Letting Go Of A Dream

Letting go of a dream….that sounds pretty dramatic doesn’t it? Sounds like something that could make us feel defeated… resigned…heartbroken.  This weekend Steve and the boyz let go of a dream. We sold the ’66 Mustang that Steve’s parents had bought for him  when he was  a teenager.  At some point it stopped running and the car had been sitting in his parents garage for years and then in our shed for more years…in hopes that one day Steve and the boyz would restore it and he could share his teenage love with them.  Sadly, that experience did not seem to be in the cards.  Time and money – the 2 things that seem to fall short – prevented them from being able to seize the opportunity.

IMG_1192

Our mechanic, Keith, came to tow the Mustang to it’s new home…

The restoration was always something Steve, Seamus, Brendan and Casey talked about, dreamed about and hoped would someday come true…but today they said goodbye to that vision.  Steve and I have been focused on cleaning out our house and on getting in a stronger financial position.  He realized that it was not likely we would have the large sum of money it would take to restore the Mustang especially now that the boyz are not even home to work on it with him. He saw that getting the car out of the shed, would free up space for other things and would give him access to more ‘stuff’ that was buried behind the Mustang that he might want to sell or give away. Steve felt better about bidding the Mustang farewell as it went to a family in Burnt Hills, where Steve grew up, and the father is going to restore it with his 23, 18 and 14 year old sons.  He is glad it will bring joy to a family in the way it did for him.

IMG_1193

As you can see, it took up most of the big center part of the shed…now there is more space to organize the rest of the ‘contents of the shed so they are not jammed in there!

 

IMG_1198

Dave seems like a great guy who will fulfill his own dream of restoring an old car with his sons. 

So while there was a tinge of sadness in saying goodbye…there was also some relief in freeing up the space, gratitude to Steve’s parents for OK’ing us to sell it so we can create a better financial picture, and appreciation for all the car has meant to Steve through the years.

We are in a new phase of our lives. There is much sadness that our ‘raising the boyz’ years are over…(though don’t let anyone fool you into thinking it is really over when they graduate – the parenting thing is still in full force – it just looks different than it did for the past 18 years!)…but there is also some excitement about the things that are here for us now.  It is time to shift some of our dreams… We now know we will never travel out west during a summer vacation as a family…we will not have a pool that the boyz can swim in with all of their friends. But that is ok because so many of our dreams did come true and we were blessed to do many other things we never even imagined.  And now as we let go of some dreams, we also allow the doors to open to new opportunities and experiences.  It is in the letting go that we truly free ourselves and open our hearts to life. Holding on is like a contraction in our body and letting go allows for expansion in our body, our hearts and our lives.

It is in the letting go that we feed the love ❤

 

Many Blessings, 

Suzanne

A New Perspective on Regret

A tendency to be pretty hard on myself and a bit of a perfectionist streak  lead me to  find things I regret.  I can look back at my day…week….year and wish I did X,Y or Z differently.  I remember when the boyz started Kindergarten and I was so upset, wishing I had been less stressed and more present during those 0-5 years home.  I also wish I had been more confident in high school and joined the running team instead of soccer as I think an individual sport would have suited me much better. I wish I had continued blogging from the time we came from India….I wish ..I wish…I wish…

 

shallow focus of white dandelion

 

A few years ago I came to terms with a certain level of regret – like when I go on a trip and inevitably there is something else I wish I had packed or something I intended to pack but forgot about.  After a few consecutive trips like this, I came to the conclusion that there will always be something for my brain to find that it wishes I brought with me and that awareness alone, helped me to release the regret.

Thought patterns become ingrained in our minds like habits. We have grooves in our brain and we can lazily keep going down that same track..ie ‘I wish…” Thankfully we can change those grooves at any point – no matter what our age.  As we practice a new pattern, we start to create a new groove and the old one atrophies as we use it less and less until eventually the new one becomes automatic.

