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, November 23, 2012

Lessons in Love: discipline and mothering

Thank you to Laura at Navigating the Mothership for inviting me to share with her readers a snapshot of how discipline plays out in the Sears house with two little boys ages 1.5 and 3.5!

Shortly after Merritt was born Laura shared another guest-post I wrote titled Lessons in Love: learning to mother two, which focused on how I was managing the transition from 1 child to 2 after a preterm birth and a 28-day NICU stay. While that post touched on discipline strategies for the younger toddler, this post focuses on discipline for older ones because every day is uncharted territory, and because 3 year olds make 2 year olds look so easy.

Admittedly, discipline is a hard topic to tackle in a blog post. There are amazing blogs dedicated solely to this one aspect of parenting. I will do my best to share with you here some of the issues we face and offer some advice based on what is working for us right now.

Discipline is an ongoing challenge at our house in the way that it demands a high level of daily intention and regular re-evaluation of our methods. It's an iterative process. The kids' abilities and their understanding of the world in which they live changes daily and so my expectations and guiding approach to their behavior necessitates that I adapt my mothering to accommodate and facilitate their individual paths.

My husband and I take the long view approach to parenting. We have ideas about the kind of adults that we hope our boys grow into: engaged, empathetic, compassionate, confident, and self loving, among other traits. The challenge for me is to remain focused on those goals when I'm exhausted with the reality of daily caretaking and feeling pushed to my own limits by the near constant violation of social etiquette and common courtesy that characterizes the toddler set by virtue of their development. I see my role as one that can facilitate their growth and learning by using discipline as an opportunity to educate, not to reward, punish, or shame. To connect and build on the trust that we share, not to withdraw my love or attention in a show of power or in an effort to control.

I keep at the forefront of my mind the words of Alphie Kohn:

It may sound obvious, but we sometimes seem to forget that, even when kids do rotten things, our goal should not be to make them feel bad, nor to stamp a particular behavior out of existence. Rather, what we want is to influence the way they think and feel, to help them become the kind of people who wouldn't want to act cruelly. And, of course, our other goal is to avoid injuring our relationship with them in the process.

The way I choose to discipline my children is influenced by so much: my core belief about children and my understanding of their development, my own childhood experiences, and my strengths and weaknesses as an imperfect human being.

My approach to discipline has always been intertwined and woven deeply into my values on mothering. Understanding the physical, psychosocial, and cognitive capacity of the boys' development helps me to know what is normal and appropriate for their ages, and offers me the ability to proactively implement discipline in a way that empowers my parenting instead of relying on fear and reactivity as my guide; fear that my kids are going to be doing these things forever, and reactive to find a short-term solution to make it stop.

Recurring Discipline Themes:

Aggressive and/or inconsiderate behavior: 
Roscoe's imagination is wild and unbound. Since he was very young he has acted out his emotions and imaginative play in animal form. He is in character 80% of the day and appears to have little self awareness when role playing with such reckless intensity. At any given moment I can peek into his world by asking him what animal he is, a simple question that typically elicits a passionate narrative of predator and prey.

Behaviors like headbutting (I'm a bull!), spitting (I'm a fire breathing dragon!), biting (I'm a lion eating a zebra!), hitting in frustration (or because he is a viking slaying a dragon!), and otherwise using his body, facial expressions, and voice to intimidate his brother, or other children and adults in his vicinity are a constant problem. He does not easily respond to verbal requests or even physical restraint in efforts to bring him back into reality. Social settings in which cooperative play is expected are particularly difficult for me. My favorite author on the topic of child discipline, Judy Arnall, wrote a great summary article about how to handle this situation, and her description is more or less how we deal with Roscoe's aggressive behavior in public spaces. Sometimes I let my need for social connection with other adults supersede Roscoe's need for a change in scenery, and I am reminded that I should be more willing to abandon the activity at hand and pack up for home when transgressions are repeated and it is clear that Roscoe is not able to fully or appropriately participate.

Not listening: Pretty straightforward here! I've learned that preschoolers between the ages of 3 and 5 can be expected to "listen", which really means to do what we say within a specific arbitrary time frame that we set, less than 40% of the time. Considering how many requests I make of Roscoe and Merritt as we move through our day, guiding them through their routines, transitions, and activities, it is not surprising that I feel unheard much of the time.

Not sharing/taking toys from others: Roscoe is getting better at this, and we have always framed sharing in the context of taking turns. I allow him discretion to identify toys that he does not have to share--much like in adult life, there are some things that are ours and that we do not care to share in case they are damaged or lost (best to put those items away before company comes though!).  For everything else I make a point to let him know that when he is done, Brother or Friend will take their turn. And then I let him finish his turn in his own time frame. Admittedly, in social settings, I often feel pressure to push him along, but at home he gets to take his time. When he is done I bring it full circle by announcing, "OK, Roscoe is done with his turn. Brother, it is your turn now." Both boys react very favorably to this approach and I think each opportunity to successfully demonstrate the technique provides them with a better understanding and greater trust that each of their needs will be met. Roscoe also has a good habit of offering a "trade" or substitution toy when Merritt is playing with a particular toy that Roscoe wants.

Sibling Relationships:
As their mother, I want the boys to have a healthy friendship and a common respect for one another. I largely believe that the tone of sibling relationships is set by parents. Like in other aspects of their lives I want the boys to learn how to solve problems in a way that is effective and fair. I can help them by facilitating their understanding of the others' point of view, and by modeling effective communication when they are in conflict. In the past I would attempt to get to the bottom of their conflict (who hit whom, how did the toy get broken, etc.) at least for the benefit of my own understanding, but I have since changed my approach.

Now, I address the upset child, and listen to get a better understanding of the underlying need. Then I translate: "Merritt: Roscoe is frustrated that you are moving his trucks into the bin. He is making a special pile of wrecked cars. Roscoe: Merritt feels like you have all the trucks and is sad that he doesn't have any toys to play with." Next I give a suggestion: "Hey, Roscoe, instead of ripping from brother's hand the toy you want, you could say, 'Merritt, I am making a special pile of trucks, I don't want you to mess them up. Here are two cars you can play with.'" Usually Roscoe expresses his understanding of the alternative form of communication and sometimes asks for a do-over, which I grant. We all feel good when the reenactment is successful. With this approach I avoid choosing sides or handing down judgment, which is not the role that I want to play between them anyway, especially as they grow older.

