Very funny, universe. Very funny.

Well.  Ahem.

When I made my last post, I was in the latter end of the first menstrual cycle I’d charted using a moonwheel.  I began a little after that period ended, and because I was paying attention, I noted the area when I suspected I had ovulated – something I used to do in years past but was just getting back into.

And I excitedly started on a new charting month when later on, the signs all led to impending period.  I waited.  And I waited.  I took a pregnancy test early on and saw nothing, so I moped at the loss of what had seemed like the return of regular cycles for me.

Still nothing a week later and I went… okay.  Maybe one more test.

One more turned quickly into five more (I like to be thorough) and with that, we’ve got our fourth member on their way late this coming January.  🙂

This will 100% be our last baby – while I love my daughter and I know I will love this little new bean, there is a cost-benefit return for me when it comes to amount of children vs my abilities as a mother.  With birth work, and lactation work, I am mothering other parents so frequently – there are so many ways that I can nurture.  And I welcome them all.

This is my mountain baby.  This baby will hopefully be born at home while snow is piled up outside my door, and we will all snuggle together, the four of us, in warmth and love.  I know better than anyone that the Birth Fairy loves to sprinkle her mischievous dust on the concrete plans and the “This WILL happen” of expectant parents, so I will be doing exactly none of that.  But we can hope, and that’s exactly what we’ll do.

Today is the first day of fall – it was a smoky, hot, yucky summer.  But now autumn is here, rain has come (wonderful rain), I will be 23 weeks along come Sunday, and with recent very exciting professional developments, I am so ready for the rest of this year.

 

 

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shake off the dust once again.

Well, seeing as how I had a pile of draft posts that never got published in a timely manner – let’s start again, shall we?

Why not.

It’s May.  Spring is here and the weather is bouncing from boiling hot to pouring rain.  Thunderstorms aplenty.  Flooded streets.  Baby after baby after baby has been born in our city, and there are still more to come.  I’ve been running around helping those who’ve called, needing breastfeeding support, and leading a series of evening LLL meetings.  As always, I’m busy and not busy enough.

Norah is 3 1/2 now.  I’m not entirely sure when it happened, but I blinked and she was vastly more sophisticated and thinking and communicating deeper than I was prepared for, and with more clarity.  Basically, the little brat is growing up and I find it massively unfair.  Stay little, bean.  Stay little.

Sometimes, I think I’m on a countdown clock heading to the day when she grows into the inevitable mother-daughter resentment.  Is it inevitable?  I don’t know.  I always assumed it was.  I know there will be struggles, there are already struggles.  I have never felt more like my own mother than recently, and I just cannot seem to stop.

For now, she still sits in my lap and tells me she loves me fifty times a day, and I wish I could stop the world and keep it that way forever.

We are officially two years into our four year Central WA stay.  Mer got his placement for his fourth year, and it’s for our current area, so we’ll be staying for sure two more years.  Halfway done.  It feels like both a light at the end of the tunnel and also massively far away.  These two past years have gone so fast, and yet – I don’t want to think about a Norah who is 5 1/2.  I’m having enough trouble dealing with 3 1/2.

Of course, the solution to these feelings would be a very simple one for plenty of folks – time to have another.  Right?

The answer is and has always been in this house… maybe.  Maybe.  Probably not.  But maybe.  We literally sat down the other day and decided not to decide.  Either child #2 happens or it doesn’t, but we are no longer setting our minds to one way or another.  I recently read a book called Moods of Motherhood by Lucy Pearce, and she described the two mother archetypes SO perfectly – the Nurturing Earth Mother, and the Creative Rainbow Mother.  I have always desperately wanted to be the former.  I have tried so, so hard to be.  I think in some ways I am – I am a doula, I nurture, I care for other mothers.  But in my own parenthood, I think there is a stage wherein I have to embrace the Creative Rainbow Mother in myself and admit that I have many limits in my ability to nurture my own child and my family.  Rather than abuse myself about it, isn’t it better to “quit while we’re ahead”, as my husband likes to say?  My life, our life is so full with Norah.  That doesn’t mean another child doesn’t appeal, another baby to grow and nurse and hold.  But is that enough?

