Saturday, November 30, 2013

Eleven Comments on November

Wow!  This month started with a pledge to practice yoga daily, to write daily.  Tomorrow is December the first, and my aspirations of becoming a better version of myself weren't lost, thankfully.  Realizations have come on the page, in thought, in conversation.  I am changing.

Things I've Learned this Month, {with links to related posts}

1.  I love blogging and yoga, now more than the first day.  {Grace (Every Damn Day)}

2.  Motherhood has made me love writing even more.  I want to improve my descriptions of my babies and experiences in childbearing/rearing.
{little moonbeam, strawberry chapstick}

3.  I am interested in PR.  Didn't see that coming, being a music teacher and all!  The more time I spend reading and writing in this facet, the more I'm inspired by good advertising.  Maybe strange, but true.  {Three peaceful gifts on this Friday}

4.  Sharing music through blogging is something I want to work on, both on having the skills to use this site to share multifaceted media, and writing more about music here and elsewhere.  {GooGoo Gaga, Myspace (Notebooks)}

5.  Balance and blogging is tough.  While some bloggers complain about not knowing what to write about, I tend to err on the side of 10 million ideas.  It feels good to finish some of those drafts!  Like- {Choir Chatter: Planning a Choir Tour}

6.  Time away from the computer = increased creativity and productivity.  Writing in a notebook is KEY.  Editorial calendars are brilliant.  Striving for reading/writing time to be 60% print and 40% screen.  {Face Type}

7.  R & R can apply to anything.  Exercise, beauty, sleep, playing music, cooking.  I will always be resetting and reworking my habits, as I am far from a 'creature of habit'.  Valuing the cycles of life and nature helps.  Valuing my creativity does, too.  {R & R}

8.  Comparison is the thief of joy.  When I entertain, I try to ignore the tip jar, I find I play more freely.  There are millions of writers and blogs in this big ol' net.  The mommy-blogger world is saturated to overflowing, a huge audience isn't realistic.  Nonetheless, I love writing about my life, sharing my thoughts with the world.  {show the world your true self}

9.  Backbone- posture is still a weakness for me, and something I need to work on for my health and happiness.  My daily yoga practice is here to stay.  {Yoga ('tis the Season)}


10.  Eating challenges, internet challenges, they aren't so different.  Nourishment is essential for life but there is always access to detrimental food.  Internet is not quite essential, but extremely useful. The willpower to limit what I use both for and when... now that's genius!  Willpower- possible upcoming blog topic? {nourishment & triggers}

11.  It grows.  This summer, I wrote almost everyday.  Many of those drafts sit on my computer, in my notebook, and may never see the public eye, may become a book.  We'll see.  Some of my writing is better when it has the chance to simmer and be revisited.  No need to post it all online, that's for sure.  I plan to focus some of my writing energy into other channels soon.

12.  My husband is more supportive and kind than I've ever dreamed.  He was a rock this month (as always), and I know he is looking forward to the end of NaBloPoMo, too. {Happy Birthday}

So, thanks, NaBloPoMo.

And thank YOU for reading, encouraging, and commenting on my writing here.  It will be fun to see where it all goes.  For December, the goal is posting three times weekly, and utilizing my calendar/notebooks more.

PS:
Did you see the giveaway I posted on Thanksgiving?
Make sure to comment by the end of the weekend for a chance to win a sweet coffee mug!!




Friday, November 29, 2013

Three Peaceful Gifts for this Friday

Another lovely Holiday has passed, we had some new faces here for Thanksgiving, and it was so nice!  Our bellies are full of turkey, and thoughts have already shifted to shopping & Christmas. Not a huge fan of the Holiday slog, but thought I would use this date to share three nice gift options.


Electrohome- our chosen gift?


1. Happy Record Store Day!  This awesome tradition subverts the model of Black Friday & mass production by releasing pieces of art in the form of limited special editions from a diverse list of artists.  James and I are thinking about a joint family gift this year- record player/radio/cd player hybrid awesomeness.  Scheming for this got us on Record Store Day.






special release for Record Store Day
Check out this impressive list of music being released today only.  (John Denver + Muppets, Lady Gaga, Grateful Dead, Tegan & Sara, Vince Guaraldi, Sly and the Family Stone.... so. many. amazing. choices!!)