There are some definite absolutes in our house. It is not OK for either brother to physically assault the other, even if by accident. It is my choice not to engage in power struggles with either of them and there are a lot of behaviors that I overlook in exercising my right not to engage them. However, if I see with my own eyes Roscoe hit Merritt, for example, I make an immediate and obvious gasp of disapproval first attending to Merritt and then addressing Roscoe. In an effort to encourage their natural tendency toward empathy and compassion, I make frequent declarations about the importance of paying attention (a different but synonymous word choice for "be careful"), being kind, and being gentle. I think Roscoe understands what is expected on this point, but whether he has enough control to thwart his impulses is another story.

Discipline Tools

There are many tools I rely on, but these are the current and primary ones in no particular order:
  • Change the environment: new play area, new activity
  • Take action: get up, engage, facilitate, remove, etc. 
  • Count to five: there are times when compliance in a specific time frame is necessary. This technique offers two options: 1. Roscoe gets moving in the right direction by the time I count to five, and retains his autonomy to complete a task on his own, or else 2. I step in and complete the task for him. 
  • Time-in as a calm down tool: separate child from the offending situation, help him to calm down, then reconnect on the way to problem solving the situation. (In the recent past I've played around with more traditional time-out, however, I've found that it isn't as effective and doesn't foster our relationship.)
  • Ask questions. Behavior is a symptom of unmet need. I try to understand the kids' perspectives to the best of my ability so that I can be fair in my assessment and continue to meet them where they are.
  • For whining or demanding voices I say things like, "I can't understand you when you use that voice. Instead you could say... or, You might try...." When the appropriate voice is used I respond to their requests immediately.
  • Natural consequences: If you break it, you fix it. If you want it, you ask for it. If you make a mess, you clean it up.The implementation of this is relatively new in our house, but it works well!
  • Acknowledge the impact of how their behavior affects others: I often use the motivating phrase, "Thank you, that is very helpful." while providing a brief explanation of how their decision to clean up after themselves, or to not dump out all their toys saves me time or energy. Or a focus on feelings: "I feel sad when you say I'm stupid." (true story!!)
  • When/then phrases to demonstrate the natural order of things. WHEN you pick up your toys, THEN we will go outside for a walk. We are planners, and I make a point to let the kids participate in developing our plan for the day. The when/then prompt reminds them of what is upcoming without becoming a bribe. 
  • Yelling: This one I don't recommend! Sometimes I yell to be heard, in the hopes of being listened to, or to make a voice that can rise above the near constant chaos of a full house. I am just one of many here. At times attention spans and patience can be hard to come by, for little guys and big people too. What I'm learning is that I need to better at boundary and limit setting.

A few Do's that I keep close to my heart:

  • Give the benefit of the doubt. Our children are good and well-intentioned little people inside, even if they do things we don't like.
  • Give trust and respect.
  • Avoid power struggles. I pick my battles largely around safety and personal boundaries. I'm not here to win or to be the boss. We're a family and we have to work together to understand everyone's needs and to help ensure that they are met.
  • Don't hold grudges.
  • Apologize when appropriate. If I screw up we talk about it when everyone is calm and I apologize. Each of us has needs and feelings, and none of us is perfect. I want to foster a home-life that not only provides everyone with validation and freedom to feel their emotions, but also provides the tools needed to express them in appropriate ways. 
  • Address basic need for water, food, and attention. 

Final Thoughts

Parenting is life (And therapy! as I like to say), and through this role I am learning and growing as a person, just as my husband is. As far as I can tell there is no end point. Every day is a new day: my boy is one day older tomorrow and I've never before parented a child of 3 years, 6 months, and 4 days. If the family dynamic is upset something isn't working and change is necessary to regain balance.  As much as I crave routine and stability, I am learning to remain flexible knowing that it is required for our success as a family. I build my relationship with my kids with every interaction and with every day that goes by. As I hone my own skill-set I'm a better teacher to my children.
I also know that I've had a good day when at the end of it my relationship with the kids is intact as a result of my ability to mother with intention and purpose. I have become more aware of my triggers: noise chaos, not feeling heard, loss of control, interruptions during important tasks. When I find myself feeling resentful that is my cue that I need to do a better job setting or respecting my own boundaries. Ahhh, the fine line between respectful vs indulgent parenting.

I also try to make PEACE a priority every day. In fact, it is at the top of my to-do list.

A few well read and much loved parenting resources: 

Becoming the Parent You Want To Be by Laura Davis & Janis Keyser
Discipline Without Distress by Judy Arnall
Unconditional Parenting by Alphie Kohn
Janet Lansbury's blog, Elevating Childcare
Gina Osher's blog The Twin Coach

Please share your parenting book suggestions, I'm always looking for good reads!

Monday, November 19, 2012

MamaBorn: unveiling a brand new website

For the last three months I've been on a too-long hiatus from my writing here at Marbles Rolling, traded for time spent deep in the details of launching my new birth services concept MamaBorn.

I would love for you to check out my brand new website at

You can also follow me on twitter: @MamaBornRVA and on Facebook at, or just search for MamaBorn.

Thank you so much for your support over the last 3.5 years, this is a huge career change for me!

If you miss Roscoe and Merritt, you can find them on Instagram @MarblesRolling

I do have plans to return to Marbles Rolling soon--I'm still making very slow progress in transferring content from Blogger to the SquareSpace platform. In the meantime, I have a guest post slated for later this week at Navigating the Mothership on the topic of toddler discipline.

Please stay tuned! I miss all of you so much.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Fortuitous events define my career and a sneak peak

My first series of birth education classes started two weeks ago. Since I returned home from BlogHer, most of my time has been invested in preparing and rehearsing each weeks' curriculum and to fleshing out a birth services concept that I'm developing for my new project MamaBorn. The logo is finalized, and a website design is in process.

Check it out!

I've been so immersed in my work, and feeling lucky to be in this place of utter freedom and creativity, professionally. I spent a lot of time in the years before I became pregnant worrying about how I would manage being a mother and having a career. I wish I had known then how the pivotal moments of my early career would be defined not by the detailed plans I'd laid out in advance, but by fortuitous events that no one could have predicted.

Like when my former boss resigned from her position midway through my maternity leave after Roscoe was born--I had already decided not to return to my job but reconsidered when I heard the news.

