Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Christmas Blues

Its been a rough couple of weeks, but today I'm finally starting to feel like i'm on my way to getting better. Being 32 weeks pregnant with the flu from H-E-double-hockey-sticks is no picnic in the park. Joss got it first and it took her out of school for a whole week, She had a fever spike on day 3 up to 103. We took her to the Dr and it wasn't strep or anything that needed meds, just lots of steam, humidifier, and rest. It took her just over a week to completely get over it and still has a runny nose (two weeks later), but glad she's been back to school this week.

I caught what she had last Wednesday (halfway through her first week), and like her it started with the first three days low fever, 99, and on my third day fever spiked just under 101. but after that, I got the worst sore throat I've had in years. I couldn't talk at all for three days, and couldn't sleep because it hurt to breathe or even swallow. I had the humidifier on full blast all night by my bed, but mixed with the pregnancy discomforts really haven't slept the last three nights. By 4:30am I give up completely and just get out of bed to make Jocelyn's lunch for school, and try to get her things ready for the day. Today I still don't have much of a voice, but its my first day where I can take a sip of tea, soup, or even a little solid food like oatmeal and not cringe in pain while trying to swallow. The worst! Being pregnant and just wanting to sleep and eat because I'm so tired and so hungry, and having a really painful time trying to do either one. Today I was able to get a little nap in which also helped a lot. Hoping that by tomorrow I'll be even better.

Because of all this, we had to skip going to the trail of lights last night, which has been our annual family holiday tradition. Really sad we couldn't make it, but I found another family to give our tickets to from my birth center community so at least the $65 passes didn't just go to waste (glad I could give them to someone to use at least! and they said they had fun, it was their first year going with their little baby). I also had to skip going to centering yesterday for our 7th session and my belly check. I haven't been able to call to schedule a one-on-one appointment without a voice, so hopefully tomorrow I can call to schedule a make up appointment next week. Our 8th centering session is the first week of January, so that's coming up soon, but I need to get a check up before then. So far Jackson's been just as active as usual and nothing unusual pregnancy-wise has been going on, but I've never been sick while pregnant so I want to be sure to get checked out and make sure everything's okay. The worst part is that I can't take any medications, so its been more painful than if I wasn't pregnant, though lots of lemon/honee/ginger in hot water, throat coat tea, pho soup, udon homemade ramen, elderberry syrup, and raw garlic. Lots of cough drops, and chloroseptic spray at night. Steam showers and humidifier.

Also had to skip Saturday's yoga, which has been the only class I've been able to make it to during the week, and the next two Saturdays are cancelled for Xmas and then New Years respectively, so that means no yoga for four weeks. My lower back has been starting to act up again, I need to do a home video in the meantime, because going without for that long is pretty hard on my body, especially my back. I honestly don't know how anyone can go through pregnancy without yoga. It makes everything feel so much better and stronger... Hopefully I feel up to it tomorrow and get my lower back pains managed again.

Christmas is so soon! I'm happy that it looks like I should be better by then. And that Jason seems to be skipping getting what we've had (knock on wood he doesn't get it at all). Also though its not the trail of lights, there is a drive-through light show (tunnel of lights) a bit north of Austin that I think Jason will take Joss and I through Friday after work, so that should be fun for us and for Joss. And we will be in the comfort of our warm car and not need to deal with the crowds, parking, and all the walking out in the cold - because, YES its been so so cold!!! in the 20s and 30s. Which honestly I've been loving. Just a couple more months before I get to meet Jackson, can't wait to hold him. And my mom bought her tickets out here, so she will be here early Feb and stay with us through Jocelyn's spring break which will help so much in so many ways. Now Jax just has to wait to come until after she arrives :) So far so good.

Monday, December 12, 2016

30 Weeks

30 Weeks pregnant! 3/4 of the way through pregnancy, I keep saying and its still so true, the second time goes by so much faster. Centering last week included belly checks and everything is in the right place (as Thom Yorke would say). Baby is growing, strong and doing just what he should be doing. Feeling good, but getting tired again, and most nights in bed by 8:30 (or earlier).

This weekend Jason's office had an end of year celebration party, with all of his close 300-400 Austin co-workers. Its such a different experience to work for/with a large international company. Jason and I both have previous experience primarily with small businesses, and there is a lot of great experience that we've both gained, but the perks of working for a large successful business, with budgets and strict adherence to HR policies to take care of employees is also such a breath of fresh air. We are so grateful for this year that he's been with Forcepoint, and look forward to the years ahead of being a part of the Forcepoint family. It was nice to have a date night too, and Jocelyn had fun with Mary our house/dog/baby sitter extraordinaire.

One of the fun things that the party had was a "flipbook" photo booth. Here I am at 30 weeks, with Papa J. Such a fun idea, and they printed a flipbook for us to take home, which we gave to Joss and she loves flipping the pages. Here's the video I took of flipping through the pages of the paperbook...

So let's get real a second... today, for the first time in either of my pregnancies (or postpartum for Joss) I peed my pants. I know this is super common, but it was a bit startling. I didn't think I had to pee, but sat down on the couch, and peed a little bit. HAHA. Not to go through my jeans, but it made me run to the bathroom to make sure that my water wasn't breaking. nope just a tiny bit of pee. WTF. Oh well, here's to motherhood!

Also, yesterday Joss and I went to a vegan families of Austin vegan cookie exchange party and brought home a huge tray of wonderfully beautiful and delicious vegan treats. From sugar cookies, to oatmeal, chocolate peppermint, brownies, shortbread, lemon drops, pumpkin spice bread, chai spice snickerdoodles, gingersnaps, chocolate chip, and more. So grateful for the vegan community here! It was a lot of fun, and we also participated in a free kids yoga class that was happening where we were at Casa de Luz. A lot of great food there too, and a huge playground that i never noticed was there before (I hadn't gone since before Joss, but will definitely be going back not just for all the delicious vegan super healthy farm fresh hippy food, but for the kids to run around).

Keryn was there with her two boys, and she gave us another HUGE box of stuff for Jackson that her kiddos have outgrown. So we are now set up to about 6 months - at least according to the clothing sizes. Like she said, I have big babies, so who knows how long they will last me, but either way we are more than set for the first several months of Jax's life and then some with a steady stream of hand me downs continuing on their way. So incredibly grateful.

I sent out the baby shower/my birthday party evites, just about 10 people, keeping it small and fun this year and decided that Joss would have more fun with other kiddos, so we will set up the onesie decorating stations for kids to participate as an activity, and do a thumb-print canvas for Jackson's keepsake with all the friends that join us. Low key fun times. Invited neighbors with kiddos, and my mom friends and a couple more people. Just a couple hours, nothing too fancy, but will be fun! Hopefully Jackson isn't born before Jan 15th! HAHA.

Looking forward to trail of lights with Joss and Jason next week, such a fun magical time, regardless of traffic, and parking, and huge crowds, we had a lot of fun last year with my mom here with us, and It will be good to get out and walk around. Definitely bringing the stroller for Joss and to carry anything extra that we don't want to carry. Maybe this year Joss will want a picture with Santa, but maybe not, and that's okay, usually its a long line anyway. We did the Zip pass again this year, so we have access to nice bathrooms and the lounge area with free cocoa, not sure if they have soy milk but won't hurt to ask. Filling up on all the holiday joy and magic, concentrating on all the positives, love, and kindness. There is a lot to complain about, but building strong happy memories, strong friendships and community is the best I can do right now, and we are lucky to have the ability to do both, in good health and spirits.

Also, our holiday/Xmas cards are all sent! People are starting to message me thanking me for the cute pic of Angelic Joss, I'm wondering if any of them have seen the secret message inside the envelope about Baby Jackson... either way, whether or not you can see him yet (just like he is now tucked away in my belly), he's in our family card this year too tucked away in our envelopes! Love you Jax! <3

Monday, December 5, 2016

I passed my Glucose Test!

I am so so happy that I passed my glucose test! After all the waiting, it is such a relief that I will not need to worry about avoiding all of the occasional holiday sweets and treats that I like to indulge a little in this time of year. Not only that, but the 3 blood draws also test my iron levels, all of which were perfect! Vegan pregnancy strong for the win! (Its all about the kale).

Jocelyn has been having fun with her vegan advent calendar each morning, finding the next little window to open up and seeing what fun shape is printed on the chocolate, while we sit together next to our lit christmas tree.

Jackson is now roughly 3lbs, and heading into these last several weeks will start to really grow and grow! I haven't been to yoga in a while, the 7:30pm class time is so hard to get to now that it gets dark so early and my bedtime has been around 8:30 or 9. Saturdays classes should pick up again, but this weekend we had a birthday party and before that was Thanksgiving weekend so we had our own plans. I know that I need to stay active as much as I can these last months, it helps so much with everything leading up to birth and during labor.

