All In A Good Day's Play: The Disneyland Edition.

We visited Disneyland last Thursday with the mamas and babies from our Pasadena commune. One of the mamas used to work for Disney in her pre-baby days and scored us free tickets. I quickly jumped aboard the Disney train thinking it could be the last time for a long time that we visit the land of magic.

We conquered only a few rides--"It's A Small Word", "Dumbo's Flight", "Peter Pan's Adventure" and the carousel, of course. We stayed until close to experience the Christmas decorations, fireworks and snowfall in true twinkling-eyed style. By the time all was said and done, we had snacked, we had gazed, we had oohed and awed, we had met characters with huge hugs and the days end with dreary, weary eyes.

I unfortunately didn't get many great shots because we only had a wee hour or so of daylight left in Mr. Sunshine before he settled down for the night. And one hour or so at Disneyland with three toddlers and huge crowds, doesn't leave much time or available hands for photography.


API Article: "Numero Dos: Sharing The Love"

Another one of my articles appears today on API Speaks, the Attachment Parenting International blog. The title is "Numero Dos: Sharing The Love" and you can find it on API Speaks here and on my blog here.



Malibu, I'm Going To Miss You Old Buddy, Old Pal.

So it may come as no surprise to most that we are going to miss living in Malibu--sorely, deeply, longingly, miss it. Just finding these "lost" pictures this evening taken from just before that doomed summer vacation makes my heart pang with loss, with mourning, with sadness, for what will be missed.

What will be thought of most often is probably not what you are imagining though. Malibu is a truly special place. But as I have mentioned here before, envisioning it's sand-crusted shores as a beach-side Beverly Hills is way off mark. Yes, there is a small smattering of fake boob, bikini-clad, baked and gold-bangled blondes about here and there. But, in reality, that's not the real Malibu at all.

Located in Los Angeles at the very northern tip of it's county line is an oasis from the smoggy city innards. It's rural, natural and rugged. Dusty ranches perch upon largely undeveloped hillsides. Coyotes, vultures and bobcats comb the brush for easy eating. Cowboys ride their horses down the winding scenic highways to the local country mart--as there are only three grocery stores in town and only two of those are chains. Most locals are salty, have beach-locked strands and tarballs on the bottoms of their feet. The mornings and evenings are always, always cold and dense with fog rolling in off of the Pacific as thick as pea soup. The water is never ever tolerable for entrance without a wetsuit--even during the dead of summer. Dolphin and sea lion spottings are frequent as are starfish and lively colored sea urchin. Dark colored rock formations scatter the beaches creating no shortage of caves and coves for exploring. Shark spottings are occasional and rattlesnake, scorpion, sea rat and tarantula visits come with the turf.

This is Malibu, my friends. And I am going to miss the hell out of it.

Now those of you who are regular readers of Mama Milieu may be rolling your eyes at my sudden change of heart--"forget the pain and remember the pretty, eh?" you are mumbling to yourselves. It's true that we had our fair share of struggles and strife on Milagro Ranch. Malibu and its raw roughness wasn't always batting for our team. I have not forgotten the sleepless and fully-lit nights on 10-inch centipede watch, or the mouse in the house, or the two rattlesnakes on the patio, or the tarantula in the living room, or the scorpion in the sliding glass door. I have not forgotten about the dust and the hard, hard work and the outdoor laundry facilities. I have not forgotten about any of it.

But, I will miss the coos of owls and wild quail and the scampering of cotton-tailed bunnies munching alfalfa down at the horses' haybarn. I will miss the silence and breezes and front row view of the milky-way and all of its sisters and brothers and cousins. I will miss the carsickness brought on by the 5 miles of hairpins and switchbacks to and from the rocky coast. I will miss the breathtaking canyon views in the foggy mornings, the sunlit afternoons and fiery glow at sunset. I will miss the sparkle in Noah's eyes as he experiences the beauty of nature like all of us dream we could again--like a child--for the very first time. I will miss the stillness that results from no neighbors, not even one, for miles and miles. I will miss all of this and I just can't leave without saying so.

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To read all about our adventures in Malibu and at Milagro Ranch, follow this link.

And, for our life in Malibu in pictures, click here.


Numero Dos: Sharing The Love.

