Monday, December 31, 2012


I don't remember if I mentioned my New Year's Resolutions here last here. I made myself the goal of either running for 30 minutes or biking for 45+ minutes each day. When I planned my week every Sunday, I would note when our park days were in biking distance and planned on biking those days and running in the mornings on the other days. I also spent the first 2 or 3 weeks of the year just tracking (but not really limiting) my caloric intake just to get a feel for what I was eating. With some diet and exercise, I was down to my driver's license weight (you all know that's your dream weight and it's 10-15 pounds lighter than you currently are) in March. I plateaued there for a while, but was healthy and still eating enough to nurse 2 kids and do my exercising.

Then I found out I was pregnant. I continued the running/biking routine until I was too tired and depressed to continue that kind of regimen. When I came out of that slump, I tried running one last time and discovered that the relaxen in my body had made it so that it felt like my legs were going to fall off my hips if I continued running. So I stopped. I kept up the biking, though.

And that was a good a thing, come July, when our car broke down and we decided to go carfree. We've been carfree for almost 6 months now! That's kind of mind-blowing to me. But it's also awesome. I still bike, even in my now much heavier condition. We will be getting a cargo bike in early 2013 and see if we can keep this up! I'm glad I was already biking so much so that when we went carfree, I was already in shape (quads of steel!) enough to continue.

I also wanted to do the 100 push up challenge and was working on that in early 2012. I was not progressing as quickly as the program assumes you will be, but I was progressing. I had to repeat many of the weeks, but I was able to do 25 or so and I started out at 10. And just as with the biking and running, pregnancy happened and I lost energy to do anything except play video games.

So in the end, I did not keep my resolution to bike or run every day. But I do think my resolution made it possible to be healthy through this pregnancy and love the earth a little more. So on the whole, it was a win.

I've also been thinking about the things I now do that I used to not, even though they weren't resolutions. It might sound silly, but I'm proud that we are now washing our bedsheets regularly. Sometime in 2012 I started washing our sheets and the kids' sheet every other week. Last Friday was the kids' sheets, this Friday will be ours. I know that sounds like common sense and everyone else probably does theirs weekly, but I'm glad we got on that bandwagon. I'm hoping I can keep that up.

I don't have any goals for 2013 yet because I'm still very pregnant and I'm not sure what life is going to look like in a few months. It's difficult to make achievable goals if you don't even know if making your bed is going to be possible! I don't know what my body is going to feel like after this birth or what carting 3 kids around Berkeley is going to be like.

Depending on when I have this baby and how I feel postpartum, I think I'd like to try to do the Shortest Triathlon Ever in Emeryville this April. I'm assuming it'll be the Saturday the 13th this year; the site isn't updated yet. I didn't start the Couch to 5k program after Isaac until 9 weeks postpartum because I wanted to make sure I was fully healed. If I wait that long to work out again, I'm not going to be able to finish the C25k program before the triathlon. In fact, I'd probably have to have the baby this instant in order to have 6 weeks of babymoon and 8 weeks of training. And sorry, that's not happening right now. Baby is safely inside me and prefers to grow a little more.

So no resolutions this year. But I'm guessing life is going to be pretty interesting in 2013.

Friday, December 28, 2012


We had a great Christmas. I think staying home and doing nothing else is the best thing ever.

Margaret sang with the Primary kids on Sunday.

I made the kids skirts for Christmas.

And the kids got to unwrap things!

We went to the Lawrence Hall of Science on Wednesday (homeschool round up bonus points!).

 We each got to ride tricycles with square wheels:

The kids climbed a double helix.

We (heart) DNA.

And the kids also got to spend some time getting messy. Here's Isaac painting a wooden alligator.

It was a great Christmas. It's so nice to have McKay home; taking a 6 bus round trip is a lot easier with an extra adult.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Trying out the Madsen

Last Saturday, we took the BART out to Dublin to meet Kristi and try out her Madsen. We also got to try the Yuba Boda Boda with the BionX e-assist.

I have some pictures!

I didn't tip them! Also, check out the Christmas lights she has on her bucket!

The e-assist was great. Definitely need one. Margaret also tried riding on the back of the Boda Boda and loved that as well.

Group picture with Kristi, me and the kids.

Friday, December 21, 2012


Today is the solstice, so I guess I can have a baby any time between now and March 21. Phew! I was getting worried I'd never have a baby!

I've been trying to "nest." Here is some proof:

Our new bookshelf from Craigslist for $40. This is where I'll be storing my yarn along with other miscellaneous things like our binders and electrical cords. I need to organize that yarn today.

And we upgraded our sleeping situation and now Margaret has a loft bed. Now if only she would use it...

I also attempted to decorate for Christmas. I made this wreath and garland from the trimmings our neighbors left on the street.

