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

Welcome to BoldHeartMama!
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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!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Why Marbles Rolling and an FAQ invite

We're almost four years and over 600 posts into the history of this blog. I know my readership has changed over time and I was thinking it would be fun to invite you to ask any questions that are on your mind, related to anything at all! I haven't done this in a long time but it's an opportunity to increase dialogue and to write on some topics that I don't typically cover here.

To start things off, one question that I am asked a lot is how and why I chose Marbles Rolling as my blog title. I've addressed the question a few times over the years but as my writing evolves and as our family grows up, I gain new perspective on how the title is meaningful.

Marbles Rolling has always represented momentum to me. We chose the blog title when I was 35 weeks pregnant with Roscoe, when Andy and I were still "single", before kids, just me and him. Our momentum as a couple had been building over our 11 year history and before we knew it there we were, lounging in bed together brainstorming names for a blog and anticipating the birth of our first baby. It was thrilling to be in that place. We had no idea what life with Roscoe would look like.

Now, almost four years later, Marbles Rolling has become integral to my experience as a mother, and the theme of momentum is still relevant. I wouldn't say that our life is thrilling in the traditional sense of the word but I do feel an equivalent rush as a mother, a sense of delight, pleasure, pride, love, and surprise for these little people that we are raising. Like when I am witness to their intense curiosity or when they construct these really heartfelt sentences full of wisdom and innocence. I am moved every day by who they are and the ways that they contribute to our family. Our relationship is ever evolving and that is exciting for me.

As I mentioned in a post when Roscoe was a few months old, I feel an equivalent sense of bursting-at-the-seams happiness and contentment when the world opens up for the kids as they grow and then we realize that our world has opened up too. The anticipation we feel looking forward to our overnight dates, or reclaiming favorite pastimes as the kids become more independent, or dreaming about what our future of adventure will look like with a range of school-aged kids, the feeling is the same and it is all good.

Life with two toddlers translates to days full with energy and impulse, inherent struggle, inevitable release. Eventually peace. Then there are these incredible moments when we all come together in synchronicity. It can be exhausting and exhilarating, depending on the moment. The pendulum swings in both directions and the momentum we've created as a family unit carries us through the hours and days.

The first version of Marbles Rolling included a family of marbles that represented me and Andy and the four kids we imagined in our future family. When I hired Stephanie to update the brand, and because she can't take credit for the original version, a new one had to be created so we decided to go with just one momma marble and four baby marbles. There may only be one more kid in our future, or perhaps there will be two, it's an ongoing (and heated!) discussion. Not knowing what will be, I decided to hang on to that fourth little marble in my header for a while longer.

I look forward to answering your questions! Post 'em in the comment section!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Vanilla Milk for the Kiddos

Every week I spend some hours sitting at the Starbucks down the street to catch up on my email, read articles, and prep lesson plans for class. I often take care of online errands for the family, researching preschools or making doctor appointments. At some point I buy a drink as an offer of patronage, usually a short chai latte with whole milk, extra foam. Sometimes I add a shot of espresso if I need to perk up. It's a pricey little ritual.

The other day when I was digging out the popcorn popper from the highest shelf behind the fridge, I came across my milk steamer and remembered that I could make a frothy little chai for myself at home.

Not to be left out, the boys wanted their own "coffee." So we revived our recipe for vanilla milk. It has become their comfort food, a calming treat that they look forward to in the early mornings or just before bedtime. The kids have made a happy routine of drinking it from their mini mugs.

The recipe is too simple:

Vanilla Milk

1 cup whole milk

2 tsp. brown sugar

1/8 tsp. vanilla extract

The steamer is great for this but a microwave or pot on the stove works just fine, you only need to gently warm the milk. If you are using a microwave, one minute turns a cup of cold milk lukewarm, which is perfect for this age. Let the kids spoon in the sugar and vanilla and stir it up, then you can pour it into their cups.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Marbles Rolling, only better. (A new look!)

I returned from BlogHer '12 unsure where my writing would take me, or what it would mean for Marbles Rolling. After several attempts to unsuccessfully move this blog to other platforms I decided to stick with blogger and hired Stephanie from Stephanie G Designs to refresh the space. It was my pleasure to work with her and I love that the brand remains but that the aesthetic has been updated to make the content more accessible.

