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!

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Dreams and Transitions

I've always had very vivid, detailed, surreal and absurdist dreams for as long as I can remember. But being pregnant, last time and this time again, kicks up the dream volume another 50%. A while back a friend was asking if you are a person who dreams in black and white (like most people), or if you are one of the rare few that dreams in color. I feel like since my dreams are so vivid, with sights, sounds, smells, textures, emotions, and multi-dimensional insights, I MUST dream in color, right? But honestly I can't really say either way. I don't really remember. I DO know that on occasion I've had specific colors that tell part of my dream story- a strong glowing green, or deep rich dark red, but is everything else in grey? I have to pay more attention and report back. But I digress.

Being pregnant is having another living being growing, and well LIVING inside of you. Connected and sharing everything, body, spirit, mind, so naturally dreams. These pregnancy dreams I credit to my kids, sharing their own insights, with my own intuitions, and already teaching each other about our perceptions of life and the world we live in -are to be born into. Connecting on a metaphysical level that leads to weird, beautiful, bizarro worlds and ideas, I really should be dream journaling again.

The plus to having this extra creative energy wash through me with my new life force in my belly is that its sparked up my writing again on my memoir that had hit a brick wall. I wrote a ton of pages yesterday and found my muse again. I think a big part of that for me is to also just let go, and not try to over think or control it, but trust that the words will come because they always do. Gotta live the dream!

Transitions. Everything right now feels like its full of transitions. Jocelyn is now putting herself to sleep in her own room in her own bed, after a lullaby and hugs and kisses from mom and dad (rather than me in there with her until she falls asleep). Her teachers wrote us that she will soon be moving up into the next class at her school. Since she goes to Montessori, its not about her age but rather her developmental stage, and very soon she'll be in with the big kids. I have parent teacher meetings next week with her current classroom, and with the next classroom up that I'm really looking forward to. Transitions back home with my family going through their own major life changes, both my mom, and dad respectively. Seasons are changing, and more and more I'm thinking about my own transition, as in Transition - the stage of labor that has the strongest sensations imaginable - that is the hardest - physical, mental, spiritual, and multidimensional experience I could ever imagine to endure. And I did it. But guess what, I'm going to do it again.

This time around a lot of things are much easier, I know a lot more of what to expect with pregnancy, already have some of my own life-hacks to cope with discomforts, have much more time to rest this time around which was my only regret last time around, that I didn't take any time off before labor. But what's more challenging this time is that I'm also aware of what's to follow. That excitement of waiting to finally go into labor, to finally meet my child, the moments leading up to the magic moment of holding your baby on the outside... Transition... I know what that's like. I'm not going to use the word "pain" because it goes beyond that, and it also is completely different than skinning your knee or breaking a bone, its a lightning bolt of energy, a surge of sensation that is so powerful that transcends anything you could ever imagine. But I can imagine, I was there, and this time I am trying to not be fearful of feeling, living, experiencing that again. It will come, and it will wash over me again, and though like every birth you can't predict how it will go, or what exactly will happen, but if like most second time moms, it should at least be much quicker than my first time, not last as long.

Transitions aren't easy, whether its separating or divorcing your partner for 20+ years, learning to grow up from being a baby in mommy's arms to sleeping alone in your big girl bed, saying goodbye to your classroom that no longer suits your growing vocabulary and skill set, or starting a new chapter of your life (both literally - as a writer, and figuratively), that hardship is what makes what comes next worth it. Living through the shit shows gives us power to find out more about ourselves than we otherwise wouldn't be pushed to experience. And speaking of shit shows, that happens too with birth. You just have to let it all go. Accept it, and leave your inhibitions behind. All of the hardest transitions fuel us forward, and let us grow. Transitions give us new life if we let them and stop dragging our heels. Time to teach myself to dance toward my Transition, meditate on welcoming it, and let go of that fear. So much more fear this time, but I just have to let it all go.

Sunday, September 4, 2016


Another weekend, another birthday party, we had a lot of fun celebrating a classmate's 2nd birthday. We met a Wallaby, a lemur that jumped right up on my shoulder and hung out for a while (pure joy!), mini pigs, rabbits, chickens, a baby deer with bambi spots, and a hedgehog. It was a lady-bug themed party with bug and butterfly accessories to dress up in, and Joss and some of her friends wore wings all around looking so damn cute I could hardly stand it. It was a lot of fun, and as usual I brought our own vegan Skull and Cakebones cupcakes to eat after the birth day song.