Then, when a Director in another division offered me the opportunity to manage under her a public health initiative with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and then encouraged me to ask to work from home so I could remain with Roscoe--without her advocacy I wouldn't have had the courage to even consider asking for the flexibility to telecommute.

Later, the opportunity to certify with the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth presented itself (made possible by a locally offered training), which was followed closely by Merritt's untimely arrival, all to highlight for me the strength and fragility of the human spirit when we bring new life into the world, and the importance of supporting women in the ways they want and need to be supported during labor and birth but also postpartum, particularly around lactation and attachment in the NICU.

Then came our big move South. Putting our house on the market was another on-a-whim decision that ended up paying off in huge ways. Now I live in a small city that fosters startups and creative thinkers. A community that supports small, local business. Add to that an active and influential birthing community with progressive ideas and real options for women and families, and you may see how things are falling right into place.

Not knowing then how motherhood would change me, I'm proud that my boys have motivated me to want more for myself, from my life and from my work.  I'm learning to be flexible, and patient, as I navigate a nontraditional career hinged, at least for now, on the relationships I'm building at home. The kids are at the center of what I do every day and I'm grateful that I can remain committed to them and also follow other parts of my heart out into the community to share what I've learned and to teach what I know.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A few design changes

I haven't had a chance to finalize any decisions about the fate of Marbles Rolling, but I really love the history that has been documented here and so, in the meantime, I'm playing around with navigation options and trying to improve access to past content.

I've reorganized my content categories and added pages across the top to highlight some of my favorite categories.

Design-wise, the space is in transition while I work on the details.

Thanks for hanging in there!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

World Breastfeeding Week: On Leaving My Nursling

World Breastfeeding week ended yesterday. I was out of town for most of it but I tallied them up and I've been breastfeeding for 169 consecutive weeks.

That sounds like a long time, even to me. Twenty months with Roscoe and almost seventeen months with Merritt, so far. With some overlap.

Merritt wasn't quite one year old when I bought my BlogHer ticket back in January. I hesitated to make such a huge commitment so far in advance for fear of leaving a nursling at home, but I convinced myself that fast forward seven months our nursing relationship would be on the down swing, maybe even over.

Winter came and he tapered off the frequency of daytime feeds, and then in early spring he night-weaned, which meant that in a given twenty-four period he nursed only twice. My plan was working out nicely, but August was fast approaching and so in June I nudged him along and he gave up the afternoon comfort nurse.

Summer finally arrived, and it has been a hot, hot, hot one. Maybe correlated with his hydration needs, Merritt started to ask to nurse at frequent and random intervals throughout the day. After snack, before stories, before nap, after nap. He "asks" to nurse with an endearing little bark from the back of his throat, a cough with the cadence of a cry. Even though he uses words to communicate on a regular basis he hasn't yet found a word for nursing. But I know what he means.

I almost always accommodate his requests although I was convinced that routine and comfort seeking remained his primary motivations--I really did not think that he was actually getting any milk.  In the weeks leading up to BlogHer he ramped up his demand, which (in a slight panic) provided rationale for outlining detailed instruction to Andy about facilitating ritual around the morning nursing session, to include quiet face to face time and a sippy cup of warmed cows milk, just in case.

What I didn't anticipate, at all? My supply. I left Wednesday morning and by Thursday evening I had that heavy, tingling sensation of engorgement. This odd realization was met first with surprise then sadness--my little guy was at home and I had his milk!  Unsure how the rest of the trip might play out without access to a breast pump, I decided to hand express before heading to bed that night.

I first learned to hand express in the NICU, and it really is a great skill for nursing moms. You never know! Taking 10 minutes twice a day served me well in preventing a plugged duct (or worse), maintaining my supply, and staying comfortable while in New York.

Once home I headed straight to our bedroom where Merritt lay sleeping, enveloped by darkness and the roaring whirrs of a sound machine. No words needed, he nestled into his familiar place and nursed for thirty minutes before falling back to slumber.

If you've been following along here for a while, you'll know that Roscoe's nursing path was abruptly cut short by Merritt's month-long NICU stay and my subsequent absence from daily home life.

I wonder if Merritt will naturally wean around the same time, or if he'll choose to nurse longer? Either way, it feels just right that this aspect of our relationship will have the opportunity to run its natural course without interruption.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Moving forward from BlogHer '12, the end of marbles rolling?

For the first time in my life I meticulously planned out my wardrobe and carefully packed my carry-on so as not to forget a single component, as opposed to dumping my entire dresser into two suitcases. I was determined not to check my bag and like the fashionista that I am not, I created outfits that with a few easy swaps transitioned from daytime panel sessions and workshops to late night NYC swag and dance parties.

I prepared the household for my absence with printed-out daily routines, and a menu plan with meal options and snack suggestions. I stocked the kitchen with food, a few more processed and convenient this week, to make it easier for everyone.

I stayed up late the night before to finish packing, which meant that Wednesday morning was quiet and peaceful and we were able to go about our routine as normal until about 8:30am when the four of us drove together to the airport. I tried to be upbeat, and to not show that my catastrophic thinking was already giving me doubts about leaving them. I kissed the boys on their sweet little cheeks, and nuzzled their noses for a few extra seconds, turning before my eyes gave me away. A hug for Andy and I was off.

I waited in the terminal thinking of the boys embarking on their first solo flight as a threesome. I knew they'd be fine, hanging on tight to each other, and that it would be good for them.

All morning I felt calm and reflective. This was my first trip alone since becoming pregnant with Roscoe in 2008, and my first time leaving the boys since they were born. On the brink in other ways too, I had been hugely anticipating Blogher '12 for the better part of the year, curious about how my writing might be affected by what I would encounter and learn, and in what direction my blog might be pulled as a result. I was excited to finally meet in person the online community that I've been contributing to for the last four years, thrilled to be traveling to an unfamiliar city, and craving inspiration.

I arrived home late last night, my body and my brain exhausted.

Time spent in the big apple was liberating for me. Introverted, public speaking often leaves me frozen with anxiety. In a sea of thousands of women, I felt warmth, welcomed, right at home, still, and thoughtful, and eager to adopt the wisdom of women who have come before me in this journey of sharing. I felt confident, even though I occupy such a tiny footprint in the sand. I belonged there too.

