Monday, January 2, 2017


Here are some from ....


October .... 

... and November. I'll put up the December ones too (actually the last one here is from the beginning of December). 

Love and Light, 

Karen xx 

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Hello, blog land!

Hello, blog land, 

... and Happy New Year!

6 months without an update, though I thought about it many times!

Life has just been so ... BUSY. And work has been so ... STRESSFUL. And our toddler (nearly 22 months now!!) takes up most of our free time, and rightfully so!

I am really glad this year is behind us. It was such a difficult one for our poor world. To be completely honest, I am going to focus on our FAMILY in 2017 and hope for the best outside our doorstep. I have my mental and physical health to look after, both need some help this year. I'm taking lots of vitamins, trying to sleep more, trying to read more and screen less, and trying to get more active again : I finally joined a pool after 18 months without swimming. I believe I can bring George sometimes, too (just for fun, when I'm not doing lap swimming). Yay!

We are contemplating a big move this summer. Not sure where -- somewhere closer to friends and/or family. This isn't set in stone, so I won't say too much about it as we explore our options and opportunities. But I am so ready to leave Northern Virginia. It just doesn't fit us.

I am hoping to share more photos this year. Shutterfly has been just terrible and I'm still new to having a "smart" phone (no choice anymore, really), so I'm in the process of trying Snapfish, or Mixbook, which receive decent online reviews. Most of the pictures here are from this summer, and from a mini vacation we took back to the Eastern Shore for a few days. Also, I have lost about 18 pounds since the photo of me and George was taken. I did the Whole 30 for 8 weeks (starting another one tomorrow to lose a few Christmas pounds and hopefully get back to pre-baby weight, finally!).

George is doing really well. He started school (Montessori toddler program) in October and LOVES it. He is "talking" up a storm and running and pretend play is big. He loves his new play kitchen. He has just started "helping" bring his dishes to the kitchen and setting the table and washing his table after meals with a sponge. I love, love, love this age.

I guess for this next year, I would like it to be a year of ACTION. Of really, truly delving in to a few projects that I've only dreamt about before. Two big ones :: sewing and dyeing yarn!

I am always looking for ways to adapt my Montessori training to make a more flexible work schedule. So my ears are open on that one. Working in schools is just really, really hard. I don't think this will change in the near future. But I'd really like to go more into business for myself one of these days.

I am hoping for a big snowstorm soon and some cozy days at home. Looking forward to taking Heather's Hibernate course and having a SLOW winter (though I have two conferences for Montessori and I'm going to a protest in DC the day after the "inauguration" :-( :-(

I really would like to find some calming blogs from people who live simply. A lot of people aren't doing blogs anymore, I'm open to vlogs to for that reason. Feel free to share.

A picture of George in August, below. :-) He was 17 months and just started walking one month prior.

Love and light,


Sunday, July 3, 2016

Happy Summer Tidings!

My goodness,

I have intended to come here so many times over the last 5 months. Finally, on a quiet summer night backdropped by crickets and fireworks, I feel truly ready to update, although to be honest I haven't uploaded photos in ages, though there are many, so those may have to wait.

I was reading back through my posts over the last two years, and realizing how much has changed, how much I have changed, since then. I miss many parts of that old me, but I like the "ancient stone' I feel has been etched into me since becoming a mother.

We are well. George is now 15 months old, and literally a finger away from walking on his own. He drinks from a cup, feeds himself, is learning how to use a crayon, chatters incessantly and adorably, has a mouthful of teeth, weighs 22 lbs. and is 30 inches tall. He is the best thing that has ever happened to us. He also has not had a seizure in nearly a YEAR and we are hopefully on the last month of medication. We are very, very blessed. Sometimes I marvel at how I grew him and yet ... he is so very much his own person. It's a complete miracle, this boy. He is starting school in October. He will be a Montessori child! I can't wait to buy his little L.L. Bean lunch box. I also want him to stay a baby forever. He is just-weaned (his lead). So that was HARD for a few days as my hormones went absolutely wacko, combined with PMS and awful work-related stress. But now, summer vacation has finally started and four days in I'm slowly beginning to feel better.

