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21Jun/140

The Diabetic Mama

Of course I would have to have gestational diabetes. I have challenged myself with no-sugar-added, vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, and maybe a couple of other forms of eating. Why not throw a diabetic diet to the mix?

You guys, I have to admit, this one is tripping me up a bit. I guess the others have, too, but if I accidentally ate something that wasn't sanctioned on one of my other experiments, the consequences weren't as in my face as taking care of a growing baby that is depending on me to nurture her right this very moment.

The being responsible for a human life while simultaneously needing to relax, let things go, and not assume ALL the responsibility is a forever tension of motherhood.

I guess I am practicing.

That's what pregnancy is, in part. It's practice for the time when I will be holding a new, sweet life in my hands and making much more frequent, conscious decisions for that life.

I stress out when my numbers get too high. (I am learning to control them with diet, but too slowly for my liking.)

I stress out about Selah's blood sugar being too low at birth (something that could happen) and her being taken away from me before I can snuggle her to my heart's desire (something I have no idea if it could happen until I actually talk to my OB about it).

I stress that I won't be able to completely control my diabetes with diet. I worry that I will have to take insulin and that insulin will lead to earlier induction dates and pain and other consequences I don't want (again, I need to actually have a conversation with my OB about this. )

And then I just have to practice letting it all go. I am doing the best I can, and as I learn more, I make better choices. That's what motherhood is. That's what life is.

"When you know better, you do better." -Maya Angelou

If you have any questions related to gestational diabetes for me, please leave them below. I'll write a follow-up Q&A post.

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19Jun/143

Buying Less Crap While Still Looking Cute in Your Clothes

I've read Jen Hatmaker's book 7 : An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess 3 or 4 times now, and it has really influenced the way I view stuff.

One thing that keeps echoing in my bones is that we just don't need to consume the way we do. We buy a lot of stuff that ends up being barely used, hauled off to Goodwill, or finding homes in our attics and basements. We buy at the expense of basis human rights of others because we don't have to see how poorly they are treated or because that shirt is so cute and it's on sale.

Right?

Let me tell you something. I am not rolling in money. I don't buy all handmade or local. I shop at Target.

And sometimes I need clothes. Sometimes I want to look cute. Halfway buried in me is a woman who loves to combine clothes in creative, Sarah-like ways.

For the moment, I have chosen to work part time at most, which means cutting out some luxuries. This means that buying clothes from the amazing cooperatives that create living-wage jobs for women who make adorable handmade clothes is usually not an option for me.   Target prices are much more appealing when everything is looking worn and I don't have the patience to rifle through Goodwill's racks while keeping an eye on my toddler.

But that new super-cheap shirt is so cheap because whoever made it is getting paid pennies an hour for t00 many hours, barely if able to support his or her family. Plus, we really don't need to tell manufactures that we need more stuff. We don't need anyone creating new, poorly-made, poorly-obtained stuff because WE told them with our dollars to make it.

Right?

So. What to do about clothes?

For those with more patience than I have, I do think consignment shops are the way to go.

When I have a little more money to spend, I love to buy from places like Krochet Kids and Nancy's Gone Green when I can. (I do recommend checking Nancy's Gone Green regularly if you're the shopping kind. They frequently have sales and even have a Re:awakened section of gently used clothes.)

I've been thinking about alternatives to clawing my eyeballs out while trying to find the diamonds in the rough at my local consignment store or handing over more dollars than I can afford to. This is what I've come up with:

Clothing swap. I'm still on the fence about this one because most times, I buy just a few items of clothing at a time and wear them til I should really transform them into house rags, but I do think this could work well for some people. Just weed out all your clothes that are still in good condition

thredUp It's an online thrift store that does the work for filtering through  too old/too worn used clothes for you.  You can shop at any hour, of course,  AND they offer credit for your clothes if they meet criteria. I have yet to use it, but you can read a full review from someone who has here.

And again...

Nancy's Gone Green sales and consignments.

What do you think? Do you have any more ideas for me?

