43 Before 43: Baby Goes To The Beach

One of my 43 before 43 is to take Ruby to the ocean. Living on the West Coast means {at least for me} having a deep love of the sand, waves and sunshine. However living with a baby, I am learning, is about taking things as they come and maybe crossing your fingers a bit. With my huge desire to experience a weekend away from home and to stick my toes in the sand, we set off for our journey. Over the new year weekend we drove out to Jenner to spend time with our friends A+B. We were very a little nervous about taking Ruby for such a long car ride since she has officially registered her opposition to the car seat. What a delightful surprise when she slept pretty much the entire way there and we were able to enjoy a few days away. Here are a couple of snaps from The Girl’s first visit to the beach. We’re looking forward to taking Miss Ruby on more adventures. Tell me about trips you’ve taken with your little ones. What shouldn’t we miss?

43 Books – Learning To Breathe: My Yearlong Quest to Bring Calm to My Life

As part of my 43 Before 43 I’m reading 43 Books.

photo credit: ponderingyogini.org

After a lifetime of panic attacks, author Pris Warner decided she would like the brain of a monk and all that comes along with it – peace, tranquility, compassion, loving kindness, wisdom and patience.

In Learning To Breathe, she takes a year to discover the path to peace.

Friends, I loved almost everything about this book.

I immersed myself in the author’s story and admired the author for facing her fears. I found her immediately likable and I really cared whether she would be relieved from her panic attacks in the end. Reading quickly over three days I was reminded of my own lifelong desire for inner peace.

Hmmm, maybe I need to get myself back on the cushion.

My only issue is I found it to be a bit tidy. What do I mean by tidy? The author decided she wanted the brain of a monk and next thing you know she’s on the path to a daily 20 minute meditation practice.

I have been struggling with adding meditation to my life for years, so I wonder how this happened so effortlessly. She didn’t feel any resistance or forget just plain forget? I need some of that!

That was my only beef with the book.

I sped through each chapter which covers a month and a spiritual practice aimed at resolving her panic attacks.

While I don’t suffer specifically from panic attacks, I do suffer from complex PTSD  and as a result have also used many of the therapies the author experiences in my quest to find a more peaceful existence.

The one hold out for me has been EMDR. As a result of reading about the author’s success, I decided to give it a try.

I may or may not be writing about that experience later, but I am hopeful that I will be able to move forward because if this treatment.

Do I recommend this book? Without a doubt.

Would I want to be friends with author? Yes, if for nothing else, to get some meditation tips.

Have you read Learning to Breathe? What did you think?

43 Books – Poser: My Life in 23 Yoga Poses by Claire Dederer

As part of my 43 Before 43, I’m reading 43 books.

I am totally conflicted about this book. I didn’t put it down until I was finished despite having just come home with a new baby and a serious case of insomnia. And yet, I was irritated the whole time I was reading it.

Let me start with what I really liked about the book:

  • The title. I would have argued with the publisher to leave off the 23 poses part.
  • Each chapter is a pose name and the ones where the author tells about her childhood are called child’s pose – clever and it only took me half way through the book to figure that out. {see insomnia/stupidity}
  • The author and I each suffer from mama anxiety and use yoga as a way to find our sanity or at least a way to ease some of the pain in our aching backs.
  • Like most people, we both started out with a really physical practice and learned to quiet it down.
  • We are about the same age so our cultural references are spot on – apparently we love the 90’s.
  • The Pacific Northwest! I lived there (in the 90’s!) and could picture the setting perfectly.
  • Claire explores the others limbs of yoga besides asana and gets to the down and dirty of why yoga can be such a life changing practice.

So what was my problem?

I think I identified a little too closely for my comfort with Claire. This book could, in a lot of ways, be mine. Although at points it just sounds whiny and precious and all first-worldly and I wanted to smack both of us and quite frankly I’m not sure I wanted to tell this story yet (or ever), so it was shocking to see it on the page.

Claire’s yoga story is so similar to mine,  with all it’s twists, turns and complaints, I felt like she’d some how inhabited my most annoying self and decided to let that cat out of the bag. It just isn’t the easy breezy side I’ve been trying to cultivate for the world to see and I’m at once horrified to see all “my” crap out there and secretly thrilled I’m not the only one with this particular brand of crazy.

In a completely petty side note, the mention that her brother was in a band that was super popular in the 90’s (and she named the band!) bugged the holy hell out of me. Why? I guess because it seemed all star-f*ckery and it totally wasn’t relavent to the story. Brother? Yes. Name of band? No.

The all important question – would I want to be friends with the author?

Absolutely. At the very least we could talk about how great the 90’s were.

Should you read Poser?

Yes, if you are someone exploring yoga beyond a Saturday morning exercise class or is interested in a brief look into the history of the other limbs of yoga.

Have you read Poser? What did you think?

43 Books – Battle Hymn of A Tiger Mother

As part of my 43 Things Before 43, I am reading 43 books.

Here is the list as it stands now.

1. Battle Hymn of The Tiger Mother {finished November 2011} – I read this book in 3 days with a baby. Needless to say, I found it hard to put down.

I’m surprised because I didn’t think I would like it based on some of the talk on Twitter and book reviews. A lot of people clearly didn’t read the book and relied on pull quotes, when taken out of context, make the author sound like a crazy ogre.

What did I like about it?

Amy Chua is funny and quite direct in her approach both in parenting and in writing. I found her writing style to be engaging  and easy to read. Plus she’s pretty self-reflective and sees her ways as extreme. At least she’s not fooling herself. Plus, she’s not asking you to raise your kids the Chinese way.

Would I want to be friends with her if I met her?

Maybe. She’s a bit intense, but I can be too. She is funny and self-reflective and truly only wants what is best for her kids. Although she may be a bit harsh for my taste. I probably would end up telling her that “thoughts are for inside” – rough translation: dude, stop being so harsh.

Do I agree with all of her methods?

Absolutely not. In some cases she just sounds cruel.

On the other hand, I do agree a lot of parents take the easy way out. Nothing is more frustrating as a teacher than to be the only one seemingly invested in a student’s success. Somethings take practice and practice isn’t always fun.

Truth be told, I may have been a bit of a “tiger teacher” my first few years. While my actions didn’t measure up to Chua’s, these were my students, not my own children. We both shared high expectations for our young people and in the process aren’t very popular.

This book is definitely NOT a parenting or child care book, but a memoir.

I definitely recommend reading this book. Please skip the reviews (except mine, of course) and read it for yourself.

Have you read Hymn of A Tiger Mother? What did you think?

Do you have any books you loved and think I should read?

43 Before 43: Actually Make Something I’ve Pinned From Pinterest

In the spirit of not being such a holiday Scrooge for Ruby’s sake, I’ve decided we’re going to decorate our house for the winter holidays.

This is a huge step for us. The first year we were in our house we cut down and decorated Christmas tree with lights and bows and then never did it again because we always spend it with family out-of-town. Plus the whole undecorating part was so not fun.

This year is different – the Ru is home and since I’ve always felt the holidays were for kids, we’ve finally got a reason to decorate.

Enter the Life/Birthday List and I found the inspiration from my favorite hobby obsession Pinterest:

For tutorials on making this and other alternative “trees” – click the photo.

Here is my actual “tree” – I’m looking forward to seeing it lit up at night.

I’m so excited I am able to already cross something off my list.  If you are interested in other ideas I have found for the home – check out my list on Pinterest.

Are you all inspiration (like me) or do you make time to be creative and actually make things?