Preschool options: Peace or Grace?

I wrote this post in June, as I was trying to figure out our preschool options. Yet, since it’s Teagan’s first week at preschool, it feels very timely to share.

I choose to balance the best of both worlds, and enroll Teagan at Peace Learning Center on Mondays/Tuesdays and Grace Preschool on Wednesday-Friday. She was thrilled to back at Peace (no tears like last fall!). She had a fantastic first two days at Grace. She seems delighted to have different friends, teachers, and classroom environments. I was surprised that she had memorized the new Grace song after just two days! So, I think we’ve found an ideal balance for us both:

I’m once again at that place of weighing my child care options. In my ten years of mamahood, child care always been the most critical question. I’ve written before about Eco-Healthy Child Care, Child Care & Illness, and paying a “Second Mortgage” aka Child Care, so this is just another phase…for me.

I’m not at the fretful new Mama stage, unsure of what to expect (I was a mess when I had a week to first care for Kieran at four months old), but I don’t take the question lightly. A child’s formative years are essential. I feel like there are three important questions you need to ask at each stage/transition (my answers have been different for each child too):

  1. Where will my child thrive? Teagan is very social and needs time with friends. (She begged to go to preschool during the summer when we were home!)
  2. How much care do I need support my career and keep my life in balance? I feel like five hours a day is my bare minimum. Any extra time really ends up getting spent going to yoga, lunches with hubby or taking care of household needs.
  3. What’s the cost/benefit/balance both in the short and long term? Since the fall, I’ve basically been paying for full time child care, even though I’m not earning a real income. While the time has allowed me to invest in my businesses, the lower rate for fewer hours could pay off.

I only ever “stayed home” with Kieran from when he was a year to 18 months (I wasn’t planning this, but was between city jobs). Yet, once my kids were past about the age of 18 months, I felt like I couldn’t give them all of their social needs and they really needed regular social interaction with other kids (even if it was parallel play).

If I’m honest, I’ve always been too committed to my own career/growth to be able to focus 100% on my children, in a traditional stay-at-home role. I’ve wanted, and almost needed, space to myself. Plus, thankfully, my kids are all very social and have always loved going to child care/school. During the summer we get bored with each other, and they need everything scheduled to feel like they know what’s in store (that’s why moving last year was so hard, with so much out of my control and living in limbo).

I’ve always worked a significant chunk of time just to pay for childcare, and with Teagan, I’ve spent far more on childcare than I’ve actually earned (I’ve only been able to afford this because of the passive income we get from owning a post office). I still feel like most of that time/care has been worth my while, and is an investment in my own professional growth, even though I haven’t earned it yet.

Yes, I do pay for care so that I can go to yoga classes, Rotary meetings, coffee with friends and lunches with people I want to network with. Being able to afford child care has been part of my “Yippie Chick” lifestyle. I don’t want to apologize for it.

As I’ve toiled with this question so many times before, it comes down to how much time I need to myself and how productive I can be with that time.

We’ve had our youngest daughter, Teagan at Peace Learning Center since this past fall. When we moved to Astoria it was one of the first things I researched. Overall, we’ve been very happy with Peace Learning Center (See my Google Local Guide Review).

Now back to my decision at hand…With my older kids ending school, and needing to care for them full time and travel quite a bit over the summer, it only made sense for us to withdraw Teagan for the summer.

So, that leaves me questioning what to do come fall. Since she’s turning three soon, Teagan will be old enough to attend Grace Episcopal Preschool at our family’s church. It’s a Montessori-based program taught by two women who have been teaching together for thirty years. They have a fantastic reputation and it’s a beautiful play space.

The only hitch is that they only offer child care from 8:30 to 11:30. Barely three hours.

Between nanny care and now Peace, I’ve grown used to having care almost all day and I’m just not sure whether I can get everything I need done in three short hours. My “work day” this past year has been from 7:30-8:30 to about 3:30. The big question is whether Teagan will continue napping, giving me up to five hours of time to work daily. Like this post, I can still write on most evenings after the kids are in bed (on nights when I’m not too exhausted myself). Plus, I think I’ll learn from her and enjoy our time spent on household projects and creative play.

In the end, it feels like I would regret not sending Teagan to Grace. Plus, now that Teagan is growing up, there are lots of tasks that we can actually do together and she’s much more apt to play by herself with some attention interspersed. Plus, she is such sweet company.




