Sunday, August 7, 2011

coming back

After a break from work to be with my family, I am coming back to teach in Comox in the fall. It has and continues to be an interesting journey, choosing to be home instead of working, I'll share more on that later. But for now, if you are looking to be part of a wonderful group of people that are preparing for the birth of their babies, I have two classes coming up. These are the dates:

September 16, 17 and 18
November 4, 5 and 6th.

I am having troubles with my website, so the dates are not up there yet. If you would like to register, there is still room in both classes. Please contact me for more information.

And as for being home with my family, I am still here but I am really looking forward to coming back to share in this time with you.

Happy Summer!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

breathing in the time of trees

It's been a long time since I posted here. A lot has been happening. And a lot has been changing. I have been working in the birth community for 7 years now and this past January, I started to hit my wall. I have two children, 3 and 7 and while they are not babies, they still need me most moments in every day. When I am not busy with them, I am busy with our home, our garden, our kitchen (I revel in the pleasure of cooking and more so, eating), and time for myself? Hmmm, not sure where that happens. Oh and I have a husband who I would prefer didn't turn into a room mate which means he needs love too. Trying to do all of this and care for my business, my clients, is well, a little tricky.

I have been struggling with this for some time now, actually since my daughter was born. I had a moment a couple of weeks ago when I wanted to go back to 2007 and give myself a hug, a good, honest loving hug. I was trying to do too much, be too much, prove too much. I couldn't keep all those balls in the air. Sometimes I would drop the business ball, sometimes the dinner ball, lots of times the mothering ball. And my own ball? I'm not sure it was really in there most of the time.

So, in February after a transformative weekend painting with Annie, I came home, clear as a sunny day, that it was time to put my work on hold for a while and give my attention to the job I already had. It's not been an easy decision, nor a light one, but it is a good one. Being home with my family, spending my days, for the first time since my son was a baby, being at home, being a mother, enjoying food, creating our garden, feeling more like a whole woman again (sometimes I still feel scattered), is the best thing that I could have done for myself and my family.

Now, before you start emailing me with the virtues of the working mother, this decision of mine is not a comment on stay at home mothers vs. working outside the house mothers. It is not a judgment at all. In fact I think most women can pull of home, family and work way better than I can. This is just what I need to do for my own sanity right now. And no, I am not considering changing my name to June, Clever that is, nor do I own a string of pearls (yet). Caring for my home, the kitchen garden, enjoying beautiful food and a dinner table surrounded by the day's chatter is what feeds my soul right now.

I'm sure I'll come back to work, when exactly, I don't know. My littlest one is going to be 4 this year and the time with my children feels as though it is slipping through my fingers. I want to be awake for every moment of it, even the rotten ones. Because as I look back on myself when she was just a baby and I spent so much time getting this business to where it is, I missed so much that I will never, ever, get back. I'm not going to make that mistake twice.

So, if you are looking for prenatal classes, I am still offering private sessions, you are welcome to contact me if that is up your alley. Art classes are always available for those who want to explore their hearts through a creative process. Just let me know and I will open the space for you.

There will be a time for me to embrace this work on a larger level again, everything happens in seasons. But for now, I am simplifying my life, enjoying the gift of creating my home, being with my children and trying to breathe in the time of trees.


CBC reported this past week that if a stay at home mother earned what she was worth, she would be making $126,593 a year. What we do is work and clearly, we are gravely underpaid : )

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

good, honest, chocolate love

Well, I never did take a picture of that cake, we ate it too fast. Then this past weekend I made another one, and again, eaten too fast. How's that for an endorsement for this cake? Seriously, everything in this cookbook is this good. Last night we had Saki Salmon and Edemame on the side. Heaven.

If you want to make this cake, which you absolutely should, click here for the recipe.