To find a participating store: Record store venues

Long Live Music!


Can't make it to a record store today?  Buy Connor Garvey's new album!




2. Pots by Amy- Yesterday, I posted about the mugs James & I commissioned from Amy for our Boat Co. Family.  These mugs are coveted items- one boat co. girl told us yesterday that her mom has claimed hers for her own!  Amy is generously giving a Missoula mug away here {comment on yesterday's post to win}!  She does custom orders- you choose the place and the glaze.  Make your order today on Amy's Etsy!

State customizable mug $18.00

3. Mamalode- This Missoula publication has been a lifesaver for me in this new journey in motherhood.  Thought-provoking themes (breathe, play, perfection, home...), stories, artwork, and even advertisements provide both inspiration and comfort.  While the Mamalode website has amazing content, the print issues are gems.  A great gift for the Mom in your life (or yourself!) is a subscription to Mamalode.  OR, you can buy all 17 print issues for a great deal.  (Bonus: Josey & I model Betty's Divine in the latest issue!)

Entire Mamalode collection 50% off!

However you spend your this Friday, I hope it's filled with a lot of love.

PS: Two more gift posts-
Cup of Jo- The Best Sales
Dig this Chick- Rainbow Friday

xo




Thursday, November 28, 2013

Giving Thanks {with Boat Co. Family & Pots by Amy}


Today, I am sitting at home in Helena, Thanksgiving Prep begun, house soon to be full with family love.  I am revisiting a draft started many months ago, thinking fondly of summer at Many Glacier with Glacier Park Boat Company.

***
The Morning Eagle and Two Guns are tucked away in their Boat houses, sheltered from the impending winter harshness.  They've finished another busy season of tours and boat (kayak, canoe, rowboat) rentals.  James has been doing this for 10 years, it's his element.  I still giggle with the same excitement on his Boat tour (which he can say in his sleep).

Part of the joy of the seasonal lifestyle is the people.  Even though they may be temporary, the relationships you make in seasonal work are different.  You grow closer more quickly because of the setting.  I have made so many friends over the summers at Many Glacier and feel lucky to have spent that time with such a wide array of individuals.



Being the busiest location on the East Side, Many Glacier staffs their Boat Co with 8 captains.  Add Josephine and I, and you have a house of 10 folks.  Most of whom are 20-something, fresh for adventure in the Park, and graciously take to living with our family.  Each day, the captains wake and are on the boat by 7:30 am.  They spend their days giving tours on the water, answering questions, guiding hikes, slinging rentals.  In an emergency, they are often the first to take care of business, having access to a radio and being a home target for someone in distress.  Driving Boats, Saving Lives.

In the evening, the boat returns with the crew.  Sometimes, we jump in the lake.  Then it's dinner and merriment.  Whether jamming together, watching the Office, playing cards, and of course-- hiking, the crew becomes family.  This year, we saw that happen in another dimension: through Josephine.


Everyone formed their own friendship with our little sweet pea.  Pushing her wagon, taking her outside for a walk, feeding her Pringles.  Keeping her occupied while I put one more load in the car/washer/stove.  Visits to the Ticket Office.  The crew even pitched to babysit so that James and I could get a couple mountain summits in.


We are so thankful to have these people as a part of our life, it was a fantastic summer chock-full of memories.  For me, highlights were Margaret's dreads and long convos, dinner with Emily's family, hiking with Abby and Tarek, Josey's full-on obsession with Mat, singing with Sarah in her first Hootenanny, witnessing Erik and Monica's blossoming Glacier love.  Seeing this group of people in the audience at Hootenannys, playing with Josey.  Pictures just don't do justice and I know y'all have your own special memories, too!



Josephine is a better person for her time with these gems of Boat Captains, we are too!



This year, as a thank you, we commissioned my lovely artist friend, Amy, to make her ceramic mugs for the crew.

