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!

Friday, September 25, 2015

Fall Instagram Challenge: #BoldHeartMama

The Fall Instagram Challenge is here! Hashtag #BoldHeartMama. It lasts all season, just grab a prompt and join in whenever you feel inspired. No worries to participate every day. You can find me @boldheartmama.

If you like posts like this one you may also enjoy receiving the BoldHeartMama Newsletter! Click here to sign up on my homepage.

Friday, September 11, 2015

The BoldHeartMama Anchors: Peaceful Anchor, Part 2

The BoldHeart Mama is at her best—for herself and for her family—when her thoughts, energy, and daily rhythms are aligned, and when her basic needs are met. 

Every day the BoldHeart Mama has an opportunity to reconnect with her authentic and true self, in all her varied roles, through the five BoldHeartMama Anchors: peaceful (Part 1 & Part 2), connected, nurtured, purposeful, and inspired. Nature is a core element in the BoldHeart Life. 

The BoldHeartMama Anchors are a set of core desires that when met help the BoldHeartMama to feel satisfied and whole. 

This is one of a series of posts expanding on the BoldHeartMama Anchors.

You can find Part 1 of the Peaceful Anchor here where I talk about feeling a sense of peace in the important decisions we make for ourselves and for our families. Today I’m sharing Part 2 of the Peaceful Anchor: peace in daily home life.

As the last weeks of summer unwind and the school year ramps up for many of us, I'm surely not alone in my restlessness to find our new routine, to bring the house and all our things back into equilibrium as we clean up from summer's jubilee, and to establish general order once again after a long and lazy, freedom-filled intermission.

When I say peace in daily home life I'm referring to the sense of harmony that exists when the essentials at home—our daily and weekly routines and rhythms, our individual and collective needs and wants—are adequately met and functioning together in a way that well suits everyone. That happy good tune we hum when things are just right and we strike the best balance for all. Those moments when it feels like we've got motherhood figured out, at least for now.

Part 2 of the peaceful anchor means for me that I model healthy ways to manage emotion and resolve conflict, and I take care to nurture and facilitate my boys' sibling relationship. I offer quality time to each of my kids with focused attention and play. I invest time and care in making healthy meals and snacks to keep everyone even keeled. I structure our time and our daily routines in a way that rightly meets everyone's need for energy, nutrition, activity, and free time.   

When the boys were learning to scoot, crawl, and walk, I baby-proofed the house placing the breakables up high, putting away my favorite vase and special books that I wanted to preserve. I relocated a decorative ladder from our living room and gave it a new home in the attic. I created spaces that were safe for exploration by little hands and mouths so that the boys were free to explore, as their age and development necessitated, free from a barrage of parental noes and don'ts and reprimands. Now that they are older I create that safe space for them to thrive with a regular bedtime, timely access to healthy foods throughout the day, quality time spent together, and built in downtime when they are free to choose their own interests. I've learned to alternate big, loud, active, activities with quiet, calm, and fine motor ones to offer them balance, and also to leave plenty of space for transition between activities.

It is my responsibility to create an environment that sets my kids up for success, and there's no reason that we shouldn't also extend that notion to better serve ourselves. 

As I am aware of what I can do to facilitate for the kids, I am also aware of the conditions that set me up for successful mothering. I function better in low noise, low chaos environments. I am easily overwhelmed by a barrage of demands for my attention to help the boys' every need for a glass of water, a napkin, a butt-wipe, or to mediate their many squabbles all the livelong day. I hate feeling compelled to scream over everyone just to feel heard. I am more at ease when I focus on one thing at a time, and limit multi-tasking whenever possible. I am a better mother when we aren't rushed and I have the flexibility I want to give them the time they need to complete their tasks. I greatly appreciate a general routine to rely on—a sequential order of things undictated by time—but not so much structure that we are locked in to a full-fledged schedule for I'm a little more spontaneous than I once believed. I also need down time and solitude built into every day. Oh, and proper sleep helps tremendously—it's a cornerstone, really, and something I'm still striving for.

I'm not an especially patient person by nature, but I've practiced and learned how to be a patient mother most of the time. I've also learned how to set boundaries for myself, when to take a parent timeout, and how to reconnect when things go awry. I'm comfortable to admit when I have messed up, and also in asking for their forgiveness. I'm not perfect. I try to keep the frame of mind that we are all doing our best, and that we will make mistakes and disappoint each other every now and then. These are lifelong relationships we're building together, after all.

The fall and winter months may be filled with lethargy and morning sickness for me, if my last two pregnancies can serve as a measure. So I'd like to establish a solid and predictable routine for everyone now that slows us all down a bit, yet still offers flexibility in case an interesting opportunity presents—which I'm certain will happen because there is always something new to pique our interest.

