Dear Kicky,

Sunday, November 11, 2018

I am so grateful to be your mama. 
You are, without a doubt, one of the spunkiest, funniest, smartest creatures I have ever known!!


My days have been brighter just because you are here. I love you, daughter,

Naiya's Aflac Commercial

Thursday, November 08, 2018

Awhile back, the folks at Aflac made this animatronic duck to share with kids newly diagnosed with cancer. The ducks come with these discs that you rub on their chests and the duck responds with the appropriate kind of quacks. A friend of mine is a play therapist and said that this definitely play therapy, which has been shown to work wonders for kiddos. The ducks turn their heads and look at the children too, which is so cute. Oh, and they ducks will talk to each other, so if two kids with ducks are together, the ducks interact.

So, they came to Vanderbilt and let the kids try the ducks out while filming a commercial. And, Naiya is one of the stars of that commercial! Last week, they returned with the ducks as gifts for the kids. It was such a special day and my eyes fill with tears every time I think back on it. There was a scavenger hunt, on-site embroidery station to add the ducks names to their special backpacks, necklace making station, little ducks for siblings/besties, catered food, and a million big smiles on little bitty faces.



It feels amazing to be back out with my besties (missing Nova & Kat, of course.) having the kind of day kids should have. Vanderbilt really steps it up for the kids, I have to give them credit for that. No one should ever have to go through what these kids and their families go through...but it makes a huge difference to have so many folks down there trying their best every day to make it a little easier on everyone else. I will always love them for that.


Another link for the commercial HERE. 

Movers & Shakers

Tuesday, November 06, 2018

...even as it feels like screaming into a void around here.
But, one mustn't give up hope.

'Twas The Night Before The Election...

Monday, November 05, 2018

...and all through the house,
not a creature was stirring,
except for a Mama...
(who was feeling the enormity of all that's at stake)


Halloween 🧡

Friday, November 02, 2018

Because of the forecast situation I mentioned yesterday, we got to Trick or Treat with the family on the 30th and spend actual Halloween at home. I kept waiting for the promised deluge all day, but it barely sprinkled. So, by trick or treat time, we were dressed up again, music blasting, and ready with the candy.


An hour into it, we hadn't had anybody but Kicky's neighborhood bestie. I felt like I'd wandered into The Twilight Zone! We live across the street from an elementary school, in a neighborhood with many streets surrounding us. But, no kids were to be seen! We decided to join 'Jessie' and do one lap around the block, where we encountered only a couple of ToTers.


After we returned home, we watched Hocus Pocus until it was past time for any new Trick or Treaters. I estimate we had around 20, and some of those were in groups. Dylan wound up with entirely too much candy but we had a good time and I'm grateful that the rain held out.

Sisters

Thursday, November 01, 2018

Ash turned on the Snapchat filter and luckily my long arm helped us get a good overhead shot. But, here we are. We could not be more different in many aspects, but we love each other.

Trick or Treat🎃

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

It's the most wonderful time of the year... I start planning for Halloween early and every year I declare it to be the best one yet. Last night, was no exception...our little ankle-biting vampires were frightfully gorgeous and had the best time!


I hope these girls carry on the tradition of making the most out of Halloween every year. Look at these precious kiddos!!! Ash lives on Main Street of our hometown, so we planned on making being at her house the main event. I dressed up a little, brought almost all of my decorations, and made AN AMAZING PLAYLIST, OKAY, IT WAS COMPLIMENTED (by me, my mama, & 1 stranger) ALL NIGHT LONG!

Naiya is on steroids right now, which makes her emotionally volatile, and the chemo wears her out, so we didn't even attempt to go far from the house, yet she was already worn out before we got back. She was very content to hand out handfuls of candy, despite my desperate pleas to just give one piece so we didn't run out! We did run out...twice...but a candy run to the good ole' Dollar Store remedied the situation before any kiddos had to be turned away.



Girls, every year on this day you have made me the happiest I think I have ever been in my life. I do not stop smiling at the three of you. I will never forget the magic of Halloween with you. It was great when Dylan was small, too, but you three together just amplifies how sweet it can be when fate delivers you a triple-dose of love & giggles. 



