A teaching moment for him…but I sure did learn a lot!

Sometimes the small teaching moments with our kids can become “ah-ha” moments of our own. I stumbled upon one of these today. Cole was having a typical three year old tantrum before naptime. When I finally got him into his bed he wanted to talk about all the things that made him sad. He’d had plenty of time to feel what he felt and now I wanted to help him move on from it.

“Cole, instead of talking about the things that make you sad, let’s talk about the things that make you happy.”

As he started to share his happy list with me (his stuffed animal Piggy…ice pops…Caillou…etc.) a light bulb went off in my head.

I’ve always been pretty good at shining a happy face out to the world, but behind closed doors I’m not always all that happy. The truth is I’ve been pretty overwhelmed since finding out we are having twins. Most people have their fabulous times and challenging times and this is just one of those challenging times! I need to take the advice that I gave to my three year old. Instead of focusing on the things that make me sad and overwhelmed I need to make more of an effort to remind myself of the things that make me happy. Although my list definitely doesn’t include Caillou, I certainly have a lot to be thankful for and long line of things that make me happy, starting with these two handsome guys!

Greg and Cole at lake

Grateful for these teaching moments. I sure do learn a lot…and hope he does too 🙂

High Five Friday: 5 things I’m grateful for this week

high five friday

I stumbled upon the High Five Friday concept while browsing the blogosphere and decided to join in on the fun! The purpose is to share five things that you are grateful for this week, so here we go.

1. Jack is back! Did you see the trailer that ran during the Superbowl for the return of 24? My husband and I are such huge fans…our cat is even named after the show. Meet our Jack Bauer:

orange cat photo

2. This article on Huffington Post made me feel inspired: This Guy Stopped Charging Clients And He Has Zero Regrets. I’ve been considering a similar business model for my online marketing consulting business. My idea is in its infant stage, but reading the article gave me hope that my goals are achievable. So thanks for the gift economy inspiration Adrian Hoppel!

3. Making snow angels with Cole. We had a big snow storm this week and I captured a little video clip of some of the fun we had on Instagram: Cole’s Snow Day Adventure

4. I did a headstand on a balance board! Inversions have been my most recent yoga obsession. I’ve been taking a Balance Board class at Windsoul Studio in Tyngsboro, MA. The balance board is meant to mimic the feeling of being on a paddle board in the water.

5. I highly recommend reading The All-Girl Filling Station’s Last Reunion by Fannie Flagg. I finished it last night, and after reading some pretty heavy books over the last few months, this book was like a breath of fresh air. It’s a wonderful, light-hearted mix of comedy, family and a bit of history.

The All-Girl Filling Station Reunion

There is my list for High Five Friday! What are you grateful for this week?

You’re not a person, you’re a mommy

Kids say the darndest things. Cole came out with this gem the other day after I finished explaining to him that I’m just one person and therefore can only do one thing at a time. He stared back at me as if I had just said the most hysterical joke he had heard all day and giggled, “You’re not a person, you’re a mommy!”

I wanted to laugh and cry all at the same time. It’s an adorable observation because in truth our kids should only think of us as their moms and dads, and not as individuals, until later on down the road. On the other hand, Cole inadvertently hit a bit of a sore spot for me. It’s easy to get lost in parenthood, or anything for that matter, and forget to keep in touch with the things that make us feel like a real person. Describing a person as real might seem a little weird. Like, aren’t we all real? I don’t mean real in the physical sense; I mean real in the spiritual sense.

Last month I challenged myself to start setting aside some time to reconnect with myself. My journey to rediscover the person outside of the mommy has led me to writing, running, a meditation group, and most importantly (for me) a yoga studio. I’ve always been able to count on yoga to bring me to a happy state of being, but I’d forgotten how important it was to me. Unrolling my mat was like reconnecting with a dear, old friend. Apparently being a human pretzel is all it takes to snap me back to life!

Maybe there is something you’ve lost touch with too. For a moment, think about all of the roles, responsibilities, lists, noise and clutter that we face throughout the day. Now think about doing that thing that lights a fire in your belly and makes you feel good and balanced. The thing that makes you feel like you’re putting some sort of good energy out into the world. Did something come to mind? I bet if we all set a little time aside each week to do something that makes us happy, really happy, then our other roles and responsibilities would become more manageable and enjoyable.

Set a date with yourself and have a happy week!

happiness

Setting Positive Intentions for 2014

Welcome to Love Notes and Growth Spurts!

