Monday, October 26, 2015

New Baby and Staying Connected

A friend of mine recently gave birth and is in the throws of Baby Bootcamp!  She shot me a message,
"Hello, this may sound like an odd question, but how do you find time for children, cooking cleaning and religion? I feel like all I do all day is sleep and feed Charles."
I told her that with each of my boys, I barely remember those first few months!  I know with Wolfman, I slept whenever he did, and sometimes during feedings--just little naps.  Couldn't tell you how often I fell asleep feeding Warrior!

Sleep deprivation, crabbiness, and a few times I plotted my husband death...until I realized that if I did that, I'd be a single mom... (j/k...maybe ;-) ).

"Lol. I just feel stuck I guess. Perhaps overwhelmed. I wanted to do.something with my time off I guess my expectations were way too high."

Baby Bootcamp; no rest, no play, no relaxation for the new parents.  So I gave her some tips, things that I did/do, that might help her connect with her path again and keep some sanity.  

  • I keep my shrines and altars in the room that I spend the most time in, in sight.  That way, whether I'm feeding, changing a butt, or whatever, I can look to it.  Mine provide me with calm, clarity, energy, and encouragement.  A little slice of sanity.  
  • I kept an altar in their room, one to protect them, and two to give us strength, peace, and energy.  Over time, I put it higher and higher, til it sits above their door.  
  • I kept a book and notebook in the bathroom...course when the kids got mobile, well, bathroom privacy became a thing of the past.  
  • She could read while feeding him.
  • My husband was more than happy to let me get away for an hour or so, so I could read, study, practice, and meditate.  
  • Utilize that time you have when the kids finally do have a bed time!
  • House chores and cooking are spiritual for me, sacred--important tasks to provide my self, family, and Deities/Spirits with a clean, safe, and happy home.  I'd light a candle or put on a veil and/or apron as ritual garb, and grab my magikal tools to perform these tasks.  As long as my cleaning potions.  Some home made, some simply charged with intention.  

Although I told her that eventually things will even out, routines will be set, and she'll be used to being drained all of the time.  She'll adapt to life as a parent, and discover what works for her to reconnect to her path.  

What things have you done in order to keep connected to your spiritual path?  Any tips or advice?

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Hecate's Altar

I finally got around to it, taking a picture of the protection altar that hangs above my boy's doorway.

K. Wren 2015

This is for Hecate, Goddess of the Underworld, of Spirits, of Magik, and a Protector of Children.  The two moons are made by me, one's felt, stuffed with charms, with moon oil in a bottle.  The other is wood that I bought from Michaels, and painted and stapled some shimmering blue ribbon from.  The Hecate plaque, I bought from my favorite local Pagan shop--The Magical Druid--and the purple satchel has charms meant to protect my kids from nightmares, negative entities and energies, and any person who might want to harm them.

After my son, Wolfman, was born, I was still reeling from the loss of Nathan...and I had pissed off some Witches in the aftermath.  Two did try to curse me.  One was successful, but I broke and sent it back at the sender.  Even though I wasn't that same person, I worried a lot about my son.  Mundane and magikal threats.  Hecate came to me one night and promised that I would have nothing to worry about.  That She would protect my children.  It made me feel so blessed.  A weight was lifted.  

Last year...or some odd months ago, I can't remember, this has been a long year for me, I bought the plaque for my son's room.  I felt this image was appropriate, since Hecate is a Watcher and a Goddess of the Crossroads....She sees all ways.  I felt it was appropriate to have hanging, to watch all ways, over my children.  

Then after some spirit trouble and a new toddler bed, I added the protection satchel.  

When we moved in, I knew what I want the altar to look like.  Everything up there is directed towards protection.  And in some stories, Hecate is the Triple Goddess.  Even though I don't really think of Her in that aspect, it was a perfect fit.  

And Wolfman knows the altar.  He saw the picture and said, "My room!"  He knows Hecate, too. 

Do you have a deity, a spirit, or any protections over your children or family?  

