Stay Curious.
Dig Deeper.
Nurture What Matters.
Be BoldHeart.
Enjoy Your Life.

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The BoldHeartMama desires to enjoy living out the choices that she’s made for herself and for her family. She is a relentless learner: curious, inquisitive, and open to the possibilities of her life and of the human condition. She understands that there isn't one right way—she asks questions that dig deeper to make sense of it all and to find her own path.

She pays attention to and nurtures whatever it is she really cares about, letting go of the rest (for now) knowing she can't do and be everything all at once. She embraces her imperfections in favor of "good enough"—her imperfect self, her imperfect home, her imperfect mothering, her imperfect desires—and she never stops evolving as a woman and mother. She is a BoldHeart, authentic and true to herself.

The BoldHeartMama knows there is only this one life and she's all in. She is present and engaged and making things happen. Her intuition is her guide. She seeks to be inspired and relies on her creativity and her resourcefulness to solve the big and little challenges that she and her family face together as they navigate their relationships and their world.

The BoldHeartMama is willing to take calculated risks to make her biggest dreams come true. She is living out her BoldHeart in the moment, making small moves and taking little steps that add up, and she's cultivating a good life for herself and her family in the process. Read More!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Let me direct your attention

to our photographer Mel's blog about her experience photographing Roscoe's birth.

She also created a gorgeous slide show of all the photos she took that night. We've had it on repeat, tissues in hand.

Mini Reunion

Roscoe and I caught up with two of our Bradley classmates yesterday afternoon!

Roscoe met Lilian (4 weeks old) and Sammy (2 weeks old) for the first time, while the new moms exchanged birth stories, advice, and adventures to date. It was sanity saving to catch up with other women who can directly relate to what I'm experiencing right now. For one, exclusive breastfeeding is harder work than I anticipated!

This is yet another way in which our birthing class has proven it's value: Andy and I now have a network (in our immediate area), of at least three other new moms and dads, that we can tap for emotional and social support.

The "big" Bradley reunion is set for mid July, and we're all eagerly awaiting the births of the last two babies (due in mid June, and early July)!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


This afternoon, Heidi made a house call in order to treat a new mom to a full body massage.

I'll admit, it was DIVINE!!

Orchestrating a sleeping Roscoe with Heidi's arrival required quite the planning on our end, but as she knocked at the door, I was just handing over to Andy a drowsy baby. Lucky for all of us, Roscoe slept for almost two hours, which gave me the uninterrupted time I needed to truly enjoy a little pampering, and also left time for an infant massage lesson at the end.

Baby Roscoe seemed to like his mini massage and I enjoyed the opportunity to learn from a professional; Roscoe can definitely look forward to more!


Here is a short list of items that I found helpful during my pregnancy, and in preparation for labor and/or motherhood:

Baby BargainsBaby-Proofing your Marriage
The Birth Of A Mother
The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth
Birthing from Within

Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth
Also, Andy enjoyed The Expectant Father

The Business of Being Born


Pregnancy Necessities:
Bella Band
Snoogle pillow
Pregnancy Journal

Hand held mirror--for when your belly's too big but you still need to shave!!
The gym!!!!!

Birth Necessities:
A doula!
A photographer
Bradley classes

Oh! and above all else, I could not have done without Andy!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Begin again

Susan has sternly instructed me NOT to engage in any physical activity for the next couple weeks. She suggested that I "consider" taking a few strolls around the block at two weeks; it makes me cringe to think of waiting that long, much less for a meager stroll...but I figure it's better to be safe on the front end, assuming that my body will recover faster if I take it slow now.

However, staying true to my control freak nature, and my inability to sit still, I am headed to weight watchers at 1:00. Momma has 24.5 reasons why.

Saturday, May 23, 2009


Before Roscoe arrived, our plan was to spend Saturday of Memorial Day weekend purchasing our new car. But since R decided to show up on Tuesday, we initiated Plan B.

After our pediatrician appointment on Friday, Jacqueline headed South with the babe and I braved the holiday weekend traffic heading North, final destination: Annapolis Volvo. After many trips to consider cars at several different dealers, Jacqueline's new baby mobile is a sick looking titanium gray Volvo S80, with plenty of safety features to keep the little guy well protected.

After I arrived home Friday evening, we loaded Baby R into his car seat, and Jacqueline and I took him for a spin to Babies R Us for some essentials. The ride was smooth and the baby was relieved to be out of his previous budget travel accommodations.

