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BEing Seen

I found a secret special “aha” a while back on Instagram. A woman returned from a retreat which had moved her. And what she described was sort of mind-blowing to me. She said she had felt like she had truly been seen for who she really was by the women in that room. And I envied her. I wondered what that felt like.

I was reading a piece written by business and soul guide, the amazing Caroline Kelso, entitled The Importance of Soul Friends in which she explains how a life long friendship with her two girlfriends is much more than just that. To explain, she quotes Irish poet and philosopher John Donohue from his book Anam Cara : A book of Celtic Wisdom. An Anam Cara is a soul friend. “A friendship that transcends the surface… that exists within the mutual love and acceptance of each others’ core being.” She says that she feels unconditionally witnessed by her two lifelong friends.

To be seen in this world is one of the greatest gifts

you can receive.” -Caroline Kelso-

Daddy and Fiona on the fire engine from

And this quote she chose from John O’Donohue vis Brain explains what the love light of a soul friend truly gives you.

In this love, you are understood as you are without mask or pretension. The superficial and functional lies and half-truths of social acquaintance fall away, you can be as you really are. Love allows understanding to dawn, and understanding is precious. Where you are understood, you are at home. Understanding nourishes belonging. When you really feel understood, you feel free to release yourself into the trust and shelter of the other person’s soul… This art of love discloses the special and sacred identity of the other person. Love is the only light that can truly read the secret signature of the other person’s individuality and soul.”

Do you already know this gift in your life? Or like me, have you hidden yourself away from everyone including your cherished ones for fear they see what you’re sure you know to be true? Failure and flaws. Because to allow their mirrors to show you their version of you, you get to feel the belonging and the self-esteem you never would otherwise.  The only catch is that you have to believe in your heart there’s a possibility to be loved first.

Mark and Fiona on a hayride on

I spent my day with my husband and my children very intentionally doing stuff specifically for them where fun and family would be woven together with their memories of their childhood. I was as fully present as I could be in the hopes that I will hopefully give them the self-love I seem to have grown up without when parents just can’t be there.

And when I got home and took a look at my social media notifications, I discovered that a community I have spent time in and nourished connections within was giving me an acknowledgement. I was being seen. That I work so very hard to publish the very best content and writing I can muster within the limits of my life as a Mom. And for many years, there wasn’t really any sign that anyone was reading or caring. But as I have honestly and kindly been present to witness other people, to see and hear what they are saying and showing, I finally can see that I am having this great gift returned. Partially perhaps because I am not expecting to receive acknowledgement from the wrong places. And I have committed to the process and not the results (comments, followers, numbers).

Eamon and Fiona in the pumpkin patch on

I know without a doubt that the only reason I get to enjoy any recognition from my people is because I was the kind of friend that I needed to have. And I found many like-minded women strewn across the country, and the world, by being this friend. Stripped of the shallowness of appearance and societal restraints, we went right for the good soul stuff. We saw each other not for the outsides but the insides. And that was a gift I would never have expected or would have received had I not been willing to be seen.

As Caroline pointed out, “In order to be understood for who you are, you must show up and be willing to be seen for who you are.” And have the faith that if you are just you, that those who are meant to be your friends will know you with their eyes closed and their minds open.

Love to all of you wonderful readers. I can not express my gratitude for your devotion and support, be it silent or spoken.

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And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

The Easter Egg Debacle

I know you think I am a nice person. And I am most of the time. But a patient person? Having a toddler has shown me all of my imperfect impatient downfalls. These became glaringly apparent when we went to dye Easter eggs this past Saturday morning. How quickly I had forgotten the Christmas cookie baking lesson. Dying Easter eggs on

I thought I would be able to figure something out on the fly. Give her a way to dye the eggs. But boom, she’s trying to lay the egg down on the flat table, grabbing the cups of dye, and there’s just no way to baby proof this event. As I was already twitching from the rest of the morning, the moment she took the egg and crushed it in her fist, I knew we were done.blowing bubbles on

I bloody well love dying Easter eggs. It’s totally a thing for me. Mandatory seasonal crafting along with carving pumpkins. But there are certain things that need to be done without two year-olds and this was one of them. I didn’t mention the brain exploding amount of patience it took the other day to hold the bubbles for like 45 minutes straight while she attempted to blow them, did I. I’ve just gotten rid of the eye twitch and pray it won’t return.

