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!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

First Trick or Treat. 2009.





It's that time of year again.

My favorite marshmallow of all time (so far) was vanilla flavored and made by Tiny Trapeze. Unless you've eaten them before, you probably haven't tasted a 'mallow with such intense flavor, or a melt to match that of their gooey perfection afloat your cocoa. When eaten alone, the texture was amazing--dense and chewy with a powdery exterior. I ate them by the bagful.

When Whole Foods bought the artisan confectioner they stopped producing marshmallows, and I was left searching for a replacement.

The Winter months are my favorite for buying treats through the mail: pistachio torrone, peppermint bark, chocolate covered toffee, and glaceed apricots.

With high hopes, I just ordered from Foodzie:

Maple marshmallows
Tahitian Vanilla Marshmallows

Cardamom Marshmallows

A half pound of caramels sprinkled with Fleur de Sel.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Problems with baby sleep, is it the weekend yet?

Another insane week. No sleep, marathon breastfeeding, and work non-stop.

Around 3.5 months, Roscoe went from waking once or twice a night, to waking every hour. At first, I attributed it to 4 month sleep regression, but now that he's almost 5.5 months, I've really started to wonder what the heck is going on.

Our nights begin around 6 or 7. We get Roscoe ready for bed, we read books, he nurses, and we tuck him into his swing. One hour later he wakes up. I nurse him, and put him back into his swing. An hour later he wakes up, he nurses, into the swing he goes. Aaaaand an hour later, he wakes up, and we bring him into our bed. Lights out. The days of typing, reading, or catching up on Grey's Anatomy are totally over--way too distracting for him, apparently.

For the remainder of the night, Roscoe wakes ON THE HOUR to nurse until, rise-and-shine! It's 7 am.

Add to this a daily routine that consists of two ~30 minute naps and you have two bewildered parents who are now running on empty. Doesn't the boy need sleep? Needless to say, Andy and I definitely do.

I called the hotline at Roscoe's pediatrician's office and the nurse I spoke with was sympathetic but offered nothing in the way of useful advice. Actually, no less than two minutes after I explained that Roscoe was exclusively breastfed she suggested I put rice in his milk to help him sleep longer....

No help there.

Then I called my midwife who I love. Our thought is that Roscoe is just in the habit of nursing. For food, comfort, warmth, boredom, snuggles, etc. So Andy and I are going to try something different this weekend and after I've tanked him up, we're going to see if it's possible to distract Roscoe with other (non boob related) activities that we know he otherwise enjoys, and see if we can begin to space out the nursing. Hallelujah. I hope it works.

As for my job, one challenge inherent to telecommuting is the lack of distinct separation between work and home. Like an addiction, I can't stop checking my work email throughout the day. Roscoe's naps used to be my only downtime, now I'm spending them checking and rechecking my inbox. I'm going to have to establish some boundaries because I'm getting paid by the hour and I'm a part-time employee.

This week I made another successful in-office visit with Nanny M (who continues to be superb) and Roscoe in tow. The thing that made it all worth it in the end was a single Georgetown Cupcake. Yum. I want more.

Going back to work has made for a difficult transition, even with my reduced hours and under ideal conditions. Finding balance is awfully hard these days.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Blog Makeover!

In the spirit of bringing this blog up to par with its competition, I have asked The Design Girl to make it over!

I'm looking forward to seeing what she does with our Marbles Rolling theme. Stay tuned. It may be a while, her wait list is long....

Monday, October 26, 2009

Party! Party! Party!

With three parties this past weekend there was hardly time to relax.

The cleaning service came again on Saturday. I should probably let Andy provide the glowing review, since it is he who gets the big break when they come, but I will just say that it feels pretty special when your house sparkles from floor to ceiling.

Later that night we enjoyed our long anticipated neighborhood progressive dinner party. Homemade pepper cheese bread and other dips, crackers and cheeses for snacking at house #1. House #2 provided a Fall themed oasis with gazpacho and a chopped salad. House # 3 (that was us!) served pulled chicken enchiladas with coconut rice. And house #4 offered a buffet of Agar Agar (Filipino fruit salad), cassava cake, chocolate cake, and cappuccino's made by Keith, our personal barista.

