Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Wounds and The Scars

I remember when the wounds were fresh. When the words were first spoken, the fights new and hurtful.

I remember the moments when I realized divorce was eminent and the world I thought I knew shattered before me.

It's strange how the memory works, and how I remember that even in those moments it felt as if I was watching my life happen from a distance. Snapshots. Like the day I packed up my children and a week's worth of our belongings into my car and drove through the rain to my mother's house in Tulsa. Or the day I returned to our home, and sat on my sofa in a daze with tears in my eyes as my friends and family packed up my remaining belongings into a moving truck.

I remember the moment it occurred to me there was no saving it, and then much later the moment I realized I didn't want it to be saved any more.

I remember sitting in my car and sobbing after touring the daycare where my children would soon begin attending for more than ten hours every day while I worked to care for them.

I remember the wounds, and when I remember, I feel them as fresh as they day they cut me.

I remember the moments I began to heal too. I remember looking at myself in my first suit as I headed out of the house for one of my first interviews. I remember the sound of my high heals on the tile floor as I entered the elevator in the lobby, and the power and energy it gave me. I remember feeling my shoulders straighten and my chin lift. I remember smiling at myself in my reflection.

I remember my first Christmas with my boys as a single parent, and the precious gifts I gave them with the $100 given to me by one of the most generous people I know. I remember the moment I decided it would be our last Christmas in a home that wasn't our own.

I remember the final car payment I made, the final loan payment I made, the final credit card payment I made and the first rent check I was finally able to write for our own home. I remember the fire in the fire place, and the presents we opened in our own home on the most special Christmas of my life. It was beautiful.

I remember the moment I knew I was strong, that I was more than okay, and that my children were happy and thriving.

I remember the moment my life changed again. The moment I knew I'd found love again, in a man, and two sweet children.

And yet, though the wounds have healed, there are still scars.

I couldn't help but feel broken and sad when I heard his excuses and his sadness. I wanted to feel compassion and wished I could help, but knew I couldn't. At the same time, I felt bewildered and angry at myself for still feeling that sympathy for him and the hope I've always had for him. To be more, to have more, to do more.

Then I remembered, and felt wounded all over again knowing how real manipulation and heartache are.

I told myself I wouldn't, but as I left the courthouse my car seemed to drive on without my permission and I found myself parked in front of each of our old homes. I tried to remember the sweet moments, like when we brought our babies home from the hospital and where we stood in moments of laughter. I tried to conjure up snapshots I have of smiles, Christmas trees and happiness. Instead my eyes fixated on places of pain and sadness. I remember exactly where I stood, what was said, the looks in the eyes, the tears and feeling so very alone.

Even though wounds heal, there are still scars. It always helps to drive away from the city where I once lived, to leave it behind and drive towards my home now where I have memories of healing, of moving on, of life and love, strength and freedom. But it doesn't erase the sadness, the loss of a dream, the real and present memory of grieving a marriage, and saying good bye to a whole life. Every time I make that drive back to Tulsa, and drive towards a life I love and am thankful for, I can't help but remember that rainy drive four years ago that changed my life forever. Or the 45 minutes before I got in the car where I realized I would never really have the chance to say goodbye to my friends and the life I once knew.

It seemed fitting that as I drove through that little town, looking at my old homes and my old life, I listened to npr and an interview with Brandi Carlile. One of her most well known songs is called The Story.

"All of these lines across my face
Tell you the story of who I am
So many stories of where I've been
And how I got to where I am
But these stories don't mean anything
When you've got no one to tell them to
It's true... I was made for you...

I am thankful that I have someone to tell my story to. I'm thankful that love has found me, that I've been rescued from a destructive and painful life. More than those things, though, I'm thankful I have a story to tell and that I've been given the strength to tell it. I'm thankful for the lines on my face, the scars on my heart and the snapshots in my memory of the good times and the bad. The wounds, the healing, the scars and how each of them make up me and my story.

Love and Honey,

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

haiku wednesday

we might be crazy
two ladies, five kids, one van
off to the salt plains!

