The movers came this past week and our house is now empty. We’re in the process of picking out our new home. We’re trying to piece together our future while at the same time reminiscing on the past few years… And the present… The present hurts.
The present is making time to see friends before we leave.
The present is deciding how and when to say goodbye.
The present is not wanting to say goodbye but also not wanting to miss out on the last few days being within a drive’s distance of some of the lovely humans that have made themselves part of my world.
I was sitting inside when I heard the cries of my little girl outside. She was riding her bike with one of our neighbors and her mom. I ran out thinking she had fallen. But then I learned that the reason was not a physical hurt…
My sweet daughter and her friend had tried to visit D, another neighborhood friend, and she was gone. Painters were working on her house. The reality of leaving finally hit my little one like walking straight into a brick wall. She wasn’t ready.
All I could think about was how grateful I was to the voices that guide me. Just a couple of days ago the the girls were playing in the sprinklers. I was totally relaxed, just wathicng them giggle and run and skip. Not a care in the world. But suddenly I felt myself being pushed. “It’s such a beautiful evening” I heard myself think. “Lili, you should take photos.” I didn’t want to get up, but I did. Without a second thought, I rushed home, grabbed the camera, and took photos. The sun rewarded me with a gorgeous golden hour of precious warm sunshine.
To my happy surprise, before the evening was over, D showed up to play, too. I kept looking at this one spot in the drive way, such pretty light… This was “the spot”. I insisted on a group photo reminding myself that we were leaving soon, if there’s a time to insist, it was today.
I know why I got up for those photos. Why I insisted. In the quiet pleasure of being immersed in playtime, I heard the calling.
Today, take the photos today.
As it turns out, it really was the last time our girls would play together… Innocently… Without goodbyes… Without knowing it would soon end… Without realizing their precious time in each others company would be over… Even we, the mothers, didn’t know… We just smiled and waved and said, “We still have a little time.”
Once upon a time, what feels like a lifetime ago, this was an exciting time.
A time to imagine a new beginning, a new start, a new place to call our own. It was just the two of us, a couple of star crossed lovers taking on the world. Living in a new place, a new house, meeting new people and seeing new places. It all brought great excitement and anticipation. It was a fun time, PCS season… The excitement of orders being around the corner, finally learning where we were headed and rushing off to google the local area and possible houses and neighborhoods. Packing it all up, shoving ourselves into a car, and driving off into the sunset. Then arriving to our new home and exploring restaurants, and walking down town… Oh what an adventure. It was really fun…
But that time has long passed it seems. Because at our last dutty station, something new happened. We started a family. And that was our new adventure. Or new tiny family member brought us so much joy and happiness that it’s difficult to imagine a life before her smiling face, and soon we were engulfed into the life of mom and dad.
As it so turns out, the life of mom and dad is quite different from the life of husband and wife.
Going from relatively carefree, well rested adults, to responsible fairly tired parents made us (in time) realize how important your support system is. As the main caregiver for our daughter, I happily and loyally went from the library, to baby music classes, to play dates each and every day. Enjoying the company of several new mothers I met along the way. I didn’t know it then, but these women were the glue that were keeping me together. Their friendship and support gave me a sensation of safety and security in motherhood that I took for granted.
Not only that, but we also happened to be a very short flight away from our island home, Puerto Rico. Both my husband’s and my own family could visit us comfortably and often. What a lovely (and comfortable!) support system it was.
When PCS season came about, those feelings of excitement were there once again. I had no reason to feel any differently at that point, moving had always been fun. But as we packed up our new family to move half way across the globe I didn’t realize that I couldn’t pack with me the glue that had been holding me up, my support system, my village.
There were many difficult goodbyes, but none so painful than saying goodbye to our dear friends Kelly and Little Miss O. I met Kelly the first day I left the house with Little Lue by myself to do a “mommy and baby” thing. I needed to get out of the house, I needed to DO something, and somehow ended up at the local library for a Mommy and Me Story Time. And there was Kelly with Little Miss O, just like us, fresh new moms, it took but a minute to realize we would be friends.
I met so many of the dearest and most wonderful moms that very day.
I had no idea how special those days would be, but they will live forever in my heart. My first village. I can’t count the coffee dates or play dates, there were too many.
When it was time to move, I couldn’t pack up my village, I had to leave that behind… When we moved to Germany I knew what I had to do. I needed to find a new park, a new coffee date, a new village. For whatever delusional reason, I thought this would be easy… It wasn’t.
Germany would prove to be cold, and wet, and unwelcoming to summer creatures such as ourselves. Both my husband and I felt ourselves being drained of energy and joy from the lack of sunshine and warmth. It would take us well over a year to fall into a routine that worked for everyone and just as long to meet new friends and reach a level of trust and comfort that brings that sense of safety and community.
It’s been 3 years since our move, and I just barely feel like I’ve scraped together my new village, and now, I have to say good bye. I have to leave them behind and start over, and sadly, they might have to start over too. Because that’s the other thing, not only did I loose my village, but so did the friends who were left behind. For those left behind it’s one less person who will show up at your door on the bad days, one less person who will meet you at the park and hang out for hours of play, one less person who will be your company for lunch with crazy loud kids in toe, one less person to call when you just need an adult conversation after endless days of house work and wiping dirty bottoms.
