Stay Curious.
Dig Deeper.
Nurture What Matters.
Be BoldHeart.
Enjoy Your Life.

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The BoldHeartMama desires to enjoy living out the choices that she’s made for herself and for her family. She is a relentless learner: curious, inquisitive, and open to the possibilities of her life and of the human condition. She understands that there isn't one right way—she asks questions that dig deeper to make sense of it all and to find her own path.

She pays attention to and nurtures whatever it is she really cares about, letting go of the rest (for now) knowing she can't do and be everything all at once. She embraces her imperfections in favor of "good enough"—her imperfect self, her imperfect home, her imperfect mothering, her imperfect desires—and she never stops evolving as a woman and mother. She is a BoldHeart, authentic and true to herself.

The BoldHeartMama knows there is only this one life and she's all in. She is present and engaged and making things happen. Her intuition is her guide. She seeks to be inspired and relies on her creativity and her resourcefulness to solve the big and little challenges that she and her family face together as they navigate their relationships and their world.

The BoldHeartMama is willing to take calculated risks to make her biggest dreams come true. She is living out her BoldHeart in the moment, making small moves and taking little steps that add up, and she's cultivating a good life for herself and her family in the process. Read More!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween 2011

The day began with chocolate and ended with chocolate, the way it should have I think.

We built suspense this afternoon by decorating Roscoe's room with spider webs and pumpkin lights, watching It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (I was disappointed to find it toddler-unfriendly due to the bullying of Linus by the rest of the Peanuts) and listening to spooky music all day. By dusk, Roscoe had perfected his rendition of "Trick or Treaties!"

We've been feeling in the spirit all month long with Halloween inspired crafts and baking, lots and lots of apple cider, and plenty of pumpkin patch festivities.


This year, I sewed Roscoe's costume.  He was an alligator.  Merritt was an interpretation of a pumpkin because I like my babies to be comfy in their costumes.


October was a great month, and I can't believe that November begins tomorrow.  The holidays are here!!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

We're moving!

Four months later, and our short-sale has been approved.  We found out two weeks ago, and have been eagerly scouting houses ever since.  Yesterday afternoon we signed the lease for a little cape cod in the hub of Richmond City.  

Our home for the next few years sits on a mature lot with a fenced in yard, has a screened in porch, a fireplace, and 5 bedrooms. The kitchen will take some getting used to I think, but the charm of an older home with architectural appeal and lots of surprising nooks and crannies is feeling just right for us. It has a teeny, steep staircase that leads up to two really unique rooms that join together, one of which includes a bathroom with what appears to be a miniature toilet and sink--it will be so perfect and so fun for Roscoe and Merritt to share. We're just one block from a sought-after elementary school and within walking distance to quintessential Richmond shopping. We can get anywhere in the greater Richmond area in about 15 minutes, with traffic.  Awesome.  

We close on our house on the 25th of November, so we have less than three weeks to pack up and make the move--of course there would be a holiday the day before closing.

Today we boxed up most of our stuff on the third floor.  The walls are bare and it's sinking in that we are really leaving.  Pursued on a whim, our decision to attempt a short-sale was at once a last ditch effort for a better quality of life and an uncalculated experiment to see just what might come of it.  My interest was piqued when we initially put the house on the market, but I wasn't very optimistic. If the sale hadn't been approved we would have resumed our discontented suburban life in Northern Virginia and hoped with all of our might for a faster than projected market turn.

But instead, we took a risk and it paid off.  We feel pretty lucky. And hopeful.  And excited!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Chloe girl


Chloe, our dog, had a seizure this morning.  It was her second in two weeks, but the first that we witnessed.

Gripped by convulsions, I was sure that she was dying. Afterward, she lay panting, frothing at the mouth, and the best we could do was to rub her and tell her that everything would be ok.

She tried to get on her feet, but fell down as she stumbled into the wall. I sensed her terror but was helpless. The hair on her back bristled and I felt then the same hesitation to trust her as I did the night that she wandered into our yard 7 years ago, a young pit bull with an unknown past.

The vet says that it is probably brain cancer and that we should expect the seizures to increase in frequency and severity.  We ran some preliminary tests that didn't offer any answers. We don't plan to order anything more to confirm or deny our vet's intuition.

