Friday, July 8, 2011

Taking a Break

While this post is listed under Q's name, it is from all three of us to let you know that the Wabisabi sisters are going to take a break from blogging.

A year and a half ago we sisters started Wabisabi Mama as a fun project we could work on together that would give us the opportunity to share our thoughts and experiences as young mothers. We've loved having this space and the friends that we've made.

But recently we've been feeling over-burdened. Q has returned to work (exciting theater project with Dog & Pony DC) and undergone IVF (unsuccessful this last time round, so it's back to the drawing board); M is trying to balance career, fitness and family; and D is in the midst of some extensive home renovations, leaving all of us with a desire to simplify and streamline our lives.

We've been questioning why we blog on Wabisabi Mama. While we've certainly relished having this public forum to write a little more philosophically about parenting and life, to explore the beautiful and creative aspects of motherhood, and to chronicle our attempts at living a Wabisabi life, if we were to be completely honest, there has also been a drive to put our best feet forward and pat ourselves on the back for being good, mindful mamas and trying to gain some recognition from the community at large. And that is not good enough motivation to do something this time-consuming, is it? All the time we devote to writing and maintaining this blog isn't really serving us right now.

As all three of us sisters are working to grow our families, balance work and parenthood, and be truly present in our children's lives, we've all found it difficult at times to work on our blog. What began as a project that the three of us could work on together started to feel more like another obligation -- one that is mostly pleasurable but sometimes feels like a chore.

A few weeks ago, Q came across this post on Progressive Pioneer that really struck a chord with her. She found herself envying Amy's courage to stop doing something that was so successful and that she found so much pleasure in (blogging) because it was ultimately interfering with her work as a mama. After Q discussed it with us, we all found we were sharing similar feelings.

So... we're going to go on a little hiatus.

It's hard to take a break from something that we've put our heart and soul into. We've made some wonderful friends through our work here. We hope to be able to maintain those connections. But for right now, it is time to step away and focus on some other things. I'm not sure if this means we'll be back here occasionally, or if this is the end. We'll have to take it slowly and see how it goes.

Thanks to those of you who have supported us on this journey. Please stay in touch!

Mamas M, Q and D

To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
A time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

Thursday, July 7, 2011


Tanabata is the star festival that is celebrated in Japan every July 7th. It is the night when the two stars, Veda and Altair meet in the night sky. I wrote about the Japanese version of the mythical story behind this celestial event in this post last year. During our childhood vacations in Japan, Tanabata defined summer: the delicate bamboo branches decked out with hand-written wishes, the street festivals, paper lanterns, people walking around leisurely in their yukatafirecrackers and sparklers, and kusudama decorations. The past couple of years I wish that I could recreate that atmosphere for Mayumi, but it is just different on a small scale. And I just haven't been very resourceful about finding bamboo branches to decorate...

All the same, today we went to the Japan Information and Cultural Center for a kamishibai story time. Maya wore her yukata and loved hearing the story of Orihime. They had crafts and snacks and it was like enjoying a piece of Japan for a few hours.

Hope your summer is turning out to be magical and that on this night, when lover stars meet across the night sky, your wishes come true!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy Independence Day!

For what avail the plough or sail, or land or life, if freedom fail?
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Hope you all enjoy celebrating the birthday of our nation.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Meditation: Grappling...

I was living, but I was not living my life. So far as I could see, I was going nowhere... Without a loved life to live, I was becoming more and more a theoretical person, as if I might have been a figment of institutional self-justification: a theoretical ignorant person from the sticks, who one day would go to a theoretical somewhere and make a theoretical something of himself - the implication being that until he became that something he would be nothing... ...I had completely lost that feeling that I should make something of myself. Aunt Cordie's voice troubled my mind, but it told me I didn't look down on my humble origins and didn't yearn to rise above them. .. I began a motion of the heart toward my origins. Far from rising above them, I was longing to sink into them until I would know the fundamental things.
~ from Jayber Crow by Wendell Berry, Chapter 7

I suppose there is something about that sentiment (to return to one's humble origins) that challenges our (American?) notions of success and achievement. We should work hard, live productive lives, pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and make "something" of ourselves, right? But what does that really mean?