The Best Day of My Life

Theme Song B.C. – The Best Day of My Life

Our family adopted The Best Day of My Life as our family theme song, while on a road trip on Vancouver Island British Columbia. 

Traveling from Portland, Oregon. We ventured as a family of with a less than one year old, five and eight year old on a two week trek all across Vancouver Island. It was stunningly beautiful and mostly very fun and easy.

The trip was fun of fairy adventure, and we initially took a fairy from Port Angeles to Victoria, then another fairy to Mayne Island for a night at our family friend's rustic cabin (One of the few melt downs of the trip was because the kids were so sad to leave the island so quickly. We had to agree that it felt too rushed, but we had reservations to keep and a full two week trip planned, so we simply had to pack up and head out. Next, we camped with three Canadian families for three nights in Parksville at Rathtrevor Provincial Park. It was really beautiful park with amazing bay and tide that shifted more dramatically than I had ever experienced. You could walk for an hour out to the sea and by high tide, the whole bay would be engulfed by a huge shallow body of water. There were son on sand dollars and we made ourselves quite the picnic. 

Life is Better with Teagan

I’m at home reflecting about life with my incredible daughter, Teagan Brenna Cronin, on her third birthday, while Teagan plays and snacks at soccer practice with Daddy and Bubby. Today feels like a very special day indeed, like every day with Teagan.

Michael Franti’s “Life is Better with You” had just been released before Teagan was born. We would crank the family stereo whenever it was played, inspiring an impromptu Cronin Clan dance party.

The song became an family anthem for us, even for Hubby, who doesn’t typically share my passion for lyrically moving social justice melodies by hot tattooed artists. 😉 It probably had something to do with the flowing hormones and engorged breasts, or the fact that we knew that she would be our last born.

When Teagan was born, we experienced a babymoon like no other. Kevin took four weeks of paternity leave, and we hadn’t taken the time to connect at that level since we first dated, if ever. Serendipitously, Makenna began pre-k the very morning after Teagan was born (at 11:08 the night before), as Kieran began second grade. So, Hubby would drop the big kids off at school and we would go out on daylong dates to restaurants in the Pearl and hikes in the Columbia Gorge, complete with autumn sunshine on Edgefield’s patio. Some days we’d work the garden and putter on home projects, all while cooing at Teagan. We visited with friends and entertained family, all while basking in our “little miracle baby.” She literally only woke up every 4-5 hours to nurse and then went back to sleep, just like a dream. There was a sweetness that’s hard to describe, especially after Teagan’s extraordinary birth story.

Extraordinary is probably the best word to describe Teagan. She feels like a gift every day. I diligently work to stay present with her, not wanting to miss an opportunity to connect with her.

Teagan absolutely feels like the best thing that could have ever happened for our family and for the planet. She is the definition of riotously funny, radiantly adorable, and creatively clever. Her demeanor exudes the sweetest self confidence you could ever imagine, with an innocence that makes you want to cuddle her even closer. Teagan hugs like a koala bear and her eyes pierce you like the sky. Her curls bounce wherever she goes, and her voice sounds like a small song bird chirping away.

Teagan is my miracle girl, who truly wanted to be born into this world at this pivotal point in time. She is my life’s greatest joy and blessing, more than I could have ever prayed for. Yet, better than my immense personal gain, is how Teagan lights up nearly every person she encounters and makes them feel good to be alive.

As for parenting, I can only say that she brings out the best in me. While I still have my stresses, parenting Teagan has always been easy (as long as I follow my own 3 parenting tips!) Even her rare moments of pain and suffering are filled with a sense of duty to share compassion, which just leaves you feeling of service when the episode is over. It certainly isn’t a bad gig being Teagan’s Mommy, strangers continually coo over her petite angelic features and constantly call her my mini-me, which feels like the highest compliment.

I can only speak for myself, but I’ve got a hunch that everyone else in her young life feels the same, that life is better with Teagan. Michael Franti’s “Life is Better With You” music video feels extra inspiring on Teagan’s birthday. I definitely need to film her dancing to the song very soon.

I know that our culture has made birthdays to be a celebration centered around the child and not their mother(s), but it’s hard for me to separate my own life’s transformation from Teagan. Everything in my life has changed for the better since Teagan was born. No, every day hasn’t been blooming roses, but there’s no doubt that every day has been made better by Teagan’s presence. She brings you into the moment in the most captivating way, as though she’s only asking for your undivided attention.

