Welcome to 2019

(…a re-post of my thoughts on the morning of my most recent birthday in late 2018….)

I woke up early this morning with lots on my mind, like most mornings. Meditating before rising, I thought about my most recent journey around the sun, and I could not be more proud.

The past year has brought me great FOCUS. I make goals, write them down, adjust, and I know what is important to me. With such clarity, the other stuff just melts away. I’m particularly more focused than ever at work. Post-2016-election, I realized I needed to go deep with what has always been in my heart. My work has become truly my passion. I no longer back down when I’m shut down, like I used to. Recently, I cried thinking about the 20 years I have endured sexism and demoralization in my work, thinking I had “wasted” all that time. These past two decades have not been wasted, they just give me more focus, clarity, and determination than ever.

The past year has brought me great COURAGE. I am publishing and stating my goals – personal and professional. I hate to commit to goals for fear of failure. I have so many priorities in my life, that I’m never sure if I will allow myself the space to accomplish the goals, but – with the greater focus – I feel like I be brave and own my goals. I ran two 5Ks at a sub-7 pace this year. YES! That has been my goal, to break that 7-minute-mile barrier. This year, I’d like to do a real 5K or 10K race at sub 7s. This courage has also made me loud and proud. I have to say big things to big institutions, and I really have to dig deep to say what needs to be said, loud and clear.

This past year has brought me great HUMILITY. There are things that I have left undone. There have been failures, where I have had to readjust, reassess, reevaluate. I am far from immortal. I take suggestion and critique seriously. I am not too great to be wrong. Earlier this year, in my work, I had to really check my ego at the door to get some things done the right way. I am also listening more – in the communities where I work – and I am accepting of my limitations, privilege and elitism. I always want to grow. There is always better.

This is long, but I want all of you to know that you have your part in making me who I am. I love hearing from you, seeing you all in various cities, keeping in touch, sharing bottles of wine. The best is having my own family – especially my one-and-only – always here to lift me up, support me, and watch me grow.

Thank you, everyone! And, now, back to work!

Restore Your Pre-Baby Body with the Core 4 (sponsored post)

This sponsored post is brought to you by: Kelley Lindstrom, DPT, the Clinic Director at Therapydia Beaverton, one of the four Therapydia locations in the Portland area. With a one-on-one – treatment approach that combines manual therapy, movement retraining and functional strengthening to treat pain and dysfunction, Kelley is passionate about helping patients of all ages and abilities return to a pain-free and active lifestyle. Learn more about Kelley and the other Therapydia Portland physical therapists.

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When most people hear the word “core” in relation to their body, they are really only picturing their abdominal muscles. This is understandable because before we had a good sense of functional movement and how everything works together, a strong “core” only meant that you had a 6-pack or that maybe you could do 100 sit-ups. The focus was, and in a lot of cases still is, on the aesthetic appearance of the “core”. No one considered that even if you have impeccable looking abs, if you can’t breathe properly or if you experience incontinence, you have a weak core. Many otherwise healthy people tend to focus only on the muscles that they can SEE the results in, rather than focusing on the muscles that they can FEEL. So, if 6-pack abs don’t make for a perfect “core,” what does?

You can think of your core like a house:

  • You have the roof of your house: The diaphragm
  • You have the foundation of your house: The pelvic floor and glute muscles
  • You have the walls of your house: The transverse abdominus, multifidus, obliques and rectus abdominus (the 6-pack muscle).

For the purposes of this article, let’s focus on the Core 4: The diaphragm, pelvic floor, glute muscles and multifidi. If you’re missing any or all of those components, then your house is not in order and you have a dysfunctional core. Weakness isn’t always the problem either; there are other things that can contribute to a dysfunctional core such as overactivity or hypertonicity of any of the previously mentioned muscles. So to get a better understanding of the Core 4, let’s break down the muscles in each section to learn what they are, how they’re affected during pregnancy and what you can do about it.