Four houses, four courses, and five hours of chatting, eating, and house tours. We haven't been that stuffed in a long time.

Sunday we attended a 6 year birthday party for the daughter of a good friend complete with Georgetown Cupcakes and a pumpkin patch! Then we were off to a party in celebration of the Bradley Babies' first Halloween. Chili, cornbread, and pumpkin cake rounded out the weekend's smorgasbord of treats! Not to mention all the babies who were dressed for the occasion. In total we had a Sammysaurus, a Gunnersaurus, a monkey, a cowboy, a mummy, and a beautiful tu tu princess. As always, it was great to get together, and Roscoe remains the runt of the litter.

Roscoe recently initiated a nap boycott. Sunday he woke at 7:00 am, and took only one 25 minute nap the ENTIRE day, finally falling asleep in a blubbering, teary mess around 8:00pm. It was a long day for all of us.

And for some entertainment, the costume line up:







Click to enlarge this one!
I love how 1) Roscoe was not the screamer this time, and 2) he's looking at Gunner as if he's alarmed at such behavior.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Day 1

Not only did Nanny M show up today for work, but she arrived 15 minutes early, and took her shoes off before coming upstairs (so considerate!).

I attempted to put Roscoe down for his regular morning nap, but when he showed little interest (no doubt due to Nanny M's and my constant chatter), we decided to leave early, stuffing a load of baby necessities into the car and hopping onto the HOV.

We parked underground, rode the familiar elevator up to the 5th floor, and scurried into my office, clicking the door behind us to buy some time. Roscoe was in a great mood, which meant it was as good a time as any to introduce him to the pack of baby hounds that quickly crowded the halls.

Nanny M and I took turns with Roscoe throughout the day, but while I nursed, Nanny M did my dirty work of rummaging for boxes and a push cart, throwing away the last 3 years worth of papers and binders I'd accumulated, and being extraordinarily helpful in every possible way.

I believe we hit the Nanny jackpot.

By the time 3:30 rolled around, I had sufficiently closed the first chapter of my career. My first job out of college. My very first office. Vacated and relocated to a place so much better: HOME.

Marbles Rolling

When plans for Sunday brunch were canceled unexpectedly, we found ourselves all dressed up with nowhere to go. We sat on our bed with scowled faces for a good minute before Andy declared, "We're going to Richmond. Call your sister." And like giddy children we left for the south in a spontaneous hurry.

Back in the 23220 zip code we picked up Vanessa and headed straight for Bottom's Up Pizza, then to Bev's for ice-cream. Before we knew it, nap time had arrived, and we were headed back home.

While Roscoe slept, I considered the fact that our life will be in flux for the remainder of our child-rearing years. Like marbles rolling, momentum propels us into the future. As Roscoe masters new skills, his world just keeps getting bigger and bigger. Last night for the first time, he reached out with intent to touch Chloe, and was rewarded when his tiny hands clenched around a fistful of her fur.

Andy and I are fluent in the language of setting goals and laying out plans. So much so that there have been times when I felt as if I was living more in my future than in my present. Admittedly, I have experienced some very low moments where all I could do was chase dreams because my life at the time just didn't seem to be enough.

I've wanted kids for many, many years. I once wondered that if I ever got pregnant, and after the baby was born, if I might stare blankly at my new family and think to myself, "Well, now what?"With the ultimate goal achieved, would I be fulfilled or would I feel compelled to look elsewhere for the next challenge? Was it motherhood that I really wanted? Would my family be enough?

Those fears seem silly now because while it felt as if the world really did stand still in those first few weeks following Roscoe's birth, it quickly resumed! Now every day brings new challenges, new happiness, and new meaning to a life that I thought I already knew pretty well. Old experiences are new again when sharing them with your child. The opportunities and motivation to be a better human being, a better wife, and a better mother are constant. Now that Roscoe is here my love for my life has exploded. My lists of places I want to travel to, books I want to read, people I want to connect with, passions I want to dive into, just keep growing.

