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!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Seventeen weeks

Our midwife resides in Maryland and travels to her clients who live in the surrounding area. I love home visits but the nature of the profession sometimes complicates scheduling.

At 12:30 this morning Susan delivered a baby and didn't make it back home until 5 am. Then she slept, woke up, and made the trip back to Virginia to begin her prenatal rounds. Our appointment was scheduled for 10, and then rescheduled for 11. In some ways I love when this happens because I get a first person account of her baby catching adventures, and I enjoy every opportunity to hear about recent births.

Roscoe and Susan were reunited for the first time since he was a newborn. It was an event that I've been looking forward to for a long time. Roscoe woke from his nap and was a little shy at first. Once fully awake, he began demonstrating his physical tricks: jumping, climbing, coloring, chewing a whole starburst. He seemed interested in Susan only after some time had passed, offering up one of his cars and also bringing books to her.

I'm not sure what I was expecting, or why I was left feeling a little disappointed. Maybe I was hoping for something along the lines of, "Oh my, you delivered me! And changed my Momma's life forever! I've been saving this hug just for you!" Ha. Perhaps next time.

Little Sears is growing right on track. The top of my uterus is almost to my belly button now. We heard the heartbeat on Doppler very clearly (in the 140's), but my attention was diverted by a suddenly tearful Roscoe, who seemed especially empathetic and concerned for the duration of the visit. It's a good thing that he'll have plenty of appointments between now and April to get to know Susan a little better.

We spent most of the hour talking about how I am feeling these days, discussing ways to alleviate exercise induced SPD, weaning, and my mini fear about precipitous labor. It's our time spent talking that I savor most about my appointments with Susan.

In other news, we stumbled on a boys name last night that hit us in the same way that Roscoe did. So, I think we have our final two contenders! One for a boy and one for a girl. And we have just 12 more days to wait.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Pumpkin Cake

The annual pumpkin cake was baked and devoured last weekend. As sophomores in college, a girlfriend of mine introduced me to this moist and spicy cake topped with fluffy cream cheese icing. Her dad, a former chef, frequently invited us to his home for fancy coursed dinners complete with candlelight and appetizers. We were in heaven.

Somehow, I was able to get my hands on the recipe for this ah-mazing cake and it has been an integral part of our Fall festivities for the past 8 years. I bake it only during the season, and while people have begged me for the recipe, I don't dare. It's really not mine to share. I do bake it on request, however!

As the Sous-Chef De Cuisine Roscoe gave five stars to the batter, the icing, and the final product.

What are your favorite Fall treats? Do you share your "secret" recipes with people who ask?

Monday, October 25, 2010

Momma's Monday Check-in: 16/40

Note: McFatty Monday's is no longer! Instead I will post Momma's Monday Check-in. Join me as I eat and exercise my way through the next 24 weeks.

Due Date: April 8, 2011

Total weight gain: 6
Cravings: Hmm, Halloween candy!
Aversions: None.
Sleep: Sooo tired. I sleep on the couch in the loft now to avoid extra nightly disturbances since I'm still having a really hard time falling back to sleep if I wake up.
I can't live without: Our extra deep, super comfy sofa, three pillows, and my favorite quilt.
I miss: The satisfaction that comes from crossing items off my to-do list. I don't even make to-do lists anymore. That's just weird.
I am looking forward to: My second prenatal appointment is this Thursday. I'm ready for some face time with my midwife, and to hear the baby's heartbeat again.
Aha moment: Roscoe's spontaneous kisses are the best pick-me-up.
Best moment this week: I went to a baby shower over the weekend and it made me really excited to pull out all the new-baby gear that we have in storage, and to inventory Roscoe's layette. I have great memories washing and folding newborn clothes, and organizing them in the nursery.
Milestones: I think my feet are starting to swell already...what!? They've been really tight at the end of the day for the past two days. Nooo, it's way too early!!
Movement: The last few days I've felt more little bumps, but not as often as I'd like. They are definitely getting stronger though.
Gender: We find out in 16 days! The menu is set, and I've moved on to the decorations. I haven't thrown a party in a while, and even though this is going to be low-key, I have a few (probably considered dated) ideas that I've really been wanting to try. Tissue pom poms anyone?

