July, My Month of Mindfulness

31 days ago I committed to meditating daily. In July I spent 253 minutes meditating. I missed one day, (day 12). 253 minutes of breathing in the moment right in front of me. Over four hours of awareness brought to my thoughts.

Somedays I found my thoughts in my parked car before work, other days sitting in the grass in our yard. Somedays it was difficult to be still for even 5 minutes, I would spend the entire meditation pushing away distractions. Other days the mindfulness came easy and I would be a world away in 8 minutes.

Here’s what I have discovered after 30 days. Meditation like most things becomes easier the more you do it. And 30 consecutive days is a long time to practice something. I love that every time I meditated it was different. Meditation doesn’t require you to be in shape. It doesn’t cost any money. There’s no equipment. You can practice anywhere & for any length of time. And about half way through the month I started to really crave and look forward to these moments of mindfulness. Our worlds are so saturated with notifications, pings and pulls for our attention constantly. And there is something magical about being still & being thoughtful, it’s this superpower. The ability to rule your own mind. And you can access this power whenever. One morning this month Will and I had a rough start to the day, patience, and tempers were short. When I got Johnathan down for his morning nap, I let Will watch his beloved Mickey Mouse & I snuck into my room and did a 5 minute meditation. And it completely changed the tone for the whole day. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not on here trying to say if you meditate your kids won’t have tantrums. BUT! You might find you have a lot easier time responding to toddlers disproportionate range of emotions & not meeting their chaos with more chaos. You might discover a new ability to pause when you’re first confronted with chaos. And that concept of being able to meet chaos with calm carries over in every aspect of life. Suddenly bumps in daily routines, difficult patients, traffic, personal conflict, things that constantly throw us into reactionary modes are met with more thoughtfulness and patience and in turn cause us less strife.

I know I’ve only just dipped my toe into the benefits of meditating and after a full month all I can say is I don’t want to stop. I love the way it makes me feel I love the calmness and sense of intermission mediation brings. It wakes you up to the moments right in front of you. With kids it is so easy to get bogged down in the day to day. Just crossing days off a calendar. Meditation has made me look at every day with thoughtfulness.

I used the Insight Timer App for my meditation – I used the totally free version. They have over 100k meditations that are free, you can search A-Z category wise, you can filter by length of time or theme. I also love that it keeps track of consecutive days meditating as well as total minutes meditated and provides a space for quick check ins.

Meditation is the journey from sound to silence, from movement to stillness, from a limited identity to unlimited space

Sri Ravi Shankar

Wild One

This month we celebrated Jman with a Wild One themed birthday party! He is our sweetest surprise & our pandemic baby. Born in July, his birth month flower is a lotus. Which grows in mud, retreating each night back into the mud only to bloom clean the next day. Lotus flowers symbolize spiritual awakening and rebirth. My eyes filled with tears when I read the description of this. Johnathan was our sweetest surprise, little did we know he would enter our lives when we needed him most, in the thick of the pandemic he would be the brightest light. His birth would remind us of the circle of life as we went on to lose my aunt a few days after his birth. I couldn’t think of a more beautiful symbol for his birth month.

We had family and a few friends come celebrate with us. I got this “wild one” birthday kit off amazon for $30 and was impressed with how great it turned out. The day of the party ended up being well over 100 degrees, luckily we had a small pool from target set up & the kids loved splashing in it. It was wonderful to celebrate our happy guy and watch him demolish his smash cake! He decided to take his first steps right before turning one and he held out on getting any teeth his first year!

Links: table cloths / wild one party kit / splash pool / my dress

Three Rex

We celebrated Will’s 3rd birthday with a Three Rex theme. This birthday felt so emotional, he just seems so big all of the sudden. He’s going to preschool in the fall, he’s taking swim lessons, he tells funny little stories & is constantly asking “wanna know…” Ex: wanna know what that sound was, wanna know what’s in mama’s mouth, wanna know what Johnathan’s doing and on and on. Will turned two a month into the pandemic. While the world shut down in 2020 Wills world expanded beyond measure. We moved, he became a big brother, he learned to ride his scooter, he got stitches (see previous), he cooked with me a TON and asked Santa for knives. It’s SO fun to watch him become his own person & every birthday is just a little reminder of how quickly time goes! It was so wonderful to have a small party to celebrate our guy and Johnathan got to meet some family he had never met yet so that was extra special.

