Mom Shanti

Musings on living abroad, motherhood, yoga, and all the in betweens…

pensive sitting… August 8, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — momshanti @ 12:18 pm

The toe is still really hurting.  Fred’s grandmother, the infamous storytelling Elga, told me that now I should understand why this is one of the primary ways that torture is used.   Messing with the extremities.  OUCH.  And yikes!  Elga’s got some kind of thought process going on her little 91 year old tete, let me tell you!

I must admit, though, being stranded on the sofa has given me a chance to think about some things.  Like how I am on facebook WAY too much.  A yoga teacher that I am friends with recently said this, “…fb is not at all helpful in the practice of minding our own business…this is definitely not ‘off the trail’ behaviour…”  You know, just like your mama always told you (or mine anyway).  And it is that exactly that is seriously getting me into a funk after I scroll through people’s posts and new photos and whatnot, it’s just this false sense of connectedness.   We have the info without the connection… Not good.  That connection is what really serves us, the information is really just a minor detail.  Don’t get me wrong, when I need to advertise an event or a workshop or whatever, it’s an amazing place to get the information out there, but I am reaching the point where I seriously need to start drawing the line.  Facebook withdrawal.  We have no television (ok, no cable to be precise,) so being on the internet is really my only source of news, etc, but I am reaching a breaking point, especially in these last few days of not being able to go anywhere but internet sites.

I am also wondering how to take care of and use Echinacea plants.  I recently put a little garden in my backyard, but I haven’t a clue what to do with the lovely blooms.  We are having an English summer here, it feels, which makes for gorgeous gardens, so me planting in the middle of the summer was no probs whatsoever!  One day its 85 and the next we don’t go about 65…  I brought swim diapers with Nash to creche today in order to jinx this confusion of a summer that we have had.  And to think that in a week’s time we will be (ok, depending on the toe status) in Oslo… it doesn’t seem to go above 65 there, period!

Thankfully Nash’s daycare had an extra place for him this afternoon, so I can sit with my foot up.   He was literally squealing as we walked down the sidewalk this morning and he saw Veronique through the glass door.  I am pretty sure he loves it there, and I love that he is Mr. Social with all of his little mates there.  Creche (as its called here) has been closed for the last four weeks, and while we had fun with Sadie Nardini visiting, traipsing through Tuscany and then mending mommy’s toe (Be CAREful, Maman, I have heard more times than I can count), it was very sweet to see him so excited to be back at “school” (as I call it for my big boy.)

peace out…


The insanity of time passage and loss thereof… August 7, 2011

Filed under: Kids,Nyon,Uncategorized — momshanti @ 8:24 pm

Let me just say, the workshop in Mexico was incredibly motivating.  Like, fire in my undies motivating.  So much so that I arrived at

Alesha and I! New partners...

home, met a woman who was itching to do SOMETHING with yoga as much as I, stopped daydreaming about it and took the plunge to start a business with a complete stranger over lunch.  So began Gather, our collaboration together:   We haven’t looked back, and so far we’ve even put on a couple of successful workshops and are in the process of organizing the Geneva Yoga Conference with its founder, Daniel Anner!  Things have been going swimmingly, and I have been managing the start of this business and my lovely little nest relatively well considering, well, we are trying to start a business.

Or so I thought.

I just read a post (holistic , mind you) that “injuries to one’s lower extremities signal a disconnection with foundation.”


Nash and his two cousins.

Going on a week ago, we celebrated the ‘premier aout’ (1st of August) here in Switzerland, comparable to the 4th of July in the States.  Lovely display of fireworks (estimated 1 million for each commune on Lake Geneva!  Not the same recession that the US is feeling right now it seems.)  The following day, Nash and I decided to spend at Grandmaman’s, playing in the yard, jumping on the trampoline, walking to the pool, hanging with the cousins… typical Swiss summer day.  That afternoon post nap, we packed it up and were headed out to pick up Papa from work (and my favorite Thai curry), so I was a little hasty in our departure knowing that I needed to swing by my sister-in-law’s to pick up a lovely table that Fred has inherited.  It has a glass top.  I carried it to the car mindlessly, instead focusing on how I would cool the car more quickly as Nash was sweltering,

THE table.

all pink and sweaty in the back seat.  Even more thoughtlessly thinking of whether or not I would order the curry in advance or just stop by, I turned the table on its side to pop it into my trunk.