These friends are literally gold.
They’re the reason happy moms exists, and the reason not so happy moms make it to the next day.
The thought of moving, and living without a village… yet again… for who knows how long… has taken all the joy and adventure our of PCS season. I don’t want to say goodbye again. I don’t want to start over again.
As incredibly wonderful as family life is, it is immensely more wonderful when you have a BIG family. A family of friends and neighbors and grandmas and grandpas and aunts and uncles and cousins. A family to share the fun times with and the not so fun times with. A family that helps each other and cares for each other. A family you can call on when the days are long and both mom and dad are too tired to put on a smile at the end of the day.
As a military family, we are first robed of the family we left back home, of our mothers and grandmothers and brothers and sisters who would have been there as our primary aid. And with the constant flow of the community we are also often robbed of the support of our dearest friends, who come into your life like a bast of love and warmth and fun and joy, and then they go… Leaving a gigantic crater where their wonderful company used to be.
It seems that this PCS season, I have accumulated quite a few more craters, and my heart is starting to look a bit like swiss cheese…
Despite my desire to move to a warmer, more welcoming climate, I have carved out my village here in Germany. Knowing now what life is like without a village, even if only temporarily, I know that leaving Germany will be no less painful than leaving Key West.
Still deep in the trenches of parenting young children, I need my village… a lot.
We will pack up our lives once again, only this time I’m well aware of what I cannot take with me. I cannot pack up my village, I will have to create a new one. Knowing this, I start to brace myself for a few months of lonely long days. Of awkward park days of recognizing no faces or names. Of sipping coffee alone with my rambunctious littles. Of joining groups and meet ups and not knowing why I’m there. Of putting on a friendly face while my insides are filled with anxiety and exhaustion. Of saying hello and yes to every new opportunity because trying is better than not trying. Of clinging to dear life to my marriage, because even on the worse days, my spouse is my only support and friend.
For a few months, I wont have the relaxing and re-energizing effects that my village brings. I will become a cranky, tired, and stressed out version of myself. I will be anxious and lonely and extremely needy of kind words and understanding. I won’t have much energy for smiling at the end of the day…
But maybe between a cuddle at the end of the day, and our daughter’s smiling faces, and hopefully some warmer, sunnier weather… maybe I’ll make it thought this PCS season and saying goodbye to another village, and maybe, just maybe, be able to enjoy some of the adventure of starting something new.
Yes, we made it to Disney Land Paris. I won’t lie, I thought we would skip this one after doing so much Disney when we were staying in Tampa, but as we planned my family’s last visit to Germany for Little Lue’s recital among other things we figured, what the heck, let’s do it. It’s only a few hours away!
So off we went! Here we are at a pit stop in a yellow field
We picked the Explorers Hotel because it was part of the Disney bus system. We didn’t really know what to expect, but I must say it was super nice and fun for the girls! I would definitely recommend it for those with littles in toe, it was super nice to have an indoor park next to a bar and totally decent pizza. But fair warning, the included breakfast was lame. So it gets 4 out of 5 stars from me!
Because we left at 6am, it was only noon when we got to the hotel… so off to the bus!
I think Disney Paris is pretty. Not sure how to explain it, maybe it’s because it’s less about the attractions and more focused on the experience, but I found the park to be really well made visually. It was also SO EMPTY compared to the Orlando parks, we barely made any lines. It was SUPER nice and enjoyable.
Don’t miss the dragon underneath the castle! My 4yo thought it was a REAL dragon, it’s that cool.
Don’t miss the Ratatouillie ride, it really is neat.
Alice’s Maze thing is awesome.
Space Mountain is a REAL roller coaster. OMG I am SO SORRY DAD for getting you on that thing. WHOOPS!
Face paint and rain!
But a little rain never stopped us!
Had lunch at Remy’s 😀 The restaurant was fun, but my 4yo had a few strong words for the chef, who was clearly NOT Remy based on the Ratatouillie they serve her! Little Lue could give Hugo a run for his money in the food critique business haha.
Watched the parade!
And followed it out the park!
Last day in Paris… so where else would be go?!
Found some cool lady street art, a lovers tree, and just a quick walk through the streets before driving home. Leave it to us to visit France and spend a total of 3 hours in Paris, HA!
Back home we had but one last thing to do… My parents wanted to celebrate the Tiny One’s 2nd Birth Day! It’s not for another few days, but obviously, that made no difference. <3
It’s May and that means it’s DANCE RECITAL TIME! Little Lue was SO excited to get her costume, practice her moves, and finally see what it was like to be on a real stage putting up a show!
Somehow I got roped into volunteering to watch her class for the LONG wait, but at least I got all the action shots, yeah?
After much coloring, tutu bathroom breaks, and not so patient waiting, this 3 and 4 year old class was finally called up!
