Pants Make Me Sad + Pants-Free July!

Thursday, June 30, 2016

If you have seen me in person the past few years, you might have noticed I almost exclusively wear skirts and dresses.

When people work up the courage to ask me about it, impressions have tended to fall into these categories:

A) I must believe that dresses and skirts are the only thing I can wear because of my religion.

B) I have a husband who wants me to wear these things.

C) I am a "fashion mom".

None of these are true. Yes bolding that was needed. Seriously people, none of these are true.

So here are the real reasons you are likely to find me in a skirt:

Dresses are super comfy 

This is only true if you are wearing dresses in styles/fabrics/cuts you are comfortable wearing! 

I only wear skirts that hit just above my knee or lower (preferably lower). That length will generally stay down and allow me not to have to worry about accidental flashing incidents.

Dresses are flattering through the seasons of motherhood

Body shape and size changes a lot, and quickly, during childbearing. Maternity clothes are ludicrously expensive, and it just kills my little frugal heart to have multiple clothing items that are off limits for years at a time.

I can make dresses and skirts work through all the changes my body goes through, and manage not to look/feel frumpy. 

Dresses don't fall down

For reasons that continue to elude me, my pants always start to fall down by the end of the day. Pulling up your pants all the time is not a cute look.

Dresses are easy to restyle

This is honestly one of the top reasons. I am doing very different things in a given day: taking care of babies, getting to dance class or rehearsal, going to volunteer meetings, attending mass, meeting friends for coffee, and spending lots of time outside. I need clothes that can easily be adapted to all of these situations.

Dresses let me change quickly, layer easily, and adapt to the rapidly changing micro climates of the Bay Area without needing to haul around a lot of clothes.

Dresses are very economical

I can keep clothing costs at almost zero by creatively re-wearing items to be slightly more on tread.

When I do shop it's very fast. By the time I apply my length and size criteria, I'm normally left with 4-6 options. I pick my favorite one of those. Boom. Done.

I do own pants! 
I own three pairs! A pair of jeans, maternity dress pants, and maternity yoga pants.

I wear the jeans about twice a year and I complain the whole time. (Exaggerating a little bit but not much...)
The others are perfect for the 2nd & 3rd Trimester when I need to be business-y or go to the chiropractor.

I'm not totally anti-pants, but I think the idea that dresses and skirts can't be comfortable, utilitarian, or modest is just ridiculous.

So I have a dare for the ladies: wear dresses or skirts every day for the month of July! 

Rosie at A Blog for My Mom will be hosting the linkup for Pants-Free July, in combination with My Sunday Best.
I'll be taking daily photos of my pants-free outfits and posting via Instagram, and maybe Facebook every so often. I'll have a few posts here with my Clothing Rules (because I'm Type A), creative re-wear tips, and easy maternity styling (#thisisnotanannouncement).
Things might get delayed because of Ireland 2nd Honeymoon thing. I'll just post when I can, and you'll get to see any shenanigans I get into being a tourist in a dress.

I want to see your outfits too! If you have a blog, make sure you link up with Rosie! If you don't, you can add your pictures in the comments on the blog or Facebook.

10 Things You Might Not Know About Me

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Linking up for Tuesday Talk this morning!

This here little blog will be one year old next month!

In that time we've had some new people join in who I have not had the pleasure of meeting in person. I thank y'all for taking time to read my little writings, but my southern manners indicate I must introduce myself at some point.

Leaving aside the details easily discerned from the blog (you might have caught on I'm Catholic for instance...) here are 10 things you might not know about me.

1. I have an unabashed love for coffee and a very high caffeine tolerance. 

Yes, you would have figured that one out within the first day of meeting me, but this is the Internet so we have to write out things here.

2. The squeak of shoes on a basketball court are my nails on a chalkboard. Makes me squirm just thinking about it.

3. I am from Dallas, Texas. Which means I have all the excuses in the world to love country music, handle heat like a boss, and say y'all all the live long day (which does fill a serious hole in the English language once thee and thou hit the dust.)