Tomorrow we have centering, and Jason is coming to this class again as we continue our discussions with labor. Feeling really good right now, though getting tired again. Most of my fears have dissolved regarding birth, backup plans are set if baby decides to come before my mom flies out, passing the glucose test was such a mental relief, baby is moving and happy. We're all just so looking forward to meeting the sweet guy.

Jocelyn this morning came into my room to wake me up, and climbed into bed and asked for a big hug. She said, "I love you so much mommy!" and then hugged my belly and said, "I love you so much Jackson, you are so so sweet! I love our baby." What a wonderful way to wake up. She's already such a loving wonderful big sister.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Gestational Diabetes Glucose Test Day

This morning I went into the birth center to take three blood draws, after 13 hours of fasting (didn't eat since dinner the night before), and drinking a sickeningly sweet red glucose drink. Jocelyn stayed home from school today since she woke up with an upset stomach (no fever, but couldn't take her to school), and so she came with me. We brought some books and she was great waiting there with me for 2+ hours. There was a sweet little baby that was there in the waiting room with us for a while and Joss had a lot of fun getting to know him and his mama for a while before they went back for their appointment. Also Amber from my centering group was there for her glucose test too, so we were able to chat and pass the time together without counting the minutes and seconds to when we could finally eat again. This test was my least favorite part last time around, and the same goes for this time around. But I did it! And afterwards I took Joss with me to eat at Taco Deli (an early lunch, late breakfast -second breakfast for her) for tacos.

We now wait 2-3 days to hear back if I passed or not. Last time it was a close call, I did the one hour, then had to go back and do the 3 hour, and it was horrible doing it twice and all the fasting. The fasting part is the worst, especially as a vegan pregnant mama, I eat at least every hour. This morning with an empty stomach I was feeling queasy again, after finally getting over the morning sickness part... and then drinking the sugar drink felt even more nauseated, but ugh, I got through it. I really hope that I pass. If I don't, I will take it as it comes and do what I can to stay healthy, and keep baby safe, and ensure that I can continue to birth at the birth center. Fingers crossed.... I should find out by end of the week.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

27/28 weeks and counting...

27 weeks now (28 depending on which due date I go with), and Jackson is getting more and more active and now has a set routine that I'm familiar with. He likes to be awake and especially lively in the mornings after I drop Joss at school and sit and drink my tea and color or work on my quilt, around lunch time (which reminds me to make myself something to eat), after dinner, and when I lay down in bed to go to sleep, and for the last couple weeks 3-3:30am every night - so much that he wakes me up and I can't get back to sleep until 4 or 4:30 because I love feeling so close with him and picturing his sweet little being so innocent and loved rolling around in my belly.

There is so much madness going on in the world right now, its a pretty intense time to be pregnant, but I am focusing as much of my energy as possible inward to grow all the love and health inside me as I can muster. I really hope that my children's futures are brighter than things seem to be right now. Filling up my body and home with love and light, and giving as much kindness to everyone I interact with, every damn day. My heart aches for this country, and I can only continue to hope and love and stand strong for what I believe in, and the future that I believe in for my kids. All I can say is its been a hellova time to not be drinking... From surviving the non-stop visits with in-laws and family during fourth of July for three weeks I was in California (with constant chronic nausea), through the debates (continued nausea), and election results (actually throwing up), and now all of the holidays... On the bright side we are saving a lot of money without all that extra booze... right? And I'm bringing my A game to all the holiday cheer this year, my home is full of peace and joy and that's all I can do to stay sane right now.

For Thanksgiving, we honor a day of Mourning for the Native American lives lost with a moment of silence, and continue our vegan tradition to not put any suffering on our table. This year with me not working, and Joss being in school I am getting as much done as I can before Thursday, which even though I'm really slowing down in my third trimester, I am able to get it all together on my own like I always do. Yesterday I did the majority of the shopping (and had to go to two different whole foods because the first one - the bigger one- was OUT of tofurkey! Which is awesome, yay all the meat-free folks!). I made my chocolate mousse, and cranberry sauce, which are chilling in our fridge until Thursday. I'm also going to be making the tofurkey I picked up, and vegan enchiladas (mushroom, spinach and fake chicken ones for Jason, and 2 bean, veggie, and vegan cheese ones for me - the sauce is too spicy for joss but she'll have plenty else to eat), corn bread, vegan stuffing, mushroom gravy, mashed potatoes, macaroons, and organic green salad with my homemade vinaigrette. When I was at whole foods they were also selling pre-made 1/2 pumpkin pies, so I picked up a vegan one, and some vegan coconut whipped cream, and some of Jason's favorite oatmeal stout beer. Its going to be a feast! I'll make a few things before, and cook the tofurkey and mashed potatoes on the day of, and the rest I'll prepare today or tomorrow with Joss when she's home from school.

Our neighbors Rima and Ajit, are currently having their kitchen remodeled this week while she is off work (she's a Montessori teacher and they are closed this week), so I am going to invite them over to have Thanksgiving with us if they don't have any plans. I know her daughter also lives in town, but either way I want to be sure they are welcome here if want to join us. Or if they need to use our oven, I'll offer it to them, they are both vegetarian - Ajit is vegan, so I'm sure they will love our food either way and not bring any dead animals to cook if they need our oven.

Jackson is kicking! It makes me so happy to feel his movements, and imagine how sweet those first moments together will be. Truly magical. I've had more and more Braxton Hicks, more than I remembered having with Joss, but maybe I'm just much more aware of how it all feels this time around and more hyper sensitive. My next check up is first week of December with my centering group. I'm looking forward to it. Jason will be there again with us since we will continue to discuss labor. Well, time now to enjoy the company of my animals in my quiet house, finish my green smoothie and work on my quilting project while I watch Gilmore Girls again in preparation of the 4-part special coming to Netflix this Friday! Missing my mom, wish she was here to watch with me. Looking forward to having her here with us soon starting in February.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Centering Group, Session 4, February 2017 Babies

I have so many emotions running through me in regards to the election results, that I need to focus on positives right now. It's a hellova time to not be drinking, but yoga, crystal healing, and essential oils have been vital. And lots of baby kicks in my tummy, and cuddles with my big 3 year old, and puppy dog company and my cats snuggling up on my lap. We had rain finally come to Austin, my house is decorated with twinkly christmas lights on our tree, garlands, and my childhood ornaments up on the tree fill me and our house with warm, loving nostalgia. Its a hard time, its a scary time, but there is always something to be grateful for. Always something to hold dear and close and see the good.

Earlier this week, we had our 4th Session of Centering, we have quite a big group of moms this time around, which is such a wonderful contrast to last time I did centering and there were only 5 of us. I'm glad that I'm doing it again, and I'm glad that its a new experience for me with a bigger group. We all noticed how fun its been to meet once a month, and see how much all of our bellies have grown, and Annie suggested we take belly pics together each time we meet to see the changes, as we are all going through our pregnancies together. We all loved this idea, so here we are!

There was one mom that wasn't here with us to join the picture, so I think that makes 12 of us total (which is the max capacity for centering groups). I already am feeling like I'm starting to build some strong relationships with some of these mamas. 2 of the 5 moms from my first centering I am still in touch with from Jocelyn's birth centering group, and to have these friendships starting for baby Jackson's group fills me with a lot of love and joy. We're here to support each other! And my goodness seeing all of our babies together after we all give birth and can tell each other our birth stories, it so powerful and beautiful. Grateful for my birth center community! <3 <3

Monday, November 7, 2016

25 weeks

So hard to believe I've already heading into my third trimester. This pregnancy, I can't say enough times, is going by so much faster! This weekend I decided that we would start putting together christmas. With all the stress and election madness, I needed some magic and warmth, and cozy lovely energy. So we did it! We put up our new tree. We bought a new one this year to better fill our house (our old fake tree we had for about 7 years was a small table-top one that I sold at our yard sale last spring). Jocelyn and I had a lot of fun opening all of the boxes that my mom sent back with us to Texas of ornaments from my childhood. Unwrapping each one from the tissue paper was so much fun for Jocelyn, and brought us a lot of fun magical moments. Yes its still beginning of November, but considering how fast time keeps flying by, and how much energy I still have I figured better now, than trying to do it all when I'm much more pregnant.

Today I put up pre-lit garlands, and lit up our live-tree that lives in our house full-time. I also think that this year I will buy some tree scraps to hang around our windows to add the yummy christmas smell (and easier to carry/put up / dispose of than an actual huge live tree). I'm waiting until December to put up our stockings but the lights in our house make it feel so happy. I love it.

Today Jocelyn also starts her transition to the Cardinals classroom (3-6 year olds). We've been talking about it since I had the teacher's conference last week and was able to observe the work in the classroom. This morning when she came in and woke me up (I was already awake but laying in bed), she said, "Mama, I'm not big yet, I don't want to be a Cardinal. I'm not that big yet. I don't want to go." I invited her up on my bed and held her for a while. This transition is a big step, and I told her that it would be a slow transition, today just a visit for an hour or so, and she can just pop in to say hi to the friends in there she already knows (like Allie, Ivy, and Able). Its so hard growing up, and I know that there are so many changes happening, and with Jackson arriving in just a few months, there's a lot for Jocelyn to process, take in, and experience. Today at drop off, she seemed to be a bit more excited to check it out in her new big-kids classroom, and I reassured her that we can talk about it all when I pick her up this afternoon after nap. I'm so proud of her.