Exercise: I ran 4 miles on Sunday, 3 miles on Friday, and boxed on Wednesday. I meant to run a five miler last night but it got dark before I got home so I rescheduled it for this Tuesday. I'm trying to coordinate my long runs with a girlfriend of mine, which is so much better than running alone.

Diet: With Halloween candy overflowing a bucket downstairs, and a few festivities centered around food, I'm all sugared out. The number on the scale's moving up too.

Goals for the upcoming week: Two days of running, two days of boxing, and ugh I need to figure out how to fit in two sessions of weightlifting (three would be better, but I know that won't happen).

Belly Shot:

Labor Signs: None

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Bradley Halloween

The Annual Bradley Babies' Halloween party was today!! Remember last year? (scroll to the bottom for pictures)

For 2010 the boys dressed as bam-bam, a giraffe, and a skunk, while our girl Lillian brought the spirit of the season with her adorable orange and black ensemble.

Cornbread, chili, cider, and pumpkin cake were abundant. As always, it made me feel warm to catch up with the girls, and it just felt good to have our group together again, even though two of the original b-baby families weren't able to attend.

Roscoe melted my heart as a little skunk.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Life after work

As I prepare to carve out a new life for myself as a stay at home mom, I'm also preparing to embark on a new professional path.

My passion for the last decade has been reproductive and sexual health education. In this time I have accrued thousands of volunteer hours centered around improving the health of the people that live in my community. I have a bachelors degree in Biomedical Engineering, and a masters in Public Health Epidemiology. Since graduating I've held two professional positions, neither of which have fully utilized my expertise, nor have they struck gold in my heart of hearts.

The past four years spent behind a desk, first in DC, and now from home, have given me the time and opportunity to reflect on what I really want from my career. I've come to realize that content trumps most everything else. Better than prestige. Even better than money.

I miss grass roots community health. I ache to find work that connects me face to face with real live people, and challenges me with opportunities to educate and empower individuals to improve their health and their quality of life.

In November I will begin the process to become certified to teach natural birthing classes. I have chosen the Bradley Method because of the enormous impact that it has had on our family. I also appreciate the comprehensive nature of Bradley instruction and its emphasis on preventive measures to help pregnant women remain low risk and avoid unnecessary intervention.

I am delighted at the chance to advocate for and empower couples and families about issues centered on birth. The transition of pregnancy and birth provide extraordinary opportunities to learn, grow, and fully realize our power as women, mothers, and partners. Giving birth was transformative for me, and I hope to inspire and support couples as they prepare for a birth experience that is both positive and meaningful.

While my primary focus will remain the ever-growing Sears brood and family life, I'll have an outlet through which I can pursue my personal interests, apply my professional knowledge and experience, and perhaps build a bridge to future work that will fulfill me in ways that can only be found in passion and purpose.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Love and Marriage

I've been feeling so odd lately. Odd like indifferent. Odd like blah. Odd like I can't muster the energy or interest to do much of anything anymore. Drained.

I think the prospect of parenting two babies is sending me into a panic. With Roscoe's birth I reluctantly succumbed to losing all control over my time and my life as I knew it. The first few days after Roscoe's birth were bliss. Day 3 to month 10 can aptly be described as chronically intense. However, we eventually found our rhythm as a family and settled into a familiar routine content and happy just the same. Then, as we started to truly LOVE our life again, we decided to get pregnant.

Boy was I thrown for a loop.

At the root of all evil lives sleep deficiency. I am convinced. I keep telling myself that if I think this is tough, just wait until Little Sears is nursing every 1.5 hours around the clock, and Roscoe remains a dynamo. What then? If I were giving myself advice I would say that the transition will likely be demanding on many levels, that it will require concession and adjustment, but that like all life events we will navigate the new terrain just fine, and that our days will resume a new normal that we will love equally as much as we did the old.

I think I believe this.

Maybe my real fear is that somehow in this effort to be the best parents we can be, that we are giving away to Roscoe everything that we have to give, leaving just a sliver for ourselves, and only a shred for our marriage. What will happen to us when there are TWO babies?! That is the question.