I find myself constantly re-examining my own life to confirm that I am, indeed, living and striving for the "fundamental things" that are really important and bring true happiness. I know I'll never have fame and recognition in the eyes of the world, but for a long time that is definitely something I wanted, and there is a very real (and selfish?) part of me that is sad about not having that. At the same time I have a lot of peace about certain decisions I've made (to be a stay-at-home Mom and put my acting career on the back burner) and the focus I want in my life. I'm trying to internalize the idea that we are all God's children with inherant worth, regardless of the awards and recognition we've amassed or the achievements we can list on our resumes.

Afterall, that is the crux of living a Wabi Sabi life - taking the time to truly live in the moment, to recognize and enjoy simple pleasures for what they are, to detach from ideas of status and just BE, and to love and appreciate the people around you.

Do not depend on the hope of results. You may have to face the fact that your work will be apparently worthless and even achieve no result at all, if not perhaps results opposite to what you expect. As you get used to this idea, you start more and more to concentrate not on the results, but on the value, the rightness, the truth of the work itself. You gradually struggle less and less for an idea and more and more for specific people. In the end, it is the reality of personal relationship that saves everything.
~Thomas Merton

Friday, July 1, 2011

{this moment}

A Friday ritual (inspired by Soulemama).
A single photo--no words--capturing a moment from the week.
A simple, special, extraordinary moment.
A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your "moment" in the comments for all to find and see.
Have a wonderful weekend!

Friday, June 24, 2011

{this moment}

A Friday ritual (inspired by Soulemama).
A single photo--no words--capturing a moment from the week.
A simple, special, extraordinary moment.
A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your "moment" in the comments for all to find and see.
Have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A Word About Grass

I do love a good patch of grass to run around on, but this little anecdote below made me laugh. I thought I'd share:

A conversation between GOD and St. Francis about Suburbanites

GOD: St. Francis, you know all about gardens and nature. What in the World is going on down there in the USA? What happened to the dandelions, violets, thistle and stuff I started eons ago? I had a perfect, no-maintenance garden plan. Those plants grow in any type of soil, withstand drought and multiply with abandon. The nectar from the long lasting blossoms attracts butterflies, honeybees and flocks of songbirds. I expected to see a vast garden of colors by now. But all I see are these green rectangles.

ST. FRANCIS: It's the tribes that settled there, Lord. The Suburbanites. They started calling your flowers weeds and went to great lengths to kill them and replace them with grass.

GOD: Grass? But it's so boring. It's not colorful. It doesn't attract butterflies, birds and bees, only grubs and sod worms. It's temperamental with temperatures. Do these Suburbanites really want all that grass growing there?

ST. FRANCIS: Apparently so, Lord. They go to great pains to grow it and keep it green. They begin each spring by fertilizing grass and poisoning any other plant that crops up in the lawn.

GOD: The spring rains and warm weather probably make grass grow really fast. That must make the Suburbanites happy.

ST. FRANCIS: Apparently not, Lord. As soon as it grows a little, they cut it, sometimes twice a week.

GOD: They cut it? Do they then bale it like hay?

ST. FRANCIS: Not exactly Lord. Most of them rake it up and put it in bags.

GOD: They bag it? Why? Is it a cash crop? Do they sell it?

ST. FRANCIS: No, sir -- just the opposite. They pay to throw it away.

GOD: Now, let me get this straight. They fertilize grass so it will grow. And when it does grow, they cut it off and pay to throw it away?

ST. FRANCIS: Yes, sir.

GOD: These Suburbanites must be relieved in the summer when we cut back On the rain and turn up the heat. That surely slows the growth and saves Them a lot of work.

ST. FRANCIS: You aren't going to believe this, Lord. When the grass stops growing so fast, they drag out hoses and pay more money to water it so they can continue to mow it and pay to get rid of it.