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9Jun/143

Pregnancy Update: 32 Weeks

With about 8 weeks to go until we all get to meet Selah Marie, here's a snap shot of life at this point:

Appointments! My calendar is filling up with appointments. I am scheduling adjustments at the chiropractor, non-stress tests, bi-weekly check-ups, self care appointments (like finally getting my hair cut and using the prenatal pampering package Tim bought me for mothers day), play dates, work events, exercise, family time and friend time. I think it's important to not have every moment planned so I have time to show up in people's lives to show up to listen, deliver meals, baby sit, be present, and whatever, so I'm leaving space for that, too.

I feel like I am forgetting something.

Nolan. He is now signed up for a gymnastics class which starts a couple of weeks before Selah is expected to be born and goes a few weeks afterward. I've promised him hot wheels cars when she arrives and we talk about how much she's going to love him. He uses my giant belly as a pillow and loves to give it (Selah) raspberries.

Parenting has been a bit of a challenge lately because the sunshine gives him MORE energy while I am noticeably slowing down. He often asks to go outside as soon as his eyes open in the morning and he loves to test his boundaries over and over and over. As tired as I am by the end of the day, I am soaking up the one-on-one time. We've been exploring new-to-him parks and playgrounds, making new friends, and going on lots of walks and Mommy-Nolan dates.

Baby Prep. We still have quite a bit to do before Selah arrives, but I'm not too concerned about it right now. In a few weeks, I'll start making huge batches of our meals so I can freeze most of them, packing our bags, and organizing and decorating Selah's room. We have a place to sleep, clothes, food (I plan to breastfeed), and diapers (we have some newborn, but I am hoping to cloth diaper this time around), so I am confident we will be fine.

Here's Brooke showing me how cloth diapers work.


Celebration. What's better than celebrating life? Let's spend more time commemorating birthdays, friendships, and long summer days.  Last weekend, my mom threw me an intimate little shower made up of some of my closest friends and family. I was spoiled with great food, hours with people I adore, cards full of fill-up-my heart words, and generous gifts.

This is how I spent most of my shower. Feet up, food nearby, relaxing with women who know and love me so well. In a few months, I'll be doing the same thing- but with a glass of wine and a bowl of ice cream in hand!

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19May/140

Lately

I spent a lovely weekend in DC with Tim and Nolan. My brother-in-law graduated LLM school and he and my sister are moving to Dallas, Texas in just a few weeks. The weekend was FULL and I would do it again tomorrow, if I could, but TODAY we are totally chilling. Windows open, sun shining, hanging out in the garden, playing, feet up. Days like this are blissful when they come after lots of activity.

My sunshine boxes are coming together! So far, I have a couple of bright yellow buckets I picked up from the Target dollar section and some daisy and sunflower seeds. Two talented friends are making yellow earrings to include, and I plan to order some Yummy Earth lemon drops to include. Which reminds me...


This afternoon, Tim texted me to tell me about a homeless man hanging out near by. He does this from time to time, and I love that he passes on the opportunity that I would otherwise not see. I grabbed a couple of pre-made care packages and a large, cold bottle of water and headed out the door with Nolan, telling him,"we have a present to deliver, and I could use your help." We couldn't find the man, which we were both disappointed about, but it did get me thinking that it would not be a bad idea to be more intentional when I head out the door. Grab a reusable shopping bag (I often stop when I wasn't planning to), some cold water, some necessities. Just in case. It doesn't hurt, and it certainly could help a little.

I've been tracking my blood sugar with a glucometer in lieu of drinking glucola to test for gestational diabetes. I still have a few more days left in the  required 2-week period, but I've discovered that my sugars shoot above what is considered normal when I don't eat a certain way. Although I don't have an official diagnosis yet, those numbers indicate that I have gestational diabetes. I was down about it when I realized it. That kind of thing can make a mama feel like she is deficient as a mother, but wallowing was mostly short-lived because I've got a baby to take care of. I don't have another prenatal appointment til the end to the month, so I decided to make changes to my diet right away. I talked to two friends who have been diagnosed with diabetes, and did my own research. After a little trial and error and paying attention to my body and the numbers, I think I have a good idea of what works and what doesn't. Bonus? I'm eating really, really well, and it feels good.