4. I was a Girl Scout all the way from Daisy's through Gold Award.

I spent my 17th birthday driving down to Austin, Texas for our Gold Award ceremony.
Aka. that project the girls do that requires a massive amount of work and re-writing that gives us....none of the respect that Eagle Scout gives boys. 
Annoying y'all.

5. I was Valedictorian from my high school class. 
I did work hard and all, but really it came down to just doing my work on time and being nerdy enough to read the ENTIRE student handbook - thus figuring out if I took an extra class at the community college downtown I would have more rank points than the next girl.

6. I was a super theater nerd all through high school. Evidence:

That's 17 year old me in the checked dress.

7. I am half Native American. My Dad is Ponca (the Oklahoma tribe). We're everything stereotypical you've ever seen about how Indians live. It's the tribe that invented fancy dance (the one with all the feathers) and we host the championship powwow in White Eagle every year.

The guy on the far left is my many-times Great Grandpa. This is the Washington Delegation that went to DC to argue the Native case for being fully human under the law - and won. Thanks Grandpa!
8. I met my husband online! Back in the days when was free for college age students.

His first time in Texas involved meeting my entire family out on the lake in July. He got to fish a lot so it made up for the heat. At least I like to believe that.
Now I can say things about how we met in the simpler days before Tinder and apps were a strong part of the online dating scene. Ahh, nostalgia!

9. I started dancing when I was 4. My first recital dance was to "Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend".

Miss Betty, who worked the front desk at the studio, made all our shoe bows. Can't have a 90s dance recital without shoe bows!
10.  My favorite movies are Steel Magnolias and Jurassic Park. It does make sense! Maybe...

Any big surprises? What don't I know about you?

My #1 Lesson on Parenting

Monday, June 27, 2016

When my first baby was born, I was determined to do the very best job of parenting him I could do.
I had had the opportunity to see lots of different ways to parent from growing up among big families and babysitting/nannying said families.

But being mom is really different from being nanny. Mostly because you are never off duty, and now all the pressure for making decisions falls on you.

So I read LOTS AND LOTS of parenting books, and articles, and blogs. I found some really good ones that were helpful for answering things like "will my baby ever sleep off me?!" and "oh my gosh, potty training does eventually work, right?!"

But all of it ultimately came down to this:

The vast majority of parenting is dumb luck and being the most stubborn person in the house.


When things work easily, it has more to do with lucking out with a kid who just reacted in a socially encouraged way than any real work on my part.

Case in point - this kid.

Girl loves people. And food. And sleeping.

So yes, she is very friendly at parties, will eat most anything you put in front of her, and will run off to bed shouting "yea!!!"
But is it from my awesome parenting? Not really.

When things don't go easily (I'm looking at you potty training and nap strikes) the parenting mostly involves just being more stubborn than the toddler.

I have an obnoxious amount of confidence in the fact I'm always going to win.

Because I do.

No I can't make them sleep, but I can insist they stay in their rooms and on the bed. 
Typically, they end up sleeping anyway (because they needed sleep whether or not they wanted sleep.)

Example of a nap stike won by mommy. :)
So you can find advice for all sorts of parenting questions on the internet, but it's really going to come down to deciding if it's something you care about (and thus just keep insisting on doing whatever it is) or if it's something you don't care about (and you just get to ignore that little quirk.)

Simplified parenting for the win!

Travels in the Summertime - 7QT

Friday, June 24, 2016

Linking up with This Ain't the Lyceum for 7 Quick Takes!

We are well into our summer of traveling! Here's what's been happening, and on the docket, coming up for our little (temporarily) jet setting family.


Matt had a business trip to the Twin Cities last week. When he goes on these trips, with a blissful hotel room all to his lonesome, instead of capitalizing on non-baby interrupted sleep he gets up early and goes running!
And takes lots of pretty pictures while doing so.

