Friday, September 8, 2017

Lessons in Stillness

Mural by Alan Aine

I just put Sloan down for a nap.
She was a bit overtired & couldn't get to sleep on her own. 
I began our normal bouncing/singing/shushing routine & nothing helped. 
So I just stopped. 
I stopped & lay down with her for a moment. 
She fell right to sleep. 
And in those calm moments with her I stopped thinking of my to-do list & reflected on one of the greatest gifts she has given me. 
The ability to stop.
Stop to breathe.
Stop to sleep.
Stop to eat. 
Stop to smell the flowers, 
to look at the street art, 
to watch the leaves fall.
Stop to listen.
Stop to pray.
Stop to smile. 
Stop to cry.
Stop to write.
During a visit from my own parents when Sloan was a couple months old & we were preparing for the cross country move to NYC, I was rushing around non-stop, & sometimes frustrated that I needed to stop to pump or nurse so frequently but my Mom said, Sloan is reminding you to stop & be still. And to a grumpy sleep deprived daughter, my Dad ordered me to take a nap - reminding me that everything will be better if I just be still for a few moments. 
And now here I am miles away, telling my own daughter, "It's ok. You are just tired."
Here I am walking slowly in one of the fastest cities in the world so that she can take it all in. 
One step at a time.
One person at a time.
One smell at a time.
And I can't help but be grateful for all that I have seen because of her. 
The detail on the Brooklyn brownstones.
The friendly smiles from strangers.
The grins on her face when she looks up to see if I am watching.
The look of concentration in her eyes when she is trying to master a new skill.
I imagine if I were in this city without her, I would have my headphones on & be one with the moving crowd.
Going to quickly to notice the wonders of the everyday. 
To notice the new flowers planted on the corner or the emotions on the faces of people at the bus stop or the little boy at the grocery store telling his mom about his day. 
How beautiful it is not to be lost in the crowd.

And just be still.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017


If I would have finished mailing all of our Christmas cards
they would have looked like this:

if you would have received one  
you would have already found out this:

if you can imagine 
the adventure ahead of us  
raising our little rainbow lady in NYC
makes our hearts pretty dang full!

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Mother's Day

I am a mother. 
With mother’s day approaching this Sunday, I find the anxiety creeping in.
The need to reassure myself that I am a mother.
And that one day, when the time is right, I will be a mother to my own living children in addition to the two that were taken too early for us to experience parenting them day-to-day. 
Today, I find myself longing so much for our day-to-day family life to begin.
To get to watch those little souls develop, to watch their hearts grow, to nurture their spirits, to hold them and love them every single day.

I try so hard to live in the present moment of today.
In reality.
To have faith that one day, Tray and I will have all these joys we talk so much of.
Some days, it is so hard.
So hard to stay strong.
To have faith.
To be patient.
To wait for the day.

I find myself looking back at my journals.
Looking for the strong days.
I found an entry from one year ago.
A letter to Maude.

The day I became a mother
Yesterday was Mother’s Day. 
My strength was much stronger than I had expected it be. 
Instead of being lost in a dark place, feeling empty & longing for you; I felt so blessed to be your mother. 
I remembered the day I became your mom. 
September 24th, 2014. 
The day I realized that you were my world & me yours. 
The moment I realized that my decisions weighed so heavily on your life. 
The day I put your life before mine. 
Yes, I had found out that I would be your Mommy on August 14th. 
Yes, I started to put what would be best for you first right away. 
Withdrawing from my daily intake of caffeine, reading every article I could find about the best nutrition & fitness for you, planning for your arrival, planning to be your parent. 
But it wasn’t until that September day that I felt the world stop & something inside of me change, change me into your mother. 
It was the first day we saw you, sweet girl. 
But not the moment. 
The moment was special. 
You were so strong. 
You were kicking, rolling, waving. 
Your heart was beating strong, loud, easy to find. 
And then, you relaxed. 
You lay there calmly as we discovered that you were extra special. 
That you were going to change the people we were. 
The couple we were. 
The parents we were. 
We would never be the same. 
We would be weaker at moments, but stronger than we ever thought we could be. 
We would be selfless because we knew that you would need our strength. 
We would never give up on you. 
We wouldn’t take the easy road & say goodbye that day. 
We would give you a chance. 
And you put up such a good fight. 
But that day, as the worry set in. 
The reality of the physical & emotional pain you would endure at such a small age & size. 
The reality that your “normal” life would be so abnormal from the mainstream. 
The reality that you were going to need us to make such big decisions for you right away. 
It was then that I realized what motherhood was. 
And that I truly was your mother. 
And then, I got to embrace that until that cold day in November when we watched your tiny body be taken away.
I mourned the loss of you for months. 
Of being your Mommy. 
And then I realized, I am still your Mommy.
And even though I don’t have you today, I know that no one can ever take you away from me. 
You will always be with me. 
In the new person I am today. 
All my love little one. 

