Hello Mother, Hello Father, Welcome to…

Camp Awesome!!

I mentioned a couple of posts ago that I was going to tell you all about our amazing family camping trip to Northern Maine. And I’m going to do that, I promise, but it will be sans pictures because I cannot find my camera and I just really need to write this stinking post before I lose details that I want to get down! Maybe once my camera is discovered I will throw the pictures in as well.

On the Friday before Memorial Day Weekend, we all piled into my teeny car, along with all our camping gear (we’re not light packers, that is for sure), and drove the millions and millions of hours (or four) that it takes to get to…Well, technically, I think the town is Rockwood, or we were near there anyway. But once you get to Rockwood, you turn on to this endless dirt road and just drive. Forever. And ever. And eveeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeer.

It seriously was an hour of dirt road. Or more. And there was more beyond what we traveled. Like, miles and miles, until you hit Canada (which we nearly did the next day). Eventually you do come up to a ranger station and they let you in. There is an official title for where we were, but I honestly can’t remember. Where we ended up camping, however, was on Canada Falls Lake, and it was amazing.

If you’re going to go camping literally in the middle of no where, with no electricity, no plumbing, no phone reception, no internet, with none of the regular trappings of civilization, and aren’t used to it (and I’m one of those people), this was the place to go. You are fully emersed in God’s unbelievable creation (being out in the middle of Maine’s woods makes you a believer in some kind of higher being), BUT there are other people around. Nice people. People who are quiet. People who you believe would likely report to the authorities if you went out for a hike and didn’t return. People who are nice, don’t bother you, and have adorable, kid-friendly dogs that fetch rocks. The good folks. While part of me was a little bummed that where we camped was full of other people camping, most of me was relieved. We could still get away into the woods and enjoy the peace and quiet, but there would be people looking out for us, too.

And even if there weren’t a ton of people near our campsite, we didn’t go alone. My father-in-law, his wonderful wife, and her grandson (so, technically, E.’s cousin, though their not biologically related) joined us. They had been camping up that way many times and knew a lot about the area, which was super helpful. They were also awesome about taking E. and letting the hubs and I get away for a bit on the kyaks they brought up (more about that later). They all really made the camping trip. We enjoy spending time with my father-in-law and his wife, and E. had a blast with little J. (they’re the same age).

So, here are some highlights:

Saturday – The hubs and his dad took E. and J. out on the kyaks. The kids loved it out there, looked for fish, and got to paddle around a little island. When they got back they weren’t for a swim! While the men and kids were out, my father-in-law’s wife and I went for a walk down a path that took us winding through the woods, into fields, and past a lot of different animal tracks. Eventually we got out pretty far and felt a bit nervous so we turned around (we were afraid we’d go around a bend and run into a bear or moose!).

Later that day we went for a long drive down the dirt roads, looking, supposedly, for the Penobscot River. We never found it, but we did get up close and personal with a young deer who decided it would be fun to follow the car. We also saw two moose, a beaver, and a couple rabbits! So cool! It was all sort of like a safari, between the bumpy roads and the rarely seen animals.

Sunday – I snuck out early, early in the morning and snagged one of the kyaks and went out to the lake by  myself (but don’t worry, hubs knew where I was). The mist was still on the lake, it was dead quiet, the earth just starting to wake up around me. If I had any doubt about how amazing the world I live in actually is, it was erased out there. I couldn’t help but feel a presence of something so far beyond me and it was so uplifting that it brought me to tears. It was a truly amazing opportunity and I’m glad I got it. My soul feels refreshed just thinking about it.

The rest of Sunday was pretty relaxing. The kids played in the lake, and we did a lot of walking and fishing. That night after supper, when it was starting to get dark, we all took a walk out of camp to a field where the hubs and his dad set off fireworks. So cool!

Monday – We picked the perfect day to go home, because it was a pretty dreary, rainy day. We stopped at Pittston Farms, a little farm about 20 minutes from where we camped, sort of a last stop before you head deeper into the woods. They had a store and a little restaurant where we had a really yummy breakfast (you can’t beat home baked bread and homemade preserves). We had stopped in Saturday as well to check out the farm, where they  had horses, cows, and goats, which the kids thought were amazing. After breakfast we hit the road and arrived home very happy, but very, very exhausted.

I’m a huge lover of camping trips. As I’ve written previously, we’re planning a trip to Grand Isle State Park in Vermont in August and I’m so pumped for that trip. I’m sure we’ll go on several more as the summer goes on, especially since it’s a cheap way to check different places out! Next year I’m pushing for a camping trip into Canada or Niagra Falls. We’ll see!