This St. Mary's at dawn. DAWN.


We had a grand total of 11 hours between Matt coming home from Minneapolis and me leaving for Dallas!

Bit of a whirlwind.


My longest childhood friend got married in our home parish this past weekend.

Yup, we were a little spoiled with gorgeous architecture.


It also meant I got to spend Father's Day with my Dad, and a visit to my grandfather, for the first time in many years.

My parents and all my sisters came to the wedding too.

Almost age order y'all.
Got to drop off our our second to youngest sister at college orientation before I went to the airport! She's the first one going to school close enough to drive. So, naturally, she had a good set of groupies for this rite of passage.


Side note to say I basically inhaled this book on the flights.

I don't think I've read a novel that long (496 pages) that fast since the last Harry Potter book came out.
I've had a lot of strike outs with fiction recently, but this one was amazing!
Lucky Day library shelf for the win!


Now we are preparing to bring the kids to Texas and then off to Ireland on our 2nd honeymoon!

John has been telling us for weeks about how he's going to take care of Max and Bear (dogs), feed the chickens, go swimming, and "go fishin' with Big Chief in the fishin' hole".
I'm pretty sure the "fishin' hole" is just called a lake, but I'll let him keep that cute little term for a while longer.

Here some of his adventures last year.

Fishing for babies is a good use of a plastic practice lure.


I've learned a few tricks for traveling with kids, and traveling when you have to change sleeping location often. A good sound machine is golden! Yes it's a little clunky to pack, but it's so so worth it to fall asleep that much faster in a new place.

My other tricks include baggies for all little do-dads. Each kid gets a labeled baggie with their underware, socks, swimsuit, hat, etc. (aka. "things all kids WILL forget when packing")

I follow certain rules like ALWAYS bring a fleece/light jacket, swimsuit, and a dressy option. Because you never know.

What are your favorite traveling tips? Any fun adventures for you and your family this summer?

Playground Rules - aka. Please Don't "Help" Me With My Parenting

Monday, June 20, 2016

We go to the local parks A LOT. Like pretty much every weekday.
Partially because we live in an apartment with no yard, but also because it gets us out of the house and playing with other kids and other toys.

I have a confession y'all, it drives me crazy when strangers try to "help" me with my parenting.

Every other day someone will inform me that my almost 2 year is climbing the play structure by herself (the horror!), the 4 year old is swinging on his stomach (because he's playing superman), or making suggestions about more ways I can play with my kids.

There is no world in which such things are not condescending. To make such comments assumes I can't parent.
Watching kids looks very different from person to person.
It does look like I'm reading my book - because I am. I have spent years honing the ability to watch kids without them feeling like they are in The Truman Show. Being able to observe without interfering is one of the great skills of parenting and teaching.

If you want to follow your kid around the playground in a constant cloud of commentary and encouragement - have at it. Looks like that works for you - awesome.
But, why oh why, is it so necessary to parenting egos to make sure everyone parents exactly the same?

My kids and I go to the park to:

  • play with other kids 
  • play with other toys
  • experiment with things like climbing in a relatively safe environment
  • be loud
  • get some good Vitamin D (also known as "making kids sleepy vitamin")
  • so mommy can get a little reading in, and maybe talk to another adult

I don't go to the park to:
  • obsess over safety
  • fix all arguments or playground disputes
  • judge other parenting styles (seriously. I can't even say how little I care.)
I am an expert on my own kids. We spend an insane amount of time together - I know their limits, strengths, weaknesses, and abilities.

Maybe you have different reasons and priorities at the park, and that is fine. But before you start making comments to a stranger about kids you don't know, consider that you are talking to an expert on THESE SPECIFIC KIDS. It's very likely you are going to put your foot in your mouth.

Would it not be better to get to know our expertise? We each know our kids -wouldn't it be better to tell me about your kid? Maybe ask me a little about mine? 
Maybe we actually have similar struggles.
Maybe we could encourage each other. 

