a post last week that our dog had been diagnosed with Dysphoria and Dementia. It's very hard for me to write about, but where capturing growth is so important, it's also important to remember life is cycle, and it does come to an end. We rescued Martha two years ago, when she was in a very poor physical condition. She almost died the first weekend that we had her home with us, and as she physically got better, more and more things about her behavior were a challenge. 

Martha spent the larger portion of the past two years, constantly being restless. She had periods of time where she was content, but would often be found pacing back and forth, whining, etc. Several, several, several trips to the vet, different tests, and finally our last try with medication, proved that something horrible had happened in Martha's past that made her live somewhere so deep inside her head, that she didn't know how to be a dog. 

She was not one for human interaction, she did not enjoy being pet, cuddled, held, loved on, etc. The happiest time of her life with us, was when we lived on that acre in New Mexico and she didn't have to be around people. We loved her, we really, really tried to make her part of the family. But between her previous abuse, whatever horrible things were done to her, she could not change in her mind. Add on top of that her age, that is where we are assuming Dysphoria and Dementia took over with her anxiety. We tried over the weekend a heavy sedative that she had an adverse reaction too, that actually seemed to permanently disorient her, and the decision was made to put Martha to sleep.

I am very fortunate to be friends with the vet tech at our vet, Margaret. She has gone above and beyond to help us with Martha, by making home visits across town to clip her nails, or bring us prescriptions after hours on her way home. And today, she was a true friend to me, and was there for Martha, when she was put to sleep. She held me and Martha, and we loved on her until she was gone, and sat with me for a while. She walked me to my car to make sure I was okay, and made the arrangements for the crematory to pick Martha up.  Margaret, if you read this, thank you. Thank you beyond belief.

It is very hard to have to put a pet to sleep for anyone, it's extremely hard to put a physically sound pet to sleep, when she has so much life in her physically, but her head is so sick. The mental condition that Martha was in, she needed to be relieved from. Seeing her laying peacefully after the vet left the room, and I kissed her nose, I just hope that she is at peace over the Rainbow Bridge, free of all the weight that left her so restless and anxious.
(September 2012, Porter's personal maid/Cheerio Vacuum.)
Whatever happened in your past to you to make you so withdrawn and distant from those around you, whatever happened to make you so uneasy and restless day in and day out. We still love you and tried to let you know that for the what seems like too short of time that you were with us. May you forever be free of your anxiety, Martha, forever at peace. We will miss you greatly, especially your little man, Porter.

21 February, 2013

Sweet Morning.

There is something so sweet about waking up in the quiet morning, when the birds have yet to sing, and the babes have yet to lift their heavy eyelids and say hello to the world again for another full day. When this happens, it is quite a treat. Porter cosleeps with us, so when I look over to find him still fast asleep, I slowly creep out of bed, get myself ready for the day quietly, and climb back into bed to catch up on emails/letters I haven't replied to, listen to some music, and have my time.

When Porter begins to wake it is a slow process, he wiggles and curls up, and rolls over and noses around to find my chest to nurse on. His hair in about fifty directions. I adjust myself so that I can still enjoy some quiet momma computer time, and nurse him with some sweet music serenading us. He isn't ready to open his eyes yet and milk drunk, plops off the boob, searches for his pacifier with a heavy, tired hand and plops the paci in his mouth. Another fifteen minutes go by, and he rolls away from me to lay on his stomach with his butt up, up in the air. Hair in fifty million directions now from rustling against the sheets. And I sit...able to collect myself, relax, refresh, renew for what the day will bring with two small children, and a senior dog that has been diagnosed with Dementia and Dysphoria (I will update on that maybe later).

It's a very sweet morning.

19 February, 2013

Downsizing & Simplifying: Our Step Towards A More Minimal Life

A few weeks ago, just before Porter's birthday, Dan and I were discussing just how cluttered our living space felt and how much it impacted our moods. Cluttered space = cluttered mind, which was leading to frustration and not being able to relax with one another.

Toys were constantly strewn everywhere, toys that weren't being played with but were being tossed aside to find the very select few toys that Mara and Porter actually enjoy.  When it was coming time to put the laundry away, it was overwhelming, there was just so much clothes, missing socks, a day after putting the laundry away, something was missing. We had an entire desk topped with stuff, when we sat down to go thru it and throw away just the junk, uhm, there was nothing left! So we decided it was time to purge!

We sorted through all the toys, all of the clothes, we got rid of almost entirely all of Mara and Porter's plastic toys and kept the few toys that they absolutely love, that contribute to learning and new skills, and the rest we set aside. Moved onto the clothes and left each of them with roughly seven shirts, four bottoms, Mara eight pairs of underwear, and bagged up the rest after washing it. I have to tackle Mara's shoes next, and we picked up new sets of socks for Mara and Porter. Seven pairs with the days of the week on them, for $5 each, and purged the rest of the socks. Now it's easier to match and keep up with little socks!