So while we can change our brain’s incessant search for something to feel badly about, a new perspective on regret came to me the other night.    Maybe if we never felt regret that would mean that we had not grown. Maybe part of where regret comes from is being a slightly different person now and having more clarity which time provides and being able to view a situation a whole new way.  When we are in the midst of something, we cannot see clearly.  This is why when people tell parents of young children to ‘enjoy it – it goes so fast’ it falls on deaf ears for the most part. Those parents are in the midst of the hectic-ness of child rearing and family life. They cannot have the same perspective as someone who is beyond that phase of life and can see now how very fast it does go.

 

pics #5 6

Savor that moment Mama 😉

That person can see clearly how she may wish she parented – but it is easy to see that when you are not ‘in’ it – feeling the stress, exhaustion and to do list that parents feel. This is why grand-parenting is so blissful (from what I hear anyway :)).  So possibly, if we look back thinking ‘I wish’, maybe it is because we are slightly different, slightly more aware, slightly more wise.  In that case, regret tells us something positive about ourselves- that we are progressing on this journey of life and  learning as we go.  Learning hopefully implies change as well.  We can apologize if the regret is something that hurt another person (there is no statute of limitations for apologies!) And if the opportunity presents itself again, we may choose differently that time given our new awareness.

As with any feeling, if we push regret away, it will keep knocking. It is painful to feel regret, but if it comes up, we can practice non- attachment and we can allow it to move through as a new perspective and an awareness that we have grown.  Attaching to  regret can cause shame, depression and sadness.  Self-compassion is  key to healing this – to look back and not just think about what we would do if we were to do it over again, but to see ourselves as we were at that time…to remember what we were feeling and thinking which led us to make those particular choices…and to have compassion for that younger self and know she was doing the best she could at that time.

 

And with that, we will feed the love ❤

 

Many Blessings,

Suzanne

 

 

Little Things Tuesday

Sometimes it is the littlest things that make us happy.  I thought it would be fun to celebrate these little moments, things or experiences and see if others can relate.

I am a very visual person so my surroundings really impact me. I was looking for something small for a blank space in my bathroom and came across this which just made me smile…and reminds me of the person I want to be more and more.

IMG_1165

Some things I am grateful for are a bit bigger….like having very close friends who just happen to be spending the year in Ireland at the same time that Brendan is there. They are his Irish family and he was able to visit them over the weekend for some hiking, Irish music, rugby watching, biking and eating!

IMG_1172

Having this connection has been such a gift for Bear…here he is with his Irish siblings, Molly and Aidan 🙂

 

IMG_1155

Incredible snow at Garnet Hill and a hubby and son that wax my skis for me!

 

And a pup that is small enough to bathe easily and looks like she had a perm on her back after I towel her dry 🙂

IMG_1175 (1)

Our other pups were never allowed on the furniture…but Tarra is so small and does not shed like our labs did. She is SO cuddly ❤

 

It is little things like this that make me smile and feed the love on a day to day.

 

Many Blessings,

Suzanne

What’s Ripe in January?

As January has come to a close, I have been reflecting on the month. Living in the great northeast, about the only thing growing around us is snow :). Of course that is much to my delight as I love snow, skiing, snowshoeing, snuggling under heavy blankets and the pure peace, beauty and coziness that comes with a good old fashioned snowstorm.

 

img_1145

Untouched trail about to be demolished by my snowshoes and Pup’s paws..I sank to my knees on snowshoes and I was still not hitting ground!

There is one thing that grows here in January however,  and grows most everywhere this time of year… and that is diet culture.  Talk of various diets, weight loss, exercise plans and Fit Bit trackers is ubiquitous at this time.  In the past I really thought it was ‘my issue’ that I felt stressed around that kind of conversation, and to be fair, it is. My stress is mine and if something triggers me, it is because I hold something in me that touches that particular topic.  It is a journey as I continue to work on listening to my body and respecting my needs – whether that be for kale and cucumbers or for brownies and ice cream.

I have come to a new place with this topic though and I just realized this yesterday.  We were in the lunchroom at work and talk began about a contest some are having involving weight loss and tracking steps.  I felt slightly stressed as I tend to around any diet talk, but I also felt very clear – this talk is toxic – not just to me but for our culture at large. It impacts people in ways we do not even realize because we are so accustomed to hearing it.  To the outsider it just sounded like friendly banter of coworkers in the midst of an effort to improve their health. But what we know about that is that it negatively more than positively impacts health.