In anticipation of hunkering down for the cooler months I am emphasizing a priority on sleep for all, which requires work on our end in the coming weeks to fully transition the kids to stay in their own beds at night, and to minimize night wakes for bedwetting and snack requests. With two early risers we're also establishing a new way of doing things in the morning that emphasizes self sufficiency. While I am responsible for establishing the family's rhythm I also have an opportunity to be mindful of the stresses I sometimes create for myself in over-scheduling my own personal time in the evenings and on the weekends.

As I continue to assemble a family routine to include our project-based homeschool, the outside activities the boys have said they wish to pursue, as well as time for myself to write, attend to chores, and enjoy face-to-face time with my husband, Time once again assumes its elusive nature and I'm left curious for how all the parts will coalesce in a way that meets each of us where we are, offers the greatest chance for us to realize our best selves, and also brings us in better tune with each other.

What does Peace mean for you and what does it look like in your home? How do you establish a rhythm or a routine that works for you and your family?

Friday, September 4, 2015

Traveling Solo

A favorite tree from our family travels earlier this Summer, South Carolina

I'm leaving tomorrow for four days in Louisiana. I've never been. A girlfriend of mine lives there with her family—we met in birthing class when pregnant with our first sons. She's since had three more babies the youngest of which I have yet to meet.

I'm looking forward to feeling the vibe of New Orleans: the jazz, the people, the architecture, the cemeteries, beignets and coffee, the French Quarter in summer, the swamps and the moss. I can't wait to be face to face with my friend whose life has both diverged from and paralleled mine over the seven years since we first met. We've stayed in touch through it all by way of shared passions for fitness, fermented foods, our careers, mothering, and most recently homeschool. Serendipitously, we managed to meet up last summer in Maine when we both just so happened to be vacationing in the Northeast.

I'm looking forward to carefully packing my bags tonight. Filling little plastic bottles with exactly 3.4 ounces in pursuit to solve the TSA's universal puzzle and make it all fit in one carry-on bag: a pair of flip flops and my running shoes; two pairs of workout pants and tops; a pair of jeans; running shorts; two shirts; my makeup organized in a tidy snapware case, and a bottle of Tocca's Cleopatra tucked in with my socks and pj's. I'll wear the only jewelry I plan to bring: gold heart studs, a bracelet I gifted myself today while out with the kids, and a thin gold band on my left ring finger. I rarely travel with my wedding set anymore for fear of taking them off and losing them forever. I have one book to pack away for the plane called the Opposite of Loneliness for which I've been sneaking "naps" each afternoon this week to lie in my bed and read under the breeze of the ceiling fan, while on the other side of the door my boys sit mesmerized by new video games. Marina's essays have piqued my emotion and curiosity for many things and I'm left even hungrier for the living and the writing of life. Here I sit yearning to stretch more, be braver, and even better with my words. I hope to finish that book on the first leg of my flight.

I'm looking forward to waking up tomorrow morning and neatly filing into the car. Sometimes, on morning's like I imagine tomorrow will bring, when everyone is high with anticipation for one kind of adventure or another, my little nuclear family of four feels so manageable. With windows rolled down, we'll stop on the way for two cortados and two vanilla steamers, then arrive at the airport with time left to spare for goodbye kisses that end with our cheeks pressed together until the very last moment. A long goodbye for my two little loves and a quick pass-off to my one and only, and they'll be on their way home for a long weekend of marshmallow cereal for breakfast, lego builds, morning passes by the river on their way to Starbucks' drive-thru for their usual, afternoons a mix of tv and video games and bike rides, and finally the uncommon dinner prepared by dad. But before we part, I'll breathe them in until next time, and turn the corner to set out on my own for a few days in a new place, with big eyes and an open heart for reconnecting with old friends and myself.

I'm looking forward to the roaring noise-canceling silence that can only exist at 36,000 feet. I'll read, jot down a few ideas in Notes on my phone. Maybe I'll close my eyes. As we near to MSY I'll look out onto the clouds and take in a slow heavy breath then let the exhale carry my hope for a safe touch down. A ding will confirm we've landed and the pilot's voice will come across in monotone through the speaker overhead to call out the time and a welcome to New Orleans.

For all that I'm looking forward to, a little tiny knot burrows into my gut for leaving the boys and flying away from them. When we are miles apart—me off on my own, with every good intention to take the time for myself and truly enjoy it—I feel even more intensely vulnerable. Unsettlingly aware of the time and space that separate us, and the tragic, however unlikely, opportunity for something to befall me and only me. The worst of my thoughts, of the boys left without a mother, I hate that part about exploring the world without them at my heels.

I'm looking forward to going, to resting some, to seeing, and doing, and living. All on my own. Just as I'm looking forward to returning home again, refueled and no doubt inspired, when the three parts to my one will be together once again, as we know and like it best.
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