Jackson, is kicking more and more, and really moving around a lot. Jason and Jocelyn have now both been able to really feel him, as he's now much bigger and has bigger movements. I've also been re-inspired to try and get some more work done on Jocelyn's quilt today. Maybe I will end up making two quilts one for Joss and one for Jax. Depends on how much fabric I have.

This weekend Jackson also received a package from our dear friends in California the Moreland/Hinkle family! Gwyn's sweet little boy Henry was so nice to meet when we were visiting Mendocino this past July, and Jocelyn talked about meeting their horse Sunny for months afterwards. Gwyneth sent us all of the warm-weather clothes that Henry didn't get much of a chance to wear in foggy Mendoland, plus an honest company diaper cake! The cute ones with little anchors on them. So so thoughtful and sweet! What a beautiful, wonderful surprise.

Also, in getting all of our Xmas stuff out and up in the house, I got out all of the cloth diapers that I had stored in our guest room closest, and am going to start to get some kind of organization started for Jax's diaper table (currently being used in Jocelyn's room for her clothes - so we need to get her a new chest of drawers). I feel like I was much more organized and prepared before Joss arrived, but in all honesty, I really only needed diapers and a breast-feeding pillow - both of which we already have. Plus all of the wonderful baby clothes that we've already received from our friends.

Hoping to have a celebratory tomorrow after election results, holding out hope for Hillary... ready to stop stressing about it all. In the meantime, I quilt!

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

November! 24 weeks

November means I'm moving into my third trimester. THIRD! This pregnancy is going by so so much faster, and I feel so much farther behind than I was the first time around, though I now know that really all that I need after baby is born are clean cloth diapers, a thermometer, and a cozy place to lay around and nurse, along with a freezer full of easy-to heat high calorie foods. There is no hunger like the hunger of a postpartum nursing mom!

The Tuesday night yoga classes at the birth center recently have moved to the new further north location, which means it will take me 25 minutes to drive there, each way. The drive is twice as long as the Duval location where my other classes are, and still doable, but with bedtime for Joss I haven't been able to go the last two weeks. This means yoga is only on Thursdays and Saturdays now. Jason is very supportive though, and even though I know it puts Joss to bed later if I go, he's told me to do whatever I need to do. Thank you Jason! Maybe next week I'll go, I miss having yoga 3x a week. The other option is to do yoga at home with videos on my computer... just not the same as the yoga community and class though.

Halloween! It was a lot of fun. Joss dressed up as Twilight Sparkle, and all three of us went around the block a few times going trick or treating all together. We left a bowl of small toys out for the kids with a sign to take one. I eventually started to get tired so I headed back home to hand out the rest of our toys and vegan candy while Joss and papa J hit up the rest of the houses. I had thought I would paint my belly like a big pumpkin, but when it came down to it, I work my mama and baby skeleton shirt instead. Joss got lots of toys and non-candy treats, and a ton of candy. Half was vegan and I'll let her keep, and the other half we'll donate to one of the Austin Buy-Back programs and I'll buy a new little toy or game (via Switch Witch). The rest of the vegan candy I'm letting her pick out one piece when she comes home from school, and two pieces after dinner. So far working out well.

Tomorrow I have a haircut appointment! Wa hoo! My annual hair pampering haha. Excited to clean up the ends, I think I'm going to leave the length, and skipping on the hair dye. Jocelyn's hair was pretty tangly this morning before school, but I was able to help her brush it all out. She has SO MUCH hair, I asked her if she would like to cut it short so we wouldn't have to brush through all of the tangles, and she said, "But I have all of my curls in here. I love all of my curls. I don't want to cut them off." So we brushed though all those snags, I love her hair too, but there is quite a lot of it! I wonder what kind of hair Jackson will have, born straight and black like Joss? Turn curly and blond like Joss? I can't wait to meet and see him!

I've been having some few and far between Braxton Hicks. All totally normal at this point in pregnancy. Feeling really good, and looking forward to next week's centering meeting back at the birth center with all the February mamas.

This morning I went into Jocelyn's school to observe the Cardinals classroom (3-6 year olds), the next class up from her Warbler's group that she will start transitioning to starting on Monday. I'm so proud of her and I love our school. Walking into a Montessori classroom, with a bunch of 3-6 year olds is so impressively quiet, and calm. I loved watching all of them work at all of their different work stations. It has been a challenge at times to keep Joss is school while I've gone back to being a stay at home mom, but the best decision we have made for her and her education and socialization. Moving up also means that her tuition will also decrease a little bit, which will help us out too. She loves it, and it really shows in her progress, behaviors, and abilities to focus and practice her manners. I was able to talk with the head teacher as well to answer my questions. Its a wonderful community and I feel so confident to have her there during the day. The school fall festival was also last week, and Joss had a lot of fun running around with her friends, while I enjoyed socializing with the parents on the playground, and we all enjoyed eating a bunch of delicious food from the potluck (a lot of which was vegan, yum!)

Yesterday I ordered our family's holiday cards, our last ones as a family of three before Jackson joins us next year. November also means that I start brining out all of the holiday decorations, we bought a new bigger fake pre-lit tree this year, that I'm so excited to decorate with all of the ornaments my mom sent home with us this last trip to California.... a great deal of all of the special ones that were up on my tree as a kid. I love this time of year! We also started to watch Nightmare Before Christmas last night with Joss, but once Oogie Boogie was introduced she asked to turn it off... it was a little bit too scary. But she loved the first half and even though it was the first time seeing it, she was signing along with all of the music.

I have also now confirmed that our dog/house sitter (who also baby sits) can be available for us to call if/when baby arrives early before my mom comes to Austin beginning of February. So Joss can stay home and Mary can stay with her while Jason and I go to the birth center. Its pretty unlikely that I will deliver Jackson early, but as it goes with babies, you never know what their plans might be! Glad to have the backup, and also we asked our neighbor Rima who also said that she could help us if we need to. Feeling like our bases are covered. Worse case would be that we would take Joss with us to the birth center, but hoping to avoid that - for my sake to labor without distractions in privacy, and for Jason to be able to be there for me and give me his full attention.

Jackson is kicking up a storm, and I think that I'm ready to make myself a snack and cuddle up with some netflix before taking an afternoon nap. Having Halloween on a Monday night sure makes the rest of the week sleepy. And we finally got some rain last night! Off and on today, and should rain some more tomorrow. Such snuggly weather... still in the 80s today, but should drop down into the 70s by the weekend and hopefully stay that way and cooler for a while...

Friday, October 21, 2016

Another soon to be new baby on the block!

Talking with our neighbor Rima yesterday, I found out that one of my neighbors across the street is also pregnant, expecting a baby boy end of January! That's so awesome, to have two babies so close in age and so close by. We don't know these neighbors super well, but they are one of the few who moved to our block before we did. They didn't go to our block party a while back like the rest of our neighbors that we know know pretty well, but they are our same age group and just have different schedules than us 9-5ers. He is a DJ and she is a bartender... or at least that's what they were doing last we heard anything.

I have so many baby boy things that have already been given to me, so I'm putting together a little goodie bag for her and will stop it by her house later today with a little card with my phone number. It would be so great to have a mom friend right here, so close by! I wonder if she'll stay at home too. Yay! Mama friends in the making, and kids to grow up together on our block! So awesome.

Rima also told us (me and Joss) that yesterday was her birthday! I didn't know! So I'm going to put together a little gift bag for her too. She always brings by such thoughtful gifts for Jocelyn, never misses a holiday or her birthday, so I am going to find a little something for her and write a little card. I also asked if she would be able to be a backup for us if baby Jackson arrives before my mom gets here to watch Joss. She said of course, and that we have her number so its not a problem. Such a relief! Worse case, we could always bring Joss with us to the birth center but it would be pretty distracting for me, which would slow down my labor and progress, and also probably kind of scary/traumatic for her. In any case, my mom will be here beginning of February, so we should be just fine as far as making sure mom is here to watch Joss so papa and I can go have the baby with the support of the midwives and all the privacy and peace that my body needs during labor.

So grateful my mom can come out and stay with us too for such an extended stay. Its so hard to raise a family without family nearby, and my mom's visit last time after Joss was born was so special for all of us, and for me to just hold and bond with baby and not have to also worry about cleaning and cooking, eating, or running errands at the store. I could just snuggle up with my newborn and focus on being a mom, nursing and napping with the baby. It will be different with our big sister here too, which will also be such a great help, Joss is very helpful already and I can really see her helpfulness coming in handy after baby arrives. My mom being here to play with her and run around will also be so wonderful, and she will still be in school so I will have the mornings at home with just baby to bond and nurse and sleep.