Amy is a steadfast and generous friend, we met teaching at Florence, and have become great friends since.  She made a beautiful set of mugs as gifts for her & her husband Adam's lovely wedding.  

James and I love our mugs, and always think of their wedding weekend & playing music at their lovely gathering.  We wanted to show our appreciation for this year's crew with something they could take with them on their next step in life.



Heart's in Many Glacier



Our heart goes out to all of you people this Winter and we hope to see you back next summer!

****

Giveaway!


Today for Thanksgiving, we are doing our first giveaway here on the blog- courtesy of Amy!  You can win this lovely Missoula, MT mug!


After visiting Amy's Etsy, leave a comment below, "Who are you giving thanks for this year?"  We'll choose the lucky winner on Monday.



Thank you, Amy!  Thank you, Boat Co!






****

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

sweets & the holidays

Feeling a little sluggish today, mostly from a sugar-overload.   I've spun to the end of my food-spiral, and it's not even Thanksgiving yet.

It started Sunday, in the last hours of my family's absence.  Pumpkin pie at the FCS Drama Pie social, followed by piece of Bernice's cake at the Mamalode/Oula party, followed by a piece of quiche at the Break.  Saying no wasn't even an option by the time I got to the third slice.  Why is saying no so hard sometimes?

The next morning, there was a Costco-sized plastic container sitting in front of my classroom door.  A few 7th graders sat outside in the hall, drinking their coffee (white mochas).  "What's that??"  I asked, "Kisses for a prego lady!  Courtney dropped them by earlier."  A giant container filled with almond, caramel, and classic Hershey kisses.  How sweet.

Fast-forward two days, and a bigger dent than hoped was made in the container, a teacher was feeling uninspired and lazy.  Plus, a well-meaning staff member gave me an entire bag of orange Starbursts.  Huge bags of candy = recipe for a major sugar overload.  So, I gave it all away to my students on Tuesday (rationing treats is just not really an option for me- Halloween & Easter stashes never lasted long).  By the time we were eating pie for James' birthday celebration, I had convinced myself the sugar & flour in the crusts was no big deal.

Today, I feel differently.  I feel like I would've been a better teacher for those two days if I hadn't eaten 50 Hershey's kisses.  Coming home for the holidays always seems to dig a little at my eating issues. The cycle of snacking snacking snacking seems to never end around here, usually leaving me cranky and lazy.  This Thanksgiving week, I hope to utilize more self-control.

Strategies: drinking lots of water, making myself healthy snacks and trying just a little bit off someone else's plate of desserts.  Really trying not to eat gluten.  Recognizing that this is something I need for my mental well-being.  Asking loved ones to help me make good choices.

Do the holidays bring up weird foodities for you?

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Happy Birthday!


Guess who's celebrating another trip around the sun today?  This fun-loving, thoughtful, patient, adventurous, talented man!  We are blessed.  Looking forward to another incredible year together, love grows!


Monday, November 25, 2013

Mtn Mama: Strawberry Chapstick



One sunny summer day, JJ and I traveled to the big city of St. Mary for some treats.  On the way back, she fell asleep, giraffe in mouth, yellow beads adorning.

When we pulled up to the boathouse she awoke, excited to be home and outside!  Me, I was in “clean out the car mode”.  Piling up sippy cups, sweatshirts, consolidating garbage.  I had a paper bag with a half-gallon of milk and greek yogurt "gogee" for us, told her I was going to put it in the fridge, be right back.  

When I returned, little JoJo was sitting in the front seat, with a proud, satisfied smirk.  My strawberry chapstick curled in her fingers like a treasure.  

Around this point in the summer, she'd gotten into everything from gum to the card decks to toothbrushes.  Child-proofing was reactive in the boathouse.  

As soon as I wanted something back from her, she had become deadset to have it (hasn't changed).

I imagined her mouth full of chapstick if I didn't get it from her, but I didn't want a fight.  Instead of challenging her, I took her hand gently, smiling, and put the chapstick on my own lips, with her help.