Working From Home

First of all, I just want to mention that I very badly want to write about our amazing family camping trip on Canada Falls Lake this weekend (where we were only a few miles from the Maine-Canada border!), but I’m going to try to wait until I can post a few cute photos of E. and beautiful (well, “beautiful”, I’m not a very good photographer) pictures of just what we were surrounded by. Amazingness.

But now that we’re back in civilization (my parents’ upstairs hallway to be exact), my mind has turned to a new, very close to home direction: my house.

We’ve been in our cute little home for just over a year now and while there have been some huge changes from the day we moved in (namely, we have an upstairs), not too much has changed. It’s both frustrating and freeing. I mean, I have so much I really, really want to do to the house, and it doesn’t help having all these home magazines floating around, plus being addicted to really liking the blog . That said, I grew up in two homes where we were constantly under construction (if your a renovation nut, you need to read my dad’s of how he and my grandfather totally refurbished our 18th century home in Massachusetts about 30 years ago). I know first hand that home improvement takes a lot of time, especially if you want it done right and to your personal specifications (unless you’re loaded/are extremely talented/have lots of time). This knowledge helps me realize that it’s okay if very little has been done since we moved in, because I’m not a DIY genius (neither is Mike) and we just don’t have the time right now to get a lot done, but we will, especially if we get organized, which I’m trying to do.

I’m currently forming plan in the very small part of my brain that is dedicated to home improvement. The first part of that plan? Try to figure out what exactly it is I want to do, short and long term, to this house. Of course, I need to confer in part with my husband and see what he wants as well, but those conversation are best held, I’ve found, when you already have something in mind.

The second part? A list. Not a schedule, as I had originally thought, but a list of all the projects I’d like to do and the general order in which I expect to do them. A schedule, I’ve decided, won’t work, because we’re so inexperienced that I don’t really know how long something will take us. Plus, I’m not clear on funds for each project, so if we need some time to put aside money, obviously a project with an expected “finish by” date might have to change course. And when you base your success on your ability to finish something they way you expected it, sometimes putting yourself on a specific time table is setting yourself up to fail.

I’m also planning on having a running list of things I’d like to get for the house/yard. Things that I can pick up easily while out, while yard sale-ing this summer, or ask a friend or family member to keep an eye out for. It’s crazy to expect us to be able to go out in one or two (or even a few more) shopping trips and buy all the accessories, artwork, and little knick-knacks we might want.

I’ve yet to decide if I’ll post any of this on a blog, things can end up collecting dust. That said, sometimes it’s a great motivator. If I do post of what I mentioned above on here, it’ll probably be after I’ve gotten a bit of a start.

What do you have going on at home?

My Pursuit of Happiness

It’s nearly nine o’clock at night on a Sunday and I’m exhausted. But it’s one of those pleasant exhausted feelings – that sort of mentally blissed out way of being.

For two days I’ve been stuffed full of every kind of information about birth, women, and the feelings they so strongly feel (both physical and mental during birth) during the amazing even that we so simply call birth.

After talking and listening and doing like I haven’t in over a year (the last time I sat in a college classroom), I feel a strength and readiness to begin to pursue more strongly a dream I had been keeping at an arms length. There is so, so much I still want to learn and to see, some things I need to think about, and my future, as it stands now, seems fuzzy and unsure, but it’s all good. It’s like the future ahead of me is hard to make out because it’s clouded or foggy, but so bright it will take just a bit for my eyes to fully focus.

Let me come out of the vagueness of above and give it to you straight. I spend this weekend learning the beginnings of what I need to know to properly attend a woman as a doula (a labor support professional – a person who helps a woman through labor and birth). The workshop I attended this weekend is one step towards becoming a certified doula through the organization DONA. I have a few more steps to tackle, but one of the largest is attending three births.

And this is where I say that if you are in Maine (or know me personally) and would be interested in having a doula attend your birth, my services will FREE while I remain uncertified, because I am training. This does NOT mean I will be any less effective than a certified doula. If you or someone you know is interested, please contact me (either comment below with a way to contact you OR contact me via Facebook (if you know me in real life).

I also have a couple of other workshops left to attend and some reading to do, but I’m thrilled this workshop is what I did first. It has given me a confidence and thrill to see what I could be doing not just as a hobby, but as a job. I do not yet know where this path will lead, if it’s a minor detour or the beginning of a lifelong journey, but it is exciting and beautiful all the same.

