mothering

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!

A Lesson in Acceptance

As we break into the New Year, many people are focused on the "New You". At Blooma, we think you are great just the way you are. You are perfect. You are enough. Thank you to Blooma mama Shea for teaching us a lesson in acceptance. Of our talents, our failures, and all that life throws at us!

Be an individual. Be yourself. Be unique. Follow your dreams. Be who you are. These are all maxims that we hear every day. They are meant to be inspiring and move us to work on ourselves.  However, it often takes a dose of bravery to truly show and be your individual and unique self, instead of hiding behind the person you think you should be.

As a married mother of two on the ground and one in utero, sister, friend, neighbor and confidant, am still trying to figure out who I am. Yes, I can tell you that the beach by the ocean (doesn’t even matter where as long as there is saltwater and ocean waves) is my happy place. I can tell you the books I have devoured and the ones that I slogged through, just to finish for book club. I can tell you that I enjoy going on a run and practicing yoga. And, I can tell you that there was great joy in my heart when all of my siblings were together for Christmas, as we live in all different states across the country.

But, I can also admit to you, that sometimes it’s hard to accept who I am. It is amazing when you look at humanity, and even smaller, at the local culture, and see how similar we all are. Each of us follow very similar patterns – patterns in our day, in our human development, in our manners of speech. However, even in all these similarities, each person is gifted with specific characteristics that make us, us. For example, I’ve been given the gift of gab. I can pretty much chat with whoever walks into my path. I find it relatively easy to small talk, and can usually find something to talk about with whoever I am with. Yes – I know those who are even better at it than I am. But, I do know it is a gift, and I love having this strength in my pocket.

 I have, however, NOT been given the gift of craftiness. It will take a lot for me to pull out the scissors, glue, and glitter. I can sew on a button, but I cannot make a Halloween costume. A few years ago, I tried to make my son a Halloween costume from scratch – because I truly thought that’s what a successful mom should do. However, it was a complete disaster, and was only saved by my own mom, who can actually sew. I learned that, frankly, I don’t really want to learn how to be crafty. That being crafty does not excite me and brings unneeded pressure and stress. I will accept my failure at a homemade Halloween costume, hand it off to another person, and I will marvel and compliment you on your talent. But, I am going to be right here, with my own set of strengths.

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I am still learning to accept who I am, what strengths (and weaknesses) I have been given, and how I can learn to be the best version of myself. And, I am grateful for those that already accept me as I am - My family, children, friends. I remind myself that I must practice what I preach. I want my children to love themselves, accept their strengths, and accept the times that they may fail. To instill this in them, I first need to fully accept myself. My strengths. My failures.

I have been given many gifts, and for this I am grateful. My strengths are different than those of the mama next to me. They may be similar to the mama in the other room. But these similarities, differences, strengths, and weaknesses are what make us human, and what make it so important to support one another in the community. So, begin your own journey of acceptance and what you are meant to be for this world.

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Written by Shea Olson- Wife & Mama Trying to Make it All Work

Photo Credit: Laura Rae Photography

Celebrating Nine Years of Blooma Love: A Personal Account From A Blooma Mama

As Blooma celebrates its 9th Birthday, we want to celebrate the people that have contributed to our success and have held our mission so close to their heart. Lauren started at Blooma as part of our childcare team. Nine years later, she basically runs the place. Not only has she seen her career grow, and Blooma develop into the community it is today, but she has become a mother herself, THREE times! She is kind, warm, hardworking, and dedicated to the mission of Blooma. We asked her to reflect on the past nine years, and we won't lie, some moments brought us to tears. Thank you for all that you have done, and continue to do! Happy Birthday Blooma!

I started my journey with Blooma as a college student, completely unaware that my hourly job in the childcare room was going to impact the next decade of my life.  At that point, I hadn't thought much about yoga or birth and I couldn’t imagine then what my life would be like 9 years later.  But here I am!  Now a mama of 3, married to my incredible husband, and the Director of Operations for Blooma. 

Reflecting on the last 9 years with Blooma, I am overwhelmed with the abundance of personal and professional growth opportunities I have experienced and witnessed. 

As a business, Blooma has grown in many different ways.  Our staff has grown from a handful to almost 100. We have moved and added locations across the twin cities and trained yoga instructors and birth doulas across the world.  We’ve developed and fine-tuned class offerings, education, and wellness services.  We’ve touched the lives of thousands of mamas and their families, made mistakes and celebrated enormous triumphs.  And, with the heart and passion of our leader, Sarah, we will continue to identify and serve the needs of our mamas.  