Thursday, October 15, 2015

My Flame for the Wave of Light


In memory of Nathan Jacen Wren

<3

Ancestor's Heart Oil Blend

Today is the Wave of Light.  I've selected a white candle for Nathan (I wanted blue, but ran out of that color.  I thought about going with red, as it's a traditional color for Samhain, but I wanted to keep it with the color scheme of the ribbon).  I carved his name into it, along with hearts, 'I miss you', a blessings symbol, peace sign, and algiz for protection.

Holding the candle, I looked through Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep's facebook page and looked at the pictures and stories shared.  I charged the candle with those emotions.  Sadness, longing, love, mourning, beauty, and peace.

Then I made the oil that I'm going to dress the candle with in a couple of hours.  I call it Ancestor's Heart.  Made with love, peace, remembrance, gratitude, and protection:
  • Olive Oil - Base oil, Protection
  • Dried Lavender and Oil - Peace, Harmony
  • Rose Oil, Water - Love, Beauty
  • Dried Rosemary - Remembrance

I swirled the oil clockwise, charging it with intention, and now it's sitting in a dark place, on the Ancestral Shrine, as Nathan's candle rests on his blanket.  Give it a few hours, then I'll dress the candle with the oil and light it, adding his flame to the Wave of Light at 7 pm.  

Here's a good article, explaining why some folks choose to share their photos of their babies: 



Thursday, October 8, 2015

Apparently I Got A Little Too Excited for my Toddler

Excitedly, I said, "Lycan! Team Umi Zumi is on!"
"Umi Umi?" He asked looking towards the TV and getting excited.
"Team Umi Zumi! Let's Go!"
"Mommy, calm down. Calm down, Mommy. Sush."
Laughing, "But it's Team Umi Zumi."
"It's okay, mommy. Sush."
This kid. OMG!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

New Baby!

Last night, at 10pm, one of my friends was induced, here's a Birth Candle Spell that I did for her:



  • Pink Candle, carved with two C's, one for momma and one for baby; S for safety, a heart for love, B for blessings, Algiz for protection.  
  • Anointed the candle with a general Enchantment oil (which oddly enough, I didn't record the ingredients...that's not like me...), and charged it with safety and healthy labor and delivery for momma and baby.
  • I made a sigil on a piece of paper, using the words that I charged the candle with.  
  • I placed the candle on the piece of paper, in front of Kuan Yin and Bear.  I lit the candle, asking for the love, compassion, guidance, and healing from Kuan Yin, Bear, Artemis, and the Spirits; to watch over momma, daddy, and baby, and to ensure a quick recovery.  
  • As I gathered offerings for the Beings, I heard Bear say, "Burning Sage".  As I laid the dried white peony petals in front of Kuan Yin, I heard a female voice ask for water, so I grabbed a small glass dish and added some salt to it to purify it.  Then gave fire light to the others.   (oh, before I gave any offerings, I gave them to Hestia first, as She gets the first, as the Matron of the household).  
  • I was filled with pure warmth and positive energies as the candle burned.  
Sometime this morning, I believe, her water was broken (that baby boy did not want to come out!).  Then at 4:58 pm, Charles Sterling Allan was born!  

I'm so happy for my friend.  She has PCOS, has had a miscarrage before, was high risk, never thought she could get pregnant!  She just really deserves this baby.  She's such a wonderful, caring, funny person.  She's going to be a great mom.  I wish them all the best!  <3 <3 <3

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Patio Playtime

Playtime with the kids on the patio:
"Vin...are you actually eating dirt? Stop that!"
"Vin, don't eat the chalk!"
"Lycan! I just lectured your brother about that."
"Lycan, don't draw on your brother!"
"Both of you, stop eating chalk and dirt!"
Definitely a night of baths for these two. But that's why bath time was invented: so your kids could play, get dirty, and eat some dirt. 
It's okay, they make soap and water for that.
Also, if the kids are laughing way more than usual, more than likely, they're doing something bad. It's not only the silence you need to watch for, it's the squeals of joy. The joy of being mischievous.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Month


That's what October is...well, one of many causes and awarenesses for this month.  In the link above it talks a little bit about the Wave of Light, taking place on October 15th, at 7 pm (your time zone--it doesn't seem to matter), in which you simply light a candle in memory of the passing of your/someone's baby.

I'll be participating for my little Spirit Boy.

