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, July 31, 2009

I heart BGs!!

Wow, long time no post!

With one week under out belts, I would give Bum Genius cloth diapers 4 stars (out of 4).

I used BGs during the daytime when we were at home, and disposables for outings and overnight. Roscoe typically goes through 8 diapers a day. We have 12 BGs, so I had to wash them about every other day in order to keep up with him.

This is how we do it
1) Remove dirty diaper
2) Secure velcro tabs
3) Remove insert and place both the insert and diaper in a plastic bag
4) When all but one or two diapers are dirty, take the bag and dump the ENTIRE contents into the washing machine
5) Add 1/4 the recommended laundry detergent and wash in COLD
6) Wash a second time in HOT with an extra rinse cycle
7) Dry on warm
8) Restuff the diapers

I've found the whole routine to be very simple; the diapers are so easy to use, they wash really well, and we've had no leaks so far--unlike with the disposables. Plus, I think Roscoe looks pretty cute!

I did realize that I need more inserts (so I can stuff and reuse the diapers that are only wet), and two wet bags for our disposal system. We'll go another few weeks and if I still love them we may buy another set of 12.

Who knew dirty diapers could be so much fun?!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Let the cloth diapering begin!

Roscoe is finally big enough to wear his Bum Genius diapers!


This marks day 1 of non-exclusive cloth diapering! I'll post a 7 day recap next week.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Chesterbrook Academy to the Rescue!

Roscoe and I paid a visit to Chesterbrook Academy Tuesday afternoon in order to meet with the Principal, introduce ourselves to staff, and to observe the infant classroom in action.

We arrived around 11:00, met with Corinne (another head staffer, but not the principal), and then visited the infant room for an hour or so.

Having thoroughly researched our options before choosing Chesterbrook, I was optimistic going into the meeting; however, knowing my son, I was a little apprehensive about how the staff might respond to my concerns.

It turns out, they were incredibly understanding.

1. Their first suggestion was that I sleep with a blanket under my pillowcase for a week or so before Roscoe's start date. The blanket will be used for nap-time and at any point in which he needs to feel close to his momma.

2. As for his unfamiliarity with crib sleeping, the solution is that babies don't have to sleep in cribs--they can sleep in a swing, a bouncer, or in the arms of a staff person. And we are free to bring for his use a swing like the one he has at home.

3. Corinne rattled off a slurry of techniques they could try on any given day in order to keep him happy. She even suggested bringing in a stroller for them to wheel him around in, if we thought it might help.

4. I was assured they would do everything they could to keep him content, buy if Roscoe was having a particularly hard time and truly needed to be held non-stop, she offered that either she or the Principal would hang out with him at the front desk.

It isn't just their creativity and willingness to think outside the box for ways to make Roscoe more comfortable in his new home away from home that make me feel good about Chesterbrook, but Corinne's positive and empathetic attitude, and enthusiasm about caring for Roscoe, even on days when he might be a hard sell. She also encouraged me to call during the day for updates if I wanted, and in response to my suggestion that I take the last week or two of my leave to ease him into daycare, she said that Andy and I are more than welcome in the infant classroom anytime.

We also got to meet Miss Maria and Miss Ruth--both have worked at Chesterbrook for many years. Turnover is low, and one staff member has been working in the nursery for over a decade! On Tuesday, Miss M and Miss R were caring for five babies (in the Fall, there will be eight) and all but one were sleeping peacefully in various contraptions around the room--none in their cribs :)

Each baby follows its own schedule, and throughout the day, staff record intake, output, naps, and playtimes. Each baby also has his/her own cubby and crib. I was relieved to witness the teachers treating the babies tenderly, and sweetly, and interacting with them in ways that made it obvious they knew each one on an individual level. It was especially nice to see the babies respond back with grins, coos, and wild wriggling.

Breathe in. Breathe out.