Tomorrow really looking forward to the Siblings class that the birth center provides for big siblings, Joss and I will go there after Stella's morning birthday party. Its going to be a full day, but Sunday we don't have any plans so I'm looking forward to relaxing at home with papa and maybe running a few small errands.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Summer never ends in Texas

This morning I finally got through all of Jocelyn's thank you notes and will be sending them out today. I'm waiting on 2 more addresses of some of her friends, but the rest will be given out. yay! She helped write each card, and had fun helping earlier in the week. Today I finally wrote the grown up words along with hers.

Last night I acknowledged I had yoga, knew I should go since I didn't feel like going (when my body usually needs it the most), but instead stayed at home and laid on the couch while Joss and Jason had their "mom's at yoga movie night." I guess I still did my practice, it just only consisted of savasana (corpse pose) and didn't involve me having to get dressed or drive in my car.

Jackson is kicking up a storm as usual, and I am growing more and more eager to meet him on the outside. Last night I started to have the first feelings of not being able to take my full deep breath, as my organs are continuing to be pushed upwards inside my belly, starting to compress the space my lungs have. Jason said, "Didn't that happen in the 3rd trimester last time?" and I said, "Yes, but its just beginning. I'm ready to be done with pregnancy, and we still have a ways to go..." My first feeling of being over it, which is a good sign that I'm getting closer and closer to February. This incessant heat is also not helping. I was pumping myself up to not be my biggest during the hottest months of the year like I was with Joss, however I wasn't remembering that this is Texas, and its still in the 90s and we're almost in November. Usually I love the warm winters, but with my increased body temperature I'm so over it. Give me all the snow!

SO SO SO grateful to not be working this time around. There are a lot of set backs as far as things we would like to be able to do around the house that has been put on hold without my added income, some sacrifices financially to make it possible for me to stay at home, and continue to keep Joss in her Montessori school, but I am getting rest. Which is priceless. For my body, spirit and mind, and I am so grateful. It won't be like this forever so trying to enjoy it and not feel guilty about not being a bread winner right now. And not trying to over achieve by being 100% productive this whole time, but letting myself relax, which is so hard for my personality. But its necessary and I know is good for me and the baby, and also for our whole family to have a stress-free, patient, relaxed mama.

Speaking of, I need to make hair appointments for me and Jason. I saw in my facebook flashback feed that my last haircut was recently a year ago. So I think its time for me to get my annual haircut, and do a little pampering. Jason is getting a little shaggy too, so I'll make his apt for him. We love Chenoh at Black Orchid! Joss's god mama! Not sure who we'll have for god parents with Jackson yet, we have a couple ideas, but will decide for certain later, along with middle name, and secret Blackfoot name for him.

Hard to believe that Halloween is so soon. We have a lot going on before then. This weekend we have Stella's birthday party in the morning, then the sibling's class for Jocelyn at the birth center that afternoon. Then the following weekend Addison's Halloween Birthday Party, and Monday will be halloween. Since its still so hot out I'll have to wait to carve pumpkins until right before, so they don't immediately rot. Maybe we'll buy them this weekend, and put them outside until we carve them the next. I love this time of year! :)

Monday, October 17, 2016

3 Halloween Tips for Happy Healthy Kids

Halloween is and has for the most of my life been one of my absolute favorite holidays of the year. Now that I'm a parent to a vegan child, sometimes it can be a little tricky to make sure she has a great time, doesn't feel excluded and I don't have to limit her fun with the rest of her friends.

Here are my 3 favorite Halloween tips, not just for our vegan family, but for ANY family - wanting to limit their children's sugar intake, teach their children about compassion for other kids with dietary restrictions, and as a parent to be all - inclusive for kids who might otherwise feel left out from the fun. This year we are going to do all three, and are looking forward to all the fun ahead for the halloween season!

1. The Teal Pumpkin Project. 
Buy small toys, not just candy to hand out to trick or treaters. Advertise that you have non-edible treats and toys by painting one of your pumpkins teal and put it in front of your house. Print out the teal pumpkin flyer to post on your door, and/or by your treat basket to let visitors know what its all about. Bring awareness to kids who have severe allergies or dietary restrictions, and be a safe house they can visit on halloween to do trick or treating with the rest of the ghosts, ghouls, and witches.

2. The Switch Witch. 
After a fun night of trick or treating, collect all of your kid's candy, and read them a poem about the Switch Witch, who needs candy to feed her hungry magical cat that helps her fly on her broom through the night, to bring back a special toy for your child. Ask your kid to place all (or most of) their candy into the Switch Witch basket (or a special bag/box you create for this), and then when they wake up the next morning the candy is magically transformed and the new toy is there instead.

3. Halloween Candy Buy Back.
Many dentists, and some other participating businesses will buy your halloween candy from you after trick-or-treating. The money you get back, can be used to buy your kiddo(s) a new toy, a little spending $, or put towards something else. Some places will give free tooth brushes, toothpaste, floss etc, and many will also donate dental health products to kids overseas for each pound of candy that you turn in. Teaching children the importance of dental health, and compassion for others. Enter your zipcode on their site to find a participating dentist near you.

Wishing everyone a fun, safe, spooky holiday season!

22 Weeks

Feeling good, showing more and more of a baby bump and feeling more kicks. I am still tired, but getting more of that 2nd trimester energy boost, and nausea is pretty much down from 100-95% to 5-15% tops. YAY! Lots and lots of vivid adventure dreams, and not really any unusual food cravings, but still have a pretty strong aversion to coffee (sad face).

This was a full, fun weekend! It was Jocelyn's 3rd birthday party, and we had so much fun with over 50 guests (parents and kiddos) showing up to celebrate with her in the park. We made some vegan oatmeal chocolate chip cookies and had mini pumpkin pie tarts for the birthday song, along with organic berries and veggies hummus pretzels juice boxes and tiny water bottles. The face painter was a hit (as usual - I think all of us parents in Jocelyn's friend circle keep her hired all through Sept and Oct with all of these birthdays haha :) ). It was a long fun day, Joss had a blast running around with all her friends while I got to chat with the grown ups which was also fun for me and Jason.

We had another birthday party yesterday, and I was got to hold a friend's baby while there, and Joss really was so sweet and loved seeing a baby in my lap. I think reading all of the baby books, I'm a Big Sister books help to ease her into the idea of no longer being the only child, and welcome the idea of another baby. I was impressed, and after the baby got a bit fussy and needed his mom again, Joss then put a baby doll in my arms and said here, "You need to keep holding a baby, right here." She's already such a great loving big sister.

Today we have her 3 year check up at the pediatrician's office. I get to pick her up a little earlier than usual at school, and take her in to get height, weight, and all her usual healthy girl check up stats. Looking forward to seeing where she is on the percentile scales, vegan strong! :)

Everyone back in California is reporting back that they are in the fall weather now, with lots of rain and I'm just sitting here in Texas still in shorts and short sleeved, thin-fabric t-shirts, waiting for it to cool down. Still in the upper 80s/90s and ready for some rain and cool weather. Makes me really miss the redwoods and the comfy, cozy, sleepy town that I grew up in this time of year, and watching the ocean waves turn grey with the fog and stormy weather. My heart I think is always in Mendocino...

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Jocelyn's Big Day, Baby Boy Jackson.

Today is Jocelyn's birthday party. Last night I did just about all of the shopping and organizing with her, and this morning we are eating breakfast with some PBS cartoons while we wait for Party City to open so we can go buy some helium balloons, and then stop by HEB for some ice to fill up our cooler. Weather should be holding up today for a great morning/afternoon in the park! Its supposed to get back up to 90 degrees today, but hopefully stays comfortable enough this morning while we're there with our friends. 53 RSVPs including kiddos! Joss is so excited to run around with everyone.

We have Hail Mary's pumpkin pie mini tarts, and I baked a bunch of vegan oatmeal chocolate chip cookies last night with Joss. We have organic strawberries and raspberries that I washed last night, and a big tray of veggies and huge tub of hummus. Also a big box of pretzels in little bags to hand out, and some various vegan granola type bars (Lara Bars and these Rabbit Jr. organic ones with chia we get at Costco). We also bought a bunch of organic honest company juice boxes and water bottles. I have her big HAPPY BIRTHDAY Banner that I made for her 1st birthday, hung at her second as well, and will hang today. Some laminated photos of her as a baby that I will tape to the cement picnic tables, a big sheet of fabric to clip to a tree that I scoped out last weekend for a photo booth, charged my camera battery, and packed everything up in my car. Halloween-inspired party favors (bubbles, bouncy balls in a pink jackolantern bucket), bought paper plates, napkins, utensils, a big green "3" birthday candle, and packed a lighter, some trash bags, and am so excited to party! Almost as much as Joss :) I'm dressing up in a black maternity dress with cat ears, and Joss of course as Twilight Sparkle (my little pony) for our dress as your favorite animal theme, and then face painting at the park will add the finishing touches. so much fun ahead!

