Thursday, November 22, 2012


"Who really knows what we're here to do
I just take my time
And I love these hours here with you..."

- "Grateful" by Au Revoir Simone

Cheers to the blessings and adventures of 2012!

Yes, I have used Au Revoir Simone for a video background before; they just seem to evoke the mood I need when I get around to documenting my immense nostalgias.

This year has been an abundant spattering of opportunity, growth, travel, and adventure. John and I have seen hope spurt in our home-based businesses and our special girls are falling as gracefully as they can - hair-pulling, pterodactyling, meltdowns and all - into lovely creatures of compassion and confidence.

We traveled a lot, participated in several organizes runs, got involved with community projects, met with dear friends, took Eryn to college and Luciya to kindergarten, and worked daily on getting Mirabel to start walking. (She's almost there. ... Has been the phrase since about June.)

I looked through the pictures on my computer this evening and was flooded with gratitude. The majority of my photos have been taken on my cell phone and are grainy and disconcertingly blurred. But the sentiments remain. Healthy friends and relatives, true blue friends, a beautiful home, and so much more, are ours everyday.

Blessed be.

Monday, September 10, 2012

To Luciya

Luciya's new kindergarten teacher, Miss Elizabeth, has asked all the parents to write a letter to their child, based on these guidelines.  Here goes.

Dear Luciya,

When you were two years old, you wanted me to roll down the car windows so you could lean over and shout, "Hello, World! I love you, World!" 

It makes me happy in my heart to see how much you love the world. Your big, beautiful heart is kind and strong, and I notice how easily you make friends and trust that everyone loves you. They do.

I am proud to be your mama. I love to watch you be such a good big sister to Mirabel. You are gentle, sweet, and patient with her, and she is growing up with such a wonderful example of a big sister. Thank you for teaching her so well how to be kind and strong. You will help her to do and be anything she wants to!

Luciya, I know that you enjoy every minute of life that you can, and I want you to know that I believe in you and your wishes and dreams. Right now you want to be an acrobat and a property manager and a Stroller Strides instructor and a famous singer and an artist. You can be anything you want to be, because you are good and smart and wonderful.

I am so thankful that you chose me to be your mama.  Your funny jokes, your chocolate brown eyes, your delightful vocabulary, your silliness, your warm hugs, our special kisses, are the most special parts of my day.

I will never forget the day we brought you home from the hospital on Maui. It was a whole new world. A world that we love. 

I love you, Luciya!


Thursday, September 6, 2012


"As the moon may adore you
and remain high moon,
The wind may crown your head with leaves
and keep blowing
So I'll stop and I'll watch you
For I love, I love...
And then, be on my way."
- Dar Williams

Friday, August 10, 2012

A shout-out

{Click to enlarge.}

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

On Having a 5-year-old.

My tiny and sweet little first-born is five years old.

My sweet and chubby, delightfully absorbing, audacious and maddening, frightfully funny, stunningly beautiful, waited-for and just-right babe. Is FIVE.

Dearest, loveliest, daringest, bravest and brightest Luciya,

I love you so. Happy fifth birthday to you, my big and wondrous little girl. May your days continue to be filled with question and wonder, with delight and refusal, with determination and curiosity. May you continue to feel at home in this giant world, and may you continue to know in your heart that this life is for loving; that everyone loves you, and that it is okay to love.

You are Love exemplified. And somehow you found me and you make my heart turn in on itself and beam with pride, even in those moments - and they are not infrequent - that you make me want to tear out my eyebrow hairs, one by one.

You are a bright and thriving presence here, and while I on my right hand I want to cuddle your still-toddlerish cheeks and relish your pronunciation of "lellow" and "fings," on my heart-side I am ready to allow you to be five, to grow into this long and comfortable little girl who will be entering kindergarten in the fall.

Five years in a blink, a lifetime in a whirlwind of compromises and promises and thick eyelashes fluttering over olive cheeks. "Sheeks."

