Thursday, September 8, 2016

Joe-face Day

Today has become my annual love on my husband day. It accidentally happened after posting something sweet about him six years ago. And I want to keep it up! 

I think in the last six years, I have become a completely different person. We have been married now for five years and it seems that an entire lifetime has transpired.
Not to mention adding two more little ones

I have been through some of my worst times in this short span. Beyond just the insecurity, brokenness and doubt some people face when being a person in their thirties. We're suffered loss together, and fear together, and faced things I would never have anticipated surviving. And it is in no small part due to the crazy man at my side. 

I don't believe that he is the missing part of me, or that he's the remainder to my only half complete self. What he is, in my eyes, is a shade when the sun burns too brightly, He is a gargoyle, when the world outside threatens to break in. He is the breeze that blows away smog that can accumulate just from living in this world. 

We fight loudly, love fiercely, and are growing to talk painfully and vulnerably. Our lives are not perfect and often not easy, but I believe they are made easier for having one another on which to lean. 

I love you, my hermit, and thank you for helping me find me.

Monday, April 11, 2016


So I need to give an update on the novel about our NICU experience.

I started out with a huge gusto and had flashes of white hot writing that left me beat at the end of the day. And then, a day passed without writing, and another and another. It has been almost two and a half weeks since I've contributed much to the project at all. And I wasn't sure why until tonight, when I had a bit of a breakdown.

The act of remembering this story has become rather difficult. It had been something I thought I had left behind us in the NICU. But as I put our story down and detail it in as close to an unfiltered tale as possible, it had become increasingly more difficult for me to get out without feeling a rather embarrassing amount of anxiety.

I feel like I've scratched open raw wounds far deeper than I had allowed myself to understand. I had been so far in denial and shock that I had created a thick veneer of positivity I refused to look behind.

But as I had been writing, the veneer began to chip away and the process of writing became less cathartic and more traumatic. But even then I was in denial about what I felt, trying to blame my procrastination on the frenetic life of a mom with two little ones in the midst of cold and flu season.

Tonight, I made a promise to write with purpose every night this week, to try and restart my enthusiasm for the project. And as I wrote, trying to detail the day the Bean was born, it hit me. Hard and powerfully like a thump to the chest, an ache that hurt my heart so bad it brought tears to my eyes. I wasn't over the trauma of the day my sweet girl was born. I'm not anywhere close.

I spoke with Mister Magpie and we had a discussion about why we pushed through the awful parts and never really dealt with how we were surviving. We just knew we had to.

And he said exactly what I needed to hear. "This book you're writing, it isn't for us. It's for all of the families going through it right now. For the families that will go through it." And so I am going to make a promise to those people I haven't met and likely never will. I'm going to push past my fear, past my tears and fight to get this book together. I need to try and give some comfort to the most terrifying joyful experience I've been grateful to survive.

Please try and help remind me that this is important if I stop talking about it or mention I've been putting it off. There are families that might get some comfort from our experience!

Thanks for your love and support!!!

Monday, March 14, 2016

First Person weekend

So my weekend was extremely busy. I had two shows at the Historical Society and one Sunday at the Kelton House.
Some people are curious as to what First Person Interpretation is and what I do. In short, what I do is either pick (or get assigned) a specific person or a subject and I research and create a monologue and prepare for a Q&A session (my biggest fear) afterwards.
Last summer I was doing the War Widow program and someone from the Kelton House asked if I'd be interested in doing a similar program there. It was a monologue about the cost of the Civil War on the families left behind. It is not a happy tale to tell, especially considering that most of the films and books were written about the brave men that fought the war. I found it heartbreaking and difficult to really see some of the effects the war had that were not well-documented. I felt I had a duty to try and speak for these women and the struggles they went through after their men left.
Fast forward a year or so and I was terrified of sitting in front of a paying audience of history buffs. There always seems to be one person who knows so much more about the subject and had spent years studying it. I am always afraid of what I call "History Heckler". They tend to wait until the Q&A phase to tell you you said the wrong thing, or omitted something they felt was crucial. But the first guest to enter, to my eternal surprise and joy was my High School History teacher and the reason I started volunteering at OHS all those years ago in High School. I was rather overcome and extremely happy to see her there and it was quite the honor to have had her make it out to see me. And then five of my OHS friends came to see me and my sweet co-worker Deborah. I was entirely moved and I think that there were some tears in the audience too. 

I mentioned to Doreen (the aforementioned history teacher) afterwards that I feel I missed my calling as a teacher, but that through programs like the Kelton House and the Historical Society, I get the chance to be an actor and a teacher and it is such great fun as well.
There's an excitement in sharing a First Person Interpretation experience that started when I used to go and see those programs when I was young. I have amazing memories that were burned into my mind as a child. A way to bring history to me in a way that was informative and real. Breathing life into history gives such a visceral understanding of what being alive during a certain period was like and bringing it off the dry page. I could sit for hours and listen to an interpreter tell me about "their life" or watch them making tin cups, iron nails, or taper candles.
It is my hope that as long as I am able, I will have opportunity to give this breath to history. That there will hopefully always be space in Columbus to give our ancestors the chance to live again for a short time so we can learn about their hopes and struggles. It is my wish, that the stories I tell have meaning and will create the memories for others that will forever change their ideas of what the word "history" means.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Magpie tells her tale!

I have spent the last two years just being a mom. 

In August, I had my second via emergency c-section. For those following at home, that is two preemies in two years. Like a RECORD!  

I have been very busy not creating much aside from a few blankets for the babies and gifts. But, we have busied ourselves with the awesome work of being parents.

Having had two preemies, we have made amazing friends at the local NICU that took such great care of our babies. And Miss Bean has made herself a mini-celeb with the staff. My grove and friends have been working on seasonal preemie hats for the little ones as I know how much they meant to me when we found them on our babies. 

