Long Version Of Taj Ezra's Birth Film

I cannot believe it has been almost 2 months since this amazing experience. The first time I shared this film it was the shorter version, and you didn't get to see Harlow spending time with her baby brother for the first time. Here is a little treat that I contemplated sharing because it is so intimate. But people like intimate right? Press full screen, turn up your volume and Enjoy!

Shot by Amber Robertson with Labor Of Love Photography

the birth of Taj (long version) from Amber Robertson on Vimeo.

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Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and I see beauty everywhere! So grateful to be living in such a vibrant, color drenched, salty and fragrant land. I love that I can teach Harlow to see with her heart and soak up all this goodness. I am able to teach Harlow and Taj every step we take, because there is so much newness all around! I am really loving how this life we are living is allowing me to really practice being present, and living in the moment.

I stumbled (while driving) upon a breath taking botanical garden here on the east side of Oahu.

Ho'omalihua Botanical Garden is tucked away just under the Ko'olau Mountains which makes it for an even more beautiful back drop. There is a lake filled with fish, and surrounded by ducks and geese to feed. The grounds are literally a rainforest and massive ancient trees tower over to provide shade. It is magical. If I am correct, I believe you can camp there, which is something I'd like to put on our "to-do" list.

Harlow is so in love with nature that it is easy to be present in places like this. Exploring and learning with her in every beautiful moment.

“Mothering is a vocation that stretches us and that helps us find that which is most wise and loving and generous within us. Day by day, we deepen our practice of Momfulness [conscious mothering] by being more present, attentive, compassionate, embodied, in touch with the sacred, and committed to community. As we open to the immense and maternal love at the heart of the universe, we discover that all of life becomes a meditation that transforms us, our families, and our world.” Denise Roy,MOMfulness: Mothering with Mindfulness, Compassion, and Grace

How beautiful was this tree covered in moss? 

Bone leaf

Retreating into her fairy tree

Harlow, that bread is for the ducks..

Pretty stoked on the fish!

Totally cozy just hanging out!

I'm feeling I need to frame this one!

Leaving you with a little giggle before you go about your day! 

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Aloha From Our New Home!

The past month and a half has been a complete whirlwind. All within 40 days, we have had a baby, flown across the Pacific with a toddler and said baby (11 days old at the time), lived in a teeny tiny hotel room in Waikiki, squeezed into a tiny rental car and searched the island of Oahu far and wide for a perfect place to call home. As soon as we found our home and got the keys, John left for a deployment and it has been just the babies and I on just a mattress in an empty house. Our container of household goods (that's what the Coast Guard calls them), will not arrive until the 6th. It has been a very tiring, to say the least, 2 weeks, with a few days left to go. The first night in the house a tropical storm raged through. I got no sleep because I was so freaked out! On the 4th night (2nd night without John)..our air mattress popped and Harlow, Taj and I slept on the hard floor for two nights until a very gracious new friend offered her extra queen mattress to us to use until our things come.

In those first 7 days I probably had 4-5 tear filled releases of energy (breakdowns if you will) each day. Most times it was all three of us crying at the same time. Harlow is still getting used to sharing mommy, and Taj is covered with heat rash trying to adjust to the climate here with his fresh from the womb skin. Sounds like a disaster huh? There is a bright side!
To keep my littles and myself happy and balanced we have been doing what our hearts adore most..exploring. Every morning we walk to our neighborhood beach, Lanikai, which is stunningly beautiful and full of tranquility just as the day begins. Harlow happily picks the fragrant tropical flowers from the comfort of her stroller and Taj bounces happily in the Ergo baby carrier. Momma gets to get her fitness on climbing the hilly streets and gawk at the million dollar beachfront cottages. So it seems each day, we are settling in little by little, and hopefully with the arrival of some familiar belongings things will improve even more. All I can say is that for Halloween, I am going to be She-Ra, because I know I can play the part well!

Waikiki with my babes

House hunting with daddy

our hotel room and 4 week old Taj


mini shaka!

We rode the Waikiki Trolley to keep this girl occupied 

Checking out our new home!

It's kinda like a tree house!

