Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Oh, October

Delicious autumn! 

My very soul is wedded to it, 
and if I were a bird I would fly 
about the earth 
seeking the successive autumns. 
Mary Anne Evans (George Eliot)

Fall has arrived, though I'm not sure how that happened. Time has been flying away from me. I'm sure it has something to do with school five days per week and a husband traveling for work for 3 weeks in September. Now here I sit in mid-October. Wow.

When I come to my computer and indulge in my daily blog reading habit, I find myself going towards words to inspire and feed my soul. Like many, my reading of blogs (and writing) ebbs and flows, along with my feelings about this whole blog world. There have been times that reading blogs has actually made me feel less than, down on myself, like I don't do enough as a mother/woman/wife/etc.. I think that has something to do with the sincerity (or lack) of the blogs I was reading. These days I find myself savoring blogs that inspire and sooth and bring peace to my soul. One in particular is Threading the Light . I love what these women are offering up to the world...mindful reflection in the midst of the busy-ness that surrounds our days. I am especially drawn to their project, "Piece Together Peace".


Here, I join their mission. I do believe that Peace can come from each and every one of us, that if we bring Peace to ourselves, we will thereby bring it to others. As a mother, I think of this often. An image that I have tried to remind myself of is the instructions given on airplanes: if the cabin looses pressure, parents should put their oxygen masks on first, and then put masks on their children. If we deprive ourselves of oxygen, how will our children breathe?

So here is my small piece for October. I have taken the time to unsubscribe from every solicitor that enters my email box. How does this bring me Peace? Because it helps to eliminate the incessant and sometimes overwhelming wanting that advertisements can bring. I no longer have realtors emailing me housing listings (we aren't even looking to buy a house, but this made me long for something I couldn't have), William Sonoma doesn't beckon me to buy a panini press, and Boden will no longer tempt me with their clothing. By quieting the wanting, the desires, the wishes, I also eliminate the dissatisfaction with my current life and open myself to acceptance and appreciation for the joy and beauty in all that I do have. Sure sounds like a lot of Peace to me. And Peace that I hope to teach my children as well.

If you are moved, I encourage you to read and join the "Piece Together Peace" project. Let me know if you do.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Macy Gray - Beauty In The World

A little inspiration for your day.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Back to School/Back to the Blog

Cooper had his first day of Preschool for the year today.

He returned to First Community Church and will attend five days per week this year, plus stay for their Lunch and Play program two days per week. A new adventure for our growing boy. I'm hoping for another year of incredible growth, that he continues to learn to balance his big emotions, and that he makes some close friends.

I stepped away from this space for the last few months. Turns out I needed summer vacation too. I'm still not exactly sure where I want to go with this space, but sometimes it is best to figure things out as you go. At least that is my loose plan for now.

I hope that everyone had a wonderful summer and is ready for all the excitement that fall brings.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Welcome to Our Summer CSA!!!

The Dahl family has joined the CSA revolution as new members of the 2 Silos meat and produce CSA. We picked up our first meat share a few weeks ago (2 cornish hens, 1 chicken, 4 mutton chops, 1lb ground mutton, and 1 rabbit). Last week we picked up our first produce and egg share, which included 4 quarts of strawberries and some lovely lettuce. And this week? Look at this beautiful bounty!!

Snow peas, strawberries, eggs, zucchini and golden zucchini, and green tomatoes. Yum!

The challenge? Keeping up with the bounty in the midst of moving craziness. We are moving on Saturday. Good thing the local, fresh produce lasts and my parents are coming in town to help eat it all.

I'm looking forward to sharing our CSA adventures in eating healthy, local, fresh, delicious food all summer long.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Monday, June 7, 2010

On Turning 36

I'm a strong believer in how you start something is how you get to live it every day. With that in mind I chose to begin my 36th year achieving a new goal -- running a 10K.

The morning starting with a kids race with one very enthusiastic 4 year old participant.

The kids started with some serious stretching and a quick explanation of the course.

And they're off!!!!

Here they come, nearing the finish line.

Don't you love how he is looking straight at the camera?

After Cooper received his "first place medal" it was time for me to race. Things started a bit roughly as my iPod had some technical difficulties. I ended up having to fiddle with it for the first couple minutes, cursing technology and myself for not preparing everything perfectly.

Here I am fiddling and cursing.

I eventually got the iPod working and found my rhythm. I nearly made my goal time of finishing in under 1 hour, crossing the finish line at 1:00.33, wearing a big smile on my face, proud of my achievement and so grateful to see Erik, Cooper and Ellery waiting for me and cheering me on.