Merde, I dropped the glass off the top of the table, and MERDE it shattered on the ground, and MERDE my toe hurts, it must have hit it!  So first I was thinking of how I would pick up all the glass in my sister-in-law’s driveway, when upon closer analysis, I realized that the reason my toe hurt was because I had severed it just below the bottom of the nail bed when the glass hit.  My toenail, rather than facing the blue Swiss skies were actually facing forward.  Yes, forward.

So its cheaper to sew the old toenail on as a bandaid it turns out.

To make a long story kind of short, Fred came in a taxi and drove me to ‘urgence’ and I probably spent the next 4 and half hours there having my toe sewn back together.  And I cannot help but wonder if I will even have a lovely smooth nail again, even though I know I should be thanking my luck that I a toe at all.

And so now, my bum feeling as though it will sprout roots and grow deep into the folds of the sofa, I finally have a second to come back to a space that I created almost a year ago when we moved to Nyon.  Oh the neglect.  For those of you checking this out, thank you for your patience.  I will try to make more of an effort now that the novelty of ‘starting a business’ is wearing off, although that doesn’t necessarily mean the work is any less, that I am sure of!

What I realize is that this little base of a soapbox that I have been writing from was, in a way, my journal of keeping track of comings and goings and just little episodes of our life here.  And I miss sharing that.  It seems so sad that it simply comes to a screeching halt after the climax that was Mexico!

So, back to foundation, connecting a little to my root- to my expression of what is going on around me- that creative outlet that in some ways I completely attribute to the latest chapter/adventure.  I know that letting some of that expression out gave me way more space and loads more confidence to move forward with Gather.   There is so much to be said in getting the word on the page… (literally!) Writing the story in a way that makes you shine.  And knowing that every single situation holds that potential…  Not that this last story is so much that, I was anything but shiny last Tuesday, but here I am. Planted to my couch and back to tippity tapping on MomShanti.  It’s a start!

And this is such a new chapter that maybe it needed a dramatic break before it began.  Motherhood is not so different than it was before, although I do feel now there is a little more juggling going on with schedules, but if anything I am the better for it.  I am chosing to participate in the life that I want to live.  And the best part about it?

Living as an example for my son.


aahhhhoooommmmm…. January 24, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — momshanti @ 1:13 pm

Yes, that is indeed a big fat sigh of relief after a much needed week in Tulum, Mexico for a yoga retreat.  Its a relaxing ahhh followed by a grounding and centering OM.  I packed my bags and headed back across the Atlantic for a week-long focus on my well-being with Sadie Nardini, an experience that has most definitely recentered me after almost 3 years of full time baby-ing.

Tearing myself away from Nash was the hardest thing I have ever had to do.  We celebrated his second birthday on Saturday in Lausanne with a whole herd of our family and friends in tow.  Nash didn’t really get that all the hoop-la was, in fact, for him until the birthday song was sung and everyone in the room was fixated in his direction.  And this is a photo of the realization that, aha! I am the center of attention… this is all about ME!  

The cutest part of the party was the gift ‘ceremony.’  The organizer of the event pulled two little rattan chairs out, and sat Nash down in one of them. (I was shocked that he sat still long enough for this to ensue.)  One by one, each child, or pair of siblings, came and sat in the chair as Nash opened the present from them and then promptly said, “Merci.”  It was adorable, and surprisingly, only one of the children tried to reclaim her gift!  Nash loved the party, especially the gifts, and the joy in his eyes abated my guilt if at least only temporarily.