Yet, contrary to what some may find acceptable, I have intentionally chosen not to be Teagan full-time. I’ve actually had her in some form of care since she was fourteen months. Initially, she was cared for during the school hours by our shared nanny, Kensey. My Twin Sis, Miel had moved to Portland with her infant son, Clark, Teagan’s cousin, who was “ovulated” when Teagan was born. They all became the closest of friends, and Kensey cared for them both with her undivided attention, entertaining and educating them. I’ve come to terms with the fact that I’m not nearly as much fun as Kensey through Teagan’s eyes; I don’t make elephant noises or play outside for hours, while strumming the guitar. We were truly one big happy family, in a modern-yippie-family sort of way. 🙂

After moving to Astoria, we enrolled at Peace Learning Center, and she thrived in their caring classroom and has genuinely missed the peer social time over the summer (even though she’s also loved playing with her siblings, cousins, and traveling). Having child care for Teagan gave me the personal space that I needed to learn from my fledgling businesses, discover my mama bliss, and craft a vision for our future. It’s only now, writing this, how I see that it was all part of a higher plan. I simply needed three years of life with Teagan in order to be able to share my wisdom with the world.

Teagan, you are an integral part of my life’s purpose. You are more than a daughter, you are my soul mate. In three short years you’ve helped me learn to live life to the fullest, with presence and pure joy. As hard as it is to see you grow up, I can hardly wait for you to shine your light in this world. (In the past few weeks Teagan has decided that she wants to be a doctor when she grows up, to help kids. I have no doubt that she will do whatever she puts her mind to.

Thank you, Teagan, for three beautiful blessed years. Even though you won’t remember these early years, I will always remember when you were my precious baby doll, only better.

Love, Peace and Laughter,
Teagan’s Mommy

Teagan and I at her first Michael Franti concert at 10 months.
This was truly one of my most blissful experiences ever, especially the yoga before the concert, where she was an angel.  Teagan fell asleep in her baby sling and Michael Franti even patted her bottom as he crowd surfed. 🙂
(She’s even got the best feminist shirt ever: Life is better with boobs!!!)

Music that inspires our family values

Music and inspiring songs have become one of our key family values. For a while now I’ve been wanting to share songs that I sing to/with my kids that inspire us.

Like most Mamas, I started out singing lullabies, and still do to my two year old. But now that my oldest is almost ten, we listen to uplifting pop music. I love both equally, and it’s amazing to see the comfort and joy that come over my children when they hear a familiar tune.

As a parent, it makes for a great incentive to get my three children to help out on chores or do their homework, and gives us a quick bonding break together.

Imagine Dragon’s I’m On Top of The World is one of our favorites. On top of having great lyrics, the video is brilliant and very kid friendly. I love all the historical references, and it feels like every frame was well thought out. Plus, I can only how much fun it must have been to film it.

Do your kids love this song/video? What songs inspire your family?

Happy Sunday!


Being Brave in 2016

Sara Bareilles’ Brave is my theme song for 2016.

No matter how many posts I publish, I’m still afraid of rejection. I may have been blogging (on/off) for the past six years, but I still feel like I barely scrape the surface of the depth of my life. This isn’t because of what I’ve said, but everything that is left unsaid.

Beyond the amazing lyrics of Brave, I am blown away by the video and it’s diverse expressions of humanity. I am excited to finally move past my own deep-seeded fears of rejection. To truly embrace my lovely quirks and eccentric passions. To express my nerdy passion for making the world a better place, simplifying and beautifying my home environment and raising the most authentic children possible. Even as I write this, I can’t help but be a little self-deprecating, but I realize how that doesn’t serve me any longer.

I’m ready to be authentically unapologetic about my deepest desires. I am ready express myself fully and wholely. I am ready to share all of the paradoxical and lovely facets of myself. I know I may not resonate with everyone, and that’s perfectly fine. My light will shine into the hearts of beautiful kindred spirits who are ready to connect on a deeper level. I hope my bravery will ignite a spark of connection for our shared humanity: nerdiness, woo-wooness and all.

Sending you Light and Love,



Darcy’s 2015 Reflection

I’ve been MIA on this blog and nearly abandoned my coaching in the midst of my family’s recent move to Astoria, Oregon. But it’s still not too late to reflect, especially on the eve of the New Year. I could keep this reflection private, but for me making a post “live” makes my reflection feel real, not just like an inner musing.