Party decor was primarily from target. His cake I can proudly say I baked & decorated! It’s a Ghiradelli box cake mix & Betty Crocker chocolate frosting & funfetti vanilla frosting that i just added green food coloring to, for the dirt – crushed up Oreos. I took inspo from a picture on pinterest & I was so happy with how it turned out! My biggest tip is to freeze your cake for 20-30 min before trying to frost it. It seriously makes a HUGE difference!

Winter in Yosemite

Last month we went on our first trip in exactly one year! We went on a road trip & visited Yosemite. A few months leading up to this trip Will started enquiring about seeing snow. We landed on visiting Yosemite, because as much as I wanted Will to see snow, the idea of three days with a toddler & infant with snow as the main / only attraction did not seem like my idea of fun. So we landed on going to Yosemite & it was the perfect getaway! I thought I would share what hikes, trails we went on that were kid friendly, info about snow play areas etc in case you find yourself in a snowy yosemite with a toddler & 6 month old!

Cooks Meadow – Located on the valley floor, this trail has incredible view of half dome & Yosemite Falls & you are surrounded by beautiful meadows. There are boardwalks that make pushing a stroller easy. We were able to pull off the trail and have our lunch in a meadow with Yosemite Falls in the background. So serene.

Lower Yosemite Falls – This is a 1 mile loop that is paved, easily manageable with a stroller or a toddler. (although when did this hike it was day 3 & will was exhausted so he opted to ride in the stroller, but on any given day he could easily have walked this trail!)

Badger Pass Ski / Snow Play Area – did you know Yosemite had a ski resort?? I did not, until researching for this trip. At the time the actual ski resort was closed & lifts were not running. however the snow play area was open to visitors. William had a great time sledding. We took our monkey mat and put it down in the snow & Johnathan got to watch. We also packed tons of food for this portion – I premade a batch of chili for our trip, heated it in the morning & stored in a XL Thermos. When we got done playing in the snow we had a picnic in the back of the car with warm chili! I would say be sure to pack lots of food because to & from badger pass there is very little / no food options & I did not want to risk and hungry toddler or husband after playing in the snow for two hours!

Tunnel View – If you’ve been to Yosemite you’ve probably stopped at Tunnel View – there’s not much to do, it’s purely a vista, but I love stopping there & taking it all in! (I just popped out of the car to grab a few photos, no pulling toddlers out of carseats for this stop.

Things to consider

  • If you are planning a trip to Yosemite be sure to check which entrances are open, because many roads are closed during the winter months.
  • Be sure to check if reservations are required to enter the park as of Feb 2021 they were.
  • Depending on accommodations, at the time we booked our trip the Awahnee was still closed for overnight guests, however we booked an airbnb about 30 minutes from the gate. Something to consider is the driving factor – although we were only 30 minutes to the gate, often our actual destination was an hour or so away. So it made for LOTS of time in the car.
  • We loved our airbnb, it had stunning mountain views, a hot tub that you could enjoy the sunset from & was SUPER kid friendly, including a play structure, miniature horses & everything from highchairs to pack n plays! This is the airbnb link in case you are looking for a place to stay!

Have you ever visited Yosemite in the winter?? I would love to hear about your experience or your experience taking young kids to national parks! After this trip Chris & I are really making an effort to take the boys to more parks around us! Leave me your favorite parks in the comments below!

Johnathan’s 1 Month Photos

Can’t believe it’s been a whole month with this guy and in true second child fashion this post is going up 2 weeks after these photos were taken. This first month has been wonderful, Johnathan got to meet both sets of grandparents & William has fully embraced big brother duties. Johnathan also moved out of our room & into his own, but he’s still snoozing in his bassinet. Per usual time is flyyyying by, but we’re over the moon with our littlest man.

Pregnancy Favorites

I decided to compile a list of some of the things I’ve been loving this pregnancy – I would say this second time around I’m way more relaxed & honestly have barely bought or started planning anything (and I’m nearly 30 weeks!). By 30 weeks with Will we already had 80% of the nursery done, I’d had my babyshower & was elbows deep in organizing baby gear. I think this is a rather common phenomenon with non first children!

