Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Escape the Valentine’s Day Blues

This is a re-post from life coach Stacey Vicari's blog. Check out her services at She has amazing insight and I really enjoy working with her.

Escape the Valentine’s Day Blues

by Stacey Vicari

Whether we’re part of a couple or not, many of us find February 14 a challenge.

After all, if there is a special someone in the picture, it can be a struggle to find the right gift for him or her.

And if you don’t currently have a romantic partner, it’s easy to feel sad or left out.

Whatever your situation this year, here are a couple of ideas that may help…

Choosing a romantic gift for someone special

The best gift to give someone is the gift they want to receive. But how do you know what that is?

Here’s a tip: Focus on what he or she complains about not getting enough of ….And then give that.

Maybe it’s an evening of unbridled passion — or maybe it’s freshly vacuumed floors. Maybe you often hear “We never talk anymore” or “I’d just like to relax and have a quiet evening for once.”

Remember that the best gifts don’t always come from a store.

If your significant other’s idea of romantic evening is a couple of hours of chatting, with no agenda — and that makes you cringe — maybe Valentine’s Day is a good opportunity to give her what she wants.

If your partner’s idea of a great Valentine’s Day is a hot sexual encounter — and all you can think about is the stack of laundry downstairs – maybe this is a great chance to let go of the need for household perfection and get a different kind of exercise.

The things people complain about can give us tremendous insight – if only we can stop being defensive and start listening.

No romance in sight?

Sure, we often think of February as the month of romantic love. But the reality is that all of us go through times when we have no romantic partner.

And let’s face it: not all partners are always romantic.

So if we’re always looking outside ourselves for romantic love, we’re missing out.

Why not take February to fall in love with your SELF?

How? First, ask yourself how you define romantic love. What do you find romantic? Make a list. Then think of how you – yourself – can bring more of that into your life.

For example, many of us think having someone bring us flowers is a romantic gesture. Why wait for someone else to give you flowers?

If having fresh flowers in your home nurtures you and makes you feel more romantic, give yourself flowers.

We can bring romantic moments into our life every day by defining what they are. Light candles, take a long walk in the park, bask in the moment.

Falling in love with your SELF means living a life that includes the things you love. It means taking time for yourself, even if that requires you to reframe your life and expectations, or to re-evaluate your schedule in terms of your commitments with and to others.

The bottom line

This Valentine’s Day, take time to create some romance in your life — whether you’re in a relationship with someone else, or not.

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Shape of a Mother

These are all images of my baby bump. I loved being pregnant and Luke and I look forward to welcoming another pregnancy perhaps sometime this year, if that is what is meant to be.

Pregnancy takes over your body as it is happening and leaves its marks after it is gone. You can either embrace your new body or hate it. I have chosen to embrace mine because I have so much respect for it. How could I not love it? It works perfectly. It formed the most perfect little person. It is amazing, and beautiful in its own way.

I have mentioned the website, The Shape of a Mother, on my blog before. It is a powerful site for mama's to see photos, post photos and talk about the transformations your body makes through pregnancy and beyond. I love this site. If you have never been, I would advise you to take a look.

I recently came across this piece of very powerful writing posted on The Shape of a Mother. I have copied and pasted the text below.

Flesh and Bone

Since the beginning, it has been this way. We are entwined. And not separate at all, but I will send you these thoughts as if we were, my body. Separate. Not bonded, spirit and flesh.

If we, as I may or may not believe, choose our physical parents on this earth then perchance we also choose our physical bodies. To teach and learn. Lessons of abstract learnt through the physicality of flesh.

If this is so, or if I shall speculate for now that this is so, then I choose you, my body, to teach me these things.

The perfect parts of you, to teach me the power of the feminine beauty and the less than perfect to keep my feet where they belong on the earth, to weld me to practicality too. The shapeliness of form to enjoy the miracle of uninhibited sexual pleasure and display, and the flawed to remind me of still being spirit too.

How I have abused this body… Run razor blades over it. Ingested pills and powders. Drowned my stomach with good wines and with less honourable spirits. Let others touch and caress and view this body. For my pleasure. For theirs. On memorable occasion for monetary gain. Or simply because I was there and they were there, and we could.

Yet on my flipped (double- sided) side, how I have experienced pleasure in this body. Alone. With one, with two, more. In public, in private, in night and in day. Danced and loved and stroked and cherished. Worshipped and degraded in equal measure, oft at the same time, reveling in the contrast.

This skin which has known all these pleasures and sins, now it tells a new story. I watch it swell and stretch. I look at these scars of mine, the self inflicted and the careless - these stories woven up and down my body for anybody to see, my tattooed canvas, my life’s voice and phases captured and silenced, crushed up and painted upon the surfaces – and anticipate the new stories being written upon it minute by minute. The biological scars of loosening and stretching tissue and sagging muscle and a life born through it.

I trace my fingers over my swollen belly, my heavy breasts – pale as milk with their roadmap of blue veins. Over hips gently pivoting outwards and settling in for their coming labour. Back curving and hollowing to counteract this new weight. To support. Thighs suddenly chunky and womanly, no longer the hint of boyishness of before.

I am beautiful. With my stories plain to see, to anybody who cares to look, written upon my face and body.

Pregnant Body

I am in love with my pregnant body. It is fascinating to watch yourself change and evolve so gradually. How I will feel afterwards once BabyFire sheds the cocoon I don’t know, but I cannot bring myself to be even a tiny bit stressed about that just yet.

I am savouring each one of these days on my path up to the final day. Savouring the movements and the jiggling and the extra weight, even the little aches and restless nights.

It is so very fleeting, this state. The very nature of it is temporary and it highlights the fleetingness and transience of life. Week by week, day by day, it is an evolution and a reminder that nothing stays the same forever.

Shedding the Cocoon

now I watch the process reverse. reverse and morph into the next phase of nurturing Fire.

the full generous stomach deflating day by day, uterus contracting with a tangible ache until I can no longer feel that little hard ball under my belly button. my skin slowly pulling back to the faint memory of the shape it once was. skin remembers its original form, but it’s a sketchy memory and I can already see that in some places it has forgotten completely and has had to become something new.

as the belly retreats day by day, my breasts seem to compensate by rushing out, the skin stretching and swelling until I can’t believe it can stretch any more. thin purple lines start radiating from each nipple, fast becoming silvery sunbursts. the heft of flesh that little bit lower than before, that little bit closer to the earth than before, and this seems true of all of me. a little bit closer to the earth than before.

cheekbones, hip bones and shoulder bones push their way up and out and through as the extra padding falls away and I look almost familiar to myself again. almost, but not quite.

I mourn a little for what was, the tautness of my old refection. yet, at the same time realise that the new vehicle is better suited to the journey. I have had to let go of a fair amount of mental vanities while travelling down this road, it seems only fitting that some of the physical went along with them.

Ahhhh..... Teething

Our sweet little muffin is now teething and it is really breaking my heart. She went from hardly ever being fussy to being fussy pretty much all the time (not that I blame her!) We have given her frozen washcloths to chew on, teething rings, frozen bananas, all-natural dissolvable teething tablets and as a last resort, Infant Tylenol. The Tylenol seems to be the only thing that really helps. Of course Luke and I don't want to continually give her medicine.

So, what have you done with your babies during teething time? What worked and what didn't?