Her eyes grew wider, dabbing the yummy goodness to her own mouth.  She carefully returned the pink cap, and I suggested we go for a walk.  Little Missy did not let go of her found prize.

When I picked James & Josey up from the airport yesterday, one of the first things she said to me was "ga-git!" (Chapstick).  Now, it's her own obsession.  Along with lotion, (still "sunscreen"), and toothpaste.  

She’s going to keep discovering things she likes, like Strawberry Chapstick, cookies, toys, iPads.

We can't know when & where.
I wonder- do our introductions to food & objects change us?    What do you think, based on your experience?

……………….

I'd love you to chime in!    

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Choir Chatter: Planning a Balanced Tour

My most defining personal experiences have been through travel, and I consider myself fortunate to have traveled to a couple great places through my membership in various musical ensembles.  The music programs I’ve observed with an established tour seem to be stronger and have more pride.  I wanted to give my small-town Montana students the opportunity for a life experience outside of the choir room.  




So, I came off maternity leave last Fall and planned a choir tour to our closest big city, Seattle.  I knew I couldn't go with a canned experience, so I planned it from scratch.  Some notes:



Choose Your Destination
Nothing caught my eye in the constant influx of travel mail from different educational companies, but Seattle kept coming to mind.  I’ve traveled there many times, most recently with Dolce Canto to perform in the NW ACDA Conference in 2010.  The drive is one I know well, and I feel comfortable with the layout and culture of the city.  Plus, my friend Rachel lives and teaches choir out there, and I think a student-exchange is a key part of a successful tour.    


Choose Your Date
Ideally, a tour date would be chosen at least a year in advance.  We chose this date in the Fall based on the school calendar- right at the end of the school year, but no conflicts with sports. Check with administration, and the rest of the faculty before you set your date.  




Brainstorm
Start browsing, pinning, and bookmarking.  As you're finding info and places that you are interested in, make sure you bookmark for later. Get a sample itinerary going, keep making changes. During this phase, I was thinking about what a well-rounded trip meant for me as a singer.  I came up with this criteria:

-Performing in unique venues.
-Taking in performances by others.
-Visiting other schools and meeting new people.
-Learning about a new culture, sharing yours.


Learn to love spreadsheets 
I used Google Drive for everything because it automatically updates between home and school, or have a parent inputting information for me. Housing, fundraising, bills. It all goes in.


Fundraising  
Really, we were always fundraising.  When I started in Florence, I told them all we would be going on tour at some point, so their profits from fundraising were saved in accounts labeled for them. I'm SO glad I did that, because some students who worked really hard were able to almost pay for their trip just from previous fundraising!  





My two favorite fundraisers are: MT Fruit Guy and City Brew fundraiser coffee. We also made wreaths, performed Singing Valentines, pumped gas and washed windows, held bake sales, ran concessions.


Communicate with parents, ask for help!
I held two parent meetings to give information, both of those, I had an updated itinerary, fundraising info, and student balances handy. Choose chaperones wisely.  I drafted an application, because you want to reserve the right to say no to anyone who isn't a good fit.  Fortunately, all three chaperones that applied were perfect for the job. Once we were on the trip, I gave the chaperones a good deal of responsibility- they were each responsible for a third of the group. That way, I was able to focus on my music and making the rounds with all my kids.


Oyster shooter with my chaperones ;)


Keep your perspective.
Executing a tour is not for the faint of heart.  Not only was it difficult and time consuming to plan, the tour magnified my time management struggles in the classroom.  Announcements, fundraising, etc, ate up many, many minutes of our lives in the choir room.  I’d be lying if I said otherwise.  My teaching colleague noticed I was feeling crunched around Christmas, organizing wreath-making, caroling, and trying to deal with the usual Holiday Concert stress.  She said, “I think it will help you if you just tell yourself, ‘I’m going to feel like this all year’” 

I was constantly behind last year, there never seemed to be enough time!  I can say that it was worth it, but I'm glad to have my first one behind me, and I'm still recovering.  If you are planning a tour, please ask if you have questions!  I would be happy to help more if I can! 