The rest of this year, I think, will be a year of healing.  Quiet healing.  Maybe it’s because I’m at the tail end of a cold and so I’m just dripping with fatigue and cottonheadedness, but I’m ready for some quiet healing.  My career path is beautiful and is coming together wonderfully, and I’m ready to focus inward and sort some things out.

This is Brigid’s Year.  I will give it to her.  May it give me strength, heal me, and help me heal and guide other women.

  • M

january – rocky start would be an understatement

I don’t even know, man.

Health – just… move right along.  Whole family got sick right as school started back up again, and I’ve yet to refind my momentum.  I have been cooking much more this week which is good, but still.  Also signed up for Graze, and we devoured the trial box of snacks, so I immediately made more orders and signed up for twice monthly snack deliveries.  That, I’m excited about.

Time and Routine – see. above.  Holy shit.  This has been my biggest fail.  We cannot get settled into this schedule.  Trying again tomorrow.  Always try again tomorrow.  The house is amazing right now though in terms of decluttering – I literally have only the top shelf of Nono’s closet left and the garage.  And the garage can’t happen till the weather warms up.  Such a win.

Love and Kindness – always a work in progress but I didn’t do anything parenting wise I’m ashamed of this month?  That’s good?  Yeesh.

Work – ooooh this one is A OK at the moment.  I am officially a La Leche League Leader – huzzah!  Took a year, but it was well worth it.  I’ve also made some wonderful connections this month, goals are still in place and being worked on, and I’m really pleased.  At least I didn’t let those balls drop, sigh.

Leia Project – Women’s March, man.  That’s all you need to know.  And the fact that I taught her to shout “Fight the power!” at random times of the day.

Hygge through Craftiness – a new category I’m adding.  Making my life cozy via making things.  Knitting a particularly badass pair of rainbow socks seen above, and that makes me pleased.

January, you were sloooow going.  February, you’ve got potential… provided the fucking snow starts to melt.

 

at this point, it’s an insult to dumpster fires.

I’m sure I don’t have to say anything at this point about 2016 and what it’s meant for all of us.  I mean.  Really.  The loss after loss of beloved people.  The fear around every corner of what’s happened to the world and what can happen when a megalomaniac is given a microphone and pointed at millions of poor, gullible people.  Yes.  It is all bullshit.  Yes.

Sure, the click from 2016 to 2017 is nothing.  It’s a calendar, it’s a human invention, doesn’t mean much – the Earth spins just as it always did and we go on just as we always have.  But the symbolic nature of a new year shouldn’t be overlooked at this point.  Rather than being the type of fresh start where you go buy some workout pants you swear you’ll use and throw out the junk food, honestly, 2017 has the potential to be a real moment for the Western world where we take a collective breath and go, okay.  What’s important now?  What can we do as individuals and as a society?

Politically, lots.  There’s still lots to do.  When the losing candidate gets almost 3 million more votes than the winner, you can bet your ass there are enough people out there to make a difference.  So that’s not to be overlooked by any means.

But for the individual, for my family, for our small circle.  What to focus on?  I’ve been thinking about this all December.  What will it be for me?

Health.  Not just eating a salad sometimes, but real health.  Mental health – getting my anxiety dealt with for the first time in my life.  I was kidding myself with the notion I had it under control, but 2016 sure as shit proved me wrong.  That’s a priority on my list.  Also yeah, eating better.  We can all stand to eat a little better, right?  Mine manifests with the idea of cooking more.  I want to cook more, much more.  I like cooking, my family likes my cooking, and there’s no reason for me not to do it.

Time & Routine.  The amount of shit going on in this family this year is staggering, and it’s only going to increase as I take on more unpaid shit (it’s inevitable, really).  I have some really detailed scheduling in place to try.  We’ll see if it works.

Love and Kindness.  I’m working hard on being a gentler parent.  I know my kiddo loves me and knows I love her, but I could be so much better, and I will be.  Three years old is a rough time, although my kid is as awesome as could be.  This is one I know for sure will work, but it’s a personal goal for myself to do it.

