Pulling it back.

Have you ever watched an archer send an arrow flying? Have you watched an arrow slide effortlessly into the very center of it’s target?
I suppose, I have watched archers a good deal more than most young women. My grandparents owned an archery shop with an indoor range. I received my first compound bow as a gift at the ripe age of six years old.
If you watch an archer closely, there is so much that goes before letting an arrow fly. They will plant their feet firmly and adjust their hips, just so. Then an arrow set and the bow, raised to the face, will be adjusted with one eye closed so that the whole body is focused, aligned, to send the arrow on it’s path. Once aligned out archer will draw back the string, letting the tension of it bite into the soft flesh of their fingers. Once all is ready they will still themselves, taking a deep breath and holding it there, so as not to make the arrow wobble as they let it fly.

The flight of an arrow is unbelievably brief. Watching an experienced archer, the preparations are quick, some nearly imperceptible, because of the years of practice.

Success in life can be much like success on an archery range. Successful people, seem to succeed with little effort or forethought. People who rarely succeed often throw themselves into something new with little preparation and less tenacity. Failure isn’t caused by lack of natural ability, it is the direct cause of quitting. Success is rarely born from ones nature but often from unending practice.

So, with a little less than a year before me to fulfill my goals, I am taking aim again. Sure, I did start a few weeks ago, loosing my arrow with little preparation. I’ve started again since then, once. Today, though I am getting ready to pull back yet again. I have realigned myself, focused on my goal, and now it is time to set back at it.

Do I lack the ability to get to my goal today? Yes. Yes, I do.
Will I try today? Of course.
Will I try tomorrow? Yes.

I may not naturally be thin, fit, healthy, happy, successful but I know that is what I want, I know I am learning and I have a great deal of tenacity on my side.

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a baby or not… loss

It’s been to long since I posted. Life swept me up in a storm of activity, family and general chaos. There were two birthdays, two brothers, an anniversary, a mother, a nephew and two nieces to fill my every moment. There was also a baby on the way, one that we will never meet.

The day before my birthday DaddyBee and I went out for dinner together, just the two of us. I’d been suspecting that I could be in the early part of a pregnancy. After dinner we took a leisurely walk to the store chatting about the future and holding hands. We bought a couple of pregnancy tests and talked about what it would be like to add another little bundle of joy to our family.

The next morning, the day that I turned 29, I got up early, while my family still slept. I had planned to sleep longer, but with new life budding in my womb, bathroom trips has already become more frequent. After depositing my contribution to the test, I set it on the counter. Anxiously, I reminded myself that there was a good chance that it would be negative and I could still be pregnant, being that it was quite early to test. Originally the plan was to leave the cassette on the counter for the three minutes that it can take to give an answer, but as soon as that purple shadow started to move across the window I snatched it up and watched it develop.

Within a few seconds the test line became positive. Part of me didn’t believe that it was real, so I sat there watching closely as the line got darker and darker. It still wasn’t as dark as the control line but the message that it gave was pretty clear. I was PREGNANT.

By this time, DaddyBee and BusyBee were stirring in the bedroom. I came to DaddyBee with the test and his glasses.
Nervously I asked, “I know it’s not all that dark, but am I reading this right?”
DaddyBee fumbled with his glasses for a second, while BusyBee peek-a-booed with me. “Oh, no, that’s definitely positive.”

A few minutes later my mom showed up to run some errands with me. All I could think of all day was tiny squishy pink little babies… and the costs that come with them. DaddyBee and I are digging our way out of debt right now, and will be doing pretty well by this time next year. Having a baby and having to move would have set us so far back. A baby born to a loving family is always such a gift though, so I was also very excited. Knowledge of another life growing in me always makes me giddy; it’s just so magical.

I forgot to take a picture of the test. By the time I thought of photographing it, the test had dried and therefore faded quite a bit. I couldn’t get a good picture. Since we had another test on hand and hormone levels double every 48ish hours in early pregnancy, I decided to wait two days and “take another test” knowing it would be positive, so that I could get a nice dark like for the photograph.