GOD: What nonsense. At least they kept some of the trees. That was a sheer stroke of genius, if I do say so myself. The trees grow leaves in the spring to provide beauty and shade in the summer. In the autumn they fall to the ground and form a natural blanket to keep moisture in the soil and protect the trees and bushes. Plus, as they rot, the leaves form compost to enhance the soil. It's a natural circle of life.

ST. FRANCIS: You'd better sit down, Lord. The Suburbanites have drawn a new circle. As soon as the leaves fall, they rake them into great piles and pay to have them hauled away.

GOD: No. What do they do to protect the shrub and tree roots in the Winter and to keep the soil moist and loose?

ST. FRANCIS: After throwing away the leaves, they go out and buy Something which they call mulch. They haul it home and spread it around in place of the leaves.

GOD: And where do they get this mulch?

ST. FRANCIS: They cut down trees and grind them up to make the mulch.

GOD: Enough! I don't want to think about this anymore. St. Catherine, you're in charge of the arts. What movie have you scheduled for us tonight?

ST. CATHERINE: Dumb and Dumber, Lord. It's a real stupid movie about…

GOD: Never mind, I think I just heard the whole story from St. Francis.

Along this topic, Mayumi and I have been enjoying a new book:

Makes me consider letting my little postage stamp-sized front lawn turn into a wildflower meadow!

Hope you have a lovely week, friends!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Deal of the Day! $20 for $40 Worth of Organic, Natural, Green, and Eco-Friendly Products from Abe's Market

This deal has popped up before and I was tempted to buy it then as I am tempted to buy it now. Groupon is offering a $40 for only $20 to Abe's Market, an on-line retailer of eco-friendly goods. This Groupon is available on the right side bar of the Westchester County, New York page but since it is an on-line deal, anyone nationwide can purchase it.

Before I buy any deals from these social buying sites like Groupon, I always check out the website of the retailer to see if there is anything I actually "need" (because some of us can be more impulsive than we want to admit). I found these stainless steel bento boxes that would be perfect for picnic lunches or in the car when we're out an about.
Right now I am using glass and plastic but the glass is so heavy and the plastic breaks all the time and doesn't really coincide with trying to live a zero-waste lifestyle. I don't know if it is just having a daughter that gets me paranoid about all the chemicals in plastics or just trying to be more environmentally conscious about my waste or a combination of both but I've been trying to slowly make changes to sturdier reusable items and when I see a deal like this, I like to jump on it (you think my husband will buy that?). I also want to make beautiful bento lunches for me and my daughter.

Another thing you want to check out is shipping for these types of deals before you buy. When you factor in shipping, sometimes the deal isn't quite the steal that you thought. According to the Abe's Market website, you can get free shipping on orders over $49 for a limited time or pay a flat fee of $3.99 so I think that is quite reasonable.

Are you all as addicted to social buying sites like Groupon as I am? I must subscribe to more than seven of these a day that flood my inbox and always tempt me with the great deals, whether I need them or not. Hope that this is a more useful one for our readers!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

A father's advice

On this Father's Day, we'd of course like to honor our dear wabisabi father. He's at a point in his life where he has some time to reflect and recently shared some sage advice about raising a child. While I don't always love unsolicited advice, I think his four kids turned out pretty darn good, so perhaps he's qualified to dole out some tips now and again. Here they are, in his very words:

Raising a child.  Nobody asked, but here are my suggestions for raising a child.

Limit entertainment. The trick here is to understand what entertainment is. Entertainment may include watching TV, playing video games, playing with toys, surfing the web, shopping, hanging out, attending or watching sporting events, going to the movies, texting, excessive use of cell phone, and probably a myriad of other future technological advances not even conceived yet. You may have your own additions to this list.  Although we all need a break, 20 hours of MTV a week is probably over the top.

