Weigh In Wednesday #25 – Status In Art

Today felt like this:


My life feels like this:


My partner in crime:

Partner in crime

Words to live by:

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It’s the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them
They say they still can’t see.
I say,
It’s in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman

Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It’s in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need of my care,
‘Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

~Maya Angelou

Weigh In Wednesday #24 – The Stinger

weigh in wednesdayIs it Wednesday already?

I’m a grown up, for all intensive purposes. But I’ll tell you, when a person you’re close to lets you know that they have little or no faith in you achieving your goals (whether it be a flat out statement or a joke) it stings. Sure, I have a lofty weight loss goal of 100 pounds and it was a New Years Resolution (therefore almost a definite fail), and as it turns out I’m not going to bust it out in the year that I initially gave myself.

Does that mean that I’m not still working to achieve that goal? Are my guidelines so strict that if I don’t achieve it by my time limit that I should give up on the whole thing altogether? Am I less motivated than I was on January 1st?

Nope. None of the above.

I don’t expect everyone to be totally supportive of my goal, especially since I’ve sidelined the weight and measurement aspects of the process. (FYI – I’ve maintained at 249 since I last posted that a few weeks ago). I also recognize that I’ve put myself out in the open for judgement by making my declaration on the internet, publicly. So I guess I should have expected a couple stingers by now. Let me explain why my initial attempts didn’t work and what I’m figuring out along the way.

Going Paleo or Whole30 is novel. Lots of people can do it and live those lifestyles. I certainly feel great when I’m living that way too. But in my house, with my family and my food preferences – it’s not sustainable. I was giving myself complexes about wanting a slice of homemade bread. I was bingeing on the natural version of Nutella. I was weighing myself repeatedly and seriously stressing myself out about losing weight. If I went a week and didn’t lose weight, or gave into a “temptation” (like rice or noodles or bread or crackers) I got angry at myself and often took it out my my husband and my kid.

I got to a place that wasn’t healthy. I was becoming phobic about eating. To the point that I didn’t eat on Tuesdays before or after my dance class because it was a surefire way to lose at least a pound so that I’d have something to show for it on Wednesday. When my body got achingly hungry because I decided to skip a meal, I told myself that it was “primal” to occasionally “fast”. I felt like shit.

Being that I’m a self proclaimed optimist, living day to day feeling like an angry piece of shit, IS NO WAY TO LIVE.

So I stepped back. Like any sane and normal person should do. I surrounded myself with words of positivity and love and light and healthy foods. And some not so healthy foods too. I started eating. I’m working on de-criminalizing food. All kinds of food. You know what? I feel a whole lot better now. I’m happier, nicer and don’t feel so crappy all the time.

Being on track looks a lot like being more active. On days that I don’t have a gym date I’ve started walking or riding my bike. I got a Fitbit to help keep track of my movement. The next step is to start paying attention to my food again. Not to cut any of it out – because if I know anything now I know that I like to have ice cream – but to find ways of eating what I want without having to feel like I’m sacrificing. Time to burn more than I take in, but in a reasonable, non-starve myself, exercise regularly type of way.

My problems are first world problems, it’s true, but they’re mine. Maybe I’m being sensitive to the comment that was made in jest, and in passing, but don’t give up on me yet. I haven’t.

Slug Bug’s Big Adventure

P has been desperate to take photos with my camera. Being that he’s like a bull in a china shop, you can imagine how willing I am to let this actually happen. A couple days ago, I was feeling generous and patient so P finally got his wish. His first photo session was in our back yard and his muse was none other than the yellow, flower power, slug bug from my dad.

Waking Up Happy is proud to present, the artists premier photography show:

Slug Bug’s Big Adventure

Among the Herbs
Bar None
Dung Beetle (deconstructed)
Life As A Jeep
Flower Power
The Abyss
King Of The World
Oz Interrupted
Impression Of A Cat
Mama as “The Assistant”
The Artist as “Captain”
Can you guess what this is?


Weigh In Wednesday #23 Heat Wave

weigh in wednesdayPhew! What a week this has been. Imagine the back drop of a heat wave that has lasted for 6 days and has brought us temperatures of 102-106*. Without air conditioning and an older home, the box elder bugs have come out in full force. Like, jungle bug status. Totally gross! Porter has caught a head cold, throw in a wildfire or two, and we decided to move into a hotel for 3 days.