I know I’m starting to sound like one of those goofy New Age people (and maybe I’m slowly morphing into someone like that), but sometimes those over the top cliches are what best describe what you’re experiencing.

I’m just happy.

And I wanted you to know.

I’m slowly starting to make the transition to all natural, mostly homemade cleaners (in addition to moving out other unnecessary toxins that my family is exposed to on a regular basis). While I love my super basic vinegar and water mixes and scouring my sinks and tub with Borax and baking soda (it’s so freaking cheap!!), one of the major things that I worry about is bacteria. I mean, I have a four year old, for pity’s sake – there is bacteria floating around everywhere! While I do have a bottle of Seventh Generation anti-bacterial surface cleaner (which is supposed to be safer than other brands), I was hoping to find something I could easily make myself and is cheaper than nearly $4 a bottle.

Here was the solution:

The school/clinic in our area had posted this short little “recipe” on their and I couldn’t wait to delve in. The suggestion: Fill a jar with citrus peels (in my case, lemon and orange) and vinegar, let steep for two weeks, then clean away! Citrus, , has some antibacterial properties, as does vinegar, AND citrus is known to cut through grease and other nasty substances, so soaking the peels with the vinegar can make a powerful home cleaning remedy, and one that I’m happy to use.

So, why am I making these switches, slowly but surely? Because, one, it’s way, way more inexpensive to buy big ole boxes of Borax and baking soda and a giant jug of vinegar than it is to buy anything else, environmentally safe or not, and these cleaning supplies are toxin free. Kids these days are exposed to so much crap that I feel like it isn’t such a bad thing to bring all down a notch at home. I know I can’t control what E. breathes in the air each day or touches or is exposed to at preschool or other places, but at least at home I can rest at ease that what I clean our home and her toys with is safe.

Next step on my list of to dos: Find out how to safely dispose of the cleaners I will no longer be using but are still hanging around.

We’re on our second day back from April vacation and it’s amazing how quickly it feels like vacation never happened. My house is a mess again, I’m thoroughly exhausted (though, we were so busy during break that I really didn’t get those wonderful, rest-filled days (anyone with a four-year-old can understand how this is possible), and my mood is fairly foul lately.

Getting back to work and feeling this way almost makes me wonder if there was any point in going on April break (for me, anyway – I’m thinking selfishly, I know) to begin with. It’s funny how vacations can become just as tiresome as the time you spend during your usual schedule. I find myself wondering what I could have done differently. I mean, yes, I was busy (I sort of had to be), but I did work some relaxation/fun in there as well. I read…a lot. I discovered my new love, Gotye (totally, totally obsessed with his music…and him). We visited family, enjoyed the beautiful weather, and E. even took a little “swim” during one the warmer days last week.

I don’t know…I suppose I need to, I don’t, write more. Why this comes to mind isn’t clear. I just feel better when I’m writing consistently (and I don’t necessarily mean on here – I have other things going on, you know). Creating, thinking, lovingly crafting sentences, carefully choosing words. It feels so good.

I suppose that now I have a charger for my iPad (part of the reasons posts have been so scarce lately) I’ll have more opportunity to write…to write anything.

No vacations from writing for me.

First of all, on a completely unrelated subject, I apologize for the serious lack of posts. Between Easter, the total lack of a working iPad charger, and quite a bit of exhaustion, I just haven’t been able to get anything written (super frustrating). So…sorry. (However, my absence has allowed me to finish THREE books, including 50 Shades of Grey, which was strangely amazing).

But here’s what I really want to talk about: Cervical mucus.

Oooh, yeah, you heard me.

Sounds sexy, doesn’t it?

All right, I promise I won’t get too weird on you, but I want to share my latest new hobby: fertility awareness. I mentioned some time ago that I had purchased the book Taking Charge of Your Fertility with the hopes of doing just what the book’s title describes and possibly getting pregnant more quickly, once the time came. Well, the time is nearly upon us and I’ve been tracking a few different items relating to my fertility for several weeks now, and while I’m far from an expert, I have absolutely no problem extolling on the virtues of the fertility awareness method (FAM) as both a way to more quickly conceive AND as a form of birth control.

What exactly is FAM? Basically, the fertility awareness method encourages women to observe a variety of “signs” of their fertility, primarily their basal body temperatures (your temperature first thing in the morning using a specific kind of thermometer – easily found at Wal-Mart, for example) and cervical mucus. If these signs are correctly observed, a woman can easily cause or prevent pregnancy (outstanding factors not withstanding) by timing when she and her partner have sex.