Expose the child to a wide range of occupations. A main goal in life is to not outlive one’s assets. Assets are usually acquired by work. Exposing a child to a wide range of occupations (not just areas of interest) focuses a child’s interest on what she would like to do (and not do!). This is just as important for girls as it is for boys.  Take-your-child-to-work day is a good idea. Take-your-child-to-someone-else’s-work day is even better.

Instill a sense of awe for the outdoors. Take her fishing. Go hiking. Paddle a canoe down a river. Climb a mountain. Take a 3-day camping trip with only what you can carry on your back. Bike in the canyons. Kayak on a lake. Watch a whale breech. Take a picnic in the park. Sleep in a tent in the back yard. Plant a seed and watch it sprout. You get the idea. Start out small and work your way up to grander outings. Not only will this be fun, but also she will gain confidence in being able to take care of herself when not in the womb of civilization.

Read, read, read. Learning is the (ongoing) destination, and reading is the road. Read to her every day. Teach her to read as early as possible. Don’t wait for school to do it. Have her see you read. Show interest in what she’s reading. Choose reading material from and about other countries, ethnic groups, and civilizations. Read a book, watch the movie. Take her to the library frequently. Build your own in-house library.

Involve yourself with the child’s homework/education. Know her teacher(s) and express thanks. Correlate your teachings with what she’s learning in school. Show interest in her homework. Do not undermine homework time with competing TV. If she doesn’t have homework, consider your own supplements. Help her prepare for tests. Shadow help, but don’t do the work for her.

Exploit teaching moments. Someone died drinking and driving? Point that out. Someone lose his job through alcoholism? Point that out. Someone injured by not wearing a helmet? Point that out. A candidate exposed for padding his resume? Point that out. Classmates injured or kill not wearing a seatbelt? Point that out. An athlete becomes a champion by working hard? Point that out. Dad got a good job by graduating from college? Point that out. Life is tough; it’s really tough if one is stupid.

Surround yourself with good music. There are many genres: classical, jazz, rock, country, hip-hop, Broadway musicals, religious, even barbershopping! Have a wide selection to play out load during household chores or other appropriate times. Avoid music with explicit lyrics or messages that are immoral, demeaning, or otherwise not uplifting. Music is powerful. Make it a power for good.

Monitor her friends. Unfortunately, studies show that peer pressure can easily be more powerful than parents’ influence. Learn who her friends are. Get to know them. Invite them over for a cookout. Invite them along for a hike. Invite them to church! Steer her away from toxic personalities, especially of the opposite sex. No one-on-one dating until the age of 16 probably won’t do irreparable harm.

Attend church together. Do not send a child to church; take her to church. A child has a very sensitive hypocrite detector. Do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do is a recipe for disaster. Church will usually have a reservoir of admirable peers and leaders. If not, consider another church.

Put the kid to work. This can start very early: picking up her room, helping mommy and daddy around the house and yard. Don’t expect her to instinctively know how to do things. Explicitly show her how to wipe the dishes, sweep the floor, clear the table, etc. Allow for mistakes if she does something wrong. Positive reinforcement is more powerful than negative reinforcement. Rewarding good behavior is a better strategy than punishing the lack of good behavior. Make sure chores are age appropriate (a child should not be mowing the lawn). Do not pay an allowance for normally accepted housework. This creates an attitude of entitlement. Pay (allowance or treats) for “extra” work. Do not tolerate tantrums, but avoid getting angry.

Friday, June 17, 2011

{this moment}

A Friday ritual (inspired by Soulemama).
A single photo--no words--capturing a moment from the week.
A simple, special, extraordinary moment.
A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your "moment" in the comments for all to find and see.
Have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


I'm lucky to have a little garden plot in the back area of my town home development. My plants are not as fortunate, having a forgetful owner like me. They get watered with driplines managed by the HOA, but weeds? Weeds are another story.

See that little sign that says green onions? Those are not green onions. Those are weeds. Everything green in the picture is a weed, except for the red-leaf  lettuce in the far background.

