Stay Curious.
Dig Deeper.
Nurture What Matters.
Be BoldHeart.
Enjoy Your Life.

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The BoldHeartMama desires to enjoy living out the choices that she’s made for herself and for her family. She is a relentless learner: curious, inquisitive, and open to the possibilities of her life and of the human condition. She understands that there isn't one right way—she asks questions that dig deeper to make sense of it all and to find her own path.

She pays attention to and nurtures whatever it is she really cares about, letting go of the rest (for now) knowing she can't do and be everything all at once. She embraces her imperfections in favor of "good enough"—her imperfect self, her imperfect home, her imperfect mothering, her imperfect desires—and she never stops evolving as a woman and mother. She is a BoldHeart, authentic and true to herself.

The BoldHeartMama knows there is only this one life and she's all in. She is present and engaged and making things happen. Her intuition is her guide. She seeks to be inspired and relies on her creativity and her resourcefulness to solve the big and little challenges that she and her family face together as they navigate their relationships and their world.

The BoldHeartMama is willing to take calculated risks to make her biggest dreams come true. She is living out her BoldHeart in the moment, making small moves and taking little steps that add up, and she's cultivating a good life for herself and her family in the process. Read More!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Week 6: The Unknown

Brothers

My first prenatal appointment was on Friday morning.

I got to see a tiny little embryo on ultrasound which made me feel an unexpected surge of joy. I always find the reality of growing a human being somewhat hard to believe, but it’s true. There’s a baby in there. 

The tech snapped a blurry picture for me to take home and later I showed it to the boys side-by-side to another image of a 6 week embryo from online, pointing out for them the yolk sac, the heart, and the arm and leg buds.

Roscoe and Merritt wrote notes to the baby and drew a picture for the baby’s book. Merritt’s four year old note went like this: 
Dear Baby: I hope that you, my little blobby baby, when you are done being in your time-out in Momma’s belly...that you are having a good little baby blob party in there. I love you dear blobby. I love you cutie cutie, blob blob. Love Merritt and Roscoe and Jacqueline and Andy. 

Yes, our little blobby baby. We love you so already.

***

With fingers crossed for a full-term pregnancy we are planning another home birth. On Friday I met my midwife’s collaborative physician who glanced at my chart, noted my 5.5 hour labor with Roscoe at 38 weeks and 2 days, and my 4.5 hour labor with Merritt at 32 weeks and 6 days and confidently diagnosed me with a weak cervix. No one has ever suggested that as a cause for Merritt’s premature birth and so I pushed back because I want our approach to be as accurate and as effective as possible. I have been fixated on preterm premature rupture of membranes (PPROM) for the last 5 years but he said he is rarely wrong. 

Over the last couple days I’ve been doing my own research and I’m inclined to agree with him. Short labors and successively shorter gestations are a hallmark of a weak cervix, which also implies that if we do nothing I could likely give birth even earlier than last time. 

I have a lot on my mind now. Progesterone. Pessary. Cerclage. Accepting a weak cervix as the cause is a game changer. It means more monitoring, more procedures. It means a bunch of things that I don’t understand just yet. This is frightening as it is encouraging because there are things we can do to prevent this from happening again. 

My midwife wants to take this pregnancy one week at a time, an approach I really need and appreciate right now. Let’s just get you through the first trimester she said. 

Yes. 

Morning sickness is in full swing, and I feel like I'm moving at a snail's pace, foggy and oh so tired. One day at a time will be the only way to walk this journey to meeting our third baby. 

Monday, October 12, 2015

What's in Season Virginia: A Free Printable

Last year I explored seasonal living through my 12 Weeks to Seasonal Living series, which was inspired by Kathie Lapcevic's Homespun Seasonal Living Workbook.

A key element of seasonal living is sourcing local foods and preparing meals to highlight seasonal availability. In my first post about setting seasonal intentions I described in more detail what seasonal living in the kitchen means for me:

We are mindful of how and where our food is grown and raised. We source as much as we can organic and local but I'll admit to buying strawberries in the dead of Winter and quitting root veggies when I get bored three weeks into Fall. Instead I would really like to limit the variety of foods that we buy to the in-season variety. I want the limitations of that intention to inspire my creativity in the kitchen and build anticipation for the nourishment that next season offers. I want to feel the seasonal fluctuations of having and not having. “Suffering” through late Winter’s turnips and carrots and potatoes while holding our breath for the bright green shoots of asparagus and the first blush of strawberries in March. The pain and pleasure of knowing both extremes and feeling okay with the coming and going.

To celebrate seasonal eating I've created a FREE printable of fruits and veggies in season to Virginia during the Fall months of September, October, November, and December.  Click on the image to download and print right from your computer.



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Friday, October 9, 2015

Week 5: Change

Monkeys!

Similar to my pregnancies with the boys, this one is marked by early spotting. I was hoping to be oh so very zen this third time around, but spotting makes it harder to settle in. I’ve been trying to reframe and consider that maybe this is just normal-for-me first trimester stuff. Of course I’m always curious about why things are the way they are, but sometimes there just isn’t an answer. Either way, my first prenatal appointment is in a week.