And then it was SHOW TIME! Let’s just say it was quite enjoyable, ha!
After the show we had to wait some more for the GRAND FINALLY, which was pretty dificult to explain to tiny dances, but we made it!
I think my favorite part was snapping this photo of my favorite (and probably everyone else’s) dance teacher, Miss Kate <3 She’s so amazing, and has taught both Little Lue and now our Tinniest Dancer. You might recall her from this post.
I was playing around with the idea of creating a video collage of some of my Divine-Mothering images. So I started messing with Animoto and I’m on my laptop and the images I want to work with aren’t here, but I saw the option to use Instgram photos. So what the heck. I did a little smash up of all my drawings. It was fun and quick and easy. Only downside is that this is a trial version, so I’m stuck with the lame water marks… Oh well… Nothing is ever really “free”. But it was a fun way to give it a try IDK If I will end up using the upgraded version of Animoto, but it sure was easy to make this!
Before this year started I was inspired by Diane Bleck to create a Vision Board. It felt like a really powerful exercise and I really enjoyed creating it despite not really knowing if anything would come of it. It just felt good, and it seemed like a nice positive thing to do.
This is my Vision Board, I talk about it a little on this Video.
Despite how playful this exercise was, it’s been quite strange how those Positive Intensions have really started to manifest. You know that thing those people talk about? How you can mold the Universe with your mind and how you can bring things into your life by simply asking the Universe for what you want? (If this is new to you, check out this talk by Jim Carrey, I love him and I love this. Beautiful words here.) Well… The Universe is vast, and mysterious, and full of magic… I believe it. And the more I give into that thought, the more I accept the mystery and magic… Well, I’m starting to see it everywhere. This week, I felt it. The Universe molding, the manifestation, the Universe quietly winking at me, daring me to take what it so graciously put in front of me for me. Because I’m starting to see the Universe as a Mysterious Cosmic Mother. And how do mothers are, they give, give, give, give. It’s an endless gift giving, an endless love, an endless surrender. And not simply because mothers are selfless creatures, but because our children are part of us, they are us, living breathing outside of ourselves in a completely independent and unique way. Each and everyone connected by that line of mother and child, and the cycle continues when two meet and love together. It’s pretty mind blowing when you think about it really. Too deep? Ok let’s beck back to the Universe manifest thing (way less deep right? ha!) Well… The more I think about it, the more I’m realizing that… that is it! This is exactly what is starting to happen in my life. I am opening up to the possibility of the universe answering my call, and I’m starting to connect those dots, that bread crumb trail, and seeing the connections. After making My Vision Board, I saw many of the things starting to manifest immediately. But I also knew I had some form of control over the these things. I could see my creative mussel starting to flexing and exploding new venues. I could see my inner efforts to connecting with others. I was pursuing ways to grow and learn knew techniques. I started pursing different sources of knowledge spiritually and mentally. All of these things were on my board. And even as I pulled these things towards me, I was starting to feel the universe responding, I could feel the response, the welcoming arms giving freely of what was being asked. But there was one element that I left open to suggestion. My “surprise” if you will. And that was my little compass symbol, which I drew to symbolize adventure… Something “new” something “unexpected” and making myself open to such changes, challenges, and discoveries. Guess who came knocking to my door and calling me to a new adventure?
You see, to most people, yoga is just a bunch of pretzel like poses not accessible to the general populous. I would challenge those people to go to a yoga class. Yoga is so much more than the poses (Asanas) it is a way a of life. It is not a religion, it’s a philosophy, a way to view the world, to understand the world, a way of living. My practice never really left me, I was simply not focusing on the physical and instead subconsiously focusing on the Yamas and Niyamas like self-education (Swadhyaya) and devotion (Ishwara-Pranidhana). And while I lamented my lack of sun salutations in the mornings or evenings, the knowledge of the Sutras was cementing itself in my heart. (I love this book and recommended it to anyone interested in Yoga. It’s pretty magical.)
And it was no surprise to me that my heart would jump with joy when one morning this past week I woke up to find a post on FB regarding a new yoga class in a location less than 5 miles from my home, at the very time my lovely husband is regularly home. The first class was that very evening. Perfect.
As I excitedly rolled out my mat and took in the lovely music playing it was like time traveling back to my first yoga experiences at Gretchen’s beautiful studio in Key West. I could feel the joy and relaxation. I could feel my mind coming back to the now and putting away the worries of yesterday and tomorrow. I will be honest and say that I didn’t quite enjoy the class as much as I had hoped, but as I sat there on my mat, one thought suddenly came back to me.
“Yoga Teacher Training”
This is something I had considered pursuing a little over a year ago, but the timing was simply off and I had put that thought away. I had thought, maybe some other time, but not now.
And as I walked out the door I made it up in my head that I would ask if there was any local training happening this year… I stepped out that door and I didn’t have to ask. Because as I walked out, there was a large poster for a Yoga Teacher Training, happening that month, in less than 2 weeks, within a 30 minute drive of my home. As I stared at this poster I started to feel it, the magic. I felt the pricking in the back of the neck, the energy pulling me towards this idea. It should so happen that the director of the studio was there that evening (not a usual occurrence I’m told). She was an older woman, very gentle but obviously an experienced yogi. And I asked her about the training, and you know what she said to me?
