Back to YOU

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You had a magnificent Summer. You did all (or almost all) of the super-fun stuff that you promised the kids you’d do. You took trips, you played hard, you went to the splash park and the beach and the fair, you arranged playdates, you hosted sleep-overs, you took them to camp, and you planned everything, you got everyone everywhere, you fed everyone, and you made sure that boredom didn’t crash the 12-week party. Let’s face it, you kicked Summer’s butt.

And maybe Summer kicked your butt a little bit too…

Maybe you were working extra hard to keep everything going according to plan this Summer. Maybe you were feeling stressed out about making sure your kids got everything they needed, went everywhere they needed to go, had as much stimulation as they love-yourselfneeded to have, and still rested as much as they needed and ate as much as they needed and washed as much as they needed, too. Maybe there were things you let slide, things you put on hold, things you shelved just because you were so focused on the thrill of the seasonal ride, keeping it all together, staying in the moment. Maybe you had a flash in your mind of how great it would be when you got back to that project or back to that idea or back to that new habit you were working on. Maybe you even had moments when you wanted a vacation from vacation. Maybe you were counting the days until school started back up and some of your load would be lightened. (It’s ok, I won’t tell on you…)

Nearly all of us conscientious, involved, interested, attentive, supportive, connected parents feel that way sometimes. The End of Summer is a common time for parents to feel worn thin and fraSelf-Love1zzled, simply from putting so much care and attention into what they’re doing for their kids. And when you add in the Back to School crunch and the destabilization and reorganization it causes each year — well, this can be one heck of harrying time for any mom or dad. Even those of us who homeschool aren’t free from the “Summer dizzies” or “shifting back to homeschool schedule upheaval” — we can get stressed out from either or the combination of them just like any other parent.Daisy macro

But after the dust settles just a little… After the focus that has been even more narrowly tuned to them for a period begins to soften… After you catch your breath a moment… You might have the opportunity to turn your gaze to yourself for a second. You might have an inkling, or a brief sensation, or even a strong feeling, or an overwhelming epiphany

eselfloveUnderneath all these things you’ve been doing and are doing and will do, underneath all the love you give and help you offer and empathy you share, underneath all the thankless and Herculean and Sisyphus-ian feats you pull off every single day of every year for the family that you love so dearly — underneath it all, there’s a YOU.

And YOU matter. You matter so much that your whole family could’t be and do what it wants and needs to do without you. You matter so much that your kids couldn’t survive or succeed or live happy lives making the world a better place if you didn’t do what you do. You even matter so much that people like me dedicate our lives to support you. And you do so much for others, for your family, that it matters how well you take care of YOU, too.

Lend Yourself To Others, But Give Yourself To Yourself.Now maybe you aren’t “burned out”. Maybe you aren’t “dying inside”. Maybe you aren’t “suffocating under the weight of it all”. But you deserve the time, energy, focus, (and yes, a little help if you can get it!) to do some things for yourSELF, too; to recharge, and restore, and revitalize; to put some of your big love into projects or ideas or goals that mean something to you, that you value — to feed your core.

You deserve that. And your family deserves you getting it, too. Because when you’re filled up, and/or moving on dreams that are meaningful to you, and/or nurturing who you are and how you want to grow and love and be, and/or just spending time with a deeply empathetic ally who’ll hear you out and help you find your own (perfectly YOU) way — then you’ve got waaaaay more to give than when you’re stifling your dreams, sitting on your goals, or not getting what you need!selflove

So that’s why I’m making you a special offer right now. The timing is right. The need is present. And you deserve it. And out of respect and honour for all that you do, and out of my own personal mission to be of assistance to as many families around the world as I am possibly able — out of the honest hope that I can give something back to the most important people on the planet (that’s YOU mindful parents, incase you’re wondering, you’re world-changers!) — I want to make it easy to give yourself something that is truly life-evolving.

Everyday-Self-Love-ImageWhether you’ve got parenting goals, professional goals, relationship goals, health goals, or projects you want to kick-start, or milestones you want to achieve — we can do it together!

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And for those of you who’ve never worked with a coach before, let me tell you, there’s no better way to get moving on things that mean something to you than to hire someone who’s job it is to support you in doing just that. It’s my actual occupation to help people — parents, professionals, college students — people just like you, to get where they most want to go; and to powerfully support them on their way. I love what I do, primarily, because I’ve seen how profoundly peoples’ lives can change from actively engaging in the process of coaching. We should all have at least one!

I specialize in connection parenting, life transformations, and project success. You can get coaching from me on any one, all, or none of them! I can coach you on anything you want or can imagine; because I don’t have to be an expert in whatever it is in order to help you — my skill lies is in assisting you to find the way(s) that mean the most to you, the ways that resonate resoundingly with who you are, the ways that thrill and fulfill you to the bone, so that you can succeed in doing what you want. You’re the expert — I’m just the best tool for this particular (and very important) job.tumblr_le9kgictkU1qbdhxao1_500_large

So go ahead. Take me up on it. Or buy it for your spouse if s/he could use it more. You and your family are worth it! And there’s never been a better time than right now.