Jocelyn's actual birthday was this past Wednesday, and since her party is today, and our far away family has been sending her packages through out the week, we've been celebrating all week. Before bed Joss asks to hear her birth story, and ask about Jackson in my belly (baby boy Jackson!). I tell her how he kicks when I eat spicy food, just like she did. Then she narrates what he's thinking in my belly, "What is this? What is all this spicy food??? *kicking her feet and waving her arms around*" Talking with her about her birth all this week has been getting me more and more excited about Jackson's birth.

He's kicking more than ever, the bigger he gets the more Joss and Jason will be able to feel him too. Since my placenta is on the outside again, its hard for them to feel him, just like with Joss. But like Joss, give it another month and they'll be feeling him and his ninja moves in there!

So... JACKSON! We picked his name, Jax for short. This was going to be Jocelyn's name if she was a boy, and we still love it, so guess what? We're having a boy named, Jackson! Still undecided on the middle name... Lots of ideas, but might be a fun game to play at our baby shower again. Which brings me to...

BABY SHOWER! After discussing with our birth center community I've decided to throw a party again, even though we are untraditional and throwing it for ourselves, at our house again. Its such a challenge without any family here, but I'm okay with that. As far as registry goes, we pretty much have everything we need from hand me downs from friends, and we cloth diaper so I still have diapers from last time. I really enjoyed the fun activities, keepsakes we made, photos, celebration, and bringing love into our house making me feel supported by my community, rather than isolated and alone without family nearby - which I still feel vaguely pretty much all the time, raising our family out here on our own, but we are strong independent self-starters and this is the life that we have made for ourselves by choice and necessity to provide for our family and we are very grateful and happy to have what we have out here in the middle of Texas. SO! Faux pas be damned, I'm going to throw myself a birthday party baby shower/blessingway. Looking forward to it! Plus I feel like every pregnancy and kiddo should be celebrated, and Jackson should have his own day too. And my upcoming birth blessings and power wishes.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

21 Weeks

Farmer's market fun around the lake at Mueller. Past the halfway mark, feeling good! Weather's finally starting to cool down a little bit.

Belly pic of the week!

Watching the ducks

Standing with the Scrabble Art Cow <3

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Halfway Mark!

Officially halfway through this pregnancy. At this stage I should have gained about 33% of my pregnancy weight. So far I've gained 20lbs. Last pregnancy I gained 50lbs total (which is a lot), but since I have a super healthy diet, and stay active with yoga 3 x a week and walking, my midwives said it wasn't anything to worry about and all baby. Looks like I'm on track to gain about the same amount again, and maybe even more.

At our anatomy ultrasound, everything looked beautiful, normal and healthy. Checked brain, heart, all major organs, limbs, skulls, body, face (for cleft pallet) and everything looked great for our baby boy. Due to the size, they think the EDD looks like it could be a week or so earlier, and so far baby looks to be at the 66% percentile. Considering I have big babies, I'm taking my estimate for an earlier due date with a grain of salt and wouldn't be surprised if he comes a week or so late like Joss. First lesson in being a mom, be open and adaptable to change plans, and know we're not in total control. Who knows, maybe baby will be a January baby? you just never know!

Feeling great, more and more movements, such a wonderful feeling. My placenta again is anterior (meaning in front), so rather than my stomach, my baby, my placenta, my back (which is most common)... I have my stomach, my placenta, my baby, then my back. Baby right now is also neither facing up or down, but laying in my uterus sideways (head on my left side, and feet pointing out over to my right). I still have plenty of time for baby to move into the proper (head down) position, but just interesting to see and know on the ultrasound.

Baby is the size of a papaya, roughly 10"long and oh my goodness, I am just getting more and more excited to meet this little fellow. I had a dream about him meeting aunty Heidi and her boys, and their pet pig, (lol they don't have a pet pig), and he was such a cute big baby, even though less than a week old he had a full head of hair, blonder than Joss when she was new, and pretty green eyes like me. He was so strong and sturdy and was holding up his head looking around with big chubby cheeks.

Part of me is a bit nervous to have a boy, since I've only had a girl. We are both in agreement to NOT CIRCUMCISE.  I know that we will figure it out as we go, and mostly everything will be the same. We didn't know anything about babies before our first, and I think we did/are doing just fine. I just know that I want to do everything right and give our kids the best possible. Which I think is already doing okay. Jason is so happy to have a son on the way, and I think it will be fun to have one of each.

3 Years Ago

When we went to the birth center for our gender reveal appointment, Jocelyn wanted to see where she was born, and the Zen room was open, so we showed her the tub where she came up out of the water almost 3 years ago exactly. Magical moments happening right here folks. My heart is so full of love.

We also went to a friend's 3rd birthday party this weekend, and picked up a bunch of 0-3 month old baby boy items from his mom who has a 3 month old baby boy as well who outgrew all these wonderful items (many of which have never been used... as new born baby clothes tend to go). Having like minded (vegan) mom friends, means also not having all of the boy outfits plastered with sexist male propaganda, and sports themed everything (which is hard to do these days!). All stripes and animals :)

So filled with love and gratitude. Time to update our Baby Registry, as we are definitely set for the early months, aside from some newborn cloth diapers and a my breast friend nursing pillow.

It's a Boy!!

Baby Boy Fosse Meeler coming soon to a Valentine's day near you xoxox

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Cooler Days

Leaves are falling off of our pomegranate trees, our front oak trees are also starting to shed their summer leafy coats. The mornings are actually starting to be cooler than the afternoons and hot nights, this is one of my absolute favorite times of year. Open windows in the morning to let in the fresh air with the sunrise, sipping my kale smoothies and tea. In the quiet house after I drop Joss at school and Jason hasn't quite gotten up to go to work yet. These are my favorite moments, alone but with my dog asleep at my feet, and kicking baby in my tummy.

I almost forgot about yoga on Tuesday night. It was such a nice day out, ALL day it stayed in the 70s and below, windows in our house open all day. I picked Joss up from school and we went to a new park on the way home from school and ran around in the grass, walked the hike and bike trail, climbed a rock wall (she did) and went down a few slides. It feels so good to be outside again without the oppressive heat and humidity weighing me down. Afterward we went to the library by our house, and I got Jocelyn her very own library card. We read a large stack of books she picked out in the kids area, and talked with the sweet children's librarian who told us all about the upcoming Dia de los Muertos event that I'd love to take Joss to. After we were done reading, she picked out 7 books that we checked out at our self-checkout station and she was very proud to help.

We came home to a gift bag of surprises from our sweet neighbor for Jocelyn's (early) birthday present. A book, and some new markers, a kaleidoscope, beaded necklace and some stickers. Jason had to remind me that I had yoga, so I quickly made some dinner, collard greens and black eyed peas with tempeh, and then got ready and headed to class.

When I got there I was pleasantly surprised to see a new familiar face on one of the yoga mats, Ellen from centering October 2013! She's also pregnant again, due a month after me. We were able to chat and catch up a bit after class, and we are both so excited to see each other again. Our babies will be almost the exact same ages. Funny how that works :)

Yesterday after a night filled with weird dreams and restlessness, I took full advantage of being able to nap most of the day while Joss was at school, and after picking her up read all our new library books together and then spent time in our backyard after dinner in the nice cool night air, playing in her club house. There still are some mosquitos out, but not as bad as they have been throughout summer. Its so enjoyable to be outside, which means I'm gearing up to do some more gardening again soon.

Today I'm going to clean the pool, and hopefully get a few more swims in with Joss before it starts to get too cold in the water. And do as much housework as I can to distract me from needing to wait patiently for tomorrow when we all go to the birth center and find out gender!

I've been dreaming a lot about puppies, and getting another dog, which I know is NOT the time to do it, especially with all of Zombie's issues with dog-dog socialization, so I'll just take all of my puppy dog dreams as being reflective of my new little human puppy, and the new life that we will have join our family soon.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

19 Weeks

Its finally, FINALLY fall. The mornings are dark when we wake up (when Joss comes up to my bed and tells me, "Get up, its a beautiful day!") and this morning we saw a beautiful and eery overcast pink sunrise where everything outside seemed to glow. Thanks to the storms rolling through, we actually got some cool weather this weekend, today with thunder and lightning bringing our temps down to high/mid 70s. Before the rain started pouring we got out into our backyard for these 19 week pics, and Joss collected some interesting leaves that fell around our yard. There really is nothing quite like a thunder and lightning storm here. The baby has been especially kicky today, maybe all the thunder is shaking them up like it shakes all the bones of our house.

This Friday we find out gender, getting ready to shuffle our deck of name cards a bit more seriously and weigh in on our favorites. In yoga and meditation, I'm still focusing on letting go of fear. Feeling the baby kick more and more helps me feel more connected and relaxed into knowing that my body is working hard to do what it needs to do, without me needing to think about it or do anything but just breathe, and trust that I am enough (you know aside from everything else I'm doing to take care of my body, nutrition, health, wellness...).