What kinds of conversations

could we be having if we were not talking

about food and weight so much of the time?

 

How can that be? Don’t all Drs prescribe weight loss to their patients who are suffering from pretty much any ailment they present for?  What we know now is that prescribed weight loss is not sustainable.  Sure, anyone can go on ‘X’ plan and lose weight, but why do 95% of those people gain that weight (and often more) back? Would we take a birth control pill that was 95 % ineffective? So people lose weight, gain it back, and feel like they failed, creating yet another reason to say ‘what the H-ll’ and binge in response to their self -defeated feelings and their weeks/months of restriction. What they are unable to see is that they did not fail – the diets fail. They  feel more disempowered and disconnected from their bodies with each attempt.

January brings this renewed sense of  ‘this year will be different’ and because of our culture’s messages, a large part of that is focused on weight. Office lunchrooms, school cafeterias, dinner parties will all find multiple conversations leaning in this direction. This year I am choosing to just remove myself from the area when I hear this kind of talk though certainly at times, when appropriate, I will share my viewpoint. I recognize that everyone is not ready to let go of the thin ideal, that these messages are deep and fixed in so many of us and it is a process (one that I am still in the midst of) to shift to a new paradigm. This shift often results in a grieving process as people have dreamed that ‘once I am “x” weight….’ life will be perfect, I will have love, money, respect, health’….I have patients who are young 20 somethings to those who are retired, grandparents, widows…who struggle with these issues on a daily basis.  I feel so inspired when they are able to take in even a tiny bit of this new information….people are remarkable.

 

‘Good’ foods are any foods

that feel nourishing to my body and soul’ 

 

How amazing would it be if we could all be more respectful of our bodies? If we could give ourselves what we want and need and not apply moral judgement to food choices?  I have been slowly, shifting to this mindset with the awareness that our bodies are smarter than we give them credit for. If we take care of them, they find where they want to be regarding weight. We can go to various lengths to try to change that, but it is ultimately temporary because our bodies are designed to survive and fight efforts that work against them. 

My intention is to keep feeding the love by feeding my body ❤

 

Many Blessings,

Suzanne

New Year, New….

Garage door???

img_1136

New hardware replaced but will need much more than that in the long run:(

Well we are in a much better place than last year at this time….on January 1, 2018 we discovered we needed a new hot water heater, washer and dryer. Whoo hoo!  Here we are January 2019 and on Thursday Steve had a snow day (#4!) and while he was trying to clear the driveway (it was actually pouring rain and roads were very icy which was reason for school cancellation), the tractor caught the garage door string and it came slamming down on the Kubota and just missed really injuring/killing Steve.  We are beyond grateful that he did not break his back or worse but are also a bit bummed to have to replace the door. The Overhead Door man came and did a temporary fix so the door is operable for the moment which is great given the freezing temperatures.  We a just increased our homeowners insurance deductible in an effort to reduce monthly expenses. Lovely right?  We have never used the homeowners so thought it was silly to have such a low deductible. Ha! Timing is everything.

 

On to brighter new things however….in another effort to reduce expenses, I have decided to forgo my hair highlighting appointments and a friend of mine offered to do it for me.  She has very little experience but so much knowledge, interest and passion for this, that she is really quite good. She does her own hair, her daughters, sister-in-law and mother’s hair…and now mine :).

img_1047

This always makes me think of the Beauty School Dropout scene in Grease!

56910740171__e329dd60-a655-4778-8ed7-650435c52977

Finished look….still very poofy hair though… great for the 80s but not so much for 2019!;)

She did this a couple weeks ago and then Friday night came over to cut my hair and try various makeup on me. She is very stylish and gifted with these things and always looks phenomenal herself. She knows I am not too into makeup so went with a natural look for me.

img_1138

Me and my makeover queen:)

It was fun to have a new look and I was ready for a change with my hair. As Brendan said ‘Mom, you have had the same haircut my whole life!” Plus I can still pull it up which was a requirement for me – just so easy!