Work.  I have a real goal in place for something in 2019, although I feel a little pulled in various directions right now.  I’m hoping to tweak that into something more doable.  In the meantime, I have told myself that I’ll be sitting the IBCLC exam in the fall of 2019, and there’s quite a bit to do to prepare for that.  But I’m well motivated.  By the time M graduates in the early summer of 2019, I’ll be ready to rent an office and set up private practice wherever we go, which is so exciting it hurts.

Badass Womanitude.  Something every month to further the badassitude of my kid.  My strong, confident, perfect girl who will be a force of nature as a woman.  I’m calling this the Leia Project.  For obvious reasons.

I’m going to do a monthly check-in about these goals, cause accountability, man – it matters.

Okay, 2017 – ready for you.

– M

 

preschool, socks, and blogs

2016-08-28 17.38.07And like that, the first week of preschool is over.  (It was a 2 day long week seeing as how school started on Thursday, but let’s not get bogged down in the details.)  I didn’t have an explosion of Getting Things Done like I had hoped, but much like we have been patient with Norah in her transition, I’ve been patient with myself.

On her first day, I picked her up and was told she was a “live wire” by the teacher.  Um.  She said she thought she would do great, and I was like… Okay.  We’ve got time, she’ll learn things (maybe) and figure out how to listen better (hopefully).  Because I suspected live wire meant just that, a pure inability to sit the hell still.

Day Two pickup and there was nothing but happy raving from her teacher and teacher’s aide.  It took apparently a whopping one day for her to pick up almost all the routines and rules and learn her sitting spots, her coat cubby, and all that fun stuff.  I even fished a little with the aide to see if she was going to reveal any hiccups, and nope.  Nothing but praise.

I know that there will be good days and bad days.  I know that over the years, there will be calm times and crazy times, and that sometimes Norah will cry, sometimes she will laugh, and there’s very little to do about that from my end – she is a human child after all, growing at an alarming rate and soaking things up like the driest of sponges.  But it does my heart good to hear that yes, preschool is where she is meant to be.  And particularly Montessori preschool.  (The teacher described her as a true Montessorian, wanting to do EVERYTHING herself.  I replied, she sure is, and I’m sorry in advance.)

That is essentially all that is fun and exciting around these parts currently.  I’ve got a sock going as you can see to test the fit on a forethought heel, because I suspect those are going to be my preferred heels.  I’m not entirely sure if I will manage to make a pair – I was dumb enough to just do plain stockinette on these and I’m pretty much bored to tears.  Knit knit knit forever and ever.  I have a nice Knit Picks order on the way with wool for hats and a new set of short tipped circulars that I bought myself for my birthday, so there will be even more knitting come tomorrow when that arrives.

The blog continues to soldier on – there is a new computer in the house, which is a joy to type on and doesn’t make the concerning grinding noises that my laptop did.  Hooray!

And now it’s imperative that I eat this ice cream sandwich.

homeschool dreams = montessori reality

I had it ALL figured out by the time she was 1.  Big plans had been made.  BIG plans.

I was gonna homeschool.  I was going to start a slow, simple Waldorf style homeschool routine when my daughter turned 3, one hour a day and building up as she got older.  We were going to be that family that had school in our pajamas and learned from nature and did all that amazing stuff.  My husband was homeschooled.  I have an undergraduate degree in elementary education.  No reason this kid couldn’t be homeschooled.

Well, a couple reasons showed up.  First reason, one way or the other, if I wanted to run a business, I was going to need time to actually do it.  I needed time during the week for prenatal meetings, to teach classes, and to do all those things that a doula has to do short of going to births.

Second reason was simply that at some point I realized I had given birth not to a solitary wood sprite, but a social butterfly.  Nono yearns for other kids like they’re food or water – she needs them.  All of them.  We are a one child family by choice, so no ready made playmates will be making their arrivals.  I can’t go on playdates 5 days a week, especially if I’m working as much as I should be.