We will never know when that door is being blocked by disrespectful comments. I'm voting for everyone to take a breather, do what we need to do, and consider each other as people first.

7 Things I Love About Him - Happy Birthday Matt!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Linking up with Kelly at This Ain't the Lyceum.

This weekend I'm off for a childhood friend's wedding back in Dallas. (Our mothers tell us we met while still in diapers.) 

That means I'm going to miss the husband's birthday on Saturday AND Father's Day on Sunday. All in one fell swoop. 

Yup, total wife sad times here.

I thought it would be fun to make a list of 7 things I love about Matt. 
Matt, THESE ARE IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER! Seriously. This is my sleep deprived brain in the process of acquiring caffeine writing this! So here we go....


He Eats Everything

This is my mom's favorite thing too.
He genuinely loves most everything someone cooks for him. When it's not great - and sometimes my experiments get too experimental - he still eats it and says nothing about it.

Gold star!


He's a Nerd

This is a good thing!
When we met, Matt was in the Philosophy PhD program at UC Berkeley after having just finished his undergrad at Princeton. He's a smart cookie.
If you can't tell from how I sometimes get a little too excited about things like bog bodies, I'm a bit nerdy me-self. There's a big difference between humoring my nerdy times and actually enjoying them with me. I'm happy that it's mostly the latter.


He's Catholic

We're both cradle Catholics. Having that common starting point is such a blessing. 
It is so so nice to be secure in knowing that we will go to mass together and be open to raising kids Catholic. He even does some of our faith formation program for the preschooler.

He thinks Aquinas is awesome too. That's REALLY when he passed the test.


He doesn't have to share my passion to appreciate it

When I came back to dancing ballet Matt volunteered to take care of the kids while I was in class, didn't mind my having to buy dance gear, and doesn't urge me to stop when I get tired and sore. 
He does not dance ballet, but he can appreciate the hard work it takes to get make into something.

He recently started running again (he ran cross-country in high school) and competed in his first half-marathon! Next month he will compete in the San Francisco Half-Marathon. So proud of you honey!

Post first half-marathon!


He picks up where I leave off

He loves to do all the things I really don't. 
Things like meal planning and baking sweet things. Complementarity at work!

Ok I made this one, but it was all his idea! Chocolate Stout Cake with a Bailey's Truffle Filling and Chocolate Whiskey Glaze. A-mazing.


He's Really Cute

Just a fact.
Check out that smile!

From that time at a wedding when Matt went up to the bar to get an alcoholic beverage and came back with ...more water. #butitsitalianspringwaterhesays


He's an amazing dad

He does the nighttime parenting, takes both kids to mass by himself when I have to sing, and has single-handedly taught the babies to offer high fives when someone scores in any sports game on TV.

And he'll wear them around in public. (Awwwwwwwww)

Hiking with baby on your chest = pro dad status
"Hands in the air!"

Because I don't know if this picture could get any more stereotypical Dad. :)

I wasn't kidding about the nighttime parenting awesomeness.

Happy Birthday and Happy Father's Day Matt!

Living La Vida Laudato Si + Pants-Free July!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

I have this idea that green living and Catholic living are interconnected things. If we're serious about stewardship of our families, community, and world it makes a lot of sense to embrace this little way of stewardship. Laudato Si gave me the papal push to see my little in-the-pews hunch might be a real thing.

But I don't think we are called to do ALL THE THINGS at once. I'm pretty sure burn out is not a virtue.
We do a lot of green living stuff now, but it's been a long time in the making. We took the time to make sure it made sense financially and for our season of life.

Thankfully, the green thing is often the cheaper (at least long term) option.

Here are some quick tips for bring a little Laudato Si into your busy life!

Have Bins for Everything

Having somewhere to put something until I can deal with it is how I avoid putting it in the trash.