Still hard to believe that this second baby is REAL, especially after our previous miscarriage was such a hard loss to get over. But baby is strong, and we are healthy, again letting go of fear is something I keep reminding myself this time around. All of the movement also makes this baby more real, and I've been trying to imagine more and more my day to day moments with another little person here with us, while we drink our morning tea and coffees, painting, going out to eat, dancing with or without music, watching cartoons, listening to the rain outside, cleaning house and cooking dinner, bath time, bedtime, all our routines adding in another family member. Trying to picture it more and more, and know that everything again will change again after baby's here. And trust that everything is working as it should, and will fall into place when the time is right.

Also hard to believe this pregnancy is already almost to the halfway mark of 20 weeks, remembering to breathe and slow down as much as I can.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Heart and Soul

On Mother's Lap, and I'm a Big Sister are Jocelyn's two new favorite books. We read them when we get home after I pick her up from school, and she has Papa read them to her before bed by request. She says the words along with us, and quotes the Big Sister book throughout her day. "I can help! I'm a big sister now!" I love watching her become a sister.

Yoga last night I requested some deep squats, and lizard poses and we got them! Another mom also requested some deep squats, so I wasn't alone. It felt good to get those deep stretches, and do some rounds of sun salutations too, work us a bit harder. As expected, lizard pose can bring up and release more emotion. Last night and this morning I felt extra sensitive, more so than usual. More lovey and close with my family, Joss reading on my lap before school this morning, and kissing Jason goodbye before he left for work. At drop off I felt more sensitive to other people too, I held a door open for a teacher with her arms full, and she thanked the lady behind her, not me, didn't say or look at me though I was the one holding the door in front of her. I was crushed. Am I invisible? I let my feelings come quietly, and I let them go. Feeling more sensitive than usual, letting myself feel it all, and let it go.

Yesterday Joss and I went swimming in our pool. Even though tomorrow is officially Autumn, its still 90-95+ degrees with ambient temps in the 100s. Swim while we can! I love the feeling of swimming with my big belly like I did the summer before Joss was born, I wasn't sure how much swim time I would get this time, since I will be biggest in winter. I'll swim again today, after I do some yard work, mow front and back yards... get ready for planting fall/winter garden and freeze the MASSIVE amount of basil that I need to harvest. We found a natural company that handles pest control, since we found some ant hills in our backyard and were interested to get rid of our mosquitos safely. Barefoot Mosquito uses mostly essential oils, and are coming out next Monday to treat around our pool and yards. Safe for me and baby, our family, and pets and as humane as possible without a bunch of gross chemical toxins. Sorry fire ants, you are NOT welcome here.

I'm enjoying reading more Peaceful Parents, Happy Siblings, and also REALLY enjoying our new anti-TV rule in our house. I think we are all sleeping much much better, and its a lot more fun to work on art together, paint, craft, read, puzzle, sing, dance, brush Zombie and our cats, swim, and soon we can enjoy being outside when its not SUPER super hot out... Joss is doing great with putting herself to sleep in her own big girl bed in her room. We have a solid routine down, and I'm very proud of her.

Brainstorming ideas for baby planning, if baby comes early, before my mom flies out to watch Joss, maybe our next door neighbor Rima can come over and stay here. Joss loves her and its the most convenient and easiest for last minute labor if it happens before we expect it. I need to ask her about that. Also, I really like the idea to make Jocelyn her own book and started it for her already, I think that I'll present that to her at my baby shower, birthday party, blessingway in January. I'm also looking forward to all our new (old) XMAS ornaments that my mom sent home with us that i grew up with on her trees, to hang at our house this year. Feeling wonderfully nostalgic, as i usually do this time of year, but mixed with my extra pregnancy emotions and hormones, feeling extra sentimental. Jocelyn's birthday (my first birth anniversary), carving pumpkins, costumes and trick or treating, vegan thanksgiving feast and day of mourning and peace with family, christmas cookies, and presents, and lights and trees, new years kisses and bubbly drinks, another year around the sun for me with added love of also celebrating new baby, and then before we know it, the newest member of our family will make their appearance. Loving all of these cozy moments unfolding before us.

A week from Friday we find out gender. I've had a few gender dreams, but so far nothing conclusive, so I'm still unsure if we are having a boy or a girl, just a little over a week and we'll find out! Already thinking of names. And to end, yesterday, Jocelyn started to draw her first hearts. "Mama, come here! Look! I drew a heart!" So much love for my family, this baby sure is loved and we can't wait to meet him or her!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Children's Books for a Growing Familiy

Baby is now the size of a sweet potato! A week from Friday we find out gender and start the name brainstorming. We have a few ideas left from last time, but will also need to start thinking of secret Blackfoot names too. So exciting!

Since I moved our baby shower to January, for my birthday party/baby shower, I removed the books that we added for Joss to prepare for new baby. We bought them now to read them to her and get her used to the idea of having a new baby more and more, and sharing more of the experience with her. I like how the first two below go more into the details of what's going on with Mommy's body, and the third one is more about memories and emotionally comforting. Joss has enjoyed all three of them.

We also ordered two more that should be arriving today:

More and more I'm feeling baby kicking, and according to my pregnancy apps, baby can now hear our voices and sounds. Jocelyn enjoys singing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star to my belly and giving the baby hugs and kisses. 

Last night I had some very adventurous dreams, where I had the power to fly, and went on a large community traveling adventure with friends from every stage of my life so far. It was full of fun, freedom, empowerment, and letting go of fear. My purpose at the start of my yoga practice, each time has more of less been to let go of fear. My dreams last night were a wonderful celebration of that, and welcoming in the next adventure ahead. 

I also received an email from the AABC family fun fair from a photographer that I signed up to get on the mailing list, with a $50 gift certificate attached, and entered into a raffle to win a $200 credit towards a portrait session. With Jocelyn we didn't take any portraits, outside of using our own nice camera, but after baby is born I like the idea of having a portrait of the baby with Jocelyn. Also this photographer includes belly casting with her packages, which I didn't do the first time either, and I'm also interested in having that done as well, considering this may very well be my last pregnancy. 

Unlike last time, I will also be pregnant for Halloween! I know I wanted to paint my stomach like a big pumpkin before, so maybe this year I will. We also hired our face painter to be at Jocelyn's party for 2 hours, so if there aren't any kids who are wanting more face or body paint at any point, maybe I'll have her paint my belly haha. It is going to be a wild animal halloween-birthday theme, maybe have her paint a big Lion's face/head on my belly haha. 

Thinking about hippy witchy baby/belly traditions like belly painting and belly casting, I want to do another labor necklace this time, and maybe I should add that my birthday party/ baby shower is also a blessing way. Guests are invited to bring a bead or object of significance that I can string together into a necklace that I wear and hang at my labor to bring in blessings for the new baby and my birth experience. A BBB! (Birthday, Blessing way, Baby shower!) I can already imagine my husband rolling his eyes, but not to worry there will definitely also be Booze for everyone not with child. HAHA. Happy monday y'all!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Birth Center Fun Fair

Yesterday we went to the Williamson County AABC location's Grand Opening party and family fun fair. We had so much fun! Starting with 10 am prenatal yoga (papa and joss went to get coffees and had a pay it forward moment where the man in line ahead of them paid for their order! feeling the love). It felt so good to stretch and breathe, connect with my baby, and center my body and mind - especially after missing class Thursday night. When class was done, Joss had made it to the front of the face painting line, and was getting Twilight Sparkle on her cheek (a my little pony unicorn with wings). There was a bouncy house that Joss had a BLAST bouncing in, it was the first time she was brave enough to get in there and jump around and she loved it and was laughing up a storm the whole time. Such joy!

We also saw many familiar faces from the birth center, including midwives that attended Jocelyn's birth, who to me sort of feel like celebrities. I saw Ros, who was there with Cat when she caught Joss, and said like a starstuck fan, "Hi Ros! It's me, Tyler, you were there when my Cat caught my daughter in the birth tub, she's almost three now." [Polite nodding, and pretending she remembers every mom that she's attended to - I don't know maybe she does!] "Now we're onto baby number two! At the Duval center, anyway so great to see you, hope to see you there soon!" [Everything outside of asking for her autograph] Haha, honestly though, our midwives are such rockstars, I am so completely grateful for all the work that they do for us moms, and babies, and dads and families. THANK YOU!!

They also had a kid's train, that we rode around the neighboring parking lots and had a lot of fun with that too. I checked out all the booths, and there were some vegan pies there even, with amazingly delicious samples (not only vegan, but gluten, soy, corn, and just about all allergy-free). I had the pumpkin pie and apple pie samples, and also one of their fan favorites, a pie-crust cookie with chocolate on top. What a treat! I usually don't eat many sweets, but they said they are taking orders for Thanksgiving, so I might need to order one. They were really, really, good. I kind of want to learn how to bake more, and do more baking of my own, I've just never really been that interested in it before, aside from fresh baked cookies.