I'm feeling more and more fluttering kicks and movement. Active little jumping bean! Disappointingly enough, I am back to wearing my glasses since I had proven to myself that being pregnant does not automatically equate to bionic woman status. Without glasses for two glorious days, I was the most nauseated I had been in weeks, stumbled around as if I didn't know the size of my own feet, and aside from reading important things incorrectly like our bank account information, I also ordered the same thing twice (by mistake) on Amazon - luckily it was just a two pack of Smoothie travel mixing mugs, rather than some high-priced item, but still. And though I was trying to rationalize that all the squinting I was doing was because I live in Texas (its bright out here), not because I was straining too hard to see a foot in front of me, I still was squinting so much i gave myself headaches that again agitated my nausea.

So I'm back in the four eyes club, but not giving out hope that I will miraculously gain better vision soon enough (this really does happen pretty commonly in pregnancy, so here's hoping). I'll try again after my "morning" (afternoon/evening) sickness subsides - if at all.

The good thing about this time around though is that my food aversions aren't quite as bad as last time. I had my first GLORIOUS cup of coffee today so that smell isn't completely disgusting anymore (hallelujah!) And I've tried to hold my breath and add some nutritional yeast on some toast a few times, and that went down pretty well too.

As excited as I am to have all of the warm, happy, soft, squishy, lovey, gooey, moments that come with being a brand new mom (which I totally am), today riding in the truck with my family (to get said, beautiful, beautiful coffee), I held my belly and accidentally said out loud, "Oh god, another baby." Another carseat, another person to wrangle into trying to conform to silly unreasonable rules like safety from bodily harm, social norms like wearing cloths and not eating things off the ground, NO SLEEP for a year plus - RIGHT when I finally got used to sleeping a solid 6-7 hour stretch in a row again, which I'll take any day of the week even if it means (which it often does mean) waking up at 5:30 or 6AM every damn day. Please let our next child be a sound sleeper - and by "Sound" sleeper I mean, a "good" sleeper though trying to be respectful that don't believe in bad/good just different, but Jesus Ru Paul Christ, please let this second one be a fucking great sleeper.

And to end here's a conversation I over heard today that made me so proud to be a mom, ladies and gentlemen, my beautiful imaginative daughter (cross-posted on FB)
Overheard my daughter talking with her daddy mid-heartfelt talk in the other room. "Mama is just a mommy she's not a dragon, she's just a mama." (Sigh of frustration). Jason: "oh is that why you're mad at her?" Joss: "yes she's not a dragon and I can't cast a spell on her because she's not a monster, she's just a mommy." Jason: "but you love her right?" Joss: "yes just a little bit, so so much." Jason: " that's good that you love her so much." Joss: "no I don't. She's not a dragon."
I know Joss, sometimes I'm mad at myself that I'm not a dragon too. But great ideas are now brewing for my halloween costume this year.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Vitamin Regimen

I'm so happy I went to yoga last night. The back pains that I was having feel so much better and Sarah being the body expert that she is walked us through some lower back pain relief exercises that felt like a massage and loosened me up, almost to brand new. So happy to have those new tools in my toolbox (pelvic clock FTW!).

Today I thought I'd show my vitamin and supplement routine for healthy vegan pregnancy. Here's my daily regimen (pictured top row):
  • 1 x Rainbow Light Prenatal One
  • 1 x Vitamin Code B-Complex
  • 1 x Life's DHA Omega
  • 1 x Deva Vitamin D (2400 IU)
I wash all of these down in the morning with my daily smoothie (kale, with juice or water or vegan milk, frozen fruits and/or berries, bananas, nut butters, vegan yogurts, depending what we have), which I use a 2 +/- heaping spoonfuls of one or two of the following, depending on my mood and to switch it up day to day (pictured bottom row and top left):
  • Manitoba Harvest Organic Hemp Protein (Vanilla)
  • Garden of Life Raw Organic Plant Formula Protein Powder - Unflavored (no stevia!!!)
  • Organic LivFit Superfood Blend
  • Kuli Kuli Pure Moringa Vegetable Powder (organic and raw)
What I like about all of these smoothie supplements is that NONE of them contain STEVIA. I can't stand the taste of stevia and it seems to be thrown into everything these days when it comes to protein powders, smoothie supplements and more. So if you are anti Stevia like I am, save yourself the trouble of hunting down the stevia-free choices, and check these out.

I find that even with my morning sickness (today I woke up with it in full force again, uggggh) the vitamins I take are gentle enough on my stomach, but usually I also make a whole wheat bagel, sourdough toast, or oatmeal to eat with it as well to be safe.

The Moringa is a new (to me) supplement that Jason's sister told me about when we stayed with her family in Santa Cruz a couple months ago. Its a super food like Kale, a leafy green powerhouse, and you can buy it in powder form to add to food. It has a strong earthy taste though, and with nausea I limit the portions in my smoothies to mask the flavor.