So thanks Missy, for feeding the love with my new style 🙂

 

Many Blessings,

Suzanne

Happy Holidays!

Just stopping in to wish you a very Happy Holiday season and a 2019 filled with peace, good health, joyful moments, and lots and lots of love <3…I have been MIA for the past month but plan to post twice a week for 2019…

 

DSC_0239 (3)

Brendan, Seamus and Casey with the newest member of our family and favorite Christmas gift, Tarra 🙂

May 2019 be a year of feeding love

 

Many Blessings

Suzanne

An American Iconic Event

Well who knew the Army Navy game was such an event! I guess lots of people knew – just not me! I will admit Steve and I were a bit different in our anticipation of the weekend. He has been planning for it for months – ever since Seamus accepted his appointment to the Academy actually.  I, on the other hand, had been a bit anxious about it because the thought of standing out in the cold for 12 hours was a bit much.  In the end – it was a really fun day and I am looking forward to 3 more years of this tradition 🙂

We set out Thursday night to stay at our friend’s, Ken and Lisa in NJ.  We pulled up to a big Christmas display courtesy of Ken and their daughter Brianna, who is Christmas crazy 🙂

 

IMG_0849

This photo does not do justice to the plethora of lights displayed

On Friday, Steve and our 2 friends from Canada  went into Philly to tour around and see some of the pre game festivities. Yes – apparently it is such an iconic event that even two Canadians, with no attachment to the Army or the Navy, drove 8 hours to see the game. I opted to stay back as 2 days outside in the cold did not sound like a good idea for me. I took my time running errands, making some food for the tailgate and getting some work done. It was a leisurely day which seems so rare.  Before dinner, I took a walk around the neighborhood to enjoy the vast displays of Christmas decorations. I could do that for hours and am a bit deprived where we live since there are not many houses and most do not do much for decorating.

IMG_0846

Wegman’s haul for tailgate (and chips to send back to school with Casey as well)

Seamus is in 13th Company which is the ‘ball running’ company. This means they go in groups which each have a leg of the run from Annapolis to Lincoln Financial Stadium in Philadelphia, where the game is held.  Being a plebe, Seamus assured us his leg would be in the middle of the night in some podunk town in PA.  Well he sent us the route on Thursday night and low and behold – he was running 1 mile from Steve’s parents house. What in the world?!!! We could not believe it! We comtemplated heading down there for the night so we could go out and see him but with having so much to pack up bright and early (actually, dark and early!) the next morning, it did not seem feasible.  But Granddad (who wins granddad of the year award!) braved the cold and met up with the crew at 1:45am at the end of their leg.

IMG_0917

Seamus is so happy to see his Granddad ❤

IMG_0919

13th Company 12am-2am running group

We arrived at 8am and started the tailgate with lots of food – eggs, bacon, sausage, bagels, coffee cake, fruit, coffee, cocoa and some very popular Bloody Marys.

IMG_0856

Steve did an amazing job with limited kitchen conveniences

IMG_0858

Casey (mid-bite) and Ken….do you think he is warm enough?

IMG_0860

Steve with the Canadian contingent – Stewie and Mike or ‘Postie’

Our friend Jeff brought his 85 year old father who was in the army – it was on his bucket list to go to the Army Navy game. He was so great and seemed to have a ball!

IMG_0855

We were kind even though they wore the wrong hats 😉

 

By chance, Seamus and his company were parked right near us so we were able to go chat with them a bit and bring them a little grub.

IMG_0864

 

IMG_0867

Happy runners with breakfast sandwiches…they each ran 11 miles but Josh (middle) chose to do 2 legs and ran 20 miles!

We were psyched Casey could make it (we were not sure if he would have exams right after but he had several days between the game and first exam). My brother was supposed to bring him but had a conflict which we found out about just a few weeks before the game. Fortunately a good friend of Casey’s, ‘Squishy’, was psyched to have the opportunity to see the game that has always been on his bucket list too (these bucket lists, I tell ya!). He drove Casey down and was such a fun and easy addition to the group.