Roscoe in his car seat:

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A few professional shots from Mel....just minutes after birth

To tide you over!

13 hours old:

Minutes after birth:

Introducing Roscoe Ellis Hopper Sears!

Little baby Roscoe was born at home yesterday at 7:54 PM after a little less than six hours of labor by momma Jacqueline. Everything went beautifully and all nearby family have been by to meet our 7lb. 2oz. little guy. He is 20 inches long, and so far looks a lot like his mom.

We have almost completed our first night as parents.

Birth story to follow! And hopefully some pictures too.

Monday, May 18, 2009


Woke at 9:00 am
Hopped on computer
Worked until 12:00
Ate pancakes with blueberries for lunch and napped for an hour
Changed into tank top
Sat with Chloe on back stoop to sun and read documents for work
Went inside and worked some more
Logged off computer at 5:10 pm (felt very productive)
Took a walk for an hour and a half while listening to Eat, Pray, Love
Ate dinner with Andy, my parents, and grandparents
Went home
Got in bed
Went to sleep.

Sunday, May 17, 2009


Fifty-six percent of you voted that Baby Sears will be born this week!
My fingers (and toes) are crossed!


1: months it took to get pregnant
10: days post ovulation we got a positive pregnancy test
40: estimated number of bagels with cream cheese and tomato that Jacqueline ate in the first trimester
7: week of very first ultrasound
12: week we first heard the heartbeat on doppler
15: week I felt the baby move for the first time
17: week we found out Baby Sears was a BOY!
20: week Andy felt the baby kick for the first time
21: number of weeks I waited to share my baby news at work
31: week I first felt his hiccups
1: number of maternity pants purchased
32: number of belly pics I've taken
4: number of kids we want
6: containers of tums I have consumed since conception
24: hours of birthing class we attended (12 weeks, 2 hours each)
1: times I sent Andy on a pregnancy craving run (for "lots of pulp" orange juice)
3: baby showers thrown for Baby Sears
32: number of bibs we received
1: prenatal massages I've enjoyed
6: pounds I weighed at birth
8: pounds Andy weighed at birth
38: number of weeks I've been knocked up
2: number of weeks until due date

Friday, May 15, 2009

Next in line!

Congratulations! Three out of the 6 couples enrolled in our Bradley class have given birth!

We can't wait to meet everyone's babies at the Bradley reunion in July!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Sweet Relief!

Susan came to my office this morning for my 38 week appointment. The baby is measuring 37.5 weeks, which is perfectly on schedule. He is not using his uterine space wisely, however, and insists on crowding the right side--which is fine. He has preferred it since week 27. His heart rate was in the 130's.

My blood pressure was higher than normal, and the swelling in my extremities continues. This coupled with the blurry vision that I've been experiencing for the past two days led Susan to have concern over preeclampsia. She is also a big proponent of "getting in the birthing zone" and hates that I'm continuing to push myself every day with the 3 hour commute, and all my activities.

At the end of her visit, she wrote me a "prescription" to begin working from home starting I spent the last half of today scurrying around and tying up all my loose ends. I packed some file folders of work (to be done from home), and kissed my office goodbye for the next 21+ weeks. Sweet!


After a fair share of research on the subject, we have decided to attempt cloth diapering! Out of the many brands available, we settled on Bum Genius 3.0 one-size diapers, which fit babies 7-35 lbs.

At face value, cloth diapering can be intimidating, particularly the whole "washing and reusing" part. But cloth diapers have come a long way since we were babies, and many bear a close resemblance to the disposable diapers that everyone is accustomed to. Our plan is not to cloth diaper exclusively but to integrate them into our routine as it is convenient.

To get started, we have ordered 12 diapers in 4 different colors, so we can rotate them evenly. I can't wait to get them in the mail--they are soo cute!

Some great articles on cloth diapering:
Cloth Diapering 101
Cloth Diapering 102

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Just an observation

As I entered the metro yesterday, all big and pregnant, a man actually offered me his seat. He saw me, noticed that I was pregnant, and said, "Would you like to sit down?".

This is news because over the past 9 months I have made the following observations:

1. Women are more likely than men to offer their seat to a pregnant lady
2. Women are more likely than men to assert that someone else get out of their seat in order to offer it to a pregnant lady
3. Men are more likely than women to occupy themselves intently with their reading material when a pregnant lady's belly is staring them in the face
4. In general, people are more likely to offer up their seat when they are getting off at the next stop.


