valentine’s day nostalgia

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Today I’m feeling nostalgic and thankful for these treasured moments captured in Paris two years ago. I’m so terrible about printing images, but my sweet friend and photographer Ashley Ludaescher sent these to me. While I still have yet to frame them (soon), I stare at them often. My heart is overflowing with love for my children – so much so that it hurts at times. It’s incredibly cheesy but true. Their unconditional love for each other, and for us, is overwhelming. At times I don’t even feel worthy of it. I hope everyone experiences a love as pure and true as this in their lifetime.

happy valentine’s day | joyeuse saint-valentin 

it’s not enough.

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My husband took this photo of my daughter and I, both very purposefully wearing white, right before heading to the polls to vote for the first female Presidential candidate. I am very aware that sentence alone speaks volumes about how far women have come in history. It’s not enough. Despite always being a feminist, I never truly understood or embraced it’s importance–until now. My heart is broken for my daughter, for women worldwide, and for our country as a whole. I went to bed crying on Tuesday, and woke up crying on Wednesday, feeling dread and uncertainty of how to explain the election results to my children. A strong percentage of America voted for a racist, xenophobic, misogynist. That can’t be sugarcoated. Let me be clear – this isn’t about our candidate losing – it’s about hate winning. This is so much bigger than politics. It’s about humanity. My tears have dried, I’m angry, and I’m taking action, starting…now.

Fighting for justice and freedom is in my blood. My father dedicated twenty years of his life to serving our great country, as did many other men – and women – in my family tree. Without their bravery I wouldn’t be writing this post. I’ve always gotten the feeling that my father wished I would have followed in his footsteps, and served. Well, your wish has finally been granted Dad, because I’m joining the ranks. I will fight with words, I will fight with love, but I will fight. I’ve always been an activist – ever since first grade, when I wrote, directed, and starred in a play about Martin Luther King, Jr. and his accomplishments (I insisted on playing the role of Coretta Scott King). I’ve actively stood up for what is right many times in my life, but unfortunately, I feel like I’ve never done enough. That feeling ends here.

In addition to the battles I will fight, I will raise children who refuse to tolerate anything less than equality and freedom, for ALL. I will raise a daughter who knows she is enough, that she is worthy, and I will be her voice until hers can be heard loud enough. The battle cries of women, and men, who demand better for our country, and for our children, can be heard loud and clear now. Thank you, Mr. Trump, for turning up the volume. I’ll conclude with a quote from an inspirational woman, Chimananda Ngozi Adichie – “Anger has a long history of bringing about positive change; but in addition to being angry, I’m also hopeful. Because I believe deeply in the ability of human beings to make and remake themselves for the better.” It’s not enough that we’re broken hearted. It’s not enough that we’re angry. I am pledging to do more, to be more…until it IS enough. If you’re with me, let me know below. Community has never been more important.

 

thirty-seven

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“We do not grow absolutely, chronologically. We grow sometimes in one dimension, and not in another; unevenly. We grow partially. We are relative. We are mature in one realm, childish in another. The past, present, and future mingle and pull us backward, forward, or fix us in the present. We are made up of layers, cells, constellations.”

Anaïs Nin

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Tomorrow is my thirty-seventh birthday, and I’m feeling…reflective. This has been a tough year for us as a family, and for me personally, which I wrote about here. I also recently vented on Instagram, and was blown away by the response and support. As with any difficulty in life, you can focus on the weight of it, or you can choose to live in the light. While I’ve spent a good bit of time doing the former, I’m currently striving for the latter. The quote I shared above really speaks to me, especially right now. While I’ve experienced a lot of growth, I’m still discovering what this chapter in my life is teaching me. In the meantime, I have a lot to be thankful for, and having two four-year-olds around me 24/7 is a great mood lifter and reminder of what is most important in this life. All you need is love, and I’ve got that in spades.

unschooling

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“Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.”

John Dewey

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If you’re a parent, it’s the time of year when your social feeds are flooded with school buses, shiny new backpacks, and carefully curated wardrobes and lunch boxes. We’re inundated with emotional posts – from bittersweet tears and separation anxiety, to more relaxed and joyful (?) send-offs as the years pass. We have yet to join these ranks. This will be our fourth year watching from the sidelines, and we’re still feeling uneasy about getting in the game. We don’t have all the answers yet, and most likely never will. What we do know is that we’re in a season of life that goes by all too quickly, and we’re holding onto it with all our might. I’ve avoided discussing this topic here for so long, because it’s a highly charged and personal one. Every family has different needs and goals…I’m sharing our journey, with respect for your choices.

The gravity of parenthood has never been more evident to me than when making decisions about our children’s education. Those decisions and questions began years ago, when Henry and Marie were still in utero. What educational path would we choose? Public, private, homeschool, charter? Where are the best school districts? What type of learners will they be? Which environment will suit them best? The questions are endless – it’s dizzying and overwhelming. Add the societal pressures, and it’s enough to make me want to crawl under a rock. We’ve received advice (both solicited and not) from family and friends, and have toured a myriad of schools. The cost of a (secular) preschool education has left us in a state of shock, and we haven’t felt right about any of the options we’ve explored. We’re waiting for something to feel right.

Until that happens, we’ve decided that we’re not going to decide (yet). We are giving ourselves (and the kids) another year to get our bearings, find a more permanent home, and choose an educational path. Of course, we’ll continue our quest and research in the meantime. If we choose the traditional route, we wouldn’t enroll them in kindergarten until they are six (two years from now). So, while the kids will remain “in the nest” for a bit longer, we’ve already started providing a bit more structure to their learning (more on that soon). I’m so thankful to have the luxury (and choice) of being at home with my children, and letting them learn at their own pace, for now. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject. What path did you choose, and what has worked best for your child? Would you change anything, if you could? Please share!

 

make a wish

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It’s been a long time since I’ve written about motherhood, and it’s often because I have so much to say that I don’t even know where to begin. Almost four years later, I’m still wrapping my mind around the fact that I’m a mother of twins! Becoming a mother (and going from zero to two) has been both a disorienting and enlightening experience for me–my life has changed in every way possible. In fact, the first time I remember truly feeling like an adult was when I first held my children. My priorities have shifted, my marriage has been stretched and challenged, and I’ve grown exponentially.  Marie and Henry have already taught me more about life than I ever could have imagined – you just have to look for the lessons, as they often hide in the most unexpected places. They are just as much my teachers as I am theirs.

I’m making a wish this Mother’s Day. My wish is that I will create more time for myself, and in turn, be a better person, mother, wife, and daughter. Lately I’ve been spread too thin, and it’s taken a toll on me personally, as well as many of my relationships, including the one with my children. Our identities can be so quickly muddled in the midst of motherhood (this post speaks exactly to that point and moved me to tears). I need to demonstrate to both of my children (especially Marie who may someday find herself in my position), that maintaining and continuing to redefine your individuality is crucial. I feel like my wish is a bit ambitious, but certainly attainable. I have one more wish, and that is that you, my dear reader, have a meaningful and merry Mother’s Day weekend (should it apply). What would you like to wish for?

happy mother’s day