What are the advantages of FAM?

1.) For me, the number one reason I’ve switched to FAM as a form of birth control (because we aren’t yet trying to get pregnant) is the fact that I’ve, for one, gotten pregnant while on the pill, and for two, while I still had an IUD it drove me nuts (too many reasons to explain why).

2.) There are no foreign objects or extra hormones floating around in your body. I’m hormonal enough, I don’t need any help, and I always worried something would happen with the IUD that would result in some sort of internal injury. Plus, FAM is about as natural as you can get for birth control.

3.) It is extremely empowering to learn so much about your body and cycle. The more I read about what the female body does to allow for conception and the growth of a baby the more I am completely amazed. And when you actually observe it happening, you’re blown away. It’s like learning how some amazing and complex machine works, only cooler, because it’s your body.

4.) Once you learn how to do everything, FAM is far easier than taking the pill, wearing a patch, or having to insert a ring (and less physically and mentally altering).

5.) It puts the responsibility of birth control on both partners, rather than forcing just the female party to worry (which makes sense, considering men are fertile all the time and women are only fertile a few days a month).

What are the disadvantages of FAM?

1.) If you genuinely don’t feel like you have time to take your temperature in the morning and periodically check your cervical mucus during the day (easily done during bathroom trips), then you probably won’t be able to use FAM effectively.

2.) If you’re squeamish about your body down there, FAM probably isn’t a good option.

3.) There are periods of time when you will have to “abstain” or use other kinds of protection, because you’ll be fertile (i.e. you could get pregnant). That said, those periods of time give you and your partner a chance to get creative and find other ways to be intimate.

4.) I honestly believe if you’re not in a committed relationship, this isn’t the best form of birth control because it does hold a higher risk of pregnancy if you’re not really on top things and very careful. But, I also believe you shouldn’t be intimate with someone unless you’re in a committed relationship to begin with, so there.

5.) Like most hormonal, non-barrier methods of birth control, FAM does nothing to prevent STIs.

I think that even if you are not going to use FAM as birth control or you’re not trying to get pregnant, reading Taking Charge of Your Fertility or looking up other information about the fertility awareness method is hugely beneficial. There is no reason why a woman should not fully understand how her body works and why they do the things they do. A firm and clear understanding is so empowering and allows women to see that their bodies are truly amazing in more than one way.

This week Mama Kat asks us to (among other things), “…share one of your more recent reads and tell us what you thought!”

If any of you follows my 2012 Books page you may have noticed I’m on a bit of a roll these days when it comes to how many books I’ve been reading recently (three books in the past two weeks, which is a lot for me!). One of the books I’ve finished most recently is Looking for Alaska by John Green (an author I sang the praises of ), and not unlike the other three novels I’ve read by him, I think this one is amazing.

John Green’s writing primarily appeals to teenagers (and I first read his work for a Young Adult Lit. class in college - best course ever), and when asked what his intended audience was as he wrote the winning novel, Looking for Alaska, he clearly said that he wrote the book with teens in mind. But, as an adult (presumably), do not let this deter you. While the teen years may not be a time in your life that you want to revisit, John Green presents that time in such a way that a new perspective can be taken and you feel like your inner teenager, perhaps a still bit hurt, is finally understood.

Looking for Alaska starts off with high school junior, Miles Halter (who is obsessed with people’s last words), looking to take a journey into “the Great Perhaps” (taken from Fracois Rabelius’ last words) by starting his junior year at a new boarding school in Alabama. There he meets the Colonel, a short yet commanding young man who is also his roommate, Takumi, the token Asian kid who’s not known for his smarts (though he’s certainly got them) but how well he spins a rhyme, Lara, the cute Ukranian girl who’s trying to catch Miles’ eye, and then Alaska, the girl who steals his heart and is, along with the Colonel, one of the ultimate pranksters on campus.

The book moves in two parts, Before and After. In the “Before”, life seems beautiful and complicated, how it can often seem when you’re so young and there is such an incredible life lying before you. Which makes the “After” section of the book hit you like a brick, and the reader is forced to come to terms with the incredible upredictability and unfairness just as much as Miles and his friends do.

The fact that Green can rattle your bones so hard in really not so many pages is jarring and a credit to his writing – it’s never a good sign when a writer can’t make you care, but this is not a problem in Looking for Alaska. Your heart burns with the grief, as as an adult (and even more so as a parent), the pain is that much multiplied, because you are experiencing that tragedy on multiple levels.

