Feathered Aspen


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Summer

I’m reading this book called The Conscious Parent.  It’s more philosophy than practical advice, but I feel like I’m getting some good stuff.  I’m trying to see these two little lovelies as my spiritual guides.  I’m trying to pause when they do something that drives me bonkers and think about what needs to be integrated in my unconscious.  I’m doing some serious ego examining.  It’s all very zen, you know.

That being said, Lily and Lu collaboratively initiated a nap strike today, and though I dug deep, I decided that this is really just playing dirty.  Give me nap or give me death, spiritual guides.

Peek a boo

Peek a boo

I so wish this wasn't blurry because this is such perfect capture of sweet Lu

I so wish this wasn’t blurry because this is such perfect capture of sweet Lu

Where is she?!

Where is she?!

I did have a breakthrough the other day though.  Usually Lily’s fussiness upon waking drives me nuts, but when I took a second, I was able to find some kinship.  Hey girl, I’m sensitive too.  Yeah, I’m probably projecting a little when it drives me crazy that you’re sensitive.  But I accept you, and maybe that can help me to accept me.  Now lets pamper sensitive selves.

In a similar vein, I think this is my biggest practical application from the book.  It grew out of working on real empathy…  In the process of trying to connect and think about what I would need if I were Lily, I started doing little things like lighting candles, smelling essential oils, taking baths, and fixing fancy drinks (the nonalcoholic variety, of course).  I think of it as pampering, and I like this new little tool in my parenting basket.  It might sound ridiculous, but it’s actually fun.  And it seems to help both of us get through those sensitive moments.

New 'do!

New ‘do!

Hey guys!  A break from regularly scheduled programming (aka my kids) to talk about mwah…

These past couple of weeks (months? Half year?), I’ve been dabling in self-helpy stuff.  It’s actually kind of amazing despite that recoil you experienced when you read “self-helpy.”  It all started with the minimalism and then it deepened with a podcast I’ve been listening to, The Lively Show.  She interviews a bunch of cool people and they all go meta, examining the things that they’ve done in the process of living their dreams.

All of this has gotten me really excited about journaling, meditation, yoga and reading more self-helpy stuff (as in parenting, help!).  I’ve been bowled over by the wealth of wisdom that I’m finding out there, and for a gal whose gone through a few transformations spiritually speaking, this is such a different access point, and the stuff I’m finding is really powerful.  I’d love to talk to you guys about it sometime, but I’m still so early in the process that’s it hard to write about it here with any real narrative.

Lily with the sunflowers

Lily with the sunflowers

Silly girl

Silly girl

Lily's new job is to pick out my earrings every morning.  She takes it very seriously.

Lily’s new job is to pick out my earrings every morning. She takes it very seriously.

Sweet girl

Sweet girl

It’s not hard to see how they’d make excellent spiritual guides.  Given a nap, of course.

Making brekkie with momma.

Making brekkie with momma.

Such a goose

Such a goose

We’ll be over here, squeezing out every last drop of summer, feeling so thankful for this spiritual thugs (I mean…), and fighting the weed army that’s trying to take over our lawn.  Over and out.


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Fairy Party!

Last weekend, we threw together a fairy party to celebrate Lu and Stacy’s first and thirtieth birthdays, respectively.  In preparation, Stacy, Val, Ellison, Lily, Lu and I made flower crowns, pinwheels, and stapled up vintage flower-print bed sheets.  The food was nuts.  Joshua made amazing fairy pizzas, and Grandma Sandy (Stacy’s mom) brought the smoked salmon, berries, and cheese with fig spread.  Stacy made sure there was plenty of champagne and booze to go around (so unfair, given that she has to abstain!), and all of our guests did their part getting into the fairy theme, wearing flower crowns, dousing themselves in glitter, and getting good and tipsy.

Thanks to everyone who worked to pull this off!  It was so much fun :) :) :)

Fairy aura

Fairy aura

Whirling dervishes

Whirling dervishes

Would you look at that posture?  On another note, I *wonder* what they're talking about.

Would you look at that posture? On another note, I *wonder* what they’re talking about.

More fairy auras ;)

More fairy auras ;)

Um, guys?  I love that photo above.

Val made this delicious drink that made me very tipsy

Val made this delicious drink that made me very tipsy

Lu and her birthday cake.  Sugar free and made by Stacy (apparently it tasted *amazing*...  JK).

Lu and her birthday cake. Sugar free and made by Stacy (apparently it tasted *amazing*… JK).

Berry Chantilly cake?  Lily assures us that this is, indeed, what fairies eat.

Berry Chantilly cake? Lily assures us that this is, indeed, what fairies eat.

