Let me be still and listen...

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


Two more weeks. We have officially started packing our lives into boxes. It's is amazing how things can get us, make us, how they can move us and hold us.

We are all quite emotional here at the moment, to the point that hubby and I decided to just honker down and get it done. Just move and keep going. No looking to the left or right, we just have to get it done. 

Memories and feelings are dug up, unwrapped, packed back into different boxes or hopefully thrown out and let go.

It's an emotional process and it's not an easy one I must admit. I counted and I realized that in my 35 years I have moved 26 times. This will be move number 27. I moved between cities, countries, continents and different political systems. But for some reason this one seems to be the hardest. It's only 35 minutes away within the same state...


little things and pleasures

Just wanted to share some fun things we sometimes come up with here;0) Princess L loves her dolls, there is lots of pretend play and I adore the things she just makes up herself. Currently she celebrates one baby doll or teddy birthday after another and I secretly watch her set it all up by herself, talking to herself and the dolls, discussing arrangements and preparing the event...big smiles.
Check out that bibs on every party guest;0)

 And of course they need to be fed...The birthday bear gets a cupcake with candle...
 And isn't that the most delicately decorated Panda Lady? My hearts just melts when I see something like that.

The other day Princes L asked me for a wrap-baby-doll- carrier, just like the Moby. I am sure most of you are familiar with what I am talking about. If not, have a look here: Moby Wrap

I used it for Baby J  last year and liked it for the most part. It's a little much fabric to deal with at times, when you are out and about, but I do like how comfortable and snugly it is and that the babies weight was evenly distributed all over my back.

Back to my request. Now I would love to tell you, that I went into my craft and sewing room/corner/area and just made a carrier for her...Well it would have taken too long and an almost 5-year old doesn't have the patience to wait for mommy to figure out how to turn on the sewing machine, let alone coming up with a pattern, a fabric and a final product. So I did this:

I used a scarf and wrapped it around moby style and it worked. I was actually impressed myself about how simple it was and how it just did it. We put it to the test and everything was snugly tight and little Princess L was able to go about her chores with baby in tow...until she started running and jumping around on the couch. She was a little surprised that baby became so lose and complaint. Well, what do you say?;0)

The toilet paper on the floor came from J Junior taking about a roll... I will tell you more about that a little later;0) Have a wonderful day.


Thursday, November 3, 2011

Halloween 2011

I can't believe it is already over. One of my and my daughter's most favorite holiday. We had a blast, we decorated, we carved and dreamed of witches, ghosts, monsters and all the spooky things you can imagine. We visited Salem, had apple cider and doughnuts. We had some friends over on Halloween, we played games and went Trick-or Treating. We were very lucky, because some towns here on the East Costs were without power due to the snowstorm that brought down a lot of trees. Next year we will celebrate Halloween in our new house.

So this year my husband and I were a little teary-eyed because we have spent 6 years in our apartment. It's very small and definitely not big enough to invite all our friends at the same time. But we did have both our children here and we are quite attached to the neighborhood. Also being close to Boston is just one major plus we will miss very much. But you have to make compromises, we had looked for more then a year. And the prices here are just unbelievable. Crazy what people have to pay to be able to live a decent life.

Anyway, before I go any further (the moving boxes are waiting to be filled with our life), here are some pictures from our Halloween decorations.

I am most proud of my witch. I love her boots;0) And yes I drew everything by hand. Nothing copied.

Princess L also wanted to draw bats and ghosts;0) Aren't they beautiful? They even have fangs. She was sad that they weren't "as nice as mine" and I had to convince her that she did an amazing job. And she did!

And of course we had to face paint. 

 And the other side....

And I go painted too. Lovely;0)

 The Tunnel of Doom was Princes L's idea. She saw it in Fancy Nancy's Halloween book. It leads to the kitchen;0)

Our costumes were fairly easy this year. My daughter insisted that she wanted to be an angel and we bought a costume,which looked more like a fairy, because it lid up and that's what sold it to her. I made some wings for baby J and drew a picture of Cupit on a white T-shirt. I went as a cloud (which unfortunately i do not have a picture of) and my husband was lightning...

Isn't he striking?;0)

Namaste, Romy

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

this week...