  1. Care Of Vitamins – you might have seen these being promoted by celebs on Instagram, but I tried them & love them. When you’re pregnant you’re taking your vitamins daily & I love that they come in individual packs which are perfect for travelling. And I like that you can change up what comes in the pack every month. When I had really bad morning sickness I was adding B12’s, and now with all the crazy pandemic stuff I’ve added immune support like elderberry & probiotics. I love that I don’t have bottles of vitamins on my counters or cluttering up my cabinets. & the little packs they come in are compostable!!
  2. THESE Old Navy lounge pants. This pregnancy I’m having a hard time finding things I find to be comfortable. I’ll be wearing leggings & or maternity jeans & out of nowhere I’ll be annoyed with how tight around my belly it is. But these bad boys are SO comfortable & so soft. I honestly wear them 5 nights a week! In fact I have a second pair in an online shopping cart.
  3. My Hydroflask! Something I use every.single.day! I’m so thirsty when I’m pregnant or breastfeeding & I crave ICE cold water. I love the hydroflask because it doesn’t sweat, it keeps water cold for hours on end. I usually fill it up with pebble ice from work before I leave and the ice is still solid when I wake up in the morning! I have a narrow bottle which I prefer because it fits in cup holders. Right off the bat it might seem pricey but it’s literally the only water bottle I use & I take it pretty much everywhere I go!
  4. Belly Band – I never wore one during my first pregnancy, but this time around by lower back kills me by the end of the day. I ended up getting one off of amazon that said it was good for back pain, & oh my goodness does it make a difference! I wear it whenever I’m working out (except yoga) & when I’m doing a lot of walking or standing. I usually end up wearing it in the afternoon when I’m running around chasing Will, & standing to cook dinner. At less than $25 it’s worth it if you’re struggling with lower back pain & still have months till delivery!
  5. Thred Up – this online second hand retailer is awesome in general but it’s for sure a favorite when pregnant. I hate shelling out full price stuff for maternity jeans, shorts, dresses etc. Usually maternity stuff is lightly used & less than half priced – WIN WIN! I also use thred up to clean out my closet. You can order a clean out bag for fee & they’ll send you a bag that’s already had a shipping label on it & you fill it up with your items & ship it back – they’ll pay you for any items they choose to list & donate whatever they don’t want! Talk about easy!
  6. This one you don’t have to be pregnant to enjoy, I recently ordered DAE hair shampoo & conditioner & have been LOVING it. It’s a little on the pricier side but it’s a super clean product – free of sulfates, parabens, formaldehyde, less than 1% synthetic fragrance. I’ve dabbled in pricier hair stuff before & always been left a little unimpressed, but this stuff seriously makes my hair SO soft & way less frizzy when air dries!

Two The Moon

On Sunday we celebrated William’s 2nd birthday in quarantine style. Since we couldn’t celebrate in person with all our family & friends we tried to still make it feel very much like a birthday party! I stuck with my original theme Two The Moon theme. William helped bake his cake the night before, he was so into it. I’ve fallen in love with King Arthur Flour Co! I used their gluten free, soy free chocolate cake mix, it was delicious. And then I attempted my first balloon arch, it was kind of a pain to hang it up on the wall but overall it was fairly easy & I think it turned out SUPER cute! We had a zoom family call in the morning where Will got to open his presents & everyone sang & we ate cake! We got Will a scooter, our upstairs neighbor’s daughter has one & he has been eyeing it for months – he got a chance to ride it over Easter & took to it right away so it was a no brainer. I don’t know if it’s the fact that there’s a pandemic happening, or the fact that I’m very pregnant but this birthday felt so emotional compared to turning one! Do other mamas feel this way??

Here’s the link to the scooter we got William – I’m impressed with the quality.

30 in Scottsdale

A few weeks ago we went to Scottsdale to celebrate my 30th birthday. It was such a fun long weekend. My best friend & my parents joined us & it was so low key & relaxing. We stayed at the Scottsdale Mccormick Ranch which has an awesome pool, that you can walk into. Will LOVED it. He was so brave and would just walk right in, which had us realizing he needs swim lessons ASAP because he has no concept of what to do when he gets too deep (literally). We also went and saw a Giants preseason game, which is always fun. All in all it was a great weekend with great food & even better company & it definitely felt like a special way to ring in 30. (which I still can’t believe I am!)

Mommy Mondays

Mondays always feel like a fresh start, there are certain things I try to do on Mondays, I try to always work out (usually bbg legs), I try to start the week with a tidy house, & I also like to reflect back on the weekend & previous week. I thought I’d start trying to consistently post on Mondays. Today I’m sharing some favorite moments & some favorite things from this week.

Our week started with an Auntie Date at the science museum. William absolutely loved being able to run around the exhibits on his own. We bought a family membership to the Cal Academy when he was 4 months old. It’s remarkable to watch his brain just take in more and more everytime we go. This time he loved the aquarium & was trying to kiss the fishes, & he loved walking around the rainforest. However the museum is likely where he got his first cold ever that later caught up to us 36-48hrs later. The second half of the week was gray & rainy, perfect for getting over a cold.