Waimea Valley Farmers Market

Morning play time at the ocean

Seriously, its our ritual now, on this particular morning 
I lugged his carseat down so that I could swim in the ocean!

The sunsets from our street are unreal too! Since we are on the eastside, this is what they look like. Bliss!

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Taj Ezra's Birth Story and Film

The last 4 weeks have been a complete whirlwind for our souls, so before things slip from my memory (not sure that could really happen), I want to share our son's birth story with you, along with a beautiful film captured by Amber Robertson from San Diego's finest birth photographer..she is the creative guru behind Labor of Love Birth Photography.

My sweet little baby boy,
Let's go back, WAY back to your conception. It was August of 2013 and your Daddy and I had just completed the guest bedroom in our first home in San Diego. We used reclaimed wood from an old fence to make a "wood wall" in the bedroom. It looked amazing, and as I stood there smiling at the finished product I heard a voice, if you will, tell me that this would be my sons room. I was not pregnant, nor was I planning to be, as Harlow was quite the handful already so I brushed it off. When the Blue Moon in August arrived, your tiny yet powerful soul chose us to be your parents, this was not planned, and it took a while for us to embrace that we were yet again going to be parents for the second time.  As we found ourselves one month from your estimated arrival date, we swore you were coming early.. I walked a lot along the beach in Carlsbad and chased your sister Harlow around the sand, botanical gardens and playgrounds, thinking you were going to fall out at any moment. Because Harlow's birth had been quite exhausting and traumatic, I made every effort to make this birth perfect, calm, and easy. I wanted a home birth, and after lots of hard work, I made that a possibility. I found a midwife who was more than on the same page as I, and I prepared for your arrival. I collected all my crystals, chakra candles, loving notes from my circle of women and chose which songs I wanted to hear. I hung my labor flags, taped reminders to breathe and smile, as well as photos to the wall. The birth pool was blown up and ready to be filled.. we patiently waited for you. Patience that lasted 10 days past your estimated arrival date, and included eating pineapple, dates, cinnamon, evening primrose oil, laughing with friends, dance parties to mommy's favorite band and rolling on the excersize ball. 

At last, after many practice rounds and phone calls to everyone on my birth team, what felt like true labor started. At around 8:30pm my surges were 10 minutes apart and steady, so I rang my birth team, turned up my music, took a shower, and put a little bit of makeup on for your possible arrival! Just as the real deal got going and surges were lasting longer, we discovered a hole in the big beautiful inflated birth tub, and I called Michele our midwife to let her know. She stopped at Home Depot on the way to the house to grab tarps so that I could still fill the tub and birth in it, but after about 30 minutes of trying to come up with a remedy and packing a bag between surges because we had talk of the possibility of driving over to the new (not actually open yet) birth center.. I rang Michele yet again and said "forget the tarp, I think you need to get here!" She was so calm and cheerful, it helped to keep me calm and happy! I decided to just go with the flow, and your daddy, my mom (your Lolli), and your sweet cousin Ashleigh were so helpful and brought  all 20+ candles, my crystals, and prayer flags brought upstairs to the bedroom so that I could still have my water birth in the bathtub if need be. 