Yesterday I saw the last of my out of town family off, and turned in toward my own little family, looking to plan our future. A future, complete with every member of our family.
Last night I restricted my water, so that my pee wouldn’t be too diluted. I stayed in bed for nine hours to give my body a long time to get a good concentration of the hormone in my pee.
Finally, I rolled out of bed, when I couldn’t wait another minute. Everything was set up for me in the bathroom. I took the test and set it on the counter to develop. I wasn’t that anxious for the results, so I just set it aside without much though.
Seeing the test when I picked it up, though, made my stomach sink. I hate that hollow sinking feeling. A huge, heavy, emptiness settled in my belly. Grasping at straws I tried to imagine any logical explanation. In desperation, I shined a flashlight through the test, trying to see if there was a light shadow of a line that wasn’t visible under regular light. Nothing. There was absolutely nothing there.

I ran a hot bath. I washed myself, as if washing away all of the dreams that I had, ever so briefly, for the next year. I focused on the plans we made before the positive test. I thought I was okay. I told DaddyBee and told him I was okay.

Moments later, I got in a huge fight with him. “Stop,” he told me, “you are lashing out because you are upset about the negative test.”
“No, I’m not! I’m actually relieved!” I shouted back. Part of me is, you know, relieved. We really can’t afford a baby now. Part of me is heart broken though, I just hadn’t realized it yet, or at least I hadn’t admitted it to myself.
I have since dived into a tub of cheese puffs, that my mother left here, and consumed a ton of them. I told the few people that knew I was pregnant that, once again, I’m not pregnant anymore. I’m drinking too much coffee with too much cream. I’m thinking of doing lots of rather dramatic things, life changing things. I’m back to this place where I don’t want to recognize myself in the mirror.

Now, only just now, hours and hours later am I starting to cry and I don’t know if I’ll ever stop.

Blackberries!!!

 

 

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Today DaddyBee and I picked nearly a half gallon of blackberries while BusyBee slept. It was cool so the bumble bees left us mostly alone though the spiders were as offended as always, at our very presence. I didn’t just and scream at all!

I even chided DaddyBee for cutting down the webs of spiders that weren’t overly in our way. We don’t kill the spiders, after all we are in their space. We do however remove their webs when they are directly in our path.
After enjoying a handful of berries fresh from the vine, I’m dreaming of the delectable ways to use them. I’m looking for some summer inspiration!

 

What are your favorite ways to enjoy blackberries?

What grows wild, where you live?

Do you have special recipes you use for local produce every year?

Beauty in Begginings

Daily Prompt: Moved to Tears

Describe the last time you were moved to tears by something beautiful.

Photographers, artists, poets: show us BEAUTY.

How often is it that your day starts out in such an exquisitely beautiful manner, that you are compelled to write about it right now? How much more rare is it that you go to write this post that came together organically and it fits perfectly into the daily prompt?

I am taking this as a sign from The Universe. Today is meant to be filled with things that fit so well, that just fall into place in a manner that is almost painful in it’s perfection.

Last night, BusyBee fell asleep on the couch, nursing while we watched Shark Week reruns as a family. When transferred to his bed, BusyBee stayed asleep. That meant time and space for DaddyBee and I to make love. It’s been a long week, BusyBee hasn’t slept through a night or gone to bed easily or played quietly all week, DaddyBee and I really needed that time. Afterwards we collapsed legs still tangled together and fell into a deep sleep. This morning I woke at 9:30 to discover that BusyBee had slept through the night in his own bed, which feel pretty miraculous. Our family breakfasted together on eggs and fresh watermelon and hot coffee, before DaddyBee and BusyBee headed out on an adventure together.

This is my alone time for the week. With more hot coffee in hand, I sat down to enjoy the silence and see what was happening out the world today.

In honor of International Breastfeeding Week, my local moms group has been full of pictures of the sweetest nursing babies. I sat here swooning over the babies. Oh, how I love sweet chubby little babies with the roundest of cheeks and dimply little butts, thick rolls on their thighs and bracelets of fat on their wrists. I had a baby like that, though now he is slimming down at an amazing rate as he becomes an active and very muscular tot. I can feel the thickness in the back of my throat with the bittersweet beauty of my child who is no longer an infant.

Then there was the news of several births in town last night. I could feel myself starting to choke up a bit more as I read about these labors and births. Warrior mama stories, of women roaring their sweet babes into the world, always get me. There is such beauty in new life joining the world, now matter what the way. A new life in that moment of first breaths and first meetings.

Finally, I came across a story I have read many times before. It’s not a local story, but one of the most beautifully raw and honest stories I have ever read. A mother speaking openly about the pain and fear, followed by acceptance and abundant love, when things didn’t go as planned. Every time I see it, I read it. Every time I read it I weep at the beauty that is motherhood and the love that is intrinsic to it.

