New Year

Dear 2016

Dear 2016,

Hi. It’s 2017. You are gone now and a new year is in full-swing. This time of year, some of us reflect on the past, and possibly manifest or set intentions for the future. So, as I pause and look back at you 2016, I realize that I would like to thank you for all you have given to me. 

You 2016 gave me, and possibly many others, 12 months that kicked the shit out of me. For that, I am grateful. Please remember 2016, gratitude doesn’t always mean happiness. It means thank you. Thank you for life lessons.

2016, you humbled me. You taught me that I am not invincible, and quite frankly, I live in a fucking bubble, a bubble where I think everyone is like me, or at least thinks like me. I thought that I lived in a country where people wanted leaders that were kind. That we were moving towards a society of open minds and open hearts. So, thank you for reminding me that we are all different. We have different ways of expressing emotions, we have different values and passions. We have different opinions of who we want to lead our country and how we want to live our lives. And, I need to learn to accept (not agree with) these differences between many of us. Damn that is hard. 

2016 you reminded me of an incredible man that helped shape who I am: Prince. You brought his music back into my life and filled my soul during so many crucial milestones in my life. Songs like, “Starfish and Coffee”, “The Ladder” and “Sometimes it Snows in April” are back on my playlist filling me up when I need it the most. 

I am grateful to you, 2016, for bringing more family into my life. I now have 4 new stepsisters and one new stepbrother. Watching your mother get married for the 4th time is such a gift, especially when you really love the man she’s marrying. David is such a good addition to our lives these past ten years. I am grateful for 4th chances.

 

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2016, you taught me loss. Loss of mentors and loss of those that never took a breath on this earth. 

You introduced me to the darkest side of Alzheimer's and the devil it is. My amazing earth loving, home brew making, reader and classical-music-passionate Uncle Will Bill, lost his life to Alzheimer's at the young age of 72. He was my mother’s only living relative. He was one of my greatest role models. With his loss comes my passion to share his story and support other families dealing with this hellacious disease. I learned that saying goodbye to someone that shouldn’t be leaving is heart wrenching, and that I will do whatever I can to fight this disease. 

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Oh, 2016. A “mother’s intuition” is something that I have always firmly believed in and I strongly encourage mothers to listen and follow. So, on March 4, 2016 when I had a positive pregnancy test I knew this baby was going to change my life forever. I knew this little one was special, and from the beginning, I knew something was wrong. I told my mother, husband, midwife and therapist. Three months and 17 days later I learned that one little tiny extra chromosome (13) would change my life forever.  Then 4 days later I birthed my baby girl Sophia Love Ehlers.

2016, I am working to find the light in the loss of my daughter. I have always had a passion for mamas and birth, and the gift you gave me of Sophia has only deepened that. I love connecting to each woman that comes through Blooma’s door. Now, in my loss, I can connect and bond with a new set of mamas, those that experienced this same kind of loss. I can cry with them, experience the same emotions, lend an ear and truly say “I understand”. I can offer support to a whole other group of women.

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And in this loss, I learned how taboo this subject is. 

I am an advocate for not hiding things in the dark. We need to listen to these mamas that have experienced loss, be there for them, and not just brush this scary thing under a rug. I thought that people were comfortable talking about death. I learned very quickly that no, Americans and Midwesterners do not like talking about it. This only encourages me more to make Blooma a community where ALL births, topics, and struggles are discussed and supported. Amen for all the sisters that I have bonded with in The Sisterhood of Loss Group at Blooma. 

I am so grateful, 2016, for the outpouring of love and support that came day after day following our loss. Cards, flowers, meals, calls, emails, texts - each and every one I am grateful for. You taught me about the community I live in and the crazy amount of love and support that they can offer.

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More than ever you taught me that meds are amazing! I am so, so grateful for Zoloft. I am learning to release the guilt of upping my dosage. Is this how most people see the world? I have come to accept that I need a little “support” as I walk this current path. I won’t be on it forever, but I ain’t getting off it anytime soon! Thank you 2016. Thank you for teaching me that sometimes a mama needs a little help from modern medicine.

Along with Zoloft I am so deeply grateful for my therapist(s). Having a professional “hold space” for you in the throes of loss is crucial. My weekly (sometimes 2x) sessions with women who are dedicated to making the world and humans a better place is not something I will ever take advantage of. Therapy and Zoloft - two of the biggest things that got me through you 2016.

Oh boy, 2016, you brought me Navel and the crazy world of producing apparel. I love the message Navel is sharing, but did not know the intense process of manufacturing. I will never look at a piece of clothing the same. 