I've got a bin for old clothes that can get re-purposed later. A bin for sad, limp veggies and bones that I'll make into stock. A bin for giveaway clothes and another for giveaway books.

That being said....

Don't Hold onto True Trash

I was amazed to discover how much of my closet space was being taken up by true trash. Not sentimental things or things to reuse - true trash. Why I held onto Valentine's candy hearts for five years I will never know. 

Cleaning out a closet, or shelf, once a month was a good goal for me. Once the true trash was out of there, I suddenly could see a good way to organize that space. With the exception of two pesky hall closets, they have tended to stay organized. (Shout out to my awesome husband who cleaned those out for me last week!)

Replace Something Disposable with a Reusable

Probably the most long term effective, but short term expensive, thing we've done to becoming greener is replacing our disposable items with reusable ones.

I'm a big proponent of doing this slowly. Partly to spread out the cost, and partly so the whole family can adjust to the new habit of doing the reusable (and the subsequent needed washing).

It can be like this if you're not careful. Etsy/Pinterest can be a little too inspiring...

Leftover Meals Rock

Part of what keeps our food budget down is being really devoted to using up leftovers. I've become a master of made up pot pies, soups, casseroles, and risottos. They are concocted on the spot and for the pure reason to use up leftovers ASAP. And to have dinner. That's good too.

You could be better then me at this by actually writing down what you do. On the off chance something turned out ABSOLUTELY INCREDIBLE vs the, more common, pretty good - having it written down would be nice. Made this awesome Chicken Asparagus Risotto the other week and no idea what I did....

Find the Option that works for you - Not the greenest option possible

I fell into this camp with cloth diapering. Yes, it would potentially be greener to wash our diapers ourselves. It would save gas from the diaper service coming to pick up the diapers and drop off new ones, and allow us to use cloth wipes instead of disposable ones.

But we have communal laundry facilities, no way to hang diapers in the sun when needed, and the diaper services near us are surprisingly affordable. It was the best option for our family, even if it wasn't the most perfectly crunchy option known to man.

New Ways for Old Clothes

I get away with not buying clothes very often by being creative with how I wear my old clothes. 

I mostly wear dresses and skirts. I've found them to have the largest range of use as I change shape due to pregnancy, postpartum, and dancing like mad. Elastic waists + belts for the win!

Wanna test out wearing dresses or skirts all the time? Rosie at A Blog for My Mom is doing a Pants-Free July! I'm planning on doing it, posting the outfits here with my creative rewearing tips.
Note this will fall during our Ireland trip so I will be your test bunny for hiking/riding in boats/touring/and surviving sudden downpours in a dress or skirt.

Are you in for Pants-Free July? Got other tips for easing your way into green living? How do you avoid waste in your home or workplace?

Women in the Catholic Church - Why I'm Really Fine with Never Being a Priest

Monday, June 13, 2016

In college I wrote my thesis on Catholic women and the practice of veiling.

In thesis seminars I had to give presentations on the topic. It was a startling revelation in how little the general public knows about the Catholic Church (Vatican II had zip zero meaning) and how one-track mind it is about women in the Church.

Women's ordination was *instantly* what people want to talk about. Even though it had *nothing* directly to do with my topic. It's like they were Pavlovianly conditioned to hear "Catholic Church and women" and think "women priests!".

It was very frustrating. The obsession with women's ordination nearly derailed any other research regarding women in the Church. (Let's not even get started on the people who thought any Anthropological research on Christian religions was foolhardy and a waste of time. I've got special words for them.)

This obsession with a dead horse is costing us real understanding of how women really function in the Church.

So here is what I wish the world would understand about women's ordination from the viewpoint of a Catholic woman.

Women do not need to do everything in order to be respected

Look around a typical parish and you'll see mostly female names on staff, women running most of the organizations, and a disproportionate number of women in the pews. Women are doing more than our fair share of the work in a parish already. Are you seriously suggesting that women are not respected until we do this particular form of parish leadership?