The stuff we decided not to keep we took to our local secondhand children's store where they go thru what you don't want anymore, buy what they want, and give you back the rest. We made around $20-$30, I can't remember the exact amount, and donated the rest to our favorite thrift store in town, the Morning Star Mission.

It felt really good to not have so much stuff, to give to someone, even in an indirect way like donating to a thrift store. Eventually someones going to go shopping and pick up something we donated and it will be in wonderful condition, at the price they can afford. The secondhand store that bought stuff from us really didn't take all that much, and the mission ended up getting basically brand new toys and hardly worn clothes.

The desk we had cleared off, we were able to put in the back store room because we had nothing to put on it anymore, and it freed up a lot of space. Then, we were able to take all the books that had been sitting on a gigantic extra wide book shelf, and put the children's books in a recycled wooden crate, and store Dan and I's books under his nightstand on the little shelf area. The wooden crate of books now sits atop Mara and Porters dresser, which helps IMMENSLEY with floor clutter, because now Porter cannot pull all of the books off the book shelf, and I can just give him a few at a time. Now, the big, wide book shelf is also moved into the back storage room, and will be donated when Dan has time to haul it over to the mission.

It was a much needed purge, and we were able to free up so much space, and have a much more comfortable living space. The following weekend, we went against our spending fast, and used the money from the secondhand store buying some stuff, to go to Home Depot and pick up a house plant, stuff to create a chalkboard for Mara, and plan out the Garden. We freed up so much space that there was room for a beautiful, Nephytis to sit by the window, and to create a tall, narrow chalkboard for Mara to draw on when she felt like spicing things up from the normal coloring book and markers and crayons. I love our new space.

Have you been thinking about getting rid of some of your stuff? Do you feel overwhelmed by clutter? It may seem overwhelming sorting things, but it is so freeing with the end result.

17 February, 2013


"a portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013."

Mara Eden:wanting to be in the kitchen with momma, always asking for avocados, and oh yeah, wearing glasses being the cutest creature ever.
Porter: apples, apples, apples, and some more apples.

16 February, 2013

This Saturday.

This Saturday is for...
big breakfasts of spicy potatoes, runny eggs for me, scrambled eggs for him, toast
coffee, cups and cups of coffee.
late afternoon naps for the babes while this momma and poppa have a Parenthood marathon.
attempting a dinner by the fire complete with smores,
but the eighteen degree weather freezes little fingers and you have to grab everything and run inside.
so, you eat inside, camped out around the sitting area, 
watching your babes eat chocolate with their shells, and not stressing about it, because it's Saturday after all.
curling up on the couch, and being close after a busy week.
and more chocolate.

14 February, 2013

Naked Series: Sarah Groom

After my Naked post last week, I was really inspired by the interaction and discussion after I posted, mainly on my personal Facebook page, but I wanted to bring that here. I have started the Naked Series, a series of guest posts about our bodies. The first guest post is from my dear friend, Sarah. She is a true inspiration to me, and I hope you love what she wrote just as much as I do. Her post came at a perfect timing too, so while I am away, enjoy this wonderful read.

 My body. Me and my body. We go way back. And we have had some pretty major bumps in the road. But the heart and soul of this story is not about the bumps – it’s all about the destination, baby! To a place where I love my body and respect my body, despite the imperfections.

Let’s talk about the bumps for a while though. I am a firm believer that we choose our path based on the bumps we stumble over, and that you really can’t separate the past from the present or the future. Sure, there may be things in your past that right now you are ashamed of. But don’t be – they were just bumps. Hopefully you learnt to slow down over the next bump, or even drive around it. And if you haven’t learnt from the last bump yet, it’s never too late. Our bumps shape us – physically and metaphorically, and we should embrace them.

My body. I love my body. Complete with stretchmarks, extra skin, bits that are wider than is probably ideal, all that jazz. I love it all. Because these are my bumps, the physical markers on the trail I took to becoming who I am today.

Today I am a single mum, a student, a blogger, a recipe developer (for myself!), and I run my own business. And my body is banging, because it’s mine. It’s the vessel that will carry me through this exciting life, and the vessel that carried my gorgeous boy into this world. What’s not to love?

Here’s a little bump for you – I gained 35kgs during my pregnancy. I actually told someone that this morning, and their response was, “What?!?!?!” (And that response made me laugh, it didn’t make me ashamed – because I can’t change the past and it is pretty ridiculous if you think about it.)