Blooma’s growth wouldn’t have happened without the perseverance of the women (and a few men!) that pour their energy into Blooma.  I have met so many inspiring people through our studios in the past 9 years.  Women and men who are on a mission to make our world a better place.  Our staff and support team has been comprised of mothers, sisters, doulas, writers, teachers, artists, designers, farmers, lawyers, midwives, accountants, grant writers, marketing managers, world travelers, photographers, small business owners, musicians…and I can keep going for hours!  It is humbling to think of the talent, passion and knowledge I have been surrounded by for so many years.  

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I smile when I think about the ways Blooma has impacted me personally, as a mother and sister.  While working for Blooma, I have been blessed to give birth 3 times. Three very different births. I had a natural hospital birth, a beautiful home water birth, and an unplanned 35-week cesarean birth - each with my friend, doula, and boss Sarah by my side (Literally, I wouldn't let her leave my side). During each birth, I drew from the knowledge and strength that Blooma had given me.  Through yoga I learned to manage my breath, Doula Training provided me with comfort measures, and I found strength in every woman who had shared their birth story.

In the last nine years, I have walked with my fellow mamas through their own unique journeys. From infertility and loss, to planned and unplanned pregnancies.  While I have witnessed hard pregnancies and traumatic births, I have been humbled to witness smooth, complication-free pregnancies and swift births.  I have journeyed through perinatal mood disorders both personally and with other mamas, and have been honored to provide postpartum care to my sisters that they had provided for me - holding their newborns, bringing meals, and offering encouragement.  

 

We all have a journey. I never would have predicted this would be mine.  My passion for pregnancy, birth, and postpartum life has turned into a career in a supportive work environment, allowing me to navigate the "working mom" balance.  I have been given an opportunity to apply my skill set in a business with a mission so near to my heart. I am thankful for each client I encounter, each co-worker that’s worked alongside me, every challenge we overcame together, the support I received during my pregnancies, and most significantly of all, for Sarah.  I am beyond grateful for what Blooma has given to me in the last 9 years and can't begin to imagine what the next 9 will bring!

 

Written by Lauren Herbeck

Director of Operations at Blooma

Wife and Mother of Three, Friend to Us All

 

Building a Fort

For months, maybe even years, my husband and I have kicked around the idea of setting up a modern outbuilding in our backyard. A studio or workspace or a sauna. A big garden, a little escape.

But, as we’ve been busy having children, and I was busy for an inordinate amount of months with “morning sickness”—clearly, someone who never experienced morning sickness named that—I was either puking outright and/or completely revolted by the smell of herbs, flowers, or a simple spring breeze, which meant many of those plans fell by the wayside.

Last summer, we had pulled up a gnarled old Charlie-Brown tree that was the unfortunate centerpiece to our front yard. In the back, we broke up a weird old cement slab. My mother-in-law gave us some of her lovingly tended, Jurassic-Park-sized hostas. The foundation was there. In the fall, we planted 200-some coral-colored tulip bulbs along with about 50 multicolor hyacinth bulbs.

When the coral tulips rose out of the ground (we had a daily watch) and the hyacinth cast their hypnotic, heady smell in our front yard, we were completely inspired. (As were some of the passersby, who asked to take photos.) So William dug a new flowerbed opposite the tulips, leading to our front door. We went to town, planting and planting and planting boxwoods and shrub roses, hydrangea bushes and irises, and a beautiful magnolia tree. We transplanted other plants and pulled weeds.

And then my husband lucked across some pallet racking and some beautiful cedar, and he put his design skills to work. Two solid weekends of sweat equity formed the skeleton for a two-story fort. Yeah, you read that right. A modern fort. For the kids.

Ruby knows what it’s for, but Remy, who I think doesn’t, seems to have the same magnetic pull toward it each time we go in the backyard to play.

The beautiful thing is watching Ruby’s wonder as each step is completed, her complete enthusiasm for the process, and the clear case of twitterpation that she has come down with as she watches her dad construct it.

In the last couple of weeks, Ruby’s conversations revolve around such gems as: “Daddy is the hardest working Daddy and the cutest.” Or “Daddy is the strongest Daddy.” Yesterday, as some servicemen were here working on our air conditioner, Ruby asked me: “Can I tell them about the fort Daddy is building in the backyard?” She is also acting out elaborate pretend scenarios, cooking breakfast in the area that will become a little play kitchen and inviting Daddy to have a sleepover in her “second bedroom.”