And we have a tree!

And because I was feeling crafty, but didn't want to put any effort into it, I made some bow garlands. Idea from Ruffles and Stuff. And seriously- cheapest decorations ever.

Last Friday I had a dress rehearsal for what it'll be like with three kids. I watched a friend's two month old so she could see The Hobbit. Here I am babywearing with my big belly.

Conclusion: I'm going to fail at life as soon as this baby is born. Three kids alone is just too much. Sure, I'll have McKay for a little while, but he'll be back to work by the time Samus is the age of the baby I was sitting for. It really is in everyone's best interest for Samus to stay in longer. It's far easier to take care of an in utero baby than one that's out.

A couple of weeks ago, my midwife was trying to tell me I'd have Samus by Christmas. I'm pretty sure I gave her the, "You have a third eye" look. This week she changed her tune to, "You know... you probably aren't going to have a baby before Christmas." Yeah... I figured that out when we found out I was pregnant. She also likes to listen around to see if there's a second heartbeat in there (there isn't). This is all midwife-ese for, "You look huge." But I keep measuring spot-on for my weeks and she's not sure how to explain that.

We got the third carseat today. I guess that's important. We didn't get our second one until Isaac was 3 weeks old. Funny things those carseats... you just don't need them if you don't drive! We only bought this third one for the times we'll be using Zipcar or other rental. The worst part about not having a car is not having a place to keep these carseats. I'd love to have a garage to store our bikes and carseats. Bikes are in the kitchen and the carseats are in the office.

So that's what's going on. I'm looking forward to McKay's break next week. He has to work on Christmas Eve, but he gets Christmas through New Year's off. We still have yet to make Christmas cookies and go see Christmas lights, so it'll be busy.

Monday, December 17, 2012

End of the "Semester"

So science class has been over for a couple of weeks. They have a second session of it starting in January focusing on life sciences, but it's going to be further away and we'll have to work out transportation if we continue. Margaret really loves it, though.

The last two classes were about the scientific method, so they did experiments. This picture is the classic "elephant toothpaste" lab. After making observations and hypotheses and testing out a control, they each got to choose what they'd like to change about their beaker of solution and find out how big it fizzes. Some kids added food coloring, peroxide, soap, etc. The teacher also had the kids enact the chemical change of peroxide forming water and oxygen. Margaret and Isaac got to be oxygen atoms. The class held hands and broke their chemical bonds and bonded up with other kids to show the change of the molecules. Very cute.

Winter here means the rainy season. This is from a rainy day. Isaac is the slowest walker while holding an umbrella. Seriously. Three tenths of a mile turn into 20 minutes. I had to give the umbrella to Margaret in order to pick up the pace.

A couple of weeks ago, our homeschool group had a field trip to the MOCHA, so here are the kids painting and being artsy.

In the more "unschooly" aspect of things, while walking to the midwife's house last week, she and I talked about addition. She'll come up with a problem like, "What is 3 plus 5?" and because I like being mathy, I introduced the commutative property and asked her what 5 plus 3 is. She's still learning some of the vocabularly, and will occasionally say, "2 and 5 plus 7!" and I have to explain that "and" and "plus" are synonyms and the word she was looking for was "equals." With the introduction of synonyms, we've been talking about those, too. There was one bus ride where she said, "Mom, let's talk about synonyms. People and humans are synonyms." And we'd come up with other synonyms. After tiring of synonyms she brought up, "Let's talk about mammals," and she listed off animals that are mammals. All of these topics are coming up on their own and she brings them up when she's thinking about them. Yay unschooling.

We're on "winter break" now. This doesn't actually mean anything like getting a break. Oh well.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Inquisition Monday: Extroverted Homeschooling

On my Thanksgiving post, Kat asked, "I was wondering if this [her extroverted nature] made you question your decision not to send her to school?"

Yes and no. First, the no.

We live in an area where homeschooling is fairly popular. In the East Bay where we live, there are 3 main homeschooling groups. I've tried them all out and settle on our favorite, based mostly on proximity to where we live, but I do sometimes go to the other groups if I'm feeling particularly adventurous. Just between those groups, we could probably have a homeschool park day, get together, or field trip, every day of the week. And I'm not counting the groups in the North Bay, San Francisco and Penninsula, or South Bay- there are probably 3 or more homeschooling outings every day in the Bay Area if you are willing to travel far. We would have to be pretty extreme recluses to avoid social interaction in the homeschool community!

And if you are in a charter school with an independent study program, the school often sets up park days and activities and classes and BBQs in addition to all the other events going on. That's actually our plan for kindergarten next year: have Margaret in an independent study program through a charter school. Charter schools are public schools, so she'd actually be a public school student. That way I don't have to deal with paperwork and we'll be given money to spend on classes and materials for her.