Here's to a strong, active, love filled, goal achieving, creative, hard working 36th year of being ME!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Ballantrae Park

We had a glorious time yesterday at Ballantrae Park in Dublin, Ohio. Cooper lost himself in the water play. Every time I glanced at him he was talking to himself, his imagination taking him on all sorts of adventures. Ellery was more timid with the water than I would have guessed, but she too loved the park. We will definitely be heading back there this summer!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Being Creative

I'm feeling quite pleased with a bit of creating I did last night. I wanted to make a little thank you gift for a wonderful woman who has cared for my baby girl on Monday mornings since September while I participated a parenting group. The group takes place at the church where Cooper attends preschool. This woman has been more of a friend to me than I'm sure she realizes, but most of all she has loved my Ellery. Any mother understands that those who love your babies are held closely your heart. So, a little handmade love was needed.

Three hand decorated Moleskine notebooks, for accomplishments, hopes and dreams, and creating, along with a set a Flair felt tip markers.

In gratitude.

Friday, May 14, 2010

{this moment}

A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. Inspired by Amanda Blake Soule

Friday, May 7, 2010

{this moment}

A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. Inspired by Amanda Blake Soule

Happy Friday!!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Try Something New Tuesday (a day late)

I'm a day late getting this post up, seeing as it's now Wednesday. This is due in part to getting a much needed last minute therapeutic massage last night.

Here are all the new things we tried yesterday:

  • Classical music -- No, classical music isn't new. But what is new is I left the local public radio station on all day yesterday. They play nothing but classical music and have DJs with the calm, soothing voices distinct to classical music stations. It resulted in some impromptu "ice skating"/ballet dancing by Cooper and I. It also resulted in a calmer mood in our house. Perhaps it was just a coincidence, but I'm going to continue with the music and observe the effects. Even if it just keeps me calmer, then it is a very good thing.
  • Bike riding -- Cooper very recently conquered riding his two wheeler. We purchase the Trek Float for him for his 4th birthday. This bike starts as a push bike with the cranks removed. Then, when the child is ready, the pedals are replaced. Cooper mastered balancing and "floating" quickly and took off when we put the pedals on last Friday. Yesterday I took Cooper and Ellery to Antrim Park in Columbus. This is a 1.2 mile loop around a pond. Cooper road his bike, I pushed Ellery in the stroller, and we enjoyed a glorious spring day. I'm working on putting together a movie of Cooper's biking skills. Stay tuned for that!
  • Massage -- While I've gotten massages in the past, this is the first time I've gone for a therapeutic massage. My primary care physician is part of an Integrative Medicine practice where they practice a variety of western and eastern medical modalities. The massage was very helpful for my chronic hip/back pain. I really wanted to get an assessment to learn whether the running I've been doing is a good idea or not. Looks like it is okay, for now. I just need to stretch and warm up more. I always love learning more about how my body works and what I can do to feel my best.
Have you tried anything new lately?

Friday, April 30, 2010

{this moment}

A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. Inspired by Amanda Blake Soule

 Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Try Something New Tuesday

I am well aware that the date today is April 27 and spring is in the air. But my preoccupied mind has been craving something warm and comforting. The weather has also turned cooler, as it does in the spring, and we are back in long sleeves and light jackets. So baking was surely in order, and fall flavored baking at that.

I've had a can of pumpkin calling to me for weeks and I've been looking for some healthier cookie recipes. Today I put it all together.

Spring Time Pumpkin Cookies!

You can find the recipe here. They are super yummy, almost more like a muffin than a cookie, nice and light, not too sweet. Just what I was hoping for. I opted against the chocolate chips. Such an easy recipe that I will definitely make again. Maybe next time I'll wait until they are seasonably appropriate. But, maybe not. They are that good!

Here is Cooper trying something new on Tuesday:

I love how proud he was to open the can all by himself (almost).

I love helping Cooper learn to do something new. But, I must confess that this is not what usually happens when we bake "together". Let's just say I could improve my patience. There's a lot of "let me do it. Let Me Do It. JUST LET ME DO IT!"And that comes from me, not Cooper. I'm trying to let go more and just be with what happens, even if it isn't as planned or gets messed up. I'm trying to remember that the time is what is precious, being together and creating memories. The cookies? Well, they just add a little extra sweetness to our day.

Have you tried anything new lately?

Monday, April 26, 2010

Just put one foot in front of the other

Back in January I wrote about my goals for the year, my resolution list of sorts. I'm happy to say that I've been reaching many of my goals. One of these is getting back into running.