Despite my hundreds of “personal” blog posts, I’ve still been reluctant to expose my vulnerabilities, despite being a huge Brene Brown fan. I am ready to finally “reveal all” in 2016, so what better way than to reflect authentically about 2015.

I’m also inspired by a recent Flowdream podcast that I listened to about completing the energies we’ve experienced/created. It especially reminded me that I’m not the only one who has misgivings as the year’s close about what was left undone in 2015.

So, part of this reflection is from questions that Summer poses in the podcast, plus questions from a personal growth group for women that I’ve loved participating in since July (contact me if you’re interested in learning more). Lastly, before I dive into these very personal questions, I would encourage you to “coach yourself” by answering similarly deep questions as we close this calendar year.

Completing & Remembering 2015

What was your biggest triumph in 2015?

My biggest triumph by far has been manifesting our dream home and community. If you would have shown me just last year what my day/life today would have looked like, filled with such amazing beauty, I would have been both giddy and completely incredulous. It wouldn’t have seemed possible, and in this past year I’ve begun to grasp just how truly infinite my/our possibilities truly are each and every day, and year.

I’ve already written a long post about manifesting my dream home on my finance blog, but it really does feel like a triumph. Probably the biggest yet, after birthing my three beautiful children.

What was the best decision you made in 2015?
Without a doubt, the best decision I made in 2015 was moving to Astoria, Oregon. Yet, I know that my desires really determined my life, not my decisions only. Decisions are practical and necessary, but without the initial spark of inspiration or vivid day dream, I would not serve as the true creator of my life.

What one word best sums up and describes your 2015 experience?
Intensely beautiful. (Sorry, I need a descriptor).

What was the greatest lesson you learned in 2015?

It feels like I learned many lessons this year. Once again, I’m reminded that my family is my most important job. And

I’ve learned that I’m not always as good of a communicator as I wish I were (learning to communicate what I want, not expecting other to intuit), that I have to be brave to share my story, and my family is my most important job.

What was the most loving service you performed in 2015?

  1. Caring for my children. Being present for them. Showing them empathy.
  2. Serving as a member of Portland Pearl Rotary, Rotary International, and now in Astoria Rotary Club.
  3. Lending in my Kiva Experiment. In the past three years, I’ve an initial $1k into over $7k worth of loans to fellow entrepreneurs in the developing world. Yesterday I lent another two $100 loans with the help of my 9.11 year, Big Guy, and 6.11 year old, Girly.  They were very interested in reviewing the loan repayment terms, and checking to make sure it seems like a worthwhile “investment.” Post to come soon…

What is your biggest piece of “unfinished business” from 2015?

In order to focus all my energy on manifesting my fairy tale home, I essentially put my coaching and blogging on hold. Last year this time I was planning my first Mama Bliss Beach Retreats, leading group coaching sessions, and discovering my niche. Now, a year later, I’m again left wondering how much I really want to coach at this moment. I’m feeling more inspired to share my story.

What are you most happy about completing in 2015?
Manifesting our home really is a dream come true, and then settling in has been it’s own creative endeavor. I feel overjoyed by the beauty that surrounds me, knowing that I’ve created it and will continue to curate my living space. The best part is the amazing view and how much more connected to nature I feel from this vantage. Despite the work of a historic home like ours, it bring me immense joy to live here.

What 3 people had the greatest impact on your life in 2015?

My identical twin sister, Miel, will always have the most impact on my life. We are spiritually interconnected in a way that few know. We inspire each other to dream bigger and bigger.

Lou Radja continues to the most amazing life coach an aspiring  dreamer could ever hope to ask for. Our insightful sessions leave me feeling both grounded and inspired. His authentic and joyful courage is contagious.

I deeply appreciate all the new “Mamas/Sisters” I’ve had the privilege to connect with this year. I’m inspired by our friendship and kindred connection. You know who you are. 😉

Kevin gets his own reflection. 🙂

What is the biggest risk you took in 2015?

Some people might think that moving to Astoria was our biggest risk, but the truth is that my/our biggest risk was actually deciding to put our Portland house on the market months before we ever contemplating moving westward. We couldn’t remotely afford the type of house we were dreaming of, and yet we worked our asses off and went out on a limb to put our place on a sizzling hot market. We even got so close that we bid on a beautiful Irvington home just weeks before Kevin’s job offer, but even that would have been a big financial risk. We were trusting/banking on our future, which takes a big leap of faith.

What was your biggest surprise in 2015?