Beginning immediately, until the end of the year, or until my roster is too full (I’ve only got so many hours in a day, too!), I am offering 4 coaching sessions with me via phone or Skype for just $199. That’s less than half of my regular coaching rate, and I can’t always offer such a thing and still stay in business, but I really want you to take this opportunity, and I don’t want anything to hold you back, so I’m doing this to make it as easy as possible for you.

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That’s the offer. I’m making it because YOU matter, and because I want to help you make the difference that you’re making everyday. If you’d like to find out more, or take this whole coaching thing for a little test drive, or just get to know me a little better and ask me a few questions — feel free to contact me via the contact page above; my website; or my email: nmmctague.cpcc@gmail.com. You can set up a complimentary consultation session with me — we’ll talk more about your situation, I’ll let you know how I can help, and we’ll get a feel for whether or not we’d like to work together. Even the consultation alone can be so helpful in clarifying where you’re headed, so don’t hesitate to get in touch with me and arrange it today!

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You do what you do out of such profound love for your family, but you can only do for them as well as you do for yourself in the long run. So be kind to yourself. Empower yourself. Give yourself something wonderful. You’ll not only be brighter and shinier and happier for your children, you’ll also be showing themself_esteem_quotes what it means to be self-nurturing, self-loving, self-assured. They’ll learn more from your taking good care of yourself than from all the words that you could ever say to them about taking good care of themselves…

And besides, YOU’RE WORTH IT.


4 Self-Sessions with me for just $199
. You’ll be so glad you did it. And so will they.

love-self

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Be well.

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P.S. If you know a parent for whom this offer would be ideal, please feel free to pass it along, and/or share it randomly with as many people in as many places as you like! We’re all in this together… ♥

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Bats in Montana (The Lost Month part 3)

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Greetings Fam-fans! I know most of us have at least someone headed or already “back to school”, and the seasons are already shifting away from the long languid days of sun and play, but I’m here today to wax photographic once … Continue reading

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The Lost/Last Month (pt 2)

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Ready for a mini photo album? In this and the next post, I am going to be sharing a smattering of the thousand pictures we (and other family members) took during our various epic escapades last month. Today, I’m going to … Continue reading

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The Lost/Last Month (pt 1)

UpcloseI found myself outside in the garden at 9:27pm with the sunlight still clinging to the sky. The hot, dry earth was like crumbly stone and the going was slow. The weeds clung to everything, forming a well-woven chaos. Squatted over the garden bed, I chiseled and yanked and swore.

At one point, I looked up at the house — you know, “Gus” — and there were only a couple of lights on inside; most notable among them was the steely glint of the LED on the phone Natalie uses, illuminating the book she was reading while waiting for Echo (eye-mask-clad and snuggled up in bed next to her) to fall asleep. I didn’t have a kid or kids to usher toward bed. I didn’t have anyone to read to or tuck in or snuggle up. Suddenly, “the Summer” had come and gone. Bella’s 8 weeks zoomed by, and now both she and Xi were off to their other houses. And I was by myself in the yard at twilight.

Upclose3For 8 weeks we’ve been in bliss.  For 8 weeks we’ve been our whole family unit, undivided by time and distance and circumstance. For 8 weeks we just were. And over the last month in particular, the rest of the world faded finally, completely out of focus, and even things as close as the front yard softened into happy blurs. We had more family come and visit. We camped. We played. We celebrated. We rivered. We went to the lake. We went to the mountains. We went to the shore. We went to weddings. We did it all. We had the very best summer of our lives and it was all before August even started!

As a result, almost as soon as Xi got picked up and I dropped Bella off and returned to a thinner, more solemn Gus; almost as soon as the last soft edges of Bella and Xi faded out of sight (but not mind), the rest of the world came careening back into focus in glaring, wanting, necessary detail. I grew a list like a magic beanstalk. And at or near the top of the list was my other baby, our yard… For those of you who don’t know, we have more of a Rocky Mountain English Garden than a lawn.Upclose5 Upclose6 Upclose7 There are nooks and crannies of amazing life out there that I track all summer long each year just to find again in order to nurture them onward. So I ventured outside with my mind on microscope mode in order to fine-tooth-comb through some particular areas and tame back some unruly intruders.

Upclose4Twenty-four hours later, it is 9:27pm, and the sunlight is clinging to the sky and I am hunched over face-to-face with the dirt and the weeds. Out of those 24 hours, I spent 6 of them sleeping, 2 of them eating, and the rest in perforated chunks somewhere in this jungle maze, eye-ball deep in plants.