How am I the only one among my garden neighbors that can't seem to keep up? I try to do a little here and there (for heaven knows I don't have time to attack them all at once), but fresh ones always pop up quicker than I can pull them.

Sorry, little plants. It's going to be crowded for a while.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Meditation: Flag Day

A moth-eaten rag on a worm-eaten pole
It does not look likely to stir a man's soul,
'Tis the deeds that were done 'neath the moth-eaten rag,
When the pole was a staff, and the rag was a flag.
~Sir Edward B. Hamley, 1824-1893

Our National Anthem has sometimes been critisized and maligned - too war-focused, too difficult to sing, not poetic enough, not beautiful enough - but I love it. I used to perform it at the beginning of hockey and basketball games in high school (as did MamaM and MamaD) but it's been only recently that I've been able to truly appreciate its meaning and import. Because I realized that, in the song, the flag is a symbol of the spirit of the American people; a tribute to their drive and endurance. Despite the odds, that flag was still waving after a horrific night of bombardment. When I ponder on those words I am encouraged and inspired to endure my own dark times of trial and adversity.  I've been to see Old Glory - that flag that flew over Fort McHenry during the war of 1812 and inspired Francis Scott to pen those famous words - and I've been touched and humbled by its threadbare, ragged dignity. I'm reminded that survival, freedom, and victory don't usually come all touched-up and pretty. That I, too, will have wounds from the battles I fight, but that I, too, will still be there in the morning, battered but proud.

So hurrah for the flag of the free!

You're the emblem of
The land I love.
The home of the free and the brave.
~George M. Cohan

Happy Flag Day!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Enjoying the Bounty

A morning at the berry patch yielded many happy memories and 12 pounds of strawberries!

After eating as much fresh fruit as we can stomach, we made some strawberry shortcake. Why is this the first time I've ever made the biscuits myself from scratch? If I'd known how easy and delicious it could be I would've done this so much sooner!

Even bunny got to benefit from all the hulled tops - she was in heaven!

I still have a few berries left, but I don't think it's enough for a batch of jam (I want to try the strawberry lavender jam from Canning for a New Generation by Liana Krissoff). Hmmm... this may require another outing to the orchard!

Friday, June 10, 2011

{this moment}

A Friday ritual (inspired by Soulemama).
A single photo--no words--capturing a moment from the week.
A simple, special, extraordinary moment.
A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your "moment" in the comments for all to find and see.
Have a wonderful weekend!

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Thursday, June 9, 2011

Giveaway Winner!

Congratulations to Kim on winning the adorable "Chowa" kokeshi print from Pinceau-Magique.
Thanks to everyone who entered. Please be sure to visit Corinne's Etsy shop to check out her other charming prints - and tell your friends!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Meditation: Facing Fear

You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you stop to look fear in the face.  You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.
 ~Eleanor Roosevelt

I can do this... (again!)


Don't forget to enter our June giveaway for a gorgeous art print from Pinceau-Magique. Leave a comment on the post by June 8!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


I just read a blog post that mentioned how most "mommy" blogs tend to focus on the positive, happy moments instead of the challenging, disheartening days. I'm one of these bloggers--not because I'm trying to create a facade about how perfect my life is, but because I feel that it can be destructive to focus on the negative. It's the happy moments I want to remember.

That said, there are many, many things in my life that aren't picture perfect or that perhaps aren't what your typical mommy blogger might write. So, in an attempt to air some of my dirty, or just wrinkled, laundry, here are some of my confessions:
  • I used to clean my bathrooms every two weeks. Now I'm lucky if they get cleaned monthly.
  • I'm bad at getting my child to eat vegetables and remembering to brush her teeth.
  • I have let my daughter "cry it out" more than once. And it's worked.
  • I like the escape from motherhood that my part-time job provides me. 
  • Sometimes I purposely wake my husband up when I'm getting back in bed after a late-night/early-morning bout with the wee one so he can know I was up and feel a bit of my pain.
  •  I eat a lot of junk food.