Maybe this is the reason why you came tonight? Maybe it was so you could find out about this training?
And she smiled warmly and wished my a lovely evening.
I can’t explain the type of excitement I felt as I drove home. It was as if I had just shaken hands with the universe and made a deal. Because this was it. This was exactly it. A moment where you look at an opportunity and you feel like it’s meant for you. But what do we do when we see these things? Sometimes we ignore them. Sometimes we shake our heads and say “No, I can’t.” We listen to our self-doubts and fears and we give in. But not tonight. Because like every good relationship, there has to be a give and take. If you are going to ask for something from the Universe, you better be ready to pick it up when it is handed to you.
Let me explain. You can’t just ask for an iPad for Christmas and then when you get it at your birthday several months past Christmas say “Oh sorry, wrong time, never mind.” and expect more gifts to be offered up over and over again. That’s not how gift giving works. There has to be gratitude, and gracefulness, and acceptance of what is provided when it’s provided.
So here it was, the Universe saying “Hey! Remember when you were looking for Yoga Training and you were so frustrated because you were pregnant and it didn’t work with your schedule, and you couldn’t figure out how to make it happen? Well I remembered! And you wanted adventure this year right? Tada!!!”
What was I supposed to do? Say no thanks?
“Oh, I’m too scared today.” Or “I don’t know, what if I don’t like it?” Or “But I’m too busy right now!” Or “I’m not sure it’s the right time.”
Are you kidding me?! YOU WERE JUST THINKING ABOUT YOGA TRAINING 5 MINUTES AGO!
Come on guys, you can’t be any more obvious here.
So I shook hands with the Universe. I see You and You see Me. Thank you for acknowledging my thoughts and responding. Your response is not waisted, not tonight.
So I drove home and excitedly announced my discovery of the yoga training to my husband. Who seemed quite pleased with the idea of having a yogi in the family.
Two weeks later, here I am! Yogafit Trainee, finished with my Level 1 & 2 and looking forward to the next upcoming trainings in May and already visualizing finishing my RYT-200 within the coming year or so. I can do this!
So cheers to this new adventure. I am extremely excited to start teaching and equally terrified. Looking forward to putting all this new knowledge to work and starting something incredibly different and fresh in my life.
I am even MORE excited to have found so much magic in this year already. Seriously, I get chills just thinking about it. I felt it, guys. I felt that super strange, I can’t explain it, but this is where I am meant to be feeling. And that’s pretty damn cool.
Today I wanted to take a moment to acknowledge the people who have inspired me this past year to take up an old and quite neglected hobby of mine, drawing. Including Diane Bleck, and her incredible Doodle Institute.
A Girl Who Loved to Draw
You see, I’ve always drawn, and painted. It was my first creative outlet. It was my first talent. The thing I knew growing up that I could do, and could do it well.
But as those middle school years press into childhood and you become riddled with insecurities, I quickly realized I was not the “best” at drawing. I learned that others drew quite well too. Others were in fancy art classes developing their skills. Others where involved in local programs, their art displayed. So I quietly stopped drawing, I settled into the myth most of us fall into. If you aren’t the best at it, you might as well stop. So I stopped.
A Skill That Never Left
It wasn’t until a fateful encounter with art class during my high school years that I once again realized I did posses a talent for art. I would not only create paintings that were well liked and admired, I also created them quickly and with ease. I would finish projects that were intended to take up weeks in a few dedicated hours. But again, I certainly didn’t think I was the “best” artist, nor particularly talented, but it was certainly a “thing” for me.
Somewhere around this time I met the man that would later become my husband. I even gifted him a giant canvas of ourselves. And I believe that it was at that moment that he learned something about myself that maybe have been obvious to everyone else but me, I was an artist. I made art. If you leave me be, to toil alone, I make art. I will always make art.
Too Busy To Doodle
But as I got immerse in my college education, in finding a “career”, in nourishing my new marriage, in adjusting to a military lifestyle, in becoming a mother. Well, it’s easy to see how drawing took a bit of a back seat. But I never stopped creating. I learned to sew and quilt and make dresses. I learned photography and shot weddings and families. I learned to blog and started writing. And for a long time this is what I did. I kept joyfully busy.
A Little Black Cloud And A Journal
And then… one day… feeling exhausted from adjusting to being a new mother of 2 living in a country a million miles from family and support, I stopped. A dark little cloud made it’s way into my home and it made rain. Lots and lots of rain. I didn’t want to do anything. Feeding and clothing my children was about the most I could get done. I stopped making. I stopped sewing. I stopped blogging. I stopped shooting. I stopped.
