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Thursday, May 29, 2014

Mama Retreat and Mama's Birthday

This year, as a very big Mother's Day/birthday present, I got to go on the Mama Self-Care Retreat led by yoga teacher Jane Austin, pilates teacher Stephanie Forster, and life coach Katie Cariffe. If you are a mom in the SF Bay Area or nearby, I would totally recommend looking into this for next year. I got to spend Friday-Sunday up at Mayacamas Ranch near Calistoga doing yoga and pilates, eating delicious (and healthy!) food, and talking with other mamas. They had massage therapists available (though I didn't partake), a Tarot reader (also skipped that one), and a nutritionist, Katie Lauderback, who gave a talk (she was awesome). We also got ample time to relax by the pool. Or nap. Or nap by the pool. Super spoiled. I went with a friend and it was great to have a chance to really connect with her in addition to meeting a bunch of other moms.

View from our room

One of our yummy meals

I thought I'd share some of things I took away from the retreat... to prove I got something out of it other than a tan. ;)

From the nutritionist - I need to eat more coconut oil. Healthy fats are nourishing, especially for those of us who might be depleted of nutrients after pregnancy... or two pregnancies in my case! Coconut oil in particular is supposed to support hormone regulation.

From pilates - I need to stop clenching my butt. (Hahahaha!)

From yoga - Jane ends each class by telling us to touch our hands to our heads as a reminder of right thought, to our lips as a reminder of right speech, and to our hearts as a reminder of right intention. And she says that "right" simply means with compassion. I love that.

From the life coaching - I was nervous going into coaching. It was done whole group, all of us in a big circle. The thing is, I already do put effort into taking care of myself - I go to the gym, I get my nails done once a month, I go to a parenting support group with my girlfriends, James and I do a date night once a month, I pray, I read, I write this blog... but honestly I went in there feeling guilty about the little things. Things like letting Calvin play by himself while I sit and drink my coffee and check Facebook during Henry's morning nap. Or spending precious naptime freedom on Candy Crush and reality TV instead of cleaning. I went in there thinking that all the other moms would be these truly selfless, saintly mamas who were going to make me feel like an asshole. Of course, it's always me making myself feel like an asshole. And the other mamas were just normal parents like me, doing the best they can. So I guess my takeaway was just a reminder that I don't have to be constantly trying to do more. I'm enough. I'm doing enough. I do a lot, not everything, but my kids are happy and healthy - as healthy as can be expected. It's ok to be human-mom and not supermom. Sane human-mom is probably a lot better than crazy supermom!

I'm very grateful to James for encouraging me to go on the retreat and for taking care of the boys all weekend while I was gone. I was back for Memorial Day and we decided to spend the day out at the park. We went to two parks, actually, and then to dinner at Half Moon Bay Brewing Company (of course, because we love that place!)

Busy bag in action!

You can see how much Calvin liked his salmon. #smh

The next day was my birthday and I decided I wanted to spend it at the zoo. I love taking to the boys to the zoo. It's only about ten minutes from our house and we have a membership. We go like every other week! It's so relaxing to just walk around and enjoy the animals. Calvin loves it and gets really excited, and Henry is starting to take interest in the animals too.

That night Hartley babysat and James and I went out to dinner with a few friends. It's so nice to have an excuse to get together without all of our kids!

Creme brulee with shortbread cookies and an espresso martini! 
The retreat was great, my birthday was great, and really the rest of this week has been great too. Henry is getting to be quite a roly poly - still gotta catch him on camera! - and I'm not stressing myself out about his eating. Just feeding him when he's hungry and following all the doctors' orders, and he seems to be doing much better. Calvin had some upset moments after I was gone for the weekend, but I think that's totally normal and other than that he seems to be his usual sunny self. I had this really fun experience at the grocery store with Calvin where I started letting him help me "read" our grocery list and look for the fruits and vegetables we needed. It was also the first time he grabbed an item off the shelf and threw it into the cart! Some kind of chocolate covered crackers. He tossed in two packages of them! #nicetry. I'm feeling very well and very grateful and very sunny myself. And it's refreshing. So happy birthday to me.


  1. Yay! Yes, happy birthday to you! I love the head, lips, heart reminder idea! I'm so glad you were able to go to the Mama Selfcare Retreat! Good for you, you certainly deserve it, and some candy crush and reality tv, too! Mental health is muy importante! Huge thanks to Jam for taking care of the boys, I know they were fine and had fun! Can't wait to see you and the boys!

  2. Oh, us moms are so funny, because to me you are a supermom, even with two kids, you're still so crafty and have this awesome blog. But I like your take away - we're all enough! So I'll stop comparing myself to you now... And just be happy that you're a part of my life and that I got to celebrate your birthday. Many happy returns!