As a teenager, I disrespected my body in just about every way you can imagine. Alcohol, drugs, sex, and food (terrible food, sometimes no food, sometimes too much food, and never anything healthy). I was skinny, I looked good in just about anything (and nothing too!), but I had shocking self esteem. I hated my body, my face, my everything. So I disrespected it. I rebelled against my family, my friends, anyone who tried to help me, and against myself. Respect and love, disrespect and hate – they go hand in hand. You can’t respect something that you don’t love. I am very honest and open about my past, present and future because I am not ashamed. It was what it was, and I am who I am today because of it.

I fell pregnant just a couple of months out of high school, and that was an enormous reality check. It made me think, hard, about what I was putting into my body. Because, suddenly, I had the enormous responsibility of growing another human being. And whatever I put into my body was going into his little tiny body too. Sure, my diet didn’t go from french fries to falafel straight away (I actually don’t really like falafel anyway). But during my pregnancy and over the first couple of years of my son’s life, I made gradual changes in my diet. Sure, I still ate way too much. A lot of it was emotional eating. Baby steps.

But in the last two years I have completely reanalysed what it is to be healthy. I cut out all additives and processed foods, and promptly discovered that my daily headaches (they had been with me all my life) were related to some of the additives I had previously been eating regularly. That was a pivotal moment for me – not only did I no longer have headaches every single day, but I understood that those headaches were my body screaming at me to stop eating processed foods. They weren’t working for me. I started listening to my body. I started to truly respect my body. Food is the biggest way that we can actively respect our bodies. People often say that we have three opportunities a day to cast a vote for how we want the world to be. I think we have three opportunities a day to cast a vote for how we want to feel about ourselves, too. We have all these opportunities, every single day, to love and respect our body. Why don’t we seize them? Every single one.

So, I don’t eat processed food and my body loves that. I also don’t wear makeup or use hair products. I try to source the most natural deodourants, toothpaste and soap as possible. Our skin absorbs so much of what we put on it – it’s not just what goes in our mouth that counts. But our skin and hair is also what other people can see. In such a social world as ours, our skin and our appearance speaks volumes. Shouldn’t we try to make it presentable and appealing at all times? Absolutely. The most presentable and appealing look that you can have is your own. My skin is great, because I don’t confuse it with oils and chemicals that aren’t supposed to be there (and my diet helps here too). I feel fake and covered up with makeup on. My hair is very hippy – a pretty accurate reflection on what’s inside too! My hair, my face, my body – they are who I am, and I’m not hiding it.

Don’t hide your body. Don’t disrespect your body. Your body loves you, and you should love it back. All of it.

Because how will our children love their bodies if we don’t love our own? And how will they respect their bodies if we don’t lead by example? If there is one thing we all want for our children, it is happiness. But you can’t be happy if you feel stuck in a body that you hate and disrespect. We need to embrace our imperfections, our bumps, for the sake of ourselves and the sake of our children.

Because our imperfections are part of us. They are the bumps on the road that got us to where we are today.
Our imperfections are perfect in every way.
“Love what is ahead by loving what has come before.” – Yogi Bhajan

Sarah xoxo

Be sure to check out Sarah's blog// instagram @homemadehealthyhappy//Facebook

13 February, 2013


I've been trying so hard to move forward and freeing myself of the past. I've forgiven myself for things, I've forgiven the closest people to me, but I at the same time, shoved some of the most hurtful things to the back and hoped they just wouldn't resurface. I felt a freedom but it was not an enduring one.

On Monday morning, Porter's first birthday, I received a phone call from my biological mother who I do not communicate with often, since trying to move forward in my life became a priority, to be told that my fifteen year old brother, attempted to commit suicide Sunday night.

My heart is broken. He was not successful but there is a tumultuous aftermath, a disaster left in the wake of a storm, and I am frozen. Yesterday he was transferred from the ICU to an inpatient Psychiatric ward. I feel helpless, I feel like I failed my brother on so many levels. There is too much to explain, too much I don't want to process, didn't want to process, that I have to process to heal myself and find a way to help my brother heal and recover.  I'm not sure what more to say, but as readers, as a community, I just ask that you send light and love his way, our way. I'll be back soon, but right now, I need quiet.

10 February, 2013


"a portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013."
Mara Eden: baking a carrot cake for her brother's first birthday tomorrow.
Porter: stuck his face in the frosting jar.

06 February, 2013


The other day I came across a blog post by a woman with an eight month old. Her post was titled "Chasing Pretty" or something similar to that, and wrote about how since having her baby eight months ago, she sacrificed many things, and her body, her beauty was one of those things. She then preceded to link five big bloggers whose bodies bounced back in a miraculous way, very shortly after birth. She finished off her post with a paragraph summing up that she hadn't painted her nails in eight months, she hates bare nails, and was going to try and feel better by shaving her legs. Oh and included a picture from Pinterest of a woman with a naked (no makeup) face and said she has always loved this look.