Nathan Jacen
October 2011, First Trimester


All in one month, it seems, I went from being the happiest that I had ever been, to empty and broken. The pregnancy was confirmed in the beginning of the month.  Went in for our first ultrasound and received the bad news.  My personal gynecologist performed another ultrasound just to be sure...on October 31, 2011.  There was no medical reason.  Th OBGYN could only say, "Sometimes...these things happen.  I'm sorry."

The next day, I started the process of natural miscarriage.  I went through months of heavy, gritty bleeding.  It was terrible.  Depression ate me up.  I considered suicide.  My Matron and the Spirits saved my life.  Helped me back from the brink of despair.  

Last October, a friend bought me a pendulum, and I made contact with my Ancestors...and my son.  He was in the loving, caring arms of my Grandmothers and Aunts.  I named him Nathan Jacen Wren.  He liked his name.

Nathan has his place on my Ancestral Shrine, and always will.  I have no pictures, only memories.  I made him a blanket, in the colors of Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness ribbon.  And I included the birthstones of October and the charm of 2011.  

He's still around.  Sometimes he plays with the toys.  A couple of months ago, a toy train moved in front of me.  

Nathan likes to make contact, often touching my hands or arms.  

He's happy on the Other Side.  He's in good care, in the arms of our Ancestors.  

We love you, baby boy.  Not a day goes by that you're not in our hearts or on our minds.  Your brothers will know about you.  You existed.  You are forever a part of this family.  

<3

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For many people, October is a time to remember your ancestors.  Many have a special shrine and have a special ritual on October 31st.  Others visit graves of the deceased, to clean and give gifts.  To honor and celebrate their lives.  

As every October, I do a lot of Ancestral and Spirit Work, seeing as the veil is the thinnest and I, like many, tend to have more spirit activity.  Why waste the opportunity to connect with them?

It's weird to think of my son as an Ancestor...I guess that I don't really know what to make of it.

Here's a link from The Amethyst Network that talks about rituals and gives some ideas on how to honor yours/someone baby, gone too soon.

(also posted on From the Mud)

Friday, October 2, 2015

Sleep Overs (Warning: Sexual Abuse, Child Abuse, and Rape Triggers!!!)

A friend and I are talking about this NO SLEEPOVER controversy (Say NO & Say Yes).  A lot of parents are saying that the world is different now.  It's more dangerous.  It's more likely that your children are going to be raped, molested, and murdered.

No, the world is just as dangerous as ever, only now with the advancement of media, the world seems scarier.  It's still the same.  The same dangers lurk.  No different than when we were kids.  Only now the news has it in our faces, shoving it down our throats.  It's called fear-mongering.  


Don't trust anyone.  Everyone's out to get you and your kids.  Stay indoors.  Be overprotective.  Don't live.  Be a sheep.  Don't think for yourself.  


It's a crowd control mechanism.  


As someone who lived with a paranoid man with mental illnesses, who's also controlling and abusive, I grew up with that mindset:  EVERYONE'S OUT TO GET YOU!  EVERYONE'S A RAPIST!  EVERYONE'S A CHILD MOLESTER!  YOU'RE NOT SAFE!   Yet even my dad, for as fucked in the head as he is, didn't keep us trapped in the house, and didn't forbid us from going to sleep overs.  He could've, hell, he could've kept me lock up like Rapunzel.  And I would've been more damaged than I am.

  • He taught us about the dangers of the world, he didn't go into too much detail, unless he was badmouthing my mom.  (I was forced to watch videos of children being molested and sexually abused, with him saying, "See, that's what your mom did to you.  Don't look away.  Watch it."  If I didn't watch it, I was beaten.)
  • We were given a password that a strange adult had to know.  IF they didn't, you ran away and screamed for help.  You reported it to police.
  • We were taught to not trust everyone we met, not even other kids.  
  • To not follow people into their homes or cars.  
  • The parents had to meet before we could go inside of a friend's house, and they needed the parents' phone numbers.  
  • We always had to check in and stay within earshot.  
  • Inside before the street lights came on.
  • If someone hits you, hit them back.  Defend yourself.  
  • Always stand up for yourself (which is funny because in the home my dad was a monster--you stood up, you got beat.  Doesn't really help to stand up for yourself against others.  One of the reasons why I was bullied for so long.  I was taught one thing, but shown something else).
  • Think critically.  Question.  Don't just take someone's word for it.