I watched a fly with something egg-like hanging from it’s back end struggle to take off, as though trying to scrape off the egg-thing, only to discover that the egg was an ant, struggling to hold the fly down. I huffed in mirth and blew the dueling duet into the air where the ant rode the back of the fly like Bellerophon on Pegasus. Then, presumably because of the increased weight (of an ant!), the fly crashed down again, where the ant promptly grabbed hold of the nearest hunk of earth and prevented the fly from leaving the ground once more. Then another tiny gust launched them briefly skyward over the canopy of weeds again, and back down at last, at which point, the ant gave up and stalked dizzily off.

Upclose2Other things I’d been “missing” came into focus as well. My list grew even more, as I worked to trim it back. In between moments when I hunched and toiled and swore, I breathed deep and slow and long. I settled back into a version of myself I hadn’t been wearing much at all lately. I’d been so carried away with being my (much preferred) fully-familial self, that I found all this unused me hanging around all over the place. I kept getting in my way, and tangling myself up, a well-un-woven chaos.

I’ve been doing this co-parenting thing for something like 12 years now. I know what it’s like to be in “full family mode” and then shift back to “work mode” or “single adult mode” or, as it’s been in recent years, “single kid family mode”. And I’ve become good at diving in and getting as much out of my time with my girls as I possibly can. It’s gotten a little more poignant with Bella over the last few years, now that we only see her during Winter break from school and those 8 weeks of Summer. Now when she comes, we really go all out — much in the same vein as it’s always been with Bella’s time, but now on steroids… So in the vacuum of her departure, especially since it coincided with Xi leaving on the same day, I feel unnerved, unsettled, unkempt, stalking dizzily around my to-do list.

Upclose8I’m getting there. Things are continuing to come back into focus. The light isn’t quite so stark, but the clarity is still rich. I went back to Facebook today and had something like 64 notifications… I see things I want to get to. I see people I’m eager to connect with. I even see you — friends, family, and other blog followers — and am typing away at these weeds grown up between us.  I’ve got several new missions — some of which you will no doubt be hearing more about quite soon…! — and I’m ready to take things to a new level.

I’ve been to the mountain, but now, I’m back.
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Stay tuned… Next up, I’ll be posting some photos from our recent adventures!

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Be well.

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Aaannd We’re Off…

Summer is officially a full-go around here — both in calendrical terms (Happy Solstice, All!) and in the sense that we are all settling nicely into our favorite seasonal routines.

SKO1We got our Bella back. And our Xi, too, for that matter. Since we returned from our time in Santa Cruz, we’ve only been with Xi for a few overnights (as part of the schedule balancing-act we arranged so that she could come with us for part of the Santa Cruz time and be with us for more of Bella’s Summer time); and we haven’t seen Bella (other than our skype dates) since the Winter holidays. #holycoparentingjugglebatman…

Scenes like these always make me sigh. When all three of our girls are with us, it’s like home is more home; family is more family. Where I am and what I am doing in the universe makes more sense. The world is friendlier, fuller of promise, and made of fresher atoms. And when the days yawn out before us, and we have no concern for how soon Bella has to be back, or how to make the days count double — then there’s no doubt that Summer is on.
SKO3 Another sure sign of Summer in our house is the parade of Grandparents! This year, Grandpop Michael kicked off the celebrations, showing up just a couple days after Bella and Xi. We wasted no time getting him to his favorite spot in Missoula — Big Dipper Ice Cream.SKO8And, in fact, we made sure he got back there at least once, every single day for the week that he was with us. We got split single scoops each time. He got 5 or 6. SKO2Oh yeah, and Bella is 13… See… ^^^

Grandpop, on the other hand, is still only 12…
SKO4Nevertheless, in between delivering his nearly constant supply of jokes, and impromptu wrestling bouts with the girls, he also rebuilt our renter-injured door frame, repaired both our incomplete and ornery gate latches and our sprained garage door, took us to our first roller derby, lavished the girls with clothes, and took us to about a dozen of our favorite local restaurants, among other silly adventures. Our last stop on the way to return Grandpop to the airport — not Big Dipper (as one would do well to expect), but the ranch supply store for some good old fashioned Montana cowboy boots… Now that’s how you finish off a Summer trip to Big Sky Country!