What's going on with you lately?

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14May/140

Love Flash Mob Today

I believe that most of us want to be a part of making the world a better place. We want to see broken things made whole, the deep spaces in hearts healed. We know we only have so much time, and we want to leave our mark.

I am a stay at home mom who works for fair-trade-local-farmers-treat-the-people-AND-earth-well kind of store on the side. I have limited funds but a lot of antsi-ness to DO. I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up.

As I drove to work yesterday, I let out a simple prayer, "God, show me what step I should take next."

A few hours later, I saw it. It was only one step, to be sure. Nothing big, but it screamed THIS IS IT.

It's happening today, and in case you're looking for your one little next step, I know I have to share it with you.

I discovered the Angels and Warriors Love Flash Mob. Angels and Warriors gathers small donations to meet needs in a very tangible way. No one is allowed to donate more than $25- it's hundreds and thousands of people pulling together pour out a simple act of love.

Today's love flash mob will be poured out on five families. The first is a little girl who lost who mother and the following four families will be receiving funds in honor of the woman who died:

Tara is currently fighting cancer and has two kids. Funds will be raised for Tara today to pay for her son's preschool and pay for her mortgage.

Eileen is a teacher who is changing the lives of her students and is also currently fighting cancer. Funds will be raised for Eileen to be able to pursue treatment.

Amanda is married with 3 kids. To date, she has raised over $40,000 for other people fighting cancer. Amanda is not expected to live much longer, so funds will be raised to send her and her family on a beach vacation together.

The last woman on the list today is simultaneously fighting cancer and for custody of her baby boy. For legal reasons, details are limited.

ALL of the funds go toward the people I'm telling you about today. Everyone who works for Angels and Warriors works for free, so there is NO OVERHEAD.

For more information, check out the Momastery blog. Angels and Warriors are doing something beautiful and offering to take us along for the ride. I'm off to donate...please tell me if you've chosen to join me!

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12May/144

Third Trimester!

Last weekend, I made a comment about being excited to work toward a "hot body" after Baby Girl is born. You know what my husband said? Among other encouraging things, he reminded me that I will miss pregnancy when it's gone so I should enjoy it.

He's right.

Here I am, 28 weeks pregnant. It is hot outside and only getting hotter. I want to wear shorts and tanks in effort to stay cool while continually growing out of my clothes, and sometimes I just feel out of control of my body.

In a lot of ways, I am. And that's okay. I can do what I can do and then let the rest go. Kind of life parenting. Kind of like life, right?

All the while, there is a little masterpiece growing inside of me, and I am bonding with her as the days go by. Friends and family and friends of family and family of friends are celebrating because NEW LIFE IS HAPPENING. It's beautiful and it's exciting and it's suspenseful because who is she going to be? I would never have guessed Nolan's personality, and I'm excited to learn hers.

PS. Her name is Selah Marie. It took me awhile to say tell because it sounds so much like my own name, but we knew her name is Selah for a long time. Marie is my middle name along with part of the name of two women I adore- my own mother and my grandmother, Charline.

A few more facts about this pregnancy:

1. My sister is due with her first baby (also a girl!) a couple of weeks before Selah is due. Did I already mention this? It's been wonderful to be able to compare notes through our pregnancies so far.

2. I opted to use a glucometer (test my blood sugar via a skin prick system) vs. drink glucola for my glucose test. My friend and holistic health coach, Kelly, encouraged me to go with my gut on this one, and I'm so glad I did. It's been fascinating to get a different look at how food effects my body.

3. For exercise and labor prep, I am currently walking, doing a belly dancing for labor dvd, practicing prenatal yoga, and doing The Perfect Pregnancy workout. Kelly is helping me make my health and self care a priority. The commitment is a little more of a challenge than I anticipated, and I'm grateful for the help. When mama's happy and healthy, the rest of the household is likely so, right? I am also drinking red raspberry leaf tea or a pregnancy blend for the health of my uterus.