I've heard some speak of the importance to put relationship before kids, which makes sense in theory but what about practice? Does this mean we carve out one night a month for "date night"? That we protect a certain amount of designated Andy and Jacqueline time each week? I'm sure the answer is different for every couple but somewhere in all of this baby making and raising, we've undeniably lost something (and gained some things too).

The conundrum is that we WANT to give Roscoe everything we possibly can. That's why he's so incredible, no?! But obviously we can't do this alone, we need each other. And we both know it. So I guess this is the signal to add "relationship" to our to-do list.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Momma's Monday Check-in: 15/40

Note: McFatty Monday's is no longer! Instead I will post Momma's Monday Check-in. Join me as I eat and exercise my way through the next 25 weeks.

Due Date: April 8, 2011

Total weight gain: 5
Morning Sickness: I'd say it's gone, finally.
Cravings/Aversions: Nothing to note.
Sleep: 8 hours of (still) interrupted sleep is not nearly enough. An earlier bedtime might do the trick, but I have only so many hours in the day to get everything done.
I can't live without: I've said it before, but I love this pregnancy journal by Tracey Clark. The best part is that I filled one out in detail for my first pregnancy, so I have a great reference to compare the two.
I am looking forward to: I'm struggling to think of something for the upcoming week, what does this mean?!
Aha moment: My obligations to other people, to myself, and to my work, has me feeling a little blue. I just can't seem to keep up with it all. I'm tired. And it doesn't seem to be getting any easier.
Best moment this week: We organized all of Roscoe's baby stuff, and cleared out the new baby's room to create a nice open space for Roscoe to play in for the next few weeks, until we get serious about nursery design.
Movement: Sporadic, and not very pronounced.
Gender: We find out in 23 days! I'm currently browsing my cupboards o' cookbooks in search of a perfect menu for our Reveal party.

Exercise: I boxed twice this week, which was a big deal for me. Otherwise, I hate to say it, I didn't do much besides a couple family walks in the evening.

Diet: We recently replaced a broken component of our blender, so I've been on a smoothie kick! "Monkey Milk" has been a favorite of mine for many years, and it never gets old: 1 cup skim milk, 1 cup lowfat vanilla yogurt, 1 cup ice, 2 medium bananas, 2 to 3 tablespoons of peanut butter. Blend!! Low calorie? Not so much. Dee-lish? Yes!

Goal's for the upcoming week: I really need to find time to fit in my "long" runs. I do believe I have a 10k in just a few weeks...

Belly Shot:

Labor Signs: None

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Oh, how I've missed you so

I went to my boxing gym tonight for the first time in 8 weeks. Maybe you can relate but after the first two weeks had passed, I was feeling too out of shape to show my face in that place. Ah, such a vicious cycle.

Spotting at week 7 also made me a little cautious to be punching and kicking a heavy weight bag, and the high intensity intervals and drills were enough to convince me that perhaps I was out of my element as a newly pregnant lady.

Two months passed, and I really missed my workouts. Two months' dues were withdrawn from my account, and I hated the idea of wasting any more money or mental energy thinking about all the fun I "used to have" at LA Boxing.

Then the clouds parted and the first trimester passed, and I started to feel like my old self. I eased back into an exercise routine that has me feeling confident and strong. And then, over the weekend, after prompting from one of my gym buddies, I worked up my nerve to at least give my gloves and my wraps one more spin before declaring boxing a pregnancy no-no for good.

I drove the 30 minute drive (with my music up so loud that even Little Sears was boogieing) and when I arrived I was greeted by a room full of familiar faces. I have to admit that it felt good to make an appearance, and share the news that I'm expecting. And then, since I'm kind of a show off, I got to impress them with my prenatal exercise abilities!

I was quite out of breath after the first 5 minutes of jumping rope, but so was everyone else, so that made me feel just fine. I did modify a lot of the exercises. I said "no thanks" to the crab walk and "no way" to burpies. I did The Plank instead of a crazy, bend-in-half ab exercise, and enjoyed every squat, crunch, and push-up I was ordered to deliver. Although, my belly does bump the floor now if I try to go all the way down....