So, I did the math.  I needed time.  She needed other kids.  Not a difficult problem to solve.

Preschool was happening.  I was not only not going to be a homeschooler, I was going to be someone who sent her baby away to preschool at the tender age of *gasp* THREE.  Not even three!  I had to find somewhere that would take her a month short of turning three, being born in October like she was.  Naturally, being a proper mother and woman in a society that has conditioned us to sacrifice till we drop, I felt horribly guilty.  Waaaaves of guilt.

Until I took her to tour a Montessori preschool in Yakima.  The director commented, “Most children are holding their mother’s legs during the tour – but yours dove right in!”  Boy, did she.  In that half an hour visit, she played, she drew, she fit in, and she cried when it was time to leave.  Okay… guilt lessening slightly.  Maybe it wouldn’t be horrible.  But would she really let me leave her without tears?  Is that possible?

We tested the waters last week with an outdoor camp preschool through KEEN and the Washington Outdoor School.  It was just half days for a week, but I was fully prepared for a meltdown when I left the first day.  This is literally the FIRST time this kid has been away from me and not with a relative.  I girded my loins.  And… nothing.  Kissed her goodbye, said, “Mama will be back later to pick you up,” she replied, “Okay!” and that was it.  Five days straight.

(Every day at pickup she ran into my arms yelling, “Mama, I missed you!” so at least I still felt slightly relevant.  Slightly. Lol.)

By Wednesday of that week we were at the Montessori signing her up for the long haul.

And like that, come September, my baby will be at school doing just fine without me.  Maybe I’ll borrow someone else’s kid to homeschool.

 

 

my foray into k-beauty, and reasons why i have an asia problem

mr-rx-takes-a-bath
I shouldn’t even need to explain that this is a thing of glorious beauty.

Listen, it’s no surprise to anyone who knows me that I have a… thing for most anything Asian.  Mostly Japanese things, yes (yeah, I’m that nerd who met her future husband at an anime club meeting in college.  zero. shame.), but I really do love most anything Asia has to offer.  Don’t ask me why – I just do.

About a month ago, I got back into wearing makeup on the regular.  It wasn’t something I’d really done since I had my daughter, but 2 1/2 years is long enough, and I was having photos taken, and just… yeah.  It was time.  And as I started putting on makeup, I got a really good look at how my skin was doing.  Which led me to go, “Oooh no.  Up with this I will not put.”  I had very clogged pores, a few breakouts, a lot of redness, and at the same time my skin was horribly dry.  It needed serious help.

So, after trying a few things, including picking up a very gentle cleanser and going hogwild with moisturizer, things got slightly better.  But then I noticed someone in a Facebook group I belong to mention K-beauty.  A day of research and reading blogs later and I was sold.  So very sold.  I mean, cool things from Korea, Taiwan, and other parts of Asia?  And this stuff will give me clear skin?  Give it to me.

There’s really very little reason for me to reinvent the wheel and detail what K-beauty is or isn’t – a few excellent blogs spell this out better than I can.  Some that come to mind include Snow White and the Asian Pear, Fifty Shades of Snail, and Fanserviced-b, but there are so many others, as well as a great sub-Reddit.  Google and Ye Shall Find.  But what does my experience with AB (Asian Beauty) look like so far?