The preemie hat project is fun for me to do a little something to help show love and support, but it didn't seem like enough. 

So after a great deal of thinking and brainstorming, I have decided to write a book. As of yet it doesn't have a title, but I am going to be creating something that not only talks about what happened to me, which might be of a little interest, but I want to post everything I learned about my experience in the NICU, 

It is my sincere hope that when I am done, I will have something that has helpful information about what NICU terms mean, what to expect in a pre-term delivery, and what types of challenges can preterm babies face. 

I have a dream that this might be able to be used as a resource to give comfort and information to families who have a preemie and to show the scary and joyous moments that can happen when you have a NICU baby. 

Please check back here for updates as the book starts to come together!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Playtime deconstructed

So before our little Bean was born, I had read a lot about Waldorf and Montessori education. I found a lot of things that I really loved, especially the simplicity and importance of play in a child's early years and development.

There have been many reports on childhood development and sorting skills. With that, the lovely Wee Folk Art gave me an idea! I pulled out all the supplies for this project, having ordered acorns and bowls way before there were little ones to play with them from Casey's Wood Products

  • I got out the acorns, bowls, the paint, beeswax and olive oil and got started. (Be mindful, whatever the sorting toy you buy, that it is large enough not to create a choking hazard for your little one!)
  • I chose six colors, painted the bowls and acorns and let them dry.
  • While they dried, I used a cheese grater to get a hunk of beeswax to meltable size and used a double boiler technique for melting it down.
  • Then I added four parts olive oil (to one part beeswax) and added it to the hot wax. I put the polish in a container to cool down and it hardened up a bit to a coconut oil consistency which I could then rub over the paint to seal it.
  • I then buffed off the excess with a dishtowel.

After an hour of silently putting them in and taking them out of the bowls, I am really pleased with the homemade toy!

I think she likes it!!!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

My "selfie" image

I've been away from this blog for quite a long time. Life has been hectic and wonderful with our daughter and I have been focusing on transitioning from a person, to a person who's focus is now wildly shifted. I'll write more about that transition later. But for now, I'd like to talk about something I've been thinking about a lot lately. 

Sass selfie
I take a lot of selfies.

I don't always post them to public media, But sometimes, if I feel like it's not too unflattering, I'll send it out. 

I've been thinking about why I do that . 

Adorable baby wearing selfie!

I think that generally, I want people I don't get to see very often to share in m life. Do I think they need pictures of my face to do that? Probably not. But as the family photographer, I have shockingly few pictures of myself. 

But I have a secret: I hate pictures of myself. I am always criticizing myself. "My hair's too gray/frizzy/short." "My rosacea is so ugly/my skin is too wrinkled." "My smile is so goofy and my eyes are to squinty."  

So I decided to take each reoccurring complaint I had about myself and turn it into something I am grateful for. 

"I have too many wrinkles" - My life has been full of laughter and tears, I have spent years focusing on listening, on smiling and sometimes I have cried. These wrinkles are roadmaps of the woman I have been. They remind me of the joy and sadness in my life that has led me here.

"My hair is frizzy/skin is too red." - My hair and my skin are mine. I can put products on them and try my best to care for them, but they are part of what makes me Magpie. Each dot, each mole and red cheek and flyaway hair are part of the whole of me. 

"My hair doesn't look good." - I have to remind myself that there are people who wish they had hair, but for various reasons do not. My style can always change, but I should be grateful for the hair I have!

"My eyes are squinty/forehead's too big/face is covered in moles..." - Everything I usually think makes me unappealing is part of me. I am alive and healthy, I see a dermatologist fairly regularly, and when I squint, it's because that is the face I make when I'm truly happy. It's my most genuine smile. 

Baby bump selfie!

Really, it boils down to hearing all this negative self-talk, recognizing it and eliminating it as part of my daily routine. 

Frankly, as much as I've supported positive self image in others, I've rarely felt it in myself. And now, I'm responsible for teaching small people that they are perfect just as they are. And the number of times in a day the hubs hears me say things I hate about myself will soon become things my children hear. 

I don't want them to start hearing me pick apart every small detail I dislike about myself. 

I am me, My face and body are mine and if I want to teach confidence and self appreciation to my children, I need to start with me. 

Show off your beautiful self and share it with the world! We need to see ALL faces and shapes. We need "everyday" to become the extraordinary we see regularly instead of the airbrushed, photoshopped images we've become used to comparing to.

Let the world see you embrace yourself. You never know who might need to see someone like them be confident!

Friday, January 2, 2015

Resolve, instead of Resolution

As the new year begins, many of us take on resolutions, hoping that a blank slate will jump start us to break bad habits and create better ones in their place.

Merriam Webster defines resolution as the following:


What I notice about these definitions is that resolutions are characterized as solutions to problems or resolving a situation. When we think of starting New Year's resolutions, we are encouraged to such things as "eat better" or "exercise more" or "set aside more time for X". While I think those are great starts towards a resolution, I think they could better be defined to actually help solve what is likely a bigger problem. 

So, I have identified five steps to creating successful solutions. 

What is important here is to find calculable challenges and goals and that they need to be attainable and healthy. Do you want to lose weight/inches? What is a healthy goal and what are healthy steps along the way? The more specific, the easier they are to follow and stay on target. (For "what is a healthy goal", I encourage you to consult a Primary Care Physician to help tailor personal goals to your life.) 

It's important to understand that when talking about changing a behavior or habit, it is said that anywhere from a full month to eight months for a new habit to be formed and accepted into your brain. So do not be afraid to take time, but stay with it and surround yourself with people who will support and encourage you to keep trying, especially if you have a setback. 

So don't just make a "resolution" make a SOLUTION!

And have a very happy new year!!!