Yes, some women are born to have and raise children with infinite patience and no other expectations. Pas moi. I could do without this toddler phase except for the utter heart stabbing cuteness of her saying “Wogger” for water. And the shrieking contagious giggles she gets when her Dad zerberts her on her tummy.eggs and bowls on

So I am now completely aware that again, I’m not a toddler crafter. I need to leave this stuff to the pros. I’ve learned my lesson. And I’d like to apologize to Fiona, and I just might some day, but not today. I am however secretly praying she doesn’t take this event personally and have it thrown back in my face at age thirteen.

The posts are no longer truncated and all words will appear in your mailbox. However, if you want to see all my lovely full color pictures, you’ll still need to click over to the blog to view those.

And If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter or Pinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks a bazillion for your visit.

The Necessity of Nap Time

Mothers worldwide know the importance of regularly napped children. Those same babies with mostly lovely regular little napping schedules then become tots who begin to doubt your wisdom and their bodies’ need for the nap. And what happens next can be the difference for a family’s well-being and Mommy’s happiness and sanity.

Nap derailments can come when you least expect them. Holiday schedules threaten their inevitability. Sickness can destroy a well-earned nap schedule with one night of fever. And a car induced nap can rob you of a longer better placed nap-time.

Those who don’t think this is a big deal, I now hate and disown you because what we Mom’s end up with is spending the remaining hours of the day in some sick sadistic time warp where hours feel like days. And we are doomed to carry out the rest of our day’s work making the dinner or giving baths to little psychotic people.

Fiona on the Necessity of Napping on

Sleep deprivation makes me mean. In the same way, that one hour nap is absolute salve to the temperament of the toddler. And when a nap is missed, it makes her mean times a thousand.

Everything is wrong. Invisible items on the floor hurt her sensibilities. Bright lights cause shrieking. You can’t eat that cracker because all the crackers in the world belong to her. A change in the tone of your voice is proof there is no God. There’s something that must be living on her tongue that she points to regularly which has now taken a figurative possession of her vocal chords. Can’t I understand? And because I wont let her assuage her aggravation in front of the TV for another three or four hours, I am dead to her.

Passed out in the high chair on the Necessity of Nap Time on

I then get the crying sound cannon aimed at me as it follows me around the house blasting me with the highest longest convulsive shrieking. She cries AT me. Even when I’m on the potty. And so I have now decided to put certain rules in place about napping to cover my butt.

  • If there has been no nap whatsoever achieved by 3PM, its car ride around the beltway time. Keep driving. At least you aren’t getting cried at.

  • If the child has fallen asleep in the car, give up that crazy notion that you can get them inside, up the stairs, strip their coat and boots off, and place them in the crib for the rest of the nap. You leave them in the car with the engine running, go pee and grab a book, and wait that nap out. Read above first paragraphs to refresh your memory for the why.

  • Never wake a sleeping baby or toddler. There’s a reason for this long-standing statement. Figure out who’ll sit in the car. Figure out whatever you need to figure out but waking them is not ever an option (well maybe like once but mostly never).

sleeping Fi on the Necessity of Nap Time on

  • Fight the urge to run into their room when they cry. See if they go back to sleep. Give it just five minutes. Time it. If they don’t go back to sleep, do anything to keep them in their cribs. When their 14 months and little “I can stand up!” Jack-in-the-boxes, lay them down, pin their hips with one hand and pat their butts with the other, and tell them it’s all good and you’re there. Be ready to lay on the crib rail with your head patting and pinning their hip until they fall asleep again. This technique worked with two children.

  • If they’re bigger, say toddler size, and you know they’re tired and then, when you enter the room, they give you that sly “I’ve got you” look, have a seat in the chair in the room, do not make eye contact, calmly tell them to lay down, and them fiddle on your phone until they stop crying and eventually fall asleep. It just worked for me minutes ago and took about 15 minutes. That was a Super Nanny trick I saw a long time ago. (Sadly I discovered upon her waking she had a poop in her diaper but it’s not my fault she can’t talk.)

