Af Violet

Since not everyone knows me personally I am writing up this quick explanation for it may seem weird to see initials before another name as a person's name. 

Well my Oldest daughter decided that she wants to be known to the world by her middle name Violet, however some people that know me personally know that I abbreviate her first name Af very often and get confused when I go back and forth between the two. AND Violet is a pretty common name so we have decided to give her voice online a name of Af Violet until she is a bit older. For now as she does videos etc this will be her stage name-her first name abbreviated with her middle name :) 


Why I love unschooling


I'm not writing this to convince anyone to unschool or homeschool. I'm writing this to shout out my joy and appreciation for my life to the Universe! I am so grateful for my family and for how we choose to live and lately the way we unschool has been front and center on my gratitude list! Thank you world for giving us the opportunity to live life as we desire and rejoice in the magic of it all! So why do I love it SO much?....

Breaking the stigma with Monday's: As a person who went to school I always dreaded Mondays. Of course a lot of us know the Office Space quote regarding 'having a case of the Mondays''s a common thing-to dread Monday. To feel like you must mourn the end of the weekend and living life in your free state which you've enjoyed for 2.5 days! Well, I have always had a tendency to go against the grain in certain areas so I have been a self-employed lady since I graduated high school. With that being said, I have also been an employee and know that sensation of dreading work days. However, as an entrepreneur, and specifically at this point in my life, I LOVE Mondays. I look forward to doing my work and connecting with folks all around the world when Monday comes around! I also don't have the dread of getting up earlier than necessary to rush my children off to school, just because it's a Monday. Stigma of 'having a case of the Mondays' Crushed! 


Sleep: This is HUGE! As a high schooler I wrote quite a few papers about how we (children and teens) would function better if school started later. Now, I first must admit that I am an Owl. So, there's that. However, it's True! Children are able to use their energy to grow and have better brain function if they can get enough sleep. They also are in better moods and have fewer emotional upsets. (You can google search this if you want to find research-that's not my point. I'm simply stating things I notice). Take this even a step further and we can consider our...

Adrenals and adrenal fatigue:  Good lord, how many adults are walking around with adrenal fatigue these days? Being in a constant state of stress and tiredness. Living on coffee. It's remarkable! As a bodyworker, and a person on her own self healing journey, adrenals were often front and center for so many issues. So why adrenals? What do they have to do with school? Well that whole wake up to an alarm clock thing is part of it. How do you feel when you get to wake up naturally? 
I feel GREAT! And I live my life in a way so that I have the pleasure of doing so almost daily. However, I am still a mom so I may wake numerous times in a night or be awoken before my wishes. Plus there are other fun things I do which require setting an alarm clock...which brings me to, how do you feel when you wake up to a buzzing alarm clock? or a blasting radio? There are times when I simply hit snooze and roll it off. But there also times when I am jolted out of my sleep. I feel adrenaline rush through my body. Now is that a fun or healthy way to start a day? Not in my opinion. I would have to do some fact checking to see if there are scientific health ramifications for starting your day with the stress response (sympathetic, fight or flight) on a regular basis. Point is, it's not for me and I'm grateful to not add that to my children's weekday routine. 
Now we can add to the adrenal issue by throwing in transitions and lowered support with one adult to tend to 20 children to help them through each transition. Or we can throw in bullying and being made fun of. Societal shaming and the pressures of feeling like we have to change who we are to fit in. (I think that is another post in and of itself entirely)! All of that triggers those defense mechanisms.
Of course stress can be good and we are all going to encounter it. I'm simply throwing some other ideas out there of how it is being minimized in our lives. 

Food: Personally I feel the best when I get to eat and drink when I'm hungry and thirsty. I enjoy listening to my body. I also feel best when I can take time in the morning to get protein in my system and eat what I'm craving-which sometimes doesn't happen when I have to be somewhere soon after waking. Add to that, quality food-and my school lunch sure didn't compare to what I eat now or at home! (Of course some schools are getting way better at this but others are still failing miserably). And that doesn't even tap into the whole food sensitivity situation. 

