HAPPY EARTH DAY

Happy Earth Day everyone. I have seen the online stratosphere gearing up for today with the most American way that it can… sales!!! I am compassionate enough to recognize that as a culture we do not have many more ways to celebrate anything than to buy things for it, try to recreate manicured Pinterest boards for it, and then root for it like it is a football team. I am putting out my meek plea for you to pause for today though.

The intention of this day when it started in 1970 has mixed origins. Was it a national teach-in day about what we have done as a species to this planet? Was it a propaganda day for the newly forming Environmental Protection Agency? No matter the origins the events leading up to the designation from 1970 came from the ravages of a political climate in turmoil and significant environmental detriments.

Here we are in 2016 and our current political climate is pretty fractured. So is our connection to the environment. Going into 1970 the nation was besieged with Rachel Carson’s, “Silent Spring” eight years earlier and there is not any unifying book to gather us under a collective consciousness umbrella but I am going to introduce a contender. E.O. Wilson’s “Half Earth”

Half-Earth-cover

The book like many of Wilson’s writings encourages a connection with the biosphere. We often do not think of ourselves as interdependent with ecosystems and that is getting us in trouble with a loss of biodiversity and degradation of our natural resources. I encourage you to read this book or at least an article about this Pulitzer Prize winning piece that came out this year. A related Half Earth Project will be launched May 31st.

If you are not willing to see yourself as interdependent in your ecosystem then scale back and see if you can recognize how your consumer habits impact the natural resources they draw from. 

For Earth Day I have a few ways to celebrate:

Do not fall for Earth Day sales of things you do not need. Do not go on a shopping spree as a way to celebrate from your computer.

Find some small connection to the natural world. A true heart connection. Go for a hike. Go to a spot where the sunshine can dapple on your shoulders and just sit there in silence to identify the sounds of what surrounds you (this can even be in your garden or a community garden). Look into the eyes of something wild and feel empathy with what is looking back at you (birds have eyes).

Keep it simple. If you can join an organized program for recycling, tree planting, or litter removal. You do not need to go out of your way to do those actions though – in their origins they would not be needed if people were more conscious consumers in the first place. This is why I push for conscious consumption first coupled with having a connection to the environment.

Happy Earth Day and remember, we are interdependent with this beautiful biosphere. Happy day to us. We are a part of the earth. xoxo

Eight Years: A Love Letter

snowdrift

Perfect in its unpredictability we drove out to the San Luis Valley from Denver on Saturday morning to celebrate our wedding anniversary weekend. This is a two lane road that we were on in this picture. Note the lack of visibility. Note how bright the day was. Oh Colorado.

honeycombWe paused in Salida for some of our favorite stores including The Beekeeper’s Honey Boutique, Little Red Hen Bakery, and Kaleidoscope Toys. The toy store was having a Star Wars play event. Of course.

For food we generally hit Ploughboy for local fare to eat immediately and cook with but they are preparing for a big remodel. I look forward to see what they look like in March. We did grab some pho at Little Cambodia.

photavernWe then headed to the hot springs where we planned to settle for three days.

Colorado is ridiculous. Between sunsets on fire and shooting stars from the pools all you can do is be in love with your boo.

We had an unintended present a friend gave us. Margo did Reiki II readings for us this month. During our first night away we read each other’s readings to help bring some clarity. We of course thought the other had an amazing reading but looked at our own with self doubt. It is funny how perceptions bend and can be clouded with our judgements. This is how I saw my husband after reading his. ralph

This is how he saw me. tumblr_mc5v3vuHz41qk7mkdo2_500

At least we have very positive perceptions of the other. It was a good reassurance to end the day.

The next day we turned it up to 11. I’ll paint the scene for you. We decided to drive the backroads to head south. Folk was playing on The River Rat (93.7 FM) while my husband was feeding me a spoon of honeycomb that we bought the day before as we were sipping fresh coffee that we made.

honeycomb

A huge bird was along the road so I jumped out of the driver seat to grab my camera while my husband drove. Note that no other cars were anywhere near us.

backroads

And we played along several telephone poles with a Golden Eagle. Yes a bigger than a Bald Eagle, GOLDEN EAGLE. We left the bird alone after it had captured a meal and was going to feast.golden eagle

golden

We then stopped in Crestone for some bomb diggity green chai and brunch.

There are many things I love about Creatone, but none so much as the green chai at Desert Sage.

A video posted by Terry (@tcabeen) on

Then we made our way to Great Sand Dunes National Park where I wanted to get in the #REIExplorer virtual run with Black Girls Run and REI. The park rangers recommended against any trails due to icy conditions so off to the sand dunes it was.