Eamon and Fiona sleeping in the car on the Necessity of Napping on

And if all else fails, YES! plug them into the Pooh/Elmo marathon they’ve been harassing you for and then walk away. The mounting anger and frustration at knowing what you’re in for the rest of the day with a non-napped child will not get you what you want. Be ready to get your needs met another way. You do need a break and it is unfair that you just got robbed of your entitled nap time and now move on. Make another plan. And then make a new rule like” don’t try to nap them before 1:30″. Or get them outside to actually run up and down the sidewalk each morning. Or have a friend come over and give you a half hour break. Making a toddler nap action plan tells you that you still have choices and that you are in charge. And feeling overwhelmed isn’t helpful to anyone. Good and bad, Mommies are still the ones making the decisions even when they don’t feel like it.

The Whine Frequency

My budding toddler has begun to emit a sound that now wins the highest honor for most intolerable and grating sound in my brain. It is known as a whine to you and the whine frequency is maddening to me.

Fiona has delivered me to Dante’s whatever level of hell for mothers. I now know that in fact girls are more dramatic and they instinctively come up with the concept of fake crying by 18 months. It would almost be impressive if it weren’t so upsetting.

Fiona in the sun on the Whine Frequency on

You see, mother’s have a special programming chip in their brains for their child’s cries. They can hear a whimper from their child across a room crowded with chattering chimpanzees. This is a biological programming chip that keeps people alive until they can keep themselves alive.

Fiona covering her face  on the Whine Frequency on

But now, the integrity of the cry is being corrupted. She is no longer in danger or pain most of the time when she emits this frequency that is so high and raw, it’s worse than any chalkboard or Styrofoam squeak anywhere. Because my brain immediately responds to the distress and instantly I also know there’s nothing wrong. It’s a false alarm every time. Fiona's profile on the Whine Frequency on

I would love to jam earplugs in my ears all day. But there’s that one tiny chance that she’ll actually hurt herself by climbing onto the windowsill and then fall off and thrust her tiny teeth through her lip. And so I live in the perpetual irritated state of toddler girl whiney-dom. Don’t forget the added older brother factor which increases the whine’s occurrence just because it’s fun to poke her. Please kill me now.

Reading Restraints

He came home from school and told me he was reading the Hunger Games. Had been talking about how his friend had read it and he was going to check it out. And he had. I was a little skeptical. Thought it may be over his head. So I asked the librarian.

Miss Amanda knows my kid. Her daughter’s a lot like Eamon in his reading voraciousness. And we traded stories about how both our children had teachers this year who want to hold them back in their reading levels. We discussed how we feel about that. We concurred that we have to defer to the ruling of the teachers, however much we may disagree with their practices, and encourage our children to do anything to woo the teacher’s good opinion, such as making vocabulary lists on their own. Eamon playing the piano on

We also agreed that all children need encouragement to pursue whatever their interest and curiosities are in learning as these may lead to more. More knowledge is never a bad thing. I think Manga, a pictorial action adventure book like the comic books of yore, is a gateway book in a good way.  Pictures and words become intertwined and suddenly Eamon will be drawing epic battles for days. 

Miss Amanda showed me Common Sense Media dot Org, an unbiased go-to website for checking out the content and appropriateness of any type of media for Eamon, be it movies, books, or video games. I love a good tool. And thanks to Miss Amanda, I’ve got a go-to place when I’m feeling not so in the know about his media input. Because I may have been hip and in the know 20 years ago, but now I’m “Granny know nothing”. S’up?Eamon on

When we walked out of the library, speedily heading for home to avoid the impending rain, Eamon had about 15 books in the bottom of the stroller. And with a really satisfied look on his face, he said, if I don’t read them, I’ll just check them out again. My kid’s a reader, no matter what level he’s told he should be on, he’ s excited to read. And last week, he was even writing a book. That’s more than I’m aspiring to do these days I assure you.

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