Priests are not the most powerful people in a parish 

Really really. 
It's the old ladies who make the world go 'round.

They are the keepers of the parish traditions, they will be there longer than any priest assigned there, and they will have the clout to veer the ship back on track.

Understanding power dynamics in a Catholic parish requires a level of nuance and understanding of informal power that seems to be missing from most commentaries - even though we don't hesitate to extend that understanding to other cultures. Consider there is more going on then what you see during a single hour once a week.

Bodies Matter

Priests are not just leaders. They are becoming the personification of Christ when they are celebrating the sacraments (Eucharist, Reconciliation, etc.)

Y'all, Jesus is a dude. He has a body and it matters.

Catholics are big on the concept that matter matters. We can't use just any liquid or bread for consecration into the Body and Blood of Christ (Eucharist). Not just any body can be used to personify a male body. 

Yes, We really have grappled with it

I have lost count of the number of people who have told me, to my face, that I am only OK with not having women priests because I haven't really thought about it yet. 
Could you try to get more condescending? Because I think you scraped the bottom of the come back barrel there.

Yes, educated women can arrive at a different opinion than you. And that does not make us dumb, unquestioning robots, or, my personal favorite, "complicit in our own oppression". 
These are all real things people have really said to me.

We are normally happy to answer questions about the Church, but if you are not getting great conversations from Catholic women while using terms like this, consider the possibility that respectful wording might help matters.

Still got questions? Leave them in the comments. I'll try to help as best I can. I'm not a theologian and I can't pretend to have all the answers, but I mostly know where to look. :)

The Rest of the Story - What a Mom Can Do To Help with PPD

Friday, June 10, 2016

Linking up with This Ain't the Lyceum for 7 Quick Takes.

Here is the end of the story of my experience with PPD (Postpartum Depression) after my oldest son was born. (Here is the beginning in case you missed it.) 

After sizing up the situation and realizing that there would be no applicable help offered in the hospital setting - I set to convincing the doctors and nurses how much I had improved. I definitely faked it. I was willing to say or do just about anything to get them to let me out of there and to get back to my baby.

I agreed to a low dose of Zoloft. I agreed to follow ups with a psychatrist. I showed up to every group activity they scheduled. I was the best little patient I could create. I agreed and smiled and nodded.

And I got the heck out of there.
Getting released was like finally being allowed to have my life back. Things were still not easy, but I knew now that it was really up to me to buck through it.
No it's not healthy, and I really really don't recommend it to anyone. But when I was faced with faking my way to better or staying in a hospital - I made the choice I felt I had to make.

My stay in the hospital put my milk supply in a death spiral. I quickly had to accept that formula feeding my baby was the only way he was going to survive infancy. I learned very quickly that that there life decision would get zip zero support from just about everyone.
Nothing like fighting to just make it through the day only to be talked down to and policed about what I dare feed my baby. I just wish that was an exaggeration.

I made a lot of structural changes when our second child was born. Here are my top 7 recommendations for moms hoping to hold off PPD.


Have the hard talks with your care provider

We're talking explict lay-out-the-plan for what kind of support you can expect, in the event you start to have depressive symptoms. "We'll cross that bridge when we get there" is not the response of a reliable postpartum care provider. You need a plan, honey!


Don't be afraid to switch care providers

Looking back, there were definate signs my care provider with my first baby was not going to be reliable postpartum. For starters, she danced around the direct question of "who will be delivering my baby?" multiple times. That's a question someone who professionally delivers babies should be able to answer.
I really should have looked elsewhere. Even if it was late. Even if it was scary. 
A health care provider who is worthy of trust is worth their weight in gold!


Be brutally honest with your husband

Most likely your husband is going to be the other person involved here who knows you well enough to see when you are not doing ok. Sit down and talk about the plan for postpartum. Who should he call with concerns? Does he have any dad friends he can de-stress with? Is he actually clear on what physical changes will be going on postpatum?
These are the answers he needs so y'all can be strong partners in the weeks ahead.