Friday, May 25, 2012

{my moment}

A moment captured from the week that captured my heart.
A Friday ritual inspired by Soulemama.

So much for growing grass in that part of the yard. It's hard to say no when making mud pies is such a huge part of kid culture. They're outside. They're playing happily together. They're being creative and imaginative. I'm happy.

If you're inspired to play along, leave a link to your moment in your comment!

Happy Weekend, Lovies!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

haiku wednesday

last day of pre-school
relishing the half-day dates
just Alec and me

Monday, May 21, 2012

YOU Having a Baby

This week's Mama Monday post is going to be another cross between my usual writing on motherly and childbirth related topics and a Book Report. I keep thinking I'll write a separate post about the book only, and today it hit me that my Book Report post really is my Mama Monday as well!

On to it already.

I have a thing for Dr. Oz.

It's to the point that when my four year old sees Dr. Oz on TV or on the cover of a magazine he says, "Look, Mom! It's Dr. Oz! That's your favorite show!" Now, he'll also say that about most forms of news shows since I start most days with the Today Show and listen to npr most of the time, but he definitely knows I like Dr. Oz (please don't ask him how often I watch the Food Network).

I don't like him because of Oprah or because he has researched every weight loss trick known to man and knows a lot of celebrities. I like him because he's informative. He answers questions and explains why. He explains why people are obese, why belly fat is bad and what it looks like, what happens to your metabolism as you age and why. He is an expert but doesn't keep all the answers to himself and tell us to do things because he's the doctor and he said so. I like him because he invites people to ask him all the "embarrassing" questions they can't seem to ask their own doctors! Hmm, that might tell you a bit about the relationship the American public has with their practitioners!

When it comes to my health and that of my children I have a lot of questions, and I like to be surrounded by people and sources who will answer them. This is one reason why having a midwife for the pregnancies and births of my children was such a good choice to me. Midwives tend to be much more relational with their patients than obstetricians do, and are more likely to spend more time with you answering questions. This is not to say that all obstetricians or family physicians are antisocial or restrictive with information, or to say that midwives are in any way superior to doctors.  It is a generalization and a statement meant only to indicate that a midwife was best for my needs and personality.

In some ways I think Dr. Oz has the heart of a midwife. Besides being incredibly informative, and sharing information with the public in an easily digestible format, he also seems to me to be very balanced in his perspective of health. I appreciate his holistic approach to healthy living and how he emphasizes overall physical, mental and spiritual well-being over being thin, strong or smart. Yet, while he welcomes holistic and naturopathic practitioners, he never sets aside his medical training and experience and often uses both sides of medicine to support each other.

As a doula, I'm trained to support mothers by helping them to get all the information they can in order to form opinions and make decisions about their birth experience. Rather than point or guide them in one direction or tell them where to go and what to do, I see my role as helping them form the right questions in order to find the answers they need. When they do find the answers they need and develop their desires for their birth, it's my job to support, encourage and do all I can to see those desires realized. This is why I'm so glad that Dr. Oz and Dr. Roizen have written a spectacular book called YOU Having a Baby.

I recently listened to the audio version of this book (Thank You Tulsa County Libraries!) over a few weeks and I just loved it. Besides feeling incredibly productive as I buzzed around town running four kids between two schools, and back and forth between parents' houses, and all the errands you can imagine, I learned several things I hadn't read in other birth books yet.

Roizen and Oz do include several subjects you can find in other sources, such as symptoms of pregnancy and general dos and don'ts, but there is an overall focus on a particular field of study referred to as epigenetics. They go into great detail to explain how everything that affects you during pregnancy, from what you eat and drink, to what you feel and experience, can affect the genetic makeup of your child. They share how though your child's DNA is determined at the moment of conception, the environment that molds and shapes them while in utero can actually change how that DNA manifests itself in your baby as a child and ultimately as an adult long after you give birth!