I hit the bag a tad softer than I normally would to limit the jarring motion, but by the end of class I was energized, sweaty, and feeling quite happy.

I no longer plan to freeze my membership, an idea that I've entertained more than a few times over the past months. Instead, I'm going to embrace my new state and continue to do the activities that I love, and modify as necessary.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Fall Festivities

After a long week, I wanted nothing more than quality time with my man and my boy.

Our best intentions to visit the Big Pumpkin Patch were thwarted two weekends in a row, and so we found ourselves at a local nursery with plenty of freshly picked produce from the Cucurbitaceae family. Roscoe pushed our cart from here to there, and inspected and picked at everything he bumped into. We brought home a family of pumpkins that we'll look forward to carving later this month.

Once back home the mood for caramel apples struck and I decided to do it up toddler-style, with apple slices and dipping bowls. Caramel, milk chocolate, white chocolate, and toasted pecans and walnuts. I made a little plate for presentation, but Roscoe did his own handiwork.

Then it was craft time! Roscoe just recently graduated from eating his markers to drawing with them. The other day I found a wooden pirate mask at the local craft store, for one dollar. He likes it more than I thought he would and cracks up whenever we bring out the "Argh, Matey" and "Shiver me Timbers"!
We only got around to doing one of our crafts, which leaves pumpkin painting for this weekend!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Momma's Monday Check-in: 14/40

Note: McFatty Mondays is no longer!! Instead, I will be posting Momma's Monday Check-in. Join me as I eat and exercise my way through the next 26 weeks.

Due Date: April 8, 2011

Total weight gain: 4
Morning Sickness: I still tire easily and need to eat frequently, but going to bed earlier (9pm) and fixing small meals throughout the day helps a lot.
Cravings: Fresh squeezed orange juice, bacon (ew.)
Aversions: Meat, full-fat cheese
Sleep: Roscoe continues to want to sleep in our bed at night, which means that I'm hyper-alert and not able to get much rest. Work 4 days a week means no naps, either.
I can't live without: Long tank tops. I have four cotton maternity tanks from H&M that I love, leftover from my first pregnancy. They are a staple and I wear them almost every day for working out, lounging, and sleeping.
I am looking forward to: Seeing The Social Network. Now to find a babysitter....
Aha Moment: There's not a lot that I NEED for this baby, but a linen Sakura Bloom Sling is at the top of my WANT list. The fabric is gorgeous and this How To video made me dreamy for slinging a snuggly brand new baby.
Best moment this week: A stranger noticed my belly, and asked if I was pregnant. Not really the BEST moment this week, but a memorable one!

Movement: Still mostly faint, but getting stronger.
Gender: The Big Ultrasound is scheduled for November 9th! We're planning Little Sears's Big Reveal party, which will be low key, but fun to organize.

Exercise: Another good week. I went to Glow in the Dark kickboxing on Tuesday night (hilarious!), ran 3 miles on Monday and Thursday, and had a family walk of 3 miles on Sunday. I also lifted weights once.
Diet: I'm a little curious about the fact that I haven't gained anything in the past few weeks. I was hoping to gain less this pregnancy than last (which shouldn't be too hard, since I gained 46 pounds!) and so far so good (even though I did gain a lot of it in the final weeks, when water retention was out of control). I've been "eating to hunger, and drinking to thirst" as recommended by my midwife, and not keeping track, which feels good.

Goal's for the upcoming week: More running, more kickboxing, and more rest! Maybe a pedicure too.

Belly Shot:
Labor Signs: none

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Week one, down!

What feels like the longest week in a while, has finally come to an end. Applause & Cheers!!

My first week at 80% was tedious, if I can be honest. One day was spent in DC on location for a training, and the other three felt like a marathon endured at my home office. I know I'm a creature of habit, mostly, and I know I've been spoiled by part-time work. I also haven't forgotten how taxing my work life was before Roscoe was born, with a 3 hour daily commute and long work hours in a busy city.

It's all relative, I know...

Still, when four straight days go by and none of them have Roscoe at the heart, I start to feel a little blue. Yes, I get to see him throughout the day (mostly in passing) and yes, we have a few hours in the evening, but it's not enough!