If I know anything about my own existence or purpose on this earth, it is that I was meant to be your mama. To love you with utter gratitude and awe, and to let you guide me, with your astounding old-soul wisdom, through these twisting miracles of Every Day.

Dear Luciya, may you and I always remain in this lovely capacity to talk with our hearts and share with our words. To "dream with our mouths" and find "night pictures on the ceiling."

Discovering the world through you has been a privilege. Somersaults = joy. The library = escape. Sharing the seemingly mundane = importance. Hugging = necessary. Haircuts = why not. Silliness = life. Compromise = annoying. "I don't care for the maybes, I only care for the yeses."

You are a jubilant star in the twisting galaxies of perplexity. You teach lessons on simple joy and the importance of a boundless imagination. May we all inhale the goodness that is a princess who is a sister and also a tap dance teacher who lives alone on a magical hill in the backyard.

Yes, you've been concerned/obsessed with death recently, but it has brought forth some pretty amazing insights:

"Mama, I don't want to be a statue. Then you couldn't run and play. And I would just be still all day." "I will never eat poisonous stuff." "Mama, when I die, will you pour fourteen cups of water on my statue?"

And there are the disappointments, of course:

"Mama." "What?" "It's hard." "What's hard?" "To catch a bird. All my life I wanted to catch a bird."

But just throw in some song lyrics, and you'll be good to go:

"London bridges are cooking meat, my fair lady."

"Cast off the shackles of yesterday, shoulder to shoulder, birds of prey!"

Welcome to the sixth year of your life, my dear one. Live it loud.

I love you, Luciya!


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Before the Grace of You

And as I watch the drops of rain weave their weary paths and die I know that I am like the rain; There before the grace of you go I.

- Simon and Garfunkel

On the eve of her fifth birthday,
A poem to my first-born...

be strong and love to live, know that you are god and god is you
find a tree that your can climb, follow what's to follow through
be happy for all that there is
to be and see and know and feel
you are here because you should be
make your life full fun and real

know that you are safe and lovely
know that you are wise and sure
love is living, so keep loving
laugh and give and laugh some more

when you want to hug or listen
hug and listen, hold and share
say all that your heart is saying
dream in safety, leap in dare

give thanks for all that comes your way
blessed be your joyful heart
know that Life is just beginning
and you're here to help it start

in the shine of your eyes and the prance of your feet
in the brightness of life that you meet

in the wideness and weirdness and
tumblesome steps
take advantage of breathing,
have no regrets

you are amazing
alive, you're a miracle
dance it, believe it
be you and that's all the world can hope for

as long as you stay good
and be the best your heart can be
you are living, so don't worry.

let it go and know
that as your grow the world grows, too
and so it is, and it is so
i watch you and encourage you as you grow.

I love you, Luciya!


Monday, April 9, 2012

before rising

i still get raw

strength is fine and embraceable and it deserves my gratitude
but if i need to crumble sometimes it's just so sweet to fall

as delightful as it all is, always,
my heart does sink and flutter
and i feel the need to follow it down

blissful as existence is
the weight of it can shoulder me
and i roll into it like a heavy blanket
that lets me disappear

i do embrace the world that lives
i do squeeze all the grace i can from saplings clinging to hope i shovel into the soil
but sometimes the choice to backpedal is a freedom
and i need to cherish the lowness before
i can climb again

maybe it's the beauty of it all
maybe it's the pain
but that which gives a voice when it's needed
is louder than i can try to deny

burden is mine and it's alright to admit it
to let the gloss slip away and
be purplish-rare

it's rare

and then the beauty trickles back in
with a gasp and a sigh
a finger on my backbone
that whispers feel this now
and then remember

superfluous sinking thoughts
inevitably are not my forte
but if i can allow my brittle endurance to be held
in an embrace other than my own
i should let it sink
and know that i am safe

that i might be mighty
that i could change the seared hopes of the broken
this is my fire
and chaos does not dampen it

but for now
i allow outside comfort to find me
that i may rest here
before rising.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

34. Live and Give.

Despite how I may have mislead you at the beginning of the year (thanks to Kelly for being the first and only to spot my year-off mistake), I turned 34 years old today.

