Momma Monday- Momma loves Momma Zen

Baby Buddha

Baby Buddha


Have you met Karen Maezen Miller? Either in real life or online or in good-old-fashioned print? She’s one of my literary and Zen heros. As mentioned in my “Meet the Family” page I find I relate best to Zen parenting books in my aspirations of the kind of mother I want to be, and I do mean that in both definitions of kind. I know, I know- anyone who knows anything about Zen practice would probably be appalled by my striving to be Zen- it’s in line with when I used to repeatedly run late and have to hurry up to get to yoga class to finally settle in and find some peace of mind.

The book, Momma Zen was one of my favorites from my first parenting year. I remember when I was bringing it to work with me to read during my break times while I was pumping. I remember another coworker who was also a pumping mother saw me reading it and I tried to explain how I liked the sheer idea of Zen parenting. She laughed at me and told me to let her know how well that works in a few months. I squared my jaw, shook my head and headed into the friendly barn at work to pump (our lovely euphemism for the room they let us milk ourselves in at work) and read. Then I found her website Cheerio Road and found myself pondering her eloquent thoughts on a regular basis. The one that touched me the most and let me know that indeed I do have a home in this school of thought was actually this one. Her list of letting go happened to coincide with my return to work post maternity leave with The Quail. The final line- “Baby is always right on schedule” has become my momtra in learning to live, love and learn with a baby who doesn’t necessarily develop according to the timelines that “the books” predict. I have it posted at work so I can look at it when I feel worried that she isn’t sitting like the other babies are or rolling the other babies are or talking like the other babies are.

Which by the way- yesterday she started sitting independently in that wonderful Weebles wobble way (we’ll continue to work on the not falling down part) yesterday- a day before she turned 7 months old. She started rolling from back to side with the occasional flip all the way to belly the week before and blowing raspberries in the last week as well. And did you notice- the first picture ever where you can see her little neck!

Baby is right on schedule.

Gifts 2- take 2 Celebrating The Quails grasping ability!

Jennifer just gave me a great idea- When I ordered my new copy of Gifts 2 I did order 2 copies with the intention of sharing the second with another family. Pay it forward right?

Well; in celebration of the Quail’s newfound ability to grab onto whatever I am holding & the release of this wonderful new edition we will hold a drawing to win that second copy over here as well! If you are interested in winning a copy of this book leave your name in the comments and on 9/30/09 I will attempt to read the name before it gets stuffed into The Quail’s mouth.

Gifts 2 has arrived!


Thank you to all of you wonderful writers that have shared your experiences. I can’t wait to read and share this companion book. Gifts meant so much to me- from the beautiful baby photo on the cover to the personal journeys so lovingly shared. Not only are our children a blessing to this great world- you all are as well.

Gratitude Journal




1. Mill House Lodge

2. Coconut Almond Scones

3. Ham & Cheese Croissaints

4. Flat Rock Apple Orchard

5. Amy & her hats!

6. The Quail rolling from back to side on her own!

7. Zuzu’ early morning chatter

8. A new brother in law

9. the love of my sister

10. safe travels

11. Gap shorts from the local thrift store

12. Realizing I work with a pastry chef!

13. engines starting to smoke directly across from an Auto Zone at 7am

14. cell phones

15. new ideas to help the Quail sleep through the night

16. a swaddled baby nursing

17. a greasy plate of enchiladas

18. cream in my coffee

19. Lyle Lovett

20. a dinner invitation

21. swim classens!

22. A big grin after a new first!

23. practice cakes

Letters to my Loves

Small ones  in the Mountains

Small ones in the Mountains


I promise to celebrate life with you.


Dear Loves-

Today we veer away from Ms. Chopra’s 100 promises to my baby with a simple promise of celebration of life. We are in the midst of the time of year when our celebratory activities pick up the pace. Last month was the 9th anniversary of your parents marriage, your grandma’s birthday and the start of a new school year. This month we had Auntie Shell’s birthday, Auntie Deb and Uncle Greg’s engagement and a special visit from them. Next month is dear Zuzu’s birthday and Halloween and then on to the traditional holiday festivals. We are so blessed to have so many wonderful moments  in our lives to celebrate & to have the good fortune to recognize and celebrate them. I promise to always celebrate the little and the big times in our lives.

In fact part of why today’s letter and promise is short and sweet is we are in the middle of getting ready to go to a friend’s birthday party  this weekend, and another friends dinner party, baking a practice cake for Zuzu’s upcoming birthday and preparing for an apple picking trip with friends next weekend!

I have always loved the autumn and it’s ability to remind me of happy autumns past- and now with both of you  in our lives, the memory is so very much sweeter- as sweet as that practice cake and those apples to come!

Love, Momma

Fave-O-Lit Friday- Sestina for the Working Mother

Morning Hug

Morning Hug


Sestina for
the Working Mother.

– – – –

 No time for a sestina for the working mother.
 Who has too much to do, from first thing in the morning
 When she has to get herself dressed and the children
 Too, when they tumble in the pillow pile rather than listening
 To her exhortations about brushing teeth, making ready for the day;
 They clamor with goodbyes and “up” hugs when she struggles out the door.

