Monthly Archives: January 2014

Seeking kindness in me, kindness for me, kindness for us

I find myself seeking out kindness these days. Kindness in myself for myself. I feel it’s short, hard to find, off on a long weekend perhaps (that last bit is wishful thinking for where I wish to be right this very minute).

It’s a reminder to be gentle with my tired self. To practice patience with a new mom brain. To smile when I feel down. To laugh when I want to cry. To embrace a tiny, barfy little baby when the thing I loathe most in this world is barf (though yogurt and strawberry baby barf doesn’t smell nearly as bad as some other barf). To take a minute to just sit…and be…at the end of the day, after the boy is asleep, before my own eyes beg for slumber.

To find joy in a latte, savor a brownie from a  bakery (I LOVE bakeries and have a whole lot to say about the crime that is demonizing decadent, real ingredient, truly delicious baked goods). Sit by a fire. Snuggle a baby. Tickle a baby. Listen to tiny, wee man laughter and feel it in my soul. I’m not sure there is anything kinder to one’s soul than the sound of baby laughter.

My journey to find kindness begins within. Small reminders to not be so hard on myself. To cut myself some slack. To realize that I am, in fact, my own worst critic. To loosen up, live a little, find joy in the monotony of a daily routine. To break free from that routine from time to time. To be spontaneous, or as spontaneous as the little man allows.   To live each day for what it is, sometimes crappy, sometimes joyous, sometimes a little bit of both.  But whatever the day holds, to be kind to myself. That is my goal for 2014: to find the kindness within me, for me, for you, for us all.  Because, really, there’s no reason not to.

Three work from home things

Three grateful things are easy when it’s a work from home day.

1. Fire in the fireplace, latte from the momma, banana bread in the belly, mini man in sight…and NO pumping. That alone makes Wednesdays gloriously successful even if everything else is a magnificent mess.

2. Not feeling like an idiot in any work meetings. That statement makes me believe more than ever that it’s time for a new job…or at least a new attitude in the old job.

3. Beautiful evening sunset on a drive home with NO traffic. This is notable both because it means the days are getting longer AND because there was no traffic…at 5:30…which never happens.

Three happy things on a work from home Wednesday…plus a fourth: the week is over halfway done.

Month 8

Month 8.  EIGHT.  Two thirds of a year.  I know that each month I can’t seem to fathom that another month has gone by and my tiny little newborn now has five teeth, a gigantic smile, contagious giggles, and a heart that is just so very, very big for such a wee little thing.  Even the fussy days make my heart melt, and the happy days?  Oh goodness, the happy days…there is nothing in the world like them.  The boy is so full of joy.

Month eight included a lot of adventure, plenty of rolling around, and mountains of joy.

A first Thanksgiving with so much to be thankful for.

A fifth tooth.

Laughter.  Belly laughs each night at the kitchen door when dad finally appears on the other side.  We wait in hope, pawing at the window panes (little man, that is), until finally dad’s smile stares back at us from the other side of the glass.  James and Dad can’t get enough of each other, and no matter how fussy the little dude might be prior to dad’s arrival home, he bursts into a grin as soon as the big man appears.

There is still great delight to be found when real food appears, and the list of likes just keeps growing.  There was a sad pickle incident at Thanksgiving (proof that one can have too much of a good thing – BLAH), but other than that, he/s a hearty eater.  Spinach, squash, prunes, apples, mango, pears, peas, broccoli, yogurt, cheese…he eats it all.

As usual, in month eight we found ourselves overwhelmed with what James has to share.  The laughter, the smiles, the simple joys: they are all overwhelmingly innocent, magnificent, and pure.  Again and again, we find ourselves in awe of everything the little man has brought into our lives, and eternally blessed to share our adventure with him.  We’re also tired – really tired – but through bleary, sleep-deprived eyes, we see the world with new joy and so much love.

Your first journey around the sun is two thirds of the way complete, and if the past eight months are any glimpse into the amount of joy we will share in the coming years, we are a lucky little family.  Here’s to you, little man; happy eight months.