Tuesday, May 12, 2009


I've always thought that people who felt the need to have a fireman inspect their car seat, or worse, install it for them, were playing it ridiculously safe. However, on Saturday after a little push from Jacqueline, I left my ego behind (for what I’m sure will not be the last time) and drove to the fire station by my office in order to have the "car seat technician" jerk my car seat all around and flip through my owner's manual for a few minutes. After he was done I received a satisfactory, "Well, you are one of the few who did it right", verbal approval, and now I'm free to pop that baby into his seat whenever he gets here.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Advice from the trenches

The Biomedical and Health Sciences Research cluster organized for Andy and me a really fun and relaxed baby shower that we all happily snuck away from work to attend.

This afternoon we met at Firefly for a coursed lunch of comfort food galore! There were games, a baby weight pool (with guesses ranging from 6.5 pounds to 8.5 pounds), and lots of talk of food cravings, birth stories, and parenting experiences.

Along that vein, we received a lot of great parenting advice to include:
1. If the baby is crying and can't be consoled, check to see if his toes are bent over in his shoe (true story).
2. Remember that he won't remember any of your early mistakes. (Good point!)
3. Don't be afraid to reach out for help.
4. Remember to pamper yourself at least once a week. (YES!)
5. Don't make a graduate program out of parenting.
6. Kick him out when he turns 18.
7. Make him a little brother or sister.

and last... 8. Open the diaper slowly, boys will spray!


I'm sending out a big THANK YOU to all who were involved in the planning! We were really touched by your generosity and creativity!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

37 weeks!

Not only did I wake up this morning to find my husband in the kitchen cooking my first (pre) Mother's Day breakfast complete with strawberry pancakes, scrambled eggs, and sausage...but today I'm also full term! If Baby Sears were to be born right now, he'd be perfect in every way, and sporting a set of fully functioning lungs! At 37 weeks the average baby weighs 6 1/3 pounds and measures a little over 19 inches in length.

Baby, we can't wait to meet you and we're ready whenever you are!

Happy Mother's Day to my mom, and to all the moms and moms-to-be!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

On the eve of Mother's Day:

Today my sister and I treated our mom to Afternoon Tea at the Jefferson Hotel in Richmond. It was such a nice treat, for all of us! We lounged in the grand lobby, which was transformed to accommodate a special mother's tea, and enjoyed the cool, humid, southern atmosphere.

We indulged in tea sandwiches, scones with devonshire cream, strawberries covered in chocolate, cakes, homemade breads, and deliciously spicy tea with hints of cinnamon, orange, and cloves.

In between bites, Vanessa and I took turns posing questions from an article that I recently read. The answers were insightful, not only looking to the past and learning more about my mom before she was a mom and about her experience as our mother, but also considering the present and looking to the future in the context of my own life as a woman and mother.

We exchanged our gifts, shed a few happy tears, and enjoyed some quality time as mothers and daughters.

Thursday, May 7, 2009


I attended my first prenatal swim class tonight. It was surprisingly relaxing and enjoyable! I was a little worried that it would be geared toward “non exercisers” and filled with women interested only in doggy paddling around the shallow end. In truth, it was a low-key workout, but a seriously nice change from my usual high intensity, high impact, land routines. It felt great to glide through the water and take the pressure off what I’m now calling my “shrek feet”.

When I originally signed up there was not one other person registered for the class. On May 1st, I was told there were two, including me. So I was pleasantly surprised when I arrived and there were 6 other pregnant ladies—we started chatting immediately. Most women are due in August—I am by far the most pregnant, and apparently the boldest as I donned last years bikini. I felt a little weird at first, but it all worked out fine! Four of us are having boys, 2 are having girls, and one is pregnant with twins!

One woman looked familiar and after a short conversation we remembered a particular day, when upon my arrival to the Pentagon slug line, she had cheerfully greeted me with, “Oh! Another pregnant slugger!”. Funny how interconnected the DC/Northern VA area really is.

The class starts at 7:20pm, lasts 45 minutes, and will take place twice a week for the rest of the month. I reek of chlorine and my eyes are burning, but my feet experienced some relief and Baby Sears seemed to enjoy the routine, so I’ll look forward to next Tuesday.

As for tomorrow, it’s back to kickboxing.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Name poll: CLOSED! Birth-day poll: OPEN!

Hmm...verrry interesting!