Be aware that dads often need to recover from birth too. Babies have a liking for being born at ungodly hours. No, it's not the same exact type of recovery as mom is going through, but sleep depreviation is no joke. I HIGHLY recommend taking two weeks of planned off time - off from work, outside committments, etc. - for BOTH of you. Taking the time to recover is the surest way you will both be able to meet any challenges ahead.


Prep as much as you can

Anything you can get done ahead of time, get done.

I'm a big fan of freezer meals! Anything that could just be thrown in a crockpot from a bag was the way to go. I have an itty bitty freezer, so I didn't do any full size casseroles.
Think ahead to things to keep any older siblings busy in those very early days with a newborn.
Got any pets? Handing off walking duty to an awesome neighborhood kid might be a great solution.

Especially if you have other kids, write down your routines and funky stuff. Because no one is going to magically know that the toddler says "nap" to mean "milk", or that that one bottle of laundry soap is really handsoap. (These are all real examples from my life right now. Yes, I know they could go so bad!) That's why we write things down. It's just the nice person thing to do.


Rally your community

This is part of prep, but it is so important it deserves its own spot.
Decide what you will need/like from your family and friends as best you can before birth and just ask! 
Set up a meal train (we used this one with Therese) so people can see when and what you need for food. Check with your parish/church to see what minstries are available. Take up those baby shower offers. 
It's ok to let people help you, and to show them what you need. No one was born knowing how to help families through transitions -some teaching is needed.


Find mommy friends but also non-mommy friends

You really will need people who are in this same season of life. Because there are just some questions that can only be asked around women who are in the know. 

But you might also need someone who does not also has the pressures of small children who can come and entertain the older kids at the park for an hour. People who can't always commiserate, but can empathize. Someone who is not also burned out from reading Barnyard Dance 50-bigillion times. Someone who might actually be available at 8pm when you are having a moment of "oh my goodness please tell me you want to drink some wine with me!"

A little distance from the up close and personal of raising small children can be such a breath of fresh air!


Hedge your bets

Been through PPD before and really want to avoid it again? Here's some other things I did that may or may not work, These are hedge-your-bets things that may not be proven to work, but I've had good results on them.
Always talk with your health care provider about these things before trying!

Tintures: I like the Wishgarden ReBalance and AfterEase (especially for 2+ time mommas!).
I found taking ReBalance before bed REALLY helped with the emotional coping of choppy sleep. It also seemed to make the placenta medicine more effective. 
AfterEase is for use as needed for after pains. They do get worse with each kid, and will flare up when nursing. Great alternative to popping pain pills!

Placenta Medicine: Yes it's weird. Can it help? Maybe. Honestly, I probably would not have jumped on this if I wasn't so desperate to avoid PPD the second time around. 
I went with getting the placenta dried and encapsulated without any added herbs. Not all herbs do well with everybody and you only have the one placenta. It would be a bummer to not be able to use it because of unnecessary additions.
I lucked out and my doula offered placenta encapsulation as well. This was far and away the easiest option. You can arrange for someone to just do the placenta processing as well.


This book was the most comprehensive and useful read for postpartum I've found yet.

Tourists in Our Own Backyard: Angel Island + Civil War Days!

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

This past Saturday we took a trip to Angel Island with the kids!

We took every form of public transportation possible to get there (exception of biking): 
Walk --> Bus --> BART (train) ---> Muni (trolley) ---> Ferry.
It was an adventure!

Father/son bonding time waiting for the ferry.

It was the kid's first time on a ferry. I think they enjoyed it! Therese spent most of the ride in the Ergo (someone thought putting her hand in ALL THE PUDDLES on deck would be cool). John kept getting lulled into sleepy land by the rocking and white noise of the waves, wind, and ferry engines.