IMG_0865

 

We headed in the the game in time for the March On by the Midshipman…I bundled up a bit more…multiple layers including 2 heavy down coats, heated mittens with addition hand warmers in them, foot warmers and a down skirt. My very hot travel mug was confiscated (despite being empty) by security – it was actually run by the secret service because the President was in attendance. I was beyond thrilled to see that they sold phenomenal hot mugs at the gift shop! Whoo hoo – hot tea to keep me warm. And it was a USNA mug so fun to purchase regardless 🙂

IMG_0920

Fashion statement 😉

The pregame festivities were the best part in my mind….both Army and Navy had paratroopers come down into the stadium, Army had helicopters fly over and Navy had fighter jets fly over.

IMG_0871 (1)

It was a beautiful day for December – sunny, low wind, and 36 or so.

IMG_0869

Seamus was not sure we would get to see him because the Mids were told that they could only leave their seats to go to the bathroom twice. At halftime though, he texted Casey who went down to Seamus’s seat and ended up staying for the rest of the game. Steve, Squishy and I joined him towards the end. It was such great energy being right next to the whole brigade when Navy scored a touchdown.

IMG_0872

The most powerful part of this game is that these teams are such rivals…yet in the end they are both on the same team.  Both attract the same kind of player – men who are smart, athletic and dedicated to serving their country above themselves.  And we know that all of the families there are in the same boat – they just joined a different military family depending on where their child ended up in school.

And knowing that they are all on team USA feeds the love no matter who wins the game.

Many Blessings, 

Suzanne

Rewind….Thanksgiving

Last week was a bit busy with catch up on work and home after a house full of family and then a weekend away in Boston, thus, I am just now able to post a quick recap of a wonderful holiday. It will be a photo recap…more for my benefit than anyone else’s 🙂

 

IMG_0707

We started the holiday week with lots of the white stuff!

IMG_0703 (1)

Casey was so lucky to be the first one home…Pop wasted no time putting him to work! The snow came so early – we had not put away our outdoor furniture!

 

We went to pick up Seamus at the airport Wednesday night and met fellow plebe families there…The Durfee’s were much more prepared than we were 😉

IMG_0709

So sweet that they included Conners and Seamus in their sign

IMG_0715

Some boys that are very happy to be home for the first time since June

As we were waiting, a local news reporter approached my friend Kim (holding balloons) and wanted to do a story on a happy homecoming. They ended up interviewing Kim, her son Jake, me and Seamus.

IMG_0730

 

DSC_0154

 

IMG_0719

Jake, Seamus and Conners…smiling nicely but ready to get home!

IMG_0721

Seamus is almost cracking a smile…game face is most photos these days….just missing Brendan though 😦

IMG_0727

And of course they had to measure to see if Seamus had grown at all….(much to his disappointment, he had not)

We arrived home at 9:30 or so and the boyz had a bonfire…despite 2 degree weather!

DSC_0159

They smartened up and came inside to hang in the basement….hmmm…do you think the grandparents who were sleeping upstairs got a good night’s sleep 😉

On Thanksgiving….My brother Tom and his family came (minus my nieces’ SOs)…DSC_0177

With a big group effort everything was delicious and came out on time 🙂

 

DSC_0172

We missed Bear but at least got to FaceTime with him…everyone standing around computer chatting with him ❤

 

 

Addy bonds with Steve’s mom thru princess chatter…she had all the dresses and Jeanne KNOWS her princesses…I do not know anyone who has been to Disney more than she has!

 

DSC_0180

I feel so blessed that our parents have established such a nice friendship and seem to truly enjoy each other’s company

Addy practices photography to walk in her mom’s footsteps…and Connor shows his skill as the ‘Puzzle Master’

 

Friday was pretty mellow and lovely…then Saturday we headed bright and early to Boston for the football game since Casey had to play (drums…not football!)IMG_0754

Gran was a trooper – went to her first football game in years just to see her grandson play in the band. 