I read an article yesterday. I cried, but I kept reading. I usually try to avoid anything involving ill children, because I start sobbing the minute they start sharing their story. The picture I saw, reminded me very strongly of my own little boy. But I had to read it. Somehow I just realized in that moment, that I cannot continue to close my eyes, just because we are "the lucky ones". How do we know, if we are anyways.

We have to watch, we have to listen and we have to remind ourselves every single day, that life is so precious, unpredictable, and at many times it seems so very unfair. We have to be grateful for every moment with our families. Try not to sweat the small stuff. It all sounds so cliche, but that's what it comes down to. Be thankful.

I try to talk about being thankful at the dinner table, I try to remember to count at least five little things I am grateful for in addition to having my family around, before I go to sleep.

And yesterday and for many days in the future I will also be thankful for this letter of the Dragon Mom. I was amazed by her strength, by her beautiful writing and her love, which she shares with us. I will keep her and her family in my heart for the rest of my life. I will send her love many times I look into my sons eyes. I will cry many more tears for her and every other parent losing their child. I will hug my kids a little longer, smell their skin, listen to their laughs, hold their little hands. I will breath in more consciously, knowing that all this is a privilege. A treat. Life is a treat.

Notes from a Dragon Mom


Monday, October 10, 2011

We are sleeping!

Just a quick update on earlier posts: We are finally sleeping. Baby J is now being put to bed, with reading a book, snuggling, nursing and singing. Then we put him down, very much against his will, but he resists only for seconds, and leave the room. As soon as I have left, he stops complaining and falls asleep....!!! Without any further action, just like that. Wow, I must say, I am amazed. All the hours of rocking, nursing, holding, back padding and now this. Just like that. I know his sister wasn't that easy, but he seems to be just fine. Can you believe it. I can get some sleep now and be a better person all around. So I am hitting the pillow now and will be all refreshed and full of energy and ideas tomorrow. Sleep well everyone. Talk soon.

Oh, yes, it looks like we are buying the house;0)

Good night.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Moves and more changes

Well, sometimes all that it takes is a good ol' girl's night out to change your focus and remember what your dreams are. After many many months of confinement I actually went out last night and had a blast. I caught up with a good friend who turns out to be one big famous blogger;0) Check it out, that girl is TALENTED! All this for them is one cute place for fun ideas and inspiration. Thank you Mary Jo, I hope one day I will be as productive as you! And of course thank you for a fun night out!

I have been absent again, because we have been exploring the real estate market more closely the last few weeks and it turns out we might have found a nice house. Let's cross our fingers, but I believe we may be moving. After almost 10 years city life we will explore a more remote life style, living about 35 minutes from the bigger city in the area. We were looking for something like that because we yearning for a more quiet and calming surrounding for our little ones and us of course. Now that said in the final days before signing the purchase and sale we getting a little nervous and are hoping to find one clear answer to our question: Are we doing the right thing? I doubt we will find the answer at this moment, but I have a feeling we should proceed after all. The commitment puts quite some pressure on us, but we have just hours to decide. So please bare with us and I will let you know in the next couple of days.

Have a great weekend everyone.


Thursday, September 15, 2011

New Beginnings many times a year

Wow, yes, now I am seeing more clearly what I was always worried about when creating this "blog adventure". If I start anything, a blog, a hobby, a new habit, for some reason it is hard for me to stay with it for more then a few weeks. During last month many things came in between me and my blog, our vacation, baby J's first birthday (oh how cute;0)), Irene, lack of sleep, lack of time...and then what... well if you are a parent you know, I could always find a reason not to come back and write and create...

I didn't create as much as I hoped I would through the summer, better say I "created" very little. I made one skirt, my first ever real sewing project(!). It took a lot out of me since I am basically an 8-year old learning all the little important things about sewing. The tutorial I found on this amazing blog:  blog for skirt tutorial

My other sewing ideas haven't been developed any further. I am hoping the cold weather will help;0)

One of my other favorite blogs is this one. Just the name alone makes me want to visit it every day. Here I also found the idea for those amazing tissue paper pompoms, which I made for baby J's first birthday party.

Most of the other stuff is way to advanced for me right now. I am just struck by how much all those amazing women do all day and what they get accomplished. I basically get stuck with the laundry and dishes and fall into bed...well most nights we do watch an episode of Voyager though...PROBLEM, because this is the only time for me to do different things, to learn how to sew for example, or to write or to do yoga ....