I knew that running would be great for me...the health benefits, especially the mental health benefits. But I'm finding myself surprised at just how great it is making me feel.

I love the weekly rhythm of my runs (I run Tuesday and Thursday mornings and Sundays, at various times). I love the peace of having time for just me. I love the goal of training for an event, the Columbus 10K, which I will run on my 36th birthday. I love smiling and greeting all the people I pass on the road.

Yesterday, while running 4 miles, my current longest run, I had these words repeating with the rhythm of my feet: "Running makes me a better mom." And in my mind I had this picture of my heart growing with each step. Picture the Grinch, when his heart grows at the end of the movie, bursting out of the frame. That is how I feel about running. It makes my heart grow. It feeds my soul. It fills up my love bank so that I can be with my children and approach them from my heart first.

Like everything in life, running isn't easy. My body sometimes rebels with aches and pains, even at my very modest distances. It can be challenging to get myself going when I'm still waking at night with Elle. I get excited to not have to run (like this morning...just too tired and soar).

But I will return to the road, again and again. Because really, the rewards of simply putting one foot in front of the other are just too beautiful to miss.

Friday, April 23, 2010

{this moment}

A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. Inspired by Amanda Blake Soule

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

To Be Good Enough

One of the best things about Cooper's preschool is a group offered to all parents called Parent Growth. It is a weekly meeting lead by the director of the preschool. We cover various topics related to raising young children. It is a cherished time to share ideas, commiserate, and gain wisdom from other parents.

A couple weeks ago we were given a copy of an article called The Good Enough Mother by Elaine Heffner, CSW, EdD. I finally read the article and loved it's conclusion.

"A good enough mother:

  • loves her child but not all of his behavior.
  • isn't always available to her child whenever he wants her.
  • can't possibly prevent all her child's frustrations and moods.
  • has needs of her own which may conflict with those of her child.
  • loses it sometimes.
  • is human and makes mistakes.
  • learns from her mistakes.
  • uses her own best judgment.
There are no perfect mothers and no perfect children. If we accept our own limitations, we are better able to accept those of our children and of life itself. In that way we become good enough mothers. And good enough mothers are real mothers."

I've been an over achiever my entire life. I'm beginning to realize that this is part of what makes motherhood so difficult. As I devour parenting books, attend parenting classes, and read parenting blogs I'm always thinking, "I could do this a little bit better". I see what others are capable of and I think that I can do that too, that I should be doing more, doing better.

Since moving to Columbus, which has also been the locus of becoming a parent to two children instead of one, I've had some of my worst, most detestable parenting moments. I have uttered repugnant words to my children and husband. I've behaved in ways that I'm ashamed of.

But maybe what is the worst thing of all is I never stop beating myself up for doing so.

Maybe instead I can just accept myself as I am, accept that I am achieving everything I can as a mother, as a wife, and as a woman. Maybe I am the good enough mother. And maybe, just maybe, that is the best place to be after all.

It is okay to be imperfect. It is okay to tell Cooper I just need a break from him and he needs to go play in his room for a while, even if he cries and screams his way up the stairs. It is okay for Ellery to fuss in her exersaucer while I put the finishing touches on dinner, throwing a few cheerios her way hoping they will make her a little happier. It is okay that sometimes I scream in frustration, slam doors, mutter exasperated words under my breath.

It is all okay because Cooper and Ellery and I are lucky enough to enjoy everyday moments together, every day. And there is so very much good in our days. So very much.

Please, take a moment and watch Gretchen Rubin's beautiful video The Years Are Short, which really captures how the everyday moments of being a parent lie at the heart of what is really important.

Tomorrow morning, when I spend five minutes helping Cooper decide what he wants for breakfast, when I wrestle Ellery's clothes onto her squirming body, I will remember that those are the moments, the moments I will never get back. The beautiful moments of being a parent. And I will cherish them and hope that they can last a little bit longer.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Try Something New Tuesday

Our new thing today was a picnic in a new (to us) park! Checking out the parks around Columbus is a great way to get to know all the different neighborhoods. It was a lovely day and we enjoyed snacking on our lunch, playing with new friends, and soaking up the sun.

Ellery slept while Cooper and I ate. 
The nap provided just the rest needed to work hard on learning to walk. 
She took a record 15 or so steps!

We have so very much to be grateful for.

Friday, April 16, 2010

{this moment}

A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. Inspired by Amanda Blake Soule

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Ellery is 1!!!!!

