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!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Rice Socks, and Valentines

I've been putting together a "bag of tricks" for my labor support clients to include a wide range of comfort measures from aromatherapy to massage. It's been on my mind to craft homemade rice socks for lower back aches and belly cramps and we were free yesterday afternoon so we decided to get down to it.

The socks we picked out are so February and the other things we grabbed while we were out were Valentine's Day inspired too. I think these rice socks would make sweet valentines for friends and grandparents.  We made a few mini versions from children's tube socks and they were the perfect size for little guys and gals. Maybe a gift tag: "You warm my heart," would be just the thing.



We used four pair of women's tube socks, and three 5lb. bags of white rice. Using a measuring cup, Roscoe and Merritt took turns pouring between 2 and 4 cups of rice into each sock (4 cups filled them to their brim), while I held open the mouth.  Then I secured each sock with a knot.




We made four big rice socks for belly and back, and two smaller rice socks to go around the neck for weighted heat applied to the upper chest. One to two minutes in the microwave and you have a warm, cozy, and festive heat pack. You can freeze them too!



Sunday, January 13, 2013

a (birth) love poem


The sun is setting.
The curtains glow floor to ceiling
with the last rays of the day
that came before the night
in which I will become a mother.

Out there the light fades,
and the people call it a good day.
In here the work is just beginning to take shape;
we know we will be changed.

The labor molds us as we move through it.
The effort to not resist
but to open up,
let go.
To embrace this pain as work
and love.

My being,
the baby inside this body,
this man at my side.
We share the work going down tonight
in this homey space.

We're in motion.
This will forever be our beginning.
It is ours.

Moved by a power
so loud and thunderous,
so proud and real,
it calls me back to myself.

Delineating an even stronger version of who I was
before I was Momma.

Reminding me that courage has lived here all along
and challenging me to engage with such intensity I feel I may break.

But instead I bend.
I make more room.
I call for help.

Buoyed by love from the ones I chose
to journey with me,
I'm surrounded by it.
Filled with it
as this miracle moves through me.

Firm, even, pressure
like cool sheets on warm skin,
his hands conform to these fatty hips and thighs.
Rhythmically he smooths out even the most powerful surges
with confident strokes.

It is dark now.
The contraction peaks
then fades away like a shadow in the night.

We labor on.
One contraction at a time.
We can do anything
he and I.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Meyer Lemon Mousse



It's the middle of Winter and after a full week of flu and unhappy fussing we were in need of a little sunshine. I usually save this recipe for February, a special Valentine's Day dessert, but I grabbed a pretty bag of Meyer lemons during our last grocery trip and felt compelled to use them up before week's end.

Lately, the kids have been adamant about helping me in the kitchen. When I begin lining up my ingredients, setting the oven, and rummaging for my tools, they come running. The feet of their little wooden chairs can be heard from across the house, sliding and scraping the floors as the boys push them from the playroom right up to the threshold where they both struggle to heft the legs up and over before slamming the slatted chair backs against the stove front to claim their cooking space. 

I've shared freely with the boys my love for food and making from scratch far before their memories will recall, but I know it all by heart. Preparing family meals and snacks happily consumes a large part of my day. The boys' involvement has been a product of both strategy and necessity. It slows down the process to have two bodies and four extra hands in the mix, but the food we create together always tastes the best. And an added bonus: Roscoe and Merritt are far more likely to eat the food they helped to prepare.

This lemon mousse is smooth and mellow. It is cream heavy but has an airy mouthfeel because of the meringue mixed in. We serve it for breakfast with eggs or french toast, as a sweet mid-afternoon snack that stands alone, or a quick dessert.

Meyer Lemon Mousse

*Modified from Ina Garten's Fresh Lemon Mousse


       

Gather:   
  • 3 extra-large eggs, separated
  • 3 extra-large whole eggs
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • 3/4 cup freshly squeezed Meyer lemon juice (7-9 lemons)
  • Sea Salt
  • 2 cups heavy cream


In a double boiler (or heat proof bowl), whisk together the 3 whole eggs, 3 egg yolks, 1 cup sugar, the lemon zest, lemon juice, and a pinch of salt. Bring water in double boiler to a boil and simmer, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon for about 10-12 minutes or until the mixture is thick like pudding.