Travel: We (as a family) LOVE to travel! We are currently traveling to help out my dad which would not have been possible if we had to stick around home for the kids to start their school year. I want to be able to travel for fun and for emergency situations without batting an eye about if school is going to impact our ability to travel. (We do participate in sports and dance etc so there are times when we choose to not travel to maintain that consistency).

I don't like unnecessary conflict: Now of course if you are choosing to school then this conflict is more 'necessary.' Yes I said 'choosing.' It is a choice. I know that there are some certain circumstances which make it seem like the only choice. And I know in other circumstances, one parents hands may be tied due to legal encounters with another parent. However, in most situations it's a choice. If you want to unschool/homeschool, you can. It takes support but you can do it! With all of that being said, I live my life with as little conflict as possible. I'm not talking about being passive, or even passive aggressive. I'm talking about preventing triggers and living in conjunction with my children's desires to the best of my ability so that we don't have to push and fight for each of our rights to do and be as we please.
These first few weeks of school I have heard from so many parents how it is a 'constant battle' with their kids to get them off to school, to do their homework and to go to sleep at night. I have also experienced working with some kids during these first few weeks. I was able to make some of the transitions a bit more flowy and easy however there were times when I felt out of my comfort zone. For instance, a boy I was working with absolutely did NOT want to do his homework. We finished one page but then it was a standstill. All he could say was "I don't want to do it!" and all I could do was empathize. "I know it!" I had enough days when I didn't want to do homework. My partner could also empathize. as a boy he was like this boy- did NOT want to do homework EVER. In my nature, I do not want to manipulate a person to get him/her to do what he or she does not want to do. Nor do I want to force it. So I was sitting there at a loss. I didn't want to bribe. (manipulate). My explanations for why he needs to do it were not comforting nor helping bring motivation. (He needed an intrinsic desire to do this, not an external explanation). And how do I really explain it-for me I don't want to put my girls in school (unless they really showed they wanted that) because I can't stand homework, so how am I going to convince a 6 year old that it's something he needs to do? 
My point-I don't like unnecessary conflict, and for me the battle with homework is not invited into my life. Nor is fighting about sleep, or waking up in the morning and feeling rushed to get off to school. I know it's possible to maintain the connection with your kids and make these tasks happen-it just doesn't resonate for me.

Violet learning to ride a bike by simply hopping on and doing it! 

Violet learning to ride a bike by simply hopping on and doing it! 

I love learning. I love seeing my children learn. I see how it happens spontaneously. I want to support that and help it fluorish.  It's simply amazing to watch my children learn. Violet picks up on things without me having to force her to memorize anything! She learned the days of the week and facts like 60 seconds in one minute, 60 minutes in one hour, by asking questions and applying information. She pointed out to Me how 3 4s makes 12. She isn't memorizing facts by having it drilled at her and being asked to memorize it. She's Learning it because she's curious and wants to know it! She starts reading when she wants and takes breaks. She asks to do experiments and she learns so much as we travel to other places! She also gets to hone in on her passions right away. For instance, she's interested in sewing so we have given her the tools to learn and as she grows we attract others to take her farther so she could easily apprentice someone and be selling clothes by the time she's 12 if that's what's right for her. That is One example of her following her passions and beginning to serve the world through her gifts. My youngest, Regina,  is also a joy to watch learn! And you can see how she learns differently. She is a feeler. She wants to touch things and take them apart and put them together. Violet wanted the words first. I not only get to observe but I get to be the conduit for each of their unique styles! I get to be in awe on a daily basis!

Basically I LOVE what we are doing and I wanted to shout it on the roof tops and say THANK YOU UNIVERSE!! I wish for everyone to feel this great too! Big hugs!

Transitions, Growth Spurts: The energy reflects from every person involved

We are going through some big shifts these day! I can feel the independence pull from Violet. Regina is starting to cut her 2 year molars. My partner is stepping into all of his art and overall soul being. My business self and spiritual self are flying high and breaking through every glass ceiling that presents itself. Clearly we are in the midst of a lot of transition and growth spurts! Of course as when I was mostly doing bodywork, I have clients coming to me with the same situations which I have recently worked on; and the current one is how to recognize and deal with these growth spurts!