Anyways, I named this post New Beginnings, because I am hoping for more energy towards my goals, fun ideas and great projects. Over the last two weeks I have started to jog again, which can only mean things are getting more "me-focused". I also started a more structured day with princes L (fall is a great motivator, during the summer things have been slow), we started to have a schedule, "school time", themed projects and talks. Unfortunately school is starting tomorrow so we will not see her on three mornings a week, which will be hard and sad for me and baby J. But on the other hand, we will have time for a baby-dip class at the local Y, as well as some "me-time" in the event of a nap;0)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Whole grain cereal

Interestingly enough before I found out that JJunior needs a special diet I started reading the following book: Super Baby Food. It was recommended to me by a friend, (who actually has a blog herself and I will include a link to it as soon as I got her ok for it;0)) after my daughter was born and at the time I started making my own rice cereal. But aside from that I soon went back to my "old ways" and didn't pay much more attention to different cooking ideas.

Recently I have been getting more and more aware of what we are actually eating and what is REALLY in all that processed food from the store. Among many interesting and helpful infos, recipes and newer healthier ideas for your kids food, the book contains some inside on what happens when grains get processed for instance. It opened my eyes, to what all is being done to our food before we pick it up at the store. All the good stuff is taken out, all the minerals, vitamins, fibers are gone...we might as well eat paper I felt. Empty calories! I now rather eat regular sugared and oiled pancakes, which contain whole wheat, with extra wheat germ and Brewer's yeast to enhance the content. It means more calories, but those calories are actually healthier and better for you, then a low fat pancake which is made from white (empty) flower, fake or no sugar...Anyway, I am being opinionated here and I do not want to hurt anybody's feelings, everyone has their own tastes and what works for me, may not work for you. So please do not feel offended if you disagree.

As you can tell, between the dairy and soy free challenge, and me trying to change my(our) eating or at least cooking habits made the last few months interesting and challenging to say the least! Here was my first attempt to a healthier baby, thanks to the above mentioned book:http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=superbabyfood&x=0&y=0

 I take a quarter cup of whole brown rice and grind it in the blender for 2 minutes.
I put it the powder in boiling water, about one and a half cups of it.

I cook the rice water mix for 10 minutes. Then I mix it with a fruit of my choice and feed it to my boy. The rest I keep in the fridge for a few days in a bowl, so we do not use too much plastic which could leek other unwanted ingredients into my baby food.

Obviously I am taking some shortcuts here, I could puree and cook all organic fruits too and freeze them and use them to safe money. Yes the organic fruits, especially the baby food are very expensive. But for now I am a little out of time and patience. You have to start somewhere and move along at your own speed, I think. Don't ever beat yourself down. Be patient with yourself. You do the best you can everyday. ;0) Namaste. Romy

Dairy Free

When JJunior was about a week old I started to notice problems with his digestion and over the first few months things didn't improve. So the doctor and I watched and decided to feed him and me dairy, soy and red meat free. The first few weeks of that major diet change for me were hard, since I am a chocaholic and love to eat all the good things out there. Now it turns out, dairy is in EVERYTHING, and if it does not contain dairy it has soy. The red meat wasn't that much of a problem, since I could still have chicken.

I got a few books and started reading and realized that cooking at home wouldn't be such a big deal. You can substitute dairy for cooking and baking with all kinds of things, Rice milk, almond milk, shortening...Obviously you need to try it out and adjust things as you go along and learn all the new ways of eating. But it is easily manageable. The problems start if you go out and dine at restaurants, go to coffee shops, bakeries or want to EAT ICE CREAM;0)

Most restaurants now ask in big signs to let them know about specific allergies. But I must admit, when you do, many struggle to help you. Some are very professional and have prepared lists easily accessible, for example Chipotles has a list with all the meals and ingredients as a little printout.  Friendly's had a messy folder with so many sheets to read and search through. Not a very easily manageable task, when you sit in the restaurant with a hungry husband, preschooler and a whiny baby.  You end up trying to please everyone (including the oh so helpful waitress), racing through the list and eating nothing good and healthy.... Margaritas has a list of all their items that contain dairy, or soy, or any other allergens. So you have to read the regular menu and when you find something you like, you check the allergy menu if any of your ingredients are to be found there...and again, first time I ended up with plain rice and plain grilled  chicken...Burger King actually has a printed menu on the wall with all the allergy information. Very helpful. Not that I dine there a lot, but occasionally I do.  