As the date of the big move approaches and we shuffle from one generous friend's abode to another, this pregnancy, the little growing one all snug in my tummy, often seems to take a back seat (not in the back of our Volkswagen, but in the back of a very long bus)--which makes me a little sad. Aside from the slowly, and finally, dissipating constant nausea and fatigue, my little tummy buddy hasn't gotten much air time in any sense of the word over these last 13 weeks.

I can remember the last time I shared my body. It was a little over two years ago. From the day that joyous pink line appeared across the plastic pee stick, little Noah Finn was all that I could think about despite the fact that I was working everyday. I woke up and thought pregnancy, I peed (a lot) and thought pregnancy, I taught and thought pregnancy, I ate (a lot) and thought pregnancy, I slept (very little) and dreamed pregnancy. My growing abdomen was always on my mind.

This time is definitely different. Running after a bouncing, bounding, boisterous toddler while volleying between temporary living situations has certainly captivated the time that I don't spend eating and sleeping. The fact of the matter is that constant urges to snack and slumber aside, I often forget that I'm pregnant.

What does all of this mean? Is it normal? I am betting so. But it certainly does recall those initial pangs of subtle trepidation I first experienced when pregnancy test number two revealed yet again that solid pink line: sharing the love. How does a mama who has experienced everything about mommying--pregnancy, birth, mothering--with one child not feel guilt about sharing such sacredness with another? It feels almost like cheating on the first.

Melodramatic? Perhaps. But, these are real anxieties, that while slowly fading as the months tick away, remain present nonetheless.

So, how does a mommy share the love--that smothering, doting, gooey love that's gushed all over the first with the second and subsequent bundles of joy? Will my little Noah feel shortchanged and left out the decision making process--after all, he had no vote here!? Will he harbor feelings of abandonment and isolation, regress and insist on learning the alphabet Z thru A?

Think I'm being melodramatic, again? Perhaps. But these are tangible fears that I sometimes think about. That is, when I remember I'm pregnant anyway.


London, Ontario, Here We Come.

Downtown London, Ontario in the fall.

It doesn't have the fancy metropolitan flare of say, moving to London, U.K.--where we were seriously considering taking up residence before Noah Finn was born. My how things change when children come into the picture. Don't get me wrong--we'll always be city slickers--and perhaps even move back to Los Angeles after our great northern adventure peters out, if it does--but there has come a time, now, when we're yearning for a little slower pace and this job offer couldn't have come at a more useful time.

Everything that has occurred since Dean and I moved out to California in 2001, has seemed to happen serendipitously: Dean's initial job offer at a little studio in Burbank, my ditching the Peace Core to join him, our subsequent three homes (with the exception of our most recent Malibu madness), the timing of our wedding, the pregnancy and birth of Noah Finn, the new pregnancy, this new job offer and, now, the move to London. We feel lucky, fortunate even, to have had such a rosy decade here in the City of Angels. It feels strange, unfaithful even, to be considering any other place to call home. Lest we venture on to our next stop in a little less than month. I hope it treats us as well.


Falling Into Fall.

It feels like we're falling a bit around here--from place to place, from friends to friends, with no home, from summer to fall. Our time spent with Caro and family in Pasadena has been wonderfully refreshing and at times overwhelmingly exhausting in the best of ways. It's not just us here in this Bungalow Heaven abode. Another family and mutual friends who also have a toddler and tons of transition are passing through too--they are transitioning back into L.A. from a stint spent in Oregon and we are transitioning out of L.A. to a cold a wintry Canadian wonderland after 10 toasty years spent pacific-side.

Five adults (one of the Papas is filming in Detriot for several weeks) and three toddlers makes for lots of crazy action--tears and tantrums, spills and screams, running and hopping and colliding and chaos--most of the time--from 6:30 a.m. until around 8:00ish at night. But it's lovely to be among friends and mamas and babies and love, lots of love. While one of the Papas cooks incredibly delectable and wholesome meals, we otherwise eat together, clean together and run after the wild wildebeests together. I've always yearned for the communal camaraderie of group living and it's more fun than I ever had imagined.

As for how we have been passing our time here, well, October passed like a spook in the night. We pumpkin patched and pumpkin carved, we tricked and we treated; we fell into fall. And, geesh, now it's November. With less than a month or so to go before the big move, my belly is progressing into the second trimester much quicker than I'd like it to. It is already time to go shopping for the ever beloved maternity pants. But wherever will I find a snowsuit in my size?


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