I’m so glad I took the time to visit early in my leave because now I can stop stressing (at least about this piece of the return to work puzzle). The three of us will be back sometime in September to observe and address any additional issues that crop up between now and then. I have to keep reminding myself that Roscoe will be 4 ½ months old when I go back to work. Quite a lot will change for him and for us in the next two and a half months.

Inevitably, the transition will be hard on all of us. Many of the solutions Corinne offered were admittedly more for my benefit than his. They are probably right in that Roscoe will be happy once the classroom and the staff become familiar to him.

If the daycare situation were less optimal, I would feel completely different about leaving him to return to work. So far so good, and I’m thankful for peace of mind.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Roscoe is Two Months Old!!

Bradley Reunion!

Today we drove out to the country (i.e., Gainesville) to attend the reunion of Bradley Class 09'. We had a potluck barbecue and spent the afternoon asking and answering questions like, "Oh, how old is he/she again?", "How much does he/she weigh now?", and "How is he/she sleeping?"

We admired each others babies, exchanged new-parent gripes and advice, and shared our birth stories. And the husbands finally got to hang out too!

Bradley Class 09'
From left to right: Andy, Jacqueline, & Roscoe; Jack, Jacqueline, & Jonathan; Emily, Gunner, & Steve; Katie, Sammy, & Brian; Heidi & Lillian; Mark, Angie, Evan, (and their other two children!)

Heidi (our instructor) with all the babies!
From left to right: Lillian, Evan, Gunner, Roscoe, Sammy, Jonathan

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Morning "stroll"

I was invited to walk this morning with a group of women in my neighborhood. I just tracked the distance and it totaled 6.40 miles!

I kept pace with those speedy non-postpartum ladies, and I can definitely feel it. Unfortunately it doesn't feel that good.

I don't think I'll be joining them next Saturday--my body just isn't yet conditioned for that kind of endurance.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Roscoe's Birth Announcement

We finally mailed out all of Roscoe's announcements, no matter that he's almost 9 weeks old :)
We really love how they turned out!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Percentiles

At birth, Roscoe weighed 7 lbs 2 oz, and was 19 inches long--average stats for a 38 week, full-term baby. According to the CDC Growth Charts, this put him in the 25th percentile for his age.

At 8 weeks Roscoe weighs 9 pounds and is 21 inches long. He's growing well and gaining weight appropriately, but our little guy is now in the 5th percentile! This means that 95% of kids his age are bigger than him. I'm so glad we decided against naming him Napoleon!

Interestingly, despite a small frame, Roscoe's head circumference was (and still is) in the 95% percentile...

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Ready, aim ...

I'll save my take on the whole "vaccination debate" for another post, but mention here that I did feel somewhat bullied today when trying to make an informed decision about Roscoe's immunization schedule. In the end, we decided to follow the guidelines suggested by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Roscoe received shots to protect him against Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis; Haemophilus influenzae type b4; and Pneumococcal. He also got an oral vaccine for Rotavirus.

I researched vaccine related pain management for infants, and my plan of action was to give him a dose of baby Tylenol once we arrived at the office, breastfeed before, during, and after the event, and request that they "double team" the vaccines, so he could get them simultaneously instead of four, one right after another.

First off, the Nurse Practitioner poo-pooed my Tylenol idea ... and I conceded (I need to get bigger balls for these appointments). They also wouldn't let me nurse during the shots for "safety" reasons. On a positive note, they did bring in two nurses to administer the four vaccines.

When they poked the four long needles into his little baby thighs, Roscoe let out a cry I'd never heard before, but within 5 seconds I was nursing him and that was all he needed. We decided to hang around for a while to continue nursing and to enjoy the nice weather. Roscoe quickly fell asleep and the three of us headed home.

We spent the remainder of the day alternating between comfort nursing and napping.

This is the sad little face we've been keeping company all afternoon:

Roscoe's 2 month shots are today...

at 12:00 pm.

I will update when we get back. Wish us luck. Hopefully it won't be a big deal.

Monday, July 13, 2009

I went to the gym on Sunday!