This book is not a difficult read, in terms of writing style or comprehension. As I mentioned before, it was written with teens in mind, so the problem you encounter isn’t understanding what is going on, but coming to terms with what has happened. It will make you think, remember, and look at your children in a new light, even if they haven’t hit that precarious age of sixteen (or there abouts). Also, on a somewhat practical level, if you work with or have teens in your life, this might be an awesome book to suggest as a read or do as a whole class novel. Just don’t get all preachy, it would defeat the purpose.

As a last word, I suggest that if you’re not an adult who typically indulges in young adult literature, you might want to rethink it. Even if it’s not this book, but something like The Hunger Games (also amazing, but for completely different reasons) or the Harry Potter series or even Twilight (*shudder*), it helps to read something that distances us from the sometimes unnecessarily complicated adult world and brings us closer to our passions, our emotions, and what helped build the core that helps us stand tall now.

Happy reading!!

It was my birthday on Monday (woohoo, twenty-four!) and with my birthday comes the annual awesomeness of the Amazon gift certificate from my aunt.

Usually, the gift certificate is divided between a couple of books, maybe a CD, and then some other miscellaneous items or things for E. But this year I had a huge backlog of books I wanted to buy and finally made good on it.

So, here’s what I got:

1.) The Whole Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind, Survive Everyday Parenting Struggles, and Help Your Family by Daniel J. Siegel
I don’t really own any parenting books, and while I’m slowly starting to form my own philosophy regarding what kind of parent I want to be, I’m of the school that there are always resources out there that can further inform your outlook on life. Whether it’s personal experience, family and friends, discussion boards online, or a solid book. I also enjoy books that give you a set number and kind of strategy to use. I’m a bit formulaic, and while I understand no idea is one size fits all, it’s nice to have something to start with.

2.) The Successful Child by William Sears
I heavily consulted The Baby Book by Dr. Sears when E. was little and really agreed with what he had to say. I’ve been meaning to pick this book up for some time, but never seemed to have the extra cash. It’s been sitting on my Amazon wish list for a while! I’m curious to see if he sets it up similarly to The Baby Book and how he sees the continuation of attachment parenting with older children.

3.) Girls Will Be Girls: Raising Confident and Courageous Daughters by Joann Deak
I read this quite some time ago, having borrowed it from the local library. I got either right before or right after E. was born and remember thinking, “Jeez, I’ve got to get this book and hang on to it!” It provides wonderful insight on how to ensure your daughter embraces herself and role in society.

4.) Death Comes to Pemberly by P. D. James
A purely for fun book. (And you saw the other books I’ve got on here, I deserve one!) It takes place at the Pemberly of Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy, where they are living as a married couple and find that someone has been murdered in their home! *Gasp!* The horror!! I’m so excited to read it!

5.) Space Chronicles: Facing the Ultimate Frontier by Neil deGrasse Tyson
First of all, if you’re not familiar with Neil deGrasse Tyson, the world’s dreamiest astrophysicist, go google him or something, or check out his podcasts, or look at old NOVA episodes on PBS’s website or Netflix, or even Monday night’s episode of the Daily Show where he was interviewed, because he is so cool and makes space even MORE awesome (as if that’s possible). As a kid I went through a stint from about 5th to 8th grade where I really, really wanted to be an astronaut and then a physicist…and then I found out you would need to be able to do math – and I hate math – so I decided reading about it could be just as effective. Neil (we’re on a first name basis here), makes space just that more interesting and awesome.

6.) Taking Charge of Your Fertility: The Definitive Guide to Natural Birth Control, Pregnancy Achievement, and Reproductive Health by Toni Weschler
Supposedly this is a bit of a Bible for anyone who is looking to try natural birth control or is looking to get pregnant. While neither one of those are on my plate at this moment, I’ve found that the more in tune I am with what’s going on with my body, the better I feel and the more easily I can manage lady…stuff. I’m looking forward to digging into this!

7.) Parenting from the Inside Out by Daniel J. Siegel
I think it goes without saying that I went a little nuts with the parenting books, but…you can never be too prepared, right? This book is by the same author as The Whole Brain Child but the focus is more parents rather than children. I think it’s good to look it how you’re raising your children from multiple perspectives and obviously the perspective of the parent him or her self is pretty important.