It struck me that, in stark contrast to real life, there were no mommy wars, or politicking, no competition, or judgement, or separation. It was a collision of women from across the world with stories to tell. Five thousand powerful women with influential platforms, in our own right, connected by our truths and bound by our words. Writers at heart, honing our craft, connecting our voices and knowing that we are not alone.

Beyond networking and social marketing, the technical aspects of monetization and SEO, even the opportunity to hear from Martha stewart and Katie Couric, I came to BlogHer for clarity about the future of Marbles Rolling in content and style.

What I took home was this: The clearest path to finding my voice as a writer is to have the courage to be vulnerable in my writing and to take greater risks in my storytelling. It seems obvious now, the necessity to tell and retell our stories in order to find what is true and to own it without hesitation, or fear of how that truth may affect others.

I heard from many women over the weekend and their awareness resonated deeply:
"The way we spend our day is the way we spend our lives." 
"Writing [my blog] is a map back to myself."
"The more I write, the clearer I become in my outline of who I am."

A need for acceptance. A need to be heard. A need to hear myself.
I need all of these things.

I am very seriously considering taking this blog down to start fresh in a new space with a nom de plume. I am cautious about my decision either way, and so I may just sit on it for a while. But I have stories and feelings and a perspective on events in my life and of this world, that I haven't felt comfortable expressing here. I've always been honest here, but my words are tempered.

I think it may be time to push the boundaries and confront what currently constrains my growth as a writer, as a mother, and as a woman with a voice carrying stories that need to be told.
For my own good.

I turn 30 in nine days. I recently quit my job. I'm in transition and this blog may have to go with me.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

A change in plans, no babies for a while

Summertime is chalk and homemade tie dye tees

While at the beach this year Andy and I were able to do exactly two things together, alone.

One oppressive and sticky night we took a beach walk at sunset, trudging through the sand and talking at a fervent pace about our future, our family, and life in general. We walked until the sky went dark when we were left to carefully retrace our path along the shoreline lit only by the glow from the houses that perched over the dunes. That conversation centered largely on dismantling our plan for adding more kids to our brood this year.

The following night we put the boys to bed, and then drove out to Corolla for dinner overlooking the sound. The conversation was unusually playful. I had a martini (rare!)--which pretty much blew me over--and we drove home lighthearted and giddy, headed straight for the hot tub like impulsive teenagers. It was good to feel our marriage so alive, when it more often seems like our relationship lies dormant somewhere beneath a wintry landscape fraught with demands.

I've felt the thaw for many months now. A quiet awakening and a healthy burst of energy as we emerge from the experience of the last four years. Bringing our partnership out into the bright Summer sun and canopied under the warm starry nights helped to bring our marriage back into focus and gave us some much-needed perspective. We want to hold onto the feeling we have right now, and we need some downtime.

Of course the boys have our hearts in every moment and they are as amazing now as they were born. I want a large family, but if I push through to have a third this year we would likely stop there. Roscoe and Merritt are incredible and I want to give them everything. For me it has been a hard exchange and, as I've mentioned before, I'm learning to respect my limits.

In the spirit of imperfect timing, we added that maternity rider to our health insurance plan effective this month with intention to get pregnant in the Spring. 
After some debate we're keeping the rider because it is insurance, after all, but our plans have most definitely changed. For now we are content as a family of four. I've been yearning for this sense of calm, and I finally feel it.  We want to see where life takes us in the next couple years and aim for a baby born when Roscoe and Merritt are closer to school-age. 

Everyone will be weaned!  Everyone will be out of diapers! Maybe everyone will actually sleep through the night!!? (We're still working on this, believe it or not.) With time we also get space for our marriage to reconnect and thrive, for our parental reserves to refuel, and for our relationship with our two little guys to continue to develop. Respite and stability sound pretty solid right now.

A larger spread between siblings changes the family dynamic I've always imagined for us, but taking all things into consideration the lightness we feel in our hearts tells me it is the right thing for us right now. We'll know when we're ready again to embrace the unknown of another pregnancy and the exhausting bliss of a newborn.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Ahoy matey!

Roughneck Roscoe & Muscles Merritt
Nightmare Noah & Mighty Mack
We took the kids on a pirate adventure yesterday.  Donning tattoos and swords they boarded a pirate ship, took down enemy pirates, and found the treasure chest at the bottom of the sea.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Outer Banks 2012

We were so excited about our trip to the beach that we decided to leave a day early.

We managed a relatively stress-free packing and loading of the car, which is out of the ordinary for us--we usually procrastinate or travel on a workday evening, which leaves us hurried and in a last minute frenzy. We had all of Saturday to prep, and left just after dinner. 

The short story is that we failed in our intention to have the kids fall asleep on the way and for us to have a quiet, uneventful ride to our midway destination. Instead, the boys were awake and fussy, we had to make several stops for screaming, and when we eventually made it to our home away from home the kids were so in awe of the hotel (not because it was special but because it was new to them) that they stayed wide awake until they crashed at 10:30pm. It must have been a good night for a party, too, because several rooms near ours were hopping, and the four of us were able to sleep only intermittently as a result of the noise.

But today was a new day and we woke up early, looking forward to getting back on the road. We stopped for a quick breakfast and had our toes in the sand by 9:00am.  

Check-in wasn't until 4:00pm and so we found ourselves with a lot of time on our hands. We took a long drive for nap and then enjoyed a much anticipated lunch at Pigman's barbecue. We decided to try a nature walk in Nags Head Woods, which turned out to be really cool. We found toads, turtles, butterflies, ornate spiders and other insects, deer, and even a snake. It was exciting for the kids and we enjoyed the shaded trails around the marshy swamps as reprieve from the heat. 

Afterward we stopped for custard and then met up with our family and cousins at the house.

Merritt (1 yr.), Roscoe (3 yr.), Noah (2 yr.), Mack (5 yr.)
It was a long but good day--a nice start to a full week ahead--and we're happy to be near the ocean and in good company.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Brotherly bonds

I've noticed the boys doing this a lot lately. Merritt reaching out for Roscoe, Roscoe reaching out to Merritt. It's a car thing. They pass snacks back and forth. They console each other when needed. I'm so glad my sister captured it on camera. (This is classic Roscoe.)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Berry CSA: weeks 10 &11

In week 10 we received blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, and plums. The plums reminded me of the variety that we could find in California growing on trees in our neighborhood, small and soft and so sweet.  