Our Stories highlights some of the big themes that I've written about over the years, and is a great place to start if you are new here. I've revised the About Us section to provide a little more of our history and to bring you up to the present, including why writing here is so important to me. I rejoined GoodReads and added a Library page to share some of my favorite books in cooking, parenting, and personal growth. If you are on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, or Facebook, let's connect!

I appreciate and really value the community that continues to grow around my writing and our shared experiences as mothers and women. Thank you for visiting and for contributing to the dialogue through your comments. If you have a blog please share it, I'd love to check it out!


Thursday, March 7, 2013

Finding Home

We engage in frequent pushing and pulling at the ideas of buying an existing home in the city to gut and renovate, and buying land outside of it on which to design and build something custom. We’re six months out from the expiration of our current lease, which doesn't matter much because we are required to wait three years from the date of our short sale before we’ll qualify for another mortgage. We’re still just a year and a half out.

While our little Cape Cod rental is sufficient, we have been chronically unmotivated to invest in our living space. At some point, especially if we decide to stay here for another year we’re going to have to shake ourselves out of renter mentality and embrace what we have to work with: decrepit bathrooms, lack of storage space, outdated kitchen, and all.

On the other hand, there is a sense of relief at the idea of staying put for another year or two, even if that means staying in this house, because we really love our neighborhood and know that the logistics required to move a household can feel like a herculean effort.

Regardless of whether we decide to stay or move in the short-term, we can and often do fill up hours when we have them, daydreaming about what will come next, after the waiting is over. What can we create with the resources we have, what will the process look like, and how will it be to manage either option while also keeping pace with our growing family and careers. (The topic of more babies has become a push and pull discussion all its own, but I’ll save that for another day.)

Over the last year I think we've identified almost every reasonable permutation of house type and location, tracing the trajectory of each option along a logical path from what our needs are now with two toddlers, to what our needs will be later as our family gets bigger and grows older. We've even projected what our needs may look like when the kids are gone. Our next house will be the home in which our family grows up. Ahh, I cannot wait.

A month ago we came very close to putting down an offer on a couple acre lot in one of our favorite areas, made possible only by the fact that we could have paid for it in cash. It wouldn't have been perfect, but it would have been pretty cool. The problem was the creek running through the property, which indicated some substantial zoning and flood plain restrictions. We were excited to think creatively about ways to design a home that would accommodate the land, but after a few weeks of research and inquiry we decided to move on.

Through our discussion it has been interesting to see that we keep finding our way back to two things: nature and a desire to design the spaces we live in. After fighting our own logic and imagination about what it means to live in the city or to live in the country, I think we are finally open to listening to what resonates within us. Recently we've come back around to an idea we had early in our process, when we still lived in northern Virginia, which would take us far outside the city limits but inspires us with the possibility of buying up a large parcel of land (5-10 acres) and then nestling a home somewhere in the middle of all that nature.

Whether the homesteading lifestyle is considered a fad, or a backlash to the feminist movement, or an incredible opportunity to reduce our carbon footprint, return to a family centered way of living, and improve our self-sufficiency, I am drawn to the idea of making our home and the land around it a primary focus of our collective time and energy.

I want to pursue the romantic entertainments of homemaking like foraging, harvesting, canning, pickling, and fermenting. I imagine a fragrant and overflowing garden of flowers and a large year ‘round garden with fruit bushes and vegetable patches; beekeeping for the flowers, and honey, too; and backyard hens to raise and gather eggs from; maybe even a cow. I long for a more intimate connection to our food chain, to the earth, and to each other. I want to feel called to the land we live on. I want the kids to grow up knowing nature like it was a part of them, to claim the uninhabited wilderness as their own, and to have a relationship with something bigger than themselves.

I'll leave you with this poem by Wendall Barry. It's been on my mind since I first read it yesterday:

The Peace of Wild Things

When Despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be, 
I go and lie down where the wood drake 
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds. 
I come into the peace of wild things 
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water. 
And I feel above me the day-blind stars 
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
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