The first step is often Awareness. Our awareness helps guide us in every moment. So if we are experiencing tumultuous moments with our children, the Universe at large, and our children themselves, are speaking to us--trying to get our attention and awareness. 

How to know you are in the midst of a transition or growth spurt?

~You are becoming fatigued with the situation or your child. What was working is no longer working. = Big sign that it's time to grow! Or that your children are already growing and are asking you to catch up ;) 

~You are having a Lot of Resistance. Your child is not listening and is pushing boundaries which were not a concern before (or which happen during every growth spurt). Similar to the first point-when you are coming up against resistance it is time to grow. Time to shift what you are doing and adapt to the new situation. When you yourself are experiencing the sensation of resisting life, you too are coming up against an area in which you are being invited to grow and change. 

~ You're feeling uncomfortable with your actions or feel clueless on how to be a parent. 
This is a sign that someone is leveling up-most likely the first born since they are our first teachers for Every phase. However, each child is different and the second, third, fourth etc. can be so different and present us with new challenges to level up our creativity and skills as a parent. 

~ Along with feeling uncomfortable you may be slipping into your generational patterning. All of a sudden you are wanting to yell or spank or shame because your conscious ego self is holding on to the current situation and is scared to change and grow. So you are calling upon energetic memory from your generational and lifelong patterning. 

What to do now that you have the awareness that you are in the midst of a growth spurt?

~ Take a breath. 

~ Remember and recognize that growth spurts are Good. Each time you pass through one, you have new skills and have evolved not only yourself, but the energy that goes out into the entire world! 

~ Be kind to yourself. Give yourself props for recognizing what is going on and doing your very best in the situation.

~ Shift your energy. Start to surrender to the growth. Lean into the transition. Welcome it's gifts. 

~ Be kind to your children. See how they are growing. See how that growth is positive. (even though it may seem like chaos and as if your child is going to be the worst adult ever).
We are a funny species...we want our kids to grow up so fast yet as they show us that they are growing we want to hold onto them and fear the change. 
Respect them as they dabble with learning new boundaries and new skills. This applies to EVERY age and every human. 

~ If you're still feeling lost and want more guidance seek a coach and have a session to clear your current angst. 

Lastly I want to bring your attention to the fact that as a person in the family is growing, it is very likely that others or Everyone is growing too. We all mirror one another and that can make things pretty intense! So if you are feeling those out of control feelings, remember that your children are probably experiencing something similar. When you allow them to grow, you allow yourself to grow and vice versa. Be gentle with everyone in your family. Embrace the growth. Embrace the Transition. Breathe with it, just as you would when you were birthing your babies! It's an important step. I really like changing the word to Transformation just as they do in hypno type classes, because it truly resonates with what is happening---You, your children, are TRANSFORMING into your new beings! When you can spin your thoughts and shift your energy to seeing this miracle, you can then shift with more ease and peace. 

Hugs to all of you!

Kickin' Mastitis: My Experience

It was Violet's (my oldest daughter) fourth birthday. Regina was around 5 weeks old. We had just moved. Mastitis came knocking on my door. This is my experience with mastitis and how I helped my body work it out.

The day before my daughter’s birthday I woke up in the middle of the night feeling pain in my right breast. It felt bruised. I did not have any sort of breastfeeding issues with my first and never felt this type of pain. It triggered my memory from two days before when we finished moving things into our new home. I had worn a nursing tank top that was too tight and was bothering me for a majority of the day. I wanted to get it off asap, but alas, our carpets were still wet so we spent some time at a friends house and I neglected to ask for a different shirt to wear at her house. (hindsight-it’s so lovely).

The pain was exactly where the shirt was bothering me. I tried to ignore it for the first part of the day but did start taking echinacea. When I took a shower in the middle of the day I looked in the mirror and had my suspicion of mastitis confirmed from the visual appearance of my breast. I then amped up my vitamin C intake and made sure to take echinacea a couple more times throughout the day.

Later that evening I decided I better start some garlic. I wanted to kick this and kick this fast! It is imperative that I also immediately put myself to ‘as best as possible’ bed rest. Now I mean that very literally. I was in bed the entire time aside from when I absolutely had to stand up with Regina, or had to pee or something very necessary. Of course this was terrible news with the timing of everything. I mean who wants to continue living among boxes not getting anything done? But it was worth it for healing my being comes first. It’s the only way I can take care of all of these lovely people in my life!