I was dancing to the aforementioned AMAZING PLAYLIST NO SERIOUSLY I HAD EVERY SONG JUST RIGHT and smiling and handing out candy and wishing the kiddos a Happy Halloween and in my ideal version of the afterlife, we are all doing this every single night.

I already can't wait for next year!! Happy Halloween, everybody!

Travelin' Man

Saturday, October 27, 2018

My dad was a hellraising teenager when southern rock had it's best decade. He listens to them all but he loves Lynryd Skynyrd. His favorite lyric is 'Troubles Will Come' from Simple Man and he got it tattooed on his arm for his first tattoo when he was in his 50s. I also happen to have a lyric tattooed on my arm, though it is a Beatles lyric even though I don't care for the band, which is only a testament to how you should not get drunk and see the Beatles cirque show in Vegas if your hotel is across the street from a tattoo parlor inside a casino, kids.

This year is supposedly a farewell tour for the remaining touring survivors of the original band, which I believe is only one, at this point. So, Billy bought us tickets and away we went. Without even trying, this is my third time seeing them, believe it or not. I enjoy them, don't get me wrong...and definitely don't tell my dad because...parental disappointment...but I'm just not a huge LS fan. I love classic rock, but the TOP of my list would be: The Doors, Fleetwood Mac, The Allman Bros, The Grateful Dead, and Bob Dylan. Still, turn on any old rock station and I can probably sing along to 80% of what they play.

I recently watched the new LS documentary 'If I Leave Here Tomorrow' and learned a few things about the band that I did not know. I was happy to hear them speak about their earlier use of the rebel flag and their naive take on it simply representing their southern US homeland. To them, it wasn't a racist symbol and once they knew better, they did better. You know, The Allman Bros once said the exact same thing. And, LS is still anti-gun...which seems to be in direct conflict of probably 80% of the folks I saw at the concert cheering as they sang about it...but, that's just 2018 being 2018, amirite?


Dad and I had the best time eating at the Hard Rock Cafe, walking up Broadway, and then listening to the music. It was so much fun seeing him sing along to the words I grew up hearing. And, our seats were fantastic scores from back in June. Connecting with my dad has been the best thing about moving back to Kentucky. He is one in a million.

Wednesday

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Naiya came to play with us today! The Kindred/Naiya dynamic is decidedly different from the Kindred/Nova and the Naiya/Nova dynamic. Nova is such an agreeable little sweetheart and can get along with pretty much anybody. As a study in contrast, Kindred feels very strongly about almost everything and expresses it very loudly if she feels like she isn't being heard.

Every day is Hollywood here and Kindred is both the director and the leading actress. According to my Granddaddy, Bob, I was the same way. We played The Waltons and he was John-Boy and I was Jenny and I told him everything to do and say. Bless his patient heart.

Naiya doesn't want to be bossed and expresses that very loudly, too. Since she was the baby, by a whole year, we always urged the girls to let her have her way because she didn't understand how to play like they did yet. So, Naiya was used to getting what she wanted almost anytime she wanted it. And, then she got sick...which means we all bent over backwards to ensure she kept a smile on her face. The result of all of that is we now have two very strong personalities who are sure they are the star of the show.

You got about 30 mins tops before the claws come out, folks...


Absence quickly makes the heart grow fonder, and they are still able to rebound and continue playing together, luckily nobody is holding any grudges. So, every time they hear the other is en route for a playdate, they get super excited. It's just so great to have Naiya back with us now. We are counting our blessings for sure!!

Pumpkin Patch

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Lucky for us, a pumpkin patch is within close proximity to my mama's house. We've watched as it first opened, added fun things for kiddos, and expanded into a bustling local agro-tourism location.

For mama's birthday this year, she requested that all grandgirls join her for pumpkin pickin' at Just Piddlin'. For the first time since Nova started Kindergarten, all the girls seemed healthy. (Seemed is the operative word, as a cold/cough spread thru the trio within 48 hours afterward.) It was a bit of a cousin reunion. They've seen each other individually, but this was the first time all three were together in what seems like forever. We soaked it all up.



Where does the time go? Seems like just yesterday I brought her here toddling around on two unsteady legs. In this pic, I can see how she favors me...but, most of the time I think she looks like her daddy.


Can you believe she just turned 60 yesterday? My mama is gorgeous.


