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!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Taking it slow

Merritt had his first well-baby visit on Monday. He weighs 7 1/2 pounds now, and will be 10 weeks old on Friday. He was vaccinated and then for the rest of the day cried out in pain every time he moved his little legs. It was sad, and I wanted nothing more than to curl up with him on the couch and cuddle all day, but Roscoe had needs too, so we all had to compromise.

As much as I've hoped for Merritt's prematurity not to impact him, the reality is that he doesn't act like a 10 week old and is developmentally more or less in line with his adjusted age of 2 weeks 5 days. I hope that we can drop the "adjusted age" talk soon, and that his early birth won't define him as he grows up. In the past few days he's learned to hold up his head in a wobbly fashion, and also seems to be more active with his arms and legs when he is awake. I would love to see a smile one of these days.

He has been monitor free for several weeks now, which has freed us both literally and figuratively. I'm quite exhausted of the weekly appointments, phone calls, and the organizational feats of time and energy required to keep up with all the follow-up for this little guy. I think my pessimism comes from a place of feeling that much of what we are dealing with at this point is unnecessary. Everyone errs on the side of caution, at our expense.

The latest order came yesterday from Merritt's Pulmonologist who is pushing for a barium swallow test, "just to rule out" any abnormalities in his anatomy. I feel like the doctors we deal with are in the business of running everyone through the same slew of tests and procedures without considering the individual needs or risk factors of each patient. I know the idea is to not let anyone fall through the cracks, but I'm not keen to expose Merritt to radiation just because it's the next item on his Doctor's checklist.

Our daily bread

As detailed in this quasi-new year's resolution post, we've sought small changes in the way that we live on a daily basis in order to better align our lifestyle with our values and bring us closer to living the kind of life that we aspire to, despite a less than ideal housing market.

We found time to address some of our mini goals before Merritt was born, but we didn't get to everything, and being home over the past month has made it easy for me to focus in on the details of what happens here, which in turn has provided more motivation for improvement.

I've been making steady progress on the list of action items that we initially identified, and I would love to share more about the individual changes that we've made (like banning the tv), but this post here is about bread!

Cinnamon Raisin

White Sandwich

Whole Wheat

We consume a fair amount of sandwich bread in this house, and I thought it was a great idea to learn to bake the kind of bread that we eat on a regular basis. I've always been just a little shy about baking anything that requires the use of yeast as a leavening agent. I never could get it just right (I've since learned that yeast doesn't need hot water to proof, it's really much happier at lukewarm).

So, we've identified three winning recipes that now serve as our staples, and we've woven their baking into a weekend ritual that satisfies my need to keep the belly's in this house full, while offering anyone who wants to join in the opportunity for family cooking.

I love everything about warm yeasty breads rising and baking on a Sunday morning.

Here are the recipes:

Friday, April 22, 2011

Happy Earth Day

I've been dreaming of gardens for a while, probably because we don't have enough space in our yard to accommodate one. But no matter because I've recently been reading about "container gardening" and I've learned that you can grow just about any fruit or vegetable in a plain ol' pot.

Today Roscoe, Merritt, and I set out to do some preliminary research at the local nursery. Roscoe made out with some free ice cream and jimmies (even though it was raining and in the 50s), and I was inspired by the huge variety of fruit, veggie, and herb seedlings available.

This is going to be our family project for Mother's Day and I'm really excited to start mapping out the details between now and then. Roscoe and I will have a ball tending to our little pots this summer.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Party invites

I am a huge fan of Tiny Prints. The design selection is unreal (truly a design for everyone), photos can be uploaded directly to the site to create a fully customizable product (that is gorgeous, if I do say so myself--especially with photos in color). They have been a favorite of ours for holiday cards, birth announcements and, more recently, greeting cards.

Last year as I searched high and low for Roscoe's first birthday party invites, I found Paper Culture. Their designs are modern, fresh, and so undeniably playful that I couldn't resist. I love how they offer thank you notes (and other accessories) to match their invites, and their customer service is impressive--they worked with me to change the color of the gorilla's behind to better match Roscoe's party color scheme. At the time, they were the only shop in the market with direct-to-recipient mailing--which really is convenient! We also got to write a personal message to our invitees on the back, and the company plants a tree with every order (can't argue with that!). Oh, and the weight of the card stock, with it's big rounded edges, leaves a very nice impression--I didn't want to put them down.