Forty-eight percent of respondents identified Roscoe as the chosen name, while 20% think we are trying to throw you off our trail by choosing a name not included on the list! We can't wait to share the name we picked--we think it's pretty cool--and hopefully you won't have to wait too much longer...

With all this talk of progress and impending parenthood, it's time to cast your vote on which week will fall a very special birthday!

When next we meet...

Our Doula came to the house last night for our final prenatal visit. Initially, when we were planning a hospital birth, we contracted Lori for independent labor support and advocacy in the hospital setting. Now that we're planning a home birth, her role will also include assisting our midwife as needed--primarily during the actual birth and postpartum.

I must say that Andy has been amazing throughout the entire pregnancy--not that I expected anything less! He was a great partner during our 12 week Bradley course and has remained actively involved and engaged in the experience. While Andy will serve as my primary support, Lori has assisted hundreds of women in labor and knows so much about facilitating natural birth--she has many tricks in her bag!

Many people have asked us, "Well if Andy is your primary support, why have a doula!?"

At this point, labor and birth are relative unknowns for both of us. Andy has said more than once that he would feel a lot of pressure if I were planning to rely solely on him for labor support. Knowing that he can pull from Lori's experience makes him more confident in his ability to support me in ways that will be most helpful. For me, I anticipate that giving birth will be a lot of physical and emotional work. The choice to surround myself with women who trust the process of natural birth, and who believe in my body's ability to birth my baby, is fundamental.

I think we’ve assembled a phenomenal birth team, and I feel nothing but positive anticipation for the big day.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


My awesome co-workers surprised me with a sushi dinner (and Georgetown cupcakes!) after work yesterday! Andy was in on the secret and told me we were going out for our anniversary. He's usually not very good at keeping surprises under wraps but this time I had no idea!


It was so thoughtful, and fun--a great way to spend a Monday night!

I would like to thank the following people:

Monday, May 4, 2009


Well, the Pig Flu (as non-PC as that name is) has finally hit Virginia: three confirmed cases as of today. Maryland has 12 "probable" cases awaiting confirmation, and while there has been talk of a case or two in the District, they too have yet to be confirmed.

As a pregnant woman, I am technically categorized as "high risk". A public health colleague of mine sent me the guidelines for treating pregnant women with H1N1, and I would really love to avoid catching the virus. Of course. Coupling the densely populated area with the heavy use of mass transit, I'm sure it will only be a matter of time before the DC metro area is teeming with new cases of H1N1. Andy is insisting that I wear a face mask during my commute. I have politely declined.

Sunday, as we checked out at the grocery store, Andy passed me a dollar to play the Lotto. When I went to the case to choose my game I shouted over: "Oh! I pick the Pig Flu one!" I was both giggling and feeling slightly offended at the same time. Way to capitalize on a pandemic, Virginia.

Blame it on not having my glasses, but I swear it said "WIN PIGS FLU". In the end, we won neither pig flu nor any other prize.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

36 weeks

Susan, our midwife, came to the house this morning for my 36 week appointment.

Good news: I'm 80% effaced and 2 centimeters dilated!!

While dilation is not a good predictor of imminent labor, it's cool to confirm that the cramping and other symptoms I've been experiencing are effectively doing some of the work in advance of B-day. Susan seemed very optimistic and pleased with my progress--especially for 36 weeks. She said that she was able to feel the bulge of the amniotic sac, and his little head, which is just crazy!

The baby's heart rate was in the 130s and he's still favoring my right side. I had some labs drawn, and she checked out the supplies that we've put together (per the list we were given). We talked some about vaccinations, and newborn screenings.

From now on we'll meet with Susan once a week until Baby Sears makes his debut!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Dude, where's my diaper bag?

I am now the proud owner of a Diaper Dude man-bag. Connoisseur of fine things and former roommate Ronak finally stopped by last night to deliver my belated couple's shower present. It is great. Lots of pockets, clips, and the like for all of my gear and baby's stuff too! Nothing like style and function. So the next time we meet don't confuse me with Brad Pitt, we just carry the same diaper bag.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Drum roll please...

After today, I have only 10 days left in the office. I can't adequately express how much I'm looking forward to being home!

Not only will I not have to get dressed (which has become quite frustrating both for lack of an appropriate seasonal wardrobe, and because I can no longer bend at the waist in order to dress myself), but even better, I won't have to commute! Yippee!! This will add three glorious hours to my day!

Oh yeah, it's officially May, and Baby Sears is due this month!!!
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