Another very important thing to point out is that I nursed like a crazy person from that side-to get it all to drain properly. I also took warm showers.

The next day was Violet's birthday. Now I did had a plugged duct/mastitis symptoms in my left breast, again exactly where the tightness of that shirt was (time to nurse rampantly on both sides)! We were suppose to go to the zoo for birthday day. Super frowny face inserted here! I was probably more bummed than she was that we were not going; which I am grateful for. Instead it was a movie and lego day for us. I was able to lay on the couch, aside from getting us fed, all day. Day two for bed rest success. (and a pretty awesome birthday for us-it flowed and was full of joy).

OK back to the garlic....
I had a raw clove chopped up finely on a spoon with some broth as a chaser-that worked well! In the past I’ve simply done the raw chopped garlic mixed with honey but I wanted to try something different and I’ve gotta say, I like it better because I was able to swallow more of it and taste it less. Later I had chopped raw garlic on tomatoes with some basil and balsamic-think bruchetta with out the bread. Two cloves down. For that night that was enough. On the birthday day I did another clove with broth. I then took a

day off and the following day I did more with the broth. It is often recommended to do six cloves a day but I have been sensitive to garlic in the past so even a clove knocks me out-literally. I napped for an hour after the first clove. I felt like I was going to puke, laid down and felt it working throughout my entire body like fire traveling along a path of kindling.

So guess what, after all of that, I felt great! I still decided to take it easy the next couple of days. I also decided to be aware of how much I was doing in general for the week after that simply because I want to maintain my health. I am also grateful for the experience to know how painful it is for when I help clients that are going through their own mastitis journey.

I say, give it a whirl. At least try to kick mastitis naturally by giving yourself some tlc. Here are the specifics broken down:

breastfeed breastfeed breastfeed
garlic: 2+ cloves raw
echinacea: 1 dropper full of tincture 3x a day
vitamin C with bioflavinoids: 1200-2400mg a day
in addition or on days of lower vitamin C intake I drank orange juice, hot lemonade, and rose hips water for extra vitamin C.

Also good to know:

Not everyone has visual signals of mastitis.
You may have a fever, in which case you really want to get on the garlic and pay attention.
If natural remedies aren;t giving Any results in 48hrs you want to contact your caregiver to possibly begin antibiotics or determine other treatment. If you are having slow improvements, listen to your body--Always! 

Help Sooth Teething Naturally

Teething has begun. That lovely sleeping schedule may be thrown off; wakings from wimpers or crying may occur. Every child teeth’s differently; some very peacefully while others life can become completely tossed upside down as these little pokey teeth arise through the gum line. Since we are in the midst of this ourselves I have decided to put together a list of options during those intense teething times.

Chew Toys:
-silicone, wood, fabric, and the list goes on. Some of our favorites include:
Sophie the giraffe, silicone popscicle molds, bpa free child spoons, metal child spoons, stuffed animals, wooden cooking spoons (be careful if they get the handle side for they may put it too far down their throat-ouchie), and of course if they are just beginning to teeth and don’t have many teeth yet, fingers.

Cold Options:
-freezable teether toys (bpa free), cold water wash cloths (can also be put in the freezer to become colder), breastmilk popscicles, and mesh food feeders filled with frozen fruit or veggies. Let’s explain a little further...

Breastmilk popscicles are simply expressed milk put into a popscicle mold and frozen. These are great for children of all ages, and are a good option for those under 6 months and not on solids yet. However, I personally still hold off on this option unless pain is so intense simply because the milk is frozen and not body temperature as it comes from the breast.

The mesh food feeders are an option for those already on solids or beginning to introduce solids, for they are filled with frozen food for the child to chomp on.

What are some other options?

Baltic Amber Necklaces: I suggest raw baltic amber because I feel the potency of stones more when they are raw versus polished. The lighter color is known to have more succinict acid which is what acts as the natural pain reliever. These necklaces are Not for chewing on. They are for wearing.