I’ve been thinking ahead to what next year will be like with both boys home for school and an infant to care for and meanwhile, the usual ups and downs in daily life feel more acute with the pressure of time pushing against me. Certain aspects of our family dynamic that I had made note to change at some point now feel more urgent: getting the boys to reliably sleep through the night, simplifying mealtimes with different expectations and less struggle, facilitating their greater independence and reducing conflict in general—there is plenty more, but that’s a first coil of thought as they begin to unwind.

More distressing than what lies far ahead: our sitters have vaporized for one thing or another leaving me without the backbone of life's balance for the foreseeable future, and just at a time when I know I will especially need it. Five hours a week isn't a lot but it makes all the difference to me and the thought of going without makes the walls feel like they are closing in for lack of option.

All of this welcome and unwelcome change reminds me that I thrive under constancy, that transitions can be hard for me, but also that I have the opportunity now to lower my expectations, get serious about slowing down and further simplifying our routine. 

Otherwise, I’m eating loads of vegetables and lots of protein, and craving green things to drink. At 3am you can find me under a nightlight with a good book as it's nearly impossible to fall back to sleep after being woken up at night. I’m feeling sleepier in general and midday naps have become an oasis. I’m more winded at my nightly workouts—working as hard but not covering as much distance—and relaxin is surely flowing because I can feel my long runs in my joints already. I am hugely more comfortable with my top button undone too, and I can't help but be amazed at how much quicker pregnancy sets in with each subsequent baby.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Creamy Cashew Milk Recipe



As I've reduced my sugar intake over the last year and a half I've enjoyed exploring alternative ways to get my "treat" fix, and cashew milk is my current favorite.

Nut milk can be enjoyed straight, used to soak oats, added to smoothies or coffee, and more. The leftover nut pulp can be made into all kinds of sweets and savories like nut cream or cheese, truffles, and icing.

Raw nut milk can be pricey store-bought but it's simple to make at home. Cashews are especially versatile with a mild flavor and creamy texture, but feel free to use almonds too.

RECIPE

1 1/2 cups raw cashews
5 cups water
2 tablespoons maple syrup, honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
Optional spices: cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, cardamom

-Cover cashews with water and soak for 12 hours or overnight
-Drain soaking water
-Combine soaked cashews with five cups water, puree in a blender until creamy and smooth
-Strain cashew milk through a sieve or cheesecloth, discard the nut pulp or save it for later*
-Add more water if you like a thinner consistency, add back some of the nut pulp if you like more texture
-Spice and sweeten cashew milk to taste
-Chill and drink up!



*Make a creamy lemon topping from the leftover nut pulp: add a few teaspoons of lemon juice, a pinch of salt, and 1/2 cup water then blend for another minute or two until super smooth. Treat your homemade nut cream like sour cream and add a dollop to potatoes, eggs, or other morning hashes.


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Saturday, October 3, 2015

Week 4: Discovery



We had planned to wait until October or later, but I was tracking and Andy had a sudden change of heart after returning from travel so we decided to give it a go in September, just for fun. The window of opportunity was so short I don’t think either of us expected anything to come of it, and so we shared a tiny spark of surprise when I discovered I was pregnant 10 days later at 9 dpo. It was the night of the super-harvest blood moon and a full lunar eclipse, and it was the faintest of faint positives.

Just the night before I was gathered with my mama friends atop a boulder-built-for-three jutting up from the riverbed. We set an altar under a fine mist of rain as the sun set behind cool grey skies growing darker. A cloud of bats swirled overhead and the river lulled us from below and all around, down and away. It was the perfect night for a birth release—a letting go of past and present, a welcoming embrace of change to come. No fear. Just hope and peace in our hearts for continuing our mothering adventures with greater friendship and heartier community. Our moods and conversation that night struck just the right balance of dark and light as we recounted painful disappointments, new confidence and optimism. Nature was on our side enchanting us with cleansing rain, pink-hued skies, and bats—a fitting symbol of rebirth.* 

The whole sequence of first spontaneity, the official start of the fall season, a transformational celebration of motherhood and friendship, followed by the eerie super harvest moon eclipse—it all has me feeling very “it’s meant to be” and I’ve been calm, content, and at ease ever since. 

It’s still early—just four weeks yesterday—but I’m too cheerful to keep it to myself. Having experienced moderate antepartum and postpartum anxiety in the past, I’m making a conscious effort not to allow worry to overtake my joy. 

As one of my friends shared on the eve of the supermoon: "A wise woman once said, 'No two children are born into the same family, just as we cannot step into the same river twice.'" I'm carrying that sentiment with me for myself as I navigate this unique pregnancy and birth, for my boys as they adapt to sharing their mama in new ways, and for this baby who will join us in June, whoever he or she will be. 

I’ve cleared our fall calendar of extraneous commitments and I’m protecting my time and my sleep to focus on taking care of myself, staying in the daily moments of now, and nurturing my relationships with the boys during this special time. I'm ready to go wherever this pregnancy takes me. 


*A Bat flying into your life signifies that transformation of the ego self is about to occur, the end of a way of life and the start of another. This transition can be very frightening for many, even just to think about. But you will not grow spiritually until you let go these old parts of you that are NOT NEEDED. Facing the darkness before you will help you find the light in rebirth. The bat gives you the wisdom required to make the appropriate changes for the birthing of your new identity.  Shamanic Journey
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