8.) Street Gang: The Complete History of Sesame Street by Michael Davis
I started reading this over the summer, but the book had a tragic accident and I couldn’t continue. If you have any love for the muppets, Jim Henson, or Sesame Street, chances are you’ll find this book pretty intriguing. I love having loads of useless historical knowledge about things I enjoy (like Sesame Street), so this book is right up my alley.

9.) How to Be a Domestic Goddess: Baking and the Art of Comfort Cooking by Nigella Lawson
Oh, Nigella. How much do I love this woman? She is as beautiful as she is talented (which is very) and I love, love, love her cookbooks and the food that comes from them. I’ve read (like, from cover to cover read) two of her cookbooks and have been itching to get my hands on this one to add to my collection since it was mentioned by a professor during one my classes a couple of years ago. Reading one of Nigella’s cookbooks is more than checking out hundreds of recipes. It’s reading someone’s philosophy on food, taking a peak into her life and culture, and giving you a chance to think about how you view cooking and food. For some, I know, this would be a total bore, but for those of us who would love to be foodies and decent home cooks, it’s immensely interesting and even important.

I’m getting really excited about these books (writing about them hasn’t really helped) and have been checking Amazon and my e-mail obsessively to see if they’ve shipped yet. They’re not due to arrive at my doorstep until March 6th at the earliest, so it’s going to be a bit of a wait, but hopefully worth it. I do plan to review at least a couple of the parenting books and Nigella’s cookbook (though I can kind of already tell that it’s going to be awesome), since those directly correlate to a lot of what I write about here. I’m hoping I’ll feel as though they’re all good buys by the time I’m done reading!!

What was your most recent (or exciting) book purchase?

and are two massive parts of my life, but those are areas that change a great deal over time. There will come a day, many years in the future, when my children will be gone and while I hope to still offer them something as their parent besides cash, the everyday duties will diminish significantly. And, though it currently feels highly unlikely, I would like to retire at some point down the road, so my career may, at some point, become a fond memory as I go down other roads (travel, anyone?).

This leaves me with my passions. What will I carry on, in some capacity, after my children have left the nest and my job is no longer my job? After much thought, research, and, admittedly, some prayer, I’ve decided I want to get the ball rolling on becoming a . It’s a longish process, but one that I look forward to. I’ve begun by doing some reading, which is suggested by DONA International (the organization that certifies doulas), which is only adding to my desire to work with expecting women as they work towards the most life-changing event they’ll ever experience – bringing a child into the world.

I am continually in awe of pregnancy and the process that occurs during birth, and though I currently have little desire to go back to school for my medical degree (but who knows, perhaps I will at a later time), I feel that I could be a comfort and help in the delivery room (or birthing center or even someone’s home). Any material, text, audio, and video, regarding birth is something I suck up with fiendish desire, with a fervor that used to only be reserved for Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings novels and films. It’s one of those knowledge bases that, once absorbed, stays in my mind and I can’t shake it off, even if I want to, and become a walking encyclopedia on the subject (again, very similar to how I can be with Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter). I have been thinking about pregnancy and birth constantly for several months, and not only in the context of my own possible future pregnancies, but in the context of being that “helper” to the mother as she brings forth new life.

I find something incredibly honorable, yet humbling, about working with women and their partners to bring about the best possible situation for the birth of their child. Pregnancy and birth are the most beautiful and natural processes a woman can experience in her life, and I love the idea of being able to promote that beauty amongst other women. I think in these modern times, where there is so little left that is truly untouched, it’s important for all of us, female and male, to realize that we are still so capable of doing incredible things like making new life.

The journey has begun, and while there will be a lot to do ahead of me, thankfully they are all things I truly look forward to doing and are things I will be able to do while still working my regular (awesome!) job. I plan on completing the initial required reading over the spring, applying for DONA membership this summer, and then taking either a breastfeeding or birth course over the summer as well.

I know I may be the only person who’s really excited by this, but trust me, I’m really, really excited by this. A lot.

It feels good to be following through with dreams.

There’s a woman who lives in my head and she comes out every time I settle in to do housework or sometimes when I cook. She’s a bit thinner, well coifed and dressed, organized, and always keeps her house clean. She’s wealthy, but chooses to do the housework, cooking, and childcare herself, because that’s what a good mother does. She doesn’t work outside the home. Her meals are gourmet. She always keeps her husband happy.

She’s completely and utterly unattainable.

She can’t possibly be real.

But I seem to believe that if can at least pretend to be her while I’m up to my elbows in dishwater, then maybe a small bit of the fantasy can be true.