It took a long time to realize what was happening, what I was becoming. But as 2015 rolled into existence I tried my hardest to shake off that negative energy and start again. the first thing I did was pick up that camera again and start taking photos of my family, my loved ones. The second thing I did was journal. Journal. Journal. Journal. I wrote every single bad feeling into a lovely leather journal. And then one day, I didn’t have anymore bad feelings, I didn’t need my journal any longer. Instead ideas started to flow and I needed my journal to keep track of them all. My journal was no longer a blood bath, it was a garden of ideas.
I was once again blogging, and shooting, and writing funny pieces. I even began to work on a project far beyond my imagination, Divine-Mothering.com. I even wrote and published a book!
Opening Up My Heart Channel
And then, as the energy from my photography project started to slow from the downpour, out of the blue, my mother gifted me something odd. Oh, how mothers know.
My mom excitedly told me about this woman she had found on Periscope called Diane Bleck. She told me how she had started drawing with her and how much fun she was having. She told me of the cool markers and books Diane used and promoted. And when my mom visited me, she brought me new pens and markers and doodling books.
At first I thought, “What am I supposed to do with all this?”
But for whatever reason, curiosity got the better of me. So I took those markers and I started to draw. I looked up Diane and I wondered what it was that my mother loved so much about her. It didn’t take long for me to see the enchantment.
Diane wasn’t just teaching people how to Doodle, she was connecting people with their creative energy. She was using her Doodle Institute to promote a love for creativity and drawing and coloring for EVERYONE. It’s not about being the most talented artist, or the most skilled, it is about, in her own words, “opening the heart channel” and developing a new skill that can help you with your home, work and school by using the power of visual learning. Again, in her own words, “Practice makes PROGRESS not perfect.”
And feeling inspired I followed her, I drew with her, and in that process I stumbled upon my old love for drawing. Something I had not explored in years. And yet here I was, filling notebooks with drawings and designs and sharing my work with friends and family. Soon I realized that my creative energy was spilling over to my friends. Just as Diane’s enthusiasm had gotten me to put pen to paper, so did mine infect my friends. Among all the excitement, 3 Girls Doodle was created. My website got a complete new make over. I am now dedicating myself to some old hidden talents that had been put away for far too long. And the most incredible part? The connections I’m making. Somehow this energy is spilling over all across my life. Creative collaborations of all kinds are coming into my life and I am so incredibly pleased and excited to see where it all leads to.
Do You Want to Open Your Heart Channel, Too?
Happening RIGHT NOW to Help You Unlock YOUR Creativity
I believe so much in Diane’s Message that I became one of her Affiliates. I am an official promoter of the Doodle Institute and will I start to offer local Doodle 101 Lessons with her supporting materials. Please go check out all the AMAZING free material she provides and consider taking her course (which am a part of) to start learning a new, transformative skill.
Disclosure: As an affiliate I do get incentives to promote the Doodle Institute, but you don’t have to take my word for it. Check out these student testimonials that helped me decide if the Doodle Institute was right for me!
2016 looks to be equally promising… Our time in Germany is almost up and we will soon be heading for new adventures in goodness knows where! Looking forward to starting fresh again, even if there’s always a bitter sweetness to moving your life. As always… Once you start feeling at home somewhere, it’s time to go again… Oh military life, how ironic you are.
So what’s coming up for 2016? A lot. I will be doing…
New Years Resolutions Include #3030WriterChallenge 30 minutes of writing for 30 days, only to renew the commitment at the end of the 30 days. And this one I’m a little scared of but equally excited about #365Poems write a poem or draw a visual poem every day of the year. And most fun of all #3GirlsDoodle a collaborative project with two dear friends, more info HERE.
New Years resolutions always start off with a lot of energy but it can often tapper off after a few weeks, months, or when life gets too complicated. I know, because I’ve had this happen many times. But I see this as me BLESSING the year with positive INTENTIONS. Attempting my goals is better than not trying. Reaching for my goals is better than not having any goals. Wanting to make a change is the first step to change.
And so here I am. Attempting, reaching, and wanting to see a few small, totally plausible, totally reasonable, highly desired changes for the coming year.
What intentions are you blessing your new year with?
Ever since I stumbled onto this article (warning, it’s in Spanish) about a young Puertorican mother and her organic farming I was obsessed with Daniella and the idea of the “Nuevos Jibaros” (new jibaros). Young people heading back to the mountains to tame the land, grow food, and just get away from city life. It’s definitely something I often daydream of, and when I read that article and saw Daniella with her toddler on her back… I knew I had to meet her and see her farm; Siembra Tres Vidas.
So I promptly found her on Facebook and sent her a message. She didn’t reply.
I wasn’t surprised, with the article being passed around in the social media networks, I figured she might have an influx of people contacting her for one reason or another. So I just left it at that…
But finally it came to be that I found myself in the homeland once again and I happened to remember her and the message I had sent… So I decided to try one more time. To my great pleasure Daniella promptly replied telling me she was actually having an event the coming weekend and recruiting volunteers and that I was welcome to come.
Well I was thrilled! And excited! And despite having probably never visited Aibonito for much of anything, or not knowing anything else about Daniella and her farm, or not knowing if I would be of any use to her and the work she needed done, I figured… what the heck, I want to go!