I was inspired by a Facebook friend, who was inspired by another blogger, to spend my 34th birthday by committing 34 acts of kindness. (It was actually supposed to be 35 and 35, but I couldn't wait a whole year.) I have been working on the list for the past 2 or three months, and am proud to say I accomplished darn near all of them today.

Today was about recognizing the abundance that is my life, and about sharing my joy and gratitude in as many ways as I could.

So today, I....

- Brought flowers to all the residents at Grandma's assisted living facility. One blanket-covered woman on oxygen wheezed, "Why are you doing this?" "Because I want to spread a little joy to your day and give you something beautiful." "No one has ever done that before." Tear promptly stifled.

- Left a bag of quarters on a laundromat table.

The bag read, "Enjoy Laundry Day! Please use these quarters."

- Delivered diapers to the refugee clinic.

- Picked up seven dozen Krispy Kreme donuts and delivered them, with gratitude notes, to my midwife and her office, my children's pediatrician's office, the NICU where Mirabel spent her first two weeks, and my dad at his office.

- Wrote and delivered gratitude notes to my parents.

- Surprised a friend at work with a card and flower.

- Donated pounds of clothes to the local women's shelter.

- Donated books to a local book shop and the Library (!)

- Paid for the coffee order of the man behind me in the Starbucks drive-thru.

- Purchased the lunch of a stranger at a restaurant, and gave our supportive waiter an excellent tip.

Also, I ate this for lunch.

- Brought flowers and Krispy Kremes for the mamas in my running club and the participants in John's and my Tuesday evening class.

- Left notes on windshields throughout the city.

- Enjoyed a two-hour nap and some quality time with my partner in crime and #1 fan.

"Blessed is this life, and I'm going to celebrate being alive."
- Brett Dennen

One of my best birthdays ever.
Blessed be.


Thursday, February 2, 2012

My Bel

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


It finally snowed in Boise. It was thick and soft and crusty. Perfect snow for snowmen and snow angels and knocking drifts off every surface. Luciya, Mila, and I spent a glorious hour outdoors.

Best. Workout. Ever.

The crooked apple tree.

Mila went nuts.

Eventually we just let our hoods fall down and got icy-wet heads.

Then we came in with our pink rosebud cheeks and had a warm bath. And made cookies.

And watched a movie. "The Polar Express" is kind of intense. We had no idea. Safety snuggles were necessary.

The girls and I stayed at home all day today. This is the first time this has happened in one million years, and it was cuddly fun. We made popcorn and colored pictures of flowers and wore our pajamas all day.

Lucky-yummy-mommy me.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Two Down

Dear Mirabel,

I think a child's birthday is a chance for its mother to enter a magical and nostalgic time warp. Is there another event so dramatically impactful? Suddenly I find myself awake at 4:30 in the morning this January 15th, and the vivid images of the agony of bringing YOU into this world surround me. My January 15th will forever be assoiciated with the long hospital corridors, the groans echoing off of the bathub walls, the shock of hearing "It's a girl!", the surreality of not being able to hold you once your umbilical ties to your comfortable realm were broken.

My midwife said at the time that babies with Down syndrome often have a longer time figuring the way "out." You decided to flip breach once I was already in labor, effectively tossing my ideas of laboring at home, while watching Golden Girls reruns, while bouncing on the stability ball, out the window.

I was immediately and unexpectedly admitted to the hospital at noon on January 14th, where the doctor on call was able to successfully perform a version and turn you, but as a result my labor had to be stopped. So while the stability ball sat unused in the living room and Rose, Blanche, and Dorothy waited expectantly in the DVD player, I walked the halls with your father, desperately trying to get labor started again. At 5 pm, my acupuncturist came in and got things going a bit, but not enough, and by 10 pm I finally consented to Pitocin. It was so maddening for me to have been in natural labor all morning, wandering through Kohl's to pick out an overnight backpack for Luciya while the secret thrill of the first contractions made me pause in the aisles once or twice, to look forward to spending the bleak winter day waiting for the right time to welcome you, and to then have to spend the actual day indoors, unsure, and no longer in labor.