Now that Roscoe is here I appreciate that life is not forever.

As parents we're forced to adapt in order to meet the needs of our kids. Routines are fluid. Phases are temporary. Eventually even the worst (and best) will pass. As Roscoe's world expands, so does ours. We can't help but try our best to meet our kids where they are in order to challenge, delight, and encourage them to continue exploring. As they grow up, we grow too, and that is the pleasure and the pain of it.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Nanny: Take Two

Earlier this week--in an unexpected twist--a reader of my blog, and also a longtime friend of my sister's, interviewed to be Roscoe's nanny.

There are so many reasons why this is a perfect fit.

Nanny M starts Thursday and we are relieved!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Which is crazier?

That I'm planning to get pregnant this summer, or that I just bought this sweet mobile for the next nursery (just in case we happen to have a girl)?


I couldn't help myself... can you blame me? Just look at these pigs!


I borrowed these photos from EleniCreative.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Down Time

Uncle Anthony was in town this weekend! He took a break from his studies and baseball practice to visit with us for the afternoon. It was another rainy day in the suburbs, so we met in Occoquan for lunch then went to an undisclosed location to work on Christmas presents. It has been a while since we've seen each other, so it was really nice to catch up.



Saturday, October 17, 2009

Recipe # 7 Pancakes, 2nd time's a charm


I first attempted Peterson's pancake recipe last week. To be honest, I thought they were awful. I couldn't figure it out and I was convinced I had taken a misstep somewhere along the way, so I decided to give the recipe another try.

I used All-Purpose flour, but instead of 2 cups milk, I added only 1 1/2 because I wanted the pancakes to be thicker than they were the last time I made them. I added 3 tablespoons butter, 1 ripe banana, and a 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla, because I had them on hand.

The resulting lumber jack stack of pancakes tasted so much better than my first batch, and they looked better too. Knowing that a pancake always tastes best hot off the griddle, I was bummed when I had to pause mid-way through my baking session to help Roscoe back to sleep; by the time we got around to eating the pancakes, they were cold and limp, having soaked up all the syrup. I imagine they might have been more impressive had we eaten them at the right time.

I've been dreaming of the perfect pancake ever since I watched Blueberry Pancake Throwdown with Bobby Flay (seriously, you should watch this clip, it's only 4 minutes), and while this recipe produced a nice pancake, they were not amazing.

I hadn't before considered experimenting with different flour types (i.e., cake flour, all-purpose, etc.), but logically, this can influence the tenderness of the final pancake. Low-gluten flours produce more tender results, as does adding butter to the batter. Oh, and the difference between pancakes and crepes? Pancakes are made with baking powder (or other leavening agent), less egg, and less liquid.

Other variations offered by Peterson but not fully explained: leavening with egg white, yeast, or both; adding a sourdough starter to the mix; adding sour cream or buttermilk to add a "tangy" flavor.

I've almost completed the section on quickbreads which is a good thing. I have only waffles and blini's left.

Friday, October 16, 2009

P.S. We had a Nanny interview scheduled for tonight ...

Aaaaaaannd we got stood up. Again.

Hey, Northern Virginia Nannies! you SUCK.

It's about time

Andy and I were married in California then honeymooned in Costa Rica for 2 weeks after and, in the days before digital cameras, we returned home with 13 rolls of film. After sifting through hundreds of disappointing pictures it was clear that our attempts to capture the unforgettable wildlife and landscape of Costa Rica were lost in poor picture quality and weak zoom.

We promised then and there to never be caught in such a situation again, and within days we purchased a new digital camera. The Canon PowerShot has documented our for better or worse and carried us faithfully through the past 5 years.

Since Roscoe's birth, our minor obsession with photographing our lives has become even more pronounced. We don't want to miss a beat. The video function has seen a lot more use of late as well. Ever at the ready, strapped to our hip, toted from place to place, we never leave home without our camera.