All of the smoothies I make with the help of my daughter, she loves to add the ingredients and press the button on our blendtec which is really loud so she covers her ears and smiles up at me. I love our morning routines! With changing up different ingredients and fruits every day its a different color, and she likes to shout out the color when its done. We spilt the smoothie three ways, one for me, one for her, and one for daddy before he leaves for work. Pregnant or not, there's nothing like a super boost of vegan whole food smoothie power to start your day.

A lot of the supplements you can find on Amazon, Costco or even Trader Joe's. The cheapest organic frozen fruits and berries are at costco, so we stock up there. They are way too expensive at Whole Foods. If we are in a pinch I will pick up some of the supplements at Whole Foods, but they are cheaper on Amazon where we usually buy them. All of the vitamins I've bought from Amazon.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Hair, Glasses, Belly Oil

My hair has been up for the past few months, either in a bun or a braid, and now that its cooling off (barely, its still Texas) I've been wearing my hair down again and realized how long and thick it is. I love pregnancy hair! Also, as I have been hoping, my eye sight has also improved, which happens pretty commonly in pregnancy, so I've stopped wearing my glasses all day every day and pretty much only wear them when I read, drive, or am at a computer. Though maybe this is more mind over body, because I read our bank balance and panicked to Jason when I missed the first (of 4) digits on our balance, thinking we only had a few hundred $ and Jocelyn's school tuition was due today. It was nice to be wrong about that, phew! So maybe I should wear them more, but I miss the freedom of being without, so I'm trying to harness that power and retrain my eyes while all my super mama senses are in full force. Look, no glasses!

I've been using my Erbaviva oils and belly cream again, and oh my goodness they smell so decadently incredible. Here's hoping baby #2 also leads to a stretch-mark free tummy, I honestly think this stuff is why I was so lucky with my HUGE belly the first time around. This time I got the mommy essentials kit, with both the belly cream and oil (that I used last time) but for just a few bucks more also came with the back rub oil... hoping to convince papa to not let this one go to waste! ;) ;) Both oils are USDA organic, and vegan. The cream isn't fully organic, but its vegan and to me feels better in the summer months of the texas humid heat. mmmm i love this stuff.

I got the welcome email for our centering group today, and am so looking forward to our first meeting. I wonder if I'll be the only return mom, or if there are any others doing centering again. My first time around we were all first time moms.

Dr. Joss and Zombie Walks

Yesterday my back was out of whack. I don't know if I did something in yoga, slept on it wrong, or if I am just long overdue for a chiropractic visit (as in I've never been), but it was really sore and hard to bend or sit up right. Jocelyn is such a sweet care giver, after I picked her up from school and told her about my back she went straight into Dr. Joss mode and gave me (imaginary) medicine in my mouth, ears, and eyes, took my pulse, and gave me "shots." After all was said and done she asked if I felt better to get up and play, but told her my back was really not feeling well and I needed to lay down. So she asked, "I think you need some frozen peas, some ginger (every time I've been queasy she gets me ginger lozenges), and some band aids." She put a few band aids on my back, gave me (make believe) frozen peas, and then after my treatments she said I could choose a lollipop, pink, green, or purple. I chose pink and really did feel better. She told me, "I know this hurts, but you will be better very soon mama." A few more times later in the evening before bed I said how I was taking it slow because of my back, and she told me, "but you have a bandaid, you should be fine now." :)

Looking ahead, though I'm sure there are going to be plenty of new challenges with two kiddos, I can see how her helpfulness will really come in handy. She loves and wants to help and is such a natural care-giver. In the meantime, I feel better today, my back is still kind of kinked, but I'm taking it easy, not trying to over do it and doing some gentle stretches - since I can't take anything for it. I'm hoping to make it to yoga tonight (if Jason gets home in time), and hopefully keep my lower back strong and the pain to a minimum. The change in my center of gravity, with a growing belly can disrupt my posture which is part of it, this happened last time too, but yoga resolved it pretty quickly. Here's hoping.

Also, happy September! Sadly, I've stopped taking Zombie on her morning walks, since she is so reactive around other dogs, she pulls too much and with my back the way it is, I can't risk injuring myself. I'm hoping that papa will want to walk her at night after work. I've really enjoyed that time we have together, even though we have to craftily avoid any other dog walkers we see out and have had a few close calls with loose dogs... but luckily after so much training I at least know how to handle her, and though she's far from socialized, far from perfect, and will probably always be dog-dog-reactive, she has come so far! We can walk past dogs behind fences, and she can be redirected with a voice command, its just seeing other dogs walking that sets her off. Oh Zombones, you are so well behaved and perfect in all other areas, I'm sad to say goodbye to our walks for now. I thought maybe I could keep it going, and maybe even start up again after baby was born and do baby wearing, but its just too much to handle my challenged pupster. Backyard and daddy walks will have to do.