The sand dunes took a lot out of me. My husband also played to get some of these shots and flared up his exercise induced asthma because it was pretty cold.


We raced back to the hot springs to end up in a pool for a soak and I was able to capture a sunset picture I had envisioned for this pool for almost a year now.
waterfall pool

That night we hung out with other land trust members until it was bed time then went out to soak and sauna some more. In the morning we hiked to the tallest springs before meandering down to make more coffee and noodles then wind our way back to Denver.

The weekend was absolutely lovely. We missed the Marade in Denver but to be honest we knew we were getting married MLK Jr weekend and feel we live for some of his legacy everyday with our mixed race life. The Marade in the current climate would have been amazing to be part of but some solitude and sheer love felt just right. Happy 8th wedding anniversary Terry. xoxo

Tops of 2013

As the year winds down I am grateful for many experiences.  I did not blog about all of them (see my previous post for more about that) but here is a list.  It is a good list that makes my heart happy.

My Top 10 Highs for 2013 (in no particular order)

 

  1. Completed our family with the birth of Kai on 3/27/13 kai
  2. Taught yoga on the beach of Cambria at Fitcation

    Image taken by Pamela Kramer of A Renaissance Woman
    Image taken by Pamela Kramer of A Renaissance Woman
  3. GTIS 1/2 Marathon 4 months post c-section (super proud every time I drive that stretch of I-70)georgetown idaho springs
  4. Camping with the family on Memorial Day at Mesa Verde National Park

    obligatory hiking and breastfeeding image
  5. Showing the redwoods and PNW ocean to my family – and yoga on the fallen treesredwoods redwoods bodhi
  6. Doing a Turkey Trot 5K with my 3 year-old who ran all but 1/3 of a milebodhi trot
  7. Having my sugar cane allergy reversed. Yes, reversed!
  8. Leaving it all on the proverbial field when I got to spend time with friends and family locally, in California, Oregon, and Utah thus having no regrets.
  9. Realizing how much my female friendships mean to me.  I had to rely on my girls a lot this year.  As someone who does not have many female friends it felt great to be that vulnerable and hopefully reciprocate.
  10. Cover modeling for Breastfeeding Month (August) with Earth Mama Angel Baby  *my boob + my babebfmama

 

our home birth story

It was a dark and stormy night. There are few times in your life when you can actually write that, and this is one of them. Baby B was born on a dark and stormy night after a lengthy process.

I woke up 10 June around 3:30 in the morning to go to the bathroom. I was a few steps from the toilet when I felt a small gush of liquid warm and moisten my panties. There was not much liquid so I figured I was developing incontinence in the last days of my pregnancy. I was lucky enough to not piddle myself during my pregnancy when I sneezed, got startled, etc. I went to the bathroom, hand-washed my undies, put them in the laundry and put on a clean pair. I was having light contractions and did not think much of it, I was going back to sleep. They were uncomfy by 5 and I was on my knees not feeling great but after a while went back to sleep. Around 6 I piddled myself again while in bed. I went to the bathroom but did not have to urinate. I examined myself when I wiped, nothing seemed off.

I had a midwife exam that day so called her prior to the appointment because through the day I would piddle myself and I figured that I was not urinating, it was something else. It smelled a little like a fixative you would use when preserving a creature in a specimen jar, just diluted. I began using a LunaPad in the morning. By 4 in the afternoon my midwife confirmed I was leaking amniotic fluid and that me and baby had good vital signs. She was excited and figured I would have the baby within 24 hours. I was to call her that night before I went to bed to update her on my progress.

I called that night, no change, just piddling. I also made a chicken curry. I gotta say, leaking downstairs was kind of uncomfortable. In the morning my midwife called and came over for an exam, I wasn’t even dilating. The only change was that I was not leaking amniotic fluid anymore, vitals were still good. She instructed me to go about my day, go for a walk to get things going, she also left a breast pump hoping that stimulation would start everything. I was to pump every hour for 5-10 minutes. She also left more herbs that I was to take upon her instructions starting in the afternoon if things were not progressing. Up until now I was taking an herbal tonic she made for a week, evening primrose oil for a week, and my red raspberry leaf tea since my 2nd trimester.

My husband took Friday off from work to be with me and chill out. We knew baby would be here soon. My girlfriend/doula came over after 12 PM and we went for a 90 minute walk and did an impromptu photo shoot. I was teaching her how to use my camera since she would be around for the birth to get pics of the baby. At that time I kicked my husband out of the house to play with his laptop at a coffee shop.