I helped pull you into the world at 4:53 a.m.

Then everything began, and at the same time everything stopped.

The nurses, the lights, the midwife, the explanations, the white buzz in my ears, the wash of serenity, the ache, the buzzing again, the nurse coming in to punch me in the uterus, the look on John's face, the need to sleep, the need to hold my baby, the rush, and the sink, and oh God why does that nurse have to come punch me in the uterus again?!

Fast forward.

And you're two years old today.

While I can't imagine that today's events will plant themselves with such resolve in my mommy brain, I can tell you that today you were celebrated by a dozen people who love you.

There was cake.

And there were gifts.

And there were songs and toasts.

We were celebrating a remarkable two-year-old, whose short life has already inspired us all to appreciate LIFE in a way we can all admit we did not know before you.

We celebrated your mouthful of teeth, your ability (as of last week!) to crawl on all fours, the signs you can use - Thank You, More, Please, Eat, Mommy, Daddy. We delighted in the way you smashed fistfuls of cake into your face.

We held you and praised you. Inwardly and for all to see.

January 15th, 2010 was a new moon. According to astrology,

"When the Moon is new, the Sun and Moon are aligned in the same sign, and a powerful energy portal is opened. New Moons are a great time to set intentions for things you'd like to create, develop, cultivate, make manifest. ... What matters is that you're committing yourself to your vision, and open to receiving guidance, healing, support from Spirit. ...

The new Moon has a more inward feel, has a void or empty quality, and therefore can be frightening to those not comfortable with uncertainty. Can you learn to trust the dark? It's the moment when the old passes away and the new is not yet here. That's why it's a powerful time for sending out your prayer, wishes, desires to the Universe."

There was certainly a lot of praying, wishing, and desiring that happened that night. You stayed in the hospital for two weeks and came home to us on the full moon. And as we all know, "Full Moons are for taking action and celebrating the fruit of your efforts." Our prayers and wishes and desires are coming true in you, Sweet Mirabel.


I love you, Mirabel!


Saturday, January 14, 2012

2011: Luciya

For vivacious Luciya (who is an AWESOME four-year-old; suck it 2.5 - 3.5), 2011 can best be summed up in her own words. And I quote (from notes I've taken on my phone throughout the year):

"My foot always asks me, 'Luciya, do you want to go on a sailboat?' and I always say, No."

"Mama, sometimes moons blink."

"I know the truth about everything. I know about planets. Planets are good for eagles to sit on."

"Uzana [her doll] doesn't care for California because she might poop on someone's head. Uzana has lots of chicken songs."

{On her birthday}: "You know what I wished for. I wished for all the people to come over to our house and make it bigger and take all the earth home and the rainbows."

"I'm gonna tell Mirabel a joke. Mirabel, why did all of your tooths shrink and you swallowed them?"
Mirabel: "aaaahhhhgge."

"Wouldn't that be funny if Mirabel swallowed a zebra and her tummy got all big and fat and she diarrhead the zebra out and then the toilet sneezed!"

"Mirabel, once upon a time there was a little girl named Lucy May and she laughed so hard, she made the whole world shake, the end."

"I wish there was a fish that turned into a flower what I could take to a fancy dinner party."

"I wasn't asking for it. I was just wondering if I could get it."

"I want to be a pony acrobat girl when I grow up."

"Next year for Halloween I want to be Toot Barbie."

"Good thing you weren't outside, and sitting on that cat, and eating its fur."

"Do gooses have boogers?"

{A poet and she doesn't even know it!} "My name is Create, and we dance around. When we laugh, we fall to the ground."

{After singing one of her endless made-up songs}: "Mama, do you know what that song is called? It's called The Hopefulness of Joy."

"Do you know I have 100 million talents?"