Breastfeeding: Some babes will turn away from the breast during those painful times while others will melt into relaxation. I’ve now had one child that reacts each way. Either way, give it a try: offer the breast.

Rocking/bouncing/wearing: Sometimes simply being close and rocked or sang to can be soothing enough to do the trick. It leads into another option: distraction.

Distraction: I am not a fan of redirecting and distracting when a child (even a baby) is simply having an emotional experience however in the case of physical pain, it can be beneficial to redirect their attention to other things so that they can take their mind away from the pain. Toys that play music, looking in a mirror, having another person enter the scene and play, and for us shadow puppet/finger shows and Little Horse dancing have been miracle pain killers.
Shadow puppet/finger shows: I would go by a wall where light is shining and wave my hands around while making wooshing noises and taps. Little Wolf would be fascinated with the noises and completely focus on my hands as well as the shadows. The first time I did this I was stunned; and it worked every time as tooth number one emerged! Little Horse dancing: She loves entertaining her sister, and when Little Wolf is upset she immediately helps out. Sometimes she grabs a toy and she does a little jig and sings a song capturing her attention and changing the scene completely.

Lavender Oil: If things are obviously too painful I will resort to using an olive oil lavender blend. I use 1 Tablespoon with 1 Drop of lavender essential oil. It is Imperative that a person dilute the essential oil properly as well as Avoid internal use. Do Not put the oil in the babe’s mouth. You simply use a finger or swab and rub the oil along the jawline. (Remember to wash your hands if you use your fingers). How quickly this worked the first time blew my mind. As I have used this many times, there are occasions when it takes a few minutes to work. Those few minutes can feel like an eternity in painful teething moments but it has worked every time at least for periods of time. And then

if all else fails

Hyland’s Teething Tablets: I use these as an absolute last resort. They are a homeopathic remedy which I have found to be very successful. With Little Horse I maybe used them a handful of times but she was a wonderful teether. With Little Wolf they have been used more often but still sparingly. I always want to maintain gut health so I do not like introducing anything before six months, however when the pain is that intense I want to help it go away and trust in the powers of breast milk to heal that growing gut.

There is a homeopathic teething gel as well, but I have not had as much success using that. However, that reminds me to remind you to never use anything like oragel that has benzocaine in it! (1)


Parenting Stress and Mistakes Are Rooted in FEAR

If a person takes the time to boil down many of the stresses they have as a parent, one can often see that oh so many of them are rooted in Fear. Many of you have probably heard or seen the acronym False Evidence Appearing Real, to describe fear. And that is one great way in which we can look at how fear creates unnecessary stressors in our parenting role, with the connection of our children, and therefore in the way we may make "mistakes," as a parent. 

Now, I'm about to share one of my most challenging experiences as an example. One of my daughter's genetic backgrounds holds some dis-ease such as addictive personality, and bi-polar disorder. So, any time she may display some sort of these characteristics it can be hard for me to look beyond the behavior or situation to see that it is really a False interpretation of what is going on. Her behaviors are completely 'normal,' and do not predispose her nor determine that she possesses either of these dis-eases. I hyphenate the word because that is what disease is-it is a dis-ease of life. Of one's experience of life, and/or of that easy balance in the body, energy field or psyche. It is not inherently a Bad thing, it simply is. 

Anyway, as I face these fears I think to myself "what would I do if my fear were real?" and I come up with the fact that I would still love my daughter unconditionally and I would support her in the best way that I know how. The same goes for every time she gets a cold, or the flu, or has an emotional upset (and the list goes on). NOTHING changes how much I love her. Of course that is at the ROOT ME, my TRUE SELF. My egoic self can have an issue with her behaviors and can sometimes close that open door of love, for that is what I have been conditioned to do when I am not tapped in to my true being. 

So, as I traverse the planes of recognizing my fears, I see how my behavior, my stress level, my response is rooted in this make believe story. In the moment I may be seeing an addictive personality because my daughter wants more sugar after having some. I react with FEAR and have an underlying script of "What if she becomes an addict? What if she consumes so much sugar throughout her life that she doesn't take care of her gut and has ill health?" And those fears then bring out a control freak, which is where mistakes can be made: saying something you regret later, punishing a child for simply being a child, and the list goes on. We are all well versed in that good ol' parent guilt.