My two year old son, Cole, inspired this blog. Cole likes to leave little “love notes” around the house that make me smile when I least expect it. I’ll find a sock hanging on a door knob, a hamper placed over a steaming humidifier, a car on my nightstand…things like that. I just adore our little boy and his big personality. On the other hand, if you are a mom or a dad I don’t think I need to explain how things are when growth spurts are happening. Yikes! The yin and the yang of parenthood.

Life certainly has its ups and downs and a new year always brings a fresh start. Here we are standing at the starting line of 2014. Our hearts are full and our heads are spinning thinking of what might be in store for us this year. Have you set your new year’s resolutions and intentions? Here are mine!

2014 intentions

I hope the list of my intentions will also give you a good glimpse into what you can expect from reading my blog. Please visit my About page to learn a little bit more about me! Thank you for stopping by and come back soon!

 

When life gives you snow…

It is the same drill every year. As holiday season approaches I wish and wish for Jack Frost to wave his wand and transform the world into a winter wonderland. When the first sprinkles of white appeared this December, I fell asleep watching them fall from the sky, dancing in the spotlight of our front house lights. It feels like magic every year. But then, somewhere down the icy road, or amongst the news reports that 50% of the US population has contracted the flu, or during the sleepless nights listening to Cole cough himself awake, the magic wears off. So here I am, hugging a box of tissues, with a major case of the winter blues.

Today I decided to whip out the snow shovel and dig up some good times from my memory bank! Beyond the blistery weather, dry skin, and stubborn ailments, my family has been enjoying our first winter in New Hampshire.

Cole loves playing in the snow. From the moment I strapped on his boots and snow gear he set off into the fluffy white stuff to make some footprints and snow angels. I taught him how to roll snowballs, which of course turned into a snowball fight (courtesy of mom) so now we are working on aiming for below the neck.

Image

On the really cold days we have to get creative and find things to do indoors. Moving Greg’s electronic drum kit has been a major hit in our household. I get a request for “Dums, dums, dums!” about 8 or 20 times a day. Here is a preview of future rock legend, Cole Benson, on the drums.

And sometimes the mood strikes us to get our hands dirty and create a piece of art. Here is a snippit of my soft, gentle boy making handprints.

I suppose the point in all of this is that when life gives you snow…make snowballs. We have found a lot of ways to keep ourselves busy and active this season. In my next post I’ll share all of the fun ways we’ve been trying to stay healthy! I’ll share some homemade remedies, green drinks, and even a couple of cold weather recipes.

November: 30 Days of Thanks

All month long I’ve been reading and enjoying the spattering of social media updates that give thanks. Friends are taking a moment each day to reflect on what they are thankful for, whether it’s something as small as a hot cup of joe, or as momentous as a healthy newborn. It never ceases to amaze me how a single positive (or negative) thought can cause a domino effect of feelings. It reminds me of one of my favorite quotes by Deepak Chopra: You are not the drop in the ocean, but the ocean in the drop.

In every imaginable circumstance more is accomplished when we are working together as opposed to picking apart our differences. As a social media user, it’s been fascinating to observe the voice contrast between October and November. October felt like one giant shouting match that didn’t accomplish anything but spread havoc across our country. Fear and anger are contagious and spread like venom. On the other side, happy thoughts and reflections are contagious too! I’m not sure who started the “Give Thanks” trend this month, but whoever it was I want to thank you.

With that, I’ll share what I’m thankful for this November as Thanksgiving approaches. I’m thankful to be a stay at home mom. The light that spills from my son’s eyes is my own personal miracle. We all came from the same place and it’s up to us to explore our potential and live every day with the curiosity and zestfulness of life that we started with. It’s hard to access that inner spirit sometimes because we all get bogged down by daily routines and negative people.

I feel a positive shift in the air just by reading these simple, happy Facebook updates. Do you feel it too? Please keep sharing your happy thoughts, November and beyond!

Little hands

I love my baby and his little hands. I outline each finger, admiring how meticulously manicured his nails look. I draw circles in his palm, and he reacts by closing his fists. I observe that he mostly keeps his hands shut tightly, as if he isn’t ready to receive all of the gifts that life has to offer. Time passes and those hands start to open up. They open enough to grasp my pinky finger. Even more time passes and he touches textures while we play, and he caresses my skin while we nurse. His little hands are growing and becoming more curious. And then one day he is no longer just curious about the feeling of carpet, toys, and skin. He furrows his brow and examines his right hand as if to say, “I see you, hand. Now let’s see what you can do.” His hands are wide open in the days that follow. He thrusts his arms and grabs the bright colored animals that hang from his chair. He swats the air and smacks the ground. Pulls (my) hair and scratches (his) skin. Pushes up on all fours, pulls himself up to stand. He does all of these things with those little hands. I watch as he picks up a piece of kiwi with his thumb and forefinger. He pinches it carefully. Purposefully brings the food to his mouth and chomps down. I think these little hands are starting to impress him.