First glimpse of the harbor!

The ferry docks in Ayala Cove. It's where Lt. Juan Manuel de Ayala anchored back in August 1775. The island was then christened Isla de Los Angeles due to the custom among Catholic explorers of naming sites for the religious feast days nearest to the time of discovery (I'm still unclear on exactly which feast that was.)

We had an early picnic on the many picnic tables in front of the visitor center.

The visitor center is part of the old Quarantine Station. Starting in 1891 this was where ships from foreign ports could be fumigated, and immigrants suspected of carrying diseases could be kept in isolation. (The cove was called Hospital Cove at the time.) All functions of the station were moved to San Francisco in 1946.

We took the pretty easy hike along the Parameter Road, heading towards Camp Reynolds (1.5 mile hike from the cove.) The kids are pretty good hikers. If we get to an area with lots of Poison Oak Therese goes into the carrier and John will either walk in front of an adult (to keep him in the middle of the path) or someone will lift him up too until we're past the danger area.

Our average day involves walking 2-3 miles, so this little hike was no problem for them.

Former hospital for the soldiers. Such a great porch! Such potential!
Yes, there used to be a lot of small pox and plague in there, but STILL!

By the time we reach Camp Reynolds, Therese was knocked out in the Ergo. We could see a number of reenactors readying cannons, tending cooking fires, and soldiers completing inspection.

Many had stayed overnight in Civil War era styled tents or inside one of the restored buildings.

Everyone was super friendly and more than happy to talk to us about everything we were seeing.

When we walked in the building, the first thing we heard was "want a cornbread fritter?" 
Fresh off the wood stove.
It was awesome.

There were both Union and Confederate reenactors. Union vastly outnumbered confederate fighters - which is pretty historically accurate anyway.

Before the battle started, everyone was instructed to head for the high roads.

We watched the Union soldiers drilling for a while.
There were a lot of new members who were still learning the marching formations.

The Civil War was the last American war to be fought in the Napoleonic style. As one man sitting near us put it, "it all looks very civilized."
In between drills, some of the reenactors would cover over and answer questions and give little history lessons.

This was an active camp during the Civil War. It was established in 1863 and was known as the West Garrison when the whole island was Fort McDowell. It became an infantry camp after the war and was used as a staging area for troops serving in campaigns against the Apache, Sioux, Modoc, and other Indian tribes.

The fighting began with the Rebels sneaking up on the Union soldiers, capturing their sentry, and charging onto the field.

The cannons were loud! John thought they were amazing. They woke Therese up from her nap so she had a bit of a lesser opinion of cannons.

Commentary was broadcast over speakers, with one of the reenactors keeping us informed about what was happening on the field.

Union won!
My favorite part is when all the "dead" have to come back to life after the battle. Even if it's always a little unnerving.

After the battle, we got to tour the old bakehouse.

Old flags are so cool!

It's currently their museum area for this part of the island, so lots of era artifacts on display/use.

They would be baking bread (as they had done the previous day) using the historic oven, but they were still heating the oven while we were there.

Old school pump meet modern day Dawn.

I really enjoyed trying out writing with a fountain pen! Pretty simple once you get the hang of it. I've written with feather quills before and this was much simpler and easier to use. 

They had sealing wax and a stamp if anyone wanted to sit and write out a real letter, but we had to start hiking back to the cove.

Tried to get John to do it, and he wasn't having it. He liked watching everyone else though.

We got back with a little time to spare, so the kids got to play on the little beach!

It was less winder and warmed in the sheltered cove than it had been over at Camp Reynolds. It felt good to just relax and watch the boats come in.

Live music at the island cafe/restaurant.

John fell asleep hard on the ferry home. Nap time is still something he needs I think.

Verdict: awesome adventure and super kid friendly. Would recommend a carrier of some sort for kiddos who might tire out.

We did not make it over to the immigration station, and I would like to go back and see it.

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