So as I mentioned my plans to everyone around me, giving ample warning that I had no idea what I was doing visiting this stranger “en el campo“, everyone got equally intrigued and I rounded up a few of my friends and we all drove up to Aibonito to play in the dirt.
And play in the dirt we did!
It was a gorgeous day.
Little Lue frolicking in the fields…
My friends and I working the earth. Mostly pulling weeds around crops and putting down fresh mulch. Babywearing for the win.
My mom and dad were the official baby sitters.
End of the day. Clouds started to roll in around 3pm and we could see the rain gathering in the mountain side ahead of us. The sound of the oncoming rain was glorious, but we knew we had to pack it up and head back. We’re holding some of the “babies” we were given as thanks for the work.
I’m not really sure what it was that I wanted to see… A farm? A hip young mom? Organic produce? Scope out Aibonito for my realty daydreams?
All I know is that I crave to be around the things that I want for myself. I want to see people growing food on our island, I want to see people creating a community that is based on positive energy, I want to see people loving living in Puerto Rico, people who see the rich soil and nutrient filled lands and want to make use of it, I want to see it in person, not just read about it. Not just look at photos. Not just imagine that such people are out there somehwere. I want to live it.
So that’s why I wanted to go, I guess. I needed to see it for myself.
Daniella and her husband.
A huge thank you to Daniella for opening up her lovely farm to those curious to see it. It was wonderful to participate in something so delightfully fulfilling. And I hope we can meet again soon before I have to make my way back to… Germany.
Today I decided to try something new with Little Lue’s hair. She’s usually willing to let me brush her hair when it’s wet, so I figured I would try something different today.
I told her I would give her special princess hair, what that meant, well, I’m not sure. And she wasn’t keen on the idea herself. But she was already wearing a pink princess gown, and well, we are headed to the “Princess Castle” (Magic Kingdom) later today. So I guess it all made sense for her that she should wear an appropriate hair style.
So we put on the Tangled movie as a distraction to the imposing hair comb and I tried to get creative.
I decided to part her hair in half and tie to small portions of the front of her hair into little braids and tied those off. The front of her hair is SO hard to contain, that’s where she gets the most frizz and flay aways, so perhaps this type style will contain her a bit? Maybe?
Then I joined the tiny braids with the remaining top half of her hair and tied it all together. Like a half pony tail. To give it a bit of a more interesting “princessy” look, I turned the pony tail inside out (Insert your fingers from beneath the pony tail parting it in half right behind your tie and fish out the hair through). Kind of gives it an up do kind of look. I was considering braiding the rest of her hair but since Little Lue had insisted on wanting her hair down I just left it at that. So the entire top portion is tied up and the bottom half will just be her natural loose curls.
Here it is just after getting done, hair still wet…
Here’s what the end result looks like mostly dry. Pretty fabulous!
Gosh those curls kill me…
UPDATE: This hair style looked flawless the entire day! Even after a nap in the car! I’m floored. We woke up this morning and guess what? Still looks great! HA!
What are your favorite hair styles for your girls? And how do you get them to let you do them? I need advice and help LOL.
We like to opt for paper bags every now and then at the grocery store. It’s no secret that I kind of loath plastic despite it’s usefulness in too many cases, but when we forget to bring our bags with us, and I feel like I have sufficient trash bags at home, we opt for paper.
And I was honestly quite tickled when I realized that the paper bags we got this particular day had no logos on it! They were completely blank! SCORE.
So I folded them and saved them for a rainy day.
Somehow my Little Lue has a way of ripping through what in my head could be an extremely time consuming project. But alas, she’s more of a slap bang job kind of girl. What she really wants to do was play with her project. That she could do for hours hahaha. So I guess it makes sense that she wants to get it done with!
Well since they were already square, we opted for robot costumes.
I cut out some arm slits. First one I eye balled, but the next I traced the cut out I had so both sides would be even.
Then we cut a hole for the head on the front of the bag. Tip: Cut out the head hole on the side of the bag that doesn’t fold over. That way it will lay nice and flat when decorating. I didn’t think of this for the first one we made and it was kind of annoying.
Then, ready to decorate! We opted for simple markers. Lue wanted for the robot to have lotsss of buttons.
The project took all but 20 minutes to finish. But what she really wanted to do was “play movies” on the robot screen. She would ask me to press “play” and then act out an animal information video. Thanks Kratts Brothers! (Love that show)
So yesterday I came across this video tutorial for a cute hair do for Minnie Mouse Ears.
It was really just 2 buns at the top of the head with a bow. But the way it tucked away all the hair really made a cute look.
The best part about the video is that, it was a video. So! I could show it to Little Lue and get her excited about the hair style and there for, she let me do it.
My daughter’s unruly locks kind of melt my heart, but let’s face it, I’m sure some people assume she’s never had a brush to her head and I’m such a careless mommy. Oh to be living in a society obsessed with hair and appearance. But Little Lue, my darling, as the threenager that she is takes her hair very seriously, and if she doesn’t want a particular look other than “long hair”, she will not allow me to style. And as most parents, we pick our battles, and this is one of those that simply isn’t for me.
