Cross-posted from WoahBaby!

First the foods that are keeping me happy right now. Forgive the brand promotion but these people have my deep gratitude.

1) Kashi blueberry waffles. These little guys are like guilt-free versions of an Eggo toaster waffle. Instead of being made of deadly crap, they’re made of – and I’m not exaggerating: whole wheat flour, oat flour, brown rice, triticale, barley and buckwheat and ground flaxseed. And blueberries. For 150 calories, I can have two of these whole grain marvels, and for less than another 100 calories, a pat of butter, a drizzle of maple syrup, sliced strawberries and a dollop of plain greek style yogurt for tang. A dash of cinnamon over that and I’m in breakfast heaven. Fiber, protein, fruit – can’t go wrong.

2) Laura’s Wholesome Junkfood Extreme Chocolate Fudge Bite-lettes. I don’t have an appetite for sweet things right now, and these are a good balance of light sweetness and rich chocolate – like a good dark chocolate bar can be. But these little balls of goodness have rolled oats, rice flour, dates, coconut and soy powder, and just two of them have only 110 calories. They’ve got a little dose of potassium, calcium, iron and protein. And they’re dark chocolate. Two make a perfect midafternoon snack for me right now. Whoever you are, Laura, thank you.

3) Naked brand fruit smoothie drinks. I always avoided these because, though delicious and packed with real fruit puree and juice with no sugar added, they’re pretty calorie dense drinks. A 15 oz bottle is considered 2 servings and contains 300 calories. BUT, no fat, no added sugar and, depending on which fruit blend you’re drinking, a host of vitamins and minerals, micronutrients and antioxidants. Since I need like 300 calories more daily to feed the Red Bean and all the additional personal uh, attributes, for incubation, it’s a nutritious snack I no longer feel guilty about. Usually on my walk home from work I’m pretty hungry and feeling a little ill. A bottle of Naked makes me feel worlds better and tides me over till I can rest and then fix something for dinner.

Now for books. Pregnancy books are a touchy subject to me, because, as I have mentioned, most of them suck hard. They’re badly written, boring, and assume that a) you and your spouse don’t get along, b) you have every right to be the worst, most selfish version of yourself right now to other people  while being some kind of monumentally regal baby-making goddess, and c) your ability to make good choices depends on said books. For that reason, I’m pretty much not reading any more of them. But three have made the cut. Maybe others will but I remain skeptical.

1) The Pregnancy Countdown Book. OK, this one does all three of the things above, but still offers some fun insights into baby’s development, in page-a-day format for the 240 or so days of pregnancy. I don’t love it but we keep it by the toilet, and I dislike it less than some others.

2) Bonding Before Birth. A joyful little book that I read in full on a bus ride home from New York, Bonding Before Birth is an encouraging look at all the ways you can do good things for your weetle bean while it’s cookin’. The author is a little opinionated at times, and has a tendancy to pick and choose which research she holds sacred and which she takes with a grain of salt, but overall it’s a neat look at how mom’s life affects babe. For example, when I exercise, the endorphins that make me feel good afterward make baby feel good too. When I’m relaxed, baby and I are equally free from the damaging effects of high cortisol levels. When I’m eating good foods, (duh) baby gets good stuff to build parts with. She describes it more artfully, and I really enjoyed reading it. It’s one of the only books I’ve come across that praises sex during pregnancy – love and affection between partners makes mom happy, and all the good hormones in my system afterward also reach baby. Oxytocin, the “love and bonding” hormone, has similar wonderful affects for baby that it does for mom and dad. I appreciated that at least one pregnancy book makes the assumuption that the people who just decided to become parents actually love each other and enjoy sex, and encourage the having of it. Bravo, Dr. Stoddard.

3) Momma Zen. I cannot describe how wholly I love this book. In a series of open-hearted essays, the author describes her experience of pregnancy and motherhood as a path in her life’s journey toward balance and wholeness. I love her warm and encouraging tone, even when laying bare the loss of her desired “birth plan”, the agony of sleep deprivation,  the challenge of not giving way to the lust for stuff. She describes each of her steps in terms of how to yield gracefully to the new things happening to you, to the new forces at work and in control of your body and your time, and to the magic that awaits each moment. Her writing makes me feel peaceful, capable and assured. Also, it has Cherrios on the cover. I plan to give this book to every pregnant friend for the rest of my life.


Check out Woahbaby!

There are a lot of things I can do, and I do a lot of those. And there’s something I can’t do, which is everything. That is to say, I can’t do everything. Also I can’t eat everything. My cravings and my goals are similar in that way.

As anyone who’s read my blog for a while knows, my interests are broad. Exhibit A, the category cloud to the right. And somewhere in here are a few posts detailing my many bold goals and determined plans for myself. Near the top is finally going to college – not for the sake of going though the Monkey supportively says that’s enough of a reason in his book for me to go – but to facilitiate a career change from fundraising to sustainable agriculture advocacy. It’s a serious craving, and a very big helping on my already full/filling plate.