 Every time, as if shot from a canon when she shuts the door.
 She stomps down the street in her city boots, slipping from mother
 Mode into a commuter trance, trees swaying at the corner of a new day
 Nearly turned, her familiar bus stop cool and welcoming in the morning.
 Standing here quietly she hears her own heart, though no one else is listening,
 And if the bus is late she hears down the block the voices of her children

 Bobbing under their oversized backpacks to greet other children
 At their own bus stop. They too have come flying from the door,
 Brave for the journey, and everyone is talking and no one is listening
 As they head off to school. The noisy children of the working mother,
 Waiting with their sitter for their bus, are healthy and happy this morning,
 And that’s the best way, the mother knows, for a day

 To begin. The apprehension of what kind of day
 It will be in the world of work, blissful without children,
 Trembles in the anxious and pleasurable pulse of the morning;
 It has tamped her down tight and lit her out the door
 And away from what she might have been as a mother
 At home, perhaps drinking coffee and listening

 To good radio, what rapt and intelligent listening
 She’d do at home. And volunteering, she thinks, for part of the day
 At their school—she’d be a playground monitor, a PTA mother!
 She’d see them straggle into the sunshine, her children
 Bright in the slipstream, and she a gracious shadow at the school door;
 She would not be separated from them for long by the morning.

 But she has chosen her flight from them, on this and every morning.
 She’s now so far away she trusts someone else is listening
 To their raised voices, applying a Band-Aid, opening the door
 For them when the sunshine calls them out into the day.
 At certain moments, head bent at her desk, she can see her children,
 And feels the quick stab. She hasn’t forgotten that she is their mother.

 Every weekday morning, every working day,
 She listens to her heart and the voices of her children.
 Goodbye! they shout, and the door closes behind the working mother.

Quail Day- 2 steps forward, one roll back…

I push right over

I push right over

Life has been busy, busy, busy here in the Foothills. As mentioned previously around 6 months you get a slew of doctor appointments when your child bears the diagnosis of T21. Most recently was the geneticist. He thought she was coming along swimmingly. Her height is impressive (26 inches) and he reminded us that what we are talking about is a syndrome- some characteristics apply, some need not apply. He also commented again on how physical characteristics that are typical of T21 tend to fade over time. Has anyone else found that to be the case? I know for us it feels that way- but I have just attributed it to our ever increasing adoration of her. We recently found an article talking about a link between T21 and miscarriages and a particular gene named Bub1, Dr Geneticist said he was unfamiliar with it but would look into it for us. (I have a history of multiple miscarriages). We also found out that while the FISH analysis was done the Genetic Center wasn’t ordered to do the actual chromosomal analysis portion that would clarify if she has classic T21 or translocation. We decided to get that done and to also get our own chromosomal analysis completed- just for fun- you know- since they are offering and all. We will hold off on doing Zuzu’s though. We discussed the ethical issue on performing that on a person who can’t legally give consent for it when they are currently asymptomatic of any issues. We were wondering for her own reproductive future if there is anything there. I also have Factor V Leiden and we need to find out if either of the girls do as well. So back to the labs for all of us.

OT went from most excellent 2 weeks ago to down the hill since then. The Quail has figured out my game plan in what I’m about to request of her when I go to position her on the Boppy to try to nurse her- and while she isn’t screaming- she is still refusing and turning her head away- consistently. She even goes so far as to start to pout- jutting that fabulous little lower lip straight out the minute I lay her on the Boppy. So Kathy suggested we mix it up a bit and try holding her to nurse and laying her down to bottle feed. I’m glad to see she’s a smart little cookie, sorry she is showing me this over nursing.

My sleeping angel has also started to wake 2 times a night every night to eat. We haven’t started solids yet. Kathy wanted to get breastfeeding established before adding in another variable but this is starting to wear us out and could be a red flag that we need to get some cereal in that girl. It could be hunger or it could just be that I stopped swaddling her at night. I swaddled Zuzu till 10 mos but thought I would stop earlier this time. I hadn’t quite gotten my brain functioning enough to make the link. So we went back to swaddling at night this week and that did decrease the waking and now she has just been waking one time a night. A little improvement and a part of the puzzle.

PT is really a lot like our EI visits- which says alot for the quality of our EI (Thanks Jodi!). The Quail is doing well with rolling- she almost has back to tummy figure out. We spend a few minutes each day doing little baby log rolls across the couch. She likes it when we sit on the floor in front of her and assist her in getting over- she sits and coos her little vowels at us while she does it. She has started arching her little neck around to see where we are going when she is left laying on her back anywhere- which in turn starts her to turn over! She’s doing good with supported sitting and feels pretty stable with that- we are slowly decreasing our support and showing her all about protective extension to, well- protect herself when she does it on her own. She’s really been enjoying playing with toys or anything she can grab while we are holding her- hair and necklaces included. It’s been funny to realize I’m suddenly not holding something anymore and to spy it in her grasp as she grins up at us- little clever cat! I know they say it is best to work her exercises into daily routine but honestly- the day gets so busy that it is too easy for it to slip by and realize no exercises have been done. So for us it does work better to assign activities to Lovey and I and then each be responsible for getting those activities in during the day.