I share this today because surely there are women in your life that are feeling a similar way this week.
I share this because the best thing you can do for those friends, wives, sisters, daughters, for those mothers, is to acknowledge them this Sunday.
Acknowledge their children, acknowledge their pain, but most of all, acknowledge their strength.

I have been so blessed with family & friends who have acknowledged this day after day. 
Who have held me & listened to me & sent thoughtful gifts. 
Who say her name. 
Who hugged me so tightly after our recent miscarriage. 
Who have given me time to heal. 
Who have not rushed me or judged me. 
Who have given me the strength to write these words here & share our story in hopes of bringing peace to another woman's day. 
To all of you. 
Thank you. 

To all of you who cannot hold all of your children in your arms today, know this.
You are a mother.
You are allowed sad days.
You are allowed angry days.
And you are allowed happy days.
Weak days
strong days.
Be good to yourself.
Know that you are not alone.
And know that a mother’s strength is the strongest of them all.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

In A Year

A lot can happen in a year. 
One year ago today I was blogging about a salad. 
One year ago today I was pregnant. 
One year ago today, I didn’t know my baby girl was sick. 
A lot can happen in a year.
In a year, Tray and I received the most exciting news of our lives,
And then the most heartbreaking.
In a year we placed our hands on my growing bump to give our girl strength and love.
In a year we held her little body with our hands when the battle became too much for her.
In a year we held tightly to each other’s hands as we said goodbye to our sweet Maude Marie.
In a year, I lost touch with myself.
I had moments of strength and moments of weakness.
Moments of clarity and moments of anger and confusion.
In a year, we felt the tests and trials of grief.
We sank to dark places.
And we rose out of them.  
In a year I learned to be gentle with myself.
In a year I learned to give myself time.
A year ago I was full of hope. 
And now, I am hopeful again.
I am going back to the beginning to figure out where to go from here.
I am allowing myself to get back to my creative work as well as reflect on my past work.
I am allowing myself to come back to this blog today and am redefining what it is.
This blog is a place for growth.
A place for me. 
A place for me to document my strengths.
A place for me to show my loved ones what I have been up to.
I don't know what I will write about. 
What this blog will become.
How often I will write. 
But I do know that it will encourage me to continue to learn,
Continue to push myself,
And continue to be myself.  

Monday, September 15, 2014

What we got cookin'

Fall has arrived here in Kansas City with all it’s pumpkin spiced glory. But, that doesn’t mean that summer is over! I am still hanging on to these last few “official” days. If you follow me on Instagram,  you may have seen this yummy salad I created one summer day. Best thing about it, like most salads you can put whatever the heck you want on it as long as you start with the key ingredients (lettuce & guacamole deviled eggs). This recipe is great for Sundays because it preps you with loads of snacks for the week.

That’s right, it’s the salad that keeps on giving.

Holy Guacamole Salad

*Note that the amount of each ingredient just depends on how many leftovers you’d like of each “snack”.
Hard boiled eggs
Grilled Chicken
- Avocado
- Cilantro
- JalapeƱo
- Onion
- Roma Tomato
- Salt
- Lime Juice
Leafy greens
Tri-colored peppers
Extra onion
Extra Tomato

1. Hard boil some eggs.
However many you would like on your salad.
And a few extra for easy snacking later in the week.
I use this method.

2. Grill some chicken.
However much you would like on your salad.
And some extra for easy chicken meals through the week.
Throw some spicy seasoning on there to give your salad an extra kick.
Or use fajita seasoning & you’ve already prepped your chicken for Monday night fajitas ;)

3. Make some guac.
I am pretty much obsessed with Pioneer Woman.
Use her method. It’s the best.
And keep a few diced onions & tomatoes to the side to scatter on your salad later.

4. Fill some eggs with some guac.

5. Add all ingredients to your salad bowl, including any other tasty veggies from your fridge.
I added some cucumbers & sweet peppers.
You could add corn, black beans, cheese … whatever your little tummy desires.

6. Put your extra chicken, eggs, guac, pico, etc. in the fridge for easy snacking over the week.

5. Salt & pepper those veggies & dress your salad.
I used ranch but a cilantro vinaigrette would be darn good too!

7. Eat. Enjoy. Repeat.

Easy peasy, right?
And it looks so impressive!
I like sneaky recipes like that ;)

Still hungry? I vouch for these recipes :)