Photo Credit:

Sunday, February 6, 2011

in love am I

So Valentines is just around the corner, but this post has nothing to do with the love I have for my husband, nor my family, at least not directly. The love that I feel so deeply, so passionately, so enthusiastically has everything to do with this cookbook (and it's writer, but not in a weird way-I promise : )

After a night of hitting my culinary rock bottom with a recipie from The not-so-Joy of cooking, salmon croquettes, to be exact, I had literally thrown in the tea towel. I don't know about you, but coming up with interesting, yummy, easy to make suppers each night can feel like a chore worse than scrubbing toilets with a tooth brush. And after my Salmon croquettes became one giant pile of dogs breakfast in the fry pan I thought that would be the end of me.

And then I found her...Nigella, unadulterated home cook, mother and lover of all things delicious and easy in the Kitchen. So I ordered it straightaway and I haven't been able to stop myself from cooking out of this book. As I speak a flourless chocolate lime cake is cooling on my counter that I am taking to a party tonight. Ymmmmmmm!

So why tell you about this? To put myself on some Uber-Mother pedestal, to make you feel poorly about buying food at M&M's or to make myself feel more superior? No my friend, none of the above. I tell you about this because I'm sure if you are reading this you are either already a mother or about to become one. Nothing makes us feel worse than bad food and even worse, feeling too overwhelmed to make good food. This ladies, is the answer to your prayers. The food is easy, delicious, different, nutritious and down right, feel-good food. Sure there are a few odd things like Tamarind paste and Nigella seeds (yes, really), but it is a bit like a culinary adventure that is forgiving. Can't find Tamarind paste? It's ok, you can leave it out, or you can order from here.

Now I know the zealous home cook cooking out of her favorite recipe book is not a new idea (We all loved Julie and Julia). But what I am going to do here is nothing of the sort. I'm not going to cook aspic (yuck!) or write about every recipe I make (well, maybe). What I want to do is share with you how much you can fall in love with your kitchen again, cooking again and I dare say, eating again. I'll take a picture of my cake later and in the meantime, please check out this book, it is no ordinary cookbook. Oh and the love for my family, yes, I share it with them every night over a very yummy supper. My son has actually started asking "can we have Nigella food tonight?" And my answer, "Absolutely!"

Thursday, January 13, 2011

please listen

Listening is a skill that I think for many people is going the way of the Dodo bird, kind of like customer service (more on that another time). We are so busy with our own lives, thoughts and opinions that many people have lost the ability to really listen to one another. Haven't you ever been with someone, sharing what is going on in your life only to have them interrupt you with their own thoughts before you can even finish your own? How can we truly hear what the other has to say if we are already formulating our response while they are talking?

Ok, what does this have to do with birth and children? Everything. Listening is THE most important thing you can bring to pregnancy, birth and mothering next to your intuition. When we listen to our bodies, we know how to move in labour. When we listen to our hearts, we know what we truly need. When we listen to our babies and children (just because they are 6 doesn't mean that they don't need to be listened to as well), then we can really hear what they are trying to tell us. We have such a tendency to run to experts, books, courses, some other place to tell us what to do. How can we look for creative solutions if we do not first take the time to listen to what the problem is in the first place?

Our bodies and children are telling us things all the time. Our bodies and children want to been seen for who they are, for what they want to say, for what their experience is. When we ignore the messages or place our own ideas in place of theirs, they just get louder and louder until we finally listen to what they are saying. This often manifests in illness, tantruming children, labours when women feel unheard or relationships where we don't feel seen. We need to take the time to stop, to be still, to really hear what is being said. We need to acknowledge what the other, or ourselves is feeling and respond with love and gentleness.

Your body wants to be heard, your child wants to be heard, your partner wants to be heard, heck, we all want to be heard. So please, stop, and listen. It is such an amazing gift to give others and to yourself.

Thank you friend for your inspiration to write this post.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

children deserve beauty

Christmas is less than two weeks away and I realize every year that tis' the season for plastic junk. We North Americans are addicted to plastic in our throwaway world and immerse our children in it. It is everywhere, but no where more prevalent than in toys. We have somehow come to believe as a culture that children are not worth giving good quality, beautiful things to. We buy them the cheapest of everything thinking "they are just kids, they are going to wreck it anyway." I have a different belief.