Here are the highlights:
Andy hung out with Roscoe
One of my neighbors (also a new mom) went with me
My workout lasted for an hour
I felt strong and surprisingly fit!
I was away from the house for an hour and 40 minutes
We timed it perfectly and Roscoe didn't even need to be fed!

I LOVE THE GYM!!!

My workout plan:
2 x a week I walk for 3 to 4 miles and do my ab routine
3 x a week I run and lift weights, or go to the gym

I LOVE TO WORKOUT! (can't say it enough!!!)
Oh yeah, and I have 10.5 lbs left to lose!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

And the answer is ...

Last October (due to high demand, and the insane reality of daycare/preschool wait lists), we placed a deposit at Chesterbrook Academy in order to reserve a space for Roscoe in the 09/10 school year.

I have only 12 weeks of maternity leave left, and I'm beginning to think through what it might be like to leave Roscoe in the care of someone else for a majority of the day.

I have identified my primary concerns and they revolve around two themes:
1. Attachment Parenting
2. Quality of life

Andy and I are definitely left leaning when it comes to our parenting. We've made choices based on our instincts (and in some cases a lot of research), and our belief that we know what's best for our kid and our family. Since Roscoe's birth, we've really just followed his lead. He is an intense and sensitive little boy that thrives when his "high touch" needs are met. For us, this translates to close physical contact with Roscoe throughout the day and night by sleep sharing, sling carrying, and holding him as much as he needs to be held--which is pretty much always. :)

The Attachment parenting philosophy advocates that "attachment to and dependency on parents... is a normal, healthy aspect of childhood and not something that needs to be discouraged." The AP mindset "sees infants not as manipulative adversaries who must be 'trained' to eat, sleep, and play when told, but as dependent yet autonomous human beings whose wants and needs are intelligible to the parent willing to listen, and who deserve to be responded to in a reasonable and sensitive manner."

As it is, Roscoe is almost always in physical contact with either me or Andy. And he doesn't sleep alone, with the exception of one nap a day that he takes in The Swing. We think the idea of spoiling a baby is B.S. but we do understand and appreciate that the way in which we make ourselves available to Roscoe at home may create for him a difficult transition to daycare when the time comes. It is not likely that Chesterbrook, or any mainstream childcare facility, has enough resources/staff to uphold the AP standard of care. I worry about how he will manage in an environment where he cannot be held all day, and where he will be expected to nap alone in a crib.

Another unfortunate aspect of my return to work, will be to assume again the inevitable 3 hour commute. Let's do some math. 24 hours in a day minus 2 hours to get everyone fed, dressed, packed, and out of the house minus a 3 hour commute minus at least 8 hours clocked at the office minus 7 hours of interrupted sleep = 4 hours of leisure time left at the end of the day.

To further complicate things, there is one (and only one) extracurricular activity that I must find time for: THE GYM. For my physical and mental health/sanity, it is the one thing I cannot sacrifice.

As of now, our hypothesized routine will play out as follows:
Wake at 5:30
Leave the house at 7:30
Andy drops Jacqueline off at the commuter lot, then drops Roscoe off at Chesterbrook
Jacqueline and Andy work 9:00 to 5:00
Reverse the commute
A, J, and R arrive home around 6:30/7:00
R goes to bed between 7:00 and 8:00

To be honest, that schedule sounds pretty awful!

At what point in the day will Andy and I get some face time? How about the thought of seeing Roscoe for only one or two hours each day? And when will I go to the gym?

I know this balancing act is common within young family households, but seriously, it feels like a ridiculous position to be in. I know that the needs of our family will change over time. In some ways the challenges of circumstance may be alleviated, and in other ways (hey! did we mention we want 4 kids?!) our days are only going to become more complicated and require even more resources.

On one hand, I feel very strong in my position as Roscoe's mother, and the reality of that responsibility and opportunity is hard to walk away from. Right now, nothing seems more important than taking care of my family. On the other hand, I have a lot to offer professionally and my desire to make an impact on the world in a way that is meaningful and satisfying has always been important to me.