Continue reading “Restore Your Pre-Baby Body with the Core 4 (sponsored post)”

Newly Licensed Learning Center – Ages 2-5

I created Life’s Little Joys Learning Center after a year of planning and dedication. I used my extensive knowledge and understanding of early childhood development and education to create a curriculum and environment that foster learning and growing in an organic and beautiful way. Your child will not spend their day in a classroom, but in an entire house of classrooms! Check out my website for more pictures and information at www.lifeslittlejoyslc.com.

My love-hate relationship with Amazon

It’s crunch time here: work deadlines are looming requiring late night and early morning attention, kids are focused on finals and chores – are therefore – lapsing, and the pressures of gift-giving is piling up.  I hate to say it: I love to  make those Amazon purchases.

Last night at approximately 2:37am, I was awoken by the item that remains undone on my to-do list.  “Wear solid red tee shirt for holiday performance on Thursday.”  Knowing my schedule during the day and evening in the next few days, I knew I could easily let this task slip.  So: I ordered the shirt on Amazon.  Done.

I shook my head in disdain.  I regret it every time I “buy with one click”.  With that one click, I’m taking away a purchase I could have otherwise made at our local shop, I’m adding to our recycling load (which may or may not be actually recycled), and I’m supporting more warehouse and distribution jobs versus our local retail jobs.  “Is Amazon evil and am I evil for using it?

The struggle is real and it’s something that I worry about.  To help me with this emotional problem, I try to buy local.  Which takes time.  So: carve out time to take a walk up the street.  Make it activity!  Get a treat along the way for the kids.  Also: buy directly from the source.  Many independent or smaller vendors use Amazon as its marketplace.  I feel like I’m doing a good deed when I skip the middle-platform and go directly to the vendor.

It is a first-world problem, to be sure, but it’s something I think about often and consider as I tackle my dreaded “shopping list”.  By the way, did I tell you: “I hate Christmas“?

ChildRoots is now enrolling for Preschool

We make space for loud, exuberant play, plan for puddles, and take time for independence. We’re more than just day care – we maintain nurturing and beautiful environments where children are treated with compassion, deep respect, and love. We strive to empower children to be their true, authentic selves. Through wonder, experimentation, and play; ChildRoots kids develop flexibility, resilience, and confidence.
Please email: enrollment@childroots.com or call: 503-235-1151

Nanny with 20 years experience

I am a 59 year old widow, raised two sons of my own and have been a nanny for 20 years. Have lived in Portland for 35 years in the Mt Tabor neighborhood.

I speak 4 languages, have a BA degree. I have belonged to a book club for 27 years. Quiet walks, yoga and reading are my most favorite things, (shopping and driving are my least favorite things)

I have a calm loving and firm approach with children. Most babies come to me at the age of 12 weeks and stay till it is time for pre-school.

Please reach out to me at uglarson@gmail.com or 971-645-5967

Can I be honest? I hate Christmas

I feel like a bad mama saying this: I detest the December holidays.

“Kids: make your Christmas lists.”  We have family far and wide who gift to our kids.  I hate to sound like an ingrate, but it starts to feel like a chore and just another task.  The kids are asked for lists, it assumes they *deserve* the things they list, and they start to take for granted that they’ll get things off their list.  Am I creating a cycle of taking-for-granted, or is it being created by this sequence of events?  We live in extreme privilege to even be asked for lists, to be given things off of them….  BAH!

The mess,  oh but the mess!  It is getting better as the kids get older, as they start to clean up after themselves, but every single fun holiday activity leaves a trail of mess that is just another thing I need to handle on top of the million other everyday things on the list.  From gift wrapping to cooking baking, and from tree topping to card making, there will be pine needles, paper scraps, dough bits, and those teeny-tiny rolling balls that adorn the cutest cookies.  All of this will be found in crevices and air vents for years to come, and all of this will need to be tidied after the activities are over.  BAH!

And: gift-giving itself  has become an expectation.  For immediate family, the kids’ cousins, there seems to be a rule that one item is not enough.  And, never arrive to a holiday party empty handed, even if my homemade treat or gift will sit in a corner only to be recycled next week or next year.  Gift-giving is an art – to make gifts thoughtful, meaningful, and useful.  It is a very stressful art.  BAH!