By the afternoon that day, I was a complete wreck.  Crying at the drop of a hat at the thought of leaving Nash and flying to Mexico, my anxiety peaked that night as I tried reading a story through sobs.  Nash never even batted an eye.  During the week with me gone, he took everything in stride, even when we saw each other on Skype.  He stayed with Fred’s mother, which is just around the corner from Fred’s office, so it turned out very well for all involved.  This was also a big deal for Fred’s family as it was their first time having Nash all to themselves without me hovering about, so needless to say, last week was monumental for many reasons and for many people!

As hard as it was to leave, I knew that it was necessary.  I had both positive and negative feedback before I left and somehow, it didn’t matter.  It was simply something that I knew had to happen.  So, early Sunday morning I boarded that plane and headed out, stopping along the way to meet newborn baby Stella, the daughter of one of my favorite people (Heather) in Miami during a layover.  (Beautiful! Such a poetic beginning to this amazing experience.)

My arrival in Tulum was very late, and I was deliriously tired, so I didn’t have a chance to check anything out at all.  The only thing I did notice, slipping into the oblivion of unconsciousness was that the ocean was washing up on the shore right outside my open window.  I took my shoes off and only put them back on again for bike rides to Mayan ruins, fish tacos, and an amazing swim in a ‘sweet water’ cenote just down the road from our eco-bungalow (no-paper-in-the-toilet-eco, whoa!)

The week was spent pondering yogic concepts that cannot help but bring one back to that space deep inside the heart where joy, integrity and love reside.  It was such a peaceful passage of six days, I hardly even saw them go by.  Caribbean Sea fish on the plate caught that day, mango margarita’s, fish tacos with pickled onions and a simple sliver of avocado wrapped in homemade tortillas, pico de gallo on everything …  fresh, local, delicious, and I didn’t have to lift a finger.

Right now as I sit trying to paint a picture of this week of intense thinking, practicing and relaxing, I realize that so much of what I lived is impossible to put into words.  The quiet talks with strangers who became dear friends within the quick passage of time spent in Tulum, the silent walks for hours on the beach, scribbling words to myself about life, love, patience, respect, generosity, gratefulness and *astonishment* in my little black journal and then laughing with my new friends at the frivolity of all of those exact concepts in a mango margarita hum, Mayan healers and their magic ways….  all of it seems like this surreal memory that I only have to mull over in my mind now.  And yet, enshrouded in this haze of post-retreat bliss, I am a better me.  And that was the point exactly.

Happy Birthday, Nash! 


Season’s Merry Greetings! December 26, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — momshanti @ 6:23 pm

So this is the first white Christmas in South Carolina in something like 50 years!  It made an already great day even better for us as the rain puffed up throughout the afternoon and turned into full fledged fatty flakes by dinnertime.  In Pelzer it is so picturesque today after a night of it falling continuously, so couldn’t help but take advantage of the photo op this monring.   We arrived in SC about a week ago after a HELL of a trip… 3 hour delay in Geneva, missed flight and thus night spent in Washington, 4 hour delay the following morning… and seems like this is trying to become a habit for us with flights.  Our flight to New Orleans today was under travel advisory, so rather than risk it, we decided to postpone the departure a day and play in the snow instead!



November already? November 18, 2010

Filed under: Kids,Nyon,Seasonal — momshanti @ 8:53 pm

What is it about having a child that makes the days, weeks, months, YEARS go by so incredibly quickly?  I cannot believe that we are closing in on Thanksgiving in a short week already!  I feel like I celebrated Nash’s first birthday yesterday, and here I am gearing up for his second in a couple of months.  Where has 2010 gone, is what I want to know?

We are keeping ourselves so busy in our busy little lives, honestly, Monday is Friday.  Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Who?      I am trying to pay such close attention to the details, take loads of pictures, even record our morning breakfasts together on my PhotoBooth (in between Backyardigans episodes, my newest trick in the book!)  in an attempt to slow it down, but its all in vain it seems.  And in some ways, its great because it means that being home in South Carolina and New Orleans comes before I know it!  The flip side of it is that the vacation visit itself feels like half of an inhale, I am not kidding.