Our Six-Day Itinerary: 

Friday

  • Travel to Coeur D'Alene Mission and perform.  
  • Continue to Eastern Washington University and work with Choral professor.  
  • Dinner, stay at hotel. 


Saturday
  • Continue to Seattle, tour the Experience Music Project and take Guitar 101 class. 
  • Dinner at Hard Rock Cafe.  
  • Swim at Hotel.




Sunday
  • Pike's Place Market Scavenger Hunt!
  • Lunch/shopping freedom
  • Get dressed up!
  • Fancy sushi dinner at Dragonfish Cafe
  • See Fela! at the Paramount Theater

Happy, tired, choir teachers!
Monday
  • Go to Olympia
  • Rehearse with choirs there
  • Beach afternoon
  • Choir bonding dinner/games/karaoke
  • Homestays
Tuesday
  • More rehearsals
  • Afternoon with host families
  • Collaborative Concert!
Wednesday
  • Return home.  

Other notes:  
*We had a required bag check before leaving.  I was very clear that any student who broke the rules on the course of the tour would be left with law enforcement and have to pay their way home. 
*We also taped hotel doors every night at curfew, and I woke early to check the doors.  
Setting strict expectations of the students turned out to be great- they impressed me in every way over the trip!  

Saturday, November 23, 2013

tornado mama

Today, I woke up, alone.  Again.  It took me awhile to get going, just like it does when my Jamily is here on the weekends.

After I finally had a cup of coffee in me, a decent yoga session, and some oatmeal, I started on them.

All of the things, you know?

I cranked the Fela soundtrack, unpacked, shuffled, cleaned.  Started on all the things I told myself I'd do.  Went from room to garage to room to all over the place like a star with 30 3-D points.  Ack!  What would you call that?

So...the house looks like a disaster now, but I'm looking onto the last phase and taking a dinner break.

Phase #1 of tornado mama is: work it around.  Walk around the house over and over, bringing things to their new/rightful places.  Like a 14-point star, or a pinball movie.

Phase #2: Eventually, there are many "stations" started, and I am supposed to further organize them- clothes, correspondence, crafts.  After all the moving we did, I haven't done the tornado thing in awhile, guess I'm finding that this game is much more fun in a big house!  Much more room for all my pursuits/neglected "crafty" stuff, so they're not sitting in the basement.

Now, things are where they go, they're just not concealed or organized.  This is the stage where James is starting to get annoyed, and I feel out of time and need to just stuff it all away.  But tonight is different.

I am going to finish out Phase #3!!!  Because there is no one home.  Starting by tucking this computer away for the night into it's pretty green crate.

Do you know this feeling?  



Mother and Child Reunion:




P.S. Happy Birthday, Grandma Vicki!
I can't wait to see family!  So soon!



what will you do?

A friend shared this on twitter, and I have to share.  
A beautiful representation of the days of our lives.  Watch it, it's lovely:



Yesterday, I had a great conversation with one of my students about her Fine Arts plans post-college.  Excited to get out of here and follow her dreams, she asked me,

"What is your passion?"

I smiled and told her about Hootenanny's at Many Glacier, and how much I love making music there, and would love to make a documentary there in 2015.  Also, that I've always wanted to be a yoga teacher.

"That is like, so achievable!"  she exclaimed.

Telling a high school senior about some of my dreams (besides teaching) was refreshing, inspiring.  She is of the mind that anything is possible, if you put your energy in the right place.

I agree.

What will you do with your passion?


Thursday, November 21, 2013

R & R: show the world your true self.

Every sound made me jump for the first while, but then I slept.  The house was quiet this morningYoga and ideas happened and writing here.  Which = hurry and get out the door....  

Ah.  Self-image.  

Yes, it's one that I have struggled with since, forever.  

I don't know why, but even as a young toddler, I wanted to please others.  For some people, this is a driving force in life.  I get that.  

So, I have a bunch of great ideas, but then one thing or another holds me back.  It is often worrying what other people think of me, rather than acting as I'd like to.  Holds me back from being the best mom and friend and teacher that I can be.  The whole "powerful beyond measure" sentiment is overshadowed by, "will they think I'm trying to hard?  that I'm too _____ or _____?"