I've been reading more of Peaceful Parents, Happy Siblings, and found a lot of helpful suggestions to start bonding the older sibling and the baby, many of which we have already been doing, but some creative ideas that also are really helpful - to make a personalized transition book. Here's the suggested template to use and personalize, "Nate Gets a Baby Brother", or make your own entirely. I'm through the pregnancy chapter and onto the suggestions for brining home baby and am starting to think about great ways to mindfully give our oldest all the attention she needs, and involve her in care giving and the growth of our family. What stuck in my mind, and I want to continue to be mindful of, is to never say, "Don't touch the baby," "Leave the baby alone," "walk away from the baby," to our older sibling, but to rather include the experience with them.

I'm already almost halfway through pregnancy, I keep saying this, but it really goes by so much quicker the next time around.  I'll try and get Jason to take some new belly pics to post.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Another Vegan Baby On The Way!

It still amazes me how eating super nutrient rich foods with a whole food vegan diet has so much stigma still attached to it, more so than moms that feed their children fast food ("Where do you get your protein?" "Children need to drink milk!" "How are you vegetarian in Texas?" "Just eat a burger," "You'll all be anemic!") ... So, after being vegan for 15+ years, with an almost 3 year old vegan child, I'd like to recap that eating a balanced, cruelty-free diet is totally possible (and easier than most people assume), PLUS! your baby and children can absolutely thrive. We eat burgers too in moderation (veggie burgers), have had all of our blood work consistently come back with excellent iron counts (have never been anemic), and get tons of protein from all of these foods:

My first daughter I breastfed until she was 2 3/4 years (baby led weaning), no formula, all vegan breastmilk along with a healthy fully vegan balanced diet. Here are my 1st daughter's stats through her infancy (if there is a percentile, those stats were from her doctor visits/wellness exams):

At Birth: 9lbs 9oz, 23 inches long (3 lbs placenta!)

WEIGHT: far above average before she became mobile, and continuing above average as she became more active!
2 weeks: 10 lbs (midwives checkup)
2 months: 13lbs 9 oz (98 percentile),
3 months: 15lbs
4 months: 17lbs 11oz (99 percentile)
5 months: 18lbs 15oz
6 months: 19lbs 14 1/2oz (98 percentile)
7 months: 20 1/2 lbs
8 months: 21 lbs
9 months: 21lbs 11oz (89 percentile)
10 months: 22lbs
11 months: 22lbs
12 months/1 year: 22lbs 8.5oz (74 percentile)
15 months: 23lbs 13oz (66 percentile)
18 months: 25lbs (58 percentile)
24 months/2 year: 28lbs (68 percentile)
36 months/3 year: __________________(apt next month)

HEIGHT/LENGTH: super tall strong girl!
2 months: 25 inches (100 percentile)
4 months: 27 inches (100 percentile)
5 months: 28 inches
6 months: 28.5 inches (100 percentile)
9 months: 30 1/4 inches (99 percentile)
12 months/1 year: 31 1/2 inches (98 percentile)
15 months: 32 3/4 inches (98 percentile)
18 months: 34 1/4 inches (97 percentile)
24 months/2years: 38 inches (100 percentile)
36 months/3 years: __________________(apt next month)

HEAD SIZE: eating lots of healthy brain foods to thrive body and mind!
2 months: 41cm (94 percentile)
4 months: 43 1/4cm (95 percentile)
5 months: 45cm
6 months: 46cm (99 percentile)
9 months: 46 1/2cm (97 percentile)
12 months/1 year: 47 3/4cm (98 percentile)
15 months: 48 1/4cm (97 percentile)
18 months: 49 1/2cm (99 percentile)
24 months/2 years: 50 1/2cm (99 percentile)
36 months/3 years: __________________(apt next month)

Looking forward to making another big healthy vegan baby, and helping my family thrive with all their beans and veggies.
Kale Yes!

Night at School, Reading Recs, Parties.

Last night I had to miss yoga so we could attend Jocelyn's Parents/Teachers meeting for the Cardinals room. She hasn't moved up yet, but will in the next month or so, and it was great to hear from the teachers on the daily routine, and have more information and helpful suggestions to bridge the Montessori lifestyle from classroom to home. Everything about Montessori is so totally right on with just about all of our parenting philosophies, and how we raise and aspire to raise our children. From encouraging them to do as much for themselves as possible, from putting on their own clothes/shoes, carrying their own things/lunchbox to class every day, respecting their concentration on their work, and overall being their "scaffolding" where we observe, and are there to help guide but they are the ones figuring things out on their own.

The one area that we know we need to work on more is our screen time, I know we're not alone and theres so much guilt that comes with it (one of the teachers brought this up), but we definitely need to work on more screen-free activities, which I have been doing since I've gone back to being stay at home. More art projects, more crafts, more reading, more puzzles, and lately we've been doing iSpy books and Joss loves it. Finding the hidden objects in the pictures. Still, we do settle into being lazy and watching Netflix after a long day, which starts with our behaviors as adults - to model and pass down our own habits... so that we are definitely taking home to work on.

Moving her forward through time, seeing into the next class up I learned that they don't teach the alphabet letter names (A, B, Cs) but they teach the letter sounds. All in lower case. I think this is interesting and makes sense to help foster early reading skills. I also really appreciate the strong respect displayed by the teachers for the children's work periods, and encouragement, - also using consequences rather than discipline, and no time outs but rather 'time ins' where we talk together which is our approach at home too.

There was some reading recommendations that fell right in line with the EXACT books I just bought this past week, both of Dr. Laura Markham's books (which were mentioned several times), and of course Janet Lansbury's RIE blog (I love her! She's helped me so much how to learn to be a parent and raise my daughter). There also was an interesting reading suggestion for what to read to our children... rather than fantasy, read real life stories - which usually is seen to be for only adults but is totally in line with Montessori principals. I never really occurred to me (instead of reading a story about a talking cat, read a story about a cat that is narrated by a child, etc), there is a reading list they said they would email us parents, so I'm looking forward to checking it out. Also another reading recommendation was to read our children poetry, another example of reading that tends to be seen mostly for adults. But poetry is real, real life experiences that fosters imagination and wonderful to share with our young ones.

So I missed yoga, but as usual it was wonderful to go to Jocelyn's school and listen to her teachers speak. I'm looking forward to the next events coming up too. Today I'll do some yoga at home to keep my lower back feeling good, and overall wellness. I also decided to change our baby shower from being a pre-holiday November event (which is also right after Jocelyn's birthday), but to make it a birthday party baby shower for MY birthday in January! Its only one month before my due date, so I'll big pretty big, but I think that will be easier after all of the holidays, plus I'll also get a little birthday party with it so yay! I won't think about it now for a while until after Jocelyn's birthday, and Halloween. I still have time.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Nursing Yoga

A friend shared this on Facebook, and I love all of it, so beautiful, so honest, click the link to see all her photos. <3 <3

Breastfeeding yoga poses (from carleebyoga instagram)

Gardening, yoga, and reading.

Its starting to get nicer outside, and I'm so looking forward to spending time in our backyard, walking through parks, and opening our house up to fresh air again. I need to start thinking about switching out our garden for fall/winter, right now all of our basil plants are 4-5 feet tall. Anyone need basil? Our jalapeno and habaneros are still producing, and even though I've been neglecting our spring strawberry patch, today they had more blossoms, so who knows if we'll get anything but looking forward to finding out. Our small indoor mini hydroponic system is still producing cherry tomatoes so that's been fun too. Soon I think we'll switch everything out of that for a counter top herb garden by our stove. Next up, kale, kale, kale, more kale, beans, peas, and a carrot patch. Also want to replant some parsley, I think I put them in too much sun this summer because they were pretty unhappy and barely grew before drying up completely.

I'm always so happy to go to yoga, and last night, like most nights, felt so good to go in and stretch and release everything for an hour. Just focus on me and baby. We did some stretches for my leg cramps/calves, and a bunch of squats and breathing exercises. So far we haven't done any deep squats or lizard poses in any of the classes, and I'm hoping we can get in there and work more of our hip flexors and dig into it. I'll mention it to Sarah next time I see her.

Unfortunately I'll have to miss tomorrow night's class, but I'm looking forward to going back to Jocelyn's school for another classroom meeting for parents and teachers, this time in the next class up since she will be moving up soon. I'm hoping that Jason can also make it if he gets off work in time, he's been working so hard and I appreciate all that he does for our family so much. Such a great partner, parent, and supportive family man. Thank you Jason!

The book that I intended to order (Peaceful Parent, Happy Siblings - rather than Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids), should be arriving today, so I'm really looking forward to starting it. The Happy kids one is also supposed to be great, but the siblings one is more helpful for sibling rivalry and bringing home a new baby into a home with an older child.

The baby has been moving more and more (or rather more and more that I can feel), and I absolutely love this sensation, like being tickled from the inside out with little baby high fives and foot prints. Getting more and more excited to meet the little one, find out gender and start thinking of names! 2 more weeks!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

17 weeks, 2 days.