It is so so so good to have her here with us again. Back to adventuring as a trio, as it should be.

Copycat Autumn Squash Soup

Sunday, October 21, 2018

My favorite soup at Panera Bread is the Autumn Squash, so naturally I tried the best copycat recipe I could find. The result is amazingly close! It is slightly less sweet, so add a little more honey if you need it as sweet as PB. I don't, so it was absolutely perfect for me! I'd also use an onion on the smaller side. Mine was a good sized onion and it came out just a hint of too much onion.

Here is the recipe via Fakeginger.com:

Ingredients
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  • 1 onion diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 6 cups cubed butternut squash
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup apple juice
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • pumpkin seeds for serving
Instructions
  1. In a large soup pot, heat coconut oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft and translucent. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  2. Add butternut squash, pumpkin puree, vegetarian broth, apple juice, honey, curry powder, cinnamon, and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, cover and lower to a simmer. Cook about 15 minutes, until the butternut squash is fork tender. Use an immersion blender or a regular blender to blend in batches until smooth. Transfer back to the pot and stir in heavy cream. Heat through.
  3. Garnish with pumpkin seeds before serving.

If you whip a batch up, let me know how it was!

Returning

Thursday, October 18, 2018

I present an argument for an immediate collective return to blogging...

When it first started, blogging was a medium which allowed us to find & forge connections with our soul-sisters who weren't conveniently located nearby. I loved reading what life was like for mamas on the sunny west coast, high in the mountains, way out in the desert, and even anchored in the bay. In the morning, I would get my coffee ready as the computer booted up (ha! remember THOSE days!?) and then I'd sit down at my desk to read the offerings from the minds & hearts of friends. Back then, there were some popular blogs who remind me now of the polished Instagram 'influencer' accounts...and those weren't for me. I preferred the writings of those who were in the trenches of motherhood alongside me, and weren't afraid to share about leaky breasts, strong-willed children, working husbands, and a feeling that maybe who we are gets lost under all the hats we must wear to the keep the circus going.

But, somewhere along the way...we phased out sharing our days. Blogs that I used to adore were abandoned, quietly. A post here and there until...nothing. Facebook became the way we stayed in touch until Instagram came along and many bloggers utilized it as a replacement. Facebook became a community that I felt uncomfortable belonging to, so I left it. And, I don't miss it even a tiny bit. For me, it was a drain on my time and energy. Lately, Instagram has started to feel the same way. Content is curated and branding/marketing is rampant. Connection is fading, just as before with blogging.

I am going to try to keep my little blog alive. If you want to come along, there is a"Subscribe" box on the sidebar and posts will be sent straight to your Inbox. My goal is to post 2-3 times weekly and add a sidebar link list of interesting blogs who are still out there sharing magic with us so that you can check them out too. I hope to see you writing!

DOOMED TO FIRE

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Kindred has a very theatrical mastery of our language. The things that come out of her mouth are not quite what you expect to hear from a 4 year old. This morning, she announced that her throat felt doomed to fire. I took a peek and then felt some swelling in her lymph nodes, so off to the nurse practitioner we went. She was positive for strep so after some good ole' Western meds in the form of antibiotics, she will be back to her usual quirky little self.

In the meantime, send some good energy her way. Thanks, friends!

🙌

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Bella & Clem

Monday, October 08, 2018

We almost lost Bella a few weeks ago. She got very sick after eating some food that she should not have had. We were able to bring her back from the brink, but about 24 hours were pretty sketchy about survival odds. In the end, Pepto Bismol and puppy formula saved her life.

These girls have been a handful since they had their falling out in Georgia. They can't be in the same room, or they fight. Like, it's brutal. I have seen Clem hop from the top of a gated doorway and land on Bella's head and I have seen Bella literally bodyslam Clementine without even fully understanding how it was possible. Add in that, at their old ages of 13 & 12, they have both began to struggle with hitting a puppy pad or not peeing in their sleep. I feel like a good chunk of my day is spent on maintaining canine homeostasis.


But, seeing them suffer was the absolute worst. I know that someday they will be gone from us and I'll walk by a spot of sunshine on my floor and wish that Clementine would be laying in it, sunning herself. Or, someone will knock on the door and Bella won't be here to alert us with her barking. I miss the easy days of leashing them together and walking around the neighborhood or finding them curled up together in their bed. Their feud is ridiculous (over a male!) but we can't exactly sit them down and explain it to them. So, I will just continue reminding myself how much I love them every time something annoying happens and I'll count my blessings that we were loved very much by two small creatures who shared many chapters in our story.