Even though he said that everyone was out to get us and rape us, he educated us.  Prepared us.  Did what he could to ensure that we wouldn't become victims (again, a little ironic, give the home life).  We were encouraged to go outside and play with our friends, and were allowed to sleep over at their houses, no matter how many kids there were, or their ages!  We had to be respectful and polite.  Listen to the other parents. But don't go anywhere alone with them.  


If someone touches you inappropriately say something.  Say something to your friends.  Call your parents.  Leave.  Call the police.  Say no.  It's not your fault.  They're the bad ones.  You did nothing wrong.  Do not stay silent.  


One of the major fears concerning sleep overs is sex abuse.  Out of all the times that I've been to sleep overs, I've only been molested twice.  One was by a an older female friend and we were at her house alone (her mom had left us alone) and the other was by a male cousin who was around the same age as me, at his house, with his parents home, in a roomful of other cousins.  With her, I didn't say anything, it was a repressed memory that didn't resurface until a few years ago.  But with him, I shut him down, and told a different cousin who wasn't there, and my parents.  It actually prepared me in a fucked up way, when a boyfriend tried to rape in a couple years later.  I fought him off, but due to the problems with the cousin, I kept it to myself until college, when I used my experiences to help other girls on my dorm floor.


Not all stories or statistics are going to be the same, but they often say that most molestation cases are by family.  Not family friends or friends.  Family.  Shit, some people don't even need to leave their house!  Sometimes the abuse goes on and on for years.  And it takes years and years, if at all, for the victim to talk about it.  


You can't protect your children from everything.  You just can't.  It's not healthy for their development.  As a parent, it's your job to educate them.  Teach them about the world, about the potential dangers.  To keep them aware and cautious.  Teach them safety protocol.  How to defend themselves from threats and dangers.  


The world is not worse than ever.  It's the same and it's a cycle.  The world had dangers when I was a kid, I was informed.  The world still has dangers, my children will be informed (only their home life will be healthy, their self esteem intact...but even this doesn't guarantee a safe childhood).  


Welcome to the real world.  


There are times when I'm a helicopter parent due to the PTSD from the miscarriage and from almost losing Warrior at 6 weeks, but even I know the importance of allowing a child to have a childhood.  I'd never forbid my children sleep overs.  I was allowed to sleep over at cousins houses by age 5, and friends houses by age 8.

I was watching the neighbor kids play in the courtyard yesterday and found myself thinking about me playing at their age. The challenges, the fun, the disappointment, betrayal, gross things that I learned and seen, inappropriate things we saw and did, the adventures, the hurt, and everything. At one point, I'm nervous about it. I won't be there to protect my kids from the hurt and the potential dangers, but I understand that it's not healthy for me to be up their ass. They have to live and experience life for themselves. They have to experience childhood. It's an important part of development. They will learn. The best thing for me is to educate them, so they can handle the dangers and be cautious. It's my job to prepare them for life.



Teach them discipline, manners, and rules. Teach them about the world. Not in graphic detail, and certainly not to scar or scare them, but to keep them informed.
My dad was fucked in the head, but he made sure we weren't fools, pushovers, or potential victims. (Unless he was doing the abusing, of course.)
But even with the education, I know that there's always a chance of something happening. My parents--all of them--did their best to protect and inform me, and yet bad things still happened. I learned. I healed. I'm okay. I don't abuse my children. I don't even spank! I'm determined to raise my children in an healthy, happy, and safe home. To not allow my fears, traumas, and worries affect them. To turn those things into positive lessons, instead.
I'll learn from my parents, the good and the bad, and apply it to this generation. Some things I'll teach my kids, other sins I won't commit....like when my step dad basically told me to stay quiet about what my cousin did to me, and continued to allow my step brother to play with his cousin. I'm never going to betray my children like that. God's forbid, but if they ever experience sexual abuse, I want them to be strong enough to handle it. To not be afraid to come to us. I will help them heal, instead of just sweeping it under the rug and expecting them to just get over it, like I was taught.