My midwife called that afternoon, I was able to relay our vitals to her and she instructed me on what to do. This conversation was the second time she mentioned the possibility of a hospital transport because I was not progressing. You see you usually have 24 hours from time waters rupture to labor because of risk of infection. She was frank about what could happen to me and baby if we developed an infection.

That walk with my doula was the last time I would leave the house for a few days. That Friday night the weather turned from our mid-90s to suddenly mid-50s for the weekend. Colorado summers, they are funny like that. That Friday I made an eggplant parmigiana and peach cobbler.

My contractions by Friday night were a regular 6 minutes apart. They were easy. Easy is not a good sign.

My midwife came over for an exam early in the morning. I was dilated 1.5 cm. At this point my waters had been compromised for over 48 hours, we talked about hospital transport again. She wanted me to make a decision, I asked to keep laboring. She let me only because my vitals were good and baby had good vitals. I tried to stay calm and breathe, in retrospect I don’t know if I should have been getting more anxious. I don’t know if that would have helped.

She left for a few hours and returned for another exam. She actually returned to move in with us at that point, she was not leaving as she had to FREQUENTLY monitor the baby and me. She felt my cervix and realized I had two ridges on it. She asked to see if she could break them up. She was able to break one with her fingernail and it hurt pretty bad. My husband was holding me on the bed while this happened and his instinct was to make her stop hurting me, but he refrained and I took as much as I could bear. She was frank in letting me know that things had to progress or we would have to go to the hospital.

I began using a more rapid, blood-pressure raising breath (Ujaiya breath) from my yoga practice and really focusing on visualization of dilating my cervix. I ran to the bathroom twice before nightfall to puke the last set of herbs I was instructed to take. The midwife even went to get a birthing tub which I labored in for about 90 minutes. We were not prepped for a water birth and my husband had to call a friend last minute to get us a hose safe for drinking water.

In the middle of the afternoon chaos we had another frank discussion about the hospital. I remember my head was laying on my husband’s leg on the carpet and I started to cry. I felt like an absolute loser for not being able to progress. I felt so much shame for doing what I thought was taking care of my body for my pregnancy but yet my body was not laboring. I thought I had to have done something wrong. I asked to stay in labor since vitals were good. My midwife was concerned for my stamina, I had been drinking water and Recharge but not eating much. She scrambled an egg for me.

As the sun was setting she did another exam, I was at 7. She did not know how but I did. I used a lot of visualization and would breathe with my hands gesturing an opening. By 9PM we called my girlfriend/doula to come over… she brought pizza for the midwife and my husband. Just before she arrived I was at 9+ with just a tiny bit of cervix on one side. My doula and husband took turns letting me lay my head on them. It was when I was with my doula I did not have to concentrate on my breathing and I started smiling, even laughing a little. I was fully-dilated, I knew it. My midwife did not even check me she called the 2nd midwife to come over to assist her.

Hubby holding me before we began active labor

The 2nd midwife arrived sometime around midnight/early Sunday morning. She came in the door, took off her jacket, sat on the ground and was knitting.

The midwife suggested I take that time to go sit on the toilet to get that part of my body ready for the real work, active labor. After I sat on the toilet for a while I was to have another exam and I went to the bedroom for that. I was fully dilated and we had to hold off on the exam for a quick contraction. All looked good except we had another red flag, a little meconium. Yes, we did mention transport again if I could not deliver quickly.

We went back to the living room, I laid on my side again. I was made to get up and walk, my husband made me dance a bit, we pulled out a birthing stool, we tried a few things. I was keeping it chill and did not want to push. Finally I was told I needed to have the baby. The midwife suggested I get back in the birthing pool and squat in there to push. I did not want to do that. You see I am SHORT and getting in and out of that tub was kind of hard for my stubby little legs. Hubby sat on the birthing stool and I squated in front of him jabbing my knees into his shins (he is a foot taller than me). This was the position, this was it. Only one problem… how do you PUSH?

Seriously, how do you PUSH if you have never done it before? It really is like pooping, but if you are seriously constipated. This was hard for me. My plumbing works like clock-work. This was when the labor gets a little embarrassing… I had to be instructed on how to have a constipated poo. My midwife placed two fingers on my perineum towards my rectum and “taught” me how to push against that pressure. I took a couple of efforts to get the hang of it but finally had to do that ultimate surrender. And yes, I even made some “turtle head” jokes that my doula friend had to explain to the midwife. Beyond those jokes my midwife had to wipe my behind a little but I was expecting that from the Ina May Gaskin talk I had attended last month.