Even more, the book isn't simply a list of what you should eat while you're pregnant, but meticulously explains why certain choices are positive and negative during pregnancy. There are also "YOU" facts scattered throughout the book which offer all kinds of interesting tid bits about our bodies, babies and health to further spark your interest!

I highly recommend this book, whether you read or listen to it. It is an excellent book to include on your bookshelf as a tool and reference. If you are an expectant mother with a partner who is reluctant to involve him or herself in the birth preparation process, this book will give you a great vocabulary and springboard for conversation with your partner about pregnancy, birth and beyond. I hope you'll pick it up soon and begin your journey to being informed and empowered.

Love and Honey,

More pregnancy info!


Friday, May 18, 2012

{my moment}

A moment captured from the week that captured my heart.
A Friday ritual inspired by Soulemama.

We are oh so ready for summer!
If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your moment in your comment!
Happy Weekend Lovies!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Swim Lesson: What I've Learned About Mother's Day

Swim Lessons are lessons I've learned from being a single mom that are encouragement to other single parents, and as it turns out, married parents too! The biggest lesson is, as Dory from Finding Nemo says, "Just keep swimming!" The rest are nuggets of truth I've learned along the way that made the difference between drowning and survival.

You'd think I would have learned to stop expecting big things long ago after my attempts at blowout boy-girl birthday parties in middle school were an epic fail, but I haven't.

I want to feel special. I want to be recognized for everything I do. I want them to know how much I care. Do my kids know the way I strategically try to set them up to succeed with everything I do? Do they know how much effort I put into hiding veggies in their food so they get the nutrients but still get to eat something they "like?" Do they really understand that from the moment I wake up in the morning to the moment I sit down in the evening I never stop? Do they know that even though they aren't babies I still hear every sound they make in the night, that I go in most nights after they're asleep and check on them? Even with every flower I plant in the yard and every time I wipe the counter top, my goal is that we will have a lovely, welcoming place they call home.

But sometimes it goes beyond that and into the frustration and the selfishness I feel with every sweaty sock I peel out of the couch in the living room, and every pair of underwear that didn't make it into the laundry basket. I find that bitterness in the slime I scrub off the kitchen chairs and the insane amounts of trash and crumbs I clean out of my car. Seriously, where does it come from? It's like they manufacture filth!

It would be a gross understatement to say that I was under appreciated in my first marriage. I honestly don't remember if anything was done for me my first Mother's Day. Though I was given a spa gift certificate for my second Mother's Day, complete with a pregnancy massage since I was carrying Alec at the time, I was fully expected to make up for the time I missed when I got home. After a lovely morning at the spa with tea, massage, facial and pedicure, I was welcomed home to a husband on the couch playing video games and a child who'd been left in his exersaucer for God knows how long who was severely in need of a diaper change (the expectations didn't stop there). Wouldn't it have been more "fair" for me to come home to a pristine home, lunch awaiting me, and baby already down for his nap so I could continue my relaxation? Sure, but I do remember my own mother teaching me early on that life isn't fair.

My third Mother's Day I was freshly separated, my two young children and I living with my parents while facing impending single motherhood. I expected extra care and sympathy that Mother's Day, especially since my children were so young and probably hadn't planned to make me breakfast in bed. I don't mean to imply that my family didn't do enough to show their love for me in any way. They completely supplied food, shelter, diapers, free childcare and so much more to me as I struggled to establish myself as a working mother and get on my feet (which took another year and a half). In my family, we all get together at someone's home for a potluck cookout, and generally all the women make sure that all the other women get cards, baked goods and something from their kids. I guess I just expected a little something more, you know, since I was the unfortunate one. Shouldn't I have gotten some giant gift card to purchase an entire professional wardrobe I didn't have for this new scary job I was going to have to get? I failed to see the $20 gift card to Borders from my sister-in-law (with a promise of free babysitting so I could get away for an hour or two to get "me" time) as the enormous act of kindness that it was. My mother even made sure to give each of my children a bag of Bath and Body Works products to give to me so I wouldn't be empty handed. Even then I was still bitter, as if I, above any of the other well deserving woman in my family, deserved to be treated like a queen.