Since Roscoe was born, the place that our pets held in our hearts has been filled-in with life stresses and parental responsibilities. Our focus and our priorities are so different now than before, and our jaded perception of pet ownership (animals captive in homes) looms large. (Does anyone else ever think of this is an odd phenomenon!?) We feel guilty every day over the seismic shift in our attitude and, as genuinely as we loved Chloe (and still do in so many ways), it's hard to admit.

Chloe has always been such a sweet and loyal dog, our little bully.  I often feel that she deserves so much more than we can offer her now, life is just so demanding.

Knowing that she is sick, now makes the guilt feel even heavier than before. Two whole years have elapsed. I hope that we have time to make it up to her.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A Sneak Peak, and a Look Back

Merritt, Gunner, Mary Anna, Jonathan, Lillian, Roscoe
2011

Roscoe, Gunner, Jonathan, Lillian


Sammy, Lillian, Evan, Gunner, Roscoe, Jonathan

Friday, October 21, 2011

Food Dehydrator: the new kitchen appliance

At the peak of the season, when our little garden was posing a real challenge to keep up with a formidable abundance of cherry tomatoes and squash, I decided to buy a food dehydrator. 

The Excalibur was delivered to our doorstep in less than a week. After we got over the amount of counter space that it covers, we developed adoration for the endless possibilities and marveled at the act of putting one thing in and getting another thing out.


In the last month of Summer, the low hum of that big black box serenaded the kitchen and the entire first floor of the house.  In addition to tomatoes, and with a carton of citric acid by my side, we've since dried figs, plums, and apples. Last week we made sweet potato "fries" and yesterday I finished drying marjoram, sage, and rosemary.  It is all too simple. And way more fun than I anticipated.

I'm enjoying the practicality that comes from making our own fruit snacks and preserving in-season produce for later use, and I like how it contributes to our bigger aspirations to bring wholesome and unprocessed foods to our plates.  

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Merritt is Eight Months Old


Merritt is eight months old?  Whoa, slow down!  Time is on fire, it seems.

I'm not sure how to hold on to the baby version of our little Mer-Mer, as Roscoe has taken to calling him.  He's cutting his top teeth, he's scootin' backward, he feeds himself greedily.  His double chin still hangs around and maybe it's the Momma in me, but his little gobble neck is a definite sweet spot.

I've been throwing around some unoriginal birthday ideas, still impressed that after the Holidays he'll be turning one year. I've always felt a very deep connection to Merritt--he feels like an old soul to me. We've been through some stuff together, and some days it is hard to separate out the me from the him. We?  I feel it with both the boys, though, loving them in a more absolute and truer way than I've ever been able to love even myself.

I know the independent stage is coming.  Faster than I can remember, probably (it's weird how quickly I forget!). I've been intent to study all of his details for fear that one day the intimacy that we share now--a direct function of the dependency of our relationship--will be lost to time and memory. I want to always be able to recall the subtleties by which I know him today. To retain the ability to invoke the simple goodness of the weight of his body nestled up to me as I cradle him, slung over one shoulder, and shush him to sleep while he breathes his hot little breath into my ear.

I try not to feel guilty about being less diligent documenting his life than I was with my firstborn.  I remind myself that when my boys are in their 30's, whether or not I can then recall every little piece of them along the way won't diminish what it feels like knowing them in this way every day, as we move from here to there.

I don't usually link up to articles, but I can't stop thinking about this one.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Thursday, October 13, 2011

At home in Corolla


We're vacationing in North Carolina this week with our good friends who invited us to their beach house for a Fall getaway. We began the week sharing space with nine adults and seven kids under the age of three but over the last couple of days some guests left and new ones arrived and right now we're down to just three families with a combined total of five little ones (all under two).

I've been to the Outer Banks many times but never to Corolla and I find the solitude here to be refreshing, it doesn't hurt either that the crowds are much thinner now, in the off-season.

Maybe you've experienced this too, but, for us, vacations with our kids do not necessarily include the kind that relax. Romance and adventure can't be counted on either, although, as the kids grow these opportunities are thankfully growing too.

I don't know why we didn't think of it before, but it is wonderful to vacation with friends all who have kids of the same age, where we put under one roof what we each experience in parallel on a daily basis. The experience here has been really inspiring and has highlighted for me the value of finding a community, or in our case, holding on to our tribe as we plan to move away from it later this Winter. I don't believe that our role as mothers is best cultivated alone, inside the isolated confines of our homes.