I know that a solution doesn't lie in extreme "all or nothing" approaches, and I'm thankful to have 12 more weeks to find a compromise that will work for us. Next week I'll contact the Principal at Chesterbrook to begin a dialogue about what is possible for Roscoe's care. And Andy and I will continue to brainstorm ways to maximize our time together as a couple and as a family, and to cut down on time spent driving to and fro in this congested urban sprawl.

For fun click here to check out a floor plan of the new childcare facility that just moved in down the road. It's called Creme De La Creme (lol!) and costs almost $1800 a month!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Cousins!

Over the July 4th weekend, Roscoe and Mack got to hang out for a second time. Isn't Mack sweet? Thanks to one very squirmy subject, even with two cameras this was the best shot we got!

Growing up, I always wished to live closer to our extended family. The Ragos kids have some great cousins on the Smith side, and it would have been nice to have spent more time with them when we were little. Now, I wish the same for Roscoe; despite the distance, it would be so cool if the Dietz/Sears boys could see each other often enough to really become buddies.

We're all looking forward to welcoming Mack's little brother in November. With the red hair gene dominating so far, who guesses that cousin #3 will be another redhead?

Friday, July 10, 2009

BB shots





....and the closest thing to a smile we've caught on camera so far:

This picture really doesn't do him justice; his head's practically cut off, and we didn't even catch his dimple. :) We'll try again later.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

"Special Agent" Jon

Today our good friend (and neighbor) graduated from the FBI Academy!

For the past 21 weeks he lived on campus and came home only on the weekends.

We knew he was working hard while he was away, but as we toured the grounds this afternoon I really got a sense for how physical, intense, and exciting his training must have been.

We're so proud of him! What an awesome achievement!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Independence Day*

I just returned from my first post pregnancy run!!!

It felt so good to get out on my own and back to the thing that means so much to me!

Only 12 baby pounds left!

*This post was made possible by The Swing.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Time and Money

While some women shop for shoes, purses, or other fashion accessory, the object of my shopping affection has been for a long time paint chips, textiles, and upholstery. I love agonizing over the details of shade, shape, and form vs. function.

Shopping for items to furnish the spaces in which we live has always been somewhat of a hobby for me. And I never bring into the house a thing that I don't love.

When we found out we were expecting, our attention turned from the communal living spaces to Roscoe's nursery. We had been dreaming about the look and feel of his room long before he was conceived when we encountered an inspirational find from Richmond's favorite toy store: a sweet, hand knit bunny made of wool. With his purchase, our color scheme was born. From there, we scoured stores online and on foot to piece-by-piece create a cool, eclectic, nature themed space fit only for our little one.

Now that Roscoe is here, I spend a majority of my day perched on our bed nursing, napping, or keeping Roscoe company while he sleeps. With all this time spent idle, I've become quite good at surfing the Internet one handed. With the nursery complete, a house that's practically full, and a new baby, I've quickly found my way in the baby marketplace.

We'll have to tip our fed ex and UPS delivery men well this Christmas!

A few of my recent favorite purchases:

Twirls and Twigs seahorse recycled cotton blanket
Vulli Sophie the Giraffe Teether
Picky Stickies
Winkel
Skwish

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Good Buy

We were cautioned by many that babies either love or hate swings. If it is the case that you buy a swing before the little one arrives, and he loves it: good buy. If he hates it: big waste of money....

We decided we would wait until Roscoe was born, then tow him to the store to get his opinion before purchase.

Six weeks later, while dreaming of having two working arms, I remembered that we had yet to pursue The Swing.

Last night Andy brought home this gem:


Today, I woke with Roscoe at 4:00 am. I nursed him, played with him, and as he was getting drowsy, I placed him in his new swing. For TWO HOURS he slept soundly.

I took full advantage and decided to bake my favorite cookies (6 of which I ate this afternoon, yum!), pump, and take a shower. Such a great start to the day!

Here's little Roscoe demonstrating the power of The Swing:


For those interested in the details, a link to a demo of the seat's many functions...wish they made one of these in my size.
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