Just a few of my little secrets. Now I want to know--what are yours??

Don't forget to enter our June giveaway for a gorgeous art print from Pinceau-Magique. Leave a comment on the post by June 8!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Oishii: Kabocha Cookies

Kabocha is a type of pumpkin very popular in Japan, but now widely available in the States. It has a slightly sweet taste, so it's often used to make desserts--like these kabocha cookies.

These soft cookies make a nice light treat and I can feel good (or at least not feel that bad) about giving my toddler a nibble.

But I have to admit--the cookies didn't look like the picture when I first made them.

No, not at all.

I have this habit of not following recipes exactly...not because I want to get creative, but because I have dyslexia when it comes to reading recipe instructions. Like how I was supposed to use a quarter pound of kabocha in the cookies , but I decided not to measure the kabocha, guessing instead that half a pumpkin was probably about a quarter pound. Wrong. (Note: the recipe below calls for a half-pound of kabocha because the initial yield was only about eight cookies, and that's certainly not enough for my sweet tooth!) I realized my mistake when the recipe called for flattening the cookie dough out and cutting shapes. My dough was so batter-y that there was no way to even attempt to roll it out.

So I doubled the recipe, going back and dumping everything in the already-made batter. Still terrible, but I figured I'd try it out anyway. I dumped rough spoons full onto a cookie tray, thinking the batter would melt into perfect little rounds. Wrong again.

BUT despite all my mistakes and the turd-like appearance of the cookies, the botched batch actually turned out pretty good! Cakey, but really sweet--just the way I like 'em. So I can say that this is probably a fool-proof recipe--the cookies will still taste good even if you completely screw it up like I did!

Kabocha Cookies

1/2 lb. kabocha
4 Tbsp butter
6 Tbsp sugar
2 egg yolks
1 1/3 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder


1. Cut kabocha into large chunks. Steam kabocha in the microwave until softened. Peel kabocha and mash in a bowl.

2. Mix butter and sugar in another bowl. Add mashed kabocha in the bowl. Mix well. Add an egg yolk and stir well.

3. Sift flour and baking powder together. Add the flour in the bowl. Mix the dough. Rest the dough in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

4. Preheat the oven to 340 degrees F. Flatten the cookie dough on floured board and cut into your favorite shapes. Place a cooking sheet in a baking pan and place shaped cookie dough on the sheet. Bake cookies in 340F oven for 15-20 minutes.

*Makes 16 cookies

Sunday, June 5, 2011


My belated birthday/Mother's Day gift: a BOB jogging stroller. Isn't she a beauty?

I know money can't buy happiness, but I sure hope it can buy a stroller that will help get my butt in shape!


Don't forget to enter our June giveaway for a gorgeous art print from Pinceau-Magique. Leave a comment on the post by June 8!

Friday, June 3, 2011

{this moment}

A Friday ritual (inspired by Soulemama).
A single photo--no words--capturing a moment from the week.
A simple, special, extraordinary moment.
A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your "moment" in the comments for all to find and see.
Have a wonderful weekend!

Don't forget to enter our June giveaway for a gorgeous art print from Pinceau-Magique. Leave a comment on the post below and then go tell your friends to do the same and support this awesome mama-preneur!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

June Giveaway: Pinceau-Magique!

Our Wabisabi Giveaway for this month is from our sponsor Pinceau Magique. Pinceau Magique is the art company run by Corinne Le Strat of Brittany, France. Corinne is the mama of two children, six and eleven years old, and has been passionate about drawing since she herself was a child. Always looking for opportunities to encourage art in her home, she started her business four years ago when she began making paintings for her children's bedrooms. Since then she has joined the Association of Mampreneurs - a network of women who have created their own business and share the desire to grow professionally while preserving family life. 

In her own words:

On the encouragement of my friends I created my website Pinceau Magique. I realized that there was a real desire among parents to customize their child's room. With a playful and colorful style, I propose my paintings since 4 years on my website, at creative art markets and exhibitions. Somehow I hope to communicate my passion of art to children through my paintings. 