My heart relies heavily on my friends, and their families, to share the affects of parenting 'round the clock in a culture that neither particularly respects the investment that we make every day nor routinely nurtures the family unit. While we have no more hands than usual this week (and the children are as spirited as ever with all of their buddies around), the camaraderie we're experiencing as we do it all, together under one roof, is really encouraging.

Connecting over our shared struggles, learning from one another, helping to guide children that are not my own; confiding our fears and our confidences about the choices that we make every day to remain committed to gentle discipline, and devoted to raising our kids in attachment. We are teaching and learning together.

The weather here hasn't turned yet and so we've kept the windows open to let in the salty cool breeze--meanwhile, the humidity has the upholstery in the house feeling damp and chill. We drive right out onto the sandy beach to find the perfect spot for unloading our toddlers with their embroidered beach towels and buckets of toys.  We stroll the local shops, take bike rides with the kids, and treat ourselves to local donuts for breakfast and gelato in Duck after the loudest, most boisterous dinners we've ever attended.

While this week has been full of all of the things that we had hoped for, and it is true that this vacation most closely resembles those of our former (childless) vacations in the way of joy and feeling at ease, I'm most thankful for the generosity of our friends in creating this opportunity to feed our adult friendships.

There have been other seemingly ordinary milestones in my experience and journey as a mother, but our time together here is significantly shaping my perspective of what is and what can be, and it moves me even closer to becoming the mother that my boys deserve.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Pick-me-up


I bought a new sling for the Fall. Justifiying the cost of another Sakura Bloom was easy considering that I wear the sling most of every day and that Merritt practically lives in it. After 7 1/2 months I wanted to update my look.

Any ring sling might do, but these are luxurious. The Pixie collection is festive and pretty for the cooler months, but will surely be just as versatile through the Spring and Summer.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

All is well

I had a follow-up ultrasound this morning.  While the tumor still exhibits some questionable characteristics, it has decreased in size, which indicates that it is not likely cancer.

They believe that it is a Lactacting Adenoma--a benign tumor affected by the hormones of pregnancy and lactation. The ductal tissue sampled in the last core biopsy are congruent with this diagnosis.

Whew.  Thank goodness.

Of course there is more follow-up in the near future, just to be sure, but for all intents and purposes the not knowing is over.

Hooray!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Treehouse camping


We made family history this weekend with our first camping trip. We stayed at a cool little campground in Maryland, just off the Appalachian Trail.  

The Treehouse Camp offers a range of accommodations. With two little guys in tow and chilly October air in the forecast, we chose the more refined cottages.  We had a wood stove to stay warm, and bunk beds with mattresses to sleep on.  

When we arrived Friday afternoon, the weather was cool and windy so we went for a long walk and then cooked dinner together outside on our one-burner coleman stove.  I made bread and applesauce the day before, and we cooked up griller sausages and buttered broccoli. At night we built a roaring fire and soaked up the heat over adult conversation. 

The rain started late Friday night and didn't let up.  There were no hikes, or outdoor play, beyond the slippery jaunt down the hill and back again from our cottage to my parents' across the way.  Instead, we made art, colored, played with puzzles, made believe, napped, cooked and ate, and caught up with each other as we tended the kids, trading them back and forth. 

We had our battles with the wood-burning stove--too cold, then too hot, then cold again--keeping the fire stoked through the night was a challenge, and keeping the kids comfortable was ongoing.  Last night Roscoe and Merritt started out bundled in layers, and by 3 am I had them stripped down to their diapers, only to turn around and layer them up again in time for breakfast. Grandma and Grandpa were good sports keeping up with our early rise and kid-centered routines.  

sad to leave the fun for bed

 marshmallows at breakfast


I grew up tent camping throughout California and Arizona. I like the contrast of waking up in the morning all warm and snuggled inside my sleeping bag, feeling the sharp cold of the early air with just my face and loathing the thought of climbing out of the thermal heat and into a dewy tent. Campfires, s'mores.  Comfy clothes, and trees and dirt, and peeing in the woods.  Showers under a night sky, or no showers for three days. Breakfast and dinner fireside.  It's all good to me, and I really look forward to continuing the tradition with our kids as they grow older.
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