But picture technology has advanced since 2005, and while we've made due, the quality of our photos just aren't what they used to be. Last week we came to the conclusion that it was time to part ways with the old, and bring in the new.

Introducing The Nikon SLR D5000:





It arrived today! With 12.3 megapixels and 720p HD video capability, I'm ready to get serious.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Roll Up Your Sleeves

We have decided to exclusively cloth diaper.

The 2nd shipment of bum genius are on their way, and this time I also purchased a set of cloth wipes. I have no idea if we will love or hate them, but it does make sense to not have to separate your wipes from your dipes.

With disposable diapering, it is common to fold the used wipes into the diaper and toss the whole thing into the trash. When cloth diapering with disposable wipes, you've got to remember to keep everything separated: toss the wipes in the trash, and the diaper in the hamper--a routine that requires a few extra (often messy) steps.

Cloth wipes seem at first more complicated because they are dry, but a mom has two options: The Wet Method -- soak the wipes in a solution (you can buy, or make your own) and store them in a wipe warmer, or The Dry Method -- use a spray bottle to spritz the baby's bum before wiping.

Because all diaper change by-products will be handled in the same way (hamper, wash, dry, fold), my hope is that incorporating cloth wipes into our diapering routine will actually save time, and add convenience.

Oh, and I will be using the dry method. I've heard great things about kissaluvs diaper lotion potion, but opted for the bum genius brand because it smells like clementines, and not tea tree oil like the kissaluvs brand.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Bananas anyone?


Roscoe's interest in food and drink increases with each passing day. As his 5 month birthday approaches I bought him his own set of cups and bowls, and a spoon to match so that he can feel included at mealtime.

The bowls and cups arrived today, and they are really cool. 100% silicone, nicely weighted, and toxin free. Perfect for little hands.

While we won't formally introduce solids for another month or two, I was curious how he would take to a little banana smoothie (i.e., a chunk of banana pureed with an ounce of breast milk). I used the food processor and some frozen breast milk. We coated the spoon in the smoothie and let him have at it. He loved it!

The first photo was taken during his initial taste. Later, his face and hands were slimed with banana, and his onesie was competely soaked through.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Pick your pumpkin, any pumpkin

We've been anticipating the pumpkin patch since September 1, and after Roscoe's morning nap the three of us plus Grandpa and Grandma, piled into the car, Round Hill Farm or Bust.



The weather was not only windy and cold, but as we arrived it also began to rain. Opposite our apple picking experience, we were completely under-dressed. We took shelter overlooking the valley, and spread out a picnic lunch my mom had packed in her basket. We tried our best to ignore the wasps and the wind, while enjoying our lunch farmside.

Unfortunately the farm's tomcat, swift and apparently starving, snatched my sandwich from my plate, and then proceeded to greedily eat the entire thing: baguette, roast beef, mayonnaise, mustard, lettuce, tomato, cheese, onions, and all.


After lunch we headed back to the car, ready to pack it in due to the weather. But a diaper change, a nursing session, and a hoodie swap later, we decided we really couldn't leave without taking the hayride for a spin. It was a bumpy ride, but the air seemed a little warmer, and the pumpkins were ripe for the pick'n.

We chose one small pumpkin for Roscoe, one medium sized pumpkin for Momma, and one big pumpkin for Poppa.

Next up: pumpkin carving!

Purl Soho

When Andy and I were in New York last year, 18 weeks pregnant with our little babe, we found an amazing fabric store in Soho called Purl. Bolts and bolts of gorgeous fabric line the walls, and you can't help but fall in love with its tiny size, and charming character.

I have racked my brain ever since for a craft that would allow me to indulge in purlsoho, and with Christmas around the corner I decided a stocking was in order. My mom and I made stockings for me and Andy years ago when we celebrated our first Christmas in our first home. Even then I had four kids in the back of my mind and when I bought the fabric for ours, I purchased enough to sew four more.