I wanted to scream. I want to scream. It made me sad. All too many women use blogs and other social media outlets to break themselves down, to dissect their "imperfections". It twisted my stomach a bit when some of the bloggers she had linked in her post, had retweeted her on twitter, and instead of building her up as a beautiful, new mother, talked about their own detest for their bodies, which I'm sure didn't mean to come across as baiting for compliments, but it did. I am not trying to be negative and gossip or judge, it's just...this woman, how much hurt she must have inside. How much MISUNDERSTANDING of herself she must have. She didn't sacrifice her beauty, she enhanced it. In my opinion, being selfless and full of love is the most beautiful thing about a person.

The picture above was taken yesterday afternoon. I have stretch marks, I feel like I am the size of a humpback whale at the moment, I don't remember the last time I shaved my legs on a regular basis, and so on and so on. I personally don't wear makeup, I think it makes me look like a clown. I quit dying my hair in July, I want my body in the most natural state it can be in. Minus shaving...I can't do the natural arm pits thing, if you can, more power to you! And when I am not too big to bend over comfortably in the shower, I will shave my legs more regularly, but...I am losing a bit of what I was wanting to say, or having a hard time wording it properly...What I am trying to say is, material things, what cosmetic products you have access to, what clothes you can fit into, what you wear today, does not make you beautiful, or pretty. It never has, and it never will.

My brain is kind of bouncing all over the place, but I want to get this out there.

If you read all of this, I want to ask you to do the following:
1. Love yourself. Who you are. What body you are in.
2. When you encounter a woman beating herself down, please bring her up. We've all needed it at one point or another, and this blogging community shouldn't be equivalent to a high school popularity contest.
3. If you blog, tweet, facebook, instagram, use any type of social media account, post a picture of yourself, naked faced and feel empowered. You shouldn't hide in your beautiful, beautiful skin. Only you have your body, only you are you, and embrace it. Don't cheat yourself by comparing to others who appear to have more.


"a portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013."

Mara Eden: bundled up and loving it, because we got more snow. She definitely was enjoying an afternoon ride in her van.
Porter: bundled up and hating it. And hating his car seat, but content at the moment the picture was taken because he had Mara's boot.

I meant to post these on Monday, oops. Life happened. The weather has been more like winter these past several days, and has flurried almost every day. Mara is in pure bliss! We haven't built a snow man yet, but I think if the sun stays out and is shining when Dan gets home this afternoon, we will bundle and hike our way into the backyard to make Mara's current dream come true.

04 February, 2013


Currently, my our bed is covered in three loads of laundry. Piled high to the sky awaiting to be folded. When I finally got the babes down for their nap, the baby in my belly demanded me to eat, so I ate some lunch, and by the time I finished and sat on the bed to begin folding the laundry, well, I was interrupted, Porter woke up, grabbed the back of my head like a mad man and was jumping as hard as he could. He then preceded to grab diapers, towels, wipes, socks and pile them on my head. I mean, who am I to put laundry before being a human laundry stacking tower? Then this happened...(in the video below) and my heart exploded. Over and over and over again.

02 February, 2013


Parenting is a plate full. Sometimes I wonder how I am going to manage this "rhythm" with a third babe in the mix. Then I take a deep breath and remind myself, the wild, wild world around me is beautiful.

The squeals, shrieks, thumping, bumping, hollering, middle of the night poopy messes, stubbed toes, and other injuries only my kiss can fix, aren't going to be around forever. Eventually they will be independent individuals who can entertain themselves, wipe their own butts, soothe their own hurts, read their own stories, feed themselves, sleep alone, and so on and so on.

When this realization hit me, it slapped me in the face and I actually got a bit pissed at myself for getting so agitated at the hustle and bustle Mara and Porter had been swirling around me. Instead of being agitated and overwhelmed, I should be starving to get every last drop that I can out of these moments in their life. Before they are gone, because this too shall pass. Good or bad, this too shall pass and every second I get with them is pure, unique, and genuine.

It was a hellish week before I had my realization, but once I put myself in check, it was a beautiful week. The now is so sacred. With that being said...

I am thankful for:
the leftover beets in the fridge that allowed us to make bright, bright beet paint and paint beautiful pictures...and hands and cheeks.
the consistent milk supply my body makes for Porter.
blankets to cuddle up in.
a yard to watch them run and romp and play and scream in.
Mara's eagerness and patience to let me give her "princess hair".
all of the Beranstein Bears books we've been able to thrift so I can read to them everyday.
impromptu Saturday afternoon naps.

I am blessed:
with the luxury of having the internet.
to have extra food in the pantry to make cookies when the craving strikes.
with a strong husband who can deliver an incredible back rub.
to be their momma.