Using my true heart.  Using my intuition.  That would lead to beyond powerful, helping others, spreading light.

Do you do that?  Worry about what other people think?  I think it's something you grow out of.  Maybe I'm late at growing out of it.  But today, I'm sick of letting thoughts of what others think of me hold me back.  

I feel that the internet is changing my brain in a bad way, and today is a good day to recognize that and focus on choir more, get a better system in mind.  

Looking forward to singing with VSA tonight!  I have missed them.    

If you're here, reading, thanks for following along!  I really recommend making yourself write everyday.  Blogging everyday is another animal.  Yes, I will finish out November, but phew!  Steady on, sister.


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Choir Chatter: Myspace (Notebooks)




Wednesdays are notebook days in choir.  We are a little out-of-synch with notebooks, so everyone had a different assignment today.

My advanced choir listened to two different versions of "Betelehemu", a Nigerian carol, which they are preparing for our Winter Concert.  I like having my students listen to their music performed by other choirs, especially in a foreign language.  Their diction is much better when they are hearing another example than myself, and they are more excited to practice, rather than writing it off as some hard language.  Having students write about what they hear helps solidify their ideas and what they've noticed.  When I take time for these variations from the norm, my choir responds better in the rehearsal, especially since we run on block schedule.  We had an effective rehearsal of the piece afterward.

Later this afternoon, Songbirds was coming in the door and I still hadn't thought of an assignment for them (they did "Betelehemu" last week). Something popped up in my twitter feed about the new MySpace and I had an idea.  We talked briefly about the drops of youth on Facebook (including them) and I asked my students to write a bit about what they think of it and social media right now.





We watched this trailer for the new MySpace, and I played around on the site a little bit, listening to bits of music, we noticed there were many new pop artists (Bieber, Beyonce, right on the front page), plus classic 90's groups like TLC.  I asked to write their reactions, and whether or not they'd join.  Who knows, maybe Jamily will end up with an account soon here.  I'm curious to read the responses.  I think some were interested & excited about the music available... so, we'll see how it all pans out.

I love notebooks because I can ask open questions in their music-writing space!  Leading up to this concert, I am planning for more time in sectionals.  My students love it, and they improve so much faster, while I can hear what's going on more clearly.  I've dog-earred music articles and listening examples that lead to free-writing so they're still spending time on music while I'm singing with another group.


BobDylan.com


*Another idea for another blank notebook day: Bob Dylan's Instant Classic
*What the Middle Schoolers did wrote today: How do the voices of Pentatonix work together to make this sound?  How would you describe it?  Do you ever want to be in a group like this?


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

mtn mama: go, jabberwalkey

I woke up blue today.  Mmm hmm, with the blues.

My J's fly out to Texas tomorrow for 5 whole entire days.  As drama queen of this household, that's a long ass time.  To miss my loves!  To see if she'll talk to me on the phone and how I'll sleep.  I always seem to end up with insomnia when my boatman's away..

I've left them before, my J's.  Once in the Spring, to take my choir on tour.  (Good reminder- I need to unearth that draft!)  Once in the summer, for a quick solo trip to Missoula.  Both times left a pit in my heart where the fruit normally is.

Never saw that coming, the pit, the blues.  I never knew I would be a little sad when she stopped saying Wawee and changed to the more sophisticated Water.  Never knew how much being a parent could change me!  Oh, my heart!

My need to document life is growing.  I didn't know that would happen, but I find myself thinking of film all the time, but I just never seem to be equipped.  Mama Go-Pro!  

The art of a young child growing up, learning to engage with the word, it's just so beautiful.

Hearing her animal sounds, seeing her look at her map (thank you Andy and Becky she is obsessed!), and have more things come out each day.
"Fish fish.  Glub glub."
"Lion.  Rawr"
"Goodnight,
animals.
See ya."