But now that I know the person for whom I will sew the stocking, I wanted something that fit Roscoe, so I chose this festive and whimsical mouse print (with cheese) in grey, and a more formal ticking stripe in orange.


Now to find the perfect stocking hanger....

Friday, October 9, 2009

Carry on

We re-posted our advertisement on SitterCity last night. My inbox is now full of responses similar to this one:

HELLO MOM , MY NAME IS XXXXX AND I ARE AVAILABLE FOR YOU .I AM VERY PATIENT, VERY CAREFULL , BE GENTLE AND FUNNY NANNY , IF YOU NEED MORE ABOUT ME, I WOULD LIKE ONE MEET WITH YOU , CANYOU SEARCH ME, AT xxxxxxxxx@hotmail.com THANK A HAVE A GREAT DAY.

:sigh:

Perfect in every way except one

Nanny A did not show up for work today. I realize there is no need to use her pseudonym, as this girl no longer needs to be protected. However, I have decided not to out her here, as I plan to write a scathing review and post it to her SitterCity account...

FYI: If an adorable, newly married, east coast graduate with a degree in elementary education, and previous infant nannying experience, who just so happens to LOVE babies, and thinks yours is the most handsome she's seen in a very long time, answers your desperate ad...do. not. hire. her. Because she will leave you high and dry on not just your first day back to work, but also your second.

I think Roscoe's nanny was stolen. But I'll never know for sure because apparently "professional" isn't her style.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Oops. I did it again.

I have become a careless internet shopper, checking out of my online shopping carts without first double checking their contents. It began with a double order of the Winkel. Then it was one mysterious book among a shipment of toys from Amazon. Most recently, to my dismay, Baking was delivered via UPS.

After deliberating over which book to choose for my little cooking challenge I opted for Baking's brother book Cooking. I was torn, but in the end decided I had much more to learn in the cooking domain.

I was stunned then, with the hemming and hawing behind me, when I tore through the packing (with an expectation that one of Roscoe's Christmas presents was held within), and found myself staring at the front cover of Baking. Knowingly, Andy offered to hide the book away so that I would not be tempted by it. I handed it over without even so much as one little peek inside.

Under any other circumstance I would be thrilled with such a fortunate mistake. The trouble is that I still have 594 recipes from Cooking to complete before I can even consider dabbling in another volume of recipes.

I promise myself that Baking will be next on my list.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Recipes #4, 5, and 6

It has been a busy couple of weeks and the quick bread recipes are pretty basic so I thought I'd lump a few of them into one post. I've been slow to turn out these recipes in part because 75% of my satisfaction in cooking lies in watching someone eat what I've baked. When these buttery, carb heavy recipes are presented, Andy's presence is required.

First, the scones. While the idea of scones always appeals to me, I'm usually left feeling disappointed; they're too hard, they're too dense, they're not sweet enough, there's not enough fruit... not the case with these crumbly, pastry-like, apricot scones. I'm reluctant to admit that we made eight and they were gone in less than 12 hours. I can already tell that all my fun in the kitchen is going to take its toll if I don't make up for it with more exercise.


Then there's the french toast. Oh. Sweet, Heaven. The best I've ever had, it practically melts in your mouth. The ratio of eggs to milk surprised me ( 6 eggs: 1 cup of milk), as did the absence of both vanilla and cinnamon. I did not miss either because they were that good. The recipe lends itself to personalization. A few splashes of bourbon or grand marnier, a dollop of whipped cream, some powdered sugar and strawberries, or a compote of bananas and walnuts, you could really make this your own.

I also want to add that Peterson does a superb job instructing on the temperature of the stove. He doesn't just bark "medium" or "high" heat, he offers concrete indicators that are helpful in troubleshooting, and make all the difference in recipes like french toast, and pancakes.



And tonight I made Crepes, delicious crepes. One of our favorite Richmond pastimes was to indulge in dessert crepes at Baker's Crust in Carytown. This recipe is amazingly simple with only three ingredients: flour, eggs, and milk. In spite of my assumption that crepes must be cooked in a crepe pan, my experience tells me this is completely unnecessary; I used a nonstick skillet and it worked just fine.