The real pushing… 8-10 pushes. In the second to last push I felt the “ring of fire” you hear about. I had heard it feels like everything in your girly region is going to split. It scared me once I started to feel it, for me it was a warm sensation within my body, not like my vajayjay splitting. I stopped pushing as soon as I felt it from fear. Then I realized it really didn’t hurt. I didn’t even wait for the next contraction I held on to my husbands legs and held a long push, “ring of whatever” I held it. I squeezed Baby B out so fast the midwife had to lunge to catch him with one hand. She was not expecting him yet but she is a professional baby catcher and she got him. The most surprising part of labor during those 8-10 pushes that I had not read about… the cracking of my pelvis. Could have been bone adjusting, soft connective tissue moving, etc. but I could feel and hear cracking… so could my husband. My pelvis is fine though in the aftermath.

Hubby giving Bodhi oxygen after he was in the clear. One of the midwives monitoring.

I delivered the baby, he was passed up to me and I sat leaning with my back against the couch holding him. He was not crying, he was sort of whimpering. Oh great, something was wrong. The 2nd midwife took him from me and swept his mouth and began breathing for him. The midwives were quick to get the oxygen tank, manual sucky lung things, machine sucky lung thingies, acupuncture needles, etc. They worked on him for 20 minutes+ until his lungs were good. It was hard because he had a short cord and we were still attached but I couldn’t reach him with how we were positioned. I could only watch him. My midwife had my husband cut the cord once it stopped pulsing so they could work on him easier. My husband and I talked to him and touched him without getting in the way. My placenta delivered and I hardly noticed I was too busy looking at our baby and his distress.

Within 30 minutes he was handed to me and I held him and an oxygen mask. Soon after he was fine. My midwives went from hippy-dippy ladies to precise EMTs and back to hippy-dippy kind women.

Our homebirth scene… Bodhi was born near the black trashbag (containing blood, fluids, cloth, and plastic in this pic), me on shower curtain liners we lined the ground with, Bodhi is latching for the first time on my breast, in the lower left of the pic is the corner of the birthing tub.

From that point on they began cleaning the birthing area, my midwife encouraged us to latch, they helped me clean up in the bathroom while my husband held him, we took a placenta tour, and eventually the doula left, the midwives sang us a lullaby, and our little family went to bed while the midwives finished cleaning up our home.

Bodhi on the cloth he was lifted in for his official birth weight… 7 pounds 8 ounces.

We woke up that Sunday morning as a cute little family in bed and to a clean house where you could not tell a birth had happened hours prior.

Bodhi resting on daddy’s chest exactly 6 1/2 hours after he was born. Chilling in our bed, at home. Happy & healthy.

Prenatal Yoga DVDs

I get asked about prenatal yoga DVDs pretty often. My first question to the people asking is if they are already doing a yoga practice or have done one in the past. If they have then I am quick to give a recommendation based on what they are looking for in their prenatal yoga and based on the practice they had. If not then I am quick to recommend they find a studio with a certified prenatal yoga instructor that can educate them about body alignment and modifications for their trimester and/or specific body issues. Yoga DVDs are awesome but be honest with yourself if you need a bit more instruction before venturing out solo with a DVD.

Here are my fave videos…

Click here to read more

1. Prenatal Yoga DVD by Shiva Rea… Shiva Rea is Gaiam’s go-to gal. The woman is a great yogini, great teacher, has a compassionate heart and is so much fun to be around. I have only been around her at yoga festivals but she is good people. Her prenatal video is pretty well-thought out with a blend of meditative and asana (poses) practice. It works for me but I am also able to really crank hard on some poses with my own home practice. This is the video I use at home during my own pregnancy when I want some guidance. Note you can rent this 57 minute video on youtube for $3.99.

Here is an excerpt:

2. Prenatal Kundalini Yoga and Meditation for Mothers to Be by Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa – Gurmukh is one of the godmothers of prenatal yoga in the U. S. in my humble opinion. She is also responsible for the book Bountiful, Beautiful, Blissful: Experience the Natural Power of Pregnancy and Birth with Kundalini Yoga and Meditation which I enjoy referring to when wanting some inspiration for my classes. She is a Kundalini person which focuses on a good deal of energy alignment, and her DVD has a heavy meditative focus. If you are looking for less of a cranking out the asana workout from your DVD and more of a thought/intention focus then this is a good match for you. My prenatal mentor also did her training under Gurmukh even though she is an Ashtangi, she has since gone on to develop more of an asana-focused prenatal practice but also refers to what she learned from Gurmukh for the intention building in her classes.

3. Pregnancy Yoga: A Practice for Each Trimester with Cathy Louise Broda – This isn’t a very talkative/meditative video but more of a work focus with the calmness of the background taking care of the serenity. The instructor is preggo with twins here. Overall a great asana-focused series of workouts since Cathy comes from an Ashtanga background and I highly recommend this video for those looking for more of a traditional cardio/strength workout.