Overall, I feel as though I'm finally coming out of this strange fog that's enveloped me since G. was born. The first two months of bliss, the next six weeks of hell (seizures), the next months of intense PTSD and anxiety that robbed my sleep literally every single night upon night upon night upon night. I am still struggling with a LOT of anxiety and night is still the worst, although I have been sleeping much better for a couple months. After he'd been seizure-free a few months, which were the first few months I started a new job and called home about three times a day to check on him, I began to see that he was growing rapidly, so many milestones one after the other. I began to feel the true weight of raising a child. The exhaustion, the times when you feel as though you're not going to make it, because it's just too all-consuming and too damned hard. The guilt for feeling that way. Basically, every waking moment not consumed with work, consumed with a child needing constant care and attention -- take it up a few notches when you're doing it "Montessori" and everything is about completely conscious parenting (no screens or cell phone breaks).

Now, as he is on the verge of literally taking his first steps away, and is done breastfeeding, I feel as though oh yeah here I am again. I am retraining my brain to think of myself as a separate entity again. I am fighting off the last of this insane anxiety that makes me think constantly of horrible things that could happen to me to take me away from G., my constant fear that something is wrong with my health, my constant fear that something bad will happen at school. I haven't had anxiety this bad in years. I'm sure I've still got that PTSD kicking around, and we are so ironically isolated in this overpopulated, over-yuppied area where we stick out like sore thumbs, and I haven't truly exercised in about exactly a year, and I haven't done yoga regularly for five years-ish. So. Getting back to being active is a huge priority of mine going into the summer. I'm also doing a second Whole 30 later this month (did one in spring, didn't lose weight, probably due to low exercise). It's VERY hard with a toddler and a working-during-summer husband and no child care options (no $!). My plan is to find many great parks with walking trails and hoof it with G. in the carrier! And do this nearly every day! :-)

I am really okay aside from the anxiety. It just makes you feel, at a young 36, as though you are an old, world-weary lady on her last legs. In your head, not physically. It makes you scared as hell. It makes you terrified of every weird, yet innocuous, feeling your body gives you. It is hard to live outside your own head. I know getting back to yoga would help, too. So .... it's a slow climb back to the light and the living, if that makes sense. Funny, I hear a lot of moms talk about this 15-month mark as a milestone, a turning point.

I never did tell you much about my job, did I? Well ... it's full-time teaching at a local Montessori school, where George will also attend this fall. It's so much better than the last situation I was in pre-George. But, and this has nothing to do with the school itself, I am getting TIRED of the b.s. that exists in the entire teaching field. Mainly related to additional work expected, parent-pleasing crap, lack of money for materials, and not enough pay to meet living standards/work expectations. It's STRESSFUL and takes up a ton of time. I also LOVE the actual work I do with children. So, for now, I stay in. But my radar is open to just about anything. In fact, I'm in the process of training to be a Tinkergarten leader on the side (lead classes for children in local parks). I'm still figuring out yet another $$ avenue. We know we can't stay in northern VA indefinitely.

A month ago, we went up to CT for one of my best friend's weddings. It was a great visit, but always makes me wish we both lived closer to friends and family. So, when we reevaluate within the next year or five .... we will consider this heavily. We need jobs, but our money needs to work better for us so we can become homeowners and give G. the stability of environment he will ultimately need as he grows up.

In a couple weeks, we will travel back to the Eastern Shore for a few days to stay in a beautiful, remote home. Have ice cream, eat at our favorite Mexican place, maybe drive past our old, beautiful, home on the wharf, wade into the Chesapeake Bay. It will be perfect. I have a few knitting projects and a stack of books I want to read. I am still battling an evening screen addiction (Kindle), other than that I still don't have a TV (no TV since 2009!), and definitely no "smart" phone (though I may be forced to when that's all there is, huh? sure hope the plans go less than $100/month, and it will definitely stay OFF in my purse 90 percent of the time).

Food, food yes, trying to stay Paleo-ish except when out, but I always feel crap after gluten and now it's summer and I'm drinking beers sometimes and that's gluten too whoops. If the next round of Whole 30 PLUS exercise doesn't take I've decided to go back to being gluten- and sugar-free vegetarian, PLUS exercise.