With heat on medium and a bowl of butter at my side I poured, flipped, and stacked over 25 golden crepes. Then I whipped my cream, making both a vanilla and chocolate version (which was insanely good, and put us both in a sugar coma) and cut up some strawberries and bananas. Then we mixed and matched until our stomachs hurt.

The result: a thin, rubbery, egg pancake great for dessert but equally suited for a more savory version.


I have 20 crepes left, nestled between wax paper, and stored in the freezer for another night.


That's right, I poured, flipped, and stacked crepes while breastfeeding ... if I can do it, you can do it!

As an aside, Roscoe has become quite interested in the food we eat. He eyes our plates intently, and tips his whole head back to follow our forks as we shovel the food in. He made a particularly cute spectator tonight!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Day 1

My first day back to work began with a very sweet voice message from Nanny A apologizing for being sick and unable to make it.

Andy was still at home, preparing to give Nanny A a course in caring for Roscoe when nursing is not an option, so Plan B swung into full force and he begrudgingly agreed to stay home in order to care for Roscoe so that I could have a successful first working day.

In short, the day was wonderful. I nursed Roscoe when needed, Andy cared for him otherwise, and I accomplished a lot on the work front. I truly savored my moments with Roscoe, but happily passed him off to continue my streak of productivity. After almost 5 months at Roscoe's whim, it was ... liberating!

Hopefully Nanny A will be feeling MUCH better by Thursday. Or else.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Halloween Treats

First this:


I really wanted a special trick or treat bag for Roscoe's first Halloween. After perusing the local craft stores I envisioned a skull and bones and perhaps his name, but I didn't see exactly what I was looking for so I turned to the Internet and one store in particular, which I had bookmarked for just such an occasion: Tadpoles and Tutus. I sent Heidi a special request and she happily obliged. When Roscoe and I opened the mailbox this afternoon, his embroidered treat bag had arrived. I think it's adorable!

And another gem that I plucked from the mailbox:
My Mom sent us this "Blast from the Past". I guess I was 10? I think I was 12.... but either way, that was the year my Grandma suggested I dress up as Mae West. Having never heard of Mae West, I followed Grandma's direction: she was from the West, she wore corsets, she had a big bosom.

Anthony made an adorable werewolf, no?

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Ahoy Matey, and Lightening McQueen

Andy's mom, Val, celebrated her long awaited retirement aboard a riverboat cruise that toured the Potomac from Alexandria to Georgetown. She was joined by her family, dearest friends and colleagues to close an 18 year career with the Prince William County School System. We enjoyed some great weather, a good lunch, a narrated history of the river, and one mighty chocolaty cake.

Andy and I boarded the cruise by the skin of our teeth arriving 6 minutes after the official boarding time, our arms full of baby, baby supplies, and a special cake for Val. Once on ship, we dined and visited while Roscoe nursed and napped. The weather was truly beautiful and it felt so nice lounging out on the deck, taking in the scenery and sunshine.


The lady of honor

Mack and Roscoe

Grandma

Mama Courtney with Mack and baby-to-be

Grandpa


Once safely on land, we drove home, piled into our bed for a nap, then prepared for our second celebration of the day: Mack's 3rd birthday party!

Mack turned three on Tuesday, and had a party with his friends last weekend. Our nephew is crazy for trucks so it was no surprise that his birthday theme was Lightening McQueen from Disney's "Cars".

Birthday boy

After a pizza dinner, we took Mack on a little treasure hunt to find his present, a Plasma Car, which we hid in the garden shed. After everyone took turns riding it I think it got two thumbs up!

Test drive




Roscoe dealt well with the days events but by 8:15 it was past his bedtime. We headed home full from two celebration meals, and happy to have had the opportunity to get out and do something different while sharing time with our families.

Congratulations to Val, and Happy Birthday Mack!!!
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