Reunited!

Monday, October 01, 2018

All attempts to get Nova to drop out of school and come hang with us again have been unsuccessful, but we did get almost two weeks of fall break so we had a great time! There were sleepovers and smoothies, scarecrow trails and pumpkins, thrifting and playing dress-up. The girls loved being back together and it was so good to hear them playing again. A nasty cough kept Naiya from being able to come visit but we know that those days will be behind us soon and all three will be joining in on the fun!




I can't look at them sleeping without feeling like my heart is just gonna burst right out of my chest. You are so loved, girls. Every single one of you.

Uncle B

Sunday, September 30, 2018



He has the gentlest heart. Truly.

Berg has stepped up his uncle game considerably since Naiya's father moved out of state a few months ago. He buys her treats like he does Kindred and he wants to spend time with her so that she remains strong and protected. I've unpacked a lot of baggage about how growing up without my dad affected my development, but the science is pretty clear that it does make a lasting difference. So, Berg wants to be sure Naiya grows up surrounded by men who share in the father role to fill in the space left by her father's absence.

There are too many things I could say about what my sister has been through over the past year, but it is her story to tell. True to her Piscean nature, she may never tell it to others, but she has navigated her way through much heartbreak. I am so proud of her for seeking safer, higher ground. Real love does not wound us.

Integration

Sunday, September 23, 2018
marie laveau's * new orleans

A few weeks ago, my nurse practitioner had just delivered the news that my HIDA scan results showed a fully functioning gallbladder. I've recently been having some gastric distress so we were attempting to rule out the most likely culprit based on my particular demographic.

But then, something seemingly out of place...

"And, remember, your blood work is great. Your liver enzymes are exactly what they should be."

Have you ever watched an animal sense the possibility of danger? They interrupt their task at hand and get perfectly still. You see their ears move as they tune into a frequency we are not privy to as human beings. Suddenly, a decision is made and either they bolt for safer ground or go back to whatever it is they were doing.

And this is what happened to me in that moment. I stilled. My ears moved. I caught the frequency.

"But, they did see something on your liver."

Don't say it. Don't say it. Don't say it. Don't say it. Don't say it. Don't say it. I beg you. Don't say it.

"It's called a hemangioma..."

In a split second, my brain boots up a medical terminology class from about two decades ago.
Oma...mass, tumor.
I feel cold rush over my body and I know I need safer ground.

"...which is a benign..."

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

"...mass or possibly even a tangle of blood vessels you were born with. We were not looking for this based on your symptoms and most hemangiomas are discovered that way. We will just need to keep an eye on your blood work and repeat the scan in a few months to check for any changes, if there are none, you were probably just born with it. If there are, you'll need to see a specialist to determine what to do next."

I am not saying this for dramatic flair...but it was another pivotal moment in my life. The fragmented parts of who I have always been integrated in those proceeding moments. I felt myself settle deeper into this body. I vowed to inhabit it more mindfully than I have in the past. I will most likely always be half-love & light and half-burn it all down...a true Gemini Rising/Sagittarius Sun. What I have been guilty of in the past is judging whatever half I didn't happen to identify with at the moment. If I was rooted in love & light, I was frustrated by my quick temper, my judgments, my sharp tongue. I would wonder why I couldn't be as calm or enlightened as I wished to be. It often felt fraudulent. And, if I was tuned into the Kali Ma energy, I would call myself a fool for believing in the ultimate goodness of humanity. I was disconnected, angry, afraid. Life often felt unsafe with a daughter who didn't get to grow up and a niece who is sick. Seeing suffering in children only compounds the pain and anxiety of living in a world mirroring the myth of the burning phoenix.

Depending on where my head is, my life has either been beautiful with intense lessons that have grown me spiritually, or my life has been beautiful but incredibly painful more times than is my fair share and I want answers about why that is exactly and some wrongs to be righted immediately. Said in my best, "I'd like to speak to your manager!" voice.