And then the yes. I am not up to going to all these events all the time. There are some weeks when I'd rather just stay home. The most extreme example of this recently was when I was in my first trimester and dealing with about 6 weeks of continual prenatal depression. If I run into bad depression postpartum this time we might consider sending her to school, however, lots of the homeschool families have also offered to let Margaret come play with their kids. She'll still have lots of social opportunities.

To be honest, I'm not sure if the public schools in our area can handle her social needs either. I spoke to a teacher who got a job offer at our local school and he described the school as "militaristic" and declined the job offer to go to a different school. There is a charter school near us that might fit Margaret well, but won't fit my needs: they require a certain amount of volunteer hours from the parents every month. I have a hard enough time getting babysitters so I can go to the dentist twice a year; I don't think I can find sitters for Isaac and Samus on a monthly basis.

Really, the world is made for people like Margaret. You can call it extrovert privilege. And the homeschooling community is no different: lots of opportunities all the time.

Above: Science class. Getting ready to shoot off rockets. Margaret is on the far right in the sun. And surrounded by lots of kids.

Friday, December 07, 2012

Mother's Blessing

Last Saturday I had my mother's blessing! It was fun and involved henna and friends. Because I was confined to the couch to let my henna dry, I didn't get pictures myself, so these are all courtesy Sariah Kell.

I got there early to get my belly done. It took almost 45 minutes.

I had to sit awkwardly like this until it dried.
After lots of chatting and snacking, I read my fears. After each fear the group would respond with positive things and help put the fears in perspective. When I got through my list, I burned my paper of fears and then did the bead ceremony. Each person brought a bead with an affirmation and talked about why they chose the bead and shared the affirmation. Some affirmations were poems and quotes. And now I have a little necklace for the birth.

Here's the group. Everyone got henna on their arms (except me). Some of the people were people in my ward and the next day was Sunday. I felt a little left out that they could show off their henna on their arms there, but my belly was all covered. Maybe I should have just gone bare midriff...

And here's my belly Monday after the henna has peeled off and darkened. It will probably fade before the baby comes, unless this is magical everlasting henna.

It was a great night and I got to bond with my friends. We need to have parties more often.

Thursday, December 06, 2012


Unorganized post ahead.

When I was interviewing midwives, one of the most important things I was looking for was someone who wasn't afraid of pregnancies going past 42 weeks. Margaret was thoroughly past 42 weeks and Isaac was pushing 42 weeks. I needed someone who wasn't going to drop care with me if 41 weeks came and went.

Almost immediately upon me asking about their "overdue" policy (you know how books are 10 cents each day overdue at the library!) most midwives started reciting off various natural induction methods they recommend. I didn't get any midwife saying that she'd recommend a mother to go get pitocin or anything like that- it was just, "Oh, when a woman gets to 41 weeks I start suggesting chiropractic/castor oil/acupressure/acupuncture/such and such herb/etc." What I wanted to hear was, "Oh 42 weeks- no big deal, especially with your history."

Maybe I'm the only pregnant mom in the world that doesn't want to try any induction method at all, even if it's "natural." It seems to be common consensus that the "natural" options aren't going to work anyway if your body isn't ready for it. So the point of trying them at all is...?

Some options, like castor oil, can run havoc on your system (diarrhea!)- why would I do that and then discover, "Oh, well, it didn't work so your body/baby must not be ready?"

So birthy friends- what's your opinion on natural inductions? Why is it such a big thing in the midwifery world? I interviewed 4 homebirth midwives this time and each one had some sort of favorite induction method. Is 42 weeks really that scary? 43? Personally, I'd want someone who wouldn't be suggesting that I induce, even naturally. It would be telling me my body couldn't do it- or that they themselves are afraid of a "big" baby. Why would I want a midwife afraid of big babies?

Do you think "natural" inductions work? Did you try it? Did it work? Was it worth it? Am I the only one who wonders, "So what's the point...?" I promise it's not that I want to draw out my pregnancies as long as possible- I get really uncomfortable at the end. I've already been struggling for months with getting my body up out of bed (followed by about 20 feet of waddling due to sciatica pain). It's not pleasant, to say the least. But is it really worth it to cut those last few days/weeks off if nothing else is indicating that there's a problem?

For the record, my midwife hasn't been suggesting that I do anything (yet) since I'm not at my "time to have a baby." She does tend to think I'll have this baby sooner than I expect, but I think she just doesn't get that I gestate long. She's looking at a 3rd time mom and thinking, "Oh, this will be faster and sooner than these other births I'm attending!" HAHAHAHA. Sure, maybe I will, but I'm not going to get my hopes up. I already did the "I'm going to have a baby any day!" thing with Margaret for over a month and that's not fun.

I look forward to your comments.