The next year, I was long into single motherhood and single mom dating, and living on my own. I had worked extremely hard to establish myself in my own home, with no debt, and without having to ask for money from anyone. I was fresh out of a terrible (and in retrospect, terribly embarrassing) breakup, and felt more alone and on my own in motherhood than I ever had. I decided I deserved a nice breakfast and forced my kids to go to Mimi's Cafe and had to endure stares and even comments from others about how unruly my kids were and how I ought to do better at keeping them in line. I ordered a mimosa to shut them out. I then showed up to my family get together, and again was so bitter I actually made ugly comments to others about how moms with husbands get better treatment on this holiday. I'm ashamed at how bitter I was that day, allowing my own disappointments and sadness to dampen the simplicity of such a special holiday.

My first year into my second marriage (I guess we weren't actually married last year, but might as well have been) I expected a LOT from my new man. I thought surely he would do something akin to hiring a host of servants to feed me grapes and fancy cheese and fill my champagne glass while I sunbathed. Instead, I weeded the flowerbeds while he took the kids to pick out small gifts for me, and proceeded with my normal chores. I have since learned that this was how he was raised. I'm not his mother, and he was under the impression he had done just what was expected of him. I since have boo-hooed to him and explained that the one day of the year I would like to sit down and relax and not be expected to cook, clean or discipline is Mother's Day. This year was much better (breakfast in bed and him fielding the "mommy mommies," throughout the day), though no array of servants or fancy cheeses.

So, here's what I've learned about Mother's Day, or any other day of the year I might feel the itch of entitlement: Expectation is the silent killer. The minute you begin imagining how things should or ought to be, you're in trouble. Mother's Day, birthdays, anniversaries, Valentine's Day and anything else is just like the rest of life. It's what you make of it.  If you're not makin' honey, you'll get stung by the bees! You have to simply appreciate it for what it is, and if there are more special things you want, do them for yourself! If you don't want to clean for a day, don't! Either get all your chores done before that day so you can relax, or make a decision to not be annoyed with clutter for a day. If you don't want to cook, treat yourself and your family to breakfast out, even if it's McDonald's. If you want a spa day, save up and buy it yourself.

Just be sure to wear your handmade jewelry when you go.

And if you really want to feel special, be sure to go out of your way to make your own mother and the other mothers you know feel like queens. Giving and kindness taste a lot better than bitterness. I promise.

Love and Honey,

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

haiku wednesday

too much sun tuesday
mimosas on porch. need shade...
and more mimosas.

Friday, May 11, 2012

{my moment}

A moment captured from the week that captured my heart.
A Friday ritual inspired by Soulemama.

Some much needed time on the patio, on a cool Summer night, with wine, jimmy rigged lantern lights, sticky tea party residue and my love.
If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your moment in your comment. 
Happy Weekend, Lovies!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Tea Party

During my recent outing to the mall with Corrinne, we strolled through one of the department stores looking for the little girls' section and passed through the china. When she saw a gorgeous tea set, Corrinne mentioned that she loves tea sets and she has one that her grandmother bought her. I told her we ought to have a tea party. "Oh yeah, and we could make crumpets!" she said. 

As if it hadn't already been a fantastic afternoon with her, I was elated to begin thinking about how I could make an impromptu tea party happen when we got home. She was really excited to invite her best friends from next door, and I was just excited to be involved!

We didn't have time to make crumpets (or figure out exactly what they even are for that matter), but I did have some leftover lemon yellow cake I'd made for a Cinco de Mayo get together the night before, and some lovely strawberries from our Berry Farm adventure! That'll work!

Though we are typically coffee drinkers around here, I did have some tea on hand I thought the girls might actually drink. Apple Spice, perfect!

I found some whipped cream in the fridge too. It squirted in the wrong direction, but I figured no one would have any issues with the mess.

Garnished with one of our new favorite things, kiwi slices covered in sugar. Oh my, they're like candy!