As we head into Libra season, which is all about balance, and 11:11 is once again asking for my attention, it seems like this was all fated to happen right now. It is up to me to be the change I want to see in my world. So that is what I am doing. Recently, I have purged old belongings, old thought patterns, and old belief systems that felt like dead weight. I have replaced them with new habits that encourage growth. I have been studying my genealogy in an effort to understand what my cells remember that my brain can't recall. My maternal great-grandmother lost two children as infants/toddlers and later died of liver cancer. So, I am thinking of this hemangioma as possible ancestral trauma that needs to be healed. I am processing what I've learned about my father's heritage and the revelation that on the Hamilton Co Tn 1860 census, three generations of women who birthed the babies who led to me, were all listed as 'mulatto' in their shared household. They were native american and most likely melungeon (Goins surname). I am reviewing my childhood and thinking of how at home I felt in the woods spending summer days exploring the land. How water was so cold right out of the spring and blackberries were sweetest growing wild. Just like me. I am thinking of Katy Owl, my 7x-great-grandmother, born on the Cherokee reservation and wondering who she was. I am thinking of how organized religion has never appealed to me, except in extremely short spans of time, but I have seen magic with my own eyes in the cycles of the seasons and life. I am thinking about this herbal healing path I have been walking for several years and now that I have a good smattering of knowledge about nutrition, herbs, essential oils, etc., I should narrow my focus and really dig into my purpose here...

So, for me, these next few months I will keep my ear to the ground and watch for signs from the mystical.

11:11

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

...it's baaaaack.

A couple of years ago, when I was working with a young man who has autism, 11:11 showed up and literally stalked me so much that I researched what it meant. I saw it entirely too often for it to be random. Gathered research has led me to believe that it is a message from the Universe/Spirit Guides letting you know that you are on the right path and manifestation is supercharged so be aware of your thoughts and be open to finding your life's purpose. Once I decided to go back into healthcare and (hopefully) pursue a nursing degree, 11:11 faded away. But, in the past two weeks it has come back with a vengeance and brought back reinforcements. I can hardly look at a clock without seeing it or 1:11, 3:33, 4:44, 5:55. Over the past week, $11.11 has been my total twice.

I am trying to be aware of anything that could be a guidepost during this time. I have been thinking of going into psychiatric nursing (with a holistic slant, obvsly) for a little while. But, the past couple of weeks, research about the use of psychedelics in treating PTSD, end of life anxiety for hospice patients, severe anxiety & depression, addiction recovery, even for quitting smoking, keeps just dropping into my lap...from several totally unconnected sources. So, I am just exploring if this is something I am supposed to be pursuing.

What a wild Universe we live in. It's all energy, baby.

Rosita the Survivor

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Kindred insisted we rescue this rosebush from the Clearance section of the garden center at Wal-mart. It was in bad shape when we brought it home, but things got worse when beetles ate almost every single leaf on it and the 'Full Sun' it says it needs vs the 'Scorching Hot Full Sun' of my backyard almost cooked it. As a last ditch effort to save it, I moved it to right outside my spare room window where I can see it from my desk. A few days ago, I was surprised and elated to discover three blooms on it! I hope she survives the winter and comes back to us next Spring!

Mr. Breeze

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Wishing a happy birthday to my dad, Billy. I never knew how much we had in common until the past couple of years. I'm so grateful to have had the chance to find out.



These Two

Friday, September 14, 2018

...have my heart. I am grateful for this body that carried them safely to me. I am one lucky mama.

Spunk

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

...you've got lots of it, kiddo.

Almost Famous

Friday, September 07, 2018

Thrift store shopping with Kindred means you may wind up looking like Penny Lane or another 70s icon. And, that is okay with me, but this one was a little much. However, a couple days later I thought about how it would look great with a unicorn mask at a Halloween party...so maybe we should go see if it's still there. Haha!

***Kindred now accepting a limited number of clients for personal styling***

Girls Day Out

Wednesday, September 05, 2018

We have been having some fun doing a little fall wardrobe shopping. I'm buying all the typical bohemian-Stevie Nick's witchy-hippie mama type tops & dresses I can pair with leggings and boots. Kindred is buying Halloween royal dresses with no intention of wearing them for Halloween. She's just wearing them when she wants. And, that's just fine with me! I love this time in our lives!