Children, like the rest of us not only appreciate beautiful things, they crave them. They can see the beauty in the smallest of things, a leaf falling from a tree, a bird on a branch, the way the light shines through watermelon on a sunny day. Their little souls seek out the beauty and mystery of life all around them. Beauty also tells them that the world is a good, safe place, a message they need so much when they are little. So why wouldn't we bring beauty in a conscious way into our homes to continue to nurture that impulse in them?

I was at Superstore last night and was overwhelmed by the plastic, crappy toys spilling over the isles. I know that most of that stuff will have a play life of about a week. Then the kids will get bored of it, pieces will be lost and mum fed up with stepping on little plastic pieces will throw it away. It's not beautiful, it doesn't feel good in the hand and it is not meant to last.

We talk so much about living green and reducing our consumption, but when it comes to children, we somehow think that not longer applies. So here is my thought. When we create beautiful spaces for our children and give them things that not only look good, but also feel good in the hands, they learn to appreciate and care for what they have. There is a soul connection to what they see and hold and the idea that we could just throw it away is no longer a possibility.

Now, I know that the natural toy business has exploded in the past few years and most of the things that are for sale can be really expensive. Somehow the idea of quality not quantity has gotten lost even in this well intentioned world. But it is up to us as parents to choose carefully what we give our children. Do we fill the tree with whatever it takes to make it look full? Or do we give a little less, but in actuality more because it is something truly lovely that doesn't need a bunch of other stuff around it?

Beauty doesn't need to cost much. A candle on the supper table, branches from outside on a nature table or homemade toys, all bring the qualities into the home that children love so much. My 6 year old son and I made this window star together last night. The pack of paper that we barely made a dent in only cost $5.95. We spent time together, created something really beautiful and when we were done, he said, "Let's save this for next year." This is the whole point. Create something to last, make it beautiful and subtly you teach them to cherish the world around them. Beauty speaks to their souls as it does to ours.

So this Christmas consider what you are buying for your children. Ask yourself, "Is this beautiful? Would I want to look at it or hold it? Is it destined for the landfill or will it stand the test of time?" All children deserve all the beauty that this world holds. Less really is more for them.

Monday, October 25, 2010

we all need a little love

I am not super mom. I have tried, believe me. Laundry, dishes, house, kids, work, meals, groceries, doctor's appointments, husband, garden, banking, nature time, book time, playtime....really, no me time. I am good at doing one or two things really well. 20 things, hmmm, not so much. But I try as best as I can each day because I love this little family of mine. I cook them beautiful suppers each night because I love the time we spend together at the end of the day eating a meal together. I make sure they have clean laundry in their drawers because I want them to know someone cares enough to make sure they don't have to wear their underwear inside out because there is nothing left that is clean. Everything I do here is out of love.

But sometimes I need some love too. My family is wonderful at saying thank you, for bringing me the occasional bunch of flowers, maybe if I'm lucky a small masterpiece of crayon imagery from my littles. For all of this, I am always grateful. But sometimes, I want someone to take care of me a little, the way I take care of others. Sometimes, I wish I had a wife.

This weekend my dreams came true. Friday our car was in the shop, I was spending the day getting ready for a party I was hosting the next day and taking care of the kids since there was a pro-d day. To say I was overwhelmed would be a grand understatement. And then it happened, the dryer smelled like fire. Immediately I rushed to turn it off and throw the breakers. With two loads of sopping wet laundry staring me in the face, I wanted to crawl into a hole.

And then the laundry fairy came. She took my laundry on Saturday, dried it, folded it, put it back in the basket and brought it to me with a magazine she knew I would love tucked in between the towels. This is a different kind of love then poetry and chocolates. This is the love that only another mother can understand, the kind of love that we all need a dose of once in a while. The kind of love that feels like someone cares about those little corners of your heart that only a domestically exhausted women could truly appreciate. Thank you friend.

We all need a little love sometimes, especially in the laundry pile.