It’s one of those situations that makes me grateful for the life we have that includes plenty to eat, cold water and shelter when things get bad. On the other hand, Porter repeated the F-word today after hearing me mutter it under my breath. Yes, I swore.

What has come out of this overwhelming week is that I now believe I can do anything if I live in a home with A/C. I’ve also come to wonder what the heck humans were thinking when we settled in the deserts of the west. Seriously.What.Were.We.Thinking? I’ve also decided that I want to move our little family to a foreign country for awhile, to spice things up and have an adventure. We’ll see how that one goes over.

One of my requirements of our stay-cation location was that it have a pool. We opted for the Marriot Residence Inn, which has met all of our needs entirely. Not only do they have a pool, but a hot tub too. Because what feels so good in the midst of a heat wave and after a jump in the pool? A nice soak in the hot tub! I kid you not.

I was sitting in the hot tub this evening in a rare moment of solitude AND relaxation and I had a thought. (I do still occasionally have them, but only briefly.) Maybe it was the all the heat getting to me, but I think there’s a kernel of truth in this. It goes like this:

What if the person I was, and the person I thought I was going to be (as a parent), is entirely different than who I actually am?

After going through such a metamorphosis as growing and birthing a person and ending a full time career, how I could presume to be the same person I was before? I do believe that’s the opposite of a metamorphosis. Maybe I’m no caterpillar? But a lovely butterfly now?

Silly me. I thought that birthing a child was all that I required to be a mom. I believe, now, that it takes more time, personal reflection and open mindedness than I had originally assumed. Remembering that I’m a person outside of being a mother is important too. And definitely learning to lose or give up control. LOTS of that.

On the health note, this week I did an awesome workout with my friend Sarah. I was sore for days and in places I haven’t felt in years.

Here was my favorite quote of the week:

The diet gurus tell us that we have to give ourselves eating disorders in order to lose weight. We do not.


Weigh In Wednesday #22

weigh in wednesdayIt’s a strange feeling when someone as confident as I am in my body’s ability becomes angry and frustrated at that same body. One which has allowed me to dance, run, jump, swim, sing, birth, see, hear, taste, love and learn. The body that got me to this finish line after completing an Olympic distance triathlon: mile swim, 25 mile bike and 6 mile run and then to leap over the finish line.


I knew I had some body issues (I did grow up in the US after all), but I can’t tell if I’ve always had them or if doing this challenge has created them. Either way, I’ve found myself getting mad at my body for not contorting itself at the pace I want it to. I WANT IT NOW! Alas, I’m a product of my times and have become impatient and cranky with mother nature (aka my changing body.)

Recognizing this about myself, and this awkward feeling of mistrust in my body, I have decided that I need to take some time to regain confidence in my body. I’ve been following GoKaleo on Facebook (she’s ever so slightly militant about not dieting and self love), searching through blogs of moms who are proud of their stretch marks, and making a concerted effort to move my body in ways that make me happy and to eat real food. Any real food I want. It’s strange that I’ve gotten to the point of demonizing a slice of homemade sprouted wheat bread with almond butter.

In an effort to cut my self and my body some slack I’ve re-instituted positive affirmations and decided to stop weighing/measuring myself until I get this ish in order. Weigh In Wednesday will continue, but with a more positive message about self love and acceptance.

Something tells me this challenge will last longer than the designated year. My parents always say that a plan is something to have for when life isn’t happening. Welcome back life! It’s nice to see you again, I missed you.

My affirmations for now:

  • I love my body.
  • I love my self.
  • I love my life.
  • I am unbelievably, utterly and immeasurably beautiful.
  • I am exactly perfect just as I am.

My favorite quote from the week:

“ok. 30 days of no sugar, no alcohol, no dairy, no grains, no coffee. and yet the muffin top? it persistith. time to get down with some of this ‘accepting yourself as you are’ BS i keep reading about.”

~Jade from A Beautiful Body Project  <–You NEED to check this out!

Weigh In Wednesday #21

weigh in wednesdayGET BACK ON YOUR HORSE!

“Long ago, warriors trained daily to hone their mental focus, physical strength, and skills in preparation for meeting any situation in battle. Battles, like birth, are not choreographed. Never knowing exactly what to expect, a warrior has to be spontaneous and creative on the spot.