Sometime around 9pm my amazing birth team arrived. First to arrive was Michele, my wonderful midwife which was a relief, and I felt like this was really happening! Michele checked us and we had a moment of fear when we were unable to find your heartbeat, and then finally heard it, noticing that it had slowed quite a bit. For a brief moment I saw our home birth slipping out of my hands, but Michele was so assuring and calm when she said you were fine and that you were most likely responding the the chaos of the birth tub mishap. Shortly after, my soul sisters Lauren and Angela arrived with giant smiles and warm hugs. Next was Amber, our photographer, who had the most calm and warm energy and was quiet as a mouse! I hardly knew she was filming most of the time, which was awesome because I never felt like I was "on camera".  Upstairs in our bedroom, we had the most sacred space being held. Stars were on the ceiling from Harlow's star light, candles flickered and danced as I rocked back and forth with each surge to calming music. We all laughed as we put on temporary tattoos with encouraging conscious sayings on our bodies. Mine said "I AM". I kept moving, swaying and rocking as I knew it would help you move down gently and easily. With every surge I took in a deep breath to give you and I a cleansing breath of fresh oxygen. Every few surges I picked up a new crystal that had been charged in the light of the full moon just a week or so earlier. I breathed deep and cleansing breaths during each surge and relaxed my jaw, face, hands, and entire body to hold the space for you to move down. At around 11pm surges were 5 minutes apart and very strong. A message was sent to my friends and family near and far who all lit a candle and sent good energy our way for our labor and birth. I felt completely supported, loved and was able to smile, laugh and even dance in between and during our surges. Lauren, Angela, Lolli(my mom) and daddy took turns massaging my back during surges which helped alleviate the pressure of the surges a lot! Lolli did energy work on us the entire evening. I asked for few moments alone with daddy, and during that intimate time that were were sharing, the rest of my birth team worked hard to try and fill the tub downstairs in the back yard. They lit candles and burned palo santo (again because I had already burned it) to cleanse the space so that I could make my way down to birth in the tub as we had planned for so long.  During that time I also asked daddy to fill the bathtub just in case. I had a moment of nausea, but didn't need the bowl (thank goodness and peppermint essential oil).. I shed a few tears as transition set in and every surge from then on took me to my hands and knees. We had 3-4 surges on my hands and knees and I decided I wanted to be in water so I climbed in the warm shallow bath tub, surrounded by candles and my rose quartz crystal lamp which invites loving energy to the space. I had one surge on my hands and knees once I was in the water and then a pretty long lull. I was afraid the water had slowed our progress so I lifted my belly out of the water and immediately another strong surge came. I rolled onto my belly to try and float, had another surge there..this one I felt my body beginning to push. I let this surge and the next naturally push, breathing through each as they were long and intense. The next one came fast, almost on top of the last and I rolled on my back as I felt the urge to bear down and push. Daddy and Lolli were right there by my side encouraging me and reminding me to relax and surrender. Michele came into the bathroom and asked if I would like to go downstairs to the birthing pool, to which I replied that I could feel your head coming. One last surge and you arrive earth side, peacefully and gently into the water. I felt as if I was having an out of body experience, and Michele told me to reach down and pick you up. I asked her to help me bring you to my chest, and when she did, we were all surprised to learn you were still in the caul! My sacred little soul, of course you were! I completely fell in love with you, caul still covering you, and slowly removed it from your face and down your back. Daddy was nervous that I was taking too long and almost reached in and took it off himself! It took you almost a minute to take your first breath, mostly because your arrival was so gentle and calm, I'm not sure you knew you were actually here yet. When you cried out, it was the most beautiful sound. You were finally in my arms! 

7 pounds 4 ouches and 20 inches long, with no name yet (it took us over a week to decide), but we finally decided on Taj Ezra. Taj meaning "crown" in persian and Ezra meaning "help". We believe you are a very sacred soul on a powerful journey here earth side. You Taj, will move mountains, be a leader and a great teacher of love. 

Some say that a child born this way may have special intuitive powers, be destined to be natural healers. Their purpose is to serve Mankind and to guide men and women to understand themselves, the world and universe within which we live.
In many cultures they're considered to be “Kings by Right". This is one of the reasons why Buddhist groups, to this very day seek out Caulbearers to be brought up to become Dalai Lamas.

Again, welcome sweet Taj, you are destined for a sacred powerful life filled with endless love and adventure.

Please take a moment to view Taj's birth film, shot and edited by the wonderful Amber Roberston of Labor of Love Birth Photography. Also visit Lavender Moon Midwifery and let Michele know she has my heart for the rest of our days. A phenomenal midwife and soul sister. 




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Patiently Waiting, and Loving Every Minute

Life has been slow lately, with a slight feeling of rush as we wait for our little one to arrive. Although our estimated arrival date isn't until the 8th of this month (hello June).. we have had a feeling all along that our little man would arrive early. Interestingly enough, I have had phone calls, text messages, and conversations with a few very close friends today who randomly called out of the blue thinking he was coming REALLY soon.. hmmm.. is the universe trying to say something?