  • Double cleansing.  I now use an oil cleanser to pull my makeup off and then a regular cleanser for a second cleanse.  This has resulted in me no longer being afraid to wear makeup – my skin shows zero negative effects from makeup wearing as long as I take it off properly.  Huzzah.  I currently use The Face Shop Rice Water something something Oil and my trusty Burt’s Bees Orange Facial Cleanser, although the latter will likely be replaced with something new when it runs out.  I try hard not to let washing my face dry it out, and if you read the above blogs, you’ll see that a low pH cleanser can help with that.  My Burt’s Bees is pretty low, low enough that washing never leaves my face tight or itchy.
  • Chemical exfoliation.  OH NOES SCARY.  I was.  I was terrified of it.  But I dipped my toe in the water when I learned it wasn’t like a chemical peel or anything hardcore – I picked up the Cosrx BHA Blackhead Power Liquid and it is my jam now.  Gentle enough to use twice a day if I want (although I just use it mornings) and it definitely keeps my pores unclogged and my breakouts to a teeny tiny minimum.
  • Masks.  Sheet masks, clay masks – omg I am developing a mask problem.  Once I realized that masks could just be about pampering and loving my skin and that they didn’t always have to be super scary drying peely masks, I was on board.  My favorite mud mask is the Pixi Glow Mud Mask (go slow with this one, less is more – it will dry you out) and my favorite sleep mask is the Cosrx Rice Nourishing something or other Mask.  (the names are ridiculously long.  All of them.  God, I love Korea.)
  • Snails.  I use snail filtrate on my face.  More on that later as well, although my husband would be very glad if I just abandoned the snails for good.  But I love them.  Pry my snails out of my cold dead slimy hands.

That’s just a really basic skimming of what I’ve been doing – I could go on and on, but I’ll leave that for subsequent ramblings.  Basically, this combo has all worked to the point that now I’m actually using a prescription cream (more on that later) to fade the redness and old hyperpigmentation, because that’s really all that’s left to mar my skin.  I can happily wear just a BB cream and feel comfortable, and best of all, I have a great morning and night ritual that has kept me positive and gives me a moment to care for myself every day.  A lot of moms of young kids know – that’s hard to justify sometimes.

Basically, I love you Asia, I’m glad we’re back together.  Smooches.

 

 

whoops.

Oh, big promises.  I am always full of the big promises.

Anyway.  Things and stuff!

  • Knitting! Socks are hibernating.  I have come to realize that I need to switch to an afterthought heel type of scenario to actually finish anything ever.  So I’m going to shortly here start a second pair with plain old tube patterning and try the afterthought.
  • Reading!  I’m powering through the Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews – holy shit that’s enjoyable.  I don’t like just any urban fantasy series, and some of them I am just reading now because I don’t even know why (looking at you, Lords of the Underworld) but these books are on point.  Love them.
  • Planning!  Slump.  Huge slump.  Waiting for a Plum Paper horizontal, which might help.  Or not.  Who the hell knows.  At the moment I’m just forcing myself to use my two daily planners interchangeably (Day Designer and Simplified Planner) just so I make to do lists and get things done.  Also attempting bullet journaling, which is having mixed results.  I think I prefer having a book for lists even more than I do using it as a planner, which hey, no wrong way to bullet journal, so there you go.
  • Beauty!  Holy shit have I gotten myself out of my comfort zone with this, and I am loving it.  Loving it.  I’ve started collecting some pieces of higher end makeup (thanks, Sephora Flash membership) and fallen in love with Tarte products mostly.  But, with getting back into wearing makeup came a realization that I couldn’t go days at a time without looking in a mirror anymore – it was time to deal with my skin.  Deal With It.  And I did just that, by discovering K-Beauty products.  Full rambly post for sure on that later.
  • Parenting!  I mean, she’s still alive, guys.  Don’t expect a lot beyond that.

That’s my summary of the last month, kids.  Keep it real.

oh, so that’s what spring feels like.

 

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The view from my car atop Memorial Park Hill.  It’s pretty stunning in person, and apparently a popular lunch spot – there were three other cars parked with people eating takeout.  Lol.

 

 

April has arrived!  And with it comes spring.  And with spring comes my work ethic.  Funny how that always happens.

I have been slogging along this week at the old self-employment biz.  Building a business is rarely fun, but it does bring a huge sense of accomplishment when you tackle something you’ve been needing to do but avoiding.  Like making that phone call, or fixing that website, or updating that social media.  I managed to do all of the above plus much more this past week, and so I turn today to my neglected house.  I have no less than four meetings left to attend this month, and spring cleaning will turn very quickly into summer cleaning if I don’t get to it soon.

Another thing I did do this week was get through a big (virtual) pile of books, which I will be writing about later today.  And then hopefully I can blog a bit about socks as well.  Lofty goals, lofty goals.

Stay awesome, y’all.