2016 you showed me a part of this country that is so beautiful, I couldn’t imagine it.  For the first time I experienced Alaska, a majestic place of beauty and quiet. Weeks after losing my daughter, it was such a safe escape for me and my family. The kids and I played Frisbee until 11:30pm under the bright sun! We hiked in the lush greens, drank at amazing breweries and yep, I fell head-over-heels in love with RV living (Can’t wait to retire in an RV one day, haha). 2016, you and Alaska taught me how to slow down and be present in the beauty of life. 

 

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This past year there was one act that I experienced multiple times a day that I believed saved me. The act of hugs and hugging. Thank you 2016 for arms that can be wrapped around those in need. Hugs of celebration, hugs of support, hugs of glory. I had some of the best hugs of my life the summer of 2016. I cherish each one of them along with the men and women that opened their arms to hold me.

Then, on the morning of New Year’s Eve, you gave my family us/me one last scare. My healthy, vibrant, energetic, young father-in-law, Steve, slipped and fell on the ice, causing bleeding in his brain. He had emergency brain surgery and we are now walking the path of OT, speech therapy and so on. (Sigh. Cry. Scream. Fuck!). And Amen to HCMC, Kenny Courage Center, and my mother in law for being by his side every step of the way. For Steve, every single day my family is working hard to make this experience one of the best we can. We are starting to see light as he talks and moves more each day. At the same time, we are all experiencing extreme emotional highs and lows. You taught me 2016, how fast life can change and to never ever forget to tell those you love how much they mean to you. What a reminder this was for my whole family to not sweat the small stuff.

2016, I thank you because you taught me how precious life is and that by no means can you ever take a day for granted. That friends, family and good cries are so damn necessary. My marriage and my relationship with my sister has deepened and that is one of the best gifts you could ever give me. 

Thank you 2016. Thank you for all the life lessons. I will do my best to continue to learn from them. I will do my best to celebrate what I have been given. And, maybe, just maybe, could you drop a line to 2017 for me? Could you let 2017 know that I am ready with open arms for more life lessons... but no more loss. Please.

Love, 

Sarah Longacre

Blooma founder, Yogi, Doula, mama, partner, sister & friend

Looking Ahead in 2017

We continue to rock our New Year's REVOLUTION in 2017. Our Revolution isn't just about January, it's about having an amazing year (ups, downs, and everything in between). With 2016 a few weeks behind us, we wanted to share what we're looking forward to most in the New Year! Babies will be born, our community will grow, and families will celebrate milestones together. Blooma's Leadership Team is looking forward to all different things, from vacations and celebrations to walks in the sunshine and yoga trainings.

Sarah Auna - "I've been asked by one of my dearest yoga teachers to assist her on a yoga retreat to Tuscany, Italy in 2017!!!"

Marina Polvitzki - "I'm looking forward to visiting my little sister in Copenhagen for her graduation, and then traveling to Norway for a camping trip with her + our partners. I am also excited to drink the first batch of beer that we brewed on New Years Eve! Imperial Smoked Chipotle Porter... Mmm :)."

Sarah Longacre - "I am looking forward to being kinder to myself."

Tyler Copeland - "I'm looking forward to living in my new apartment. I has huge southern facing windows with tons of light and is only 4 blocks from Lake Calhoun. I can't wait to walk around the lake on a daily basis with my dog."

Lauren Herbeck - "My baby girl starting Kindergarten this fall.  I am excited about her growing up and enjoying school (which she has been asking to start for 2 years now!) but also the extra time I will have with my boys while she is there."

Meghan Foley - "I am looking forward to continuing my yoga therapy training out at Kripalu in the Berkshire mountains. I am excited to have more time in my schedule to relax and take classes. I am excited for this frozen tundra to warm up."

Greta Fay - "I am looking forward to escaping to the beach, snuggling my best friends fresh babies, staying home more, potty training and summer adventures!"

Sam Boyd - "I can't wait to finally go on a honeymoon with my husband, and stick my toes in the sand. I am also very excited to expand our CSA to more members this summer and grow even more veggies!"

Laura Gillespie - "I am looking forward to exploring my second summer in the Twin Cities (I don’t know how much longer I can take the cold!), making more friends in the area, and taking a trip home for my niece’s first birthday!"

 

And, of course, we are all looking forward to more Blooma love, more mamas, more babies, and more time on the mat or at the barre! What are you looking forward to in the New Year?

 

Thank you to Megan Foley, Sarah Auna, Greta Fay, Sarah Longacre, Tyler Copeland, Laura Gillespie, Sam Christopher, and Marina Povlitzki for your contributions!

