it’s snowing right now and i’ve decided that i never want to take snow for granted. maybe that means always living in places where snow is just a possibility rather than a sure thing. last night we were walking from a friend’s place downtown to get some dinner and snow was falling and beautifying everything it touched. and it is so beautiful to experience the squeals and the joy and the excitement it brings to a city that doesn’t really always expect it.
i deactivated my facebook account. which i didn’t think warranted a public announcement, but apparently some people think facebook is Real Life and so to ensure some that i haven’t committed suicide – i am STILL alive. And if you are wondering why i decided to leave the party, i feel like it could take an entire novel (that i’m never going to write) and really, the gist of it is that i don’t see the point anymore. maybe i’ll change my mind, that’s cool. just for right now, this works for me.
i went to New Zealand with mika for the whole month of january. it was hot. and wonderful. and all the things. here is a list of the things that made me really happy in NZ:
- my mum & dad (oma & opa to mika) and ALL the time they got to spend
- running a LOT & not needing to bundle up and then finishing each run with a jump in the ocean
- swimming in the ocean
- swimming lessons for mika (2 weeks EVERY day!)
- pub quiz with friends (this makes me really happy even though i don’t really contribute and usually end up wondering why i think i like pub quiz)
- long blacks
- teaching my first yoga class! (and loving it)
- watching jazz in a park
- watching an outdoor movie projected on a silo
- playing squash with my brother
- playing LOTS of banagrams and catan
- doing cryptic crosswords with my dad
- eating fish and chips on the beach
- going to the bay of islands for an incredible wedding
- a long road trip with my brother
- running an old favourite bush run with my brother
- being able to spend so much time with some of the people i love the most
- and mostly, the real reason the trip was even planned – to watch one of my best friends get married. and to spend so much time with both of them. and for them to spend so much time with mika (their goddaughter). here’s what you missed out on:
i went to have a shower at 530pm on christmas eve and when i got out, mika was fast asleep on the couch. ivan said that he had tried to keep her awake by offering her an early christmas present but she said ‘oh papi, maybe later’ and closed her eyes.
so ivan and i had christmas eve dinner (this) together in the quiet of our little home. then we watched some home alone and finished wrapping some gifts before sleep.
in the (early) morning i heard mika creep to our door like she usually does. she never says anything, she just stands there waiting for us to wake up (creepy, i know). but on this particular morning she must have been lured by the glow of the christmas tree because i heard her little footsteps continue past our open door and her audible gasp at the sight of the tree. she paused (contemplating) and then tiptoed back to our room and quietly closed our door before running back to the living room!
it’s weird to be the adult at christmas time, creating the magic for mika – i feel like a part of me still wants to be the child and to have the magic created for ME. i remember being little and feeling the excitement and anticipation on christmas eve and last night was the first time ever that it’s been MY responsibilty. of course it is a different sort of magic and anticipation to be the adult, to watch mika experience everything for the first time and to know how special it all feels. but i’m just not entirely used to that yet.
anyway. we had a very beautiful christmas morning. there were presents and a stocking and we went to our friend’s house for more presents and coffee and a nice big brunch. then we went for a walk and listened to the ocean and watched the river and smelt all the smells and saw orca whales!
and then mika fell asleep again very early and ivan and i ate christmas dinner together.
and here are many photos of our christmas outing (after the presents and the brunch).
The best thing about living in America (besides, you know, all those other best things) is that we get to have a winter christmas. And winter christmas to me means things like mulled wine, hot cocoa, ice rinks, big warm coats, christmas lights by 430pm, the potential of snow and CUTTING DOWN OUR OWN PINE TREE.
I had no idea how environmentally friendly such an activity was, but a quick google search of ‘how bad is it to cut down your own christmas tree’ promptly quelled my fears. Then i read this and realised that of course it can’t be all good to be chopping down trees every year and so maybe we won’t make a habit of it, but this is the first time i’ve ever done something like this, it’s ivan’s first EVER real christmas tree and obviously it’s a first for mika too. SO. it happened. we went to this pretty magical place called ‘trinity tree farms‘ and if you live in the seattle area and you ever wonder ‘where is the best place to cut down my own christmas tree?’ – this is it.
and santa even showed up! mika informed him that she would like ‘a bear’ for christmas as well as ‘a baby’. she was so, so excited to see santa. when i told her that he had come all the way from the north pole, she laughed and said ‘mama that’s so funny’. and she squeezed my hand extra tight as we walked towards him. so sweet.
My toddler is my spiritual teacher.
Mika and I play these little games where she pretends to put me to sleep by singing ‘hush little baby’ and turning the light off. Usually i’m so tired that I practically fall alseep when she does this but the game is that as soon as she turns the light on I’m meant to ‘wake up!’. And so yesterday we were playing it and we’d finished playing and we were about to go and do something else when she stopped me and asked ‘are you awake mami?’ and i laughed and was like ‘of course!’ and in my head i was like ‘who ARE you??’ but and so for the rest of my day I was much, much more awake.
Moving towards resistance
I spent the last 5 days sick in bed and it was my hardest week of yoga I’ve ever had. Not in the sense that I was upside down or doing some hot sun salutations, but in the sense that just allowing myself to rest is possibly the hardest thing for me to do. My brain was in judgemental attachment overdrive.
I had a wee epiphany the other day, that (of course) isn’t very profound at all, but rather just some common sense that suddenly clicked for me: So i have a hard time resting. And when my brain sometimes says ‘maybe you should rest?’ another part of my brain goes ‘but are you just being lazy?’ and somewhere i remember someone saying that i should listen to my body but i have never known how! and so my epiphany was in figuring out a failproof solution: if i’m asking the question, i need to move towards resistance. this way i will never be lazy, because if i’m resisting exercising then it’s most probably what i need, but if i’m resisting resting (more likely) then it’s probably what i need.
so simple. and i know people talk about moving towards resistance all the time, but i’d never really applied it to this problem before.
Anyway, even with my epiphany it didn’t help me feel good about being sick in bed. But I have come out the other side again and i feel ever so grateful for my body and my life and my breath. And for walking without a headache and for sweating from exercise rather than sweating from fever. And for being able to feel the cold crisp air and sunshine on my skin. These sunny cold days are the best.
This week Ivan and I haven’t watched a single television show. This is a big deal. Usually we’re exhausted and it’s 1030pm and before we go to sleep we decide to watch one of the many television shows we seem to have become attached to (Breaking Bad (up to season 3), Homeland, The Walking Dead, Modern Family). And then it’s 1130pm and we’re extra exhausted but kind of wired from staring at a computer screen.
Mika has been having a rough time sleeping in her new toddler bed. Last night she was up every 2 hours (WHAT THE WHAT?!). And there are so many books I need to read and teachings I need to practice and letters I want to write. So on Monday I asked Ivan if he would support me in us NOT watching television before bed and he said yes and it has been so great.
On Monday I took Ivan through some yoga poses and then we were so exhausted we went straight to bed. On Tuesday we played our old favourite board game and talked and laughed together. Last night I read my book and turned out the light around 930pm.
Obviously at some point we’ll watch a television show again but this week we’ve created space for something new by making some positive changes and it feels wonderful. Sometimes that is all you need to feel a little unstuck.
Now we just have to work on Mika’s sleeping habits….