Take off the heat and set a aside for 15 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap directly on the surface and refrigerate for 1-2 hours, until completely chilled.


Place half the egg whites and a pinch of salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on high speed. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and continue to beat until the whites are stiff and shiny.


Carefully fold the beaten egg whites into the cold lemon mixture with a rubber spatula.


Place 1 cup of cream in the same bowl of the electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (no need to clean the bowl) and beat on high speed until the cream forms stiff peaks. Carefully fold the whipped cream into the lemon mixture.


Do the same with the other cup of cream, but this time add 1 tablespoon of sugar and a 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Use this as a garnish or as a second layer atop the mousse as we do.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

This moment now



Woven through last week's New Year 2013 posts, a shared sentiment emerged among my momma blogger friends. In our own words we shared hope that the new year will bring opportunity for implementing, exercising, and appreciating greater peace and presence in the moments that make up every day. I sense it is an ideal we seek in order to create calm and to soothe our own anxieties, that if we can learn to be present we can somehow protect ourselves from the relative pain and suffering inherent to our role as mothers.

The built-in community that exists in this online space is part of what draws me to write here: validation and comfort knowing that my struggles are not mine alone. My experience is extraordinary to me because it is mine, but it is otherwise ordinary.

I feel what other mothers feel what I feel.

For me being present centers around conserving my energy. To feel deep stillness, joy, and appreciation in the moments that are perfection in the way I imagine it can be, but also when the opposite is true. That I can have greater clarity and awareness of my own needs. That I can be better tuned-in to this moment in order to meet my boys where they are and JUST BE, without judgement. Even if the moment is brief.

To feel the static of Merritt's wispy baby hair against my cheek or the pinching grip of his tiny fingers in my arms as he holds to me as we fervently dance across the hardwood floors.

To breathe in the sweet vinegar sweat left in Roscoe's damp hair after a good long nap.

To cut through the chaos of the 5 o'clock witching hour to meet eyes with Roscoe, raise my brow and elicit songs of peeling laughter. 

To accept with undivided attention his invitation to watch him move his cars to and fro, even when I feel I don't have time to stop moving forward my own weighty cargo.

Does fear drive my impulse to want to catalog in my mind the warm weight of his body in my arms, the pitch of his 3 year old voice, the cadence of their steps? We give everything to our children and yet there are no guarantees for their health or safety in this world. There are no assurances that when they reach adulthood they will love us, or feel loved by us, in the ways that we hope they will.

On the other hand, pining for the power and capacity to do it all, do it well, and to make the journey look easy-as-pie, all the while managing to avoid shifting into auto pilot, appears like fallout from the "parenting is a skill to be mastered" norm that constricts as it empowers the parenting of our generation.

Either way, I am motivated with intention to move through our daily rhythms with energy reserved only for what matters most. We know this is not forever, let's hold on tight to the good stuff so we can carry it with us into tomorrow. Save the stress, feelings of hurry, and anxiety about what comes next. Save the shame of not having been perfect in the past.

This moment right now is deserving.

This moment right now is enough. 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year. It's 2013!


2012 was a pretty incredible year. It was full of adventure and the highlight was reconnecting with the people and places that matter most to us. We settled into our Richmond life after the big move at the end of 2011, and I focused the last half of the year on getting my birth work off the ground.

If 2011 was about establishing rhythm and routine, then 2012 was most definitely about settling in and finding joy.

For the upcoming year I'm not brimming with an ambitious to-do list. I'm feeling right at home and so full with all that I have right here in my lap. 

If anything, I want to keep a strong focus on the experiences and people that bring true pleasure and delight to my heart, which means that I need to continue to practice setting healthy boundaries for myself around work, and home, but especially in the relationships I share with those I love most.

This year I want to focus broadly on just six things in order to help guide my energy:
Writing, Marriage, Friendship, Work, Health, and Home.

WRITING

First, my writing is so very important to me. I regret shoving it to the side over the last 6 months, although the excitement and demands of building MamaBorn have rightfully taken much of my attention. I'm very excited to have the opportunity (a gift from a generous friend) to attend the Motherhood and Words writing retreat in Mid-February, and hope to take pure advantage of my blog here to share a more intimate portrait of life from my perspective and to experiment with new styles of writing as I continue to hone my craft. I am also looking forward to attending BlogHer '13 in Chicago come July.