One of the other mamas in our group shared that this lovely mother recently gave birth again and shared yet another beautiful story. Of course, I had to go immediately and read this birth story as well. I went from crying to sobbing. There is such beauty in the rawness and transparency with which she writes.

Unspeakable beauty lives in that moment when you meet your child for the first time. Every birth story that I read reminds me of the feeling of finally laying eyes on the little person who I shared my body with for 9 months. I felt as though I knew him so deeply and that moment when I first laid eyes on my sweet tiny BusyBee my heart felt as though it would explode from all the love. Holding that moment in my heart and mind, brings tears to my eyes yet again.

Mama Bear bares her teeth

This is something I shared with a group of other mamas after getting some really rude replies to a video I posted on my personal facebook page. I won’t be posting the video here, because BusyBee is clearly shown in it (it’s a video of him) but I’ll give you an idea.

It’s a 34ish second video. BusyBee, is looking extra cute in a clean green tee shirt, grey leggins, matching socks and Spiderman high tops. The comments were not made because he looked unkempt or anything like that. He is laying and then kneeling on our kitchen floor, which happens to be covered in dry old fashioned rolled oats.
It starts with him laying in them, and as soon as he sees the light on the camera, he comes up and kneels down in front of me, still playing in the oats.
I ask, “What is that *BusyBee*? Is that oatmeal?”
He continues to play in it for a couple of second then looks up at me and smiles, “Yep!”
He starts picking it off of his clothes and eating it.
“Did you dump oats all over Mommy’s clean floor?” I chide him a bit, but no shaming, because that’s just not how we roll around here.
He doesn’t respond, then about 10 seconds later he babbles something to me. I laugh and say, “Yep, that’s our baby.”
That’s the whole thing.

The negative feed back about our parenting choices was astounding. I’m not one for public confrontation or arguing with people who don’t care what I have to say, so I finally wrote out my response to share with other people currently parenting small children… just to vent. What I say has merit, though, and I think this is an excellent place to share it, as well.

“In the last few days people have started referring to the “terrible twos” all the time, as well as unnecessary comments about the video. The annoying part? They often do it in the same conversation as telling me how sweet and cute and blah, blah blah “good” stuff he is. If I so much as mention that *I* am having a rough week they start talking about the “terrible twos” and how much worse 3 is, as if I can’t have a bad week that isn’t his fault, as if it should be his fault. (*GAG* I’m bipolar, I have bad weeks, I had more before my baby, honestly.) I get so mad that I can’t even calmly reply. I pretty much just end the conversation and walk away so I’m not super rude. But I’ve been stewing over the responses I would LOVE to be calm enough to give, if I thought it would do any good.
1.) HE’S NOT TWO. You know that he is 19 months, I know you do because you just asked and I told you. In case you can’t count (which I know you can) that’s pretty darn close to exactly 1.5, which developmentally a million miles from 2. (In case you forgot in the 10-30 years that it’s been since you had a toddler.
2.) TWO YEAR OLD CHILDREN ARE ABSOLUTELY NOT TERRIBLE. They are two. They are doing what they are SUPPOSED to do. Sure, they can be super challenging, but they are supposed to be figuring out the limits of what is acceptable behavior and asserting their independence and individuality. If you think they are terrible as a whole, there’s a good chance you have unrealistic expectations for them.
3.) If YOU LIKE MY KID SO MUCH, WHY CAN’T YOU ACCEPT THAT OUR PARENTING *MIGHT* HAVE SOMETHING TO DO WITH IT? So, I parent differently than you did? So what? My parenting choices are not meant as an insult to the way you parent(ed) your children. I probably don’t even think you were a crappy parent. That doesn’t meant that I have to do things your way to be a good parent. I research my choices and tailor them to my child’s specific personality and developmental stage.
4.) MY CHILD DOES NOT RUN MY HOUSE AND I DON’T THINK I NEED TO START FIGHTS WITH HIM TO SHOW HIM WHO IS BOSS. The fact that we chose to make our house a 95% yes space doesn’t mean that he’s in charge. Just because we only have a few real rules (I will not let him unplug and replug the the fan in for fun, it’s too dangerous) that we enforce does not mean that he isn’t being given any limits. This is his home, too. We choose to let his home be a happy and safe place for him to be the age he is and we will continue to do so. We are not going to draw a bunch of “lines in the sand” about stuff that isn’t dangerous or a problem, just so I can tell him “NO!” as many times a day as possible, we choose positive communication as often as possible.
5.) WHEN YOU ASKED IF I EVER “GET MAD AT HIM” AND THEN WENT ON TO TELL ME THAT I SHOULD SO THAT HE WILL LEARN WHAT HE SHOULDN’T DO, I WANTED TO PUNCH YOU… BE GLAD HE GIVES THE CHANCES TO PRACTICE DEEP BREATHING AND ACTING CALMLY AND KINDLY. I will never choose to yell at, smack, spank or otherwise act out of anger toward my child. Sure, I’ll slip sometimes, but I will never do it as a way to teach him. When I act harshly toward him I will apologize. In our home EVERYONE is afforded equal rights to be treated with respect, no matter their size, age or gender. Dr. Seuss had it right, “A person’s a person no matter how small.”
6.) THE OATMEAL INCIDENT WAS MY FAULT. He has had access to the kitchen for less than a week, he’s still learning what is and isn’t okay. Also, I left the bucket of oatmeal on the counter (within his reach AND it’s one of his favorite foods) and then forgot it was there, then I proceeded to let him play in there unsupervised. Has anyone EVER made it through the toddler years without a single spill?”