IMG_0765

The boys had a ball…Seamus goes to football games all the time (mandatory at USNA to attend all home games) and is usually not thrilled (mostly because they are during what would otherwise be liberty time)…he loved it though and particularly thought the band added so much to the spirit of the game

Sunday we went to a brunch for the band and their families before saying goodbye and heading back home… it was lovely…and Steve made his mom walk just a few more steps for this photo op….she was ready for some rest after this weekend!

DSC_0229

Again…photo missing Brendan…looking forward to having him in some pics soon!

 

Thanks for letting me rewind…it allowed me to revisit a wonderful holiday…reviewing time with family and feeling blessed all over again feeds the love.

Many Blessings,

Suzanne

 

Happy December 1st!

Happy first day of the most magical month of the year! I love December and have celebrated December 1st since I was 9 years old.  This year is a bit different with no boyz at home :(… So I compensated by sending packages…

Brendan is getting the biggest package since he has to cook for himself. Trader Joe’s for the win! All Christmas themed – pasta, goldfish, cashews, chewies, clif bars, towels, lights, decorations, Christmas Vacation boxer briefs and of course Christmas cookies :)…

IMG_0782 (1)

 

Casey and Seamus received mostly the same things…

IMG_0783 (1)

And my niece Erin gave me the best shirt….

IMG_0801She made this with her ‘Cricket’ – she is so creative, talented and thoughtful 🙂

 

May the magic of December feed the love in your home…

Many Blessings,

Suzanne

Time Away

Time away is so crucial to our mental health. We need time away from our routine, our comfort zone, our day to day and our people. I have been fortunate to have had several phenomenal ‘get aways’ over the years but it has been a few years since I have done this.

I started my time with a stop in Albany to meet a new friend, and fellow USNA mom, Lisa. We went to Starbucks to catch up a bit- she is a beautiful soul with a calm and authentic presence. We  then to an aerial yoga class which was so awesome! And our teacher Jennie Lee was a wealth of knowledge and inspiration. The class started with a lecture piece on anatomy and how the class would help with various injuries and pain.

 

IMG_0675

 

I left there and went on to Stockbridge to an ‘Embodied Practitioner’ training.  We have been going to nearby Lenox for years as Steve’s parents have a time share there, and I have always wanted to try Kripalu and had never been. It was a truly wonderful experience – great facility (it is older so I thought it might be cold inside but it was toasty warm!!!), friendly staff, delicious food and solid yoga classes.

The training was phenomenal – led by two experts in the field of Body Positivity and Intuitive Eating.  We had a group of 21  and it was a perfect combination of personal work with professional training. I left feeling more empowered and embodied to carry this work to my patients.

One of the best parts of the training was the schedule – we had a few hours in the morning and 2 hours in the afternoon, with a long lunch break. It left room for plenty of time for yoga, walks, journaling, sauna….self-care indulgence:).  I went to a Yoga Dance class which was so awesome! The instructor led us through some movements that helped to release old stories we hold in our bodies as well as free flow dance. Very freeing.

I also ‘spoiled ‘myself with a facial. Since work paid for the training, I thought I would use the excuse that I am in this lovely space, to do something I actually need more often but have only had a few times in my life.  Sad that I feel I need to have an excuse to do something like this but it is part of life with 3 kids in college.  When I was getting massaged and completely relaxing, my mind suddenly grabbed onto a fear thought about the boyz and all the things that could happen with them in school.  I was so aware of this shift. In my normal routine at home, I have these fears more often than I would like to admit, and I sometimes am not aware of them until I am down the road of some ‘fear story’ I am telling myself.  But in this setting, where I was so removed from daily worry and to dos, the contrast of a fear thought was drastic and noticeable. It enhanced my awareness of how these thoughts contract my energy and hold me hostage without even knowing it. Being away, in a different place and experience, allowed me to get this perspective and to see things in my ‘normal life’ in a slightly new way.  I was able to take some deep breaths, reminding myself to be present with the facial – to allow the calm and peace of the moment to flow through and heal the contraction of the worry thoughts.

 

IMG_0680

Before leaving I took a short walk down to the lake to soak in more calm, more presence, more beauty.  Thank you to Kripalu, to my fellow embodied practitioners and to my phenomenal facilitators for feeding the love.

Many Blessings,

Suzanne