MARRIAGE

Over the Summer, while walking with a girlfriend on a narrow path deep in the woods of Corolla, as we connected over our children and dreamt up elaborate plans for communal life (in another life), it dawned on me that the intention I devote to mothering is equally deserving for my marriage. The tides swept out sometime in the middle of last year and there we were, Andy and me, two people again. So we ran with it and prioritized date nights, bi-monthly maintenance therapy (highly recommend!), and made a more conscious effort to carve out time for each other when not in our respective parenting roles. After two back-to-back babies, we needed it, and we want more of it. So that is a definite for the upcoming year.

FRIENDSHIP

My need to nurture friendship and to lean on and learn from my girlfriends for encouragement and perspective seems greater now than ever before. With time we have become geographically removed from one another, which demands logistical planning and extra commitment to connect in person. As the boys are growing older and as their need for physical attachment wanes, I find myself with a lot of freedom for time and space away from home. I cherish the grounding effect that comes when I have the opportunity to connect deeply with people who understand me in the ways I need to be understood. I hope to regularly indulge myself in their love and acceptance all year long. Beyond the usual get-togethers, a few weekend getaways will be something to look forward to.

WORK

Over the Summer I transitioned my career from a programmatic role in public health to a birth educator and professional doula serving families in my community. My work now exists as a simple extension of who I am as a woman, mother, and lifelong learner. MamaBorn is everything I believe about birth and mothering and life, all rolled into one birth services concept that already feels like home sweet home. While frightening at times (I won't lie!), for me it has been an exercise in courage to follow my truth, and at the end of every day I'm left energized and affirmed knowing that I am right where I am meant to be! I'm excited to continue to grow my brand, advocating at the grassroots level for informed choice and birth rights, and especially to walk with women and their partners through the fragile and life changing event of birth. So inspired by life and birth I recently made a pact with a few close friends to delve into the world of ink. My first tattoo is on the books for 2013!

HOME 

Our home, our home. We are not loving the place in which we live at the moment. We're renting. We're busy. We're not all that invested in upkeep. We're feeling cramped for space. We have 8 months left on our lease. I'm under the impression that a few investments in comfort and convenience could go a long way as far as every day goes, not to mention the positive effects of yet another effort to declutter these tiny spaces! More interestingly, in a few months we will have to make a decision to either sign on for another year, or to look for a new place to live. Although living in the city has turned out to be pretty great for many reasons, we're ultimately craving more nature space and privacy. We've become increasingly unsettled about our living arrangement and it is because the way in which we are living (as lazy renters in a home not well designed for the way we would ideally use our living space) is out of sync with our core values. We spend a majority of our time in and around our home, it feels crazy not to be in love with it. We've continued to scout for properties to build on but haven't found anything near perfect. A change in attitude about our current place or a move to new digs on the other side of the river is in order.

HEALTH

This one has most to do with the food we eat. I want to continue on our path to eating good food from animals that led good lives, and to finesse our locavorism. Back in the Fall I committed to an 8-week Paleo Challenge that highlighted for me the benefits of eating a diet free from grains and sugar. I've found it more difficult to get on board with some of the other tenets of the philosophy, and have found that I favor more those supported by the Weston A. Price way of eating. All to say that implementing an eating philosophy that jives with our consumerism mentality in a way that still leaves me inspired and having fun feeding my family every day will be something to look forward to. With equal impact, exercise continues to be a daily source of positive energy. No pregnancies are planned for this year so I'm looking forward to becoming faster, stronger, and more mobile in the upcoming months. I haven't identified any concrete performance goals yet but last year I made huge gains in skill and strength and hope to continue the trend. I would like to run a race this year; another marathon would be a major training commitment so I'm thinking a half marathon might be a nice challenge. My post baby weight-loss saga continues, and to sum up my bottom line excerpted from a post I wrote earlier last year: "I have a desire to experience my life with my boys, through my body, feeling it all, and without regrets. I don't want to hide in this body. I want to live in it. And I want the freedom that comes with that." Pretty simple, I think. This year is the year.

I declare the theme of 2013 to be about feeling inner peace and living in the present as I center myself and nourish my mind and body in the best possible ways.

What are your plans?  

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