So in these parts right now Fall is on the verge of being completely fallen, at least foliage-wise.  Its been full of gorgeous light, brilliant colors, brisk days and bluebird skies, but I am feeling that cold that cuts through your clothes creeping in bit by bit by the day.  The smell of wood burning in fireplaces wafts in the air which always reminds me that soon the entire population of Switzerland will be trecking themselves into the mountains come the weekend.  There is something about all of this happening that makes me want to get under my faux fur blanky and snuggle down with Mieussy the cat nuzzled in the crook of my knee.  Much as I adore my little man, there isn’t much about him that is calming or relaxing  at the moment apart from when he sleeps.  And then the world does slow down for a little bit.  Then I look into his serene little face all relaxed in unconscious bliss and all that is chaotic and frenzied and crazy in our day-to-day life doesn’t even seem to exist anymore.  Oh the dichotomy of motherhood!

Our waking days are Olympic festivities of Cow Bouncing, Scooter Pushing, Moto Riding, Digger Crawling, Sofa Launching, Tickle Rolling… the list goes on and on of events.  We could also include Drawer Unloading and DVD Displaying if I were getting really technical.  Oh, and my very own special event?  Food Chasing.  Yes, we are still having issues with eating while sitting, but so it goes.  If I turn the t.v. on he sits.  So which is it?  Eating while zoned out in front of tellie or while on the go performing one of the aforementioned events?  Judge all you like, the boy ate half a raw red pepper today and cauliflower gruyere gratin, so at least I am getting some good stuff into him;)  Could be McDonalds.  Which we also did this week I will shamelessly admit.  And that he actually did eat sitting down.   He calls the whole experience ‘Frite,’ which is French for ‘french fry.’



So voila, it is this constant pull of ‘yes and no’ and ‘good and bad’ and ‘more and less’ and ‘go and STOP!!!’   He has this fearlessness that scares the hell out of me sometimes.  And yet, I am so fiercely proud of what I see as independence.  Confidence even.   Perhaps it is this constant undulation that makes time feel as though its moving in fast-forward mode, I don’t know.

What I do know is that I better pay attention quick because I can feel it, its going to be a decade from now when I wake up tomorrow.


Homage, Haircuts and Hand-knits…. November 8, 2010

Filed under: Kids,Nyon,Seasonal — momshanti @ 8:34 pm

Nash's first haircut!

A Halloween Homage to our Troops Abroad...

So Halloween has come and gone.  Living abroad and celebrating Halloween always raises an eyebrow or two over here, but I cannot help myself.  What is more fun than dressing up my little doll of a child and parading him around the neighborhood all decked out like a little American soldier?   You can’t really see it, but there is an American flag on that sleeve there.  Oh how my patriotism strengthens the longer I am away!  Also, written on the pajamas that Mom brought with her must be noted:  Major Cutie.  So yes, I got out my good make-up brushes and camo’ed him up.  He wasn’t sure what to think of seeing himself in the mirror like this and would walk by and take a long lingering look at my handiwork, but he didn’t try to wipe it or smear it, so I took that as an ‘okay.’  Fred took him house to house, but he mostly wanted to just run up and down the street.  And any candy that did make into the trick-or-treat sack was immediately fished out and commanded open.  So no, that part didn’t work out so well, but I still had fun!  Set up a cobweb fringed séance on my front porch to freak out the neighbors a bit…   I heart Halloween!

Other eventful news out of our household, Nash had his first haircut yesterday!  Its been a constant back and forth do we cut it, do we leave it.   And much as I love the curls, and I do mean LOVE… those are the ringlets from his earliest days to be safeguarded forever and ever…  it was time to even things out a bit.  And I did get a little scissor happy, or rather just had to keep fixing my you-know-what-ups, which meant that it is a little shorter than I intended, but I figure it will grow out cute.   But oh the hesitation at making that first snip!  Fred was eventually like, just DO it already!  And I did.  So its done.  And it will grow.  Wait, did I already say that?

And here is another pic for all of you who are going, I cannot believe she cut all those curls off (you know who you are) where you can see that they ARE still there, just a little modified…


SEE! I didn't cut ALL the curls out!