This weekend, William let Ruby wield a drill and screw some boards together with help. Exhilarated, she said, “I want to do that again and again! And when I get more bigger, I want my own drill just like Daddy’s!”

And she doesn’t even know about the twisty slide yet.

To be honest, I’m not sure who’s more excited about it.

By Katie Dohman // Katie Dohman is a St. Paul-based freelance writer and Blooma mama of Ruby, 3, and Remy, 1. A former style editor, her work has appeared in Minnesota Monthly, the Star Tribune, Experience Life, Midwest Home, and Naturally, Danny Seo, among other publications and works. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram @katiedohman

Lessons I Hope My Kids Learn From Prince

I can’t imagine this headline is what most parents were considering back in 1978 when Prince made his debut with “Soft and Wet.” Or maybe even what they envisioned in ’91 when Prince performed at the American Music Awards with yellow brocade buttless pants. Maybe a few just keeled over reading it today.

Loving Prince is like breathing to me. He has been around my entire life, simultaneously mystifying and thrilling me, like millions of others. He was such a fixture in my house that we had Purple Rain on 8-Track AND vinyl. My mom tried so hard to keep me from seeing and listening to things I shouldn't before my time. This is the peril of having teenage kids (my siblings) and a tot (me): Trying to keep your baby from growing up too fast. "No Friday Night Videos!" she'd warn when she left my brother or sister in charge—but it was moth to flame. Tone E. Fly recorded my first radio spot when I called up and asked him to spin “7” for me.

Ruby already knows “Raspberry Beret,” “Purple Rain,” “The Most Beautiful Girl in the World,” and “Little Red Corvette” because I sing them to her at naptime and bedtime. “Mama, sing the hat song,” she asks.

Behind some of the lusty, lascivious lyrics and beats were some other moral imperatives that I learned, and that I hope my kids learn, from Minneapolis’s most enigmatic son:

The things that make you different make you awesome and interesting. Nothing in the mainstream handbook about sex appeal or masculinity suggested Prince could become a worldwide sex symbol, but he did it anyway. Warner Brothers didn’t want to release “Kiss” as a single. It became a number-one hit and won Grammy awards. His proprietary musical blend crossed lines and blurred lines and, at least in the case of Purple Rain, created a diamond record. In life as in writing—the more specific and honest you are, the more people can relate.

It’s OK to nurture your mystique. Always leave them wanting more. Prince left his heart wide open in his music and performances, but he didn’t let us inspect his medicine cabinet. We wanted to, but he said no, and he meant it. He also didn’t offer much in the way of explanation. Let ’em wonder a little.

If you love something, pursue it doggedly. Prince didn’t become a guitar virtuoso or lyrical wizard by scrolling Facebook for hours at a crack. “They” say it takes 10,000 hours to become a master at a task. Prince was way beyond that. If you’re serious about a craft, you better get to work.

It might be mainstream to be X, but you can be a superstar if you do Y. Prince stayed in Minneapolis, mostly. He wrote what he wanted. He refused interviews and photo shoots and record-label commandments. He carved his own way. You can be non-traditional, different, unexpected—and still do something interesting or feel fulfilled. It doesn’t mean you are entitled to worldwide fame and fortune. But you can make a big difference, change the way people think, and even disrupt the powers that be for the powers that should be.

When in doubt, wear purple. If you’re feeling it, add lace. Eyeliner. Heels. A motorcycle. I take that back, no motorcycles. Moto jacket is A-OK though.

Work hard, then let it go, and let it speak for itself. If you really want to be a badass, be strict about not letting anyone dictate those terms to you. It might make waves. People might say you’re a jerk. They might say you’re weird. But you will be creating your life’s work—so who should have final authorship?

Living the life of a true creative spirit isn’t easy, but it’s worth it. Do it your way. The right people will respond.

Do good works. You don’t have to take credit for it, either. Share what you have. Even if you don’t own the masters to a wildly successful Warner Brothers catalog, you probably have a wealth of other things: knowledge, kindness, time. When you give generously, you will feel filled up. Abundance is limitless. Empower those who need the extra lift that your privilege provides.

When it feels like the apocalypse is coming, get your butt up and dance. All night long, if you have to. Life is a party, and parties weren’t meant to last.

 

By Katie Dohman // Katie Dohman is a St. Paul-based freelance writer and Blooma mama of Ruby, 3, and Remy, 1. A former style editor, her work has appeared in Minnesota Monthly, the Star Tribune, Experience Life, Midwest Home, and Naturally, Danny Seo, among other publications and works. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram @katiedohman

Baby Turns One!

