August 11, 2017

Bison In Columbus - Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park

Last weekend we had such a blast exploring Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park in Columbus. We love exploring our city and this place is one of my favorites because A) there's animals involved and B) it's eco-conscious and full of indigenous plants and animals. 

Previous mentioned animals are the bison (don't call them buffalo around my 4 year old) who roam around two enclosed prairies and are available for viewing in several places. 

There is parking in several places, but we parked near the playground area, had a nice picnic, and then headed on a lovely walk through a wooded area that opens up onto a prairie full of yellow flowers. Once passed the bison we came to a nature center. 

This place is very nicely done. It's striving for Leeds certification, has a green roof and is full of things for the whole family to explore inside. It's also a nice spot for a little bathroom break and quick snack before the hike back to the car. 

Flowing down the middle of the nature center is a 53 foot stream filled with all sorts of local creatures - turtles, frogs and fish. There is also a room full of pelts of animals found in Ohio that both horrified and intrigued my children. All-in-all a great day at one of my favorite metro parks. 
July 26, 2017

Deliberate Communication with our Kids

As the leader of an Attachment Parenting group in Columbus, OH I give parents the tools to connect with their kids and build a strong bond that fosters mutual respect as kids grow. Much of the time the "tool" I'm talking about come from group conversations based around core principals. Using gentle touch (massage, hugs, cuddles), for example, is a deep form of communication that lets kids know they are loved and cared for as they venture out to find their independence. My point is, I'm not giving them anything physical, perhaps a hand out or resource list, but our meetings are mainly focused on changing hearts and minds and supporting those hearts and minds, when needed.

Recently I've come upon two amazing Kickstarter campaigns that are aiming to provide actual, physical tools to help parents in their peaceful parenting goals. I'm happy to say, they've both been funded, but you can help them reach their stretch goals, as well as get your hands on some really helpful additions to your parenting "tool kit."

The first is Lori Petro's Concious Communication Cards. I can't wait to get these in my hands. I am an AP leader, but I often flail in the heat of the "bad behavior" moment with my kids and end up making the situation worse. I plan on pinning these all around the house - mainly in the kitchen, we always seem to be int he kitchen. When I imagine my 4 year old in the throws of a melt down - it's always on the kitchen floor. These cards will be a life saver.

The second by another parent educator, Suzanne Tucker, the Time-In Tool Kit. I have been talking up the benefits of time-ins, as opposed to time-outs, for a long time now. We have the "happy place" in our house where the kids go to chill out and get their emotions in check, sometimes they ask me to go with them, sometimes they want to be alone. I am really excited about adding the Time-In Tool kit to the "happy place" to assist them in learning about big emotions and how to deal.

I know a lot of adults, not excluding myself, who could have used more help in the emotion management department - if you know what I'm saying.
March 29, 2016

Musings on Personal Evolution

In a different life I wrote my MFA thesis about discovering myself as a person. It was, it still is, a collection of short stories - "a novel of publishable length," was the requirement. I called it Skins. The stories are about the personalities I flowed through while growing up to end up the adult I was when writing it.

The loafer wearing, prudish, smart-girl in the under-performing middle school.

The patchouli wearing, Deadhead morphed Phish Kid, who followed the band in the summer, but sneaked off to hotels to shampoo and shave, while the die-hard's went au naturale at the campgrounds. 

The record collecting, show-going, Indy rocker who hid Martha Stewart Living magazine like contraband under her bed.

The college-age, activist-feminist who felt kissing girls and guys who were not her significant other was fair game as long as it was during spin-the-Crown-Royal-bottle.

The college grad facing real life, mourning a dead boyfriend and spending nights at the corner bar.

At 26 when I was writing the collection I felt solidified. But a decade later, I realize that I have continued to morph this entire time.

The empowered, single, confident, city dweller with different dates every weekend.

The female half of a dual income, happy couple living in sun drenched So. Cal, enjoying monthly facials and lunches al fresco.

The new mom giving all those previous people she'd been away in exchange for this new little person and then searching for the next identity the comes.

And so where am I now? The first thought that came to me was Costco membership having Ohio mom. But fuck that. No offense to Ohio mom's, but when I was a person who thought herself an artist, a writer, an adventure seeking occasional guitar player, I would not have been satisfied with that definition of myself.

But defining yourself in a moment is always easier in hindsight. So here's another crack...

The mature, working mother, who hasn't given up on worldly adventure, but has put it on hold for a moment until she gets her money right and the kids are old enough to travel more easily. 

So where have you been? Who are you now?

March 2, 2016

Activism in the Bluegrass State - #AskBevinAboutMyVag

Bridget Kelly's happy uteri - obviously in a Bevin-less KY government

Recently I had the pleasure of dropping into Louisville's Mama's Hip during Crafternoon. This happens most Saturdays at the shop and community space, owned by Shannon Stone Porter - an all around catalyst for community change - but this particular day was not your average gathering.

In the back of the yellow room Bridget Kelly was working her magic on the sewing machine as Emily Van Bogaert cut red and pink fabric into long strips. The craftivists, if you will, (you really shouldn't - sorry I couldn't help myself) were preparing felt vaginas and uteri (the plural of uterus - I looked it up) to take to a reproductive rights rally in Frankfort, KY and give a very special shout out to Matt Bevin, KY Governor, who has succeeded in setting the state back 20 years.

Last month, Molly Shah (pictured in the middle of the floor making protest signs) started a Twitter barrage of major proportions in reaction to Bevin signing a bill requiring KY women to jump through unnecessary hoops before making decisions about their own bodies.

#AskBevinAboutMyVag was born and took off like wildfire. In my opinion, this is exactly what Twitter was created for. I highly recommend going through and reading the extremely clever and spot on tweets, but here are a few of my favorites. (This could have been a really long post, there are so many gems.)

"It really helps to laugh about it," Emily told me. "Otherwise, we're just so mad." The group wants the hashtag trend to spread to other states.

#AskKasichAboutMyVag  amiright Ohio?! But it wouldn't be the same protesting Kasich here in Columbus unless the gang from Mama's Hip comes for a visit and does a tutorial or making vulva sock puppets. Or at least that's my secret wish.

I am so proud to know these brave ladies and have been part of the Mama's Hip's community myself at one time. Keep up the awesome work!

Vs Up!
From Left: Emily Pickett, Bridget Kelly, Shannon Stone Porter, Molly Shah, Emily Van Bogaert, Kristin Dennis, Bethany Heaberlin, Whitney Boswell
Post Script: Follow @MollyOShah on Twitter to read all about the despicable behavior she and other peaceful protesters endured at a Trump rally in Louisville last night (Super Tuesday).