But anyhow! The Minnie Mouse hair video totally got to her, so YEAH! I got to do her hair this morning.
I didn’t have bobbie pins on hand, but since her hair is naturally curly and a bit textured, everything stuck pretty good. Also, I didn’t tease her hair, I think she has enough of that from bed head LOL!
As I did her hair she decided she would do Little Girl’s hair as well. She did a pretty good job too! I put in the hair ties after she had formed her loops.
A proper photo shoot followed. So enjoy!
Little Lue shot this one :)
Hoping to get some pins and maybe even hair spray so she can rock this look at Disney for our next visit
This weird thing happened when I laid my eyes on my old American Girl doll last year while visiting my family… Her little face looked just as I remembered, I felt a blush of shame as I touched her trimmed hair. Yes, I gave my doll a hair cut, whoops. Her outfit still intact. She had lived on my mother’s mantel for quite a few years. For a long time I kind of rolled my eyes at her the way a newly blossomed young miss does at all her old “toys”. But this year, for the first time I looked at her and realized, I was about to become a child myself again. I grabbed her, brushed her hair with my fingers, and hurried to show her to my daughter, Little Lue, who at the time was just over the age of 2.
Her eyes light up as she reached for the doll, and she attempted to grab her by her hand as she would a playmate. And of course, my poor doll was dragged around by one arm as her body awkwardly flopped around. My daughter made exaggerated struggling sounds as if she were trying to carry a cinder block around. Obviously, she was still much too young to play with my old Josefina.
After that visit, I asked my mother to mail me my doll. Josefina would then adorn Little Lue’s room… Much as she did in my mother’s home. But this time, this time I would look at her with the eagerness of a child waiting for Christmas. I knew Little Lue would soon be making that leap that often comes at 3 years of age where they are suddenly so much more incredibly child like.
And between pregnancy and a new baby and temporarily moving to Florida and Christmas and… Wow! How did all that happen so fast?!
Well between all that Little Lue has indeed grown.
And then… The giant Facebook marketing train ran me over LOL!!!
FB started flashing on the top of my screen that an American Girl store was opening in Orlando. A measly 1 hour drive from where we are staying. And damn it all to hell… I had to go.
Memories of me and my neighbor, who had quite the collection, started swimming around in my head. I cursed the fact that I had no way to retrieve my Josefina, who is still waiting patiently for our return. Little Lue will be nearly four once we return.
So we went. With Christmas in the air, we visited the store and walked out with some Bitty Twins and accesorries.
And something kind of magical unfolded. Little Lue had never really shown much interest in dolls… Heck she rarely shows much interest in anything… But she had started to play pretend, coming up with her own stories and games and she had shown some immensely motherly instincts towards her new sister. I knew she would enjoy a doll in a way she hadn’t before… And perhaps most importantly… I wanted to play with the dolls.
Perhaps Little Lue wasn’t enchanted by the adorable little faces as I was, but she was ecstatic at me playing pretend with her. She wanted me to make the voices for her new dolls, make them dance, make them sing, make them eat, and run, and play. And it was incredibly easy for me to enjoy myself doing so.
I would find myself brushing the doll’s delicate hair and styling it, changing their tiny clothes…
But I digress.
The point is… These dolls have a small amount of magic in them. They made me time travel to memories long forgotten. They made me feel like a little girl again. They made me want to be a little girl again. And they made me realize that I have a little girl now. Not a baby, or a toddler, but rather a full blown child, a tiny person, a kid.
Goodness where did the time go?
When did I wake up and stop playing pretend?
When did I wake up and become a mother?
And suddenly it’s my own daughter who has just blossomed into that magical time… childhood.
And in this day and age where dolls are made to look like… well… this…
And (for variety?) this…
And, of course, this…
(I was quite the Barbie lover myself as a kid, but as an adult, it’s difficult to bring myself to look at them as fondly as I once did.)
And then there’s the American Girls…
Just look at them! Not even a hint of puberty on them.
I have become enamored at the beautiful child like faces of these dolls. Dolls that look like little girls. Dolls that do little girl things. Dolls that are beautiful without a face plastered full of make up, or wearing questionable clothing choices.
Somehow between my nostalgia and my new found apreciaton for the doll line, I found myself falling down that rabbit hole that is American Girl. And I’m ok with that!
I’ve yet to be reunited with my Josefina, who I’m excited to reclaim and share with my daughter now that she is old enough to get it. I’ve also slowly acquired a few Craigslist finds (did I mention the rabbit hole?). A Bitty Baby for the Littlest Princess, who I must confess seems to like dolls more than I thought infants could like dolls.
And just this week, I couldn’t help myself when we saw this sweet dolly up for sale…
I was hoping my Josefina would end up being Lue’s first “big girl doll”, but let’s face it, I suck at waiting.
As we were getting in the car to go pick her up I showed her to Little Lue and asked her what her name should be. She immediately decided her name was Ariel.