Happy Birthday my dear, sweet girl!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

One Year Ago

This is what I looked like.

That picture was actually taken around 4:30am on the 15th. I was at the Pittsburgh Midwife Center, hoping that labor was going to get moving after my water broke just before midnight on April 14th. Unfortunately that didn't happen and I ended up looking like this.

That picture is before the Pitocin kicked in and I drifted into the bizarre and focused world of a fast a furious labor.

Last year we were preparing to welcome our little girl. Now, we are busy preparing to celebrate Ellery's big day tomorrow. I'm going to be making this cake along with some matching cupcakes. My parents arrive tomorrow to join in the celebration. We have so much joy to share!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Try Something New Tuesday!

This morning I was preparing to try a new cooking experiement and said to myself "it's Tuesday, I'll try something new!". Cheesey? Probably. But, I think it has a nice little ring to it. Tuesday is generally a pretty open day for us, so I'm going to make a go of "Try Something New Tuesday" and see where it goes. We might try a new food, a new activity, or go someplace new. Check back every Tuesday to see what new thing is we are embarking on.

Today I tried Kale Chips. This isn't really a recipe but more of a different way of cooking some Kale. I had heard of Kale Chips from my friend Emilie and then saw them on the beautiful food blog Smitten Kitchen and knew I had to try them.

Kale Chips are super easy to make. Just trim the kale leaves, removing the think stems, toss in some olive oil, arrange on a cookie sheet, sprinkle with Kosher salt, and bake at 300 for 20 minutes.

Before baking.

They are seriously delicious. Erik liked them too, and Cooper liked a couple and spit out a couple. Such are the eating habits of a 4 year old.

Overall, this new thing is destined to become a regular!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Mystery Egg Bread

Easter morning baking included a tweaked rendition of a traditional Italian bread. My friend Kirsten shared the recipe with me. I was pretty skeptical, and it was the first time I've ever baked something that I thought could very well be a complete disaster. Fortunately, I was completely wrong.

Here is Kirsten's recipe:


3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup warm milk (120 to 130 degrees F)
2 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
7 eggs
1/2 cup chopped mixed candied fruit
1/4 cup chopped blanched almonds
1/2 teaspoon anise seeds
vegetable oil

In a mixing bowl, combine 1 cup flour, sugar, yeast and salt. Add milk and butter; beat 2 minutes on medium. Add 2 eggs and 1/2 cup flour; beat 2 minutes on high. Stir in fruit, nuts and aniseed; mix well. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl; turn once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour. If desired, dye remaining eggs (leave them uncooked); lightly rub with oil. Punch dough down. Divide in half; roll each piece into a 24-in. rope. Loosely twist ropes and tuck eggs into openings. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes. Bake at 350 degrees F for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pan; cool on a wire rack.

Here's how I tweaked it: I added almost twice the sugar and lots of cinnamon, deleted the fruit, nuts, and aniseed. Also, per Kirsten's suggestion, I added a sugar glaze when the bread was finished baking. The result? Absolutely delicious, and what I'm pretty sure will be our Easter breakfast tradition.

Before baking

After baking

For those of you who are curious, the eggs cooked perfectly. I didn't eat one Easter morning. I just couldn't wrap my mind around eating a warm hard cooked egg. But, I did eat one a day later and it was just like eating a hard boiled egg.

Next year I hope to use natural egg dyes, because the dye does seep into the bread. I also just want to continue my move away from exposing my kids to  potentially harmful substances.

Are wondering about the name, Mystery Egg Bread? I just made it up. Much more fun. You can use it too.

Easter Day in Columbus

We had a lovely Easter. The weather was down right amazing. More summer like than spring like. Sunny and warm, the world greening. Truly the awakening of everything around us.

The Easter Bunny paid us a visit. Cooper was quite satisfied with the joy of the egg hunts and knowing that the Easter Bunny knows just what he likes: Hot Wheels, specifically two Mystery Hot Wheels (he had been begging for these weeks), Kit Kats, and stuffed animals. That Easter Bunny is pretty good!!

Ellery was her happy self and remained content to play with the empty Hot Wheel packages, since the actual cars kept getting scooped up before she could get her little hands on them. She is definitely much more interested in Cooper's things than her own. Being the little sister myself, I remember all too well how that will last a long time.

Here are some pictures of our morning.

The first peek down the stairs

Checking out the basket

The Mystery Hot Wheel revealed

Ellery with the package

Hunting eggs (can't you see a glimpse of Cooper as an Elementary School kid in this one?)

A happy boy