"I like being a person who is able to talk. If I couldn't talk, then I wouldn't be able to say that I love you. And if I was a cow, then I couldn't say Moo!"

"I'm just gonna say one thing. I love you, Mommy. I love you, Daddy. I love you, Sister. I love myself."

Wistfully... "I like being four."

I like it, too.

I love you, Luciya!


Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Year Before

Here I am! Here it goes. For reals, y'all, I want to document this sweet and shining thing called Life with Lovelies in Idaho. (Should I change the name of the blog?)

So, before I ring in 2012, I need to give 2011 a wee shout-out, like, Hey 2011, I really did appreciate you. Thanks for everything.


January 2011

Mirabel turned one year old.

Great Grammy Leona has the first of many serious tumbles.

February 2011

Valentine cookies. Homemade frosting dyed with berry juice, natch.

March 2011

I attended a Stroller Strides enhanced instructor training in Seattle. John came along for the ride, and we enjoyed a couples' weekend exploring the city, which we really dug. Digged. We liked it.

I turned 34. Apparently not a big deal, since I can't enlarge this picture for the life of me.

April 2011

Sister Eryn came to visit again. John posed with his girls.

Luciya Sunshine celebrated her 4th birthday.

And got to go to the dentist for the first time. On her birthday.

My girlfriend Kelly and I took a weekend roadtrip to Durango, Colorado, which included a magical stop at Arches National Park in Utah.

We named her Muscle.

We adopted 3 chicks: Shybone, Hina, and Pokey. Pokey would later succumb to Mila's insticts on one horribly fateful afternoon (I started a blog post called "A Clucking Nightmare"...).
Hina and Pokey are still big, broad, and beautiful egg-laying family members and pets.

Sir Elton John, I presume.

May 2011

For Mother's Day, Luciya and her preschool classmates gave their moms pedicures.

We spent Labor Day weekend at the cabin with Adam, Danielle, the girls, and Michael and Nancy.

Mirabel has just about had enough of your shenanigans.

Meet the mud pie masta.

June 2011

Ton Ton celebrated the big cuarenta y uno.

Mirabel posed as a fairy.

If you're wondering, all of our sweet family portraits, including these and the one of the girls at the header, are taken by the fabulously talented Lala Harms at Shady Lane Studios. She's been our photographer since we won a shoot for Luciya's first birthday.

The See Jane Run 5K with our Running Club.

July 2011

Boating at Lucky Peak

We had weekly "Crafternoons" with sweet friends.

Christmas (pajamas) in July.

My brother married an awesome chick.

We took a fabulous two-week roadtrip (a family first!) to Southern California. Memories ensued.

August 2011

A spur-of-the-moment afternoon hike outside Idaho City.

The Dirty Dash 10K. Filthy awesomesauce.

September 2011

We spent our fifth Labor Day in a row with dear friends at "The Spread" in Eastern Oregon.

Luciya started her second year of preschool with the delightful Miss Jen.

The Women's Fitness Celebration with the LUNA Moms' Club.

October 2011

John and I spent two nights in Sun Valley for a perfect Fall getaway.

Luciya listened very intensely at a field trip to the fire station.

Team Mirabel raised over $1,000 for the Treasure Valley Down Syndrome Association.

The Barber to Boise 10K, again with the Running Club. 56:20 for me.

Arrrrrr ye surprised we were pirates at a fun Halloween bash? More importantly, arrrre ye surprised John wore eyeliner?

November 2011

"The Sunrise Puppet Theater. Only for cold winter days. With hot chocolate."

Maui. A glorious reunion with Maui. And an introduction for some.

December 2011

Luciya was a saucy Wise Gal for her Christmas program.

Sister Eryn helped us celebrate the season.

We were so excited to watch Luciya experience her first Christmas morning at home, now that she "gets" it. And she didn't disappoint. She was sweet, wide-eyed, slow, and savoring every moment, delighting in the idea that there was another present?? to open.

On New Year's Eve we went for a family walk and attempted a self-portrait.

And now, if possible...

Happy 2012.
Blessed be.