This is actually both a surprise and a secret that only two people know.*

I felt fleetingly but seriously attracted to someone other than Kevin, enough so to make me rethink and question our relationship. In our fifteen years together I had honestly never had that feeling, and it shook me the core. It feels appalling to have even considered such an idea now, but for a brief time I was in love with the idea of my life with someone else. My feelings were so intense, that I fantasized about our life together. I felt suddenly free to be without the drama and petty bickering. It was surreal and yet, as soon as I came to my senses, I felt very lucid in my desire to create deep shifts in our relationship.

Almost like an answered prayer, Kevin and I were able to honestly share with each our needs/frustrations/desires and hear each other in a way that we hadn’t before.

Thankfully, as I sit here reflecting, our marriage feels more rock solid than ever before.

*I usually don’t share such personal things on a blog post that I haven’t told my husband, Kevin, so this will be an especially big surprise to him, if ever reads this. Just I would never want to hurt him, and I feared that.

What important relationship improved most in 2015?
My relationship with my husband, Kevin, has evolved tremendously this year.

After seven years in an organization that was never truly the right fit for him, he had become embittered. Despite his best efforts to be the best Dad and Coach on the planet (which he is 95% of the time), there were times when our family would get the brunt of his stress and OCD tendencies. He would get upset at things that seemed inconsequential to us, but were obviously big trigger issue to him. It was never anything truly physical, but he’d yell and go on a tirade. I had tried to address his temper many times before, but nothing had ever stuck.

So, after dealing with this on and off again for years, I finally decided that I wasn’t going to tolerate it anymore. Yet, the difference was that I focused on transforming myself instead of trying to “fix” him or our relationship. Almost miraculously (after a very effective breakthrough session), I became faaar less reactive and he became less controlling. Although there is naturally room for both of to grow, I can honestly say that we’ve grown infinitely together this year.

What acknowledgement would you like to have received in 2015?

I have to admit to being one of those types who truly appreciates praise. It used to be that I would live for compliments, to please other people. But at this very moment I’m feeling complete knowing that I’m serving my highest intentions.

What acknowledgement would you like to have given in 2015?

I still have a chance, as I reflect and share through this now immensely long post. 😉

Kevin deserves my endless praise for having faith in our lives together and our family. For caring for our beautiful children, diligently reading with Makenna and playing with Teagan.  For his commitment to coaching youth soccer, and love teaching about life through sports. For folding laundry nearly every night and vacuuming before I ever have to ask. But most of all for sharing your equally brilliant and quirky self with me.

What else do you need to do or say to be complete with 2015?

Thank you. Thank you life! I am so wonderously in awe of the life that I’m creating. This year has been nothing short of monumental, and my heart overflows with joy at the fleeting memories that make up my life in 2015.

My only regret is not having taken the time to write more of story and reflect regularly. I’m only human, and hadn’t yet given myself permission to be truly vulnerable. I plan to make up for in spades in 2016, as I share my whole self with the world and truly tap into my highest potential.

Wishing you acceptance, forgiveness and peace in 2015.

Wishing you peace, love and light to you 2016.


I’ve felt the Light

Wow. My life feels so surreal right now, but in all the best possible ways.

I began my weekend with an incredible yoga session that included a mini-concert to inspire each breath and every flow. Luke Williams (an adorable rising star…I’m his new deepest fan) made me reflect anew on my overflowing life. It’s pretty incredible, and lately life has been so intense that it’s easy to see why I haven’t managed to write more lately.

Here’s a brief description of what’s been going on our household over just the past week:

  1. Our counters are torn off awaiting a lovely new recycled quartz upgrade exactly like our beach cabins. 🙂
  2. We’ve started to pack our home and are planning to put our place on the market this month.
  3. I’ve had a glorious weekend with grilling, kids’ baseball, gardening/painting, and church with my lovely family.
  4. I reconnected with my dear college friend, Sarah Joy, whose been living in Costa Rica for ten years now working in ecotourism (Plus her adorable parents and our friend, Eli and his expecting wife, Juliana).
  5. We’ve had to hire our handyman Jose so many times that I’ve started to talk religion and relationships.
  6. After fifteen years of marriage, Kevin and I had our first “Come to Jesus” talk. We left feeling a new level of understanding of what we each need at the moment in our relationship.
  7. We’re ready to take our marriage to a higher level. We both deserve the deepest love and respect. It’s time to evolve together, not just support each other.
  8. Makenna lost her second tooth in one week, bought polish for the first time and melted down because she just wanted some snuggie time (after pinching and being darn right mean…aiming for my tender melanoma scar).
  9. Kieran impresses me with his inquisitive nature and deliberate manner. He speaks and appears like someone many years older. He’s somehow both sweetly curious and decisively matter of fact. I think he’ll either be a news broadcaster or politician. (Kevin’s still upset that he got a 1 (of 5) from his teachers…)
  10. Teagan steals my heart with every glance, and makes me glow like no other. Teagan’s emotional intelligence at the age of 20 months surprises most adults. She’s still no doubt a toddler who wants her way, and now.