Ah, this feeling: of time is passing so fast.  I remember meeting a girl in the Monte Dolack gallery, one-year old babe in her Ergo, who told me how fast it goes as she bounced up and down to the local Mountain Breathers duo.  Dancing mama couldn't get over tiny 2 week-old Josey, wrapped in the Moby, assuring me to Enjoy Every Moment, They Go So Fast.

To get out that night, for just a couple hours on the town with friends felt like such a big excursion, worrying constantly about nursing and her tiny cry.  Not long before that she was in my body!
Motherhood is so physical, and unexpected.  It is beautiful, it is contrast, it is changing seasons.
I love documenting it.


Still, blogging brings on it's own set of challenges, and my to-do's are wearing on me.  (If you haven't checked out Hyperbole and a Half, by the way, do.  This is my favorite post.)

Like the brilliant H & 1/2, I seem to get overly excited when I do a good deed, something productive, etc.  Rather than maintaining that feeling by continuing to be productive in that area, my attention switches.  Makes it hard to get things done.

So, to sum it all up, life is passing by.  It goes too bloody fast.  So, don't dilly dally.  Do what you want to do, and be done with it.  Stopping to second-guess yourself, in any pursuit, is a detour to happiness.  We'll see if I can hone my writing, and life, to be more intuitive.  Less looking around the dance floor, more dancing.  I have a feeling that motherhood and age help, too.

While Josey and James are having a BLAST in Texas with our awesome family, I hope not to pine away.  James is expertly packing for their airplane adventure now, and I smile back on our babes trip to CO.  I'm happy for them to have this memorable Daddy - Daughter time.  

As mentioned earlier this week, the holidays are approaching like the Polar Express, and I want to be able to enjoy them as much as possible, so, it's time to clean up the to-do list and drafts.  Upcoming posts include:

-Choir Chatter- Holiday Rep
-Choir Chatter- Planning a Choir Tour
-Choir Chatter- SFA

etc....

Being apart, I guess that's an important part of this family process, too.  Independence, confidence, hearts growing fonder, all the goods.

Go, my little jabberwalkey!  Go my green giant!  
Can't wait to hear about your adventure.  I will miss you so!  


Monday, November 18, 2013

GooGoo GaGa

another character
Hello world, did you see SNL this weekend?  Lady Gaga was the host/musical guest, showcasing her voice, killer dance moves, and imagination for inventing new characters.  Wow, that woman is talented, and at the top of my pop divas list.
R. Kelly was even there for their risque duo (aka pantomime intercourse), "Do What You Want".

This new album, "Art Pop" is more obscene and in-your-face than her previous work.  I don't hate it, but would feel uncomfortable listening to it with students or younger cousins as I've done with her other dance-party material.  With huge media attention given to pop divas for their increasingly sexual and vulgar behavior, what are we supposed to do?

Do we even care?  Will ignoring it actually make it go away, and what will the pop scene be like when Baby Josey is a teen?  I would love for her to be able to listen to the music she likes without being controlling, but if she was a younger teen now, I'd be opposed to her being influenced by Gaga's new album (it is labeled Parental Advisory), or seeing anything to do with the former Hannah Montana.

I would love to hear your thoughts...

PS:  Is Lady Gaga a Feminist?  A Conversation on Thought Catalog

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Yoga ('Tis the Season)

Officially, it's Holiday season: Thanksgiving approaching, Christmas on the horizon.  Things are happening, and we all know the wheels don't stop from here on out.  The moon is full tonight, and we start to push ourselves, burn that candle.

After Holidays concerts cease,  I usually get a cold (not the first one of the season).  This one starts as a headache, extends through my neck soon into my sinuses, as all the tension in my body is finally released.  After a couple of days of sleep, neti pots, a lot of water, and stretching, I'll feel better.




I wondered what would be different if I practiced yoga, and reflected here everyday.
Can I avoid getting to that point?  Stretch in more gratitude, health, or just presence this season.  

Here we are, 17 days in.

  //original post here and...for more on R & R, read this.//



Yogi is my helper.  

No, I haven't done a total 180, but my energy is better.  I know I'll handle these pregnancy changes better if I continue this daily practice of awareness.  My posture tends to be slouchy, and yoga helps. 