As the parent, it's not healthy to see the world like my dad does. Not everyone one is a suspect. Not everyone is out to hurt you and your family. Yes, be cautious, be smart, and know how to defend yourself, but there are more good people than bad. It's not a healthy mindset to have, to be fearful of everything. Remember, your children are watching and learning from you. Do you want them to be just as scared of the world and of other people? I wouldn't. But not my circus, right? I'll just learn from you and how I don't want to be. I'd rather be prepared and informed, yet still able to experience, live, and enjoy life.

We're all different. We're not going to have the same experiences and perspectives. Someone could've lived my life and ended up fearful of the world, too. But I chose not to be. In the end, it's your child, do what you think you feel is right for them. What you do is your own thing. But allowing a child to go to a sleep over is not child endangerment or abuse.

I just realized, it's like driving. Most people wouldn't even think twice before loading their kids into a car. Strapping them into their carseats or seat belts. Making sure that the child safety locks and windows are locked, or that their child knows to not open the door while the car is on, or play with a toy in the rolled down window. You have the precautions. Everyone's informed. You're a safe driver...and at any moment, you/family could be in a minor or a serious car accident....or die.


Say no to sleepovers, but you might want to say no to driving, too, because the risk of something bad happening to your children is higher than if they went over to someone's home for the night. Something to think about.


_________________________________________

This is a good tie-in article too (kinda on and off topic), it talks about helicopter society and the impact it's having on some college students.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Toddler Goals

Wolfman's got goals, but apparently being a good big brother isn't one of them:
"Feet first, [Warrior]. Good job, [Warrior]!," Wolfman to his little brother as he practices on the step.
"Good job, [Warrior]. Good job, [Wolfman]."
"Thanks, mommy."
"You're such a good big brother."
"Oh, no, not again."

Fall Plans

It's a chilly night here in Ohio.  The baby's been sleeping a lot lately, or at least he's been spending a lot of time in his room, just chilling.  He really likes to just be in his crib.  My mom said that my brother was like that.  When I was older, I spent a lot of time in my room (or outside) playing with my toys, quietly and alone.  Which is funny, because as my brother got older, he spent most of his time outside playing sports or being with his friends...although the abusive family situation we were in had a lot to do with that, us as older kids.

Wolfman is not the type to want to just chill in his bed, not even in his "cool trouble" Paw Patrol bed.  When he's awake, he's up and about.  Active.  Warrior is a bit more laid back.  He's fine being in his crib for hours, entertaining himself.  When he's ready, I get him, feed him and all that.

Oh, and did I mention that he's walking around more often?  More than just a couple step here and there.  He walks across the room now!  Not always, according to my hubs, Warrior still "cheats", by crawling.  But I'd say it's about half and half nowadays.  Pretty exciting.  I knew that he knew how to walk.

He's going to be a year and a half this month.

Speaking of ages, instead of having one big birthday for Wolfman, we're having two smaller birthdays.  One here and one down in Kentucky, with my MIL and her mother.  So my GIL?  I don't know that I'll have to do a whole lot for that party, I'm pretty sure they're baking him a cake and making food.

I'm a little nervous because I don't know how the weather is going to be around Christmas/New Years.  I don't want to find ourselves in the middle of bad weather, either traveling or stuck down there.  I dislike traveling around winter holidays.

But the Bubble Guppy Truck Party is still on up here....although now the apartment is too small.  I need to ask my mom if she'd let us have it at her house.  That way, also, I don't have to give my address out to certain folks....ugh, fall is going to be awkward this year.

Normally we do a yearly apple and pumpkin picking with my step mom every fall, but now that we're distancing ourselves from them, it's just awkward.  But I'll cross the bridge when we get there...which is soon.  October is our apple, pumpkin, and honey harvest.  I'm sure that there's a farmer's market/orchard/pumpkin patch around here.  We are kind of out in the country now.  There's gotta be something.  A smaller town nearby is having a Fall Festival this weekend that I'm going to see my my mom wants to come with us to check out.

...Today's Thursday, I should probably ask her soon.