I made protein muffins because I knew my sick guy would eat these. They’re made from Kodiac Cakes – I use the recipe on the box for muffins but I add 1.5 tsp of cinnamon, 1/4 tsp of nutmeg & 1/2 cup blueberries. I also got these silicone baking cups & have used them a handful of times. I can’t believe it took me so long to get these, they’re a new found favorite!

This Spray! Seven Generation disinfectant spray. Will caught his first cold ever these week, poor guy (definitely not a favorite). So I’ve been using this to disinfect his toys, and pretty much anything his little hands are touching. I love that it’s no rinse required and there’s no alcohol whatsoever in this, plus it smells heavenly. I can’t recommend this spray enough, it’s so mild.

This new neighborhood art is a favorite from this wee! These flamingos are just a couple blocks from our apartment & are on a route I take when I walk Juno & Will. This bright statement on Cabrillo makes the neighborhood look so nice & bright & I love it, I think it’s so fun plus they’re sidewalk garden is total urban garden goals & they also added cool seating.

Another favorite I have is a hack for getting stains out of baby clothes!! It’s so simple. All you have to do is put the clothing item in a large glass bowl & pour boiling or near boiling water on top. I just heat up water in our tea kettle. This trick seriously works like a dream. William spit out some Tylenol I was giving him on his shirt and there was a huge cherry red stain across his chest. This trick works best the sooner you can do it after the stain happens but it’s so easy that even if it’s been a minute it’s totally worth trying. Let me know if you try this & it works!

Below are some favorite snaps from the week & weekend.

Hope everyone has a great week!

William Hayes Birth Story

I can’t believe it’s been a whole year since I gave birth to my son. Parts of my birth experience still feel so incredibly fresh in my mind.

I was 40 weeks & 3 days when I went in for my non stress test. The two weeks leading up, I was trying my best to induce labor, walking flights of stairs, eating spicy foods, getting acupuncture 3x a week. After one of my accupuncture appointments I walked a mile to an apothecary store in the Mission in SF to get a special tincture that was supposed to induce labor. I tried it all. So when the nurse told us my amniotic fluid was 25% lower than what they expected I realized this was the start of my birth story. Right after our NST we went to my OB’s, I already had an appointment scheduled & we were supposed to be picking a back up induction day. “Good news, I have your induction day, today!” that was what my doctor told us. We were scheduled for 4pm, she encouraged us to go out to a nice lunch & then head back to the hospital. I went in for one last accupuncture appointment in hopes to make my induction as smooth as possible, then we went out for brunch. We ended up being an hour late to our induction, it was so hard to leave our apartment. It was such a surreal feeling of knowing we were leaving & we would come back & our house would never be the same.

We checked into L&D, I was having contractions but they weren’t regular. They gave my misoprostol & I went to bed. Ironically my nightshift nurse was someone I went to nursing school with. (what are the chances!?!) I got started on pitocin that night & I was able to sleep a little bit. Early in the morning my nurse told it me looked like baby wasn’t tolerating the pitocin the way they hoped so they were shutting it off. I remember feeling so defeated. We thought, well our doctor is going to come in & tell us we’ll be having a c-section.

My dayshift nurse the following day was an older woman who was such a badass, you could tell she was a nurse who had seen it all. She was so reassuring that we still didn’t know exactly what my doctors plan was but that there were lots of options & sure enough my doctor wanted to try a balloon that would help get me to 5cm. (I was only at 1cm at this point). So mid morning they put the balloon in. A few hours later it was definitely working, I was starting to really feel my contractions. I had gotten up to to pee, but I couldn’t & was coming back to bed & chris was helping reconnect me to the TOCO monitor & we couldn’t seem to get the monitor on. My nurse came in and baby’s heart rate was low. First she thought the monitor was possibly just picking up my heart beat, she had me lay on my left side, still low. At this point the charge nurse came into the room, I can still hear the TOCO slowing, 90, 80, 70. More nurses coming into the room. As a nurse myself I knew this wasn’t good, even though I was terrifed, I knew I was safe with Margret, she kept reassuring me they were going to take care of us. She had me get on my hands & knees, (the best way to get pressure off the baby, especially if the umbilical cord is being compressed) while they were calling my doctor & preparing for a crash c-section. Within a few seconds of being on my hands & knees baby started responding really well & the heartbeat recovered. Crash C-section avoided. My doctor came by later to check on me, she was reassured that baby recovered quickly.

