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Election Eve #NaBloPoMo

What are your thoughts about tomorrow’s election in the United States?

Fear.  I am afraid of what the country would look like under Mitt Romney, or any person who does not value social programs.  I worked for over three years in a non-profit that helped CashAid (Welfare) recipients afford child care.  I saw the number of people we were able to help become smaller and smaller due to budget cuts.  I believe in my bones that safety nets need to be in place to help people when they find themselves on the bottom.  I also now that as our budget shrunk, the regulations and rules to qualify for help became stricter.  The idea of a “welfare mom” taking advantage of the system goes against everything I know or have experienced.

I am afraid for the elimination of a woman’s right to choose.  I am not pro-abortion, I am pro-choice because I acknowledge that we make decisions sometimes that have consequences that are beyond our imaginations.  I became pregnant after dating my husband for just over a month.  What would I have done if he abandoned us?  Would I have had an abortion?  Would I have hoped I could take advantage of social programs to help me?  I don’t know the answer.  I am lucky that my husband and I took the path we did.  However, if that wasn’t the case it is not up to the government to tell me what my path should be.  If I chose to have a baby and be a solo-parent, I damn well deserve the right to have that choice be my own and empowering.

More than anything, I am concerned about the divisiveness in our country.  I believe that we’re all mostly the same, with some variations on a couple of hot-button items.  I think there are things bigger than labels of Democrat or Republican… things like the hurricane.  Things like taking care of each other.  Things like taking care of our children and our elderly.  I wish we could focus on the things we have in common more than we do.  (Myself included.)

 

::Drops Mic::

Baby Bump Friday: 38 weeks

So. Done. Being. Pregnant.

And if one more person says “He’ll be here when he’s ready.” I might throw something at their heads.  I am tired.  I am uncomfortable.  The idea of crawling into bed last night? MADE ME CRY because it is so uncomfortable and I toss-and-turn all night feeling miserable.  As I sit here currently I have a shooting pain in my back that just won’t go away.  I’m grouchy.  I’m just done.

Today is my last day of work before I begin my maternity leave, which is super exciting.  It also kind of freaks me out because he could be here anytime from today to… let’s see… four weeks from today.  If I am here in four weeks with child in my belly and not in my arms I might actually lose my shit.  So my plan for my maternity leave is to do an entire list of things that are meant to put people into labor.  I will eat only spicy food and whole pineapples while walking many miles around town and drinking raspberry tea.  Then in the evening I will bounce non-stop on an exercise ball while nonchalantly stimulating my nipples.  Basically Miles is getting his eviction notice.

 

Size of baby: 38  weeks means about 7 lbs and the size of a leek.

What up Mom?
Progress:  My next appointment is Tuesday.  We will see if he’s lower or if i’ve dialated at all.
Total Weight Gain: Same as last week.  I gained just under 40 lbs.
Maternity Clothes: I am so tired of my maternity clothe options.  Sigh.
Gender: Little Man Baby
Movement: Wiggles and feet wedged directly in my rib cage.
Sleep: The night before last may have been the worst night of sleep I’ve ever had ever.  I was up 20 times in the course of 3 hours.  I’m. So. Tired.
What I miss: Sleep.  (And my sunny disposition today.)
Cravings:  Chocolate milk.
Symptoms: Impatience.
What I’m looking forward to: No more work!

Baby Bump Friday: 37 Weeks

Tired and I've been at work since 7:30am.

I guess now we’re entering #babywatch2011.  Wednesday I was at a conference and was having some questionable labor signs happening, so they told me to come on it to be monitored.  It was eventually determined to be a false alarm, but Mr. A and I both got to do a little practice drill wherein we learned the following things:

  • I don’t care who says I’m over-prepared.  The fact that in the chaos of “OMG we have to go to the hospital” I had an check list to reference to guarantee we did not forget my iPhone charger or towels mean I win at life.
  • When driving to the hospital, Mr. A will get completely silent while I will turn into Chatty Cathy and will be unable to shut up at all.
  • We didn’t actually know where labor and delivery was… but it was a ton of fun to ask the info desk “If I was hypothetically in labor where we would find the land of labor and delivery.”
  • The nurses and doctors were all super duper awesome, and even though we ended the evening on the couch with Indian food and not with Miles.. we were both happy we had a trial run.