Oh, and top of all of this very full cup called my life, I’ve felt like the light. The source of life, and recognize my place in this vast universe as my own creator and vessel of God/Light/Love. It’s a beautiful feeling. I can’t help but want to share my radiance in a whole new way.

I realize that I’ve been energetically blocked and am finally ready to not just transform, but transcend. My journey has felt like a roller coaster at times, with setbacks and stagnation at times.  Yet, my life lessons have helped me evolve and grow, and push past my comfort zone. Part of my new found awareness was the feeling of an all encompassing trust that everything is meant to happen as it does/has/will.

I’m ready to reveal my whole self through my writing. One day and post at a time. One talk, one conversation at a time. One breath in each moment. Inspiring one person at a time. As well as a renewing my spirit with each new sunrise by practicing meditation and yoga.

I developed “my passion and purpose” statement in graduate school (Antioch University Seattle), but have never shared it publicly. It suddenly feels like it’s high time:

My purpose is to inspire others by sharing my passion for creating meaningful family values that will make this world a better place. (I.e. foster sustainability and social change)

While it’s already been ten years since I wrote this statement, the only thing I would add is that living like “heaven’s here on Earth” is the surest way to make for a beautiful life. As your own creator, personal transcendence is like the extra cherry on top.

My family fills me great light and deep joy, but only I can create my own bliss. And, if that weren’t enough, I’m the leader I’ve been waiting for, and it’s time to live as the shining star I was created from.

Double wow. I know that’s A LOT to spit out in one blog post, nonetheless digest, but I’m feeling so exhilarated to have articulated what I’ve been feeling under the surface all along. Simply that life is what you make it.

This is enough of an aha for today.

Sweet dreams,


Our Most Anti-Climactic Date Night Ever

Over the weekend we had our most anti-climactic date night ever, but instead enjoyed a cozy night.

My Dad was in town to pick up my mom from a trip, so we felt like we needed to take advantage of the opportunity. So, we enjoyed an early BBQ dinner, got Teagan to sleep by seven, slipped the Jungle Book on for the kiddos, and ducked out the door in time to catch a movie. We had thirty minutes to get across town to the Academy Theater, and we didn’t feel rushed. But a just a couple blocks from our house we got stuck in traffic with a malfunctioning traffic light. It took twenty minutes to get through the intersection and by the time we were through, we felt like turning around and going home. Instead we drove on continuing to discuss our back up options. Since we had just eaten, food didn’t sound appealing. We almost always game to check out a new brewery, but since we had enjoyed an early happy hour on Friday (which was in fact a great date night…just from 3:30 to 5). I suddenly realized that my lips were chapped from too much sun and I still had on my capris yoga pants. Then exhaustion hit, as it often does just after the kids go to bed, and all I wanted was to be at home.

In the end, we did turn around and head home to watch an episode of Mad Men. The only difference than a typical Saturday evening was that I had busted out a box of Reese’s Pieces from my Christmas stocking that I had been planning to sneak it into the theater. After watching Don and Peggy slow dance, we turned off the lights by 8:30.

So, I guess the moral of the story is that I’m done with putting “date night” on a pedestal. We used to only go out every six months or so. Now we take every chance we can, trading with my sister, having the neighbor come over for a few hours, meeting during the day for lunch, whatever it takes to get out together. Getting out more often takes the pressure off of making it a perfect night…so what if our night didn’t match our expectations?

Here are a few “date night” ideas that might not even require a sitter:

  • Binge watch Mad Men on Netflix (or House of Cards)
  • Build a fire in the back yard
  • Play Scrabble at breakfast
  • Do a “double date” and invite another family over something easy like take out
  • Befriend a neighbor who is happy to “watch” your kids sleep
  • Do a babysitting trade once the kids are asleep…the only trick is staying up past 8 yourself

What non-date night strategies do you use?