How did we get here already? You are one.

When I found out I was pregnant with you—a combination of absolute elation and complete terror—I also thought, “I got this.”

But it is the role of a baby to flip expectations on their heads, isn’t it?

My pregnancy with you almost broke me. Every day I would think, OK OK, tomorrow will be the day I won’t puke. This has to get better soon.

Spoiler alert: It never did. You made me work really hard for you. Such was the prodigiousness of the morning sickness that Ruby used to announce, “I’m Mama!” and then put her face over the toilet, making retching sounds. I had volcanic heartburn. Sciatic pain sometimes rendered me completely incapacitated in the midst of my repeated march between the bathroom and the bed.

The only thing that sounded remotely appetizing were spicy chicken sandwiches from Wendy’s. Baby, that is all I fed you for a good few weeks, and every night I would say to William, “You know what we should have for dinner? Buffalo chicken!” like it was a brand-new idea. Seriously, though, I think Wendy’s may have sustained me when the winter was long and dark and I would drive the icy freeway to my midwife. St. Wendy was right on the way.

And then after a brief bedrest, you announced your arrival, one sharp contraction after another, very quickly and urgently—and this reaffirms my stance that babies arrive in the way of their personalities. Though I’d been through this before, still I thought, like a big dummy, This is probably not really happening right now.

But it was. Thank god for my mom, because when I called her to casually mention that maybe I was in labor and it might be time for Ruby to go to Susie’s but maybe we didn’t have time to wait for Susie, but I didn’t think I could really be in labor, oh hang on a second, this really hurts, she interrupted my stream of thoughts and firmly said/yelled: “KATIE! Hang up the phone, bring Ruby up here, and get to the hospital,” in the way only a mom can. Otherwise you may have come into this world on my bedroom floor. We left our Thai food waiting for us on a restaurant counter, and I begged your dad to please drive faster because laboring is bad enough, but laboring in a moving car is whole other level of torture.

My sweet, you arrived 45 minutes after we got to the hospital. I felt like I wasn’t going to make it even to check in, that you might arrive in the parking lot. But we made it inside, and suddenly, you were there, in my arms, just the most beautiful newborn I have ever laid eyes on (sorry, Ruby, you were beautiful, too). You have porcelain skin—look, I’m sorry, I tried, I married an olive-skinned guy— and the halo of dark hair you were born with turned sandy blonde. Your eyes started out the deepest ocean blue, mysterious in their depths, but have since marbled into green, gold, and brown, like your daddy’s.

You smiled in your fourth week Earthside, while I sang “At Last” with Pandora and Etta James as I folded laundry with you in the Rock and Play. On subsequent serenades, you would smile so wide it was almost as though your face would crack, and tears pooled in your eyes. You have just one cartoony itty-bitty tooth at 12 months and I am in no hurry for the rest, even though I can see them coming—in fact, your own pediatrician told me to give up on sleep for a while because this is going to be a wild ride. Good thing you have already given me so much practice in the no-sleep realm, right? Please for the love of all that’s good and holy, would you sleep already?

You are one of the great loves of my life, dumpling, even though you have pushed me to the absolute brink of sanity—by which I mean I could actually envision myself hanging on the cliff by my fingernails some days—with your tenacious preference for me. I mean sometimes I cannot even look in a different direction, or you primal scream as though I am ripping you limb from limb.

But you run to me in your uneven, unpredictable gait and when I scoop you into my arms, you press your cheek to mine, sometimes turning my face with your hands to yours, to better give me a good, long kiss on the mouth.

Rem, I worried about how I could replicate the intensity of the love I feel for Ruby. But like so many experienced parents promised me, I took one look at you and even if I didn’t fully know you yet, it still felt like you were always meant to be here. As time has worn on, the initial jolt of love and surprise I felt coalesced into intense devotion.

Remy James, you have pushed me beyond what I thought were my parental limits. I have never felt so tired. I have moments where I feel like my life isn’t my own. I have “eyebrow frowns, “ as Ruby says, and I have discovered more than a few white hairs. But then I have coffee with a friend, or tap out a story in the office while your dad takes over, and I think to myself: “I wonder what my teddy bear is doing right now?”

That’s some magic, baby.


By Katie Dohman // Katie Dohman is a St. Paul-based freelance writer and Blooma mama of Ruby, 3, and Remy, 1. A former style editor, her work has appeared in Minnesota Monthly, the Star Tribune, Experience Life, Midwest Home, and Naturally, Danny Seo, among other publications and works. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram @katiedohman