This year, I was hoping to redeem a credit that I have with Paper Culture--ever money conscious these days now that I'm (almost) a stay at home mom--but with an open mind I surveyed the online stationary landscape looking for just the perfect invitation for Roscoe's second birthday party.

All this to say that Tiny Prints won me over again (and again for Merritt's birth announcement, but that's another post!). I knew this invite was the invite as soon as I spied it. I'll have to try again with Paper Culture when Fall rolls back around. Either way, you can't go wrong, and while I'm at it, I'll tell you that I'm dying to buy something from Minted. Their birth announcements are so classy.

Behold Roscoe's 2nd birthday invitation:

The use of color, the party hats, the beaming little piggy in the corner. It's just perfect for our birthday boy. And I was happy to have space to jot down the itinerary.

A nice thing about planning a party on a farm is that 75% of the details are already decided given the location, which leaves me with only a few choices to make around decorations and of course the menu is on my mind. Roscoe has requested chocolate ice cream, and a chocolate chip cake, though I have a feeling that he may change his fickle toddler mind a few times between now and then. I'm happy to oblige him, either way. Plus, a chocolate chip cake sounds like a baker's challenge!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Easter eggs

I've been wanting to try natural dyes for Easter eggs, and since Roscoe's little paws are in the mix this year the timing is perfect. I bought a short ebook online and gathered my supplies.

We took the easy route and used ingredients that we already had on hand: saffron, beets, paprika, chili powder, and grape juice. For each color I combined two tablespoons of spice in two cups of boiled water and let it simmer for 10 minutes. Then I poured the dye into a bowl with two tablespoons of vinegar. I boiled three dozen eggs and prepared the dyes the night before so that we were all set to go when Roscoe woke up this morning.

I rolled out the splat mat (one of our best baby/toddler purchases to date) and set out the bowls of dye. Roscoe hand dropped all the eggs into his bowls of choice and then stirred them around with a spoon. We let them sit over breakfast and when he pulled them out they were so pretty!

Once they dried, we rubbed each egg with a few drops of olive oil intensifying the color and giving it a glossy finish (maybe we used a tad too much!). I love how they turned out though--more beautiful than any dye from a Paas box.

Now that we've tried it, I can't imagine going back to our old ways. There's a lot of opportunity for creativity with this method too. Different ingredients, different colors, lots of fun to be had reinvigorating an Easter tradition. I'd love to make green and blue next year.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Photographing life, Merritt's newborn photoshoot

Today was Merritt's official due date. Did I really give birth to him 7 full weeks ago?!

Our intention to have Merritt's birth photographed was thwarted by his surprise arrival, and we hoped equally as much to have our homecoming captured on the day he was discharged from the hospital.

Unfortunately, that didn't work out either.

Instead, Mel came to our place soon after we were settled, and what she captured really warms my heart. Truly. The joy of now has all but snuffed out the agony I felt during the four weeks that followed Merritt's birth. We reunited seamlessly, and nothing that came before seemed to matter much.

These photos are my proof, and it feels so good to be home.

Check out the slideshow here. And Mel's blog post all about us here.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Roscoe on the farm

Roscoe's having his birthday party at a farm this year. I'm really excited for him. He adores goats, and I think that a get together will all of his friends on a working farm will be perfect.

This particular farm also offers a wide variety of classes to kids of all ages. A few months ago I registered Roscoe for Little Hands on the Farm, an exploratory opportunity for 2 and 3 year olds. I was pleased to have taken one of the last seats in a class scheduled just before Merritt's due date, and I had been looking forward to enjoying a morning with my little guy in the fresh air and sunshine, just the two of us , and also hoped to have a chance to check out the grounds as part of my prep work for his party.

Unfortunately, the weather was damp and chilly the morning of our scheduled farm day and I didn't want to stress Merritt, so Andy took Roscoe while the babe and I stayed home to snooze. From the looks of it, Roscoe had a blast and I hope to join in on the fun with another class later this spring.

Among other things, the kids got to meet a baby sheep, read a story together in the barn, help with various farm chores, learn about sheep's wool and yarn making, and craft "ears" out of real lambs wool.

Meet and greet with baby sheep

Farm chore: moving hay from the bags to feeding buckets

Lambs wool ears and demonstrations
Now that Roscoe has more or less reached the magic cut-off age (2 years) for locally offered activities, I really want to expose him to some new experiences over the summer months. So far, swimkids and tumbling are our choice picks. Anyone else looking to Summer now that the weather has turned?