And if you’ve read my blog in the last month I might have mentioned that I am pregnant. I don’t have cravings per say, for a single food or for an odd combination of foods,  though for a week or so I ate many pickles. What I get are fixations. I see a picture or hear someone mention a food and I cannot stop thinking about how much I want to eat it. I’ve made side trips to markets and bakeries to satisfy these fixations. Nothing outrageous. Just, a cupcake, or butter chicken, or grilled cheese. At the moment my need for a cheeseburger is unrequited but I am plotting. The thing is, because of other physiological changes, I can’t eat as much as I want to –  I get full fast and I feel terrible when my tummy is full.

… I’m going to scream right now thinking about how much I want one juicy, salty, cheesey cheeseburger on a smooshed, tomato-soggy bun with an ooze of pinkmayoketchup dripping toward my greedy hands. God help me. Be right back .

No, I didn’t go get a cheeseburger. I made a grilled cheese sandwich. Because that’s what you do when you can’t do everything: you do what you can.

I really did make a grilled cheese halfway through this post. Sometimes it comes together in the doing.

In the vast list that is everything, I decided, the first summer session at my community college is part of the everything I can’t do. My Drowsy Serenity is voracious, gobbling up so much of my energy and motivation that I cannot bear the thought of three-hour classes and two or three days a week of rushing on the metro from work to class and back home. But, like this delcious grilled cheese sandwich, I found the perfect substitute, and it’s probably more suited to my smaller appetite anyway: a non-credit online creative non-fiction course through the University of Wisconsin-Madison led by a writing professor and completed in my own time.  I can keep up a few hours of study sans classes, transit and finals, and make some progress on the goal of being a very good writer. I will share drafts and assignments here, and any other thoughts about writing that come my way as I work through the course.

It’s no cheeseburger, but this home-made grilled cheese sandwich hits the spot right now.

I roused myself from my now usual 8:45-9:30 nap with the goal of writing a wry and charming blog post. On the way to the computer I had the brilliant idea that I’d put those grocery store cookies in the oven and reward myself after my post with a nice warm chocolate chip cookie before tidying up and heading off to bed. But then I got distracted by dinner leftovers still on the stove, and quickly loaded the dishwasher, ate three unbaked chocolate chip cookie dough balls and the oven timer went off before I even had time to open wordpress. Now I can’t remember what I wanted to write about, and my tummy is full of cold raw cookie. This is it, isn’t it? The slow slide into ding-bat motherhood. One day I’ll wonder why my kid thinks I’m a nut. And I’ll remember this is how it started.

DAMMIT! I missed day one!

I signed up for the WordCount Blogathon again this year.

Then promptly missed day one. Officially I lose. That will make the rest of the month sooo much more manageable.

Why did I sign up, knowing how many things I have going on? Because last year I loved the camaraderie and the satisfaction of writing every single day. Of sharing my voice and my perspective and driving myself to think, express and communicate.  I love writing.

And what obstacles will I face in blogging daily for the month of May?

First and foremost, I can’t keep my eyes open half the time these days. I’m 7 weeks pregnant. I’ve intentionally chosen not to call this “tired” – though sometimes I call it The Tired, because it deserves a title. I’ve been opting to call it, to myself, My Drowsy Serenity. More on My Drowsy Serenity later.

I’m also transitioning to new tasks at work – from managing our various event-based fundraising (marathons, biking tours, fundraising dinners, etc, put on by donors across the country to support cancer research) to our corporate relationships (companies who support cancer research through their corporate giving or marketing budgets). And at the moment, I’m doing both jobs, and will soon be training our new events person, once he or she is hired.

I’m also planning on taking a couple of classes during the summer term at the community college where I’ve been working on the long-put-off goal of getting my degree. I took calculus and physical geography last semester. I think, all things considered, the summer session might be devoted to something like art appreciation.

As a result of My Drowsy Serenity, I have found new ways to show compassion for myself. Naps, morning meditation, and a slower walk to work are a few. Add: not beating myself up for failing the blogathon goal on the first day. As they say in New Orleans, it is what it is. And here I am, posting on day two because It’s What I Can Do.

There are more things in my life with capital letters in my life right now.

Cancer babies

I offended a co-worker this week.

We were in our weekly development staff meeting (which only happens about one week in three, and is not to be mistaken with staff development meeting, which would be for our betterment – this is in fact, development, that is, fundraising, staff, sitting around yakking about what we need to be working on).

After some interesting conversation about [trade secrets] and a few quick reviews of [confidential] we were kind of just wrapping up, and someone commented wouldn’t it be great if our boss brought his new baby in for an afternoon to liven up the office. We joked about the playpen in the hallway and where to stash mommy in case biological needs reared (ha, get it) their head. I added, “Plus we could have a baby crying in the background on donor calls. We could say, Do you hear that? That baby’s crying because of cancer.” Laughs were had by all. Except by one coworker who said under the laughter, “That’s over the line.” Someone, not me, waved a hand at her and she said quite forcefully, “No, it’s not ok. That was over the line and I am offended by that kind of talk.”

I apologized, but come on. Babies crying at cancer. Fundraising gold.