In week 11 we got
 blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, and doughnut peaches, which turned out to be one of my favorite fruits this year. Our CSA hit 100 days of strawberries this season which is impressive, and so we also got an extra carton of strawberries. You may guess as to how I felt about that!

For the most part we ate our fruit as it came to us, but I did bake a
Three Berry Buttermilk Bundt Cake for 4th of July (phenomenal!), and a recipe for Blueberry Chocolate Banana Bread. Both have been added to my bank of go-to recipes for their simplicity and because they were really, really, good. Not to mention how gorgeous the final loafs were, your Summer houseguests will be impressed!

For the bundt cake I substituted oranges in place of the lemons. For the banana bread I omitted the bourbon (only because we didn't have any!) and substituted blueberries for the walnuts. 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Work ends, life begins

We're keeping it cool, literally (with ice cream, of course)
and figuratively (because life is crazy-good right now).
The beginning of last week was a frenzy of email exchanges and conference calls wrapping up what has been my career for the past six years. I'm so very grateful to have had the opportunity over the last three years to remain intimately involved in the boys' daily life while also growing professionally. I am also more than happy to have agreed to remain available to the Initiative through the end of September on an as-needed basis. I know what you're thinking. Not a huge commitment, just offering limited availability to see the grant through its final months and to support the team as we close the remaining open projects. (It has been hard for me to submit entirely to the idea that I won't have my own income stream and so I suppose this is my way of hanging on until the very last second.)

On Wednesday I swiftly turned my attention and energy to addressing a long list of to-dos that I had been putting off for the better part of 8 months, maybe longer, all hinged on the anticipated moment of work's end. 

So many household chores have been ignored or left undone out of necessity to prioritize and I tackled a good chunk in just a couple days: listing baby items for sale on craigslist; deep cleaning the kitchen; reinventing the screened-in porch from a cluttered storage space to a cozy dining area; culling the kids' worn and age inappropriate toys from the good ones for tossing and for putting into storage; sifting through their drawers and closets to pack away the clothes that no longer fit; yard maintenance; and finally working with Roscoe to support his efforts to potty train. (His progress in only two days has been tremendous and exciting for all of us.)

I've also had some time to devote to getting my birth work off the ground. I hired someone to help with my brand, I'm digging into the curriculum, securing a teaching space, and ordering workbooks and teaching aids--a female pelvis arrived in the mail yesterday!

My first series of classes begin in August and the next three weeks are going to be intense in the best ways possible. We're headed to the beach on Sunday for a family vacation with our extended family, and when we return I'll be headed off to Blogher '12, then shortly after I'll put on a new hat to assume the role of birth educator. It is a dream come true to be immersed in activity that feeds my passions and contributes to building community and improving quality of life, for others and for myself. I think the whole family's happiness and contentment just got kicked up a notch. 

I bought a laptop so that I can stay connected through my travels and adventures, and have every intention to resume dialogue here starting . . . now.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Saturday in the City

We haven't had a free weekend day in a long time: no commitments, no schedule to keep.

An intense storm last night caused power outages throughout the city, and the community was bustling even earlier than usual this morning to clear the streets and yards from downed trees and limbs.

Sultry conditions at 6am foreshadowed the heat that came later in the afternoon, but we decided to get out for an early walk for breakfast and coffee while it was still relatively cool, and then Roscoe and I drove to the farmer's market to pick up our berry share.

Apricots, plums, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and peaches are all in season right now, and we got some of each. Roscoe also stopped at his favorite tent Sugar Baking Co. to chat for a long time with Morgan, as has become his routine, and to choose his usual Saturday morning treats to share with the rest of us.   

We also found some cherry tomatoes, pink and yellow brandywine tomatoes, golden and red beets, cantaloupe, potatoes, and string beans. Nap was fast approaching and we didn't have time to venture to the larger and busier South of the James market. We were happy with what we had foraged so we went home.

After snack Andy took the boys for a walk at nap time and I logged a couple hours working at my computer, editing a summary report of an evaluation that we conducted a few months ago.

When the boys woke up I got a turn to nap and then around 2pm we packed up our bathing suits and snacks and headed out for some water play. There was little shade but the kids were content in the water and a local band was playing nearby so Andy and I just kicked back with iced coffee and our goodies from the market--it's rare to find an activity for the kids that doesn't require our constant involvement so we thought it was especially nice. We kept the drinks flowing and the snacks coming but the boys were hot and ready to go after 45 minutes so we did a little shopping and then grabbed dinner to go.   

Merritt has been asleep for an hour now and Andy is putting Roscoe to bed as I type this.  We've planned a discussion for this evening to hash out roles and responsibilities for each of us now that my job is winding down and I have more or less assumed the role of a full-time stay at home mom. We've needed to shore up our expectations on both sides so this will be a good opportunity to outline a plan and to establish boundaries for each of us as we are both moving in new directions professionally.

Another Summer storm is brewing outside, the wind's kicking up and the thunder rolling.
Stay cool and happy Saturday night to all!

Friday, June 29, 2012

What I learned from NaBloPoMo

Tomorrow is the last day of NaBloPoMo and I've learned a few things this month:

1. I enjoyed a self imposed reason to write every day
I liked that I was able to blog timely posts this month--a mothers day post near mothers day!--and that the requirement to develop content to publish every day encouraged me to venture from my typical blogging formula. Which leads me to my next point . . .

2. I need to think less, and write more
I spend too much time wondering whether an idea or topic is worthy of posting. The posts with the most hits this month were not the ones that I would have bet on: potty training, my thoughts on getting pregnant again, my lack of postpartum weight loss, and pinterest. I feel more freedom to write what's on my mind and to post whatever I feel like sharing.

3. I am censored in my writing
The audience of Marbles Rolling spans all of my circles, professionally and personally. Sometimes, I think of starting over with an anonymous blog and other times I don't feel like worrying about it, relationships be damned. But of course I don't do either of those things. Instead I keep an ongoing mental list of banned topics (and it just keeps growing). If you blog, maybe you can share with me your perspective on striking balance? 

4. I finally figured out why I blog

I've been blogging for a few years now and in that time the content and the frequency of my posts have fluctuated from posting every day, to posting only a few times a month, to 3 times a week, and sometimes more or sometimes less. It ebbs and flows with my energy, but at the end of the day I am a writer. This blog has helped me to own this very basic and essential part of who I am. Writing is my process. 