How do you handle people who just want to cut you down or tell you to parent in a way that is completely contrary to your beliefs? Especially if they are people who already like your kids, the way the way they are now?

Aching for my own

 

Daily Prompt: Smell You Later

Humans have very strong scent memory. Tell us about a smell that transports you.

Photographers, artists, poets: show us TRANSPORTED.

 

I’m laying in bed and nursing 19 month old BusyBee to sleep. He has finally dosed off and his hair is damp with baby sweat. I nuzzle my nose into the soft sticky hair atop his head and huff that sweet and salty sweaty scent that belongs only to sleeping toddlers.

It’s like tumbling back through time.

 

Our house is dark. It’s the middle of the night and the only light is from the stars twinkling through the kitchen sky light. I’ve been awake for hours cuddling these two little girls. They belong to my older sister, who is getting a rare night off. I’m just a teen but I am the one that rocks them and sleeps with them and kisses boo-boos when they are visiting us.

One is four and sprawled wildly over 1/2 of the futon I share with them. She is an energetic and determined child. I say child because she defies the traditional gender perceptions and currently wishes to be a boy. Her days at our house are filled with dusty knees and climbing trees. Feisty little A never wants to wear a shirt out in the heat and wants her hair cut short.

Sweet little J is just two and curled tightly into my side, her tiny knees poking me in the ribs and her little head laying on my shoulder making my arm go numb. She is as different from her sister as can be. She is a girly girl and will sit still for hours if you will curl her long hair and paint her tiny nails. She likes to play with cheerleader and princess. A quiet child by nature, she sticks close to the grown ups, showing no interest in her sister’s adventures.

I smell their sweet little sleepy heads. There is a mix of baby shampoo and sweet salty toddler sweat. The scent fills my nostrils as my heart swells up, aching for the day when I will have my own child to hold close.

Now, 12 years later, A and J are in high school. Both stunning young women. Miss A is as determined as ever about life and hoping to join the military upon completion of high school. She’s come into her femininity on her own and has been in a committed relationship with her boyfriend for nearly two years. Little J is now growing up quickly as well. She is just as sweet as when she was little, sticking close to a tight knit group of friends at school. She still takes time out to chat with her auntie, and even confides in me when a boy has broken her tender heart.

Finally, it is my turn to be the mother to a small child with the adorable, wild, little BusyBee.

What bores me?

Daily Prompt: ( YAWN )

What bores you?

 

I am not an easily bored person. I love learning new things. I love quiet hours that stretch before me, open for me to make what I will of them. I don’t mind repetition, in music, entertainment or literature.

Food, though? I despise repetition in flavors, in food. I become bored with flavors within a matter of days. If I were isolated with only one dish or even a few similar dishes, I would waste away. Within days of eating something similar, I would rather go hungry. There is no joy and enjoyment anymore. It could be my favorite thing and I would become so bored, so wholly disenchanted that I would rather go hungry than bother myself to eat that thing again.
Once, when I was a child and my mother was very ill we ate the same dinner almost every night for nearly a year. Slice chicken breasts, cooked in a tablespoon of water, topped with Mrs Dash seasoning, served alongside a scoop of rice (occasionally boxed stuffing if we were lucky enough to be granted some variation) and a pile of California Blend frozen vegetables steamed in the rice cooker.

There is nothing in the world quite as boring to me as that meal.