Did I mention the trash?  Wrapping paper, packing material, and sometimes even the gift itself ends up in the trash.  For what?  The memories?  BAH!

Despite how much I dislike some of the “holiday traditions”, there are some that I love:

HOLIDAY CARDS.  I take time to make cards, maintain our address books, and write notes to each of the cards we send.  There is something meditative and reflective about writing to everyone on our list.  And, I love keeping the cards that are sent to us, watching families grow and evolve.  I love recalling memories from yesteryear with each person I write.  As the years go by, those memories are purely timeless.

ADOPTING A FAMILY.  Everyone deserves the brightest holiday ever.  The energy we might otherwise spend on easily-forgotten gifts we redirect to the family we want to support.  Every year, we try to go all-out with the family we support.  We wrap each gift with care and make hand-stamped cards with special messages.  We try to get everything on the lists, and we set up a wrapping party so any friends or family that contributed to the family can participate in that joy.

THE WONDER OF IT ALL.  Well, despite my Scrooge attitude, there is indeed something special about the look in their eyes and the excitement of it all.  I suppose, in a way, it can be worth it when the kids’ entire bodies are filled with such glee.  We have a Christmas morning tradition where no one is allowed to get out of bed until they hear Nat King Cole’s “O Holy Night” blaring on the speakers.  The house literally shakes awake at the sound of the tune.  There are screams of delight and thumping down the stairs to see what wonders had been left overnight.  It is a slow morning in pajamas, no gifts are opened until Mama Scrooge has a full cup of coffee.  Then, only cards are opened — the long letter from Santa is read, cards from Mama Scrooge (that’s me) and Papa Santa (their dad).  Then, when they nearly can’t take the suspense anymore, we’ll finally get to the gifts, one by one, and only one at a time.  Everyone watches the one opening the gift.  I like to take my time and carefully tear the tape so I can save the wrapping paper.

I really do hate the build-up of the holiday, but I guess I really do love the day itself.  All that other stuff seems like it fades away when we distill it down to its most important part – that morning and those moments.

HAPPY HOLIDAY SEASON TO YOU ALL!  Bah, humbug!  — Love, Mama Scrooge

Waldorf Inspired Center Now Open in NE

Wow and Flutterville Playgardens has been dedicated to offering Waldorf inspired care for children ages 6 weeks- Kindergarten for 10 years. We believe in the practices of RIE and honoring the whole child’s right to be bathed in love and wonder.

We offer full-time, year-round Waldorf-inspired care for children ages 6 weeks-Kindergarten in our beautiful spaces in NE and SE Portland. Children eat organic vegetarian food, enjoy Mother Nature twice a day, and enjoy guest French and music teachers. Daily art, yoga and time to do their work..play. Hours and policies to support families and nursing parents.

The Earth Tortoise School – A Montessori Infant and Toddler Community has spaces available January 2019

Community is very important to us. We hope to create a place for families that feels like an extension of their home and provides a network of support. We are an intimate in-home school for children 3 months to 3 years old. We see this time as one for free exploration and developing a sense of self. Infants are just learning about their own bodies and developing the abilities they will need for all later learning. Toddlers are coming into their own. They are learning their place in the world, developing and refining their skills, and asserting their independence. The classroom is the children’s space – child-sized, beautiful, and completely accessible to their need for doing things on their own. It is a peaceful place that gives them the chance to choose what they want to work on within a routine that is predictable and limits that help them feel secure. Learning develops the whole child – physically, cognitively, socially, emotionally, and spiritually. There are no “right” answers but only more exciting questions. And we love to share their enthusiasm with them in an attitude of acceptance, patience, and love. We hope you can join us!

Spaces are available beginning in January 2019!
Please contact us theearthtortoiseschool@gmail.com or give us a call at (503) 257-4783 to schedule tour.

You can also find more information at www.theearthtortoiseschool.com