Though in the last year, especially, I've wondered to myself and to many people close to me, "Why do I blog?" or even, "What is the point of all this blogging?" I've been searching for meaning and direction, and a better understanding of my goals so that I can maximize the potential of this online space. In signing up for Pathfinder day at Blogher '12 (coming soon in August!!) I was hoping to discover something new that would bring clarity, but in making writing a priority this month I think I figured it out on my own. 

I blog because I need to write, it grounds me in my own experiences. I blog because I want the boys to know who their mother is, before they could ever really know me. I want them to know how passionate I have always been about them and for the life of our family. I blog as proof that we were all here, living this together. 

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Merritt's 16 month appointment

Merritt's weight is in the 25th percentile and he grew taller since our last visit in April so his height is in the 50th percentile. Neither his pediatrician nor I mentioned his prematurity today, which feels like a worthy milestone. He's just yer average 16 month old.

I had the rare opportunity to observe Merritt in his natural habitat, as Andy would say, without the variable of big brother in the picture because my sister offered to hang out with Roscoe in the waiting room.

In an environment of relative peace I observed Merritt maneuvering around our tight-quartered patient office and then when he sat down, how he coolly turned the pages of a book with his little fingers full of intention and ease, his curiosity engaged to explore each page, and his effort to catch my attention so that he could show me that he knew the animal or the sound that it made. The whole scene suggested that we've comfortably entered into whatever comes after the baby phase.

Just like that. (In hindsight, anyway.)

A warm sense of dumbfounded relief washed over me because I love this age, between 1 and 2, and our experience with Roscoe was that around this time we hit a new stride that felt easier than what came before. I'm not 5 months pregnant right now, like I was when Roscoe was this age, so we're primed to actually get to experience and enjoy the happy progression of independence that has just recently commenced. 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

What is thrilling, anyway??

I'm using a writing prompt today from the the NaBloPoMo June 2012 list
Would you ever go bungee jumping?

Generally, I like to play it safe with secure investments, lots of planning, always taking the long view. Caution and intention. 

I don't easily embrace change, I am challenged to thrive in times of uncertainty, and I don't enjoy risk if it involves anything that I might miss if I lose it, or that with some level of planning I couldn't recover from if the decision didn't pay off.

I like thrills every now and then, but not cheap ones just for the sake of them.

I'm not a physical sensation seeker. I've never had the desire to bungee jump. Sky diving, helicopter tours, parasailing, and hang gliding each attract me with intrigue to see the world from new perspectives. I think scaling walls and rock climbing would be a rewarding sport, particularly the adventures involved with seeking out new spots and routes.

If I'm honest I'm sometimes too practical, stifled by logic.

I know that every activity that we engage in presents a certain level of risk and that so much of what feels safe or feels risky is related more to how much power we feel we have in a given situation and less about what is truly safe or risky.

I've felt a heightened state of awareness since the kids were born, their very existence only magnifies for me the unpredictability and uncertainty that exists in life, which then demands acknowledgement of my own mortality. That is honestly the most frightening thing I can imagine, short of losing one of my own children. 

Sometimes I wonder if this new mindset means that I'll never again get to do anything daring or reckless. I'll always be their mother and my desire to protect my own person and health in order to be present for my family will never wane.

I often feel stifled in default mode, constantly seeking safety and control, which predictably leads to intense yearning for something wild. (I admit that I am susceptible to boredom.) I alternate in these cycles sometimes for good and sometimes not.

Perhaps what is more interesting is to wonder if I'll ever want to do any of those kinds of activities again or if my idea of what is thrilling, fear inducing, challenging, fun, or adventurous will continue to change with time: white water rafting and flying over hawaii in a private helicopter replaced by choosing yarn for my next knitting project or securing a date with my husband to scout out properties on which to build our dream house.

Would you ever go bungee jumping? What thrills you?

Monday, June 25, 2012

Berry CSA: weeks 7, 8, & 9

I'm really behind in posting about our berry CSA.  I love, love, love community supported agriculture, but at some point in every season, I think to myself, "Oh no. Not more . . . ."  The week before last it was strawberries.  During the fifth week of our veggie CSA it was snow peas and cucumbers.

The fruit is always gorgeous, fragrant, and so pretty to look at. It really should be consumed within the first few days after we pick it up at the market or it starts to look drab and necessitates being baked into something.  I have no excuse for letting some of their perfect berries go to waste.  I know. I feel terrible.  I just couldn't think of anything more to do with those strawberries, and I'm the big fruit eater around here and I was sick for a couple of these weeks with zero appetite.

Here's what we've been eating and (in some cases) tossing:

Week 7: strawberries, blueberries, raspberries
Week 8: blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, blueberries
Week 9: blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, apricots

Our recipes over the last few weeks have been uber simple: berry salads with honey glazes, or yogurt toppings; berries over ice cream; berries in oatmeal; berries with whipped cream.

I bake a fancy cheesecake in the winter months that has a delicate sour cream layer on top and I always make sure to whip up a little extra topping so that I have plenty to "taste test" without impacting the final product.  All of that to say that I made a batch of the sour cream topping and used it as a dip for the berries, and it was really good.

I'm not terribly precise when I do this, but I mix in a small bowl approximately 3/4 cup sour cream, 2 teaspoons of vanilla, and 1 tablespoon of sugar (you can use brown or white).  You can add more or less sugar and vanilla depending on your taste.  It pairs well with strawberries and blueberries in particular.

Speaking of blueberries, we've been eating a lot of blueberry pancakes. A lot. We enjoy a good breakfast-for-dinner at least once a week.

The very best pancake recipe that I have ever made, and that we've been making for several years comes from the Joy of's true!  Actually, I first saw the recipe when I watched the McNeely's on the Food Network one evening back in 2010.  We've been making them ever since, but recently I was looking through my joy of cooking cookbook and the recipe is EXACTLY the same, except the McNeely's add pecans.

They are so perfect.  Fluffy, tender, and a little on the sweet side.

The recipe for the "Best Buttermilk Pancakes Ever" (or depending on who you ask, "basic buttermilk pancakes", or "buttermilk pecan pancakes"):

DRY ingredients:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

WET ingredients:
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
3 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Whisk dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
Whisk wet ingredients together in a large bowl.
Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and gently whisk them together, mixing just until they are combined.