Also as part of our Summer kick-off, we undertook a wonderful science project the last few weeks which culminated over the last few days in the release of 5 new Pink Lady Butterflies into our neighborhood ecosystem. We’ve been researching pollinators a fair amount lately, studying the habits of the several species of bees that we have in our yard and planting bee-friendly flowers for them, and the butterfly project fit perfectly within that subject area. We got this kit, partly pictured below, that came with everything but the caterpillars, which we ordered separately and were sent to us in a little sealed plastic cup with some special food for them. We watched them munch and wriggle and crawl around the cup for about a week until one by one, and almost instantaneously, they affixed themselves to the paper lining on the lid-ceiling of the cup in snug translucent chrysalids. Even after zipping up their transformation (not sleeping) bags, they would occasionally give an odd swaying jiggle, as if they were really 5 tiny Houdinis slipping out of their caterpillar straightjackets while hanging upside-down in burlap sacks. And then, miraculously, each to their own impressive and triumphant musical score, they suddenly emerged unscathed from their daring reinventions. Then after allowing their wings to “harden”, we set them free in our garden and marveled as they hit the wind like skilled flapping hang-gliders and soared over our heads and into their own Summer epics.SKO5And speaking of “our garden”… here’s the flash version of what’s been up out there:
SKO6Currently the peonies have full reign of the yard, but the columbines, irises, poppies, and fruit blossoms (cherry, apple, strawberry, and raspberry) were no less impressive.

Also “out in the garden” we now have 5 teen chicks just settling in to their new digs in the enclosed run and newly remodeled coop. SKO7Natalie, who fashioned the last coop out of an old garden hot-box made of even older windows, took the previous model and stood it up on one end and reoriented everything so that now it’s warmer, has more room for the chickens to roost and has an additional nesting area.  SKO10Instead of a ranch-styled home, these fancy ladies get to live in a high-rise condo.
SKO9This week is a bit of a “lull” between major events, more exciting escapades, and another round of grandparenting — Bella is in theatre camp all day, Xi is having a week with her mom, and Echo is making audio-files of her current game narration(s). And Natalie and I are bobbing and weaving between work projects, gardening, and play. In a word, we’re all gleefully Summering!

I hope you’re all finding your seasonal sweet spots too!

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Be well.

 

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Birthday Season!

Well, we did Echo’s birthday a couple weeks ago. This week we did our boy Henry’s (that’s him in yellow fur below), followed immediately by Natalie and Nana’s birthdays as well.Bdays1Henry got a rambling hike up one of our local hills, called Mount Jumbo. Bdays2It was punctuated by many a pause from his peskily meandering, story-telling, sniff-stalling humans. Bdays3Echo played Matriarch Elephant leading her family across the savannah… Bdays5which in human-hiking-the-dog terms meant she was mostly wandering off. That big L was our destination. See…

Bdays7 Aside from his hike, we also trained Henry in the course of that one day to get ready for a treat any time we said, “Happy Birthday Henry!” or even just “Birthday, Henry!”. Thus proving, this (12-year!) old dog can still pick up a new trick or two.Bdays6

 

A few days later, Natalie’s birthday hike was an almost totally different Montana experience. Natalie and Nana share their birthday, so after a call to Nana and Grandpa George that morning, and waiting for Xi to arrive at noon — we set off a little over an hour north of Missoula to a place outside Seeley Lake, MT called Morrell Falls. Bdays16We wound our way through a few miles of Lodgepole Pine, Douglas Fir, and Tamarack groves, all littered with a criss-crossing lattice of old fallen trees and limbs, and bejeweled with ripe humps of nearly blooming Bear Grass.

Echo wore her adventure vest. Bdays10 The Lodgepoles were so — Lodgepoley.Bdays14 At one point the trail sidled up to the river, Morrell Creek, which was racing us to another more spectacular meeting spot up ahead.Bdays11 We crossed at this lovely little bridge, but not before being hypnotized by that smooth, clear water sliding over the mosaic of stones in the creekbed.Bdays12 A little further on, we met back up with Morrell where she leapt and tumbled 90 feet only pausing part-way down just long enough to carve a deep bathing bowl for giants, and roaring so loudly that the sound was carried a full half mile.Bdays13 We all gazed and gaped at the falls, but not in the picture below…Bdays17In that one, we’re gaping at one of the many lovely lakes we passed on the way to the falls and back — this one (below) as a matter of fact. Bdays18All four of us, though pretty well worn out by the end of it, felt like we’d each gotten something fun out of Natalie’s birthday tromp. Bdays15We changed clothes in the parking lot and drove straight back to one of our favorite restaurants in Missoula for some much deserved birthday dinner. We all went to bed early, pretty well stuffed with birthday bliss.

Tomorrow our Bella comes. And Summer goes into high gear. What a lovely time… And what lovely use we’re getting to make of that time. I love these bright adventurers. I love the way(s) we live, and love “our chothers” (as Echo used to say while learning to say “each other”).

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Be well.

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How Did Our Baby get to be 7?!

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Somehow, unbeknownst to me, and although I’ve been here, watching, the entire time, several years have flown by and now our youngest — the teeny, tiny baby — has turned 7! Not unlike the little lump of baby chick roosting on the hollow of Echo’s solar plexus (which … Continue reading

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