Corinne paints canvases with acrylic paintings and then has all the originals faithfully reproduced by a Canadian company working with artists and museums. With an emphasis on quality, each print is made with natural pigments on pure cotton canvas frame, is UV resistant and VOC free. She especially enjoys painting jungle scenes with vibrant colors and funny animals, embodying a certain sweetness as well as a spirit of brotherhood and harmony. She also loves painting kokeshi dolls because "for me they embody some wisdom and sweetness."

This month Corinne is offering one lucky reader this charming 9x11 inch "Chowa" kokeshi print that would be perfect in your little one's nursery! 

Comments closed! Thanks to everyone who entered. Winner to be announced on June 9th.
To be entered to win please leave a comment on this post. You can gain additional entries by becoming a fan of Wabisabi Mama on facebook (1st timers only - leave a separate comment) or becoming a follower by clicking on the sidebar (1st timers only - leave a separate comment). Comments close one week from today, on June 8th at 8pm EST. A winner will be selected by random number generator and announced here on June 9th.

In addition, Corinne is offering a 15% discount off the purchase price to all Wabisabi Mama readers at her Etsy shop when you enter "Wabisabi" at checkout. So please visit Pinceau Magique, and support this wonderful mama-run business!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Channeling Tina Fey

My friend Teabelly has been reading Tina Fey's Bossypants and sent me this excerpt. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry (the bit about acting was especially poignant for me!) - why is Tina Fey so awesome?

The Mother's Prayer for her Daughter

First, Lord: No tattoos. May neither Chinese symbol for truth nor Winnie-the-Pooh holding the FSU logo stain her tender haunches.

May she be Beautiful but not Damaged, for it’s the Damage that draws the creepy soccer coach’s eye, not the the Beauty.

When the Crystal Meth is offered,
May she remember the parents who cut her grapes in half
And stick with Beer.

Guide her, protect her
When crossing the street, stepping onto boats, swimming in the ocean, swimming in pools, walking near pools, standing on the nearby subway platform, crossing 86th Street, stepping off of boats, using mall restrooms, getting on and off escalators, driving on country roads while arguing, leaning on large windows, walking in parking lots, riding Ferris wheels, roller-coasters, log flumes, or anything called “Hell Drop,” “Tower of Torture,” or “The Death Spiral Rock N’ Zero G Roll featuring Aerosmith,” and standing on any kind of balcony ever, anywhere, at any age.

Lead her away from Acting but not all the way to Finance.
Something where she can make her own hours but still feel intellectually fulfilled and get outside sometimes
And not have to wear high heels.
What would that be, Lord? Architecture? Midwifery? Golf course design? I’m asking You because if I knew, I’d be doing it, Youdammit.

May she play the Drums to the fiery rhythm of her Own Heart with the sinewy strength of her Own Arms, so she need Not Lie With Drummers.

Grant her a Rough Patch from twelve to seventeen.
Let her draw horses and be interested in Barbies for much too long,
For Childhood is short -- a Tiger Flower blooming
Magenta for one day --
And Adulthood is long and Dry-Humping in Cars will wait.

O Lord, break the Internet forever,
That she may be spared the misspelled invective of her peers
And the online marketing campaign for Rape Hostel V: Girls Just Wanna Get Stabbed.

And when she one day turns on me and calls me a Bitch in front of Hollister,
Give me the strength, Lord, to yank her directly into a cab in front of her friends,
For I will not have that Shit. I will not have it.

And should she choose to be a Mother one day, be my eyes, Lord,
That I may see her, lying on a blanket on the floor at 4:50 a.m., all-at-once exhausted, bored, and in love with the little creature whose poop is leaking up its back.
“My mother did this for me once,” she will realize as she cleans feces off her baby’s neck.
“My mother did this for me.” And the delayed gratitude will wash over her as it does each generation and she will make a Mental note to call me. And she will forget.