Last week we were in London with my beloved girlfriend, Laura, who is closing in on the last couple of weeks of her second pregnancy.  I love visiting the UK, most importantly because I get to see her and Cole, but secondly, the English makes me feel like I get a little dose of home.  Even if they do say funny things like ‘loo’ and ‘lorry’ and ‘panda car.’  But while we were there Laura gave me a few hand-me-downs-on-loan (she is having another boy), and so I leave you with Nash’s newest threads.  This outfit makes me smile, though I have to tell you Fred’s comment when he saw Nash all decked out…

He looks like a Swiss-German.

Oh yes, double-pointed! Maybe Fred's right;)

A Nana Wilson Original... thanks Laura and Cole


a week in Nyon… November 6, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — momshanti @ 1:02 pm

On the boat to Yvoire

(Sigh…)  They left today.  Remember all that I said in my last post about maybe people living so far away is better somehow?  BS.  I call BS on my own blog.  Because they left today and now my heart is aching not only for myself, but for Nash who, once we arrived back at home (me sniffling the whole way), Nash looked at me and asked, “Mom?”  No, Mom’s on a plane.  And Christmas is feeling decades away, let me tell you.

We awoke to temperatures that plunged into the 30’s this morning.  I think the green in the leaves is on its last leg with this kind of weather. Last week was really almost perfect, though.  Dad wasn’t feeling great after the long travel and a sore hip, so we didn’t venture too far away from home.  We did Morges, Rolle


and Yvoire…  each for their respective patisserie/coffee/filets de perches stops along the way!  Living here I will admit that I love becoming a total tourist when tourists come to visit me.  I completely indulge in afternoon millefeuille (a bit like Napoleons if you’ve ever been to New Orleans), mid-morning croissant or pain au chocolat (just finished the last one with Nash as our dessert after lunch today.)  Apart from a haze that kept us from seeing the Mont Blanc in the distance (I swear this always happens when they come), it was a great week.  And for Nash to have all eyes on him, he loved every second!  After bathtime every night was a little show of him skipping and running and jumping and dancing around the living room…  his little personality is really blossoming, especially with an audience!

We also took advantage of the dairy farm down the road.  Nash loves going here and I did a wee photo shoot while we were there.

As you will notice from most of the photos, there is actually very little interaction between Nash and the ‘moos,’ as he likes to refer to them.  This is more about the mini-tractors, stroller, and the big litter box, I mean sand box, that he digs around in with shovels that look as though they’ve passed through many a hand here at the dairy farm.  It is moments like these that are my ultimate test of suppressing my urge to immediately douse my child in antibacterial anything on hand!  Having a 22 month old, one most let go of most notions of what cleanliness might have been prior to this age.  The dirtier and muckier and stickier (actually, he abhors being sticky, its hilarious!), and grimier the better.  Puddles are are oasis to the child, he is like a fly on, well, you know, so I am trying to bring myself to not be attatched to the adorable boots and shoes that I dress him in because inevitably they will become filthy, there is just no getting around it.

But for me, the dairy farm is all about the cows.  I love the sounds of the clanging bells and watching the pigs spring from one side of the pen to the other in anticipation of a snack.  Wish Nash shared that kind of appetite!  When I have a franc or two on me I fill up at the auto-milk-mat which is open 24-7.  It is raw milk so they give a quick description of how to pasteurize it, something I rarely do considering we usually finish the liter within a day.  Nash is becoming more and more a fan of milk, thankfully.  So yeah, this really is one of our favorite hang-outs as of late.  The only down-side of visiting the farm is the ‘au revoir.’  I am not kidding, they must think I am pinching my child the way he freaks when its time to go.  Even after a ritual saying goodbye to all the dusty toys and a discussion on when we’ll be back (usually within a day or so), he still loses it when we have to go.  But the fact of the matter is that right now, anything I need to happen with Nash is fascilitated with a ‘want to go see the moo’s?’ and seeing as I usually do try to follow through with what I say, we make visits all the time.   Bribery?  Most certainly.  Effective?  Hell yes.