Health During Midlife

A Mid-Life’s Summer Night

sleepIt’s 10:30 p.m. The kitchen is cleaned, and the family room picked up. They are both ready for tomorrow’s life of meals, random newspaper circulars, and at least a dozen water glasses left half full lying around both rooms.

The dog, Louie, has been put out for the evening. We both climb the stairs to finally to go to sleep. My husband, already snoring peacefully, has his earphones on and plugged into his Ipad that is now flopped haphazardly onto his stomach. As Louie jumps onto the bed, I prepare my nightly ritual for sleep.

“Boy, it’s so hot in here.” I lower the thermostat before changing into my pajamas. I stare into my closet, trying to conjure an outfit I will wear to work tomorrow. Then, off to the bathroom I plod for the beauty regimen. Teeth brushed and flossed—check. Contacts out, eye make-up off, face washed—check. [Read More…]

Happy First Year to My Twinsies

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I’m exhausted.  I am sitting here surrounded by birthday presents, picking pieces of Gigglebellies carrot cake out of my hair, feet aching from an afternoon of running around, stomach rumbling because I forgot to eat and two 1 year olds safely tucked away in their cribs.  All in all, the first year birthday party was a complete success.  The guests enjoyed themselves and we survived.  The day wasn’t without its hiccups, but much like this first year, it has ended beautifully.

I honestly think part of my exhaustion this day is the emotional roller coaster I’ve been on these past several weeks remembering the journey that began one year and nine months ago.  It was then we learned our surrogate, Jess, was pregnant with our twins.   The absolute profoundness of our experiences, since we found out, makes me heady; weepy and excited, melancholy and cheerful – but totally intoxicated in awe and wonder! [Read More…]

Comfort Food

comfort foodWhen I told a friend, a fellow American, that our family was moving to Canada from Japan, she exclaimed immediately, “Oh—they have a kind of cookie there that I like very much!”

This amused me, and then I thought later that this is also how I most often recall places I have been but do not know well.

In England, a savory pastry that you can eat with your hands as you walk through the park, trailing crumbs for gray pigeons. In France, pungent red wine (legally!) sipped from a glass in a restaurant when I was barely 12 years old. In Mexico, cheese curds—soft and fresh and salty. In Thailand, a coconut curry.

[Read More…]

Little Kids, Big Summer

Andrea Lynn's kidsSummer beckons, and it feels like we are making the great leap this year from the familiar to the unknown. Claire’s leaving kindergarten behind and heading to Grade 1 in September, and Anna is leaving preschool and heading for kindergarten. The summer represents the gulf between the old and the new, the last vestige of Little Kid Land before they are in school every day all day for, oh, the rest of their lives.

I suppose I’m nostalgic, but right now it feels great. Leaving the daycare (and the fees, oh the fees!) behind. Good-bye to the arcane rules of preschool, the push-pull of teachers who reject last season’s sunscreen and Anna’s favourite crocs, who dictate which cupcakes are acceptable and what toys are not allowed at Show and Tell. I know one day I’ll look back with great fondness and nostalgia, but right now I’m ready for it all to be done. I’m eager to ease up a little on the very cautious approach to early childhood education and embrace the chaos that is elementary school. [Read More…]

Finding Compassion in Motherhood

Lora's breastfeedingWhen I held my son in my arms for the first time, awe welled up within me as I gazed into his liquid, soulful his eyes. He returned my gaze, wailing to me just how difficult his journey had been, how shocking this moment was to him. I have never been so fully present a witness to someone’s story as I was at that moment.

As a new mother, I wanted to be that present to him every moment of his life to come. I was in my late 30s, educated, a Buddhist meditation practitioner and in recovery from a massively abusive childhood. I would be everything my mother was not able to be most of my childhood: present both physically and emotionally. I would give him the experience of having a parent witness his experiences with so much love that he would grow up to be deeply connected to himself and to others, trusting that the world is a safe place. [Read More…]

I Need to Get Away!

massageYesterday, I lay on the massage table, having a delicious ‘in the body’ experience (as opposed to an out of body one) that felt heavenly. Why don’t I do this more often, I wondered? And why did it take me so many years to allow myself to have this pleasurable experience?

Somewhere in my mid-forties, I felt a strong (and frightening) urge to leave home. Up till then, I was a true-blue multi-tasker, achievement oriented busy person, running a household, volunteering, chauffeuring kids, and coping with motherhood the best I knew how.

I had started late, by some standards, first baby at 36 after two miscarriages, second one at 38. I was studying part-time, writing a book, and teaching. I got pregnant the year I got accepted into the Masters in English program. Nursing babies at 4 am, with journal open and pen in hand, some of my best poems came out of those years. [Read More…]

Spring Celebration of New Life! (Wendy Sue’s Story)

Wendy Sue's tribeHappy Spring, my friend!  Isn’t it truly magnificent how Mother Nature resembles our lives, and reminds us of our own natural transitions?  Like the blossoming ecstasy of new life after a cold and dark existence.

This Spring, in particular, is sensational on many levels.  Why so?  After many years of a cold and dark existence, my family and I are in a thrive-0-mode.  Just like that lovely bush of bursting fragrant Jasmine.

This story began when I had just turned 30 years old.  I was living my dream life in San Francisco. And, then, it hit me hard. “Hey, Wendy!  You didn’t come here for a fun and party life.  You took this birth to be of service to others ~ wake up!” I received this exact message from three different mentors during my 30th year -an Astrologer, an Aura Picture photographer, and a Clairvoyant. [Read More…]

6 Annoying Things Your Children Do that Are Actually Good for Them

yelling_girl_in_carKids test parents’ patience all the time. They whine, bargain, cry, mope, and dawdle. They yell and scream and make themselves the center of attention. Sometimes they dig their heels in and simply refuse to budge.

While we may wish our kids would be compliant, cooperative, and sunny in temperament, the reality is that they are doing exactly what they’re supposed to be doing. They are learning how to manage their emotions, whether it’s sadness, anger, or fear. Kids do this by expressing themselves in the moment. Unlike adults, most young children don’t hold in what they are feeling. They release pent-up emotions right when they feel them, if we let them, and then they move on! [Read More…]

Two Hands Mama

two hands

Boy screams “Two hands, Mama!” whenever I’m driving and both of my hands are not firmly fixed on the steering wheel at 10 and 2 o’clock.

The first time this happened was about a year ago. Boy had just turned three, Girl was not yet one. I remember it was raining, really raining—one of those precursor deluges of Japan’s fifth (secret) season. I was moving through that thick mental fog of too many nights doing the semi-sleep shuffle: Baby coughs and shudders—touch baby, baby is okay; baby cries—change diaper, cuddle; baby cries—offer breast; baby whines—cuddle; baby wakes at 4:20 a.m—get up, begin day. [Read More…]

Fighting Under-Eye Aging

eye circles IIOne of the first places to show aging is under our eyes. Wrinkles, lines, discoloration and puffiness are giveaways. And while nothing (including surgery!) will give us 20-something skin again, there are ways to minimize the impact and renew the vibrancy under our eyes.

Fortunately, you don’t have to go far to start treating under eye issues. There are solutions right in your cupboard:

TEA – Caffeinated teas can constrict blood vessels and reduce swelling, while chamomile tea can soothe redness and inflammation. Soak two tea bags of your choice of tea in hot water for a few minutes. Let cool until the bags are slightly warm. Lie down, close your eyes, place a tea bag over each eye and relax for 10 minutes or so. You can also refrigerate the bags after you’ve steeped them, which is especially refreshing when you need a pick-me-up. [Read More…]

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