By starting each morning on the mat (anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes), I'm more aware of my body, and usually continue to stretch and make alignment adjustments throughout the day to ease the kinks. 




Yoga can help everyone.  
Yesterday, I chatted with my parents after their Saturday morning yoga.  Dad say, "it's great!"  "It was HIS idea," Mom chimes in, happily.  Yep!

  • Yoga is a great way to release tension, whether it be physical or mental.  
  • It puts the focus on the present, even if for one moment.  
  • Practicing daily is helping me breathe through uncomfortable feelings in my body and mind, too.
  • Spending time in challenging poses helps me collect needed confidence for the day. 

Busy mamas: the best time to practice yoga is while your family slumbers.  Have room to leave your mat out?  Do it, it will remind you to come back.




I breathe, ujaii breath (Darth Vader/Ocean sounds) and my body and mind open.  My toes spread on the mat, and I begin these sequences I learned before I was a mom.  (When I had money and time for yoga classes, I lived for a hot class here.)  

I remember. Now, I’m moving on the breath, my muscles and tendons relish the stretch, my heart relishes the challenge.  My alignment refreshes, my body wakes up. Readying myself for the day at hand; readying myself to give birth in less-than-half-a-year.  Stretching my patience, my self-control, my capacity. We're growing, like trees.


***

10 minutes here, 5 minutes there, 30 every couple days when you can swing it.  
Love yoga.






Sun Salutations are are a great way to get going.... 


“Yoga Bear” by Marco Angeles


Reap the benefits.  



P.S. Two Awesome Online Subscriptions:  

  • Daily Burn ($10 per month, first month is free.  The yoga teacher is adorable and has a prenatal series going through the three trimesters!)
  • Yoga Today (a personal yoga studio filmed in Jackson Hole, WY.  Also a month free trial and $9 per month)
Or:
  • Want a live class?  Check your local studios for their prices and schedules.  Both Inner Harmony Yoga and Hot House in Missoula run a $30 special for your first month!  

Saturday, November 16, 2013

the best pancakes!

Happy weekend!  We woke to big fat, fluffy flakes coming down & giddily commenced our usual weekend routine.  Breakfast!  Josey did a little dance when I told her we were making pancakes!


When I first started eating Gluten-Free, I figured that indulgences like pancakes would be lost on me, not really interested in messing with random flour combos.  However, our friends Sammi & Ty showed us this amazing pancake mix.  It's their favorite, and they aren't even Gluten-Free!  


I use coconut oil (melted before adding to the mix), also perfect for greasing the griddle.  Also added a little flaxseed, a great way to add your Omegas, and a little extra fiber.  We like to add frozen huckleberries or bananas, today it was strawberries on top!  


Pamela's comes in a huge bag at some grocery stores.  You can search local retailers here, or order on Amazon.

JJ's order of operations:
1. Strawberries
2. Pancakes (last bite)
3. Eggs

Friday, November 15, 2013

tree (grows, changes)






Stretching up into the sky, towering above,
assuming knowledge, confidence, usefulness,
these trees humbled us with their mystery.  




Trees reflect the seasons: the vibrant, crisp Fall, the green buds in Spring.  They reflect change, the elements. They grow, year after year.  Stronger, fuller, becoming a more important part of their environment, the ecosystem, the earth.




Stretching, rooting, reaching.


Balance, joy, with mother nature.











Thousands
of trees
make a forest
to wander in
to seek solace.







Mr. Wonderful is our tree, our protector.  Tonight, Josephine told him "I love you".




How have these trees changed since we visited them?
How have we changed?

Just a few weeks after this trip, we found out we were pregnant with Josephine.
How are the weather and elements of life changing us?

The growth is visible, but there are roots strengthening, too.  




Tree is this week's Five Minute Friday, and today marks the half-way point through November. On the first, I wrote an intro (another FMF) to this month's yoga & blogging every damn day.  Half-way, and already seeing and experiencing growth!  




*These photos are from the Redwoods segment of our honeymoon adventure.*  

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