4. Jennifer Wolfe’s Prenatal Vinyasa DVDs – Jennifer is the most social media savvy of all the recommendations I am doing and if you tweet prenatal yoga anywhere in your twitter stream she will pop up as @PrenatalYoga and most likely mention her DVD with some sort of special offer. I recommend her videos as the ones where you will also get the more traditional effects of a workout from. Vinyasa is the focus of movement with your breathwork (pranayama) so this will also be close to a combo of cardio and strength training. Jennifer is also really good about safety precautions with the pregnant body because not only is she a certified yoga instructor but she also trains doulas. She has the most formal understanding of the pregnancy and labor process for this reason beyond the motherhood experience.

Please feel free to leave ANY thoughts or comments on the topic of prenatal DVDs if you have something to share. There are so many out there that many newly pregnant people get intimidated in the process of picking one. Do you also recommend these, disagree with my recommendations, or have other videos you recommend? Please share.

wedding memories

Two years ago I married my husband. Today I am knocked up. I love how life moves, but I also like re-visiting great memories. My husband and I chose to be married on Martin Luther King Jr. Observance weekend initially to give those in school coming to our wedding a chance to use their three day weekend but the more we thought about it the more it seemed right. Our mixed race marriage may not have been granted 50 years ago and we owe MLK Jr. a lot for helping the U. S. become a more tolerant place. As we approach our anniversary we love how it is preceded five days by his birthday since we owe him a great deal.

As far as our wedding we had a blast. We took some close friends and family with us down to Costa Rica for a week, then bounced between Costa Rica and Panama for a few days after. For many it was their first time getting a passport and all of our guest still look back on the time we showed them. The first night in San Jose was a welcome dinner and my niece’s sweet 16, my matron of honor was pregnant with her first babe but early enough to be able to keep up with us and have ample hammock breaks, we did a service project for the community we were in, there was so much we packed into a week and it was nice to end in our wedding before we said bye to our nearest and dearest. Here are a bunch of pics, enjoy.
Night before the wedding doing henna for my hubby’s feet. Hubby working on music playlist. My niece, Kia, crashed out on the couch.

Day of wedding the bridal party went surfing. Me on board, hubby behind me getting ready for his wave. I lost track of time and didn’t leave the beach until 2 hours before the ceremony, oops.

The wedding went well though. We married on the beach in Punta Uva. We did our own ceremony with Buddhist and Christian readings. This is after we jumped the broom.

Hubby surprised me by hiring a sitar player. I was supposed to walk down the aisle to Kraftwerk’s “Autobahn” but marched to live sitar instead.

The feast was awesome and local we ate gallo pinto a neighbor made, ceviche, green beans from a nearby farm, jerk chicken a lady in town made, and grilled pineapple. Plates were banana leaves cut from the property. Glasses were wine bottles pulled from the area’s recycling pile and cut then sanded down. I made the tablecloth and napkins.

Baking a cake in the tropics SUCKS so we opted for this version of a croquembouche filled with agave sweetened cream and topped with local chocolate that friends made while we surfed. The chocolate was harvested from the adjacent interior by a BriBri chocolate lady. And of course LEGO sent us a cake topper. We had custom bricks printed though.

Hubby was not the only one with surprises that day. I spun poi for him to one of our favorite songs from the Monsoon Wedding soundtrack. I was relieved to finally be able to drink once I was done playing with fire.

The morning after we took a hike with our photog to play for the camera. This was actually a scary pic. We were at the edge of a cliff with a 50+ foot drop and crashing waves below us.

As everyone got ready to leave us alone the day after we accompanied them to nearby Puerto Viejo for a few more pics including with local grafitti.

We went to over the water bungalows in Bocas del Toro Panama for a couple of days to chill out. This was at 6 AM in the morning since our neighbors in nearby bungalows were up at 4:30 to get ready for a fishing trip. When we emerged from our mosquito net covered bed we found geckos on our already filled champagne glasses getting drunk.

The bungalows were great to play around with kayaks and snorkeling.

As well as just being drunk and stupid.

When we returned to Costa Rica we paddled the Pacuare. The weenie behind Terry was in lead position with him but was a lily-dipper so the guide had me pair up with Terry instead. I actually had paddling experience so it was no issue.


It was a great wedding and we carry great memories. I love my husband and look forward to the challenges and triumphs we face as we start our family together. Next year we may be back in Costa Rica for our anniversary with our baby if I go through with shooting a wedding in the location we were married at. One of our dreams is to take our kids to the place we were married. Namaste and thanks for looking.