As you can see, there are these underlying stressors that are carried around and consuming my energy, my vitality, and taking away from my connection with my child. And that is simply one example. 

We can apply this to any situation. See the situation, recognize what you are stressed about. See the Fear.

What are your fears? Do you impose them upon your children? Do you see how they come up as you make parenting decisions? 

“It’s OK,” Accepting What Is

I few years ago I noticed myself saying “it’s ok” in my head quite a bit. Simultaneously I had a friend mention how that was her mantra, especially when things appeared to be falling apart. “It’s one of the only things that gets me through the tough moments.” Lately I’ve noticed it come back. And I realize how very helpful this mantra truly can be. 

Now, of course there are going to be pieces of this that may be hard to digest and there are exceptions I will mention at least one, but here’s the jist…

Saying “it’s ok” to yourself, and sometimes to your children can really help you accept the moment for what it is. Thus diffusing the emotions and the judgments you may hold in regard to the situation which can bring suffering, not only to yourself but to those around you. 

Let’s look at an example: If you are driving and you hit red light after red light, you may feel frustrated. But if you say “it’s ok,” then you believe that it’s actually ok. You no longer feel like it’s the world against you or that it’s a miserable thing. It is what it is and it’s ok. Life is going on, the world is spinning exactly as it should be. Of course if you have a great amount of resistance to the idea that this truly is OK and if you don’t trust the process of life (hence why there is so much resistance), this may not work well for you.

Now wait a minute-what about all of the things that really aren’t OK? Alright let’s see, how about if your child hits another child? That’s clearly not ok, right? For anyone who follows the golden rule knows they don’t want to be hit (minus the select few out in the world that may actually enjoy this), so hitting another does not fall in line with being OK. Well the truth is, if it’s happened, it is OK. That does not mean you do not seize the moment to teach your child that there are better ways to handle situations and that hitting hurts not only those being hit but yourself. It means that it happened. Your child doesn’t benefit by hearing “OMG THAT IS SO NOT OK” or “What you did is awful.” They benefit from hearing “It’s OK, I accept you for you, as you are, regardless of what mistakes you may make.” Saying “It’s OK” to yourself in this situation can diffuse you from freaking out on your child and gives the space and neutrality needed to deal with the situation from a calm space. 

Your child spills something, breaks something, the list goes on; and no matter what, it ends up being OK because it already is what it is. It’s our resistance to life and life situations that makes things not ok. 

Now in some situations it’s better to add the word Going . “It’s Going to be ok.” For instance, if your child sees a child hurt or sad and crying, you wouldn’t want to say “it’s OK,” because that can be confusing before they are old enough to understand these in depth ideas. But to say “They are hurt or sad and it’s going to be OK. They are going to make it through it,” conveys the message more clearly. This may also be necessary for you, the adult. For saying “it’s OK,” right now may feel like a lie. In which case it won’t help you as much as saying “It’s going to be OK.” So if you’re in a moment that feels awful and you can’t wait for it to pass, then reminding yourself that it is Going to be OK is your answer. Once you get to a new place you may be able to shift more quickly and see that it really is OK in that moment. Again that doesn’t mean actions don’t need to be taken. If your child has just had an accident and need care, you still need to care for them, take them to the hospital or whatever is necessary. In that situation, instincts take over and you get things done but once your mind reenters with the judgments of how awful the situation is, that is when you can remind yourself it is OK. Us humans are pretty resilient. Imagine all of the times you felt it was the end of the world and then you came out on the other side. You have that clarity now and can look back and see how it Was OK, it just didn’t feel as awesome as the joyful moments and ecstatic ones. 

The point is, we can shift. We can accept ourselves, and our children and our situations if we see that they are ok and it’s only our judgments that they are not ok that hold us back. You are ok. Your actions are simply actions. You deserve love regardless of your mistakes and learning moments. Your children are ok regardless of their behaviors. They deserve love and acceptance.

Where are you at, can you shift your perception of each moment by reminding yourself that you are Ok, or are you stuck in judgments? Or are you somewhere in between?