All I know is that he will arrive when the time is perfect, and we aren't rushing him… ehhhh, well okay I have been eating pineapples, rolling on my ball, and walking my heart out, but seriously, he can come when he's ready…and when my soul is ready to become a mommy to two also. Anticipation is seriously getting the best of me though, and I thought I was a patient person.

On top of all the excitement of becoming a momma to a sweet little guy, I have been enjoying every moment with my Harlow while she is still our one and only. She has blossomed into an extra-ordinary little being and every time I look at her I fall more in love with her heart and soul. I cannot wait to see her as a big sister. Cheers to new life, change, love, and new adventures. XO

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Another Moment with Taylor Nelson

Remember our first interview with sweet wave sliding sea goddess Taylor Nelson (here)? Well she has moved to the islands and soaked up the island lifestyle so we caught up with her to see how paradise is treating her! Aloha!

* Taylor wearing Seea, with her 9'2 Bing Mr. Rodgers model *

Elise: I'm really stoked to be catching up with you, and to see how life has evolved for you now that you are an island girl!

Taylor: Yeah!! Me too! I can't wait for you to be out here!! Life is good! I go to school monday-friday so that takes up 70% of my time. So I surf on the weekends and before and after school!

Elise: ahhhh the island life.. so relaxing! (well hopefully, not sure how your school load is!) So lets get started? Remember this one?? Turn over that bag again, what comes tumbling out THIS time!! ;)

Taylor: Bikini, Vertra, Pen/Pencil, sarong, phone, keys, and probably some old index cards from studying haha

Elise: Much different this time around!! I bet there's some lingering sand in there too! Which boards did you bring with you to Oahu, and did you acquire any new ones for the new waves?

Taylor: I only brought two boards over from California, both are Bings! I am currently riding a 9'2 Mr. Rodgers model, this log is so much fun and can handle all conditions Hawaii has to offer! I also have a 4'5 Dharma, I ride this board when its super windy or when its time to put on a leash because I can't surf with a leash. I have acquired two more boards, my dad's 10' Mike Wellman, which was shaped in by our dear friend in Kauai, and I couldn't resist and bought a wavestorm! This way I can teach friends always have a board for quests to ride ;)

Elise: I bet your quiver will continue to grow, when I lived on Oahu I seriously couldn't stop "acquiring boards", it totally becomes a habit! What part of the island are you living? Where is school for you, and tell us your favorite breaks!

Taylor: So I started my Hawaiian journey off in Waikiki where school was only 3 miles inland. I was there for about 6 months and within that time the convenience of town lost all its charm. I always seemed to escape to North Shore to decompress from school and business of town. So during my spring break (almost a month ago) I moved to Haleiwa! So now school is about a 35-45 minute drive because I avoid all traffic! In town I of course love surfing Waikiki and bowls (only when its small!)! Up here on North Shore I love surfing Chun's, Lani's, and Haleiwa!

Elise: Oh hello.. that was complete deja vu for me! It's exactly what I did! Tell us your opinion on surfing California (your home break being famous Malibu) and versus surfing Hawai'i. Which do you prefer and why?

Taylor: I prefer surfing in California, it’s home and there’s always a perfect right point break at my disposal! It has been such an honor to be out here surfing warm water and waves that have some consequence. I took for granted all the places I grew up surfing and how perfect and easy they are. Hawaii has definitely humbled me and kicked my butt! It's been really fun to surf some bigger, heavier waves, and to watch and learn from the locals. Hawaii has challenged and pushed my surfing, I have been surfing waves and in conditions that I never would have if I stayed at home. Hawaii has been such an awesome adventure and through surfing it has really helped check my perspective on life and be grateful and humble for what I have and to be thankful for where I am at.

Elise: Beautifully said! Who are you sponsors these days? I am loving all of your photos lately, you are absolutely stunning! Bronzed skin, sun bleached mermaid hair and a smile that radiates positive vibrations!