Like I mentioned last week, my official due date is still 11/11/11 but I think my real due date is 11/6/11.  I think he’s going to be here sometime between 10/31 – 11/2.  That’s my guess.

This is 100% what it feels like I'm carrying around.
Size of baby: On average, a 37 week old babe weighs around 6 lbs and is about the size of watermelon.
Progress:  He is at -2 station and measuring at 38 weeks.
Total Weight Gain: Same as last week.  I gained just under 40 lbs.
Maternity Clothes: You know you’re close when you’re maternity clothes stop covering your belly.
Gender: Little Man Baby
Movement: Still wiggling around and getting the hiccups.  He has been pretty good and keeping his feet out of my ribs, I must remember to hug him for than soon.
Sleep: It comes and goes and I don’t know why.  There will nights where nothing is comfortable and then nights where I sleep fairly well.   I also realize that my saying “sleeping well” has changed in meaning dramatically.  When I say “well” I mean getting up to pee multiple times a night and being woken up by heartburn and having to munch on a couple of TUMS.  The new “well” just means that I am able to sleep for any given amount of time without hip or back pain.
What I miss: Man I miss wine this week.  Work has been so crazy and I would have LOVED to relax with a glass of wine at night…. instead I had chocolate milk.
Cravings:  Still milk, I go through about a gallon of non-fat organic milk each week….
Symptoms: Impatience.
What I’m looking forward to: I made a reservation at our favorite fancy dinner place Sunday night, date nights are always something to look forward too.  Oh!  Mr. A is also almost done painting Miles’ dresser so I will be able to put his nursery back together this weekend!

Baby Bump Friday: 32 Weeks

And he's supposed to get bigger?

According to the books, my iPhone apps, and my increased appetite Miles will be starting a new growth spurt in the coming weeks.  That’s nice, except for one thing, there is NO MORE ROOM DUDE.  My stomach doesn’t even look real anymore, the skin is so tight and shiny I think it looks like a prosthetic.  Here I’ll even show you (these pictures are normally only sent to people like The Bestie so she can marvel in the OMFG-ness of this entire pregnancy thing.)

OMFG. There's a BABY IN THE THERE.

It seems like this whole “having a baby thing” is getting more surreal the closer we get to the due date.  If feels like there is so much time left and no time at all.  I think the best descriptor of the whole process is that having a baby is like planning for a HUGE event without any time or date to speak of.  The whole “due date” thing is bogus, with a window of “give or take” a two weeks attached on to it.  How am I supposed to plan anything with a month window of dates?  This anxiety has been productive, luckily, and I now have the Hospital Bag Checklist ready to go…. with most of the necessary items purchased.  I’ve also completely researched every. single. item. on my baby registry.  See?!  Who said being neurotic was a bad thing?

Size of baby: 16.7 inches.  4 naval oranges (the better for juggling with?).

Total Weight Gain: As of my last doctors appointment I was at 22ish pounds… I am really not worrying about it.

Maternity Clothes: Maternity pants, all the time.  SOME long pre-pregnancy shirts are still rocking it and I definitely wore my Chargers shirt on Sunday.  Luckily I have long maternity tank tops to wear under everything so I am not flashing my belly like a teenager.  You’re welcome world.
Gender: Little Man Baby
Movement: Constant, stronger, but more wiggly than anything else now.  He’s very obviously running out of space to do his aerobics, which he is NOT a fan of and lets me know he feels thusly by kicking me in the ribs.  Thanks Miles.
Sleep: I had one night of insomnia this past week, but then slept SO great the next night.  Sleep is the best thing ever and right now the most comfortable position is laying on my back, which you’re told you’re not supposed to do…. but my Grams told me that sleep is more important than any of that nonsense and that women for centuries have pretty much been sleeping any way that is comfortable while they’re pregnant.
What I miss: I missed mimosas like crazy during football Sunday.  My friend Mel ordered a mimosa and then suggested I get a virgin mimosa…. yeah, that’s just orange juice.  NOT FOOLING ANYONE.
Cravings: No real cravings, but I am really looking forward to burritos for dinner tonight.  We finally found a burrito place near us that meets our So Cal expectations.
Symptoms: Rib pain and a gnarly shooting pain in the middle of my back that has never been their before.
What I’m looking forward to: My bestie and Ashley will be here in TWO WEEKS for my baby shower.  I cannot wait.