Uncle Westie nabs a bite, and then when he wasn't looking, Lily helped herself to his plate, too :)

Uncle Westie nabs a bite, and then when he wasn’t looking, Lily helped herself to his plate, too :)

Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday!

What is this flame?!

What is this flame?!

Sisters

Sisters

Love that face

Love that face

Fairy wings!

Fairy wings!

Momma and the birthday girl

Momma and the birthday girl

Oh, and PS.  I was the only one in a bathing suit.  Cuz I’m cool like that.

Ellison feeds her fairy daddy

Ellison feeds her fairy daddy

Look at this gorgeous couple!  Will and Val

Look at this gorgeous couple! Will and Val

Stacy, K, and Bierstadt ;)

Stacy, K, and Bierstadt ;)

I insisted on taking copious photos of these guys.  I think I’m projecting, but having photos of pregnant bellies are important, right?!

Hearts on Bierstadt!

Hearts on Bierstadt!

So, yeah.  Little kids get nicknames on this blog to minimize their virtual footprint…  Which is why middle names are soooooo important ’round here ;);)

38 weeks

38 weeks

Cuh-overed in glitter :)  (And poison oak, but that's less fairy-like.  Or, wait.  Maybe the forest fairies get into poison oak occasionally?)

Cuh-overed in glitter :) (And poison oak, but that’s less fairy-like. Or, wait. Maybe the forest fairies get into poison oak occasionally?)

Bierstadt!  These three fairies are waiting for you!

Bierstadt! These three fairies are waiting for you!

I just think she looks like a lovely mama here.

I just think she looks like a lovely mama here.

Thanks dear, for letting me get as many photos of you preggers as possible ;)

Thanks dear, for letting me get as many photos of you preggers as possible ;)

Grandma and the birthday girl :)

Grandma and the birthday girl :)

Fairy Val!

Fairy Val!

Fairy Grandma

Fairy Grandma

Sneaky fairy stealing strawberries

Sneaky fairy stealing strawberries

Oh look!  Fairy Friends Foreverrrrrr

Oh look! Fairy Friends Foreverrrrrr

Oh!  I guess I didn’t tell y’all I cut my hairs…  Like a foot or something.  All at once.  Cuz I’m brave like that (and conveniently editing the months of debate that one decision took ;) )

This is Sarah's scary face. And apparently she's too cool to wear a flower crown...

This is Sarah’s scary face. And apparently she’s too cool to wear a flower crown…

Fairy Nana and her fairy granddaughter

Fairy Nana and her fairy granddaughter

My fairy bro and his cool fairy girlfriend, Melanie

My fairy bro and his cool fairy girlfriend, Melanie

Fairy Ellison

Fairy Ellison

Taking a breather to ID some flowers

Taking a breather to ID some flowers

Damn, that's some good pizza, says the fairy chef

Damn, that’s some good pizza, says the fairy chef

Joshua and Weston worked hard to fill our bellies with pizza.  They also made a gigantic mess and then Grandma Sandy cleaned it all.  Ooops and thank you!

Glitterrrrrr me (Weston and Joshua) lolz

Glitterrrrrr me (Weston and Joshua) lolz

<3


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Best of/Highlights/Lessons

Best Taco – Tacos de Pescado (y Cilantro) – Aguachiles, Playa del Carmen

Best Drink – Mojito – El Mariachi Loco, Tulum

Best City – Tulum

Best Beach – Playa Norte, Isla Mujeres

Best Restaurant – Mango Cafe, Isla Mujeres (with Qubano a close second, also on Isla)

Best Meals – BBQ Empanadas (Mango Cafe, IM), Sopa de Lima (Checandole, Cancun), Coffee (100% Natural, Cancun), Quesadilla (Mando Cafe, IM), Tacos (Aguachiles, Playa), the Elena y Tostones (Qubano, IM)

Best Swimming – Playa Norte, Isla Mujeres, and Gran Cenote

Best AirBnB – too hard!  But probably Gladys’ studio on Isla.

Highlights

  1. Ferry Ride to Isla (this is Lily’s favorite, too)
  2. Cenote Azul
  3. Snorkeling on Isla
  4. Evening Beach Combing on Isla
  5. Yoga in the Jungle
  6. Playa X’pu ha – jumping in the waves, eating tacos under a palapa
  7. Riding the collectivos
  8. First night in Isla, walking to Punta Sur, walking the path along the ocean, and meeting Goddess Ixchel
  9. Xel ha!  So fun :)  Especially the lazy river through the mangroves.
  10. Shopping in Tulum
  11. Biking in Tulum
  12. Gran Cenote – the birds, the turtles, the cold water
  13. Golf Cart rides on Isla
  14. Hammock hangs in the Jungle
  15. Chatting with our airBnB hosts
  16. Playa Norte – swimming, sand castle building
  17. Laguna Yal ku
  18. Seeing sea turtles in Akumal
  19. Fruterias with cheap, gorgeous produce
  20. Limes and Tacos
  21. ICE CREAM
  22. Pool days in Playa
  23. First night in Cancun – swimming, eating