I did my best to dress up the patio. It's just not quite the same without fancy, dainty tea cups though.

I think they had fun dunking their tea bags, spooning their sugar and acting "grown-up!"

I wasn't having a bad time myself!

I didn't have any fresh flowers, so I decorated with some pretty seashells we found during our family vacation to South Padre last summer.

Corrinne LOVES the kiwi!

Sweet sisters!

Then, something happened and the girls lost their daintiness. I guess that's a good sign that I made a yummy dessert!

There may have been some fighting over the last piece.

And a winner who finally stole it from the others and quickly devoured the evidence!

Soon a discussion ensued about what needs to happen the next time we have a tea party? Next time?! Really?! Oh goodie, I get to do this again!!

We decided we must have real tea cups, and plan to scour thrift stores soon. The girls also all agreed that next time everyone must wear dresses, side buns, and hats. Thanks to my best friend, I have the PERFECT sun hat to wear next time, and ran and got it to share with the girls.

I sure love this girl. She has a fire and a light in her like none I've ever seen, and one day I'm pretty sure she'll conquer the world.

Today, though, we play.

Love and Honey,

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

haiku wednesday

too many thoughts to
package neatly in haiku day

Monday, May 7, 2012

Charm Bracelets

Being a step mom is a whole 'nuther animal. Especially to older kids. Especially to girls when you're a mother of boys.

As a step mom, I have to jump on the {special} opportunities the moment they arise. You never know when they will, so you have to be watching for them. Like when your stepdaughter elects to ride with you instead of Daddy. By her choice. The girl who can give you the look that says, "you're in my spot," when you're sitting next to her dad on the couch and you know without a doubt you must give her that spot. The girl who will always pick Daddy over you, as she really ought to.

But she picked me, or at least my car. Maybe it's the portable DVD players I have in the back seat, but I'd like to think it's me. I half jokingly said, as we left my brother's house to head home, "So, where should we go? Anywhere you want to," expecting her to say she just wanted to go home. "Let's go to the mall," she said, "and just walk around. We haven't done that in a while!"

This is a moment you don't turn down. Any and all afternoon plans that may have been waiting immediately went on the back burner. I rolled down the window and said to Marc, "Corrinne wants to go to the mall." "Oh, okay, let's go," he said. "No, [insert my look here] WE'RE going to the mall," I told him. He got the hint, so he and Carter decided to go to Barnes and Noble and Vintage Stock instead.

I tried to act nonchalant about it, but I was beaming inside. I didn't care where or what we did, or how much it cost when we got there. She wanted to hang out with me, and I was all ears, open-handed, full hearted and willing!

First, we went to Macy's. I asked where we should go first: perfume, lipstick, purses, hats...she quickly chose hats. I told her I used to love trying on hats with my mom when I was a little girl. She said she loves trying on hats with her mom. I made sure to take note, to savor this moment, to be aware that I was sharing something special with her.

I'm telling you. I wasn't prepared for a mall outing, or pictures. But we had to have documentation.

For the life of me I can't tell you why I chose the duckface. It just happened.

This one was a winner for sure!

We talked, laughed, tried on hats, high-heels, wacky clothes, smelled every candle in Yankee Candle Co. and checked out new stuff at Build-A-Bear.  I didn't even care that I was wearing a sundress that makes my arms look fat and was completely void of makeup. It just didn't matter.

Then...wait for it...we got matching charm bracelets. No joke. She suggested we get matching charm bracelets. I'm telling you, those bracelets could've cost a hundred dollars a piece and I would not have cared one ounce! We picked the rainbow hearts and slug bugs, and she keeps reminding me that we can get more charms to add to it. 

Mother's Day came early for me this year, friends, and I'm infinitely thankful. I sure love that girl.

Love and Honey,

Friday, May 4, 2012

{my moment}

A moment captured from the week that captured my heart. 
A Friday ritual inspired by Soulemama.