Place blueberries on each pancake after the batter has been poured.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Merritt uses his words, a video clip

At this age communication is like a word game. Check out this little video of Merritt eating his dinner at the end of a long cranky day. I'm just trying to guess my way through and this was the first time I heard him say the word corn.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

A day away, a night to make up for it

Blackberry ice cream on the stoop, earlier today
After a long and warm day spent staffing the Birth Matters tent at the Veggie Festival, I came home feeling energized only to find my boys huddled in the bathroom, Roscoe into his third bout. It was thirty minutes past Merritt's bedtime and when I picked him up he placed his head on my shoulder and nuzzled into the crook of my neck where he hung out subdued for a bit before he started to whimper. Tired.  Not feeling well.

Andy gave the run-down of the afternoon: snack, a trip to the park, a television show. Roscoe said he was feeling sick, Merritt wouldn't eat any dinner, Roscoe threw up, Merritt couldn't be put to sleep with Roscoe alternating between the couch and toilet.

Mid-conversation Merritt started to heave and then threw up. Then Roscoe. Then Merritt again.

Then the boys were put to bed, and promptly fell asleep. They've each woken up three times since then (it's only 9:30pm). More of the same.

Andy says he's not feeling well.

I'm hoping whatever this is stops with the kids, and I hope it passes fast. I wish I could take away the  panic that sets into their whole bodies when they can feel they are about to be sick. As their Momma, in times of otherwise helplessness, I am relieved that the one thing that they really seem to want and need is me. I fear a long night ahead but if doling out extra belly rubs, and wiping hair from damp foreheads to blow cool air over their little faces is what makes them feel safe and even a little bit better, well I can do that all night long. 

Friday, June 22, 2012

On potty training: a post for people interested in this sort of thing

Roscoe showed interest in potty training around 18 months, but I was working 4 days a week then and our nanny at the time didn't seem particularly interested in facilitating his transition out of diapers, which really was fine because he seemed so young and we had a new baby due in a few months and it felt like a bad time to push a big developmental milestone. So I said, "oh, after the baby is a few months old, then we can try." At that time, I thought that Merritt's birth would bring the end of my work, so it seemed that I would have more time to devote to potty training "once work ended." Well, we all know how that story went.

I've put off potty training (or potty "learning" as some like to call it) at least three separate times since then: once when the postpartum period and life with two under two was a lot tougher than I thought it would be; then, when work's end was on the horizon (yet again, but not really though); and finally when we decided we were moving to Richmond.

In May, Roscoe turned three, the average age of potty training. While we don't call it potty learning around here, I do believe that child readiness is the single most important factor to success, and Roscoe has made a few big leaps in progress over the last month or so.

His journey has looked something like this:
  • 18 months - 24 months: We bought a potty chair and a stool so he could reach the sink. He was interested to sit on his little potty with all of his clothes on, and even went through a phase where he would ask to sit on it a few times a day. He liked to hang out in the bathroom while we used the toilet. He enjoyed helping with and learning about the process: handed us toilet paper, flushed the toilet, or washed his hands when we did. He would take his diaper off without warning, loved to be without it. At this age he was not bothered a bit to sit in a dirty diaper, he had more interesting things to do like play.
  • 24 months - 33 months: Basically the same as 18-24 months except he had zero interest in sitting on his little potty. We bought a potty seat. Diaper changing also became a serious battle. Momma and Poppa grew tired of grown up poops in a two year old's diaper. Roscoe loathed having to take time away from life to get a clean diaper.
  • 34 months: I asked him why he didn't like to sit on the potty. Roscoe said he was "scared he would fall in", which really surprised me because we've never talked about anything like that with him before, I thought those kinds of fears didn't really exist without some suggestion. We relocated the stool from the sink to the regular toilet, and relocated the potty seat from the bathroom closet to the regular toilet. He liked the new arrangement and would sit on it when he felt like it. We would ask Roscoe if he needed to go potty, he would reply no, then 15 minutes later we'd realize that he needed a diaper change.
  • 35 months: One day in the backyard Roscoe proudly demonstrated that he could pull his pants up and down. He would poop or pee in his diaper then find us to tell us, "I peed..." or "I pooped...change me." He asked to sit on the potty to pee before bath and was successful. 
  • 36 months: He would wake up mostly dry in the morning, and sometimes dry after nap. He continued to demand diaper changes after peeing or pooping.  He would get really upset if he peed, even a little bit, in his diaper before bed and would demand a change. He declared that he needed to pee on the potty, but decided he was done less than 30 seconds later so I offered a cupcake as a reward for peeing now or later, or whenever. He sat with determination and 4 or 5  minutes later we heard shrieks of "I did it!" 
  • 37 months: Same as last month, but now he says things like, "I'm peeing in my diaper." (present tense!) And we'll say, "Do you want to go in the potty?" And he'll reply, "No, I'd rather just go in my diaper."
See!? Progress!!

Every kid has their own journey out of diapers, and I'm excited for all of us that this Summer may mark the end of Roscoe's.

When did your kiddo make the big transition?  Any tips?

    Thursday, June 21, 2012

    Another hot one

    We welcomed the first official days of Summer with temps close to 100 degrees. The return on investment of our $4.00 sprinkler has been great.

    Lots o' muddy baby bums, coming right up!

    *More pictures taken by their nanny.  I don't know what I'm going to do without my camera for THREE weeks!!?

    Painting with Pudding

    If you want to avoid boxed pudding mixes, we've enjoyed this homemade chocolate pudding as a snack and for dessert--it's definitely not just for painting with!

    Speedy Chocolate Pudding (adapted from The Family Dinner cookbook)

    1/2 cup sugar
    2 tablespoons cocoa powder
    3 tablespoons cornstarch
    3 cups regular milk
    4 ounces milk or semisweet chocolate chips
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1/4 teaspoon salt

    Stir the sugar, cocoa powder, and cornstarch together in a medium-size saucepan. Gradually stir in the milk. Heat, whisking constantly, until the sugar dissolves and the mixture begins to boil and thicken, about 10 minutes.

    Add the chocolate. Turn off the stove. Gently whisk until the chocolate is completely melted.

    Stir in the vanilla and salt. Pour into small custard cups if you're going to eat it, or onto a plate if the kids will be painting with it.  