First leg cramps, ahhhh! So we went straight to the store for more bananas. Hoping yoga tonight will also help.

First Centering Meeting and Broken Toe Nail

Today was my first centering meeting and it was so great to meet all the new mamas to go on this journey with in the coming months and weeks. 5 of us were there today, and I'm happy that I'm not the only mom with another kiddo. For another mom this will be her 5th, go mama! :) The rest of the ladies are first time moms. We pretty much focused on introductions, and played some ice breakers, then discussed some of our general discomforts and proper nutrition. We had to squeeze two sessions into one, since our last session was cancelled due to not enough mamas signed up, so it went really fast. Looking forward to next month already, and for getting to know this group of women more and more.

My belly check with the midwife also was A-Okay, perfect heart beat, measurements look right on track and today I'm feeling pretty gosh darn good. I'm up to 155lbs, gained 15lbs since pre-pregnancy, which is also right on track, blood pressure also looks good. Getting back into prenatal yoga has really gotten my lower back pains to subside, and I overall feel like my energy is coming back and I'm less sleepy (though still pretty damn tired all the time).

I'm looking forward to my second time around with centering, it was so beneficial last time, and there really isn't anything comparable to the care and community that I felt supported me more than anything else could during pregnancy. So grateful for the birthing center, and to be here again. This time around we haven't had any Micheal Scott references (I miss you Michelle! haha), and we now have these handy centering notebooks with pages to fill out and keep track of our pregnancies, neatly in a spiral bound book (nerd alert!). Last time we just had a staggering amount of photo copies loosely stuffed into our purple folders (this time the folders are blue). There are a lot of new faces, and all of the midwives and assistants weren't there when I birthed before, so its nice to meet new people though I also look forward to seeing familiar faces when I'm at the center. Its a good balance of familiar and new.

Also exciting, today I scheduled our gender ultra sound, coming up on the 30th. Jason will stay home from work, and I'll keep Jocelyn home from school so we can all go together as a family. I'm so excited! Last time we really wanted a girl and we got Joss, this time around I really could go either way. I'd love to give Jocelyn a sister (she keeps saying she wants a sister), but I know Jason would also love to have a son. As for me, as I could go either way and be happy. Just looking forward to finding out!

I finally figured out Jocelyn's birthday, set up our location at a nearby park and reserved the party area, sent out evite, and invited her classroom. We are having a wild animal themed, pre-halloween costume party with a face-painter (you bring the costume, we paint your face!) who also makes balloon animals for party favors. This year I'll bake her cupcakes, and I'll take photos. It should be a lot of fun! We were going to go camping, but our mom friends weren't able to commit, and Joss really wanted to have a lot of her classmates there, so this makes more sense. I can't believe she's almost three, already!

We had an eventful weekend, after Joss went down for a nap, I napped too but she woke up before me and decided to put on my makeup - on her face, body, clothes, our bathroom - mirror, sink, floor LOL. It was so hard not to laugh, but I calmly said that we need to ask mommy before we play with her make up, and let's clean this up. So I gave her some wash cloths and took a video of her self-inflicted makeover while helping clean and my goodness so cute, worth my destroyed expensive powders and lipsticks (thank goodness she didn't get into my liquid eye liner and red lipsticks!). After all of that we went out to dinner, and Joss stubbed her toe so hard it broke off half of her big toe nail :( Lots of blood, lots of tears. I've learned to never leave home without a dozen band aids in my purse, so we bandaged her up, and she seemed to calm down - but it looked so painful, my poor baby. Its getting better and better early day.

Last night we had a parents and teacher's meeting at Jocelyn's school. We talked about the school day, and the work they have in the classroom, and we were able to have a discussion Q&A. I love Jocelyn's school, and am looking forward to the upcoming school events for parents in the months to come. One thing that I'm sad about, is that the annual school Casino night for parents falls right smack dab on/around our due date, so most likely I will have to sit this one out as I will be either in labor, or recovering postpartum. But in the meantime, looking forward to the full school walk through and Montessori overview from 0years-6. Lisa the head teacher also spoke with me last night that she liked my book suggestion for book club (Peaceful Parents, Happy Siblings), so I'm looking forward to seeing it on the agenda hopefully in the months to come.

I also set a date for our baby shower, but its tricky with all the holidays in the coming months... but it will all work out. We'll have it casual at our house again. I need to figure out games and prizes, and party favors, but regardless should be a lot of fun.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

17 Weeks

17 weeks today! This week in pregnancy marks that the baby is now about to make fists and put them in their mouth, head to heel the length of an asparagus spear (7.75 inches long), heart is beating strong pumping 100 pints of blood a day, and as I have been feeling now more and more regularly, actively moving around doing flips and jumps and cartwheels. My baby also may start to get hiccups around this time (haven't felt them yet, but I loved that feeling when Joss used to get them while in my belly, haha so so cute and funny). I have first centering on Tuesday, so looking forward to it, and meeting the other moms and dads. Also need to book the gender ultrasound, also exciting!

One thing I never experienced until I've moved to Texas, cartoon-like rain clouds. You can be somewhere where its not raining at all, or lightly sprinkling, and look 15 feet ahead of you and see heavy sheets of rain - MASSIVE amounts of water pouring down. You can live on one side of the city and have no rain all day, while a friend only a mile away gets drenched with total downpours. Its like the cartoon rainclouds or rain out of the Truman Show, and pretty normal to me now, but still cool to witness.

Yesterday on my way to morning prenatal yoga, I drove straight into one of those rainclouds, was pelted for the 5 minutes as I drove through, then it let up the further north I went to the birth center. I'm happy to say that the cloud moved over our house later and hit our garden, so hoping for another harvest of habaneros and jalapeƱos before the season's up (which reminds me of my dream last night, our garden was FULL of peppers, so many peppers red, orange, and green, so plentiful!)

It was a good yoga class, my body is feeling pretty good these days, minimal lower pain now that I've started up with yoga again, and less nausea but its still there if I don't keep eating snacks all day to keep my blood sugar up. After yoga I came home just to eat lunch then went back to the birth center for the clothing swap. It was the first one I've been to that I didn't plan and organize, and was really nice to not have to stay the whole time, and just show up and leave after finding things that I needed. There were so many cute baby items, but I decided to wait until we find out gender before taking anything home. I hope there is another one before baby is born. I started by doing them monthly, then when I went back to work switched to quarterly. Nicole the new organizer did a great job hosting, hoping she will do them regularly. I picked up a whole bag full of maternity items I needed (aka items that are not things I would wear to a full time job as an accountant - which is what all of my maternity clothes were last time around) and some more cloth diaper prefolds. Also there were a couple bigger kid clothes there and I picked up 2 shirts for Joss. Its nice to see the moms I've already met at yoga, and socialize a bit. Not worry about all the pregnancy TMI conversations that I'm interested in having, because they are pregnant too - like how many pairs of depends should we take home to prepare for after our birth? I said at least one for each day of the week, she took the whole bag. We bonded. Over depends. I love it, haha.

Other than that it was pretty much a nice lazy Saturday with my family, we watched movies, read books, and went out to dinner at Michi Ramen where we saw one of Jocelyn's friends eating there with her family too. I love seeing Jocelyn at this stage where she's interacting with friends, where she recognizes her classmates, knows their names, and they can talk together. Having her in school is so wonderful for her social skills, and I hope that she can keep some of the friendships that she's making now for a lifetime, like I have with some of the friends I made when I was in preschool.

This is the first weekend we've had in a month without a birthday party to go to. Which reminds me that I still need to figure out and plan Jocelyn's birthday party coming up one month from tomorrow (3 years old!), as well as costumes and pumpkins for Halloween, my baby shower, and then menu plan for our family vegan thanksgiving, prepare Christmas and do all the last minute getting ready for baby things needed before February. I love this time of year! But time is speeding along and I feel less prepared this year than I usually am. I like the idea of a party in the park for Joss, as long as the weather holds up. I need to figure it out soon, places in the city book up fast.

My nails are growing so fast, so is my hair. I treated myself to a pedicure last week (so worth it and nice! dark, fall, blood-red/black toes), since its harder and harder to reach my toes on my own with my growing belly, and I probably should get a haircut but I'm too cheap and mostly just wear a pony tail, bun, or braid anyway. I love pregnancy hair.

I also worked more on our registry, and thought about getting a crib this time around until I looked at the prices. Not just the crib, but the crib mattress, the sheets, the mattress cover, the accessories, and all that shit is so damn expensive. Since we will probably most co-sleep again anyway, I ditched the crib idea, and added a side-car co sleeper this time. The middle of the bed co sleeper we got for Joss, we barely used since she was so tall/long and out grew it in about a week. That was the other thing that ran through my mind at the clothing swap, looking at all the cute newborn items, Joss was so big when she was born she never could fit into any of those tiny items. We went straight to 0-3 and 3 month onesies and clothes - plus a lot of the time she didn't wear anything but a cloth diaper anyway. Getting more and more excited to meet the new bean!