The afternoon came & my nurses changed. This time I had a nurse who was precepting a new hire. Right off the bat I felt a little uneasy with my new nurses. About an hour into their shift I called them in because I was having a lot of trouble trying to pee with the balloon in. I didn’t realize how long had passed, but it had been about 9 hours since I was last able to pee & I felt like a lot of my pain was being caused by my bladder rather than my contractions. I had noticed every time I came back from the bathroom that the baby’s heart rate would dip. So I told my nurses I was certain I needed to have a catheter. My nurse told me I would have to lay flat in order for them to do this, I told my nurse that previously the baby’s heart rate hadn’t tolerated when I laid flat. She was insistent we do it that way, & as soon as they started baby’s heart rate plummeted. The reassurance I felt with Margaret, my previous nurse, was non existent with these two. They began yelling at each other, telling me baby was not doing well. I had to tell them I needed to get on my hands & knees. At this point the same thing happened with nurses flooding the room, they had already called for a crash c-section. & had called my doctor. Baby once again recovered while I was on my hands & knees. I told my nurses I needed them to catheterize me, I was fine in the position i was in, baby was fine so I wanted them to just do it. I was told “that’s really not ideal”. If you’re a nurse you know that there’s more than one position to put a catheter in a woman. The fact these nurses refused was mindblowing to me. The on call doctor came in, responding to the code they had called. I told her i needed the balloon OUT! She took it out, I walked to the bathroom & literally peed over 2 Liters!!!! I was immediately pain free. The doctor checked me & told me I was at a 0. This was a little baffling to me because the balloon had been in for nine hours & I was at a 1 when it was inserted. You don’t go backward. The on call doctor began talking about next steps. I informed her I wanted to wait until my doctor arrived before doing anything else.

4.5cm. That’s what my doctor said I was at when she came & checked herself. We chatted for a little bit about our plan. Although she wasn’t happy with how the baby was behaving as long as baby recovers she was comfortable with continuing on trying to have a vaginal birth. I voiced my concerns that I wasn’t being heard by nurses & was having to advocate for myself far more than a women going through labor should have to. If I hadn’t recognized that I desperately need to empty my bladder to take the pressure off my baby & relieve his distress I would have ended in a crash c-section. My doctor completely validated my concerns about my current nurses & asked the charge nurse for an assignment change. My advice to any patient is to advocate for yourself, if you feel like your concerns are not being heard or you just feel like something is wrong, SPEAK UP. We know our bodies better than anyone else!!

The plan going forward was to restart pitocin & then they put in a catheter that would go into my uterus and give fluid constantly to try to cushion the baby since my amniotic fluid was so low and this way they’d be able to more closely monitor my contractions. This took place around lunch time or so. I labored unmedicated the following 14 hours or so. I think I said maybe three sentences in those 14 hours. I had hastily downloaded a nature relaxation album on spotify that they play at my acupuncturist. Well we listened to that for 15 hours… ten tracks of Tibetan flutes all about 90 seconds long, meaning we listened to the album literally hundreds of times.

Finally after being in transition for about two hours I couldn’t take the unbearable pain & finally asked for an epidural. It was a godsend. They placed the epidural & my nurse said she’d let me rest and come back in to place my catheter. When she came back I had gone from 6cm to 9.5 in an hour. She got us all set up to start pushing, we did one push & baby totally crumped. Next thing I knew the charge nurse was in the room saying there would be no more pushing until my doctor arrived. So we waited for about 30 minutes for my doctor to get to the hospital. When she arrived she went through the possible outcomes that if the baby was not tolerating the pushing or if the pushing was effective there was still a chance I could end up in a c-section, or that they would need to use a vacuum to help assist. After four rounds of intense pushing our son William Hayes Dorsey entered the world at 6:34am. The umbilical cord had been wrapped tightly around his neck, that paired with my extremely low amniotic fluid was causing his distress throughout labor. The NICU was standing by & William did end up needing some initial stimulation to get him to take his first breath. But as anyone who’s gone through labor can tell you, hearing that first cry is unlike anything else in this world.

Birth is just amazing. It’s this terrifying, amazing, miraculous right of passage. And no two births are the same. I love that every experience is so unique & can be vastly different even with the same mom! My birth, although incredibly different than my ideal birth plan, is something I’m incredibly proud of. So no matter if you birthed your babe with an epidural, in a tub, via c-section, with 10 people in the room, with Tibetan Flutes in the background, I hope you feel immense pride about your journey.

Happy Mother’s Day – to all the mama’s out there, the real life superheros who work the toughest job in town.