Now one important thing, if you are very allergic to something, you shouldn't trust the waiter to tell you about the ingredients. I have had a couple of occasions where people looked me in the eye stating that this and that was dairy free and I had to insist for a written and approved list of ingredients (oh how I love to be a pain in the neck... you should see husband hiding behind my back when I get annoying;0)) just to find out that the waiter was wrong. It's not such a big deal for us, since JJunior wouldn't have immediate life threatening symptoms, but many people do. But I am sure those of you who do, are probably aware of people's obliviousness. 

We are now introducing Soy back into my diet and JJunior's diet, so my life has improved a 80 percent. We will see how baby does with it and then we can start giving him Soy milk at age 1. So buy buy nursing and stinky predigested formula;0) I am sure JJunior will approve!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

sleep the second...third ...and fourth

Well, things have been rough. I am trying to sleep to get more energy to get going, play dates have to be made, beaches have to be visited, laundry be washed and dinner be made... and I am dragging myself through this beautiful summer...and don't even do any yoga...and the running is far far in the future. With two to three hours of sleep at night, it just isn't even on my radar.

Well as we all can imagine life quality is low and first priority is SLEEP. Let's try again tonight. JJunior is teething on top of things, so I am not sure how long I will let him cry. Hang in there everyone. It can only get better;0)

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Sleep or no sleep – that is the question

Our first daughter was a very bad sleeper. How much of it was my fault I am not able to tell. I can however state certain habits which I believe may have not helped the situation. But before I just put myself and my very best intentions down and blame my fear of letting go and such, I would like to walk the proactive path and try to undo some of these “mistakes” with my son.

He is now almost 1 year old and we have yet to sleep through the night. We must add though, he was sick for almost all the first 6 months of his life, thanks to his preschooled sister and her friends, as well as to our trips to friends' houses and birthday parties, playgrounds and of course, let's not forget the unbelievably long, cold and snowy New England winter this year.

So thanks to snot-noses, fevers, coughs, rashes (and yes, sadly a little burn on his hand), thanks to gas and spit-ups and similar issues, my little boy has had a very hard time sleeping. And we barely have grown two teeth so far. Mostly he sleeps for about 2-3 hours a piece and then wakes up. Guess how (if at all) he goes back to sleep...only if he nurses. Obviously at one point in the last year he has figured out that mommy will obey if he just whimpers enough.

Now here is my question: How else do you soothe a baby? I rocked him, sang to him, walked him, but I must admit, yes nursing is the easiest way to calm a crying infant. What a powerful tool, and why not use it.

Yes I am aware of that he shouldn't associate nursing with falling asleep, very painfully aware, since I am the one to blame. And yes I pay for it too. I do though also believe that this will not last forever, I have a 4 year old, I do know. It also is a very nice feeling to be able to help your little one with such small effort, especially when he is not well, which again he wasn't many times in his short little life.

Currently we are fighting a now four day fever, during which I broke down again and let him into my bed, nursing while sleeping. I am just too week at 3am, my legs don't hold up anymore, I fall asleep constantly, so why not lay down.

Well I think the only reason to speak against that would be the question on how to get him back to his bed to sleep by himself as soon as I can't take it anymore.

I guess I will just start again, which I have several times in the past months to follow a technique that I found out about in a book called the Baby Whisperer. The author did not believe in the very famous Ferber method, because she thinks it is too cruel, which I myself actually agree with. And please do not feel bad if you rather Ferberise your baby, everyone has their own ways, strengths and ideas and I am not the one to judge!.

The Baby Whisperer basically stays with the baby several nights, picks him up when he cries, and puts him back down after he calmed down. You can end up picking up your child many, many times during the first night. The author spoke of cases where she repeated that for about 50-60 times. The second night it was less and the next night even less then that. Up until the point that the baby understands, that he will be taken care of and not left alone, and feeling safe he will go to sleep learning to sooth himself.

I lucked out when I tried this method for the first time a few of months ago, after a sick period and bad developed habits. I only picked him up 24 times and then he decided not to cry and to go to sleep. The problem here was though that he woke back up again at 2 am and I couldn't handle the procedure again so I nursed him back to sleep.