Gathering My Tribe

Cape Camping Perpetua Wildflower Bouquet August 2013 Makenna CroninI’m finally ready to start “gathering my tribe.”

I realized that I’ve isolated myself lately. It started with getting dreadfully sick, but even once I was feeling better, it was easier to stay disconnected. It’s all too easy to do in our modern society. You can opt in or out of social media, or maybe lurk on the fringe. You can let friends’ emails get buried and dinner plans go unmade. You can focus more on playdates for your kiddos than on making sacred time for yourself.

I recognize that I’ve feared judgement for marketing myself, even when the services I’m offering my mama community are truly transformational. Since I’m still in the process of learning, I don’t want to over-promise or disappoint. I haven’t want to be pushy. I want to make sure that “I’m ready.”

I feel like a hermit crab who has grown too big for it’s shell. I’m finally ready to jettison my cramped quarters for the life that I’ve been envisioning all along. I’m ready to come into full bloom.

But privately budding out no longer appeals to me. I want to invite a riotous circle of creative mamas to join me on this journey toward discovering our utopia and living our bliss.

So, I’ve created a new Facebook Group dubbed Creative Career Mamas Unite. The name is a meant to be tongue in cheek, but my sincerity is wholehearted. I hope that like the bouquet I posted, it will be an organic expression that brings joy to all who want to seek sisterhood.

We shouldn’t have to go it alone. My plan is to post coaching style questions for you to ponder and share your honest reflections on. I will do everything I can to keep this a fun and civil forum. Since I personally know everyone I’ve invited at this point, I’m confident that it’s already a high caliber bunch of mamas/women.

Thanks for joining my tribe!



Moving Past Perfectionism

Mindy Gledhill and family

The Gledhill family experiences happy chaos with Mindy’s career. “Our life does not look perfect — neither my husband nor I have done this before and our situation presents challenges,” she says. Mindy’s husband is self-employed, and her extended family also includes entreprenerial sisters such as an art therapist, massage therapist, psychiatrist and photographer. (Photo vyJustin Hackworth)

I’ve just fallen in love the song Whole Wide World, by a beautiful artist named Mindy Gledhill.

To give you some context, I’ve literally been in bed with a severe sinus infection for the past four days. I drug myself to the doctor yesterday (actually my Twin Sis graciously chauffeured me). After a third dreadful night of fevers, the pain is blessedly subsiding and the sun streams in through my bedroom window.

Yet, now that I’m over the hump, I’m feeling vulnerable in a way that I haven’t felt in a long time. Like I can feel my heart opening wider. I’ve been doing some amazing chakra clearing sessions (I’ll share more about this soon), and the last one was about being a perfectionist.

I remember labeling myself as a perfectionist sometime in junior high and thinking it was a good thing. I’ve been working to break this insane habit since first job out of college, focusing on doing my very best and forgiving myself when I fall short. I try to remind myself that my own standard is sometimes unattainable and that I’m only ever doing my best (keeping faith that everything happens in it’s right time). Yet, that’s easier said than done.

Going through the tapping, I realized that perfectionism is still limiting me in my business growth. I stop myself from blogging because I’ve haven’t managed to write the last five…ok twenty-five…ideas that I’ve thought of but haven’t had the focus/stamina to post. Each post ends up taking way longer than I thought it would…as I over-edit every word. Every time I don’t meet my own expectations I end up reading myself a silent riot act. Then I feel ashamed and unworthy deep down, even if I’m consciously feeling just fine. I’m learning that it’s the subtle acts of sabotage that keep us stuck, and I’m finally ready to break through these ridiculous energy blocks.

So, I’ve finally come up with two simple strategies (which have to do with my calendar and a stop watch), but I’m not going to share the specifics until I’ve tried it out for at least a month…

In the mean time, expect to share hearing much more from me. Hears some inspiration to get us started:

Mindy Gledhill – Whole Wide World (Official Video)

Lastly, I found this song on the website of Shannon Mae a photographer we’re planning to hire out at the beach. We actually had a session scheduled for tomorrow (in the glorious winter sunshine!), but alas my family is out at the beach without me. And yes, I am grateful for this time to heal, reflect and grow.

How does perfection limit your whole wide world?


PS My less than perfect website is actually what’s been plaguing me since I launched in a rush to meet my own unrealistic deadline, thankfully my social media/web buddy Eli Madrone has been helping me tweak it toward pseudo-perfection. 😉