On the hearing front she is scheduled to get tubes next Wednesday due to persistent fluid and her tests are showing some hearing loss- but until we can get an ABR done we won’t know exactly how much. They said she was hearing at a conversational level but probably not much softer and probably missing consonants. We’ll get the ABR done the week after the tubes are in.

That’s it for now!

Zuzu Tuesday- Swim Classens

FIrst in Line

First in Line

In deep water
Her own duck

Her own duck












Zuzu is on a path to an Olympic Gold Medal. Or at least she’s trying out some new energy burning tactics. This week she started twice a week swim classes or swim lessons- which she has dubbed “swim classens”. She is once again tickled pink as you can see in the last picture as she finished up her first classen.

When I was a little girl my mother sat faithfully in the bleachers listening to Bette Midler’s, “The Rose” blast out of the loud speaker watching me learn to swim. She was not a swimmer herself and felt it was important that someone teach us before we were old enough to realize she wasn’t so keen on it. So off to the Red Cross lessons at the local pool we went. We were the “Hot Shot Little  Shots” dubbed as such when I continually asked Mom when we would get to try the diving board and she finally let Swim Teacher Sally know I was itching to try. Sally brought our young selves to the deep end, got in herself and then called us each in turn as we lined up. No one wanted to go…except me. And I wonder where Zuzu gets it 🙂 When Sally turned to me I was only all too eager to jump into her waiting arms.

Zuzu had recurrent ear infections from 7 months to one year when we had tubes put in. Since that time she has continued to get a handful of ear infections. This fact has made me weary to take her swimming. When we go to the beach either- Edisto or to see Lovey’s family in San Diego we do head onto the beach but never venture far into the water. Even that little bit of exposure has Zuzu bustling with excitement. This winter when The Quail was born we found ourselves all tightly packed in at home as school was closed down due to an odd snow storm in the beginning of March.  Although we didn’t get much, in South Carolina when snow is predicted the state shuts down, you can only imagine when the white stuff actually blesses us the response.  Being packed in with a new baby and an energetic toddler with no access to a usable park made us all a bit stir-crazy and ever so grateful when the school reopened the next day. This experience convinced us it was time to get Zuzu acclimated to the water so the local indoor pool would be an option on a snowy, rainy  or mucky day. So we’ve gone a few times in the last few months. The warm water pool is only 3 feet deep with a 2 foot high bench along one side- perfect for learning to swim.  For $6 for the 2 of us it’s a perfect weekend activity that burns off some energy for her and gives my weary bones a nice soak at an average of 86 degrees.

Yesterday Zuzu alternated splashing Swim Teachers Jared and Erin and hollering, “Look at me Momma!” for most of the half hour. Although I did spy her doing her little pull-along laps with Jared a couple of times as well.  I thought she might be a bit nervous since her habit of stammering that pops up every few months about the time she is ready for another language burst cropped up as we were talking about the lessons on the drive over.  When they called the small ones to the wall to walk from the parents bleacher to the pool itself she was first in line.  When she spied Lovey on the bench next to The Quail and I another round of hollering to watch her ensued. She has no fear that spirited little wildflower of mine!

I’m ever so blessed to join the legions of watching Mommas and Dad’s on the creaky, pooling bleachers as we watch our little wildflowers blossom. What a gift to be a part of the long line of supportive Mommas that have come before us.

Momma Monday Family Goals

Family Fun

Family Fun



It’s good for every individual and family to have goals for themselves right? Well here are my individual goals for my family!


1. To have a family blog

2. To get the household To-Do list caught up

3. To maintain a family sourdough starter

4. To make cinnamon rolls from scratch early in the morning so everyone wakes up to that wonderful scent

5. To have a regular family dinner

6. Start up a family exercise routine that we all do together to include yoga, walking, swimming and gardening

7.To learn to use a DSLR to better document family life with.

8. To learn to use a photo-editing program to enhance those DSLR shots

9. For each family member to have a good book they are always in the middle of

10. to have a creative project that we are working on with the girls (art/craft/writing/cooking/gardening)

11. To always have a trip to South Dakota, California and Wisconsin planned each year

12. To keep the clutter level in the house down to a dull roar

13. To have a flower, herb and veggie garden

14. To have our household improvement projects prioritized and one started

15. To have ongoing letters to my girls started

16.  To have Lovey’s and my workloads maintained AT work so they don’t infringe on family time

17. Milestone  Calendar formats started for the girls

18. To invite friends over to play at ou house at least one time a month

19. To go to GNO one time a month

20. To have one-on-one time with Lovey, Zuzu and the Quail one time a month

21. To write a children’s story

22. To organize my photos

23. To get started/prioritize my photo projects

24. To learn to download music and have a great collection together of favorite songs.

25. To weed through the extra junk in the house and get it to the thrift store

26. To have a fun activity planned with the girls one time a month- trip to zoo, apple orchard, goat farm, berry picking, etc…

27. To have a comforting evening routine for everyone

 28. To take time to sit and smell the tulips 🙂