* Taylor sliding on her 9'2 Bing Silverspoon and beautifully wearing indah *

Taylor: I ride for Bing Surfboards, Indah Clothing, Jonesea Wetsuits, Risebar, MER Bags, Knotty Hair Accessories, Seea, Olas Mexican Surf Grill. A huge thank you to all of my sponsors for their support while I am going to college and focusing on my education. It really is such an honor to ride for each one and knowing that they support my educational goals.

Elise: Wow! You've got some really rad companies supporting your wave riding! Good on ya! Has Tyler (your dreamboat) made the move yet? I'm loving seeing photos of the two of you playing on waves together!

Taylor: I wish I could steal Tyler and have him move out here with me! He was out here January - April to train and compete in the Sunset and Pipe Pro!! I wish he could be out here while I go through school. But we both know that as much as we love love love Hawaii we don't see our future here! Or at least we don't think. We both love California, but the more time I am in Haleiwa, my future plans could totally change!

Elise: You two are so adorable together! It's like you are truly meant to be, and anybody can see the fun and strong love you share! So awesome that he competed in the Pipe Pro! GO TYLER!

Taylor: Yeah I wasn't able to make it to that contest because of school, but I watched him at sunset and it was HUGE! It was so awesome!

Elise: That is so awesome.. you are dedicated! I would have skipped class before even thinking about it! (Sorry mom)! Before we let you go, tell us what the most magical thing you have witnessed while living in Hawaii, and share with us one thing you really want to do there in the islands but haven't gotten to it just yet.

* Taylor in all her mermaid beauty with her Bing 4'5 Dharma, wearing Indah *

Taylor: This one evening in November when Ty was out for a different contest, we were surfing an outside reef on South Shore, the waves were perfect for logging, it was glassy, and there were only two other people out besides us. That session was the most magical thing that I have witnessed because the sunset was literally breathtaking. I have never seen the sky so alive and because it was so glassy it reflected off the water. It was such a humbling experience! To be honest I haven't adventured much out of the water since I have moved here. I really want to take advantage of all Hawaii has to offer and go on more hikes!

* A shot from the night she just told us about, rad!! Thank goodness for GoPro *

Elise: I just painted myself a picture of what you described.. *sigh* that does sound magical!! And you shared it with your love! Even better!

Taylor: You'll be out here soooo soon! I can't wait!! Take advantage of my babysitting skills so you can get some surf time in!

Elise: I will for sure take you up on babysitting skills! Harlow will be stoked to have a rad surf instructor too!! We wish you the best of luck with school and can't wait to hear how your amazing adventure there in Hawaii unfolds! I am so thrilled to be moving back and be able to scoop you up and show you some secret spots I know of! ;) Warmest Aloha to you sweet sea sister!

* Taylor in Mexico wearing her Indah neoprene one piece *

Hope this catch up interview inspired you a tad, or brightened your day! Taylor always brightens my day, she really is a ray of sunshine. :)
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Costa Mesa Day Trippin'

My little love bug and I drove up to Costa Mesa last week for business, and we decided to play too! We stopped at the coolest anti-mall called the LAB and we had a really fun time playing around in all the artsy atmosphere! If you are ever in the Costa Mesa area, this place, and the shopping center across the street, The CAMP, are a must see. I didn't get too many photos at the CAMP because it was during a scorching heat wave, and between a tired two year old and a huge preggo belly, all I wanted was air conditioner! My favorite part about CAMP was that each parking space has a upbeat saying on it! It made me drive around until I found a space saying I really loved! Both places have an emphasis on reduce, reuse, recycle, and reclaim.. I wish more shopping centers could be artsy and green like this!

* Plant archway you walk through to enter! *

* reclaimed things are the theme, and we were loving it! *

* record shop in an airstream! Heaven. *

* Little Record Digger, as my brother dubbed her after I sent him this picture! He is a DJ in Austin, I knew he'd love seeing her flipping through some vinyls! *

* We ate at The Gypsy Den, it was yummy, but the decor was even more yummy! *

* This is what I look like when someone asks if I want to play chess too! Whaat? *

* this image borrowed from Pinterest *

* this image borrowed from Pinterest  too*

* such a happy little traveler! *

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