Weekly Intentions

I'm pregnant. I'm tired. I'm tired of being pregnant.

Katie and I decided a few weeks ago to be accountability partners, we’ve been sending each other our weekly goals and then checking in on each other throughout the week.  This worked for a while, but then I started realizing that I was getting SO. TIRED.  I feel like I am first trimester tired again, that lovely phase of pregnancy where I napped under my desk on my lunch break.

Sunday Amy wrote about how she was going to set a weekly intention, and I loved it because I could see it taking some of the pressure off of me by removing the long to-do list, but setting myself up to feel like I’ve accomplished something.  She used Rowdy Kittens‘s steps and I love it, so I am doing the same thing.

Here we go:

1. Think about what you want to work on and write down your ideas.  I have a ton of things I could be doing all the time for freelancing and blogging and baby-prep.  My brain feels full of lists.   I want to work on balance.  I have been making my to-do lists, and when I feel overwhelmed by them I give up on everything window in favor of sitting on the couch watching reruns of The League in front of the air conditioner.  I need to shoot to set goals a little more manageable for my ALMOST 8 month pregnant self, while allowing myself plenty of sleep and snuggle time.

2. After you write out the list, look it over.  Commitment to balance.  Sleep when I need to.  Follow through with the things I commit to, but be less willing to commit myself to much of anything.  (I have enough commitments, thank you.)

3. Make an active effort to focus on your intention. This will be interesting.  I think it will translate to a little more motivation AND a little more relaxation… not feeling like I’m being a bum while I should be doing something.  If I manage to get SOMETHING checked off of my to-do list so I can relax without guilt.

4. Continue to reestablish your intention throughout the week.

What is your intention for the week?

Soul Weekend 2011

I believe in traditions.  I believe in claiming things as annual events with vigor even if it’s the first time you’ve done it.  My Bestie and I have a ton of traditions, things that we started doing and just didn’t let go of.

Soul Weekend is one of those things.

Every labor day weekend Olivia and I have soul weekend.  Soul Weekend started 5 months after my huge, messy break up and consequent move to the Bay Area.  I was broken and empty is a lot of ways.  A weekend that was focused on feeding my soul and happiness was exactly what I needed.

 

Soul Weekend 2009

Here is how Soul Weekend works:

  1. First, you block off a specific amount of time.  A weekend, two days.. whatever you have.  Maybe it’s the planner in me, but I relax best when I block off chunks of time to be unplanned.  Our Soul Weekend’s have adjusted to meet us where our lives are; this year there was no sleepovers because at 7.5 months pregnant my own bed is really the only place I can sleep.
  2. The first thing we do is make a list of the things that sound good.  Make art, bumble, read a book, visit a museum, dance party, drink wine, or plan a picnic.  We always paint mugs at a ceramics place.
  3. Then we just do them.  Or do other things.  Or follow any whim we have to a new thing that wasn’t on the list.  We follow our hearts.  We explore new towns; generally with a coffee in hand.
Soul Weekend 2010

Each year we are both in new places.  The first year I was still in the aftershocks of my break up, last year I was processing my mom’s cancer and our relationship… this year was more for Olivia.  She’s been having a tough time with some family things and I was so happy to just be able to sit with her.  Process with her.  Remind her that life is beautiful and that sometimes your friends can step in and carry you when you need it.  We talked about how next year, Miles will be here… and we will take him along.  He has a soul that will need tending to also.

Soul Weekend 2011

How to Turn Your Apartment into a Living, Breathing Vision Board

Today I am happy to be having the lovely and talented Ms. Doniree guest posting.  She’s amazing and extremely kick ass in every way.  She blogs at doniree.com and nomadicfoodie.com, and you can follow her on Twitter @doniree.

I’m a BIG fan of the vision board.

I’m totally on board the “thoughts become things” train and believe that what we put out to the Universe (in terms of thoughts, then feelings, and especially the action of how we choose to spend our time) play a massive role in what we manifest in our lives.

On that note, I’m a HUGE proponent of being laser-focused and deliberate (intentional) about what I put out to the Universe. I want abundance, travel, love, adventure, and peace. So, I’m constantly spending my time working on things that support those values.