We have new neighbors who have a sweet son 10 months older than G. We are hoping to do babysitting trades with them for date nights. This is wonderful, we need to focus on our marriage as it took an understandable backburner to George for a LONG time. We are also using part of our tax refund to finally buy a bed (I wake up sore from the IKEA futon every morning). Good beds help make good marriages! :-)

This is such a massive update. If you've made it all the way to here, thank you. I have been all take and no give here lately, reading others' blogs with abandon for hope and inspiration, and the will to keep going towards a better place. Having just written out all of the above words, I feel all of those things. I hope to feel lighter, and more like my young age over the next few weeks.

Stay tuned for pics :-)

Love and light,


Monday, January 25, 2016

Happy New Year!

Well ... HELLO!!!

Wow, four and a half months or so since my last blog entry. All is well here ... and I suppose I should have read it over first to update it. But I'm so anxious to post new stuff here, so that's where I'll begin!

I'm actually writing this on my fifth day off due to this massive blizzard that hit the DC area this past weekend. Which is wonderful! We have plenty of groceries and thankfully never lost power. There's just ... too much snow to even get out of the parking lot! So I've done plenty of the things I never get to do ... knitting, reading, watching Netflix.

Life is so busy with a baby. But can you believe, it's been nearly a year already? In just a few more days, George will be 10 and a half months old! He is wanting to stand all the time (hasn't found his balance yet!). He has also figured out how to get up on all fours (think :: plank position), and how to curl one leg under him when getting down or trying to get up. Lots of physical development taking place! He is finally on the charts for weight, he's still a short guy though (26 percent versus 2 percent, lol). He loves to eat just about everything. He dislikes pineapple, salmon, and quinoa though. His diet is 100 percent whole foods. He's eating five times a day and nursing three times a day. When I'm at work he is down to one bottle of formula, but we're going to start using a Cuppow cup -- basically a glass mason jar with silicone rubber around the outside and as a cover -- with a slot at the top. I don't believe in "sippy" cups. He should learn how to drink in a dignified manner like the rest of us. It's what he deserves! He sits on the baby toilet and has gone number 1 in it several times since Christmas. Speaking of Christmas, he had a great first Christmas. Traveled in the car like a dream. The weather was incredibly mild, so we didn't run into any trouble. He finally got to meet some of John's friends, and others from mine and John's families. I can't believe it, but we are already filling out his application for school in September (he'll be attending mine, it's opening a toddler classroom sometime this year).

hangin with grandpa at great grandma's

first Christmas, in Connecticut

here is George's new toy shelf (a Tv shelf from Ikea). He's not really choosing from it yet, but I am making sure to display taking one of the things out a time, working with it, then putting it away when done. Oh, we have since replaced the frame on the left with a john james audobon robin print, lol! that was just how the frame came from the craft store.

My work is going well, though I'm currently seeking another "on the side" opportunity to make some more money as it's very hard to live here on the two teacher salaries we make. I'm considering DoTerra Oils or LuLaRoe. The initial LuLaRoe investment is really large, so maybe I'll begin with the oils. I don't really know. I hate having to spend money to get money, maybe. But these are flexible opportunities as far as time commitment. At this point, I'm really looking forward to about 8 weeks off in the summer. We are planning a trip to Cape Charles,Va. where we used to live. 

The other day, I was thinking about some of my goals for the upcoming year. Here are some of the things on the list ::

Hikes, spring and summer

read 15 min daily

tidy 15 min daily

send 1 postcard/month to my best friend in Oregon

learn to sew

enter a shawl in a state fair

start an Etsy shop or web site

explore creative pursuits I have passion for

very much simplify and reduce the grocery budget

I have been very disheartened to see that nearly all the bloggers who I link to in my sidebar are deciding, for one reason or another, to not blog anymore. I'm starting to think Instagram is the death of bloggers. But if I'm not mistaken, you can only use Instagram from a "smart" (I hate that we call devices smart) phone, and I don't have a smart phone. I really miss Meg (she does an Instagram blog now), Leya, Erin, Libby, Kristina, and soon possibly Ash Grove Mama and Rhonda. I'm so glad to still have the Soules, Ginny, Heather, Bonnie, Frugal Trenches. I'm very open to new blog links, so send them my way, please!

I am going to try to blog more, it's just man the first year of baby is wild! All-consuming, and in the very best of ways. We are all well here. Thanks for stopping by. Hope to see you again soon!

Love and light,