    Can be served warm, at room temperature, or chilled.

    *My camera is at the Nikon repair center, because Merritt pulled it off a counter by its strap and the LCD screen is broken. These photos were taken by the kids' nanny.

    Wednesday, June 20, 2012

    Preventing another preterm birth

    I mentioned last week that in preparation to conceive another baby I intend to do everything I can to best prepare my body to carry our next baby to term. Most importantly I want to have a healthy baby.  Also important, I want to avoid a stay in the NICU and I want to have the opportunity to experience another birth at home.

    I trust midwives and believe in the midwifery model of care. There is one freestanding birth center in Richmond and I was excited to learn that I could go there for my annual exams and for other women's health issues not in the context of pregnancy or postpartum care. I don't plan to give birth at the birthing center, but I am grateful to have the option to work with women who share my values and beliefs around well-woman care.

    I brought in a list of questions I had been gathering related to preventing premature rupture of membranes (PROM) and preterm birth and we chatted at length about what exists in the literature and their experience and observations around these topics.  For much of the conversation there were two midwives in the room and we had a little pow-wow reviewing my birth histories, and discussing a plan of action moving forward.

    My midwives are collaborating with me, not dictating, and I'm driving my care. There's no telling the course of my next pregnancy, but I do feel like I can use the evidence that exists as a guide to facilitate a better outcome.

    There are many known risk factors for preterm birth and I only detail here the ones that are personally relevant, but you can read a comprehensive list at the March of Dimes website.  Having had one preterm birth puts me in the greatest risk category for having another preterm birth, so I'm taking this seriously.

    My research is still evolving, but there are definitely some things that we know:

    Child Spacing: pregnancy spacing of less than or equal to 12 months is associated with higher incidence of PROM and premature birth. 
    Testing Positive for GBS: women who are GBS+ are more likely to experience PROM
    Circulating autoantibodies: women who have circulating antibodies in their bloodstream (thyroid related) are less likely to carry to term and more likely to miscarry.
    Bacterial Vaginosis and other infections: highly correlated with PROM

    Nutrition also plays an important role in healthy pregnancies and healthy babies.

    Possible nutritional preventive measures include: fish oil, iron, magnesium, and zinc, as well as folic acid, bioflavonoids (orange pith!), selenium, vitamin C, and higher protein intake. Some of these vitamins and minerals are associated with strengthening the amniotic sac, which is protective against infection and PROM, while others boost the immune system. I doubt that the exact mechanism for each of these is clear, but the greater body of literature shows significant positive associations, even if small.

    With Roscoe, my first sign of labor was when my water broke around 1:00 in the afternoon at 38 weeks and 2 days. Still considered term, but on the early side, especially for a first baby.  My labor was very fast at 5 hours and 23 minutes. Similarly, my water broke around 1:00 pm with Merritt, although much earlier in the pregnancy. A midwife adage that mine relayed is: A water that breaks at night is labor. A water that breaks in the day is something else (infection, a malpositioned baby, etc.). That is not to say that labor won't proceed as a result of the PROM but that labor wasn't the primary cause of the water breaking.  Eight to ten percent of women experience PROM as the first sign of labor, so while common it is not normal.

    Here is my plan:
    1. I am giving my body more rest time between pregnancies. The spacing will probably be around 24 months.
    2. I will wean Merritt before I conceive again. I know that many momma's nurse older siblings through pregnancy with no problem. I nursed Roscoe through my pregnancy with Merritt, and I will never know what affect it may have had, but since my amniotic sacs may be weaker, and nipple stimulation can induce uterine contractions, it's something that I am choosing not to do this time.
    3. My practitioners will be aggressive from the start to screen for potential vaginal infections
    4. I will follow the Brewer Diet advocated by Dr. Bradley. My midwife did note that she doesn't typically suggest 100 grams of protein for her momma's but that given my risk factors she definitely would.
    5. As we always have I will be working closely with my endocrinologist to ensure that my tsh levels are in the normal range.  This is the best protection against high levels of circulating autoantibodies.
    6. I'm going to be more diligent about flossing my teeth, and gum health in general, including visiting the dentist more regularly. Periodontal disease is highly linked to preterm birth.

    In addition to a prenatal vitamin, I will take supplements for vitamin c, fish oil, iron, and folic acid. I want to investigate further selenium, magnesium, zinc, and maybe bioflavonoids (an herbal supplement), especially optimal dosing. My preference is to take in the necessary vitamins and minerals through food rather than supplements, and bioflavonoids aren't regulated.

    I will continue to exercise through this next pregnancy, as I did with the other two. I will also do my best to reduce unnecessary emotional stresses (no plan yet for how to accomplish this!). And I want to look into the MTHFR genetic variants to see how that may have had a role in our experience and what I can do the next time around.

    Are you aware of any other evidence-based steps that I can take?  If you experienced PROM or premature birth with one of your babies did you have a similar experience in subsequent pregnancies?  Did you do anything differently?

    Sunday, June 17, 2012

    Father's Day 2012

    While Andy slept-in this morning we headed out around 6:30 for a chilly walk and some breakfast. For Poppa we brought back some coffee and a pastry. Then, after descending on the darkened and quiet bedroom, we bomb-dived the bed covers and delivered his wake up call. 

    My parents drove down, our babysitter arrived, and we left the kids to nap. Andy's parents met us at Conch Republic and were seated on the deck with the city skyline and the river in front of us. It was a phenomenal view, so very pretty and serene. The spread at brunch was so vast it was delightful, and included some really incredible seafood--the smoked mussels were my favorite.  

    My (1st) plate!
    Andy and his Dad
    My Mom and Dad
    Afterward we explored the river on foot for a bit and then headed back to hang with the little guys.

    Like I do every year I bought the boys a set of t-shirts. I asked Craig from Adventures in T-shirt Land, a local seller at our farmer's market, to make a mini stencil of his hip RVA design so that the kids could declare affiliation too. He delivered!  (Kiddie sizes are now available at the SOJ farmers market. Go get 'em!)

    You can check out what they've worn in past years: 20092011, in 2010 they wore "prosciutto" and "'lil prosciutto" from Wooster St. Meats.

    Also like every year, it was a challenge to get a good photo of the three of them in their tees.

    Last activity of the day: grocery shopping
    Happy Father's Day to all!

    *Merritt broke my camera, so we used the iphone today.
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