Gratitude for two James

Two James, one I know, one I didn’t.  One six years gone, nearly seven. One nine months in this world, nearly ten. Both sources of gratitude on January 23rd, the birthday of the first James.

Open your eyes, Kara. Name three things:

1. A tiny little boy James, a big toothy grin, belly laughs, and smiles. Mom’s heart melting.

2. An old man James, never known to me, but without whom I would never have met my husband. If I had the opportunity to meet you, I never would have because your son would have moved to Boston at the same time I moved to Denver. It’s hard to feel grateful to never have met you, but it’s damn easy to feel grateful for the man you led me to.

3.   Clam chowder, salmon, vodka and Fresca, Skittles, dinner of champions. Warm belly, cozy family, feeling blessed.

Two James. One me. So much gratitude.

Open my eyes.

Open my eyes to see:

1. An elderly neighbor, brushing snow off her car. Open my eyes, and offer to help.

2. A sweet, sweet husband, jogging home in loafers through blowing snow on a frigid night. Open my eyes, and feel the love.

3. A gramma, rocking her grandson to sleep, ever more patiently than I. Open my eyes, and appreciate my world.

Three things. Three small moments to open my eyes. Make this a habit, Kara: open your eyes and see the kindness in the world. Feel the kindness. More often, more regularly, all the time. Just do it. You’ll be glad you did.

Oh, and report back. Accountability, my friend, accountability. It never hurts.

The mission: be kind.

Hello, and here we go, we’re on a mission, wahoo, wow, yippee. A mission to be kind. To ourselves, to others, to the world, to it all. It’s a big mission, but it’s our mission because if not us, then who?  Exactly. Us. Kind us.

The goal? Stop complaining people aren’t nice, where is the kindness, why is the world so cruel?

Start doing.

Looking for kindness – we’ll see it if we look.

Being kind – it’s easier than we think.

Reminding ourselves, once a day, everyday, that the world really is a kind place if we just let it be. LET IT BE. There’s the trick. Just let it be. And once we do, we will see…a sea of kindness.

So here we go: the mission begins.

A letter to 2014

2014, you will be a year in which I…

* Practice patience. Not as much with James and Chris – I’m generally pretty patient with them already) – but with myself. Be kind to myself. Whether I admit it or not, I’ve got a lot on my plate, and I’m my worst critic. Now is the time to take a breath and just let my world be.

* Along the same lines as the a lot on my plate notion, evaluate what’s on my plate.  Get rid of the junk, savor the good stuff.  Find more time for the good stuff by minimizing time wasted on the junk.  I kid myself with no elusions of finding more time. 

* Celebrate my son’s first birthday.  Bake him a cake (a wee one for a wee lad), buy some balloons, share in the joy. Reflect on what the past year has meant not only for him, but also for me and Chris.  Ponder just how far we have come, because, by god, we’ve come a long way.

* Earn another stamp or two in the old passport.  One will be Mexico in January.  Where will the next be?

* The four generations get away. Figure out how to make it happen. 

* Hone the camera skills. Read about it, practice it…learn it.

* North Dakota or South Carolina: make it happen.

* Same with you, chicken coop. Make it happen.

* Sew. Cushions for the kitchen chairs. Curtains. What have you. Be domestic. 

* Run another half marathon. This one with the husband. Part of it with the kid.

* Reflect on what this body of mine has accomplished in the past few years, because goddammit, it’s impressive. Ponder what it will accomplish again in the next few years.

* Bake more bread.  In the literal sense, not in the that’s-a-cute-metaphor-for-having-another-kid sense. NOT YET.

* Yoga. At least once a week. Because it feels good. 

* Smile. Laugh. Soak it all in (this should be an easy bullet to accomplish – I excel at smiles and laughter).

* Think gratitude. Maybe even start writing about it. Three things per day. So far today I have my morning smoothie, a free cup of Starbucks, and one more to go. What else will I feel grateful for today? The sun on my back. An up-coming vacation. Practice gratitude.

* Likewise, practice kindness. Always, always, always.

I think that’s enough for a year.

If 2014 is half as kind to me as 2013 was, goodness me, I’m in for a lovely ride.