Much to our stuffed Donatello’s dismay, Ariel has been toted around ever since she arrived. Her hair silky smooth as if she were brand new and her clothes that can only be described as a late 90’s explosion (Hello long jean skirt with cargo pockets! HA!), but she’s just gorgeous and endearing. I can’t help but smile at the sight of Little Lue clutching Ariel to her chest, telling me how she needs her shoes and jacket to go out.
Born in the tropics, I never realized how crucial the sun was to my existence… Until I left them…
We’ve lived in Puerto Rico, Oklahoma, Florida, and now Germany. And we hadn’t realized we had been taking the gorgeous sunshine for granted. Even Oklahoma is blessed with sunny days practically year round. Germany, not so much. We’ve now been here an entire year and it seems the sun has been hiding at least two thirds of that time. For a creature like myself, cloudy days are for cuddling in bed, reading books, relaxing, ignoring chores, sometimes being a little gloomier and melancholy. We don’t go out on cloudy days, we hide, we hibernate, and we come back out when the sun returns. This is a serious problem when the sun goes away for several days, weeks, months at a time…
So here I am, multiple days have passed since the sun graced us with it’s full presence. And OMG I’m loosing my mind. What to do with little ones cooped up inside over rain and unpredictable weather?! We paint, we do puzzles, we play games, but most of all… we watch lots of TV (supper :/)… There’s really not a whole lot to do indoors people! (At least not that keeps a 3yo entertained for much longer than 15 minutes).
So what’s this? The sun?! After all the clouds and rain and cold (why is it 50some degrees outside already?! COME BACK SUMMER!) We decided to sneak out of the house for a quick walk while it all lasted…
Buggy here photo bombing my flower shot…
Away we go.
Oh hey look… I have another baby now… Just in case you missed that part…. LOL
Ready for exploring with her monocular (I’m not totally convinced that’s an actual word)
Mommy vision… Sometimes big sis wants to ride too…
The now 3 year old is into “silly faces”. Which I guess are better than her “smile” faces… You know the one… Crazy not sure that’s a smile, smile, eyes closed…
Which I guess are also better than baby “why you stop pushing my vibrating chair” faces… LOL
**Side note… Cel pics will always have a date stamped on them 😉 I want to remember when I took them, so I do that in the phone. Sorry if it’s distracting hehe**
Should I post… *deep breath* …phone pics on Camera Latte?
Because here’s the truth, once you get into all the baby gear: the diapers, wipes, extra clothes… and the toddler gear: lunch box, toys, extra clothes (yes, were in that dreadful place again as Little Lue started having accidents again), jacket, and the occasional scooter. Oh and lets throw in baby wearing or a giant stroller into the mix, the last thing I want to jam into my already ginormous and oddly heavy bag is a massive DSLR.
***A little camera talk, feel free to skip lol***
Because of this dilemma, I have set my sights on a the new mirrorless cameras… Many in the photography world are sure that they are the “future” of photography. It’s hard to say wether that is true or not, but right now, for me, those thinner, lighter, and fantastic little cameras are calling my name. I will probably be jumping on the mirrorless bandwagon soon, but until then, I need to figure something out. Anyone around here shoot mirrorless? I’m thinking of going with the Fujifilm xT1 and getting her a small pancake lens (the 27mm), thoughts?
The set up looks quite lovely if you ask me 😉
Image from fujivsfuji.com
Until I figure out a more compact camera system, or the Littlest Princess and Little Lue require less stuff (never?) I probably wont be dragging around my D90 very many places, much less so the D700. And the lenses, forget it… So lately, all I’ve had in my hands for capturing our little adventures is this contraption… The Samsung Galaxy s4 Zoom
Image from gsmarena.com
And while it’s proven to be quite the conversation starter… truth is, it’s nothing more than little point and shoot attached to a cel phone. Nifty and a fun little gadget, but momma still misses her big cameras… so so very much…
So back to the original question… Should my beautiful blog, created with images lovingly taken and edited with my DSLRs and Lightroom also be a place for my every day phone pics……..
Absolutely! Why? Because it’s not the tool, it’s the vision 😉 No matter how fancy a camera I could purchase, or the lenses, or set up, or anything else. Art isn’t about the tools, it’s about the artist and their message. It’s about taking what you have in your hands and creating something that draws you in, something that tells a story, conveys feelings, and shares a message.
If I had more time, or more sleep, or an extra arm, or maybe a nanny, a cook, and a maid, I might have a tiny bit more sanity left to figure out how to drag around one of my cameras. But for now, I will longly stare at it on my desk and look back at it with despair as I gather up jackets, and blankets, and keys, and snacks, and toys. Holding tiny toddler hands and bundling up baby in some kind of carrier, wrap or sling (boy do I have to post about THAT lol), heading out of the house in my totally misfitting clothes and forgetting to tie up my unbrushed hair into a messy bun. Away we go as I try to make it out of the house alive, with some sanity, to the oasis of motherhood, playdates.
So stay tuned my friends… Camera Latte lives… New posts coming soon, straight from my cellphone LOL!!