I have failed, I am not recommending this method at all anymore. It's just not working for me. I would be interested if it is working for anyone else out there though...Several nights of picking up my son and putting him back as soon as he calmed down resulted in a very very hurt lower back, sore arms and no patience whatsoever. I think if you start wanting to scream at your child you need to leave and change plans...so Mr. Ferber, where are you, I am compromising now and it seems to help a little.

I basically have a nighttime routine, which we follow pretty precisely every night. Book reading, at the moment we stick with “Good Night Moon” which he seems to LOVE. We tickle and sign a little at things I actually know, such as lamp, bears, moon and cow and he just digs it and giggles...Then we nurse and bottle feed, yes I am trying to wean, but we are on a very yucky formula because he has to be dairy and soy free for now. Has anyone tried it? It's called Alimentum and it tastes like it...it's because I believe it's sort of pre-digested so the body doesn't need to break down the proteins which he seemed to be having trouble with...but more of that another time...we are back on sleep routine. After the nursing we sing and I tell him it's bedtime. Kisses and down he goes.

Guess what, 75 percent of the time he actually goes to sleep within 5 minutes. I stay with him by his bed. Sometimes he has a harder time to fall asleep and wants to be held and nursed, but I don't give in. I pet him, "shshshs" him and if it takes longer I lay down next to his bed, so he sees me and I can rest my legs and back.

Now that we covered the going to bed problems we have to tackle the nights...I just don't know how to be consistent, I plan to nurse only once at night but after 1am, he just seems to be too persistent and I seem to not be able to stick with any routine, because to be honest I sometimes don't even realize what I am doing anymore...Too exhausted. I wake up and don't know what time it is and when he nursed last;0) So now I decided to go to bed every night at 8pm so that I can catch up and be more rigorous with the late night routine.

Wish me luck and let's hope we can celebrate his birthday with a good night's sleep;0) And if you have ideas or want to share your experiences just write. Always happy to hear from you.


Dear Friends and Readers,

why mindful, why hippo? Why the mindful hippo? So many reasons and no reason at all.

I am a mother, a wife, in my mid-thirties and I am trying to change my life, my outlook, and maybe someone else's afternoon.

I also am very interested in topics such as healthy diets (for my children), saving energy, greener cleaning, more conscious parenting styles, yoga, making things and saving trees. Yes I do love trees, but more of that later.

After my first baby was born more then 4 years ago I started taking several classes on topics such as mindful parenting, systematic training for effective parenting, yoga and meditation. I had been practicing yoga for 10 years by then, mostly at home by myself, but the concept of doing something in a more mindfully oriented approach appealed to me more and more. That said, I still do many things without putting any mindfulness or yogi spirit to the process and if it involves my children I usually pay for it very quickly.

And of course I also like to chat and share my day to day issues that come along with being a full time mother, a want-to-be-cook, -teacher, -entertainer, -decorator, -yogi, -artist, -skinny bitch with many more buns in the oven;0) We actually had another baby about one year ago and I just turned 35 so that last part will very much likely stay in a “want-to-be”-category.

Oh and I do LOVE making things. Well in theory... I would love to show off my latest projects I created after years of sewing, knitting, baking and shaking...well, I am just starting, though I do have a couple of projects in my head and on the paper. And I believe that this blog will motivate me to get things going so I have something else to share. So please be on the lookout, this year will be different, things will change and we will create things here at the mindful hippo;0)

The hippo, yes, the hippo apparently is one of the more ill-tempered animals, grouchy and big. I do find it cute though! With it's big jaws, sitting in the water yawning.. I wouldn't compare my temper directly with the one of the hippo, but I am not a very quiet person who just takes things as he or she goes. Sometimes life would be easier for me if I could just shut my mouth, cool my temper and address the issue with more.....well yes mindfulness.  I think we are getting the picture.

Unfortunately or ironically the hippo's size has inspired me as well, since I do have a little weight issue myself, which I am addressing by counting points, exercising, failing at that and restarting the process over and over. Serious mindfulness needs to be applied in this area as well...

So thank you for coming to my blog, read through whatever interests you, take what you like and leave the rest... Let's see if I make it through this month with my writing and hope what you saw here made you feel like returning.