The Fours of Life

Do you ever take blog or Instagram or other challenges and invites?

I was invited by Jess to participate in a fours of life sharing.  As not all of the original categories are topics I could answer, I shifted some which highlight my life.

Four Names People Call Me Other Than My Real Name

Gorgeous, Mama, Ma-ee, and MamaLena.  The last three are thanks to Susanna.

Four Jobs I’ve Had

Baker at Whole Foods Market, Spanish and Special Education Teacher, Women’s World Cup Volunteer, and Graduate Assistant for the School of Education at St. Bonaventure University.

Four Places I have Lived

San Diego, Ocean Springs, Pittsburgh, and Waltham. (Plus a slew more.)

Four Books I Would Recommend

The Flavor Bible, Living with Wisdom by Jim Forest, My Heart is Like a Zoo, and The Giving Tree.

Four Places I Have Been

My grandmother’s garden, which remains an all time favorite; Tierra del Fuego National Park, Mirador de San Nicolas in Granada, and the Skyline Trail in Ogden.

Four of My Favorite Foods

Apples, rice, homemade granola, and pineapple.


Four of My Favorite Baby-Kid Items

Cloth wipes made by my Mom (Thank you, Mom! We use them daily for everything!), Solly Baby Wrap, BOB Ironman stroller, and BEKVAM stool.

Four of My Favorite Words or Sounds

Silence, our daughters’ laughter, maravilloso/a, and waterfall/rain/the ocean.


Four of My Favorite Mom-Sanity or Mom-Me Items

My sketchbook and number 2 pencils (PaperMate Mirador), my Berkshire Blanket, my camera, and my platform rocking chair that we found on Craigs List last June.

Four Activities I Enjoy 

Swimming, yoga, hiking-trail running, and kayaking.


Whew… Creating those other categories (four of them!) took thought. Thought and reflection.  Creating the “Cliff Notes” of life as I’ve lived it was interesting, for I had to edit so many, and not all are my “top” picks, but all were chosen because they tell a story.

If you’re interested, feel free to play or answer your fours of anything.  Peace.

To Homeschool or No?

Are there topics you think about down the line for your child(ren) now?  What are your thoughts or experiences with homeschooling?

Recently Scott and I have been doing a ton of research and reflection about the possibility of homeschooling our daughters.  I brought the conversation up, as, even though they are two and five months, it’s not that far off.  I want the best educational opportunities for our daughters, and I want to be prepared for whatever they may be.

As we chatted, Scott asked a slew of questions.  I researched and shared.  We learned about annual assessments, regulations, “testing out” once one completes the GED successfully, weekly obligations, etc.

We asked ourselves why, what works best for our lives, would we loose anything in either setting (traditional vs homeschool)?

As we were leaning quite heavily to homeschooling, something went off in my heart.  It was a voice that sounded like this…

This is our children’s educational journey, not my teaching journey.  This is about what is best for them, not for me to prove that I am an excellent teacher.  What will serve them best? What do they need?

With that, all thoughts of homeschooling our girls shifted.  My head began to wonder about the Mom-Teacher dynamic.  We live pretty far out, and I wondered, too, would our girls miss other kids?  They flock to people and are super social in nearly every setting.  Would I be doing a disservice to them in any way by homeschooling them?

Yes, yes, I would.  With that, we quickly shut the door on homeschooling.  We will seek the best traditional school opportunities for our girls.

It’s a huge relief, and it feels right.  The process of learning was worth every moment, too!

Are there topics that have shifted your perspective as a parent? What is your ideal educational environment for your child(ren)?

Surviving and Embracing the 2s With Cs

Do you have a toddler?  Do you remember your life as a toddler?  How did you survive it?

Sweet Susanna turned two in rainy season.  Sweet Susanna showed her personality in ways that were likely impacted by the weather and her own development.  At the height of the intensity, I drafted a post of “surviving the 2s with Cs.”  We’ve come a far ways from surviving and are quite embracing the twos.

Here are some Cs to help you embrace, survive, or ponder life with a two year old (or one who is acting like a two year old!).

  • Consistency (Oh, the boundary testing times! The learning…for all!)
  • Crafts
  • Creativity
  • Communicating Clearly
  • Co-create
  • Crayons
  • Chalk
  • Calm (Clearly there are moments of non-calm, but we, as parents and guardians, can nurture them with calm and with peace.)
  • Compassion
  • Companion (When I think about what we can do to best help a toddler, a two year old, it’s to be a companion.  A respectful one with boundaries who the child can trust.)
  • Chit-chat
  • Cuidado/Caution
  • Celebrate (successes)
  • Cradle (They still need the reassurance and stability, the nurturing as they venture into independent land!)
  • Crafts
  • Choices
  • Courtesy (Manners are a must in our home.  I used to tell my students, “manners open doors.”  In our home, “please” and “thank you” are expected at all times. We’ve caught ourselves being surprised when Susanna says it at the best of moments.  It’s quite beautiful to here, “may I please have more …?”)
  • Cause and effect
  • Consequences (natural ones)

With all stages of life, it’s important to use compassion.  Our children are doing the best they can.  What we model for them, they learn.

What C words would you add to this list?