Lessons Learned Traveling with Kids

  1. Slow Down – walk less, play more.
  2. Use Public Transportation/Taxis – Joshua and I love to hoof it, but using public transportation and taxis are also a pretty authentic traveling experience for the kiddos and cuts down on transition time, exhaustion, and overwhelming heat.
  3. NAP.  Make time for a nap.  Even when it’s hard.  The down time is good for everyone.
  4. Empathize.  Traveling can be hard.  It can be uncomfortable.  The more I acknowledged this, the more sympathy I had.
  5. Make compromises.  Fulfill whims/wishes.  Pool? Check. Ice cream? Check. Juice? Check. Xel ha? Yeah, baby. Boat ride? Let’s do it. Spend more money to do things that the kids will enjoy.
  6. Read a parenting book.  I don’t care what it is, new strategies and perspectives always get me into a better frame of mind.
  7. Remember to be thankful and tell the kids.
  8. Which reminds me of highlight number 24.  On our last night in Isla, our last night in Mexico, we walked down to the water just before bed.  We stood where the waves would wash in over our feet, and we took turns thanking the water, the seashells, the flowers, the cenotes, the birds, the cooks, the taxi drivers, Leon, Florencia, Gladys, Gunther, the air conditioning, the bug juice…  We just tried to think up everything that we were thankful for, and Lily got into it to, thanking the iguanas and the fishies and the waves.  It was a good moment.  We could see a cruise ship in the distance, lit up.  The moon.

And that’s a wrap.  That’s our trip to Mexico.  Joshua has a few videos coming and I have one more post of photos, but there you have it.  Not sure I’d do the same trip again, but I’m so thankful I had the opportunity to do it, to do it with my family, and to experience it all.  Until next time.  xoxo


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A Mexican Farewell

On Wednesday, Joshua and I woke up and took turns running along the Caribbean side of the island.  Listening to the waves crash against the craggy shore and watching frigates circle made the six miles slide by nearly unnoticed.  It’s nice too because there’s sidewalk and even paved path for the majority of the coastline, so I could really get into flow without having to worry about rogue taxis or motorcycles.  And the flowers.  I have a thing for flowers and so do islands.  So, love.

We left the studio a bit later this morning.  Lily was not in her finest mood, but overall, really, she had much improved by the end of the trip.  Whereas in Akumal I have this vague sense of one explosive moment after another, things really started to get better as soon as we acknowledged the problem, began problem solving and simply:  gave the poor child a nap (despite her many protests).  I think other things helped, like cutting down on the amount of walking, cutting down on the amount of time spent sweating profusely in the hot Mexican sun, and upping the amount of time spent in playgrounds, at pools, in ecoparks, and eating ice cream.

Taking the golf cart, we went to the Turtle Sanctuary where we got to see little baby, teenage, and full dang grown sea turtles in both above ground pools and a partitioned section of beach.  Their mosaic backs and slow movements really are so lovely.

But also, it was hot.  So I was all like, “oh wow.  Yes.  Look at the turtle.  K.  Can we go now?  May I hurl myself into the ocean now please?”

So we packed back into the golf cart and made our sojourn up to Playa Norte.  We camped out at one of the beach restaurants to nab a little shade and a hammock, and while shade and hammock were just the ticket, the restaurant was a little baffling.  We ordered a couple of drinks and snacks and every time we ordered, it was like pulling teeth.  I was like, sooooo do you not want us to order anything?  Literally I would go up to the people working at the restaurant and they would grunt in the direction of another employee and I would be passed around until I arrived at the original person who would then begrudgingly take my order.  And then when I went to close the tab it was like I was asking them to switch out the moon with Jupiter or something.  Very strange.

We went in and out of the water, and I would have loved to have spent more time just swimming through the blue water, neither of the girls was feeling it.  Lily had been complaining of a tummy ache all morning, and we began to suspect (after neither one of us could recall the last time she pooped) that the ache was probably due to some pretty serious constipation.  Poor thing was not a happy camper.

Lu had been pretty game the past couple of days to play in the water as long as she was getting lots of cuddles, but today she was over it.  She whimpered or cried the whole time.

After hanging out at the beach for a couple of hours, we walked into town to get some ice cream.  Sadly our favorite place (paradICE) was closed and we ended up going to a far inferior establishment where the ice cream tasted a lot like the somewhat salty science experiments I would do with my sixth graders.

From there, we took a taxi back to the studio (having dropped off the golf cart).  While the girls took a nap, we read, and when they woke up, we jumped on the bikes and rode to greenVerde, a restaurant recommended by our airBnB hosts.