4. A few favored foods right now: cheese. hardboiled eggs. chips. GIVE ME ALL THE SALT.

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11May/141

A Mothers Day Memo to the Unofficial Moms

This is a day that reminds us to thank our moms and tell them we love them, right?

I happen to have a mom AND mother-in-law without whose love and care have made the life I live and love possible. I'm SO GRATEFUL for them.

I think the biggest thing about Mother's Day, for me, is it's really saying "all those behind-the-scenes/mundane/sacrificial things you do and we might not see or otherwise acknowledge? ... we want you to be appreciated for those. We know you're awesome, although we don't know or talk about EVERY detail why."

I'm a mother of a 2 1/2 year old with another on the way. Today's "my day," too, and I like it. It's sweet to know the world will acknowledge the work I do at least once a year. ..but I want to talk about the behind the scenes right now.

I might not say it just right, and I'm sorry for that, but here it is.

Because there are handfuls of people whose love, time, and energy are molding me into the mother I can be proud of. Parents, in-laws, brothers, sisters, my husband. More than that and maybe too many to list, but  certainly the whole "it takes a village" thing is true. I am a mother, but I am not doing this alone (even when I feel alone), and my family is better for it.

There are women who have said goodbye to babies and children who left too soon. Mothers who said goodbye to children they couldn't take care of in hopes their kids would live a better life.

There are people whose mothers aren't around today and women who mother children that aren't their own in official and unofficial ways.

There are men who are taking over the mothering roles and men (like mine) who encourage and enable women to be even better moms and grandparents who become mothers a second time around.

I am thinking of you today. Celebrating, honoring, and appreciating you. You aren't unseen. You are loved, and you are on my mind and in my heart today.


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7May/140

At 27 Weeks Pregnant

Y'all.

I'm 27 weeks pregnant and in full-swing of this preparing to mother TWO kids thing.

I can't say that's been the case my whole pregnancy. I'm been up and down with feelings and eating and exercise. I am grateful to have been able to allow myself to be where I was at and work through. I'm grateful to friends who just let me BE where I was at and to another very special woman who offered me free prenatal health coaching sessions and has helped me tremendously to move in a healthy direction mentally, emotionally, and physically.

I'm at a comfy little spot of owning where I am and loving it. Also, the sun does not hurt the situation.

I'm the mother of a 2 1/2 year old little boy we call Nolan, who keeps me laughing and on my toes. I'm also the mother of a girl who seems to have staked out as much space in my belly as she possibly can. It has been hard to imagine having the same heart space for her as I have for my firstborn, but I'm in love with her now, and I'm so excited to meet her face to face.

And when I'm excited, I plan.

I'm some kind of hybrid of a planner and a scatter-brained creative, so I make LOTS of lists to check off.

A few lists I'm working on right now:

Freezer Meals. I'm looking for meals made of whole ingredients, preferably more on the vegetarian side of things, and dairy-free or using some form of goat cheese. (Newborns tend to be lactose-intolerant for the first two months.)

Tips I learn in my (amazing!) prenatal yoga class. My instructor is always handing out useful information, like how to know how to stay home as long as possible before going in to the hospital or things I can request or refuse. I think I'm going to remember it all, but let's be honest, pregnancy brain is real.

To do before birth. This is mostly about the freezer meals (I love to eat!), getting Baby Girl's room ready, getting Nolan ready, packing for the hospital (I'm especially excited about putting together this kit), workouts to prepare for labor, and stock up on a few things (like diapers! I'm still undecided on whether I want to go with cloth or not).

And not related to labor- what to put in my sunshine boxes? I'm working on putting together boxes of cheery and bright yellow or orange items that I can put together and give away at a moment's notice. I pilfered this idea from Pinterest, but the ideas I've seen are full of food from companies I'd rather not support, so I'm trying to come up with my own ideas. So far, I've got handmade earrings and Yummy Earth Lemon Drops.  I'd love to put together boxes made up of organic, local, and/or fair trade products that aren't SUPER expensive. It's a tall order, I know. I'll keep you posted :-) .