On the upside, we have a four-day weekend ahead of us. The pumpkin patch, a Halloween craft or two, caramel apples, and lots of cuddles coming right up!

What are you looking forward to?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Nursing Bras

Nursing bras can be confusing. Especially when you have no idea what to expect from pregnant and new momma boobs.

What size(s) should I buy? Which brands will I like?

I bought all my nursing bras from Bravado. They have a helpful "how will my boobs grow?" guide. The Original Nursing Bra was perfect for its comfort, and utility. I bought one in black, and one in white. I quickly learned that nipple creams stain! White is great because you can bleach them in the wash, but I liked black better because it hides stains well and, when nursing in public, I felt less exposed.

The only thing I don't love about the Original is that the material is not particularly soft, especially after many washes; and once the first few months had passed (and milk supply was established), it didn't offer a very supportive silhouette.

Four or five months into nursing I was ready to graduate to a more "shapely" bra and I tried Bravado's Body Silk Seamless but I found that it was too bulky for nursing--the amount of material I had to pull down and underneath Roscoe's little head was just too much, it always flipped up and hit him in the face!

I've been on the search for the "perfect" nursing bra ever since I found out I was pregnant with Little Sears, which is a tall order because the needs of a nursing momma change over time. I should probably call this my search for the perfect nursing bra(s).

I recently tried the Bamboo Sleep Bra by Belabumbum and I think I may have found my perfect bra for late pregnancy and those first few newborn months.

So soft and stretchy, it has a racer back and comes up the front like a halter top which flatters every body type. Accessibility is super important for nursing, and this bra features an easy pull aside mechanism versus a snap down flap. It's comfy and kinda sporty, which I really like. I'll definitely be buying at least two more of these! They come in a range of nice colors too!

What's your favorite nursing bra?

Monday, October 4, 2010

Momma's Monday Check-in: 13/40

Note: McFatty Mondays is no longer!! Instead, I will be posting Momma's Monday Check-in. Join me as I eat and exercise my way through the next 27 weeks.

Due Date: April 8, 2011

Total weight gain: 4
Morning Sickness: Still hanging around...
Cravings: Fresh squeezed orange juice, maple almond butter
Aversions: Meat, full-fat cheese
Sleep: With all the recent sickness and traveling, Roscoe has made a new routine of calling out for me in the night so we're back to interrupted sleep this week.
I can't live without: TUMS saved me big time, more than twice.
I miss: Quality time and date nights with Andy. We need to schedule something asap.
I am looking forward to: Everything from here on out!!!
Aha Moment: I've mentioned before that I had my thyroid irradiated a couple year ago and so I take medication to replace the hormones normally produced by the thyroid. Pregnancy always presents a challenge to stable TSH levels so I get them checked every 4 weeks. This week I learned that my TSH levels are waaayy off. Three is the upper range of normal, and my TSH is currently an 11. Weakness and fatigue are classic symptoms of hypothyroidism, which is likely contributing to my "morning sickness", and while I really hope we get them under control soon (for the baby's sake) it's nice to know that when that happens I should feel improvement too.
Milestones: I felt the baby for the first time!!
Best moment this week: When I checked off all my workout goals for the week.

Movement: Yep! It's unmistakable. Started out a few days ago as flutters, which progressed to little thumps and wiggles over the weekend. What a feeling!
Gender: The Big Ultrasound is scheduled for November 9th!

Exercise: I'm baaack!!! I ran three miles three times this week, lifted full body weights twice, and went to kickboxing on Tuesday night. Yes!!! It felt so good I literally cried during one of my runs. Here's a motivational article for Momma's who run--I clipped it from Runner's World several years ago and have held onto it since.
Diet: After Wednesday night's flu fiasco my appetite has been teeny tiny. I think I've been much better about compiling real meals, made up of real food covering each of the food groups. This is good!

Goal's for the upcoming week: I need to continue to log miles so I can be ready for that 10k in November.

Belly Shot:

Labor Signs: none

Friday, October 1, 2010

Work it Out

Sometimes, the hardest part is getting out the door

Ready to feel the burn!

Post-run, and feelin' good

Time to refuel
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