The bicycles had seen better days and the road to greenVerde was not great for biking, so by the time we made the 2 mile trip to the restaurant, we were both soaked in sweat and a little exhausted.

Joshua ordered the mole and I ordered the stuffed poblano.  The stuffed poblano was a little bit like chicken ceviche (so, gross), but Joshua’s was super tasty.  The restaurant itself was pretty cute, all made out of reclaimed building materials.

We biked back home verrrrry carefully, but even so, it was the sort of ride where I just sort of wanted to kiss the ground and never get back on the bike once I was finished.

That night, Lily was up quite a bit, writhing in pain.  She sat on the toilet with great patience and some weeping, just praying for her bowels to cooperate.  In bed, I had her lie in child’s pose, and I led her through shavasana, helping her relax every little muscle.  She was a champ, game for any suggestion and miserable but really quite sweet.  Poor girl.

Still no luck by morning, so we gave her a cup of coffee and I even took her on a mile run.  Back at the studio, she waited to leave in a full squat, crying.  I rubbed her shoulders and tummy, telling her that she was doing everything right.

We stopped by Mango Cafe on our way out.  The food was incredible, but neither of the girls was in a good mood.  Lily was beside herself with constipation, and Lu couldn’t decide whether she wanted to be in a lap or on the table or on the floor, she just arched her back and complained no matter what I tried.

The food:  coconut french toast with almonds and fruit, breakfast quesadilla, and Mayan scramble with cinnamon coffee (which I normally would have loved, but it was hot and I was already hot and I’m sweating just thinking about it).

We finally made it to the port.  I ran off 15 minutes before the ferry was supposed to leave to go buy a pair of earrings.  Because me and earrings, you know?

I made it back just in time, with a pair of gorgeous oyster shell earrings swinging from each lobe.  Not cheap, but super beautiful.

The ferry ride back wasn’t quite as magical as the ride to the island, but it was still amazing.  Music + Blue Water + Breeze + Boat Ride = Happiness.  Even the pained Lily had smile on her face.

From the ferry terminal, we took a taxi to the ADO bus station where we caught the bus to Cancun airport.

We arrived with plenty of time to spare, so we spent a good bit of time walking around the airport, soothing the poop challenged Lily, and being really annoyed by the cost of water ($5!!!!!!).

The plane ride home was four hours, which should be a snap, but because we had already been at the airport for four hours seemed like eons.  We also ended up circling the airport for a while due to a storm and then lines were really long….

But we got back.  All in one piece.  And as soon as we got home, Joshua went out to buy Miralax and Kombucha and Kefir.  We’re on day three of probiotics and laxatives, and I’m happy to report that although Lily was quite miserable on Friday, she has since pooped three times and did not complain of a tummy ache at all today.

Lu is doing well.  She’s pulling herself up on EVERYTHING, and she’s even started cruising.  Her new favorite thing is scaling anything with steps.  It’s kind of terrifying.  Also, when you remove her from said stairs, she has a genuine toddler tantrum.  Like, LADY! I was in the MIDDLE of something, and put me back NOWWWWWWW!!!

In other news, we had pizza night on Friday and it was at that fateful gathering that we got everrrrryone sick.  Yup.  Apparently the Great Illness of Mexico was not food poisoning.  Apparently it was a virus.  And now everrrryone has it.  Grandma. Stacy. Ellison. Weston. Melanie. Nana. Pukes. Poops.  The works.  Sorry guys.


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Isla Mujeres pt 1

That ferry ride though

That ferry ride though

Hair in the wind

Hair in the wind

just...

just…

perfect

perfect

Lu on the ferry

Lu on the ferry

Listening to the man on the ferry

Listening to the man on the ferry

Stupid blue

Stupid blue

Chasing pigeons

Chasing pigeons

Eating ice cream and watching a kitty

Eating ice cream and watching a kitty

Love this painted Sol advertisement

Love this painted Sol advertisement

Mom and Lu through a forgotten entry on the Caribbean side of the island

Mom and Lu through a forgotten entry on the Caribbean side of the island

Evening walk

Evening walk

Best time of day on Isla

Best time of day on Isla

Looka that sunset

Looka that sunset

Happy.  So happy.

Happy. So happy.

One of the Mujeres

One of the Mujeres

Goddess Ixchel

Goddess Ixchel

Patinaaaaaa!

Patinaaaaaa!

Sculpture garden / Punta Sur

Sculpture garden / Punta Sur

Sculpture Garden / Punta Sur

Sculpture Garden / Punta Sur

Cairns

Cairns

Bliss

Bliss

Come, walk with me

Come, walk with me

Ixchel y yo

Ixchel y yo

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