Any ideas for me? What are your favorite freezer meals?

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25Apr/140

There is always another side (or several).

It's time for my prenatal glucose test! (The exclamation point is entirely satirical.) Now, I have not yet taken one of these in my life. I was going to my local birthing center at this point in my last pregnancy and was allowed to do a simple blood test due the fact that I was a vegetarian at the time. This time, I am at an OB/GYN and the only alternative I am given is to test my blood 4 times a day for a week. I was fine with this until I realized that this plan might not go well with my chronic low blood pressure and low iron situations.

I called today to see if there is ANYTHING else I can sub for the glucose (even apple juice?!). I could tell the woman who picked up the phone was not thrilled to be fielding my questions. One thing I have learned since my last pregnancy is that it is always a good idea to speak up (in a kind way) about what I want for me and my family, so I was feeling irritated about the reaction of the woman I spoke to (I asked nicely!) until I realized she probably talks with demanding pregnant women all the live-long day.

Our connection was cut off (I have a bad habit of unconsciously hanging up with my ear) and I talked with another woman who didn't seem to mind helping me, and I think we were all grateful for my inadvertent faux pas.

Just a few minutes later, I was stressing over the build-up of a few things that were not going my way. I could use a nap, and tired pregnant me is easily overwhelmed and irritated. Our fridge is nearly bare, and I'd recently given up the idea of getting to the grocery store before dinner. "What are we going to eat for dinner?" I asked my food-loving toddler. He stood in front of our air popper and a full bowl of popcorn and exclaimed, "popcorn!" It was enough to make me smile and laugh and break me out of my stress fog.

It's incredible how many perspectives on any one situation there are to be how and how much looking at more than one of those can change our own.

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23Apr/140

Passion on a Small Scale

I've a firm believer in living out my passions, in giving because I've been given so much, and in contributing who I am in order to comfort some of the hurt that is in the world. I believe in being a part of redeeming what's been broken. That sounds kind of big and fancy, but for me so far it's been things like giving out fairly traded chocolates and then leaving the door open for conversation, stopping the guilt for loving homemaking stuff , making a bunch of food and then inviting the chaos in, saying yes when I have the space for it but would rather hide out at home...

I want to do BIG THINGS in life, but I need to tell you something: I have no idea what those "big things" are for me. Everything feels like not enough. I am the mother of one little adventurer with another on the way, a wife, a fair trade advocate, upcoming adoptive mama, and I am anxious for MORE.

In my head, I know that raising humans and how we treat any person we encounter, whether directly or indirectly, are not small things, but they are so easy to discount. You are doing a great job as his mama. I say yeah, but....

Everything I do feels like a little thing right now. Little things are those that I'm not going to mention when asked, "what are you up to?" or "what's new with you?" I'm probably not going to share a whole lot of what it means to herd a human being through his own develop, go on to explain how I treated someone really well,  or how I gave away my time and energy. Whose approval am I looking for, anyway?

I have no doubt there will be "more," but right now I am in toddler land, and I can do the food and the chaos. I can listen and share stories. I can give when I have something to give.

It's not fancy. It's not glamorous, but how I interact with my son matters big time.How I treat people who make my current lifestyle possible, the way I live out friendships, family relationships, my marriage- all of it matters.

I don't know if you're like me and don't "count" all those sorts of things as big things, but maybe we should stop that? You and I are making our mark on this world one day at a time. Some days it's hard and some days we fall and some days we have stories of triumph.

I am starting to believe that if I don't pay attention to the little things, the big things are going to be hollow, should I ever find them.

So I'm making it a point to come back here regularly, to talk about about the little things, and to offer a "me, too" after triumphs and challenges. I'm thinking maybe I can manage 2 or 3 times a week?

See you soon.

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