He knows what these little hands can do on their own, but today he brought his little hands together. He claps for the first time. Such a small gesture, but such an exciting one! Tonight he fell asleep with hands clasped together in front of him, as if in prayer. Hands are used for acheiving things, but when brought together, they can also be used to help quiet the mind. My 9 month old teaches me a lot of lessons.

A letter to Cole – 7 months

Dear Cole,

Seven months have flown by and you are growing so fast right before our eyes.  You were 5 pounds 5 ounces when you were born and at your 6 month check up you were up to 16 pounds 12 ounces!  You went from being in the first percentile to the 30th percentile in just a half a year.

We have gotten to spend every day of your life together and I’m so thankful to your Dad for that.  I’ve enjoyed being present for all of your milestones and firsts, and learning first hand what makes you happy, relaxed, and even sad.  When you were a newborn you loved to sleep in two places.  On Mama and in your swing.  You loved your Fisher Price Zen swing, especially when we turned on the nature sounds.  The swing is also where Mima introduced you to your Aiden and Anais security blankets.  She would put it over your eyes and you would snuggle into it to help soothe you to sleep.  You still sleep with one every night in your crib.

Some other places you’ve enjoyed spending time when we are at home are your blue chair, your exersaucer, and your jumper.  You have always been such a fun baby and you want to play all the time! Now that you have started to crawl you are all over the place.  The items that motivate you to move the fastest are Mama’s phone, the green light-up frog, and books.

You want to play so much that it was a challenge to get you on a good nap schedule.  But you have been doing so well the past couple of weeks.  Right now you are napping for about 1 hour in the morning and 1 1/2 hours in the afternoon.  I’m so proud of the good sleeper you have become!  You sleep on your stomach every night with your little bum sticking up in the air and your hands tucked underneath your stomach.  Dad and I love to watch you sleep.

You smile all the time when you are with people you know.  When a stranger is around, or we are some place you aren’t familiar with, you are more observant.  Eventually you will warm up and the smile and dimples come back.  Lately you’ve been smiling so hard that it makes you scrunch your nose and squint your eyes.  You love to laugh.  Especially when Daddy has you up in the air.  Sometimes for no reason at all!  People stop me on the street so they can comment on how beautiful your eyes are.  And they are the most beautiful blue eyes I have ever seen.

Being on your back for too long makes you feel agitated, so you get plenty of tummy time.  When you are tired or upset we give you your binky and take you on walks.  You love to take long walks in the stroller.  I think it’s because you like to look at everything around you, and you love to be outside.  You are much happier when we are out running errands or at the park than when we are stuck inside all day! I love you for that.

Your favorite book is The Very Lonely Firefly, but you seem to like to stick Goodnight Moon in your mouth when you are playing.  Daddy gives you a bath every night before bed and you love it.  Usually you kick your legs and splash water at him.  I sing to you all the time.  I’m excited for when you will sing with me!  I also love to dance with you when a good song comes on. You are starting to become a chatter box like your mom! You love to say “Dada” “Hi” and “Yeah” in this deep, raspy voice.

Daddy and I are so proud of you.  We love watching you reach every milestone and seeing your personality come to life!  You are the light of our life and your bright energy is contagious to anyone who is around you.  We love you, Cole 🙂

Love, Mama

The best part of waking up…

I’m not a morning person. I’m sure my mom is nodding her head in agreement as she is reading this post.  The sound of an alarm clock makes me growl and nuzzle deeper into my pillow.  I’ve always felt like a zombie going through the motions for the first hour after my feet hit the floor in the morning.  Brush teeth.  Shower.  Dress.  Sustenance.  Coffee.

Now the only morning fogginess I feel occurs in the steps between my bed and Cole’s crib.  Seeing my baby’s smile is all the caffeine I need.  As soon as I open the nursery door I hear him start to kick his legs in excitement in anticipation of seeing mom or dad come around the corner.  He can’t quite pull himself up to standing position, so he strains his neck back while he is on all fours, rocking back and forth, to get a good view.

Waiting for me is an open mouth smile so big I can see his first two bottom teeth poking through.  Dimples so deep and nose so scrunched it forces his eyes to squint.  The epitome of happiness all rolled up in this moment and in this infant that I love so much.  It’s as if we haven’t seen each other in days, when in reality it’s only been 12 hours since I kissed him goodnight.

These moments with Cole bring meaning to my life.  And although I never thought it was possible, Cole has made me a morning person. Well…more than before at least!