Picture a woman riding into battle on her decorated warhorse. Imagine her engaged in a fierce battle, when suddenly she loses her balance or is knocked off her horse. She hits the ground hard, but the battle continues.

What can she do?

She could feel defeated or ashamed for falling off her horse; she could give up or ask people what she should do. While waiting or trying to decide, she might get trampled. Or, instead, knowing that falling off the horse is part of the battle, and not shameful or weak, she can get back on her horse, continuing to do her best, moment-by-moment, without attachment to outcome.”

~Excerpt from Pam England and Virginia Bobro’s new book-in-progress

#21 6/19/13 Last Week This Week Difference Overall Loss
Weight (lbs) 244 249 5 12lbs
Left Leg (in) 30.5 31 0.5 -1.5
Hip (in) 50 51 1 -3
Waist (in) 42.5 43 0.5 -8
Chest (in) 45 46 1 -1.5
Left Arm (in) 15.5 16 0.5 -1
Neck (in) 15 15 0 -1
Total inches Lost 16″


What’s Bloomin’ In Boise – Early June

june blooming

We’ve been slowly but surely adding to our garden and I’ve made it a point to add mostly perennial, drought tolerate/low water plants. Boise is considered the high desert and if mother nature had her way the only thing growing here would be sage brush. Coming from a home that always had flowers growing I couldn’t give that up, so I figured out what would grow in my adopted home of southwestern Idaho and ran with it. Here’s what’s blooming in my garden in early June.

june Front Yard

june thyme collage
Our Thyme lawn.
LATIN NAME: Thymus ‘Reiter’
COMMON NAME: Creeping Reiter Thyme
june syringa collage
The Syringa flower is the Idaho state flower and in the lilac family.
LATIN NAME: Philadelphus Lewisii
june yarrow collage
Yellow yarrow.
LATIN NAME: Achillea ‘Moonshine’
COMMON NAME: Moonshine Yarrow
june sage front collage
LATIN NAME: Nepeta ‘Walker’s Low’
COMMON NAME: Walker’s Low Catmint
june pink flower collage
LATIN NAME: Salvia nemarosa
COMMON NAME: Salvia Ave Maria
june rose collage
Climbing Red Rose that was here when we bought the house 8 years ago. It’s gotten big!

june back yard

june sage back collage
LATIN NAME: Salvia officinalis ‘Minimus’
COMMON NAME: Little Leaf Culinary Sage
june darling collage
I’m not sure what this one is. I picked it up randomly last year and tossed the tag, oops. It has these darling little flowers, most of which are white. There is a little cluster of pink ones those. I love it!!
june iris collage
june pink back collage
I’m labeling this one for my dad. It’s NOT a weed!
LATIN NAME: Centranthus ruber ‘Coccineus’
COMMON NAME: Jupiter’s Beard

june veg garden

june herbs
Culinary mint and oregano from Peacefull Belly Farm.
june lettuce collage
Various lettuces from Next Generation Organics.



Knowing Birth: Meagan of Growing Up Herbal (7)

knowing birth


Here is the link to the original Knowing Birth post.

There are so many books and studies claiming to know the truth about birth, but what I’ve found in my conversations with mothers and birth professionals are so many unique experiences surrounding each birth. A book or study can’t possibly take into account the actual voices of individuals. So what better way to find out than to simply ask.

That led me to what I call Knowing Birth interviews. I have come up with a handful of questions that, moms, dads and care providers will answer. I’ll then take their answers and put them directly on this blog.

The only requirement is honesty and openness, and maybe a few pictures too. If you would like to share your experience and answers to the following questions, please email me at doulamegan@gmail.com and I will get the questionnaire to you directly. Anyone can participate and there’s no judgment from me about your answers. I promise to keep a close eye on the comments and keep ‘em clean.


Meagan and Dean Visser at the blog Growing Up Herbal. Meagan is finishing up a month of writing the birth stories of her three beautiful sons: Judah, Isaiah and Uriah. I was excited to read her interview because her intuition lead her to home birth inititally, but nature lead her to the hospital instead.

On her blog, Meagan writes about parenting, natural health and how to prepare and use herbs in amazing ways. After reading her Knowing Birth interview, check out her blog at GrowingUpHerbal.com.

meagan uriah


Where did you choose to have your birth and why? What are your feelings about that choice now?