As I was sitting on my back porch with coffee this morning before the little bees woke up, I was wondering what I would post as {my moment} this week. It's been a busy week in the hive, lots of sewing and taking pictures of projects, but I didn't feel like I'd caught many {moments}. Just then, one of my little guys rustled from his sleep (in my bed) and came out to snuggle with me. Conveniently, since I'd just been going through my pictures on my camera, I had it right at hand and snapped a pic. What's funny is if you know my backyard, you know I'd turned my chair around to admire my tiny, puny flower bed instead of the massive jungle of a weed garden on the other side of the yard!

Also, since I'm all about catching the honesty of the moment, I should tell you that the above picture was the second picture taken. After I snapped the initial first and perfect moment, I looked at the camera and realized there was a little boy's misplaced hand...

...and then I figured, "What the heck?"
That was my real moment, not the one I created for my blog. 
If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your {moment} in your comment!

Happy Weekend, Lovies!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Missy's Birth Story

In honor of International Doula Month, I am posting stories women have shared with me about their experience with a doula. The first is a former client of mine, and long time friend, Missy.

One of the reasons I chose to have a doula help us with the birth of our second child because I wanted someone at the labor who was there just for me.  Everyone else present at the labor from the doctor, the nurses, my husband, my family members, & even myself was concerned with me AND the baby.  Specifically, I chose Missy because I know her & know that she has the ability to be assertive at the same time as being encouraging.  Having Missy as my doula was fantastic at the actual delivery, but she was also incredibly helpful in the weeks leading up to the birth.  I was being a little wishy-washy on whether or not I wanted an unmedicated birth, and she was an excellent sounding board.  She provided me with information but did not try to push me in one direction or another.  She let me come to my own decisions.  Enlisting the help of a doula, and specifically Missy, allowed me to have the birth that I wanted: unmedicated, intervention-free, relatively peaceful, and mercifully quick!
Missy's birth was beautiful, and it was a privilege to be with her, her husband, mother and sisters as sweet baby Lily was born!

If you have had a doula with you at your birth and would like to share your story, please email me, and you will be entered in a drawing to win a FREE Honeybee Mama Ring Sling!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Adventures of Lovey

On Monday, Alec got to bring home his Pre-K class friend called Lovey. Lovey gets to go home one day at a time with each child in the class. Lovey has a journal of all his adventures with all of his friends. 

Alec has been patiently waiting to bring Lovey home so he can have his own adventures with him! After I picked Alec and Lovey up from school, we went to Subway for lunch. Alec shared a ham sandwich with him. Little man always whimpers because I make him get "salad" (spinach) on his sandwich, but Lovey didn't mind.

Then, we took Lovey to Downtown Tulsa to see the world, 

some really tall buildings,

and visit our old friends at the bank.

Alec (and Lovey) got a visitors badge to go up the elevators in the big, tall, BOK Tower!

Then he got to sit in a tall cafe table at the coffee shop. Lovey doesn't really drink coffee, but he didn't mind the company.

Alec even got Lovey his own sucker at the bank!

Lovey liked the revolving doors so much he went a few extra times around!

On the way home, we stopped at the pet store to pick up some food for our pet gecko, Cheeto. Lovey got a good look at the bunnies,

and the snakes. This picture still gives me the heebie jeebies!

Next stop, our second bank of the day. Lovey and Alec shared some popcorn. You need some salty after the sweet sucker!

Lovey even got to help feed the crickets to Cheeto.

After we picked up big brother, Aidan, we went to the park to run out some more energy before dinner.

One more stop at the store on the way home,

and after dinner and bath time, it was time to snuggle up with Lovey (and Mr. Momo) and sleep tight for the night.

The next morning, we were sure to record our adventures in Lovey's notebook.

It was a super fun day. I love this age, and I will truly miss four. I can't even let my mind think about the fact that this may be the last little bee I get to walk through the age of four. For now, I will savor this sweet picture and Lovey's grand adventures!

Love and Honey,

Find me at Tulsa Family Doulas

Join me at the 2015 SMTULSA Conference!

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