So what does a vision board have to do with anything? I believe that any great thing we accomplish starts as a tiny idea somewhere. For that reason, I believe that putting up a constant reminder of exactly what it is we want forces us to keep focused on the big dreams and helps align how we spend our present moments.

 What’s that got to do with your apartment (or your house)?

There are many ways you can do a “vision board” or a “life list” (bucket list). Many. But I think there are three that are particularly interesting – and easy enough!

Create a Vision Board

This one’s the easiest. Grab poster board or foam board, a pair of scissors, some glue and a stack of magazines you think best reflects you and what you want out of life. For me? It’s Yoga Journal, Real Simple, Bon Appétit, Wired (sometimes) and a random collection of travel magazines. The pictures and words I cut out and put in front of my face? Those look something like this:

  • women doing yoga in beautiful places (on mountain tops, at beaches)
  • gorgeous, clean living spaces with lots and lots of sunlight
  • boats, airstreams, and other modes of transportation that one could conceivably live in for a period of time
  • anything that supports travel, especially to places like Europe,Australia, andIndonesia
  • anything that supports successful writing: books, notebooks, bylines.
  • dollar signs

The vision board I did a little over a year ago is here. I’m in the process of my next one, as I’ve gotten even clearer on what I want in the next phase of my life.

 Skip the Board and Just Use a Wall

My boyfriend (Chris) and I have space on a wall in our apartment that just is our vision board. We started with a picture of a house in a city we like (and want to live, hint: Southern Califonia), and have since started surrounding it with photos we find of other things we both want: an Airstream Trailer, an address at a home in a beach town, programs we want to be a part of.

Every time I look up from my desk I’m reminded that my priorities (values) include:

  • travel
  • living in a place that’s warm all year-round
  • success

Keeping that front and center keeps me focused on the work I choose to do. Does this task/client/relationship support those values? If so, full speed ahead. If not, how can I make it work?

 Note: I wouldn’t recommend the glue for this vision-board-on-the-wall-one. Go with push pins (thumb tacks) or tape instead.

Use ALL of Your Space

I have yet to do this, but it’s something I’ve considered and would love to put into action sometime. What if you turned your home decor into a living vision board? What if the pictures you hung on your walls were of places you wanted to travel, rather than places you’ve already been? Or what if the wine or beer you stocked your fridge with was from a part of the world you wanted to visit? I can’t help but believe that when we choose things so specifically and intentionally as deciding how we surround our every day living space – big things could happen.

If you were to use your entire living space as one giant vision board, what would you decorate with?

Doniree Walker is a freelance writer/blogger based in Portland, Oregon. Her clients include UMoveFree.com, a service helping renters find The Colony, TX apartments. She spends her free time frequenting Portland’s farmers’ marketstraining for her first 5K, and daydreaming about the places she plans to travel.

She blogs at doniree.com and nomadicfoodie.com, and you can follow her on Twitter @doniree.

Secrets.

My friend Nico did a kick ass vlog about secrets.  You should watch it.  Here, I will wait.

It’s a really interesting topic, especially with a group of people like bloggers.  We share a ton of our lives online, that’s how it works.  The best bloggers, in my opinion, are the ones who are open, honest, and real.

I’ve always sought to be super honest here but, for example, I know that every day my Grams reads my blog.  So, the chances of my writing about adult themed things… slim to none.  (You’re welcome Gramsy.)  Emotionally however, this is where I am the most honest.  I am more likely to write out that I am feeling manic and anxious here than talk about it with a friend over coffee.  I guess that’s why I write.

Here’s my vlog:

Wedding Pictures

The wedding was perfect; really, sincerely perfect.  There was absolutely no stress.  I just got to marry Mr. A and celebrate with him and my bestie and her husband.   I wouldn’t change a single thing about it.

Getting Ready
Curlz.
Besties.
The Bride.
Seeing Each Other for the First Time
San Francisco City Hall
When Pregnant Brides Wait... They Get Hungry.
We Will Spend Our Lives Together.
Me and My Mama
My Husband.
Walking together to get married.
Ceremony
Vows.
Happy Vows.
Kissing the Bride.
Married
Mom Crying.
Happiness.
Love Him.
Doesn't Mr. A Look Happy?
Happy Breakfast the Next Morning. (Look! Wedding Band!)