I chose to have my first birth at home assisted by a local midwife because I was in love with natural health and natural living, and I wanted to incorporate more of that into my life… one step at a time. Since I was pregnant, natural birthing was the next step I could take, but I knew that if I was going to have a natural birth, I was going to go all out and do it at home. The more I learned about it, the more of a fan I became of it, and the more of a fan I became of it, the more passionate I became. To me, this was an ideal way for healthy women with healthy pregnancies to birth.

Unfortunately my homebirth didn’t happen due to a very long labor with no progress so the hospital was a welcome site at that point. Not only did it help me do what I needed to do to bring my baby into this world as safely as possible, but I had a great, supportive team that allowed me to do it as naturally as possible too.

meagan bellySince that first birth experience, I’ve had two more hospital births that have been great. I chose to go with the hospital after that first try at a homebirth because I didn’t know if my other labors would be like the first… long and exhausting, and since my experience in the hospital was far better than I’d expected, I chose to do it there again… naturally of course.

I don’t regret my decision to birth in the hospital even though I’m a big fan of homebirthing. At the time, with that first labor, it was the right choice due to the circumstances, and yes… I’d still love to have a homebirth. Hopefully someday I will!

How did you prepare for your birth?

Since my first birth was to be a homebirth, I took birthing classes with my midwife that talked about different aspects of natural birthing and what to expect, and I read all sorts of books about natural birthing and homebirthing.

For me the biggest thing to prepare for was dealing with the pain of childbirth. I read a couple books about it, but I must say… I was still not prepared. I’m not sure you really ever are for a first birth. Everything is totally new. You can read all about it and watch other people go through it, but until it’s you… it’s just not the same, especially since every birth is different.

For my second and third births I already knew what to expect and what labor was like for me so in order to prepare I read the book Husband Coached Childbirth: The Bradley Method. This made all the difference in the world for me! It helped me to learn how to work with my body (not against it) in order to get through the pain and have a natural birth.

Who was invited and present at your birth?

My husband, my mom, and my midwife have been present at all three of my births… including medical staff since I’ve birthed at the hospital.

meagan laboring1

If it was not your first birth, please compare/contrast your experiences.

Wow! This would be a book. I’ve written my birth stories on my blog that go into detail about how each of my births went and how the differed from each other.

You can find them here:

Judah’s Birth Story – http://www.growingupherbal.com/birth-story-judah-the-kid-that-almost-never-came/

Isaiah’s Birth Story – http://www.growingupherbal.com/isaiah-aka-speedy-gonzales/

Uriah’s Birth Story – http://www.growingupherbal.com/birth-story-uriah-almost-as-good-as-it-gets/

The biggest difference between all of them was not where I birthed (since they were all at the hospital), but how I handled labor. Like I said before, my first labor was incredibly long, but once I read about The Bradley Method and learned how to work with my contractions, not against them… I was able to have my 2nd and 3rd babies much faster and much easier than the first!

What qualifications do you look for in a midwife/OB/primary care provider?

First off, experience. I wanted to know my midwife was experienced in homebirths, and I wanted to know the statistics of the births she attended… how many were first time moms, how many had complications, how many were emergencies, etc. Same thing with my doctors. I wanted to know how hands on they were and how often they intervened during pregnancy, labor, and delivery. I wanted to know what their c-section rates were or how many of their deliveries were low-risk vs. high-risk.

Secondly, a willingness to do what’s best for me. With my midwife, I didn’t want someone that was “do or die” to stay home. If I needed to go to the hospital, I wanted her to say that’s what she thought was best. Same thing with my doctors. I wanted to make sure I had doctors who were willing to let me do things my way as long as there were no reasons to intervene.

meagan pushing

What is your ideal relationship with a birth attendant?

My ideal relationship with a birth attendant would consist of a friendship. With a midwife, that’s easier than with an OB because a midwife doesn’t have as many patients as a doctor does and they can spend more time with you getting to know you. I also want to feel like I can be open and honest about my questions and how I feel. Having someone who’s more of a friend and there to help you through whatever you face, rather than an authority, is more ideal and helpful to me as well.

If you have received maternity care from both the medical and midwifery models of care, what are the biggest differences? Pros/cons of each?