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Its been a while

Let's seeeee, what's been happening around here over the last two weeks?

Roscoe has weaned
Short story: I was nursing Roscoe once a day at nap time for 3-5 minutes, but our routine was interrupted abruptly when I was admitted to labor and delivery back in February. Andy took over everything in my absence, including naps. I continued to offer to nurse Roscoe whenever we did see each other, and I made a point not to refuse when he asked. In a context outside of nap, nursing lasted only a half minute or so and seemed to serve as a familiar way to touch base with each other. The beginning of the end came when when my milk arrived. Roscoe retracted back with a troubled look on his face, made an exaggerated guttural gagging sound and uttered..."milk." Then he said "done" and was done. Well, mostly. He continued to like the idea of nursing, and continued to request it only to repeat his initial reaction, which then became a sort of game. Since we've come home from the hospital Roscoe has been adamant that milk is for Met.

Roscoe reigns as Merritt's big brother. For a 22 month old we've learned that this role largely consists of doling out well intentioned affection with reckless abandon--a gesture challenged greatly by an effort to learn to practice restraint of his wildly excited limbs and appendages (also known as the art of being gentle). While two kids are harder than one, we've quickly learned that it's not the newborn we have to worry about. It's the toddler. Looking back to Roscoe's first few months, I'm a little bewildered as to why we felt so challenged (although to be fair, I understand now that the first time around for us was not so much about the baby as it was the life change). So far, Merritt and Roscoe are a sweet little pair, and I'm already looking ahead a few months when there will be a little more give and take interaction between the two. For now, Roscoe just vies for Merritt's attention--he frequently demands, "look at me! look at me!!"

Merritt is a mellow fellow
He's a quiet little guy who sleeps most of the time (and doesn't necessarily demand to be in arms, which is a strict departure from kiddo numero uno). He wakes to eat, and stays alert for a half hour or so to quietly soak up our rowdy household antics. He nurses on a pretty predictable schedule, so I've found a few opportunities to get out and about without him. Merritt also travels well in the car (such a nice surprise, given infant Roscoe's fear and loathe of the confines of the car seat) so he and I have gone out together a time or two as well--roaming the grocery aisles for the first time in almost two months felt like a real treat.

Nap time is the hardest time, and nursing too
Without fail, as Roscoe's nap time approaches Merritt begins to stir for milk. It has become the most stressful time of the day for me as I ricochet down the hall between the two boys in a sometimes successful attempt to tend to both of them simultaneously.

For a Momma handicapped by limited resources (only two arms and two legs!), nursing requires another balancing act, plus a whole lot of patience. While Merritt eats, Roscoe dances around us, picking, poking, prodding, and testing his limits. He's intent to be in contact with one or both of us at all times, bouncing erratically yet unassumingly on whatever surface we happen to be sitting. It drives me crazy and I'm still experimenting to find the most effective approach to curtail the behavior when I have little ability to immediately redirect or remove him from the scene.

I joined weight watchers
I have literally lost 3 pounds since Merritt was born. THREE. I do believe that four weeks of hospital food and near round the clock sitting gave me the worst head start on postpartum weight loss ever. While it could be argued that getting back in shape should sit lower on my list of priorities, it does not! I joined weight watchers and lost a pound last week. Weight watchers accommodates nursing mothers and is designed to facilitate a loss of one pound a week. Even though I didn't feel hungry and had enough points to indulge my sweet tooth, a one pound loss still feels a little disappointing. At this rate, my postpartum weight loss journey will be very s-l-o-w going.

We're over this monitor
Early last week we met with Merritt's pediatric pulmonary specialist. The data that was downloaded from his monitor revealed only one true spell over a two week period. I was hoping to get a reduced prescription, perhaps nights only or during feeds only. Instead, we were ordered another two weeks on the monitor 24 hours a day. ugh. I have a strong dislike for that little machine and I'm not at all convinced that it is necessary. I'll admit that Merritt hasn't been hooked up for the last four days...I keep telling myself tomorrow. We go back in two weeks and there needs to be data on that hard drive, so TOMORROW!

What's next?
I've been a little overwhelmed and a lot tired since we came home two weeks ago. Merritt is 6 1/2 weeks old, and was officially due this Friday. I've been quietly mourning the fact that I didn't get a "honeymoon" postpartum period, even if only for a day or two. Andy returns to work tomorrow, but my mom will be here to help out this week so I'm hoping to reclaim a tiny piece of what I might have missed.
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