New Year's REVOLUTION-Changing the Conversation in the New Year

At Blooma, we are taking an ANTI resolution stance for 2017. Instead, we want to focus on a revolution - of our bodies & our minds. We want to stop looking at the scale and focus on the love we share in the Blooma community. Thank you to Blooma mama and teacher Jessie for sharing her outlook for the New Year! Bring on 2017!!

 

It's that time of year again, we start discussing the things that we need “to get rid of", "get over", "lose", or "kick". Our resolutions usually start with something we feel bad about-weight, money, habits, time. But as women, mamas, sisters, friends, and partners, we do amazing things every damn day, all year long. Why do we feel the need start our New Year by punishing ourselves with restrictions and limits? I was just having a conversation this morning with two women I love dearly. I look up to them both, especially when it comes to life management and health. Here we were berating ourselves over our sugar "addiction", however, within minutes we were able to change the way we spoke about our plans by saying "I want to add more vegetables in our daily meals". Yes!

Let’s change the conversation. Let’s not make our New Year’s plans about restrictions, let’s make it more about expansion. Forget about getting rid of the pieces of our lives, let’s just focus on adding something into it. So, instead of dieting-let’s add a veggie to every meal. Instead of giving up sweets- let’s add in a Yoga class. Instead of giving up something to make more time for our children-let’s add in an activity that we can all do together.

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Don’t get me wrong, it is great to make guidelines for ourselves to become better in the New Year, but I was forgetting about all the good things I had done the year before. I was a good mother to my kids. A good partner to my husband. A good friend and daughter. So, for this year I’ve started planning all the of the things I will “add-in”. And, I remind myself that I take care of my mind and body because I am worth it. Because taking the time to focus on me allows me to be a better version of myself for the other people in my life.

Change the conversation. Add things in. Enjoy the New Year.

 

Contributed by Jessie Seehof Carlson

Just another human trying to be kinder to myself

Tips for Surviving The Holidays

Yikes! The holidays are already here! And while this can be a time of love, family, and memories, it can also be a time of stress. Blooma strives to keep you centered with yoga class, keep you blood pumping with Barre Class, and can have you feeling relaxed with our Wellness Services. We recommend taking advantage of all Blooma has to offer to keep you calm during a busy time. Below are some tips from the Blooma Leadership Team to help get you through holidays. Feel free to carry this in your pocket!

 

  • Self-care is not selfish. When our cups our full, we have more to give. When we feel complete and nourished, we give more abundantly. One thing that I always do to keep myself grounded, is each time I am about to get out of my car and run off to the next thing, I take 5 deep breaths to ground myself and repeat the mantra "There is enough, I have enough, I am enough."

 

  • Beautify an outdoor space that can be seen from indoors. Try white lights around a tree that stays lit all winter or write in chalk on an exposed wall in your backyard (think shed, fence or garage.) I write "Winter is for Reflection" or "The light is Coming" on a shed I can see from my kitchen window. 

 

  • For every busy or rushed holiday gathering you have, commit to at least two hours “you time” My mantra is “I am a better wife/mother/friend/sister/daughter/coworker when I create time for myself”, so in theory you are giving your loved ones an awesome gift—a better you!

 

  • Have ONE go to outfit for Holiday Parties, Church, Christmas dinner, New Year’s Eve. Let it be your “2016 Holiday Outfit”! Saves a TON of time!

 

  • At family gatherings over the holidays, I always try to connect with the younger kids in my family. It grounds me and reminds me of how fun holiday time is just playing and goofing off. Sit at the kids table, draw with the little ones, create a game everyone can play. You'll reconnect with your inner child and feel the magic of the season. 

 

  • Things don’t have to be perfect to be great. We sometimes stress over every detail. How clean our house is, what our decorations look like, did we bake enough cookies, buy the right gifts, etc. By stressing over perfection, we lose sight of the joy around us. Instead, try to take every burnt batch of cookies as a time to laugh, every broken ornament as a moment of moving forward, and every family “mishap” as a story to tell again many Christmases from now.

 

  • I like to remind myself of what matters most when caught up in the craziness of the holidays. From black Friday to Christmas shopping I like to take a step back and find comfort and happiness with my family and loved ones. It is a great time to remember how much love you have and how much love you have to share with others. 

 

  • When all else fails…Spike the Cider.

 

Happy Holidays from Blooma’s Leadership Team. Each tip was recommended by each member of the team. Thank you to Megan Foley, Sarah Auna, Greta Fay, Sarah Longacre, Tyler Copeland, Laura Gillespie, Sam Christopher, and Marina Povlitzki for your contributions!