The midwifery model is more personal and hands on. I think it looks at women and birth as a part of life, rather than an event that women need help getting through. It’s more holistic. With my experience, the focus has been primarily on staying healthy and practicing things that would make birth quicker and easier on me.

The medical model is at a much faster pace and for most people there is a lack of relationship between the patient and the doctor. I feel that a lot of the things done (exams, tests, etc.) aren’t always necessary, but for legal purposes, they have to cover all the bases. Same with delivery. For the most part you have to follow doctor and hospital protocols which limit you. With my experience, I chose a small practice that my midwife had worked with before and everyone had good relations and trust. I didn’t have much choice in my hospital so I stayed home as long as possible before going to the hospital and being under their protocols.

In all three of my birthing experiences, I’ve had both midwife and medical care with good experiences on both sides. I’ve made sure to be informed about what all goes on. I make a point to do the best I can to stay healthy so I don’t have to concern myself with most interventions. I’m not afraid to ask questions or to tell a doctor “no” about something, but at the same time I respect them and where they’re coming from. I view them as a part of my team. I want them to know where I’m coming from, and I want to know where they’re coming from so we can work together to make my pregnancy, labor, and delivery the best, most natural, safest thing it can be.

Did you feel adequately informed of your options?

There are many options a woman has when it comes to birth, but for the most part, with my midwife, I was informed of the many different options I had. That wasn’t always the case with my doctors. Several times with my OB I would be given one option initially… the most common option or the standard way things were done. Thankfully because I’d done my part and knew about natural birthing, I could say, “Well, what about this? Surely that isn’t my only choice” which would open up more options from them.

I think most times they do things the same way with everyone because most women don’t know there’s any other way. When you’re informed and you speak up, they are willing to be flexible… most times.

meagan judah-meets-isaiah

Describe your ideal birth environment at this point in time.

My ideal birth environment would definitely be at home, and if my husband and I have more children, we’ll most likely choose a homebirth again seeing as how my last two births were so different from my first troubled attempt at a homebirth.

I’ve loved being able to labor in water with my other births so I’d definitely like to have a water birth next time around!

How do you feel about the safety of birth in a hospital vs outside of a hospital?

This one can go both ways. For the most part… if a woman is healthy and is not having any problems, I personally feel that out-of-hospital births are the safest. Of course there are things that can go wrong since we don’t know exactly how a birth will play out, but if feel that there’s less chance for complications from out-of-hospital births just due to the fact that midwives and doulas are trained specifically for these situations. Most doctors are trained for hospital births and how to deal with complications if they arise, and statistics show that there is a much higher rate of intervention and complications from interventions in hospital settings than out-of-hospital settings.

Is there anything you would change about public policy relating to birth/maternity care? Why/how?

If it were up to me, all low-risk women would be able to choose to birth at home or in a birth center setting, and insurance companies would cover these costs just like they cover hospital costs. This would leave high-risk women to birth in a hospital setting where they have access to the things they would need for their birth.

What do you feel were the most influential factors surrounding your birth? Why?

I was very influenced by stories I read and people I met that had had homebirths in the past. They were very encouraging, and it made me feel like it was something I could do. I wasn’t alone in my choice.

Another factor that later influenced my third child’s hospital birth instead of a homebirth was money. It can be expensive to have a baby at home and pay a midwife instead of having your insurance company cover the costs of a hospital birth. For my first child, this wasn’t so much of a concern since I was dead-set on staying out of a hospital, but when it came to my third birth, I’d already had two great hospital experiences. So the hospital was less of a factor and money was more of one.

Who owns birth?

Wow, this is a tough one. I’m not sure that anyone OWNS birth, but if any one person owns it more than another, it’s the parents seeing as how it’s their lives that are effected most and their baby being born.

No one can predict how a birth is going to go, and we certainly don’t have full control over the process. I do feel though, that parents and birth teams can work together to make it as safe and great as we envision it to be therefore everyone plays a part and has some responsibility in the birth.

meagan meeting-uriah



Check out her blog Growing Up Herbal to learn about parenting, natural health and the abundant uses for herbs. Thanks Meagan for your honesty and participation!


Email me at doulamegan@gmail.com and I’ll send you the questionnaire directly. There are no requirements, only that you have a voice about birth and want to share it openly and honestly.