But I’ll know, because I peeped it with Your God eyes.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day

True heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic. It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever cost.
~ Arthur Ashe

Thank you to Dad who served this country in the Army.
Thank you to Grampa who served as a Navy Seabee during World War II.
And thank you to all American veterans who have served and sacrificed to preserve our freedoms.

We hope you all have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend enjoying the freedom that comes with living in this wonderful country.

The Birth Survey

Shortly after discovering I was pregnant with my first child, I decided I wanted an unmedicated birth. I had hoped to use a midwife for my prenatal care, but that was not an option covered by my insurance, so I started asking around for doctors. But in this land of scheduled inductions and through-the-roof C-sections, I was hard-pressed to find a doctor who really supported my birth goals.

That's when a resource like The Birth Survey would have been invaluable. 

The Birth Survey is part of the Transparency in Maternity Care project run by Coalition for Improving Maternity Services, a volunteer group dedicated to ensuring public access to quality-of-care information specifically related to maternity care providers and institutions. The survey is intended to extend transparency in health care into the maternity-care arena by providing information that will help women make fully informed maternity-care decisions.

The survey asks women who have given birth in the past three years to provide feedback about their birth experience with a particular doctor or midwife and within a specific birth environment. Responses are then made available online to other women in their community who are deciding where and with whom to birth. Paired with this experiential data is official statistics from state departments of health listing obstetrical intervention rates at the facility level.

The survey is a little lengthy--it took me nearly 40 minutes to complete--but I felt like it was my duty to fill it out if it helps other women out there.

If you'd like to participate, take the survey. You can also check out survey results or intervention rates in your area.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Meditation: Ambiguity

I wanted a perfect ending.
Now I've learned, the hard way,
that some poems don't rhyme,
and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle, and end.
Life is about not knowing, having to change,
...taking the moment and making the best of it,
without knowing what's going to happen next.
Delicious Ambiguity.
~Gilda Radner

Do you ever find that the hardest part is simply NOT knowing? Through all of our fertility struggles I've always felt that I could bear anything with patience if I just knew what the outcome would be. If I had known it would take three rounds of IVF before we conceived Mayumi, I think I could have endured those horrible treatments with a little more grace. It always seemed to be the unknown... the fear that I may have to go through the process indefinitely, never knowing how the story ended, lost in IVF limbo. But then we got our little sweet pea and everything seemed worth it.

I am trying to remember that as we continue through this process yet again. I am trying to banish fear. I am trying to live with courage in the middle of the story and have faith that there will be a happy ending. Or at least some closure. And I am trying to remember to count my blessings and be grateful for what I do have - and try to find something to appreciate about this journey...

Mayumi's in Mama's belly, back in 2007. Keep fingers crossed that we get another one of these happy ultrasounds!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Best Kind of Playground

When I see birches bend to left and right
Across the lines of straighter darker trees,
I like to think some boy's been swinging them...
~ Robert Frost
The other day I spent the morning at The American Horticultural Society's River Farm and was reminded of M's earlier post about the simplicity of play.

They have the loveliest children's garden there where we can spend hours and hours enjoying all of the beautiful nooks and crannies that encourage imagination and exploration.
After every visit (and we try to go regularly) I am always inspired to try to add some new feature to my own small garden, and I often wish that the urban playgrounds that we have easy access to were more than just metal slide/swing sets standing like a solitary skeleton atop some rubbarized mulch. Yes, those kinds of swings and slides can be great fun, but only for a while. Wouldn't it be so much nicer to have tire swings hanging from great tree branches and mini log cabins and flower mazes and viney arbors and weeping willows?

Dugout dens and digging pits and kid-sized picnic tables?

Remember in the "olden days" when kids just went outside to play and explore and didn't need fancy toys or expensive swingsets? Isn't it awesome when they can identify flowers and birds or pretend that they are butterflies or can watch the honeybees collecting nectar? When they can find a small private corner and have conversations with the insects and fairies?

Maybe I'm old-fashioned, but that is the best kind of play, I think.